Generac is a big name in the home-backup generator space. Thus, the name Generac typically evokes images of a 25kW behemoth lurking beside your home waiting for an errant power outage. Yet, Generac has recently expanded its range to include more mid-size and small generators. Of course, no range of generators is complete without the ubiquitous 2,000-watt “suitcase style” inverter generator.
There is a lot of competition in this space, with dozens of companies trying to steal the title of dominance from Honda. Standing out requires making a model that approaches perfection. The Generac GP2200i does just that.
The differences among inverter generator models can be very subtle. Because of the versatility and convenience of the genre, there are a myriad of models to choose from. However, the details are what can make and break a product. Here are the key reasons why this Generac portable generator deserves our recommendation.
Incredible Quiet Operation
For many shoppers, the primary draw of a small inverter generator is the incredibly low noise levels. Anyone who has been around traditional generators can tell you that they can be incredibly raucous and distracting units. A clattering generator may be fine at an otherwise loud construction site, but that level of noise simply isn’t acceptable at a campground or while tailgating. You are there to enjoy nature and your friends, not to listen to a smoke-belching relick.
In terms of noise levels, Generac portable generators are among the quietest. The GP2200i outputs roughly 52 decibels at a 50% load. This means that this generator is no louder than a normal conversation or a TV playing in the background. If you place the unit a few feet away from your campsite you will easily be able to forget it is even there.
When looking at smaller generators, seemingly minor variations in power output can make a significant difference in the usability of the generator. While most generators in this class are listed generically as “2,000 watts”, the actual outputs can be as low as 1,400 watts. A 30% cut in rated power should give anyone pause.
Generac takes a much more honest approach to their ratings. The GP2200i is rated for 1,700 continuous watts with a 2,200-watt peak. That means that you are getting the actual capacity that you paid for.
Another shortcoming of many inverter generators is a lack of outlets. Sure, you can always bring additional extension cords or a power strip. But having to remember one more thing on your packing list is a hassle that takes you one step farther from camping or tailgating.
Thus, the generous inclusion of outlets is a nice feature on this Generac portable generator. The front panel of the unit is nicely laid out and features two 120VAC outlets, a convenient USB port, and a 12VDC cigarette-plug. It’s a small detail, but one that makes a big difference in the convenience of the generator.
Easy to Service
A common issue with inverter generators is the difficulty of servicing them. Unlike a standard open-frame generator, inverter generators are typically fully enclosed units with plastic cladding to keep the unit quiet and clean. While this enclosure is great for noise levels, it can make servicing the generator much more tedious.
Generac did a beautiful job engineering around this problem. The side panels are easily removable with just a screwdriver, and you are left with wide-open access to all necessary components. Whether you are changing the oil, sparkplug, air filter, or simply giving the unit a visual once-over, it is nice to have a unit that makes maintenance simple.
Beyond the noise level, the other key advantage of an inverter generator is the portability. The sleek design of these models makes them perfectly suited for tossing in the back of your car to accompany you on an impromptu picnic or other adventure. However, the weight can vary quite a bit. The difference between 45 lbs and 60 lbs may not seem like a lot on paper, but it can take a toll when you are the one carrying that extra heft.
That’s why the low weight of this particular generator is so appealing. At only 46 lbs, this is one of the highest 2kW inverter models we’ve tested. There may be a lighter model out there, but it won’t be it by much.
Large Fuel Capacity
Finally, the fuel capacity of this generator is a big reason why it got our seal of approval. This is yet one more factor where a small change can make a big difference. Most competitive models of this generator have a fuel tank ranging from 0.8-1.0 gallons. In comparison, this Generac has a 1.2-gallon tank. I’ll be the first to admit that this does not seem like a stunning revelation, but the advantage becomes clear when you think about the implications.
Compared to the smaller tanks, the fuel capacity here will grant this generator a 35% longer run time. Coupled with the economy mode, this generator can run unattended for almost 11 hours, making it a class-leader for runtime. If you’ve ever had to wake up in the middle of the night to splash more fuel in a sputtering generator, you will understand the importance of this feature.
Here are the key specifications you need to know.
|Power Output: 1,700-Watts (2,200-Watts Peak)
|Fuel Capacity: 1.2 Gallons
|Noise Output: 52db
|Runtime: Up to 11 Hours
|Weight: 46 lbs
|Parallel Capable: Yes
|Outputs: 2 GFCI 120VAC Outlets, 5.0V USB, and 12DC
|Dimensions: 19.7 L x 11.4 W x 17.9 H inches
Control Panel Detail
Pros and Cons of This Generac Portable Generator
I’ve reviewed more than my fair share of Generac portable generators, and I’ve come to expect an extremely high standard of quality from their products. That said, no product is without its faults. Here are the pros, and cons, that you need to know.
- Very light
- Extremely long run time
- High capacity
- Lots of outlets
- Good value
- Excellent warranty
- Parallel kit seems unrefined
- Color is somewhat garish
Generac makes seemingly every possible size, shape, and style of generator these days. They are primarily known for larger generators, but the smaller offerings have been consistently impressive. There are two model names for the inverter line of portable Generac generators, either “GP” or “IQ” depending on the specific model.
Although this is the most compact of the small Generac generators, they also make the GP3000i if you need more capacity (3,000-watts) in the same compact form factor. Anyone desiring the clean and quiet operation of an inverter generator but in an open-frame form factor can opt for the excellent Generac GP3500iO.
Finally, the Generac iQ3500 is ideal for anyone needing a larger generator that retains the fully-enclosed design of the smaller models. If you need more flexibility for fuel options, there is also a line of Generac dual fuel portable generator models that have been exceptional in our testing.
Producing a great inverter generator is not easy. With so much competition, even a small misstep is enough to make a unit not worth considering. To put it simply, Generac got it right. The Generac GP2200i is quiet, powerful, and efficient. Beyond this, they managed to offer it at an extremely competitive price. If you are in the market for an affordable but high-quality inverter generator, this is one of the best.