Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Manager Access
In this post, I’m going to:
- Unbox the WEN 56203i so you can see what is inside
- Test the Db level of the WEN outside from 23 feet
- Give you my thoughts after 6 months with this generator
If you are in the market for a portable generator to power an appliance or two during a blackout or to take with you on your next camping trip or tailgate party, a 2000-watt generator may be all that you need.
The 2000-watt generator range allows you to get the power that you need to power a couple of small appliances or one larger appliance while still being able to easily move the generator around.
The WEN 56203i is a great example of a compact, 2000-watt generator that gives you everything you need to power up multiple appliances or tools without having to worry about a noisy generator.
This generator was designed to be one of the quietest generators on the market, making it ideal for residential use.
In this review, I am going to take a closer look at the WEN 56203I generator.
Unboxing the WEN 56203i
Here is where I unbox the WEN 56203i that I ordered from Amazon:
You can get a sense of my first impressions and why I like the lightweight aspect of this budget pick.
Testing the DB Level of the WEN 56203i from 23 feet outside
At 23 feet, with generator exhaust going away from the DB meter, the level was around 52.5 DB at near full load. The WEN was running a full electric heater. This DB level is compared very similar to the 2x more expensive, ever-popular Honda EU2220i. I love my EU2220i, but this WEN is just as quiet, at half the price. It doesn’t have the build quality, but for half the price…it’s a good bargain.
Functions and Ease of Use
At first glance, it is easy to see that the WEN 56203i was made to be portable and easy to carry.
It has a small frame and an integrated handle at the top of the generator to make carrying this 40 lb generator a breeze for just about anyone.
At the front of the generator, you will notice a very easy-to-use control panel that is precisely labeled and in easy-to-access locations.
The first thing you will notice is that although this generator is small, it is loaded with a variety of outlets to give you a great selection when plugging up your electronics.
While it does not have any twist-lock outlet, many in the power range are not capable of supporting appliances with this type of outlet.
The outlet selection you will find on the WEN 56203i will include 2 household AC outlets, a single cigarette lighter style DC 12V outlet, and a pair of 5V USB outlets for smaller electronics such as Go-Pro or cell phone chargers. With 5 outlets to choose from, the WEN 56203i can ensure that you have everything you need to make it through your next blackout or camping trip.
One of the great features found on this WEN generator is the parallel connect plugs. Using the WEN parallel connection kit (sold separately) you can easily connect a second 56203i to get double the power.
This kit also has an RV ready outlet and 120V AC twist plug outlet built-in so that you can plug up large appliances when running your generators in parallel.
This is one of the most unique parallel setups that I have seen from generator manufacturers and I am quite impressed by WEN’s engineering.
With a 78cc 4-stroke engine, you can expect up to 2000 starting watts and 1700 running watts from this generator.
It will operate for up to 7 hours at 50% load which can give you a great work day’s use out of the one-gallon tank.
To help make this generator so fuel-efficient, WEN has included an ECO-mode switch that allows the generator’s motor to automatically adjust its fuel consumption to extend engine life and run times.
Noise Level – Is It Quiet?
As an industry-standard, generator noise levels are measured in decibels and are noise readings are usually taken at 23 feet away from the generator.
Using this method, many generators operate at around 70-80 decibels, which is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner.
The WEN 56203i generator operates at an industry-leading 51 decibels, making it one of the quietest generators in its class (See it on my list of the quietest generator).
In my real-world test outside at 23 feet, I clocked it at 52.5 dB – so very close to the advertised 51 level.
To put that into perspective, you can expect it to be about as loud as riding in a quiet automobile at low speed.
With this type of noise level, this generator is ideal for close residential areas, tailgating, and camping trips where a noisy generator could disturb others.
Specs, Gas Consumption & Capacity
- Rated Amps: 14.1 Amps
- AC Maximum Output Starting Watts: 2,000W
- AC Rated Output Running Watts: 1,700W
- Rated AC Voltage: Single Phase
- Frequency: 60 Hz
- Run Time @ 50%: 7 Hours
- Tank Size: 1 Gallons
- Weight: 40lbs
With a built-in ECO-mode, this generator is quite efficient. At 50% load, you can expect up to 7 hours of runtime from the one-gallon fuel tank.
This is perfect for getting through the night or running all day to power up tools or appliances.
This generator is an inverter
A digital inverter module converts the raw power that is generated from DC to AC power. The inverter function means that you can use it to power sensitive appliances and electronics.
Service, Manual & Warranty
WEN is a leading manufacturer in the generator industry and they stand behind their products 100%.
WEN Products offers a 2-year warranty or 500 hours of use (whichever comes first) on all of their generators for residential use.
For commercial use, you will have a 90-day warranty.
You will also get 30 days from the original purchase date to report any missing or damaged parts on your generator.
Maintenance on this generator should be as outlined in the manual that comes with the generator.
It will require the same basic maintenance as most generators to ensure that it stays running as efficiently as possible.
WEN 56203i Portable Generator VS the Competition
The WEN 56203i has many great features that together, set it apart from the competition.
I am going to put it up against a couple of other great generators in its class to give you a better look on how it stacks up.
WEN 56203i VS Wen 56200i
It’s WEN vs WEN in the first comparison and they are two generators that are frequently asked about since they are in the same power rating.
It is a dead even tie between these two generators when it comes to starting watts as they both produce 2000 surge watts.
The only difference in power is the running watts where the 56203i edges out the 56200i by producing 100 watts more while running.
Both of these generators are going to produce a very quiet 51 decibels at quarter load.
This is one of the quietest ratings for generators in this power class which makes either a perfect fit for those who are concerned about noise levels.
This is where the biggest difference between the two WEN generators is going to lie. On the 56203i, you will get 5 outlets – 2 household AC outlets, a single DC cigarette style outlet, and 2 USB style outlets.
For the 56200i, you are going to receive only 2 household outlets, a 12V DC outlet, and a single USB port.
WEN 56203i VS Honda EU2200i
The Honda EU2200i is another popular generator in the 2000-watt generator that I have reviewed in the past.
Let’s see how it stacks up against the WEN 56203i.
Getting a 10% upgrade from its younger brother the EU2000i, the EU2200i will produce 200 more watts than the WEN56203i giving it the win in the power rating category.
The Honda EU2200i will operate at a level between 48 to 57 dBa which puts it right in line with the noise level of the WEN generator.
While on paper, the Honda generator does have a lower rating, it may not be great enough to tell a difference in the real world.
Power outlet selection will come down to personal preference in most cases, but the WEN does offer more of a selection with its 5 outlet design.
The Honda EU2200i will come with two household outlets and a DC 12V charging outlet. They will both feature parallel capabilities as well.
Online Reviews and Scores
The WEN 56203i generator is quite popular as the price is relatively low for the number of features that it comes with.
At the time of this article, this generator had over 800 reviews and a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon which is much higher than most generators that I review.
By looking at all of the satisfied customers, I would say that this generator is a customer favorite.
Potential Problems / Known Issues
While there are no recalls or known problems stated by WEN, there are a few reviews that stated that it would not start after a few uses.
This does fall into the warranty period, so I would assume that WEN’s customer service team will be more than happy to assist with any problems.
Summary: Should You Buy It?
The WEN 56203i is one of the most versatile 2000-watt generators on the market and has been thoroughly tested by thousands of customers.
I would not hesitate to suggest this generator to anyone looking for something in this price range, especially if you are needing something that is as quiet as this generator.
It will be perfect for just about any use and at under $500, you can’t go wrong.
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.
GeneratorGrid.com is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me purchase more generators for testing. - Scott Krager