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Note: There is an updated version of the Honda EU2000i and that is the Honda EU2200i. The main difference is the newer model offers 10% more power (200 watts) over the 2,000 watt outgoing model. If you are interested in the Updated Model please read our full review here.
Comparison Honda EU2000i vs Honda EU2200i
When it comes to portable power on demand, the Honda 2000 generator is up there with the very best. Honda has 3 models in the popular 2000-watt category – the EU2000i, the EU2000i Camo, and the EU2000i Companion. These models have identical specs except for the EU2000 Companion that features a built-in 30A outlet for seamless parallel connection.
Portable, lightweight, and quiet, the Honda 2000 generator is designed for a specific niche and use. Honda rightly places the 2000-watt models in the play category – that is, camping, tailgating, outdoor parties, RVing, and more. You certainly don’t want to use this generator as a home standby unit as it simply doesn’t have the minimum wattage you need for household applications.
Among other things, the Honda 2000 generator stands out for being a capable performer. As you’ll see in the rest of this review, there’s a lot more quality that this little power gem offers.
Honda 2000 Generator Overview: What Makes This Power Gem Stand Out?
The 2000-watt portable generator market is crowded with a slew of cheap options but the EU2000i easily stands out. Sure, you might wonder why you have to spend an additional $500 on a 2000-watt generator when you can get the same output at a measly $400.
The truth is that the Honda EU2000i is one of a handful of generators that can capably handle high demand loads. The EU2000i comes with advanced circuit protection that prevents the generator from being overloaded. You can actually max out the 2000-watts for a couple of minutes before the overload control system kicks in.
These factors, coupled with the manufacturer’s impeccable reputation as a pioneer in power technology, make the Honda 2000 generator one of the most dependable in its class.
The Honda 2000 generator also shines in the usability department.
The EU2000i isn’t perfect and it sure does have some pitfalls but it is unrivaled when it comes to performance and reliability. If you’re dealing with a situation where reliability trounces all other needs, you cannot go wrong with the EU2000i.
Honda 2000 Generator: What Can It Do?
The Honda 2000 generator is rated 1600 watts running and 2000 watts maximum output, which means there’ not a whole lot of appliances you can run off it at the same time. However the Honda does what it’s built to do so perfectly that it’s billed as the best 2000-watt inverter generator in its class.
You can connect a bunch of home appliances simultaneously but as most users know, this is not the generator to keep as a home standby unit for critical power outages. You’ll need at least 5000 watts running for your home standby. The Honda 2000 generator is best suited to carry and use situations, particularly camping and tailgating.
Home applications you can comfortably hook to this generator:
- TV set
- DVD player
- Coffee maker
- Portable fan
- Hair dryer
- Incandescent lights
To estimate the power you need, add up the wattage for all appliances you want to hook up and add another 20% to cater for the surge needed at start up.
If you have the means, get a second EU2000i and hook it up with another identical unit. The combined parallel setup is going to give you approximately 3000 running watts. While Honda claims that you can get 4000 watts in a parallel setup, in reality you’re going to get slightly less. It’s a numbers game that generator manufacturers use extensively for marketing.
How Easy Is the Honda 2000 Generator to Operate?
First and foremost the Honda EU2000i models are inverter generators. They are built with advanced inverter technology, which on paper makes their operation much smoother compared to conventional generators. Coupled with Honda’s pioneering world class technology, the EU2000i produces high quality power that is safe even for the most sensitive of electronics.
The Start Process:
Despite its advanced technology, the Honda 2000 generator uses the tried and trusted recoil start mechanism. Yes, you still have to yank a recoil to get the engine revving but it’s not something that will leave you with a wrenched shoulder. The majority of users report that a single pull is sufficient most of the time. This is unique to the EU2000i as we’ve not read similar comments for other models anywhere.
However, from our own tests, you’ll need 3 pulls on average for a relatively new unit. After a couple of weeks in operation, it steadies to a single pull, which is another unique aspect of the EU2000i.
Control Panel and Convenience Features:
Inverter generators are typically packed with a plethora of convenience features and the EU2000i is no different. However this is one area where the EU2000i lacks the edge compared to its closest competition.
As you’d expect, the EU2000i comes with an easy to use, if not dull, control panel. It is secured to the generator with screws – so you need a screwdriver to open it, which is rather a small let down from Honda compared to panels on close rivals that don’t need tools to open (the Generac iQ2000 is a case in point).
