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In my generator research, finding a quiet generator has been a top priority (next to watts). I've always known (and experienced) that Honda generators are significantly quieter than others (even the non-inverter Hondas). I was really surprised to see so many other generators rated as similar or, in some cases, better than their Honda counterparts.

For example, I see that the Honda EM4000 (3500 rated/4000 max) was listed at 71 db while the Champion 4000 (3500 rated/4000 max) was rated at 68 db. Another interesting generator was the Ridgid 3600 (3600 rated/4500 max) which checked in at 73 db.

I was actually quite happy when I saw this- this meant more options! Unfortunately, these numbers are complete nonsense. Some say the industry standard is to measure the db level at 23 ft (7 m). Because I couldn't find any information on the test distance for the Champion, I will assume that it was measured at this 23 foot test distance. The Ridgid, which I thought would be pretty darn close to the Honda in noise output was measured at- get ready- 70 feet!!! 73 db at 70 feet is SCREAMING!! Honda's test distance, according to their brochure, is 9 feet (3 m).

Taking distance into account (again assuming that the Champion really was tested at 23 feet, which I really doubt), the Honda EM4000s is 63 db at 23 feet, the Champion is 68 db at 23 feet, and the Ridgid is an appalling 82 db.

Has anyone else noticed this? I would think the noise level would be an important data point to compare but the industry has found a way to make these measurements useless.
 

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Buy a Honda EU2000, EU3000, or EU6500. You will never look back. 3 days into Sandy My EU6500 came in. My son and I put it together in the driveway. Just as I started it up my wife walked by. She said that's it. That's as loud as it gets? She said it sounds like a fan on hi speed. After 3 days of the loud Try-bilt and my neighbors loud generator you can definitely tell the difference with the Honda EU series.
 

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Well, this is a great subject. I wish there was truly a "standard" distance to measure db output. I like Honda's test distance of 9 feet for comparison.
It may not be the most scientific measurement tool, but I have the "Sound Meter" app from Smart Tools Co. on my HTC One smartphone. I have hearing issues and my granddaughter does also, plus she wears hearing aids. We use the Sound Meter when we go into restaurants or other noisy places.

Anyways, I have a Briggs and Stratton 7000 Elite genset. Briggs and Stratton Elite Series 7000 watt portable generator review B&S model 30470 I do like it and have used it many times. My only real complaint is the noise.

So I took measurements at the 9 foot distance. From the rear and the left side (both the noisiest) measured 85 db. While I thought the readings would be higher, here are some comparisons.

"Garbage disposal, dishwasher, average factory, freight train (at 15 meters). Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB). Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB)."

Comparative Examples of Noise Levels | Real World Examples and Decibel Levels |Industrial Noise Control


In reality, I start my genset and don't hang around it much. My readings were just for discussion, your mileage may vary.
 

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Just for what it's worth...
When you talk about noise and decibel levels, it's important to note that the decibel scale isn't linear. If one generator measures say 5 decibels louder at an equal distance, it doesn't sound like much, but in reality it's significantly louder. I think OSHA's halving rate for decibel readings is 3 decibels, which means the noise gets twice as loud with every 3 decibel increase.
By the way, I have a Honda EU3000is and couldn't be happier with it.
 

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One reason why the Hondas cost 3X. Is paying 3X more worth it for a 10 dB reduction?

No, not in my view. You can buy a Ridgid 7000 watt with the same commercial Honda engine as their 6500 series, complete with Honda warranty, with electric start and a very useful detachable panel (can extend up to 75'), for $1000. A Honda 6500 is about $3000.

If you're concerned about the noise, buy a quieter, after market muffler.
 

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I had a ridgid 7000 watt generator, it actually ran really accurate, volts/hz etc... But man was it loud, the first thing my neighbours said to me in the morning " you have a generator" I said yes, "yeah I heard it all night long". I didn't know what to say. Needless to say I sold it and purchased a eu6500is, and comparing it to the ridgid, it is whisper quiet.
 

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Why do you need to run the generator all night? The house will stay warm, the food cold.

My generator is shut down after about 9. I probably only run it 4-5 hours a day max.

Just think of the fuel you'll save.
 

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Good points.
And yeah, if noise is an issue, the Honda makes sense, but it's 3X the price!
I definitely wanted a Honda engine, but the extra cost wasn't worth it, as I may never run it again. These ice storms happen about once every 15-20 years here, if that.
 

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I think a generator is a must in any household,call it a insurance, today was the ice storm a couple of months ago it was flooding, you never know, if your prepaired your ahead of the game and a good working generator always has a use.
 

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$4,000 for a 5500W portable generator?!? Lol, you can buy a 15kW stand-by one for that much money and resume your life like power outages never happen :)
 

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I guess you could but the fact that the unit is mobile and essentially silent and very fuel efficient I opted for the honda.....it fits the bill I need mobility + standby, (lots of hobbies) and I hate buying China...it was nice to see its made in Japan, i pride myself in having nice stuff . I don't know why but as soon as I seen and heard that the generator I was sold. To each there own......
 

