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Flight Medic 06-13-2019 10:31 PM

Portable generator recommendation
 
Lost power for two days here last Sun and Mon (as did 350,000 other poor schmucks) due to a wicked storm, and had to stay in a hotel because my apartment got hot as balls. I didn't lose much refrigerated food since I mostly eat out, but I thought about investing in a generator and portable 110 AC unit for any future outages. However, I'm not sure which brand to go with. My buddy recommended Honda, but the ones I looked at in the wattage I wanted (5500+) were like four THOUSAND dollars!! Granted, they were electronic fuel injected models which eliminate long-term fuel storage issues, but that's still a HUGE chunk of scratch for my meager income.

I saw both a Generac and a Briggs and Stratton in that wattage range for around $850. Are they good choices?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

P.S. Also, since a giant, uprooted tree blocked my driveway I was also thinking about getting a chainsaw and could use a recommendation on that as well.

bluedodger 06-13-2019 11:28 PM

Can't make a specific recommendation but Honda , Yamaha are always top rated, I have a Makita myself which I have barely used which seems very high quality. I don't know the term but be sure to get one that returns to idle when not under a load. As far as chainsaws Stihl , which I own, seems to be always rated well.

deadguy 06-14-2019 03:24 AM

I purchased a Generac 10k/8k two years ago at Lowes for $1100. Plenty of juice to run all necessary appliances.

Look up wattage charts for home appliances and decide what you find necessary to run when power goes down. You'll be able to calculate the size you need. Mine will not run the HVAC, but I have two portable fans for cooling, and gas logs for heat.

Whichever model you choose, be sure to get the needed power cords made of thicker gauge wires. Expensive up front for 10 or 12 gauge, but it's what you'll need coming from the generator before splitting out to applicances. 14 or 16 gauge cords to the lights, tv, coffee maker, etc. will be fine.

hardluk1 06-14-2019 06:45 AM

Harbor freight - Go buy a Predator model , the motors run well and as a generator they do what you need . But be wise about your power - watt need needs as a gas generator can eat some gallons of gas in a couple days and maybe change the carb to a duel fuel as HF sells those too !! Nice to have the option to run on propane for longer term use needs specially if gas becomes hard to pump do to power outage . Way better on the engine too .

https://www.harborfreight.com/engine...enerators.html

Chainsaw - Stihl Iuse a 38 year old stihl 028 wood boss We bought new . It starts after only a couple pulls still .

Stihl has a fathers day deal on a MS170 with a 16" bar for $179.95 and that may fill any needs you have just go easy on big timber . Run a good full synthetic oil for your pre mix to reduce starting issues over the years .

Plantar5 06-14-2019 07:39 AM

Most of the generators are made in China regardless of the make...for an apartment, 5500 should be enough but mine is a 10k. Get one with electric start, makes life easier.
Chainsaw, stihl has good saws, grab an extra blade or 2.
Power outages suk, we had 2-3 here that lasted 1 week.
Hope you get back up and running soon.


Almost forgot: Get extra gas cans, I’ve got 5-6....generators are worthless without gas...;). And getting gas is tough when areas go down.

STORM2 06-14-2019 08:36 AM

Portable or semi-portable generators are now available that run on dual fuel. Semi-Portable to me means it will roll on wheels but weigh too much to be loaded in a pick up even with two strong people. To load the big ones, use an engine hoist or overhead pulley/winch device. I speak of this because I own one. Size matters. They are usually rated with two numbers; running and peak watts. These big numbers are quickly reduced to amps by dividing by voltage....the amps will allow you figure out what you can run. Long, small gauge extension cords are your enemy. Buy big watts, get many amps. Buy dual fuel and be glad later. Propane is easier to store and doesn’t get old and screw up carburetors. To get the A/C on line, have a licensed electrician tap into your breaker box, run a 220 receptacle to a covered patio. Have him explain how to open the commercial service main breaker and close the generator input circuit. You’ll need to shed (open) all circuits to the house, then close them individually after your generator is on line. By closing them individually, you avoid spiking the load. Grab that A/C 220 breaker and close it, that’s when you are reminded the cost was worth it! I know this because I was cool last weekend when the power went off. You can get a dual power big enough to stay cool for $1200 and my electrician charged me $220 for the work. You will need the special, as short as possible umbilical cord between the generator and your breaker panel input. You can keep the refer and freezer running with a small generator but you ain’t gonna stay cool with one.

PBag 06-14-2019 09:39 AM

+ 1 for Stihl, mine is 20+ years old works well. Can't help on the generator, good luck.

