Reviewers say the Honda EU2000i is just about perfect if all you need is a small, portable, quiet inverter generator for powering home electronics or a few essentials. You can also daisy-chain two of them together if you need more power.
Limited capability, but performs well. The Honda EU2000i is decidedly limited, producing 1,600 watts of continuous power and 2,000-watt surge capability. However, owners say it's enough to power a few household appliances like your fridge or freezer. The EU2000i's inverter technology -- which converts the power it generates from AC current to DC, then back to AC again -- produces a surge-free current that's safe for running delicate, expensive electronics like computers and TVs. If you overload it, it'll shut itself off.
You can power even more if you're willing to juggle machinery; for example, one eHam.net user powered his in-home heat, sump pump, two sump pumps for neighbors, a refrigerator, Internet, television and lights. Because he couldn't run both the refrigerator and the heat at the same time, he just switched back and forth as needed. "At some times we forgot we had a generator running," he writes. "It even runs my 4,500 BTU mini air conditioner," says another.
"We obviously have to juggle a bit between freezer, refrigerator, furnace and other appliances, but it's amazing how much this practical and reliable little generator can run," says a poster to ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com. A few complain of voltage sags as the Honda EU2000i brings large motor loads up to speed, but you can hook two inverters together for additional power.
Just the basics. As you might expect from a small power inverter, the EU2000i has just two 20-amp AC outlets. It boasts a DC outlet for charging batteries.
One of the quietest models. Most owners confirm the manufacturer's estimate of 59 decibels at the rated load of 1,600 watts, or 53 decibels at one-quarter load. That's about the noise level of a quiet office environment or a normal conversation.
Several users posting at eHam.net record noise levels between 55 and 59 decibels, saying the EU2000i is "nearly silent." A 2006 comparative test published in Camping Life measured the generator's sound levels at 52 to 58 decibels, and a similar test in 2011 calls the Honda the quietest of the inverters tested. Editors say it's "wonderfully quiet and runs smooth as silk."
Fuel-efficient. A few owners report that the EU2000i ran for 10 hours or more on a single tank of gas. That's a little longer than the manufacturer's estimate of 9.6 hours at one-quarter load, or 4 hours at full load.
In Camping Life's 2006 test, editors more conservatively timed the EU2000i at 8.1 hours of total runtime on its 1.1-gallon tank, or about 7.3 hours per gallon under zero load. That's a little less than the manufacturer's estimate, but still impressive considering the test didn't use the inverter's economy mode, which automatically adjusts the engine speed to match the electrical load.
Lightweight and portable. Editors of Camping Life say the 46.3-pound Honda EU2000i is the most compact and easy to carry inverter they tested in a 2006 article, and owners almost universally agree. Many say it's easy to change the oil, and the EU2000i will shut down automatically if its oil runs low.
The EU2000i is covered by a three-year warranty. It draws praise from the editors of Camping Life for having a simple start sequence, although they pan its narrow fuel opening that can make refueling slow. Owners agree, adding that it can be hard to start if you've let it sit for months.
1. Camping Life Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good The Honda EU2000i is compared to two other generators of about the same size, the Generac iX2000 and the Yamaha EF2000iS, based on objective tests. Editors assess factors such as noise level, fuel consumption and ease of use along with the generators' power and performance. Testers call the EU2000i "quiet and reliable," although it can sometimes be hard to start. Overall, "the Honda is a great generator and worthy of anyone's investment."
Review: Editors of Camping Life, Portable Power, June 2, 2011
2. Field & Stream
Review Credibility: Very Good Field & Stream compares four portable inverter generators, including the Honda EU2000iA. Editors consider each model's noise level, power quality, ease of use and weight. The review also measures the generators' fuel consumption and converts this figure to how many watts per dollar you get. The Honda EU2000iA receives a positive overall rating.
Review: Portable Power, Bruce W. Smith, February 2007
3. Camping Life Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good Camping Life magazine compares five portable inverter generators, including the Honda EU2000i. This older review provides details on power output in watts, decibel level, weight and runtime per tank of gas. Johnson also rates each generator on ease of maintenance and overall portability. He praises the EU2000iA for how easy it is to carry, as well as its low noise level. He says this model and the smaller EU1000i are easy to maintain because of their design.
Review: Compact Generator Shoot-Out, Rich Johnson, June 7, 2006
4. Electric Generators Direct.com
Review Credibility: Good About 25 owners review the Honda EU2000i here, giving it a perfect score of 5 stars out of 5. "I have been very satisfied and pleased with this purchase," writes one.
Review: Honda EU2000i - 1600 Watt Portable Inverter Generator (50 State Model), Contributors to ElectricGeneratorsDirect.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Fair At this website for ham radio enthusiasts, readers are invited to post reviews for different products of interest, including portable generators. Although just a few accumulate enough feedback to make it meaningful, the Honda EU2000iA falls into that group. Users rate this inverter favorably, giving it 4.7 stars out of 5 in almost 40 reviews.
Review: Emergency/Portable Power: Generators, Solar, Wind, Thermal, Etc., Contributors to eHam.net, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Fair Owner reviews posted to this British website are ostensibly for stand-by generators, but they cover portable units, as well. Most of the brands and models discussed here are available in the United States, including the Honda EU2000i. Reviews are mostly positive.
Review: Stand-By Generators: Honda EU2000i Overview, Contributors to ReviewCentre.com, As of November 2012