A lot of people want to know more about Champion 4000 watt generators. There has to be a good reason why this is such a popular choice, and we set out to discover why. I guess Champion generators owe much of their popular appeal to the fact that they are cheaper than many equivalents. Sure, you may find cheaper generators. But as a brand, Champion has a truly solid reputation for reliable light to medium duty generators. This is a brand characterized by great value for money.
So why is a Champion 4000 watt generator so sought after, over a smaller or larger model? This is an easy one to answer. Any generator producing 3500 to 4000 watts is the ideal size for an RV. They aren’t too big and are relatively lightweight, making for great portability. This is an important consideration for a camping generator. An output of around 4000 watts is perfect if you want to use an RV air conditioner, along with your lights, tv, and other light equipment that you would typically use when camping. At the same time, you have a good deal of power to supply your home with electricity during an outage. Later in the article, I’ll discuss what electrical equipment you can run using this size generator.
I’ll be reviewing two Champion 4000 watt generators this time around, the impeccable Champion 4000 Watt quiet inverter generator (100573), and the much more affordable Champion 100302 3500 watt generator. Looking at how these two generators are promoted, one may think that they are not both the same size. One is advertised as a 4000W generator, while the other states 3500W. They actually have identical output capabilities. The Champion 100573 is identified by its peak output (4000 watt), and the Champion 100302 by its rated output (3500 watt). Both these generators have a rated output of 3500W and a peak capacity of 4000W. For those who not familiar with rated and peak power specs for generators, You can click here to read more in details about Rated and Peak Watts
Champion 4000 Watt Inverter with Quiet Technology 100302
The Champion 100302 4000W inverter generator only costs slightly more than the standard model (reviewed below) that does not make use of a sophisticated low HD inverter. This makes it one of the cheapest 4000W inverter generators that you’ll find. There is one obvious difference between this model and most other quiet inverter generators. The Champion 4000W inverter generator has an open frame, whereas most quiet inverter generators have a sound-insulated enclosure for reduced noise levels. So, while this generator has a quiet mode to reduce noise levels, it’s not as quiet as the modern looking enclosed inverter generators.
Despite the old-fashioned, open frame design, the Champion 4000 watt inverter generator has all the advantages of inverter technology. On a generator of this size, an inverter is really valuable. Generators can produce high levels of Harmonic Distortion (HD), reaching up to 25% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) when exceeding 70% of the rated load. This means that the standard Champion 4000W generator will have excessive THD whenever you’re using more than 2800 watts. Even at a lower output, it will probably produce more than 5% THD which is deemed as the safe operating threshold for electronic equipment.
The Champion 4000 watt inverter generator will never exceed 3% THD, regardless of the load. This is thanks to the true sine wave inverter that electronically controls the power output. It also has all the other benefits associated with inverter technology. The quiet, or economy mode, reduces the RPM when the load requirement is below 25% of the rated output. This means the generator is quieter (64dBA from 23-feet) and reduces fuel consumption. You’ll be able to run the Champion 100302 for about 17-hours at 25% load. Since it has a smaller, 2.9 gallon gas tank, compared to the standard Champion 4000 watt generator, this is a pretty impressive runtime figure. It also has ports to accommodate a parallel kit, allowing you to link up another Champion 4000 watt inverter generator to double your power output to 8000 peak watts and 7000W continuous power.
This generator also uses a slightly larger 224cc 4-stroke engine. This should help to reduce noise level at higher loads, as the more powerful engine won’t be working as hard. Like the standard Champion 4000W generator, this engine is also CARB and EPA compliant. However, this model only has a recoil starter with a manual choke, no electric starter. This means there can be no option for a remote control either. Though the easy cold start engine is a breeze to get up and running in all weather conditions.
