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Last updated: January 08, 2022

Wen 56203i Review: Excellent Portable Power Solution

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By
Reviewed by
Reviewed by
Last updated: January 08, 2022
Generator Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Ideal for:
  • Occasional power outages
  • Camping
  • Tailgating
Key features:
  • Quiet operation
  • Plenty of outlets
  • Long runtime
Editor's Rating
9.7
out of 10
  • Power 9.5
  • Portability 9.8
  • Noise 9.9
  • Safety 9.5
Users’ Rating
4.3
out of 5
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If you are out camping with friends and family or even while you are working, you would not want the power supply to be a bothering concern. The WEN 56203i inverter generator is powerful enough to allow you to get a handful of small or one large appliance or tool charged you need them. This portable generator is one of the best in its power class and is highly portable and super quiet, making it a perfect choice for your home backup solution. In our WEN 56203i review, we’ll help you gather all the essentials you need to know about this unit & also discuss its stand-out points.

Before that, here’s a quick brief for you to know the generator’s specialty straightaway. Despite delivering a decent surge power of 2,000 watts, this inverter generator is unbelievably quiet. It makes the unit’s presence almost invisible while tailgating, camping, restoring backup energy, or even hunting. Also, it comes in an ultralight design allowing anyone to carry it around when required.

Specifications

Generator type
Inverter
Fuel type
Gasoline
Surge watts
2,000
Running watts
1,700
AC voltage
120V
Engine
4-stroke 79cc OHV
Starting method
Recoil
Fuel tank capacity
1.06 gal.
Run time
7 hours (1/2 load)
Outlets
(2) three-prong 120V 15A AC, (1) 12V DC, (2) 5V 1A and 2.1A USB ports
Noise level
51 dBA (1/4 load)
Dimensions
17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 in.
Weight
39 lbs
Warranty
2-year residential

WEN 56203i Review

The WEN 56203i may be a small portable generator but, it gets the job done. Moreover, most of its technical specifications are best in the 2000-watt generator class. Consumers frequently talk about the reliable WEN engine which, apparently is a copy of the Yamaha 79cc engine. A little care or timely maintenance is all it takes to keep this handy power backup equipment running for years. Plus, the engine comes with a residential warranty of two years. The comparatively lower run time may leave you wanting something more.

Still, the range of features that come at its affordable price makes this energy support unit a customer favorite. We will be dissecting the WEN 56203i generator into more than one category in this review to provide you with the best information about what sets this unit apart from the competition and emphasize its high points and possible downsides.

Overall Performance

Wen 56203i Review: Excellent Portable Power Solution

Belong to the class of 2,000 watt-rated generators; the WEN 56203i features a 4-stroke 79cc OHV engine delivering 1,700 watts running power and 2,000 watts starting power. It essentially means that the valves above the piston allow even-spreading of the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber, making the engine combustion-efficient.

While the power rating is standard for this class, what sets this generator apart is its feature of being the most non-invasive power unit whenever needed. The machine’s noise level creation is as low as 51 dB when operating at quarter load. The engine won’t leave you coughing in gasoline emission as it provides relatively clean energy.

Another noteworthy aspect about 56203i is that it is an inverter generator and, being one, has its perks. Sensitive electronics like computers, laptops, phones and more can’t handle Direct Current (DC) because the high voltage may fry these vulnerable devices. Thus, making this inverter generator an excellent power source, regulating the DC power to AC power supply charging your appliances and electronics safely.

Need more energy? The inverter design also allows pairing with another WEN generator unit with its WEN Parallel Connection Kit (sold separately). It indicates that, if you want, you have the flexibility to double the surge and continuous power supply in a campsite or your RV without the need to divide the power wattage between multiple outlets.

Fuel Tank Capacity and Run Time

This cost-effective home-emergency backup is not only fuel-efficient but also comes with a decent run time. For a 2,000-watt generator model, WEN 56203i offers a standard run time of 7 hours at half load and 10.8 hours at quarter load. The run time is just right when you need to run the unit all day to charge up your appliances and tools or get through the night in case of blackouts.

The ECO-mode switch that the manufacturer has included on the control panel enables the unit to automatically adjust its fuel consumption, which ultimately extends both run times and the engine lifespan. Unlike some of its competitors, the fuel-efficient factor does not cut down on the running time but increases the engine’s overall efficiency instead.

Featuring a 1.06-gallon fuel tank capacity is also responsible for its small size, directly impacting the inverter generator’s weight. That, in turn, allows you to store the machine even in smaller or cramped areas and further enhances its portability.

Control Panel and Outlets

The WEN 56203i is a small-sized generator, but don’t be mistaken; not every portable unit is limited when it comes down to the controls. It features a fully-loaded control or instrument panel in a comprehensible design with well-labeled buttons and outlets. This model doesn’t have an LCD screen that indicates the remaining battery life or input-output levels.

However, the panel gives you low-oil, output, and overload light indicators, an ECO-mode switch to maximize fuel economy, and parallel connect plug-in points to double the power.

The variety of outlet combinations is enough to satisfy most users. They include one cigarette lighter-style 12-volt 8.3 Amp DC outlet, two NEMA 5-20R 120-volt 14Amp three-prong receptacles, and an additional pair of USB ports of 5V. The panel is also equipped with an auto fuel-off switch ensuring a longer shelf-life for the engine.

Wen 56203i Review: Excellent Portable Power Solution

Ease of use

One of the significant attraction points for WEN customers is that this little generator is simple to use. An electronic start is absent from the model by design as it would require a heavier battery.

However, the Wen generator is armed with a manual recoil starter, which usually starts the engine in one or two pulls. The fact that this EPA and CARB-compliant power unit comes in a relatively small frame with a handle makes it a breeze for anyone to carry.

