Honda’s 2800 watt inverter generator comes in two flavors: 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.
The black one has a fuel gauge. The silver does not. Both are inverter generators, which means they produce stable power 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. So, if you want to use it 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. Meaning, if you want to use it to power an RV through a surge protector, or use it with an inline GFCI switch without getting a false positive when you hit the test button, 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 one of the free receptacles.
The last difference is only the black model accepts Honda’s heater kit, which 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.”
One reason for this is all of Honda’s generators use their GX series commercial grade engines except for the 2800s, which use one of Honda’s residential grade engines that comes with a lesser warranty.
In case you’re wondering, a 2200 or 2000 watt generator that puts out 1600 or 1800 running watts is usually enough power to run a one man crew. You 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.
To help out Honda offers a wheel kit. It adds a few pounds but it gets the generator off the ground making it easier to load and unload. The arms don’t lock open so they don’t offer any 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. Eventually, I just cut the rear legs off and it pulls much better now.
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 and 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 is strict calling for an oil change every 25-50 hours, depending on how hard you run it and how hot it is outside. All of the other Honda generators I looked at call for an oil change every 100 hrs, or six months, regardless of how hard you run them or the weather.
So the lesser engine, warranty, and tougher maintenance schedule are a few reasons for the price parity between the 2200 and 2800s. Also, most of Honda’s inverter generators are parallel capable where the 2800s are not.
I like the 2800 because it provides all the power I usually need in one portable package. But again, the lighter, quieter, more compact 2200 is usually enough power for a one man crew. Whichever generator you get, I hope it works as hard for you as it has for me.
To see the 2800 in action just click on the video below.