Thumper88 06-14-2019 09:49 AM

Husqvarna or Sthil on the saw. We run both an MS310 as well as a Husqvarna 372XP and 3120XP. I would find a name brand saw, not a box store Poland, that will pull at least a 16” bar and chain, and do some cutting with it to familiarize yourself before you need it in an emergency. As far generators, use use a 5k watt champion for power outages, but I really only use it to keep my freezer and fridge going and a few fans. You can find calculators online to determine the size you need. Make sure to keep plenty of fuel on hand, use a fuel stabilizer and rotate it routinely so that it’s fresh when you need it

557 06-14-2019 07:15 PM

I don’t think you can really go wrong with any generator for such intermittent use. I’ve had all kinds of makes/models and they all work until you mistreat them. As others have said, just buy what fits wattage wise what you need to do.

A tip on electric start models. I’ve found a good atv or motorcycle battery is much more reliable with intermittent use than the junk they come with or the ones for mowers etc.

Electric start rocks until it’s been 5 years since it’s run and the battery is toast.

I couldn’t in good conscience recommend anything but a Stihl saw.

jrobb45 06-14-2019 07:28 PM

Generac and LG portable drainless AC. Refurbs(AC) sell cheap on ebay. What about fumes and gas and cord storage? Stihl chain saw. I also have a 4400 watt chinese dual fuel electric start one I bought new off ebay. About $300 and has never failed to run. Good luck.

best
jr

STORM2 06-14-2019 07:38 PM

YES, Stihl is the only chainsaw to consider! ....and just like the generator, things of this nature MUST be maintained if you expect them to perform in time of need. I run my generator and put a load on it monthly. I try to run the chainsaw quarterly but some time fall behind.. keep spare chains. They are not forever items. If you are new to chainsaws, know they can be one of the most dangerous tools you can buy! They can kill you as fast as you can bleed out. Just because you saw/see someone do something dumb with one don’t think you can. Remember, you will eventually need a sledge and wedge. Most folks who own chainsaws might loan you their car but never a chainsaw unless you also own one!

frogfurr 06-14-2019 07:48 PM

Most of us with wells have a generator. No power equals no toilet. Nor water for the horses or dogs. Many websites have recommended wattage for what you need to run. Most well pumps are 220v. Ours is so we had a disconnect installed for the well pump and we hook the pump up to the generator with a HD 220v cable. Rest of the 110v stuff we run with extension cords plugged into the generator.

We have a Honda EB 6500X and two Stihl chainsaws.

scubadad 06-15-2019 07:46 AM

Some questions for the OP. You said you live in an apartment. 1st 2nd or 3rd floor? Running a generator on a 2nd floor balcony will sound like a freight train.

Do you have a way to secure the generator so it does not walk away? After hurricane charley many were stolen right out of peoples driveways.

Have you thought about the noise? You may be buttoned up in your room with a window unit while your neighbors are sweating to death with the windows open listening to your generator.

Without knowing the layout of your residence these were just a few things that came to mind.

Now back to your original question. Predator from HF and Stihl .

Always buy the most wattage you can afford.

John Joseph 06-15-2019 11:02 AM

After blowing money on different saws, Stihl is my favorite.
They're not cheap, but buy once, cry once. If you can get one on sale so much the better.
The MS 250 has a great power to weight ratio!
Learning how to sharpen your chains will save you $$ if you use it much.

John Joseph 06-15-2019 11:11 AM

For minimal noise I'd go with a Honda Inverter. It will take the bite out of a grand but they run quiet, run like a Honda, and can be carried around like a suitcase(easy to store) Sportsman's Warehouse sometimes has sales(the only place I've them on sales), which should help with the sticker shock.

I had a Coleman for years and it went through a lot of abuse on the ranch (it lived under flipped over galvanized water trough when not in use for weather protection and to camoflauge from thieves) but it was loud In the middle of 5 acre pasture that was OK, on an apartment balcony or even on a city lot, no mas!

Doctor481 06-17-2019 12:49 AM

We used a Honda 3000 watt for Katrina (10 days) and Gustof (11 days) straight. Only shutting down for an oil change about half way through.
If you have any thought of powering any electronics, get something with the inverter.
Portable is a tough line to draw, I don’t think I would go any smaller wattage than what I have, 2 guys can carry mine but not far. Look at what you “need” to power and what you would “like” to power; pick something in between.
As for a chainsaw, you can’t go wrong with Stihl. Get something 1 size bigger than you think you will ever need. The longer the bar, the more cutter teeth, the longer the time between sharpening. There is no substitute for power,