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I guess you could but the fact that the unit is mobile and essentially silent and very fuel efficient I opted for the honda.....it fits the bill I need mobility + standby, (lots of hobbies) and I hate buying China...it was nice to see its made in Japan, i pride myself in having nice stuff . I don't know why but as soon as I seen and heard that the generator I was sold. To each there own......
You are right, to each their own...I just can't wrap my head around spending $4000 and barely being able to power a water heater...

As a matter of fact, $3,000 is a price of a nice 12KW stand-by generator and you'd have $1,000 to spend on a mobile unit

i pride myself in having nice stuff
It's "nice" while you are powering a Dremel :) The minute you want to have hot water and heat during a power outage and it becomes a useless $4K paperweight.

Me, I just move my Briggs & Stratton POS further away from my house and I achieve the same level of Honda quietness and keep about $3K in my pocket :)
 

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I agree with STS. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Made in Japan (I used to work at a Toyota plant in Japan).

BUT, when you can get a Honda powered Ridgid generator delivering 7000W continuous, with voltage regulation and a very useful remote panel with electric start, for about 1/5 the price of a Honda generator… something is just not right with the pricing. The only main advantage seems to be sound level.

I actually find the Ridgid tolerable, and for 20% the price, it's totally fair.

Reliability: not sure, because the Honda's have their issues. If you Google it, people do have problems with them.

And again, the engine in my Ridgid is the commercial grade GX390 from Honda. It's not made in China.

So to each their own -- for me, and for how often I'll be using it, buying a Honda would be a waste of about $5000. No thanks. I think they made a bad strategic call to sell their engines to competitors. The engine is what a Honda is all about!
 

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Easy now don't hate on the eu, she's a beast, Come on now i can power a bit more than a Dremel..... And a water heater, besides I have a NG tankless unit. I had a ridgid 7000 w and it wouldn't run my cable boxes, my Bosch fridge, and didnt even want to attempt plugging into my stereo and I was really nervous plugging it in to my trane furnace, nevertheless it ran the furnace.....but it was so loud and it drank quite a bit of fuel, if you have expensive toys (electronics) you won't run them on a "pos" genny, at least not me, not worth damaging the electronics. The ridgid was nice, I liked the price I paid 1400 taxes in on deep clearance, reg 1799 cdn + taxes here. I guess there 800 taxes in we're you are?

I admit the only bad thing about buying a eu6500is is the price. The funny thing is that the guy that I bought it from had this as a backup for his stand alone generac 17kw. He said he needed the dough or else he would not have sold it surprisingly enough he managed to rack up40 hours on it because the standby didn't fire... He loved it! As his generac had broken down twice in a period of a couple months.. Probably bad luck, **** happens but quality comes with a price, and different scenarios call for different equipment and special power needs(clean power) comes at a price, and regular generators can't deliver that ,I tried! And as far as getting a good stand alone generator system installed to code doesn't cost anywhere neer 4 k, electrical codes here are strict, permit must be pulled, neutral switching transfer switch must be installed and must be installed by licenced ESA aproved electrician. I priced out a nice rig for my bungalow and the quote came in at 14k again, quality stuff, battery backup, installed to code, logistics of generator placement, NG plumbing to generator, permit for that too, blah blah blah, I almost **** myself when I got that price, it's a serious matter to install a backup to a home, allot more than just a portable back fed to a panel, with a interlock set up....didn't want to be liable for a non code compliant setup as the homeowner is liable for the consequences. It's not worth hurting anyone to me. so the honda fits the bill nicely.

Just my thoughts don't want to ruffle any feathers

Zapper
 

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Easy now don't hate on the eu, she's a beast, Come on now i can power a bit more than a Dremel..... And a water heater, besides I have a NG tankless unit. I had a ridgid 7000 w and it wouldn't run my cable boxes, my Bosch fridge, and didnt even want to attempt plugging into my stereo and I was really nervous plugging it in to my trane furnace, nevertheless it ran the furnace.....but it was so loud and it drank quite a bit of fuel, if you have expensive toys (electronics) you won't run them on a "pos" genny, at least not me, not worth damaging the electronics. The ridgid was nice, I liked the price I paid 1400 taxes in on deep clearance, reg 1799 cdn + taxes here. I guess there 800 taxes in we're you are?

I admit the only bad thing about buying a eu6500is is the price. The funny thing is that the guy that I bought it from had this as a backup for his stand alone generac 17kw. He said he needed the dough or else he would not have sold it surprisingly enough he managed to rack up40 hours on it because the standby didn't fire... He loved it! As his generac had broken down twice in a period of a couple months.. Probably bad luck, **** happens but quality comes with a price, and different scenarios call for different equipment and special power needs(clean power) comes at a price, and regular generators can't deliver that ,I tried! And as far as getting a good stand alone generator system installed to code doesn't cost anywhere neer 4 k, electrical codes here are strict, permit must be pulled, neutral switching transfer switch must be installed and must be installed by licenced ESA aproved electrician. I priced out a nice rig for my bungalow and the quote came in at 14k again, quality stuff, battery backup, installed to code, logistics of generator placement, NG plumbing to generator, permit for that too, blah blah blah, I almost **** myself when I got that price, it's a serious matter to install a backup to a home, allot more than just a portable back fed to a panel, with a interlock set up....didn't want to be liable for a non code compliant setup as the homeowner is liable for the consequences. It's not worth hurting anyone to me. so the honda fits the bill nicely.

