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Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by Manager Access
Choosing a mid-range generator is hard. This is mostly because the category is so broad, and the term isn’t strictly defined. What most people think of as a mid-range generator is something that can do the following:
- Run essentials (but not everything) in a power outage
- Run a few (but not too many) power tools
- Provide enough power for a camping trip (but not a rave)
Well, congratulations! You’ve found the mid-range, and it looks a lot like the Wen 56352 3500-watt generator. You’re not paying the huge prices that you’ll find for high-power generators, but you’ve comfortably got enough power to run your appliances.
In this review, we’ll take a look at this model’s features and best uses, plus what it can and can’t do. We’ll compare it to similar models on the market and see if Wen’s reputation for high quality at low prices is justified. Let’s go!
Table of Contents
- Features and Functions
- How Much Does the Wheel Kit Help with Portability?
- What Will a 3500-Watt Generator Run?
- How Does It Compare?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Verdict: Should I Buy It?
- Wen 3500
Features and Functions
Some of the best features of the Wen 56352 include:
- 3000 running watts, sufficient for most household devices
- Wheel kit and handles provide easy transport
- Long run time (over 11 hours at half load)
- Very low price
The appeal of an affordable mid-range generator is that it’s a great choice if you don’t know how much you’ll be using it. Equally, a reliable 3500-watt generator is a must-have for those who need to run tools on worksites.
The 212cc engine provides 3500 surge watts and 3000 running watts, giving ample power. In addition to a lifespan of over 11 hours at half load, the Wen 56352 can provide ample electricity during a crisis. It can take a full day’s work on a job site and is compact enough for easy transport. This is ideal when using it for work, and also great news for camping fans!
How Much Does the Wheel Kit Help with Portability?
The Wen 3500 watt generator includes a wheel kit and handles for greater maneuverability. It also offers oil shutdown and overload protection: the digital readout helps manage oil changes and protects both the generator and connected devices. Its easy use is a major part of what makes it one of the best mid-range generators for householders.
- Noise level: 67dB idle
- Warranty: 2 years limited
At just over 100lbs, the Wen 56352 is neither the lightest nor the heaviest generator of its type. The wheel kit helps make this a very portable generator, though. It’s easy to steer and push, so the weight is less of an issue than with some generators.
The noise levels are another important consideration for many consumers. 67dB when idle isn’t too loud. 60-70 is around the level of conversation, so it will be chattering away in the background. When fully loaded, it runs up to 74dB. However, the only likely case you’d be near the generator at this level is using it on a worksite, in which case ear protectors are probably in use anyway!
Many generators sell themselves on ultra-quiet performance these days, but you are usually paying plenty extra for that. The Wen 56352 isn’t the quietest mid-range model, but then it’s certainly not the loudest, either.
Being gas-powered, the Wen 56352 can run on the standard 87 octane gas you can pick up at most gas stations. The 4-gallon engine is easy enough to refill in this way, so if you’ve got enough for just 1 refill, that’s a 22+ hour runtime at half load.
The maintenance schedule low oil shutdown is also a really useful feature. It can remind you that you need to fill up for the night, and it avoids the generator damaging itself by running dry. Alerting you to any oil changes and maintenance schedule issues is very important for a gas-powered portable generator.
This 3500-watt generator includes two 120V duplex plugs, as well as one twist lock plug that runs at 120/240V. There’s also a 12V car charger-style connector. The rugged 212cc engine produces 3500 surge watts, giving you the capacity to run your lights, TV, refrigerator, sump pump, or other essentials comfortably.
Remember: when the power goes out, reliability and sufficient power are the two most important qualities in a 3500-watt generator. The Wen 56352 also comes with an automatic voltage regulator, which is another incredibly useful tool for protecting your household items. This is in addition to a circuit breaker, which prevents the generator from being overloaded.
If you need a CARB-compliant 3500-watt generator, the Wen 56352 sadly does not meet the criteria, so you may need to look elsewhere. However, it does come with a spark arrestor, meaning that it can be used in woodlands.
What Will a 3500-Watt Generator Run?
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can and can’t run on the Wen 56352.
