Owners say the 8,000-watt Briggs & Stratton 30471 portable generator is a real workhorse. It surges up to 10,000 watts for starting heavy-duty appliances, and is capable of running an entire all-electric house. Like other Briggs & Stratton portable units, it doesn't meet California's strict emissions requirements.
Runs an all-electric house just like normal. The 30471 has more than enough juice to run the lights and essential appliances in most homes, and can even power multiple homes in a pinch, according to most users. An Amazon.com reviewer says he used it to power an all-electric A-frame house, plus the boilers of two neighbors, during 11 nights without power. "I ran it for 140 hours straight," adds an owner at ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com.
"We were able to run our well pump, hot water heater, furnace, two refrigerators, microwave, coffee maker, toaster oven, kitchen & family room lights, TV, bathroom lights & exhaust fans, and garage door openers," posts another user. Better yet, Briggs & Stratton's automatic voltage regulation means the 30471's surge-free power is safe for electronics, although company reps still recommend using a surge protector.
Standard for a heavy-duty generator. The 30471 has five covered AC outlets: four standard 120-volt outlets and a 30-amp, 120/240-volt twist-lock outlet. It has no DC outlet.
About as loud as a lawn mower. Noise levels tend to parallel generator size, and the Briggs & Stratton 30471 is no exception. Most owners say it's about as loud as a lawn mower or lawn tractor, which is often the go-to comparison for any generator. "Quieter than I expected for the power," says one user at Amazon.com, while another describes it as "tolerable, but not great."
Better than projected. The larger the generator, the faster it burns through gas. The good news is that the manufacturer's predicted runtime of nine hours on a 7-gallon tank of gas, under half load, seems to be very conservative. At ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com, one owner reports getting 10 to 12 hours of use per full tank of gas, depending on what was running; another posts at Amazon.com that the 30471 burned just less than a gallon an hour at full load.
Quick, easy setup. Users agree that the Briggs & Stratton 30471's minimal setup goes quickly and easily. "It took longer to get it out of the box than to set it up," says one at HomeDepot.com. At almost 250 pounds, however, it's pretty hefty, even with its 12-inch solid wheels.
Although the 30471 comes with a three-year warranty, a number of owners complain that poor customer service makes it hard to get that warranty honored. Others report receiving defective or damaged generators right out of the box.
1. Electric Generators Direct.com
Review Credibility: Good About 175 owners review the Briggs & Stratton 30471, giving it an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5. A handful complains that they received defective units, but most have only good things to say about this generator.
Review: Briggs & Stratton 30471 - 8000 Watt Electric Start Portable Generator, Contributors to ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Good Here the Briggs & Stratton 30471 gets an average score of 3.5 stars out of 5 from about a dozen owners. A number of them report concerns about defective parts.
Review: Briggs & Stratton 30471 8000 Watt 420cc Gas Powered Portable Generator With Wheel Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Good About 10 users post reviews of the Briggs & Stratton 30471 at HomeDepot.com, where it nets an average score of 4 stars out of 5. One received a defective unit and another wishes this generator had automatic idle control, but otherwise owners are quite satisfied.
Review: Briggs & Stratton Elite Series 8,000-Watt Gasoline-Powered Portable Generator, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of November 2012