A reliable 3,000-watt generator offers enough power for keeping your home running during an outage, for powering a medium-sized RV, and for running lights, speakers, and appliances at outdoor events. The Honda EU3000iS stands out among the class of 3,000-watt generators simply because of the Honda brand – but are there enough noteworthy features on this generator to justify the extravagant price tag? In our Honda EU3000iS review, we’ll take a look at what separates this generator from the pack and whether it is worth the price.
To start, the most impressive features of the EU3000iS is how quiet it is. Producing a maximum volume of just 57 dB, this generator makes as much noise as many competing 2,000-watt generators do when running without any power load. On top of that, it can run for a massive 7.4 hours at its rated load on a single tank of gas – or up to 20 hours at 25% load. The generator is built around a genuine Honda engine, which virtually guarantees that this generator will last for decades if properly maintained. With those features in mind, it’s easy to see why Honda can charge a premium for this generator – and why users rave about the machine after putting it to use.
The best way to compare the Honda EU3000iS against its competitors is to take a closer look at the features that directly affect performance and usability. Here, we’ll closely examine the overall design of Honda’s 3,000-watt generator and describe in detail where it excels and where it falls short of the pack.
The Honda EU3000iS is also called as the one of the best 3,000-watt inverter generators, capable of producing 3,000 watts of surge power and 2,800 watts of continuous power. This power availability makes the generator incredibly versatile. 3,000 watts is just enough power to run all of your home’s essential appliances and a few rooms’ worth of lights during a power outage. Alternatively, 3,000 watts can allow you to turn on everything, including an air conditioning unit, inside a medium to large RV. The inverted electricity has low total harmonic distortion, comparable to most other inverter generators, and is safe to use with all small and sensitive electronics. Like its competitors, the Honda EU3000iS can also be connected in parallel to a second unit of the same model to double your available output power (cable sold separately).
With those similarities to its competitors in mind, the Honda generator exceeds performance standards thanks to its Honda GX200 engine. The generator is surprisingly fuel-efficient for its power output, offering one of the best run times per gallon of gas out of any 3,000-watt generator on the market today. At the same time, it produces significantly less noise than all of its competitors when running at a full load.
In addition, users trust the Honda brand and note that the motor is markedly more durable and versatile than its competitors. The Honda generator starts up reliably in cold conditions and users report that their EU3000iS models have no problems after more than five years of use with nothing more than basic maintenance, so, no wonder that this model is Customer’s Choice among its fellow Honda generators.
The run time on the EU300iS is unparalleled among 3,000-watt generators, to put it simply. On a single fill of its 3.4-gallon fuel tank, this generator can run for 7.4 hours at 2,800 watts and up to a whopping 20 hours at 700 watts. That means that even when you need all of the watts your generator can offer, you can still get in a full day’s work or a full night of sleep without having to turn off the generator and refuel it. Even the second most fuel efficient 3,000-watt generator on the market, the Yamaha EF3000iSEB, can’t come close to competing with this Honda generator on run time – that generator offers just 18.6 hours of runtime at 700 watts on the same amount of fuel.
The outlets on the EU3000iS are nothing to write home about, which is surprising given how far this generator exceeds its competition in most other respects. The generator is outfitted with a pair of 125-volt household outlets, a 30-amp locking plug, and a 12-volt DC outlet – all standard for a generator of this size.
However, Honda failed to include one or more USB outlets that would allow users to take advantage of the clean inverted electricity the generator produces. While this isn’t a huge deal, it does mean that you’ll either need a power strip or to use one of the two available household outlets to charge small electronics – and that can be a bother when you’re using the generator to power an entire RV or home.
With the exception of the lack of USB ports described above, Honda did place emphasis on ease of use in designing the EU3000iS. The generator comes with an electric starter and the battery is built into the generator, charging automatically when the generator is turned on, so that you never need to fuss with it. In case the battery ever does die or there’s a problem with the electric start, there’s also a recoil starter available on the generator. The recoil starter is simple and users report that it fires the generator up within one to two pulls every time.