John Joseph 06-17-2019 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doctor481 (Post 12858968)
We used a Honda 3000 watt for Katrina (10 days) and Gustof (11 days) straight. Only shutting down for an oil change about half way through.
If you have any thought of powering any electronics, get something with the inverter.
Portable is a tough line to draw, I don’t think I would go any smaller wattage than what I have, 2 guys can carry mine but not far. Look at what you “need” to power and what you would “like” to power; pick something in between.
As for a chainsaw, you can’t go wrong with Stihl. Get something 1 size bigger than you think you will ever need. The longer the bar, the more cutter teeth, the longer the time between sharpening. There is no substitute for power,

Honda inverters can be connected in tandem(I think that's the correct word for it---I haven't finished my 1st cup of joe yet)

557 06-17-2019 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Joseph (Post 12859156)
Honda inverters can be connected in tandem(I think that's the correct word for it---I haven't finished my 1st cup of joe yet)

Yep. Honda inverters are definitely the gold standard if money is not an issue.

To the OP, generators are not your only option. Check out Steven Harris for lots of good practical stuff. Just google “Steven Harris 1234”.

1911_Kid 06-17-2019 07:31 PM

My neighbor has two HF Predator 3500's in parallel, and he says they work fine, no issues. He uses them often too. The Predator 2000 is supposed to be super quiet.

I cannot vouch for these import units though, I never had one.


Gasoline gens are probably the least expensive, but propane is useful too

This 4kW one is dual-fuel and only $300

https://www.target.com/p/120-volts-4...n/-/A-50635155

jrobb45 06-17-2019 09:22 PM

I forgot to say that electric start is VERY handy.

best
jr

1911_Kid 06-18-2019 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jrobb45 (Post 12859718)
I forgot to say that electric start is VERY handy.

best
jr

It is, but they usually tack on $$ for that feature.
For once in a blue moon scenario, pull start is just fine, as long as people remember that the pull cords do need to be maintained, as they can dry rot and snap off on a pull.

Also to note, some have 120/240, and some are just 120. If you dont need 240 then do not get that feature.

The dual-fuel item I posted, even has a 12vdc output for charging batteries, geared towards automotive/RV items, etc.

DaveVK 06-18-2019 08:19 PM

Love the Honda small gas engines -- power washer, lawn mower, small tiller. I Have a walk-behind brush hog over 20 years old with a 15HP Kawasaki that still rocks.

That said, I feel your sticker shock on the larger Honda Generators, likely the best gasoline solutions from efficiency and noise level -- I ended up with a cheaper Dewalt (Chinese Briggs & Stratton) for the house with electric start. It works, but it is loud. Regardless, buy one with fuel shut-off valve and run it dry after use to keep the carburetor clean & dry during storage.

I'm a Husqvarna 2-cycle guy for chainsaw, 22" Bar. Over time, my leaf blower, pole saw, etc. have come to sport the Husqvarna label. Most of my buddies have Stihls -- I don't think they make them like they used to. I think if you can budget into the $4-500+ range, you'll have a serious tool with either brand, rather than the cheapest models available at the big box stores.

A family member has a 1970's vintage Stihl (28" bar, capable of 36" -- I think 72 CC which indeed rocks!

Finally, I've become a believer in the full synthetic 2 cycle oils. Consider premium gas and/or Sta-bil for intermittent use equipment.

Kevin Rohrer 06-19-2019 05:56 AM

Whatever you get, remember that AC is 50-AMP, and most all home generators are only 30-AMP. Generator sellers don't advertise this. I have a 7k Watt continuous (30AMP) Honda that powers most everything except the AC, and it gets used at least once a year.

1911_Kid 06-19-2019 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer (Post 12860760)
Whatever you get, remember that AC is 50-AMP, and most all home generators are only 30-AMP. Generator sellers don't advertise this. I have a 7k Watt continuous (30AMP) Honda that powers most everything except the AC, and it gets used at least once a year.

??

Plenty of small AC units that are 120v, which usually means 20A or less. The ~13k btu units on wheels will run at about 120v 5-10A.

And, most HVAC condenser units do not run at 50A, they are just on a 240v50A ckt to accommodate inrush start amps.

PatientWolf 06-19-2019 09:07 PM

I can’t make any recommendations on a generator.

I did just get back from the Ligna show in Germany (pretty much anything to do with wood; from forestry to biomass burners for energy).

Watching the lumberjack competitions was very impressive. Still and Husqvarna were well represented (Husqvarna won the competion I saw-the Stihl threw a chain).

My brother and father love their Stihls, and I swear by my Husqvarna. I don’t think you can do badly with either if you stay away from the entry level units. I’d still stick with the Husky, though.


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