While this is a lightweight (81.6 LBS) generator, it does not include a wheel kit, and this means no handle either. The frame provides plenty of good positions for lifting and carrying the generator, but you’ll probably want an extra hand to help when doing so. Although this model only has a single RV 120V 30A outlet and 2 X 120V 20A household outlets, it has the advantage of a 12VDC outlet with a USB adapter. It also doesn’t have the “IntelliGUAGE” that you get on the standard Champion 4000 watt generator.
In some ways, it may look like you’re paying more for less when you compare the cheaper Champion 100573 to the 100302 inverter model. However, you cannot overlook the advantages of inverter technology. When you compare it to any other 4000W inverter generator, the Champion model is exceptionally cheap, and this means incredible value for money. You also have the benefit of the great support network that Champion provides, and a 3-year warranty.
Champion 4000 Watt Portable Generator (CARB) 100573
With a surge output of 4000W, this model is technically a 4000 watt Champion generator. Though you only have 3500 watts of constant power. This is enough power to start and run a standard 15000 BTU air conditioner. If you’re using a 10000 BTU RV air conditioner, you’ll have that extra power needed for the other basic appliances. Even more, if you’re using an AC with a good Energy Star rating. Essentially, this generator is intended for RV owners. But it’s also a great option for home backup power and light-duty jobsite use.
As I said in the introduction, affordability is a big reason why this is such a popular brand. You should be able to snap up the Champion 100573 for around $500. Not only is this this a fantastic price for a good quality 3500/4000W generator, this model has some high-end features that are not all that common. One such feature is the wireless remote control. You can start or stop the Champion 3500 watt generator from a distance of 8-feet using a handy fob.
Power is derived from the reliable Champion 196cc (CARB certified) engine. It has an electric starter and a recoil starter, for when the battery fails. Even though this generator has a great metal frame that warps all around the large (3.8 gallon) metal gas tank and has metal protection plates, it isn’t all that heavy at just over 98-pounds (140 LBS shipping weight). A wheel kit and center-mounted single fold down handle makes it fully portable, even on relatively rough terrain. Great for both campsites and jobsites.
This is a very economical generator when it comes to fuel consumption. You can expect around 12-hours runtime from 3.8-gallons of gas at 50% of the rated load. For an open frame generator, it’s also much quieter than I expected, coming in at 68dBA measured from a distance of 23-feet. This is about the same noise level as a vacuum cleaner. So, while not exactly whisper quiet, it shouldn’t be much of an issue in a campsite or residential neighborhood.
Champion call this an RV ready generator because it has the 30A outlets you’d want for connecting to an RV and a transfer switch to your home. These are an L5-30R (120V 30A) outlet and a TT-30R twist lock 120V 30A outlet. Naturally it also has standard household 120V outlets, 2 of them, and these are protected by a single 20A breaker. A 25A main breaker serves as protection for the two 30A outlets. In the top corner of the user panel is a useful “IntelliGUAGE”. This is a digital display with a touchpad selector, allowing you toggle through and view the output voltage, hertz (frequency), and the running hours. The only things lacking are any type of DC outlets and a fuel gauge.
As a very affordable Champion 4000 watt generator, this is a fantastic deal. I’m not going to suggest that the Champion 100573 can compare to similar offerings from Honda, Yamaha, or any of the really expensive machines, but it is exceptional value for money. This is a reliable generator, designed for residential use and, for this purpose, it is more than up to the task. You’ll never have a problem finding after sales service, as this is a well-established brand in the US, with a nationwide network of certified dealerships and service centers. It also comes with a warranty that can match the high-end manufacturers – 3-years is more than one expects in this price range.
What Can You Run on a 4000 Watt Generator?
Both the Champion generators reviewed here have a peak output of 4000W and a running capacity of 3500W. So, let’s take a look at what type of electrical equipment you can expect to use with either of these generators.
Using a 4000 Watt Generator for Your RV
I would think that if you’re buying a generator of this size for an RV, you probably intend using it to power an RV air conditioner. So, we should start with how many watts you need for an RV air conditioner. You first need to know what size air conditioner you’re using and whether it is an Energy Star AC or not. An air conditioner with a good Energy Star rating can use up to half the power of conventional models.