Just my thoughts don't want to ruffle any feathers

Zapper
Well, I wouldn't run any "nice" electronics on generator power, no matter who was making the generator.

I don't trust the power company either - I have an APS voltage regulator running before the hefty surge protector before reaching my electronics hub. And the only thing that gets plugged in during generator use is the TV and the cable box.

But as far as 5500W being enough power - the water heaters these days start at 4500W, so if you turn that on, you are left with little overhead. Most furnace blowers (if using natural gas) will easily go over 1000W so you are SOL right there alone, not to mention a fridge, some lights, TV, the sump pump is very important depending on the natural disaster and your homestead, maybe a water well, if you live in the country, etc. Heck, the microwave alone draws 1kW+ :)

I wonder if you have used it to power your house and if so - what appliances have you had on during use?

P.S. I'm not really hating on the Honda, I just keep trying to add the numbers and just doesn't work. Maybe it's a good deal if bought used?
 

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The EU6500is is powerful enough to power the whole house. It is connected to a Reliance 10 circuit transfer switch to power the essential circuits. It easily power the water heater (high efficiency condensing Rheem NG tankless, 40W), electronics, computers, lights (mostly LED), 3 tons A/C (Trane 20i on first stage, 1.1 KW) and NG furnace (variable speed 95% Trane, 200W). The only appliance that it will not power is the electric oven.

I do not have to do any load shedding, it can power it all without any dip in voltage or change in frequency. Note: The air handler is set to start 10 seconds after the compressor to minimize surge current. Also, the air handler is variable speed and does not have a large starting current.
 

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I'm not hating on the Honda 6500, but since we are talking power output, you get 500 more watts with the Ridgid. Also, the Ridgid has a considerably longer run time, thanks to the bigger fuel tank.
I'm guessing the Ridgid is going to be a bit more efficient too, since it's not powering an inverter.
As for voltage regulation, I wouldn't run sensitive A/V or other electronics on ANY generator. If you're really concerned, use something like a PS Audio P5/10 AC regenerator.

Oh and the Honda is a good 6" wider...not good. I find the Ridgid hard to fit in spots already.

I suppose if you use it often enough, the honda makes more sense, just for piece of mind (although both units have the GX390 engine, so the differences are in the generator windings and how it's built. That's a pretty simple device though...)

But I just cannot justify the price, given its deficiencies: power output, size, run time.
 

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The EU6500is is powerful enough to power the whole house. It is connected to a Reliance 10 circuit transfer switch to power the essential circuits. It easily power the water heater (high efficiency condensing Rheem NG tankless, 40W), electronics, computers, lights (mostly LED), 3 tons A/C (Trane 20i on first stage, 1.1 KW) and NG furnace (variable speed 95% Trane, 200W). The only appliance that it will not power is the electric oven.

I do not have to do any load shedding, it can power it all without any dip in voltage or change in frequency. Note: The air handler is set to start 10 seconds after the compressor to minimize surge current. Also, the air handler is variable speed and does not have a large starting current.
Makes sense, if you have NG tankless water heater, that's a large chunk of power eliminated right there. This is something I would be looking to installing, as well.

Still can't justify the EU price, when I could simply move my generator further away form my house for about $50 worth of cable. Honda makes good engines, but I have been using Briggs & Stratton engines for 10+ years and never had one fail me, so I'm rather happy with the brand. Once I had a lawnmower with a Honda engine and the carb took a dump after just a summer of light use, so I'm not overly impressed with their reliability.
 

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Funny you mention the width, I had a problem with that too, it couldn't fit my ridgid through my man door in the garage the wheels hit the frame, so I had to go all the way around through the big door... The honda eu fits with room to spare, must have gotten the measurements mixed up, cause the honda is not wider, but it is longer....by those 6" or so....and as for power the ridgid is more powerful, I guess there are trade offs we have to live with.
 

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I'm guessing the Ridgid is going to be a bit more efficient too, since it's not powering an inverter.
Per the ridgid website https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/generators none of their current offerings come equiped with the Honda, so to anyone new on the market the comparison is moot.

I've never heard anyone opine that a traditional genset running at a constant rpm would be more fuel efficient than an inverter matching output to load. Certainly my experience, most recently in six days out during Sandy, showed me that the EU sips fuel. While some of my neighbors were out chasing fuel supplies for their gas-guzzling and annoyingly loud generators I was warm and comfortable knowing the Honda was performing flawlessly.

Oh yeah, and my Honda has lost very little value; I could sell it today for just about what I paid for it. In fact the last Honda I had I sold for more than I paid for it! What's a used Ridgid worth?

So we get it, you prefer the Ridgid. But it only wins on price. Take a long view on this purchase and the Honda will win hands down; total cost of ownership, reliability, noise, etc...
 
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