Owners say the 7,000-watt Briggs & Stratton 30470 portable generator can power an entire house. They particularly like that it handles well and sewage pumps, which require a lot of power to get started, and its automatic voltage regulation means it's safe for delicate electronics. Unlike other portable generators, however, it doesn't meet California's strict emissions requirements.
Plenty of power when you need it. Users are unanimous in their praise for the Briggs & Stratton 30470's power. They say its 7,000-watt output and 8,750-watt surge capacity can run an entire household, including submersible well and sewage pumps that require more starting wattage than smaller generators can provide. You'll need to install a transfer switch -- a panel that switches circuits to and from generator power -- to power anything that doesn't plug directly into one of the generator's outlets.
"It took care of my entire house. Heat, big screen TV, lights, refrigerator, etc.," writes one reviewer at Sears.com. Another says he used his 30470 to power five homes for five days. "The generator easily powers the kitchen lights, two refrigerator/freezer units, well pump, sewage pump, propane furnace and hot water heater with no problem," posts an owner at ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com.
No users comment on this unit's automatic voltage regulation, but Briggs & Stratton representatives confirm that it produces surge-free power safe for electronics. However, having a surge protector between your electronics and power source is always a good idea.
Four regular AC outlets. The 30470 has four AC outlets and one 30-amp, 120/240-volt twist-lock outlet. It has no DC outlet, but owners don't comment on the lack of one.
Not the quietest. A number of owners mention the Briggs & Stratton 30470's noise level in reviews. One Amazon.com poster says this generator's only negative is how loud it is when running. "About as loud as a lawn mower," adds a user at Sears.com. Another Amazon.com reviewer says it's louder than a 74-decibel leaf blower. In comparison, a dishwasher typically measures 75 decibels.
The general consensus is that if your neighbors aren't terribly close -- one user suggests a distance of at least 50 yards -- the 30470's noise level is acceptable.
Better than advertised. Owners report better-than-advertised runtime for the Briggs & Stratton 30470. While the manufacturer estimates about nine hours of service at half load for a 7-gallon tank of gas, an Amazon.com user says the generator used only about 5 gallons of gas in 16 hours of use. An ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com poster makes a conservative estimate of 10 hours of runtime. Of course, your results will vary depending on how much of a load you place on the 30470.
If you're concerned about gas being in short supply, a smaller generator like the top-rated Honda EU2000i (*Est. $1,000) or a propane-fueled model like the Generac LP3250 (*Est. $650) might be more practical choices if you're willing to forfeit being able to power large appliances.
Surprisingly maneuverable. At 248 pounds, this isn't exactly a lightweight generator. Still, owners agree that once you get the wheel kit on -- assembly takes 10 to 15 minutes -- the 30470 is pretty easy to move around on its 12-inch solid wheels. "As heavy as the unit is, the balance on the wheels is excellent," writes one owner at ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com. Its electric start is a big hit, although the machine must be plugged in when not in use to keep the starter battery charged.
Complaints about the Briggs & Stratton 30470 are very limited. A few owners mention parts arriving broken, but nothing compared to the number of complaints and quality control issues with other generators like the Generac GP5500 (*Est. $720).
Users like the recessed well around the 30470's gas tank, which helps prevent spillage. It also has both a fuel gauge and an hour meter to help you track power consumption and time oil changes, plus a three-year warranty for residential use.
Review Credibility: Very Good About 25 owners post reviews of the Briggs & Stratton 30470 at Amazon.com, giving it an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Most seem satisfied, although a couple say they received a damaged unit. A typical positive comment reads: "So far, I've only used it a couple of times but I've been very happy with it and it seems to provide ample power to run the things I need the most when the power goes out: submersible pump, oil furnace, refrigerator, a few lights, etc."
Review: Briggs & Stratton 30470 7,000 Watt 420cc Gas Powered Portable Generator With Wheel Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
2. Electric Generators Direct.com
Review Credibility: Good Here the Briggs & Stratton 30470 gets an average rating of 4.9 stars out of 5 from more than 115 owners. One says, "I've prepped and started my generator with no problems at all. Voltage outputs were right on the money…I know it can handle my sewage pump, refrigerator, window AC and a Wet Vac with power to spare."
Review: Briggs & Stratton 30470 - 7000 Watt Electric Start Portable Generator, Contributors to ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Good Nearly 20 users post their opinions of the Briggs & Stratton 30470 on Sears.com, giving it an average score of 4.5 stars out of 5. Their comments are brief and to the point; most say the 30470 can power the entire house without a problem.
Review: Briggs & Stratton Elite Series 7000 Watt Portable Generator, Contributors to Sears.com, As of November 2012