Unlike most portable generators though, the control panel on the EU2000i is positioned at the side and the main engine on/off switch is placed away from the panel on the front side below the pull handle. Perhaps this is to make for an easier start process.
The panel comprises two prominently placed 120V AC outlets compatible with the standard 15-amp plugs used in US households although they can also fit the rare 20-amp plugs. Through these outlets you can pull a maximum of 13.3 amps but trying to do so continuously results in the built-in circuit breaker system shutting off the power. Thankfully when this happens you don’t need to shut off the engine as the breaker is automatically reset by a small ‘circuit protector’ button located right next to the main outlets to the left.
Below the two main outlets is a battery-charging port which, although important for emergency situations, is seldom used.
On the extreme left of the control panel is the eco-throttle on/off switch that brings down the engine’s revving when the load is small – which ultimately saves fuel and cuts on noise. Next to the eco-throttle switch are the parallel connection outlets that allow you to connect a second unit for a boost in total output.
Overall the control panel on this unit is more than sufficient. Some newer models from competitors offer more feature packed panels but the EU2000i offers a lot of quality in other areas to make up for the small flaws on the panel.
Honda 2000 Generator: Performance
The EU2000i is built to generate power, pure and simple. So it’s no surprise that this is one area where Honda got everything right. The Honda easily outshines most of its closest rivals by a mile in terms of sheer performance, especially at high demands.
What we mean here is that when you push the unit to its limits, it doesn’t let up. Based on test results we saw on various review sites, the EU2000i is the only 2000-watt inverter generator that capably performs at its very limit.
The difference you get with the Honda comes to light when you need a few extra starting amps for relatively bigger loads, such as powering a 1200-watt window AC (that needs roughly 1900 watts to start).
From the test results we saw, the EU2000i doesn’t falter when getting such loads to startup (a user review on Amazon claims that the EU2000i can pump out 2000-watts for a whole 30 minutes) whereas most of its 2000-watt competitors fall short by a few amps and some simply stall completely and fail to provide the required starting amps.
Exactly where this unit gets this performance edge cannot clearly be revealed through tests but Honda’s superior engineering may be a factor. Or perhaps it’s down to Honda’s engine displacement size, which at 98.5cc is almost 20% bigger than its closest rivals in the Yamaha EF2000iS and the Generac iQ2000, both at 79cc displacement size.
In terms of running amps, the EU2000i comfortably delivers consistent high quality power that’s ideal for delicate devices, particularly tablets and smartphones, among other electronics. There’s not a lot to tell apart between this unit and its 2000-watt competitors when delivering a continuous load such as powering a computer or TV set.
Remember if you need more power than 2000-watts then Honda has capable 3000-watt models in case you don’t want to bother with parallel setups.
Honda 2000 Generator: Noise Levels
The noise level of a portable generator is a huge deal and sometimes a deal breaker. Portable units, especially those in the 2000-watt range, are primarily designed for recreational purposes. As such, the noise levels have to be at their lowest to allow for normal conversations without having to raise your voice.
The official noise level for the EU2000i is 59 dBA at the rated load and 53 dBA at ¼ load. Keep in mind that these figures are merely the ‘official’ ones from the Honda; there are many factors that can affect the actual noise levels. For instance you’d want to get your generator’s true noise levels when at its highest loads. You’d also want to find out how it behaves when running under load for a lengthy period. Only then can you find its true noise levels.
Nonetheless the 53 and 59 dBA range is low enough for normal conversations and no matter the actual rating, this unit’s noise levels are acceptable so long as they’re keeps within the above range.
Honda 2000 Generator: Maintenance
You need to do maintenance on your generator periodically to keep it running in pristine condition. Maintenance also helps prevent potential failures that may be non-warrantable.
As this is a small engine, you can do most of the routine maintenance tasks yourself if you have the inclination.
Removing the maintenance panel (on the front side of the generator) is a breeze, which gives you direct access to the unit’s internals including the oil fill and air cleaner.
That said, most people leave the maintenance to their dealer to do the maintenance at a small fee.
If you consider going the DIY route, here is a list of checks to perform.
For each time the generator is in use, check the oil level and, preferably, top it up. But after the first month or 20 hours of continuous use, replace the oil entirely. Do the same after 100 hours of use or every 6 months.
Accessing the oil fill is easy – simply remove the maintenance panel on the front side and use a funnel to add the new oil.
Like oil levels, the air cleaner needs to be checked with every use. Once the generator clocks 50 hours of use (or 3 months, whichever comes first), replace the air cleaner completely.
