For Any -Time Use – occasional, frequent, or fulltime – having a generator for powering appliances and equipment while camping and traveling is convenient. Here are two choices for your RV with similar features and performance but a significant difference in price.
Comparing the Predator 3500 vs Honda 3000 models is a challenge.
Which is right for you?
What do you want in a generator? How often will you be using it?
You want a generator that provides enough power to run all the necessary appliances and conveniences such as the air conditioner, coffeepot, toaster, and hairdryer. You also want enough power for your special technology needs and electronics such as computers.
Above all, you want your generator to be affordable. However, you also want the best value for your money regardless of your budget. You also want a generator that is easy to use, efficient, durable, dependable and quiet.
How does the Predator 3500 compare to the two Honda 3000 models?
All three of the models being compared here provide most of your wants and needs in a generator.
The Predator 3500 and Honda 3000 models all share standard features such as:
- Automatic shut off for low fuel and oil levels
- Overload protection
- Two power outlets
- Parallel capability for even more power
- Electric starter
- Advanced Inverter Technology – a major consideration for the clean steady power for electronics (computer etc).
These three models all look alike – the same color (red and black) and the same basic shape and size, so no choices there.
The differences in shape and size measurements are within a few inches of each other, so your choice here will depend on any possible restrictions within the storage compartment you will be using in your RV.
Are these generators to transport?
In addition to the length, width, and height measurements, the weight and overall portability of these generators are also significant considerations for ease in transporting them,
How much weight do you want to add to your RV and how much weight do you want to be lifting, loading and unloading or rolling around?
The Predator 3500 weighs about 100 lbs. Some sources list it at 115 lbs.
The Honda EU3000i weighs only 78 lbs while the Honda EU3000iS weighs 131 lbs.
Please note: If you are having any of these generators shipped, be aware of additional shipping costs and possible weight discrepancies. Various sources list different weights for the same product.
How easy are these generators to move around?
Regardless of how much your generator weighs, true portability depends on the convenience of handles and wheels for ease of loading and unloading, carrying or transporting.
The Predator 3500 has 4 integrated castors and an integrated handle.
The Honda EU3000i has 2 sturdy recessed wheels and a unique folding handle that flips up for easy portability. It also has ‘fixed’ handles offset for convenient lifting and carrying.
The Honda EU3500iS has built-in handles, also offset for easier lifting and carrying. However, this model does not have wheels. Not to worry – an All Terrain Wheel Kit is available to purchase and provides easy portability with 4 large oversized tires. In my experience, pulling, pushing or dragging items across soft dirt, rocky ground or even across the grass, especially heavier items such as generators, is much easier with the larger off-road or all-terrain type wheels.
What about performance?
These generators are comparable in standard features and specifications. Are they comparable in performance? Are these generators loud or quiet, how long will they run, and are they efficient?
The noise levels and run times of the Predator 3500 and Honda 3000 models are similar, however, the difference may be significant when you are choosing the right generator for your RV and camping needs.
Some campgrounds and areas have ordinances and noise restrictions that include generators, so it is wise, when choosing a generator, to consider its sound level. If you plan to be in a campground or areas with other RVs such as tailgating, the quieter your generator is the happier you and your neighbors will be.
On the other hand, if you plan to dry camp (boondocking), you most likely will not have any restrictions on noise levels and you will have few or no neighbors. Although, when camping off-grid, you may need to run the generator for longer periods of time, so you want it to be quiet for your own experience.
How quiet is quiet?
The sound or noise made by your generator while it is being used varies from when it first starts up, is being used at maximum load, and when it is idling at 25% load. The sound is measured in decibels (dB). Basically, a decibel is the degree of loudness or intensity of sound.
But what does that mean? How loud is a decibel? Here is a simple guide to help you understand decibel ranges:
- Heavy City Traffic = 100 dB
- Lawnmower = 90 dB
- Vacuum Cleaner = 70 dB
- Normal Conversation = 60 dB
- Private Office = 50 dB.
Compare the decibel ranges, measured at 25% load, of the Predator 3500 and Honda 3000 generators:
The Predator 3500 at 57 decibels is considered a quiet generator. The Honda EU3000i at 50 dB(A) and the EU3000iS at 50 dB(A) have a slight edge over the Predator 3500.
Now that you know the noise levels, how long will your generator run?
The Fuel Tank Capacity has a significant impact on the run times. It also impacts the overall weight of each generator — bigger tank, more gas, more weight as well as a longer run time as seen in these comparisons. How do these generators compare when running at 25% load?
- The Predator 3500: 2.6-gallon tank = 11 hours.
- The Honda EU3000i: 1.6-gallon tank = 7.7 hours
- The Honda EU3000iS: 3.4-gallon tank = 20 hours
There are other factors involving the overall quality of construction and design that also influence the efficiency and runtime of the generators.
So far, in this challenge, the Honda models are taking a slight lead with overall performance, efficiency, dependability, and style. However, I find the similarities as well, as the subtle differences of these generators, are not enough to have a huge influence on your choice of the right generator for your RV.
What about price?
Affordability and price are significant factors in choosing a generator for your RV and the differences in cost might help you decide which of these generators is right for your RV. How do the Predator 3500 and Honda 3000 generators compare in price?
The Predator 3500 is currently the lowest priced of the three models and the Honda EU3000i is the highest priced, with the Honda EU 3000iS in between the two and can be found for just a few hundred dollars more than the Predator 3500. Prices vary by vendor and are subject to change. When I was searching, I found competitive pricing here. (insert amazon links?)
Are you getting the most value for your money?
If cost is the most significant factor for you in choosing a generator for your RV, then the Predator 3500 is clearly the best choice. Even with a limited budget, however, you want the best value for the money. What is your budget? Before running off to purchase the lowest priced generator, consider a few other aspects such as the support offered with confidence by the manufacturer.
The Predator 3500 has a 90-day warranty, with a two-year coverage of emission components – as long as you have followed the maintenance schedule (be sure to read the fine print).
The Honda 3000 models are guaranteed for 3 years including all parts.
In the long run, the life of the generator depends on how much you use it and how much demand you put on it. The Predator 3500 is not even guaranteed for a full season by the manufacturer, whereas the Honda 3000 models are guaranteed for a full 3 years.
Which generator is right for your RV?
Should you choose the Predator 3500 or one of the Honda 3000 models?
If you plan to use your generator on occasional trips and outings during in a season, or for general camping and tailgating, then the Predator 3500 is probably adequate. In all fairness, the Predator 3500 offers affordability with many significant features.
As a full-time RVer or a frequent camper, your generator will be getting more use and require better performance. I think the Honda models take the lead here. Honda has a reputation for dependability, durability, reliability, and above all – quality. This is a well-earned reputation that has kept Honda at the top of the list for years.
I want to know I can depend on my generator performing well when I need it. I might be able to buy two (or possibly three) Predator 3500 generators for the price of one Honda 3000, but the bottom line? I want my money’s worth. I think either the Honda EU3000i or the Honda EU3000iS generator is worth the money.
I believe you get what you pay for.