A standard 15000 BTU RV air conditioner will require approximately 3500 watts to start and use around 800 watts when running. A 10000 BTU AC will need a startup current of about 2000 watts and use about 650W when running.
So, if you’re using a 15000 BTU air conditioner, you will be quite limited as to what other equipment you can use. Keep in mind that an AC cycles on and off continuously, so need to make provision for the high startup requirement at any time. This leaves you with 500 watts to spare, which can power your lights, TV, satellite receiver, along with chargers for cell phones and the like. You should also be able to use a laptop, though a desktop computer may just push it too far and trip the generator. If you’re not using an inverter generator, you will experience high THD levels every time the AC starts. This will probably cause the picture on your TV, or computer screen to distort slightly and the sound may also be affected. Every time this happens, there’s a good possibility that the peak in THD is causing harm which will eventually lead to equipment failure. An inverter will prevent this from happening. If you want to use a microwave or any other high-watt appliance, you can switch the air conditioner off whilst using these appliances.
Given all this, a 4000W generator, especially if it is not an inverter generator, will be more practical if you’re using a 10000 BTU air conditioner. You’ll have a full 2000 watts of usable power, after factoring in the startup requirement for your air conditioner. This is enough power for a most RV refrigerators, or a microwave. Though you will still need to consider inverter vs non-inverter when using high loads.
Using a 4000 Watt Generator for Your Home
Using either of these Champion 4000 watt generators to power your home during an outage will be similar to the examples given for an RV. You will have enough power for a refrigerator and most other appliances that you would be using at the same time.
You should be able to use a small room air conditioner, or microwave whilst the refrigerator is running. Like an AC, a refrigerator cycles on and off. So you need to be aware that the full startup requirement for a refrigerator (generally around 1400W), needs to be available at all times.
If you’re using an inverter generator, you should have no problems powering your TV, computer and other light electrical appliances at the same time as the refrigerator and one other large appliance, like a microwave or small air conditioner. Whilst, you’ll have enough power, using a non-inverter generator, you run the risk of high THD which will harm electronic devices like TVs and computers.
You always have the option to use other high-watt equipment, like a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, even the washing machine. Though you will need to monitor your power usage and switch off some equipment when using another high-watt appliance.
Using a 4000W Generator on a Jobsite
It’s not that easy to calculate your peak and running power on a jobsite because you can have any number or power tools switching on at any time. Even a small electric drill will draw some startup current, but this won’t be too much. Larger tools, like angle grinders, saws, and air compressors will need more power, especially when starting.
You should have no problem using up to 8 X 13” drills at the same time. If you’re using a circular saw and an angle grinder, you will still have enough power for several smaller power tools. An air compressor, depending on its size, will have a high startup current. If you’re using an air compressor, you won’t be able to use much more than a few power drills or, possibly a saw. Though, you always have the option of using pneumatic tools, since you have compressed air on site.
Rated vs Peak Generator Output
Most generators have two power output specifications, rated power and peak power, expressed in watts.
Rated Output may also be referred to as continuous power / watts / output. Regardless of the terminology, all these terms refer to the same thing. This is the wattage that the generator can deliver continuously. So this is the amount of power you can use for extended periods of time without tripping the generator
Peak Output or surge power is the current that a generator can supply for a short period of time. This is to allow for appliances, like air conditioners, refrigerators, pumps, and microwaves, that require extra power when starting. Equipment with an inductive load requires an extra surge of inrush current for a brief period when they start and then revert to their rated load when running normally. For example, a refrigerator may use 400W of electricity normally. But when the motor starts, it can use 3 – 4 times as much electricity for a short time, usually less than a second. To prevent the generator tripping when these appliances start, a peak output (generally around 20% – 25% of the rated output) is provided for a short boost of power.