Whether you’re planning on camping or you live somewhere that summer power outages run rampant, there is one essential item everyone forgets about until you need it: a portable generator.
Instead of being caught off guard when the need hits, do some research now and find one that’s right for you, instead of one that’s just the only one left on the shelf.
Many portable generators fall into the same price range of under $500, so which one is the best option? For tailgating, camping, power tools, or even running some small items in your home during a power outage, one of the better options for your money is the Generac GP3300 Portable Generator.
Generac may sound familiar, as the company, Generac Power Systems, has been around since 1959.
In fact, they are responsible for many industrial generators in many office buildings.
You could be connected to one right now. The point is, the name alone means reliability.
Whether you need to power your fridge, furnace, TV, computers, or all of the above, this generator packs the punch you’ll need.
For those electro-nerds, check out these tech-specs:
Power & Run Time
Starting right off the bat with the most important feature of any generator: Power.
Its 3300 watts are split between two circuits at 14 amps each.
Each leg of the 120V sockets is run to a separate 14-amp breaker. That creates two steady streams of over 1600 watts.
Fill one side with your computers, phones, and television, then load the other side with your small appliances and furnace/heater. Right out of the box, the Generac GP3300 comes equipped with a 20V-to-30V RV adapter, helping make any power needs easier to come by.
The runtime falls into the range of average to above-average.
The generator runs on ½ load for just over 10 hours.
That provides for a long gap between gas fill-ups. Even running a 10,000 BTU air conditioner, the GP3300 portable generator can keep you cool for well over six hours before it needs a fill-up.
In addition to the run-time, the stainless-steel fuel tank holds 3.5 gallons, so you won’t be expending too much of your money while the Generac GP3300 is expending a lot of power.
The Generac GP3300 comes equipped with the Generac OHV engine. Another time you get to see that time-trusted name is on the engine itself.
The engine displacement is 208 cubic centimeters, and as mentioned before, it holds 3.5 gallons of gasoline.
Compared to many other bigger generators, on a power-to-gas ratio, this generator barely sips the gasoline, giving it a long, reliable running time. Its oil capacity is ¾ of a quart, and with the hour counter right on the main display, it’ll be easy to keep up with the simple maintenance.
With great power, comes great safety. Generac has spared no expense to ensure you don’t hurt yourself or your product when you are using it, or even if you are misusing it.
For the power itself, there are individual breakers built into the main board. These will trip if you try to do too much at once.
Instead of potentially burning out your generator, or even starting a fire, you will get a tripped breaker, and you’ll be able to make any adjustments you need to your set-up and try again.
The engine will also watch out for itself with a low-oil shut-off.
If you don’t perform the maintenance, you are supposed to be performing, like an oil change, or if there somehow springs a leak somewhere, the engine will shut itself off if the oil level gets too low.
At the time, you may think this is a hassle, but rest assured that the amount of money you may have to pay for repairs of a burnt-out engine is much, much more.
Of course, most of this is always avoidable by keeping up with the maintenance schedule listed in the owner’s manual.
Convenience & Portability
With all the power you’ll be carrying around, you may forget about the convenience and portability the Generac GP3300 has to offer.
It’s hard, steel frame adds a little weight, giving its gross around 100 pounds, but it also adds durability.
With a folding handle built into the steel frame, the ease of being able to roll the generator around, regardless of its weight, is very convenient.
If you find yourself rolling around on rough terrain, you can also have peace of mind in knowing that the tires are flat-free, and able to roll through whatever terrain your adventurous self finds.
Drawbacks: Things to know
While you’re already a step ahead of the average consumer by reading this review, there are a few drawbacks that you should know about before making your final decision.
The most common misconception with the Generac GP3300 Portable Generator is the amount of power it makes available.
As mentioned before, the generator splits its stream of 3300 watts into two separate streams of over 1600 watts each.
It is important to know this first, before you buy it, and have a good idea of what you want to use the generator for.
Some people will buy this generator with the intention of running a single tool or appliance that is well over the 1600 watts the individual power stream allows for.
This can cause some disappointment because while you may expect a full 3300 watts of use available, you get it divided and not all at once.
Therefore, if you are looking for a generator to run a single 2000-watt tool, per say, then this generator would not be the one for you.
Customer opinions: What people are saying?
Consumer reviews across the board are overall positive.
It’s no surprise that people have found a great deal of dependability with the name Generac, as many other consumers, large and small, have been using them for nearly six decades.
At the time of publishing this post, the average rating if 3/5 stars (see amazon customer reviews here)
With the most common complaint being the above-mentioned power issue.
Almost all of the 3-star or below reviews mentioned this issue and said they wouldn’t have purchased the generator if they knew it would be splitting the power into two separate streams.
In fact, many of those same reviewers said they would give it a higher review if they would have known that from the start.
Consumers all over the country are ranting and raving about the overall performance and ease of use.
The average pull time to start the generator is only two pulls, sometimes even in the dead of winter.
The reliability alone is something everyone seems to mention. It runs continuously without issue and is easy to start.
Those two features can sell someone the generator themselves.
Most people don’t keep in mind that generators can be intimidating to someone who has never used one before.
It’s essentially a portable engine that produces electricity, and if those are two areas you don’t have a lot of experience in understanding, it can be scary to operate one, let alone have confidence in buying one.
The Generac’s simple design and easy-to-use features make it a home run for many consumers.
While some people complained about not being able to use their 2000-watt power tool, many people raved about the number of things they were able to power.
The Bottom line: My Evaluation of the GP3300
If you know what you need your generator for and none of the things you want to plug in use more than 1600 watts on their own, then you know that this is the generator for you.
You are buying a brand name that has been trusted in this specific industry for decades, and you are buying the solid steel working of a great machine.
If you’re use is average household items, small RV, or camping, then you shouldn’t have to look too much further than the Generac GP3300 Portable Generator.
From backing up buildings to backing up your phone, Generac has you covered.
If you are still looking for other options, check out my top 10 best portable generators buying guide at generatorgrid.com