The Generac LP3250 propane-powered portable generator provides enough power to run a couple of big appliances at once. Owners say using propane as fuel can be an advantage when gas is scarce. This model is efficient and lightweight, but the company draws criticism for poor customer service.
Sufficient for smaller appliances. The Generac LP3250 can handle small- to medium-size loads without complaint, users say. "We could also use any of the big three loads (washer, drier, dishwasher), but only one at a time," writes an Amazon.com reviewer who also ran a sump pump, refrigerator and freezer, plus electronics and lights simultaneously. "We were able to help out neighbors. It kept 6 refrigerators/freezers cold," says another who powered a couple of big-screen TVs, a microwave and a computer, as well.
Reasonable accessibility. The LP3250 has four covered 5-20R outlets and a single, covered 14-20R twist-lock outlet. It's worth noting that although the outlets are rated for 20 amps, this unit's circuit breakers are rated for only 15 amps. This somewhat curtails its power output because the breakers will trip if you try to draw the full 20 amps. It doesn't have a DC connector.
Fairly quiet. All generators make noise, but owners say over and over again that the Generac LP3250 is "relatively" or "surprisingly" quiet. "We could hear it in the room directly adjacent to the generator, but once we went into other rooms, we hardly heard it...it was more like you felt it, a low-frequency hum that we were only aware of if we listened for it," says an Amazon.com poster who set up the LP3250 about 5 feet from the back wall of his house.
"I would say it's somewhere between a gas-powered lawn mower and a car engine," says another Amazon.com user. The noise is "obvious when you go outside," he adds, but you can't hear it indoors.
Fuel-efficient, easy to refill. The Generac LP3250 accepts a 20- or 30-pound propane tank, which piggybanks onto the generator so you don't have to haul both around separately. A few owners are concerned about the plastic guard meant to hold the tank in place; one calls it "questionable." However, no one reports any actual problems with this part so far, and users like this model's quick, easy and clean fuel changes compared to gas-powered machines.
The manufacturer predicts nine hours of runtime at half load on a 20-pound propane tank, and most owners agree or estimate better results. Many who post reviews at HomeDepot.com say they get anywhere from nine to 12 hours of runtime.
Relatively lightweight. Expect to spend 30 to 45 minutes putting the Generac LP3250 together. Consumers say the assembly instructions in the owner's manual are very hard to follow, but a single glossy sheet tucked into the box gives clear instructions.
The LP3250 weighs 137 pounds without a propane tank. The dolly-style handle makes it easy to move around, and owners say its solid 9.5-inch wheels handle well over rough ground. Users also like that the Generac shuts down automatically if engine oil levels drop. On the downside, the spark plug's location beneath the engine cowl makes it hard to service, and some owners complain that the start-up sequence illustrated on top of the generator itself is too complicated.
The LP3250 carries a two-year warranty, but it's plagued by the same complaints about terrible customer service that we find for many Generac models. "Customer service was useless," writes one Amazon.com reviewer who struggled to get the LP3250 started. A few others report problems with the starter cable -- one owner said it began fraying after only about a dozen pulls -- and one posts at HomeDepot.com that he was sent two defective generators in a row.
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 30 Amazon.com reviewers give the Generac LP3250 3.8 stars out of 5. Most say the generator runs well, but a few warn that starting it is more complicated than with a gas-powered unit. A number of owners complain about terrible customer support.
Review: Generac 6000 LP3250 3,750 Watt 212cc OHV Liquid Propane Powered Portable Generator With Tank Holder, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Here the Generac LP3250 gets an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 40 users. Most say it runs well and quietly, although the start-up process is more complicated than for a gas-powered generator. A few Amazon.com reviews appear to be duplicated here.
Review: Generac LP3250 Watt Propane-Powered Portable Generator, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of November 2012
3. Electric Generators Direct.com
Review Credibility: Good More than 20 users give the Generac LP3250 4.8 stars out of 5. Most say they're pleasantly surprised by how quiet it is.
Review: Generac LP3250 - 3250 Watt Portable LP Generator, Contributors to ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com, As of November 2012