In addition, the generator panel has built-in circuit protectors – separate for the 125-volt duplex and the 30-amp outlets. These ensure that you can easily reset the outlets in case of a short without needing to turn off the generator entirely.
Another important feature for making maintenance easier is a “Fuel Off” switch, which allows the engine to run until all gasoline inside the carburetor has been used up. This ensures that all gasoline is removed from the engine prior to long-term storage, such as over the winter, so there are no issues with stale fuel when you go to start up the generator in the spring.
Honda takes generator safety seriously, although the design of the generator is such that you hardly need to think about operational safety at all and the generator will automatically protect you and itself. An overload alert light signals when the generator is running above its rated load, and the generator will automatically shut off if you attempt to run it above its maximum load.
Similarly, a low oil light gives you a warning when the generator is running low on engine oil – if you see this light, it’s time to power down the generator and change the oil. However, if you do continue to run the generator, it will automatically shut down soon afterwards to protect the engine from the drastic effects of low oil.
On top of that, the generator meets USDA standards for all areas where spark arrestors are required for operation, such as National Forests and grasslands. That’s especially important if you plan to use this generator for an RV or camping trip.
The ridiculously low noise level of the Honda EU3000iS is what sells most people on this generator – and they aren’t disappointed. The generator produces as much noise at its rated power output – 57 dB – as most 2,000-watt inverter generators produce when sitting turned on with no power being drawn from them. The engine is even more impressive when you’re drawing below the maximum rated power of the EU3000iS – it produces just 50 dB of noise, quiet enough that you can easily hold a conversation next to the generator. To put that further into perspective, our Editor’s Choice 3000-watt inverter generator, the Yamaha EF3000iSEB, produces a minimum of 53 dB of noise and up to 60 dB when running at 2,800 watts.
That kind of quiet for many people makes the high price of the EU3000iS well worth it. If you run the generator at night outside your house during a power outage, chances are your neighbors won’t even realize its on. Likewise, you can keep this generator on well into the evening outside an RV without drawing any complaints from nearby campers.
The one area where the Honda generator really falls short is in portability. Honda simply didn’t design this generator to be moved around easily, even though it’s a portable generator in all other respects. It weighs 131 pounds – more when filled with gasoline – and doesn’t have wheels or even particularly comfortable carry handles. Instead, you’re left with two small handles on opposite sides of the generator.
Considering the weight of the generator, that means that the only real way to move it around is for two people to carry it. And at 65-plus pounds of load per person, carrying the generator further than a short distance or up or down stairs is going to be relatively difficult.
Keep in mind that after-market wheel kits are available from third parties to address this portability issue. However, given the price of the generator, it’s highly surprising that Honda doesn’t include more options for transporting it or a set of built-in wheels.
One of the key advantages to a genuine Honda engine is that it holds up incredibly well. Users report their EU3000iS models working like new for more than five years with nothing more than oil changes and basic care. The generator itself makes maintenance somewhat easier by enabling users to run the carburetor dry of fuel before storage, as well.
Honda provides a three-year warranty on the EU3000iS, which is in line with longer warranties from other 3,000-watt generator manufacturers. However, given that users are paying a high premium for a genuine Honda engine (and the fuel efficiency and low noise that comes with it), it would be nice to see Honda also offer a premium warranty of five years or even longer.
Still, commercial users will be happy to note that Honda retains their three-year warranty even for them. Many competing manufacturers lower their generator warranties to as low as one year for commercial users.
The Honda EU3000iS is by far the most impressive 3,000-watt generator on the market today, although you’ll need to be willing to pay a somewhat extravagant price to enjoy the premium features of this generator. The inverter generator comes with a highly durable and reliable genuine Honda GX200 engine, which allows it to offer best-in-class fuel efficiency, runtime, and noise level. The only major downside to the generator, price aside, is that it can be extremely difficult to transport thanks to the lack of wheels and its 130-pound weight.