Check spark plugs after 100 hours of running and adjust accordingly. Replace with new spark plugs after 200 hours in operation or once a year.
You’ll seldom need to worry about the spark arrester but checking on it (and cleaning it) once a year is ideal.
This part should be serviced at the dealer’s place by a qualified technician as it requires specialized tools and mechanical proficiency. Service frequency is 200 hours or once a year.
The fuel filter should be cleaned every after 100 hours of use. This is also a reserve for qualified technicians at the authroized dealer’s shop.
The gas tank should also be checked and cleaned every after 100 hours of running. Again this should be handled at the dealer’s shop.
Should be cleaned after 300 hours of running. Should only be done at the dealer’s shop.
Honda 2000 Generator: Accessories
Like most portable generators, accessories for the EU2000i are good to have but you can live without most. Here is a list of accessories you might need for the Honda 2000 generator:
Probably the only accessory you must have. Since a brand new generator doesn’t ship with any oil, you need to add some right after unboxing.
This is a portable generator so you just don’t know where you’ll use it. You don’t know where and when you’ll need emergency power. Chances are you’re going to use the generator quite a lot on the road (RVers) or out in the wild (campers). Having a no spill gas can makes sense in these circumstances.
Keep your gas can full at most times as you. Whatever amount you don’t need can go in your car if you don’t plan using the generator for a while.
A funnel allows you to quickly and easily add oil to the engine. A funnel with a longer neck is preferable.
If you take a while without using your generator and there is gas in the tank, the unit may fail to start once you try to run it eventually due to the gas becoming stale, among other factors. Gasoline, when kept for lengthy periods, deteriorates rapidly and can lead to deposits in the engine and the carburetor.
If you want to keep the generator with some gas in the tank and don’t want to drain it, use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from going stale.
There are countless fuel stabilizer brands you can buy but all of them do essentially the same thing – to keep your gas fresh. Some stabilizers contain chemicals that clean and lubricate the engine while others claim to increase the engine’s efficiency.
In fact some people use fuel stabilizers not just when storing the generator but also when running it regularly. The claim is that doing so improves the generator’s starting and running. Ultimately this is something you need to try out and prove for yourself.
You need to maintain your generator from time to time. If you have the time to do it yourself, a maintenance kit may be in order. In the kit you find accessories like oil filters, air filters, spark plugs, cleaning utensils, and more.
For some complicated maintenance routines and repair you definitely need to visit a Honda service center or authorized dealer.
Honda 2000 Generator: Pros
- Advanced technology: Honda’s pioneering inverter technology is on full exhibition in the EU2000i, resulting in high quality power.
- Smooth operation: Operating the EU2000i is a smooth affair overall. The control panel may be somewhat dull but it works perfect and makes it easy to operate the generator.
- Superior performance: In times when your power needs are higher than usual, the EU2000i is one unit you can depend on as it will not easily let up. The EU2000i easily provides the crucial extra amps needed for some heavy loads to start.
- Very portable: The EU2000i weighs just 45.6 lbs without gas and has an a luggage-like built-in handle. You can carry it in one hand without as much of a hitch.
- Very quiet: At 59 dbA at the rated load and 53 dbA at ¼ load, the EU2000i is one of the quietest inverter generators on the market, ideal for outdoors use.
- Multiple colors: You can choose between the classic red generator or the newer Camo model that features an attractive camo design. In addition there are multiple ‘Generator Skins’ that can be purchased providing a huge variety of colours.
Honda 2000 Generator: Cons
- Expensive: As of this writing the EU2000i was retailing at around $1150, which is rather expensive considering that you can get the 3500-watt Coleman CG3500i for around $400 less, for instance.
- May be expensive to maintain, given the pricey parts and accessories. Genuine Honda parts are however high quality accessories.
- Control panel feels dated compared to newer models. Honda can definitely do better than the current panel on this unit. This is definitely not a deal breaker though for most potential buyers.
Overall, if you’re in the market for a 2000-watt portable generator, the Honda 2000 generator is arguably the best your money can buy. It’s high price tag is convincingly justified by its superb performance. We’ve tested more than eight models in the 2000-watt range but the Honda outperforms each one of them when put under the heaviest loads.
Of course there are certain areas where the EU2000i could do better but these are minor flaws rather than deal breakers. This is still a solid choice and top recommendation if you’re looking to acquire a 2000-watt inverter generator.
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