Last Updated on September 2, 2020 by Matt
Whether you’re planning on camping or live where summer power outages run rampant, there is one essential item everyone forgets about until they need it: a portable generator.
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Instead of being caught off guard when the need hits, do some research now and find one that’s right for you (instead of whatever’s 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, using 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 the 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:
- Starting watts: 3750
- Engine brand: Generac
- Engine displacement: 208cu. cm
- Engine series: Generac OHV
- Fuel gapacity: 3.35 gallons
- Run time (½ load): 10.25 hours
- Start type: pull
- Tire diameter: 6”
- Tire type: Flat-free
- Start type: Pull
- Type of alternator: 3600 RPM w/brushes
- Weight (lbs.): 101.5
- Low oil shut down: Yes
- Fuel gauge: Yes
- Hour meter: Yes
- Auto voltage regulation: Yes
- Auto voltage regulation: Yes
- Length (inches): 24.2
- Width (inches): 22.5
- Height (inches): 21
- Oil capacity (Qt.): 0.75
- Warranty: 2-year limited
- Running watts: 3300
- Fuel type: Gasoline
- Number of outlets: 5
Power & Run Time
Let’s start right off the bat with the most important feature of any generator: power.
Its 3,300 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 1,600 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, making power needs easier to meet.
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 bigger generators, on a power-to-gas ratio, this generator barely sips the gasoline, giving it a long, reliable run 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 be able to adjust 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 a leak springs up 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 cost for repairing a burnt-out engine is much, much more.
Of course, most of this is 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.
Its 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, rolling 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 3,300 watts into two separate streams of over 1,600 watts each.
It is important to compare this capacity to your power needs.
Some people will buy this generator with the intention of running a single tool or appliance that is well over the 1,600 watts the individual power stream allows for.
This can cause disappointment because while you may expect a full 3,300 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 2,000-watt tool, this generator would not be the one for you.
Customer Opinions: What Are People 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 customers, large and small, have been using them for nearly six decades.
At the time of publishing this post, the average rating is 3/5 stars (see Amazon customer reviews here). The most common complaint is the previously-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 split the power into two separate streams.
In fact, many of those same reviewers said they would give it a higher review if they had 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.
Every reviewer seems to mention reliability. This Generac runs continuously without issue and is easy to start.
Those two features alone can sell someone on this generator. Bear in mind, generators can be intimidating to those who have never used one before.
A generator is essentially a portable engine that produces electricity, and if those are two areas you don’t have a lot of experience in, they can be scary to operate–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 2,000-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 1,600 watts on their own, then 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 your use is average household items, a small RV, or camping, then you shouldn’t have to look 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.
Last update on 2020-10-20 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API