The Honda 2800 watt generator comes in two models: the black panel EG2800i and the silver panel EB2800i. The silver one has four GFCI protected outlets, the GFCI making it OSHA job site compliant, while the black one has two outlets and a 30 amp plug, none of which are GFCI protected.
One interesting thing about the 2800 is it puts out 2500 running watts for the same MSRP as Honda’s 2200 watt inverter generator that only puts out 1800 running watts.
How much power do you need?
A 2000 watt generator that puts out 1600 running watts can usually run one 15 amp tool or one tool plus depending on the amps. But the extra 700 running and 600 starting watts you get with the 2800 is enough to run two tools plus, in one portable package.
The Honda 2800 watt generator weighs 67 lbs. Filling up the 2.1 gallon gas tank brings the weight up to about 80 lbs. Still a portable weight but the cube shape of the generator does make it an awkward lift.
Honda’s wheel kit adds a few pounds, but it gets the generator off the ground making it easier to load and unload. The arms do not lock open, offering no leverage to walk the generator over obstacles. And for some reason the wheel kit comes with rear legs that catch on everything you try to pull it over. After awhile I just cut the rear legs off and it pulls much better now.
The black model has a fuel gauge. The silver does not. Both are inverter generators that produce stable power, safe for sensitive electronics. There’s an output indicator that doubles as a blink hour meter registering 100 hour blocks up to 500 hours. And there’s an oil indicator that shuts the engine off if the oil gets too low. Nice!
The silver model has a bonded neutral. This means if you want to power a building through a transfer switch, either the switch needs to be GFCI compatible, or you need to un-bond the neutral from the generator frame.
The black model has a floating neutral. If you want to use it with an inline GFCI switch you’ll need to bond the neutral to ground at the panel. This can be done by plugging a neutral-ground bonding plug into any free receptacle.
The last difference is only the black model accepts Honda’s heater kit. It installs into the crank case breather tube to prevent it from icing up and restricting the generator’s air supply in “certain cold weather conditions.”
Run Time and Noise
This generator is rated at 5.1 hrs per tank running at full load and 12.1 hrs at 1/4 load. I’m averaging 6 -10 hours per tank running in echo mode. Echo mode lets the generator idle down to 1/4 speed until power is called for, which saves gas. It also reduces the noise level down to 62 dbs. At full throttle the generator pumps out 67 dbs making it Honda’s loudest inverter generator.
The maintenance schedule calls for an oil change every 25-50 hours, depending on how hard you run the generator and how hot it is outside. All of the other Honda generators I looked at call for an oil change every 100 hrs, regardless of how hard you run them or the weather.
One reason for the difference is that all of Honda’s generators run GX series commercial grade engines except for the 2800s, which use one of Honda’s GC series residential grade engines that comes with a lesser warranty.
The lesser engine, warranty, and tougher maintenance schedule are a few reasons for the price parity between the 2200 and 2800. Also, most of Honda’s inverter generators are parallel capable, where the 2800s are not. That said, I like the 2800 because it provides all the power I need in one portable package.
Whichever generator you get, I hope it works as hard for you as it has for me.
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To see the 2800 in action just click on the video below.