Owners say the gas-powered Generac GP3250 portable generator is a nice compromise between adequate power and fuel efficiency. However, these positive qualities are overshadowed by numerous complaints about poor quality control and worse customer support.
Powers basic household needs. Most owners say the GP3250 is a capable, powerful generator. "No issues, not even a hiccup," writes one Amazon.com reviewer who used the machine for more than 170 hours straight. "Running through a Reliance transfer switch powers one furnace, fridge, and a number of lights and plugs."
Another says the Generac GP3250 is "a beast, it moves my 36" full size fridge, gas forced hot air central unit, 47" flat-screen LCD, (2) 25" flat screen LCD, 1700 square feet of lighting throughout the house, and believe it or not a medium-size Maytag washing machine."
The GP3250 is rated for 3,250 watts of usage, and can surge to 3,750 to provide the extra starting power some motors require. However, several owners complain that it has only a 14-amp breaker, which rules out running 15-amp power tools and, in at least one case, a shallow well pump. "Who has 14-amp breakers in a house? Come on Generac," posts a user at ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com.
Fairly standard. The Generac GP3250 has two regular AC outlets and a 120/240-volt twist-lock outlet. However, we found multiple complaints that its circuit breaker is rated for only 14 amps.
Decent noise levels. In one test, the GP3250 measured 64 decibels at no load from 23 feet away, about as loud as a normal conversation. Most owners seem happy with the noise level, calling it quieter than other generators they've used.
At least 10 hours to a tank. The manufacturer estimates the GP3250's runtime at just more than 12 hours, but owners report getting closer to 10 hours per 3.5-gallon tank of gas. Numerous reports say that as long as you change the oil as required, the generator will run for long periods with no problem. If it runs low on oil, it'll shut down automatically.
Shipping, quality-control problems. Owners say the Generac GP3250 is easy to put together in 15 to 20 minutes, thanks to clear, well-written instructions. At 110 pounds, it's one of the lighter generators available, and a fold-down handle and 8-inch solid wheels make it easy to move around. Its recoil starter works well, firing it up on the first or second pull, although several owners say the recoil start fails to release or won't retract once it has been pulled.
Other users complain that the fuel gauge can be hard to see when the generator's under cover, the pull cord is poorly located, and the gas outlet's location makes it hard to remove gas without a siphon. A number of owners report what looks like damage that happened before the generator even left the factory, and several complain about Generac's customer service.
"This may be a good unit, but the people at Generac fall short," writes one Amazon.com user. "Don't even bother trying to send an email or directly call Generac," says another. A third writes that customer service representatives "were unresponsive, dismissive and have a condescending attitude toward their customers."
Review Credibility: Very Good About 65 owners review the Generac GP3250 on HomeDepot.com, giving it an average score of 4.5 stars out of 5. "Poor voltage regulation under load," writes one, but another says the GP3250 was able to start and run a 240-volt 1/2-horsepower shallow well pump.
Review: Generac GP3250-Watt Portable Generator, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Here the Generac GP3250 gets an average score of only 2.8 stars out of 5 from about two dozen users. Most are satisfied with the generator's performance, but several say they received a defective unit.
Review: Generac 5982 GP3250 3,750 Watt 206cc OHV Portable Gas Powered Generator, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
3. Electric Generators Direct.com
Review Credibility: Good Jim Baugher, a product reviewer at ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com, recommends the Generac GP3250 as one of the three best generators in its size range. About 10 owners post comments on the generator's performance, giving it an overall score of 4.8 stars out of 5.
Review: Generac GP3250 - 3250 Watt Portable Generator, Contributors to ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com, As of November 2012