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  #1  
Old 06-13-2019, 10:31 PM
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Flight Medic Flight Medic is offline
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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.
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Last edited by Flight Medic; 06-13-2019 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:28 PM
bluedodger bluedodger is offline
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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.
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:24 AM
deadguy deadguy is offline
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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.
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2019, 06:45 AM
hardluk1 hardluk1 is online now
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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 .
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:39 AM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is online now
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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.

Last edited by Plantar5; 06-14-2019 at 07:42 AM.
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2020, 09:31 AM
LoboGunLeather LoboGunLeather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantar5 View Post
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.
^^Good advice right here^^

Gas cans for sure! When the power is out the gas pumps stop working!

I recommend buying a generator that has greater output than you think is your minimum. Running any piece of equipment at or near its limits is never a good idea; having a little more capacity allows us to work our machines with less stress over the long haul.

Another suggestion is using deep cycle batteries for back-up power. I started some years ago with a 100AH 12V deep cycle battery, 800W power inverter 12VDC-to-120VAC, 50W PV solar panel with 12V charge controller, all mounted on a hand cart for easy storage and moving around. Used that for camping for years, running LED lights, powering cell phones, running the Mr. Coffee machine, etc. Few years ago the power went out during a Super Bowl game while I was at my club. I ran home, brought my cart there, fired up the TV and cable box for several hours (making me the most popular guy in the club, never had to buy a beer for weeks!).

Later on I purchased a camp trailer with two 12V deep cycles on board, 2000W power inverter, so I added my existing set-up and 200W capacity of PV solar panels. That ran the blower on my forced air furnace, stereo, lights, coffee maker, etc, all I wanted and a few hours of sunlight returned me batteries to full charge (or just fire up my truck and recharge via the wiring harness plugged into the truck, takes about 30 minutes or so when the sun isn't working so well).

Now with the camper parked next to my house I can run good 10-ga. extension cord into the house and take care of emergency lighting, furnace blower, and other necessities. Works well for overnight, then solar charging next morning if needed, or plug into my truck and recharge rapidly.

I have not used my generator for several years other than test runs twice per year.
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:36 AM
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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.
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  #8  
Old 06-14-2019, 09:39 AM
PBag PBag is offline
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+ 1 for Stihl, mine is 20+ years old works well. Can't help on the generator, good luck.
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:49 AM
Thumper88 Thumper88 is offline
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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
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  #10  
Old 06-14-2019, 07:28 PM
jrobb45 jrobb45 is offline
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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
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  #11  
Old 06-14-2019, 07:15 PM
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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.
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2019, 07:38 PM
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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!

Last edited by STORM2; 06-14-2019 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:48 PM
frogfurr frogfurr is offline
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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.
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:46 AM
scubadad scubadad is online now
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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.
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2019, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubadad View Post
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.
Honda was recommended for the EFI and quiet operation as it WILL be on my balcony. But, truth-be-told, I don't give a rats ass about my neighbors...most are dope-smoking monkeys that stink up my apartment with their skunk weed coming through the ventilation system, and wake my ass up with their hibbity-jibbity music booming out their "whips" as they drive through the lot. Fu*k em. As soon as my lease is up I'm moving to Ft Worth.

I have an attached 2-car garage for gas/generator storage.

I just want to be able to run an AC window/portable unit, an oscillating fan and some lights.
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Last edited by Flight Medic; 08-01-2019 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:16 AM
scubadad scubadad is online now
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Originally Posted by Flight Medic View Post
Honda was recommended for the EFI and quiet operation as it WILL be on my balcony. But, truth-be-told, I don't give a rats ass about my neighbors...most are dope-smoking monkeys that stink up my apartment with their skunk weed coming through the ventilation system, and wake my ass up with their hibbity-jibbity music booming out their "whips" as they drive through the lot. Fu*k em. As soon as my lease is up I'm moving to Ft Worth.

I have an attached 2-car garage for gas/generator storage.

I just want to be able to run an AC window/portable unit, an oscillating fan and some lights.
Don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel

I don't miss my days as an apartment dweller. I have gotten used to living on 115 acres and could not go back.

Hope your next address has more elbow room.
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:38 PM
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What's the amp draw on the window AC unit? A 230v unit would pull less amps and is a tad more efficient than a 120v AC unit. But, add up the wattage and get a gen that can provide that power at about 85-90% continuous max of the gen.

Those harbor freight gens are fairly quiet too.

But know this, I don't know any gens that are ~7500+ kW that are "quiet" like the tiny Honda gens you see powering a radio and some lights.
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:02 AM
John Joseph John Joseph is offline
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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.
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:11 AM
John Joseph John Joseph is offline
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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!
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:49 AM
Doctor481 Doctor481 is offline
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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,
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:58 AM
John Joseph John Joseph is offline
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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)
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:02 AM
557 557 is offline
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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”.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:31 PM
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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
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:22 PM
jrobb45 jrobb45 is offline
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I forgot to say that electric start is VERY handy.

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Old 06-19-2019, 05:56 AM
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Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
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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.
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