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You’ll find that there are many appliances, tools, and other gadgets that 4000 watt generators can run quite easily. That’s not to say that they can power absolutely everything, but they can handle most of your day-to-day needs.
The table below shows a number of application/watt combinations. The wattages are estimated averages. The actual power you might need will vary by appliance or tool brand, model, size, etc.
|1/4″ Drill||350||3/4″ Drill||350|
|TV (Color)||350||3 1/4″ Planer||500|
|Reciprocating Saw||500||Small Refrigerator||600|
|1/2″ Drill||700||Washing Machine||750|
|1/3 HP Well Pump||750||1/3 HP Sump Pump||800|
|Electric Weed Trimmer||1000||Rotary Hammer||1000|
|Wood Router||1000||Belt Sander||1000|
|1/2 HP Well Pump||1000||1/2 HP Sump Pump||1050|
|2-Slice Toaster||1100||Vacuum Cleaner||1100|
|Disc Sander||1200||6 1/2″ Planer||1200|
|Chain Saw||1200||Space Heater||1300-1500|
|Microwave Oven||1500||Electric Range (1 Element)||1500|
|Demolition Hammer||1500||10″ Miter Saw||1500|
|16″ Beam Saw||1500||14″ Cut-Off Saw||1500|
|4-Slice Toaster||1650||12″ Concrete Cutter||1800|
|9″ Disc Grinder||1800||7 1/4″ Circular Saw||2000|
|Disc Grinder||2000||Air Compressor||2000|
|Air Conditioner (13,500 BTU)||2500||Refrigerator / Freezer||2500|
Now it should be obvious that 4000 watts could power just a few of these items at the same time. Near the bottom of the list, however, are some pretty hefty appliances. If you only needed to run your refrigerator (with freezer), a portable generator of this size could do it, whereas a 2000 watt model could not.
If you’re in a hurry, you can click a link in the list below to quickly check the availability and pricing of these portable generators at Amazon.
What Are the Best 4000 Watt Generators Available?
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular (likely making them the best currently available) 4000 watt models in some detail. I’ll give you information on 2 models from Champion, and one each from DuroStar, PowerLand, and Sportsman. You’ll see that there are some significant differences among them.
The first Champion, model 46539, that we’ll examine is the largest generator in this group by far. It measures 28.5 x 21.1 x 20.7 inches. That puts it well over 12,000 cubic inches, whereas the other four models are all less than 7500 cubic inches each.
Since it is so large, it is also the heaviest of those reviewed here, as you would expect – but not by much. The 46539 weighs 140 pounds, which is only 5 pounds more than the DuroStar (below).
The two Champion generators in this group each produce 3500 watts of running power, but at least with the 46539 model, you only get that power when using either the twistlock outlet or the RV outlet (as noted by one Amazon reviewer).
If you use either of the regular 120V 3-prong outlets, you get less than 3000 watts. Depending on your situation, that could be a significant difference.
This appears to be the only model in the group that has both an electric start and the manual recoil start options. All the rest have only the recoil starting mechanism.
This Champion generator can hold 4 gallons of gas which should give you about 12 hours of power while producing 68 decibels of noise. That noise level is standard for a portable generator of this size.
The Champion 46596 is smaller than its heftier brother by about 5000 cubic inches.
An important point about his generator for those of you living in California: This machine is not for sale in that state. Existing laws prohibit its sale there. I would assume this is due to pollution factors.
The 46596 weighs 97 pounds which is a little below average in this group.
This Champion model has one less 120V outlet than the larger model above, giving it one 120V, one twistlock, and one RV.
It has the largest gas tank of the bunch at 4.3 gallons, but it still seems to get just 12 hours of running time at half load. Like its big brother, it chimes in at 68 decibels and produces 3500 running watts (which may be when using the twistlock or RV outlets).
Like all the remaining generators in this review, it has a manual recoil starter.
The DuroStar DS4000S is another model that is not CARB-compliant and thus not for sale in California.
There are two disappointing features of this unit. One is that it only gets 8 hours of running time (at half load) from its 4 gallon gas tank. The other is that this setup only produces 3300 running watts.
It weighs 135 pounds, so you’d think a big machine like that would have more to offer. It measures 17.5 x 23 x 18 inches.
You get two 120V 3-prong, grounded outlets and one 120V twistlock outlet on the side of the generator.
The decibel output is 69 which is average. Again, this model has only the manual recoil starter.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot more to say about the DuroStar DS4000S. For the price you’re likely to pay, I think it should give you better output, but it just doesn’t.
The PowerLand PD4000 has almost identical features compared to the DuroStar just above, but it delivers power for a much longer time and is significantly lighter in weight too.
California residents will be much more pleased with this generator too, since it can be sold in that state as well.
The PowerLand measures 25 x 17 x 17 inches and weighs in at 100 pounds. If you compare the frames of the PowerLand and the DuroStar, you’ll notice that the PowerLand has two additional bars across the top. Granted, they probably don’t add a lot of weight, but this machine still weighs less than the DuroStar and yet appears to have a sturdier frame.
It has the same outlets, starter mechanism, gas tank size, decibel output, and running watts (3300) as the DuroStar DS4000S.
But this model runs for 12 hours, like the Champions, instead of only 8, like the DuroStar. There must be something about the efficiency built into the PowerLand that makes it so much better.
Finally we come to the Sportsman GEN4000LP. Just looking at the model ID might tell you that there’s something different about this generator from all the rest. It runs on LP gas instead of gasoline.
On 20 pounds of LPG, you will get about 10 hours of power. The propane fuel hose you’ll need, as well as a regulator, are included in the package.
The Sportsman weighs just 88 pounds. I imagine this is in part because there is no gas tank needed. It measures 23 x 17 x 17.5 inches, making it the smallest in the group. The lack of a gas tank has something to do with this too.
You get the two standard 120V outlets, but instead of a twistlock, there is one DC receptacle.
One feature that may turn you off here is that this unit produces the lowest running wattage in the group at just 3250 watts. That’s still enough power to run many items (see table above), but if it’s not as much as you need, you’ll have to check out a different generator.
Head to Head Comparison Chart
Check out the similarities and differences among these 4000W models at a glance.
Champion 46596 (no CA)
DuroStar DS4000S (no CA)
|Dimensions (in.)||28.5 x 21.1 x 20.7||23.2 x 17.5 x 17.8||17.5 x 23 x 18||25 x 17 x 17||23 x 17 x 17.5|
|Special Outlets||1 Twistlock; 1 RV||1 Twistlock; 1 RV||1 Twistlock||1 Twistlock||1 12V DC|
|Starter||Electric RC & Recoil||Recoil||Recoil||Recoil||Recoil|
|Fuel Tank (gal.)||4||4.3||4||4||LPG (hose)|
|Run Time (hrs.)||12||12||8||12||10|