Reviews give top ranking to the Honda EU1000i as the best small portable generator. It's expensive but its inverter technology is ultra-quiet, fuel efficient and provides consistent clean voltage so it's suitable for use with sensitive computer and home-theater equipment (an inconsistent current can fry electronics with power surges). It's small enough for one person to handle easily and can do double duty for home backup and camping trips. You can daisy-chain two or more Honda EU1000i generators together for more electricity and add an extra gas tank to minimize refueling. If quality and durability matter less than price, consider the Blue Max JD4000 (*Est. $280), but experts advise against using cheap generators to power electronics.
We found the best comparison review of the Honda EU1000i at Camping Life, where it's tested along with four other high-end portable generators that use inverter technology. Comparison tests at ConsumerReports.org and Field & Stream cover other sizes of Honda EU generators, but most of the findings are also relevant to the small Honda EU1000i. Popular Mechanics covers the EU1000i specifically, but doesn't document any testing. Dan James' single-product review of the Honda EU1000i for website SilverOrange Stuff provides more detail, and we also found useful owner-written reviews at eHam.net and Epinions.com.
1. Camping Life Magazine
The Honda EU1000i is tested here in comparison with four other high-end portable generators that use inverter technology, including the larger Honda EU2000i. The Honda EU1000i is judged quietest and easiest to carry, but a small Yamaha is a bit easier to refuel because the fuel filler is slightly larger.
Review: Compact Generator Shoot-Out, Rich Johnson, June 7, 2006
This review covers the larger Honda EU3000iS, ranking and rating it in comparison with 10 other portable generators based on thorough objective tests. In addition to overall ratings, each generator gets specific ratings for emergency power, power quality, ease of use, run time per tank and noise level (though decibel measurements aren't provided).
Review: Portable Generators, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Oct. 2006
3. Field & Stream
Based on actual usage, this review compares four portable generators that use inverter technology, including the Honda EU2000i, which shares top ranking with the Yamaha EF2400i. The main emphasis is factors that make a portable generator useful for camping: noise, weight, power quality and ease of use. The review also covers fuel economy and "watts per dollar."
Review: Portable Power, Bruce W. Smith, Feb. 2007
This buyer's guide recommends the Honda EU1000i as the best small portable generator, but doesn't document any testing. Readers have added some useful comments.
Review: 4 Steps to Power Your Home When the Grid Fails, Roy Berendsohn, Aug. 2007
5. Silver Orange Stuff
This detailed single-product review covers the electric-start Honda EU3000iS portable generator, based on the owner's actual use through blackouts, thunderstorms, snowstorms and hurricanes. The author praises the "ultraclean power," says it's "incredibly quiet" at around 50 decibels at full output and finds it easy for one person to carry.
Review: HondaEU3000is Review, Dan James, April 28, 2004
At this website for ham radio enthusiasts, the Honda EU1000i gets mostly enthusiastic reviews, but one owner notes that parts can be very expensive.
Review: Reviews Summary for Honda EU1000i Portable Generator, Contributors to eHam.net
Nearly 40 owners review generators in the Honda EU series here. Most are very enthusiastic, but one complains that a unit is louder than advertised.
Review: Un titled, Contributors to Epinions.com