- Sump pump
- Mid-size air conditioner unit
- Small heater
- Most power tools
- Washing machine
- Larger central A/C system
- Certain heavy power equipment
- A high volume of household appliances simultaneously
With a running wattage of 3000, you can keep most low-power appliances in your home going, plus one or two larger ones. Applications that generate a lot of heat, like a clothes dryer, have high demands. If you’re planning to dry clothes, check the requirements of your machine and adjust what else is running accordingly.
Sump pumps and medium air conditioning units can be run alongside other household appliances – just don’t get greedy. Researching the surge requirements, as well as the basic requirements, of all your essentials is important before choosing a generator.
If you’re planning to use the Wen 56352 on a worksite, the power should be just about enough for any job. You can run most power tools like drills and saws easily enough. Really heavy pieces of kit like cabinet table saws do require a huge amount of power, but most portable tools will be fine.
Running the central A/C system of a large house is probably a no-go, as these require a great deal of power. However, smaller air conditioning units can be run on a 3500-watt generator without hassle.
How Does It Compare?
Now, let’s put the Wen 56352 side-by-side with a couple of similar models.
Briggs & Stratton P3000
This inverter generator certainly has a lot going for it. The price is impressively low. That’s one of Wen’s major selling points, so let’s look at what else the P3000 has to offer.
It produces around 58dB of noise at 25% capacity. That’s substantially quieter than the Wen 56352, but that needs to be put into context. The P3000 has a running power of 2600W, meaning that at 25% it’s only running around 650W. At such low usage, the Wen model is likely to be in the lower range of the 60s as well – and still offering more power.
The weight is fairly similar, with the P3000 slightly lighter (96lbs). It comes with wheels and handles, though, so also has good portability. It also has an inverter engine for added safety and efficiency.
Inverters do still cost more, though – the P3000 is going to set you back a fair bit more than the Wen 56352. At 2600W running, it also doesn’t offer as much bang even before we start talking bucks. Nonetheless, a good generator from a solid brand.
This offering from perhaps the biggest name on the market is predictably sumptuous. It’s also predictably expensive, but that was always a given. Let’s have a look and see if the price tag is justified.
Starting with noise again, and this is an impressive stat: the Honda EU3000is produces 49dB at 25%, and 58dB at 100% load. That’s 2800 watts of power running quieter than a normal conversation. Not even the quietest on the market, but not bad at all.
The EU3000is runs for around 20 hours at 25% load; both generators have excellent lifespans. The Honda also has a slightly smaller fuel tank, so is certainly more efficient.
It’s pretty hefty, at 130lbs. Not so much fun to haul around. The running power is also 200W less than the Wen model, while the start power is 400W less. Those watts do make a difference.
Finally, as always with Honda, there’s the price. It’s going to set you back so, so much more than the Wen 56352. The EU3000is is a superb generator, but unless you’re positive it’s right for you or you’re married to Honda, the Wen is probably a better bet.
The Wen 56352 comes with a 2-year limited warranty, which is about par for the course. Some of the big names offer 3 or 4-year warranties, but the brand’s reputation for good performance should give you confidence that it’s not going to come back to bite you.
- Excellent price
- Good running power
- Easily portable
- Long run time
- Great for households, worksites and camping
- Low oil shutdown for safety
- Easy to refuel
- Not CARB-compliant
- The warranty could be longer
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Wen Generators Any Good?
The brand doesn’t have so much by way of fancy features and patented technologies, and we hear you: these can be super exciting. Still, we’d bet that a solid 3500-watt generator like the Wen 56352 will be reliably lighting up lives more and more over the coming years.
How Long Do Wen Generators Last?
The fuel gauge and shutoff prevent the generator from doing harm. The helpful wheel kit and frame make it easy to move over rough terrain, meaning there’s less risk of putting the device down heavily or dropping it.
Verdict: Should I Buy It?
The Wen 56352 offers a lot of power and a promise of stability at a very low price. Wen is still building a reputation for producing excellent generators and equipment, and this offering is definitely a step in the right direction.
If you’re looking for a great all-purpose, mid-range generator, this could well be the model for you.
Scott Krager purchased generatorgrid.com in the summer of 2020 and quickly began to buy every generator under the sun! He currently has over a dozen generators and the number is growing quickly. He lives in Portland, OR near his family and friends.