One of the first things that cannot miss your eye is the vast yet precisely labeled controls. With a great selection of receptacles allowing more appliance compatibility, the generator ensures that you are covered to make it through the camping trip or a blackout situation.

Plus, the outlet placements have been well thought out by the company for easy access. The unique parallel connection setup feature of WEN generators also comes in handy to double up the power. The oil hatch is conveniently placed at the bottom right of the frame (away from the controls) so that any spillage case doesn’t cause harm.

Safety features

The manufacturer has included necessary safety features to this generator model that ensures the engine’s and your protection. First of all, the Fuel-off feature on the ignition switch is reportedly useful because it powers down the engine automatically when the motor runs low on oil. While this is a standard feature on quality generators, you cannot forget that it plays a significant role in protecting the heart, i.e., the engine, from catastrophic damages.

Another nice safety feature that the unit provides is that the generator can limit the total harmonic distortion, making it safe to power up sensitive electronics and tools. At full load, it limits to under 1.2 percent and at no load to under 0.3 percent.

If the unit is overloaded at any point, the circuit breaker on the control panel automatically trips, allowing the engine to keep running and preventing a dangerous surge simultaneously. All the receptacles are connected to a single circuit breaker, which you can reset with a push button. This practical feature is particularly essential when you are camping in dry environments where spark arrestors are necessary.

Noise level

Is the WEN 56203i quiet? Inverter generators are designed to be quieter than conventional units, but this model is exceptionally quiet, producing only 51 dB at ¼ load. Since the wattage and size of a generator directly affect its noise level production, it is only natural that this compact portable unit offers non-invasive power whenever you need it. The noise creation is so low that you will hardly notice it while enjoying your time at the camping grounds or in the middle of an exciting conversation.

Engaging the ECO switch drops the throttle, which in turn lessens the noise level even more. If you live in areas when loud generators are an issue with the neighbors or go on camping trips frequently, you’ll be glad to know this almost mute generator will be a great addition to your home backup kit.

Portability

Like most units delivering a wattage of 2,000, this WEN generator is designed to be handheld and carried. However, it is far less arduous to hand-carry this generator because it is smaller and significantly lighter than most of the competition. Also, a word of advice- even though it is a portable unit, at a time, try not to move it more than a couple of hundred feet from the vehicle.

You can easily carry this generator from the garage or vehicle to wherever you need power as it weighs just 39 pounds, which is almost like the crescendo of ultralight. Its compact form and single-mold plastic handle on top provide the much-needed grip.

Maintenance and warranty

The WEN generators are low maintenance units assuring that you are investing in nothing less than Quality. The company backs the customers and the generator with a two-year residential warranty. What’s even better is that many users are in high praise about this long-lasting power unit. To top that up, WEN 56203i has quite a few maintenance features in place to help maximize its shelf-life. The fuel-off function uses the remaining gas in the carburetor before powering off, minimizing maintenance and extending the lifespan.

Other than that, it only requires essential maintenance of monthly fuel change to keep running smoothly for years.

Price

The array of features that WEN 56203i provides together makes it stand out from the competition. To provide you a better view of whether this one is worth its price, we have put it up against two similar power category generators.

WEN 56203i vs. the Famous Honda EU2200i

Wen 56203i Review: Excellent Portable Power Solution

If we look at the two generators’ power ratings, compared to WEN, the Honda unit delivers 200 more watts, making it a clear win in this category. However, if you compare their power outlets and noise level production, the WEN generator gets leverage.

Even though Honda’s noise level rating is lower than that of WEN, it is only on paper; you can barely tell the difference in reality. However, standing against one 12V charging outlet and two household receptacles is the WEN generator’s wide selection that offers a 5-outlet design.

WEN 56200i vs. WEN 56203i

Wen 56203i Review: Excellent Portable Power Solution

Potential users frequently inquire about these two generators because of the same power rating. Like we already said, the surge power for both is the same, i.e., 2000 watts. However, 56203i edges out in this category delivering an additional 100 watts of continuous power than the other. If noise is at the peak of your concerns for a portable generator, both the models make a perfect fit with just 51 dB at ¼ load. While 56200i features only one 12 -volt DC outlet, two household outlets and one USB port, the 56203i model makes a big difference by offering dual USB outlets, a cigarette-style DC charging outlet, and two AC household outlets.

Overall, the WEN 56203i is unbeatable as it offers a wide range of features but at just a fraction of the price in its class. It is called the cheapest quiet generator for a reason.

Key Features

  • Quiet operation with 51 decibels on quarter load
  • It comes in a compact and lightweight structure, making it highly portable.
  • The OHV engine is a gas-powered one.
  • It delivers a running power of 1700W and 2000W surge power.
  • The 1.06-gallon fuel tank provides 7-8 hours of run time on ½ load.
  • This generator model comes with a two-year warranty period.
  • Fuel shutoff function enhances the engine’s lifespan.
  • Electronic circuit breakers protect the engine.
PROS

CONS

  • Has an ECO-mode (fuel-efficient)
  • Ultralight design (39 pounds)
  • Parallel connection capability
  • Super quiet engine
  • Built-in recoil starter
  • Wide range of receptacles
  • Low maintenance
  • Clean energy
  • CARB compliant and EPA-certified
  • No voltage drops or spikes
  • Only for small appliances
  • Lacks electric start
  • Required an altitude kit at or above 2000ft

Conclusion

So, should you buy it? If noise is your biggest concern when buying a portable generator, you cannot go wrong with this, given the fact that it comes at such a cheap deal.

Moreover, from our WEN 56203i review, it is evident that for a small unit it has more than enough features to keep you powered up through sudden outages and fulfill camping power needs as well.

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