Honda EM Series Portable Generators: Commercial Grade at Home? Yes, Please!

Honda EM6500SX portable generator
Honda EM6500SX portable generator

Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Honda currently makes four lines of portable generators – the EU, EB, EG, and EM series. The main differences among them are their intended use and how they try to conserve fuel, so they can run longer on a single tank of gas.

The EU series (click for more info) of Honda generators features several machines with inverter technology. The EG series as well as the EB and EM have large gas tanks. The EB series generators and the EM that I’ll discuss below each use Auto Throttle to use less fuel when the load is decreased.

Let’s take a closer look at the 3 models in the EM series to see which one, if any, is best suited to your needs. If, by the end of this review, you find that none of them is a good match, check out the other series using the links in the previous paragraph. I’m sure you’ll find one that you’ll want to try.

For those who have time now, continue to the article that follows. For those in a hurry who want to check the pricing and availability of these portable generators at Amazon, click the links for the EM series generators below.

*Note that the EM4000S is no longer featured on Honda’s own website. It seems to be a discontinued model. You may still be able to find it from time to time on third party sites or in used condition.

If you want to skip ahead to a specific section of the review, you can click a link in the box below. Otherwise, you can just keep scrolling to learn about each Honda EM generator.

EM Series Generators Comparisons

As you might expect, the three EM models are quite similar in many ways, but each Honda generator also has some differences you’ll want to know about. The easiest way to look at some of these features is to compare them side by side, so that’s what the table below shows you.

Displacement (cc)270389389
AC Output*3500W4500W5500W
iAVR Output** (10 sec.)5000W7000W7000W
DC Output12V, 100W12V, 100W12V, 100W
StarterElectric, RecoilElectric, RecoilElectric, Recoil
Fuel Tank Capacity (gal.)
Runtime per Tank (hrs.)
Warranty (yrs.)333

*Figures are for rated output and load. All models also have 120/240V output.
**See below for more information on iAVR output.

Honda EM4000S

Check the pricing and availability of the Honda EM4000S generator at Amazon.

It’s interesting to note that somehow Honda manages to get more power from the EM6500S than from the EM5000S even though they use the same engine. Of course, the cost there is that you use up your tank of gas sooner.

Another point of interest is that all three of these machines have the same size gas tank (according to the Honda site), yet they vary greatly in run time on that amount of fuel. In other words, they make some more efficient than others.

iAVR stands for Intelligent Automatic Voltage Regulation. According to Honda, this…

“ensures a consistent flow of power regardless of the load. This translates into stable power for sensitive equipment and a more reliable power source for you.”

This apparently also enables these machines to give you 10 seconds of output well above the maximum rating after using the electric start (or recoil, as needed) so you can get larger equipment going more easily. Nice!

Honda EM5000S

Check the pricing and availability of the Honda EM5000S generator at Amazon.

The video below from Honda gives a nice overview of each of the EM series portable generators.

All three of these units have the same receptacles.

  • Two 20A 125V GFCI Duplex
  • 30A 125V Locking Plug
  • 20A 125 / 250V Locking Plug

The entire EM series also features 120 / 240V selector switches for more help with those larger pieces of equipment, 12V DC auto charging for car batteries with a problem, and automatic detection of low oil and circuit breakers to protect the engine.

Since these are rather large, heavy units (even the smallest is over 200 pounds), they all come with easy folding handles, wheel kits, and full frames to make them as portable as possible.

You can get an optional remote starter so you can stay inside when the weather is bad – blizzard, hurricane, etc. – and still get the power you need.

Get a Commercial Grade Engine in Your Home Generator

Based on the ideas given by Honda (below), it’s clear they mean these generators for home use, even though the iGX engines in them are commercial grade! As always, you can use your generator for whatever you want, as long as it can handle the load.

Here are Honda’s suggestions.

  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Microwave Oven
  • Furnace Fan
  • Sump Pump
  • TV
  • DVD Player
  • Hair Dryer
  • Coffee Maker
  • Computer
  • Garage Door Opener
  • Incandescent Lights

So, yes, please give me a commercial grade machine for use at home when the hurricane knocks out my power for weeks on end. Thank you very much!

Honda EM6000S

Check the pricing and availability of the Honda EM6000S generator at Amazon.

What Do Owners Think of Their EM Series Portable Generators?

Comments about these powerful machines are overwhelmingly positive. One EM4000S owner used his for several days without a problem.

“I ran it for 4 days straight during some of the hottest weather primarily to keep 2 refrigerators, and a 7 cubic foot chest freezer running. I added a 10,000 BTU window A/C unit to the mix after calculating the load of all my devices and was able to keep the temperature in the house tolerable.”

An EM5000S user means this in a good way.

“This generator is everything I expected from Honda.”

This EM6500S owner really put his generator through its paces.

“I did a test run and it had no problem with running; Fridge, Freezer, Water Pump, Sump Pump, Furnace, Washing Machine, Gas Clothes Dryer, Gas Stove Ignition, Lighting, TV, Dish Box, DVD Player, Internet Modem, iPhone, Cordless Phone, Laptop, Digital Alarm Clock.”

Honda also makes the 5000 and 6500 watt generators with “CO-MINDER”, which is their carbon monoxide detector. Look for “SX” at the end of model names for this extra feature. (As of this writing, the 6500SX is not readily available at Amazon.)

Honda EM5000SX

Check the pricing and availability of the Honda EM5000SX generator with CO-MINDER at Amazon.

You can also see more about the other popular series from Honda here:

If you’re on the fence about buying a generator online, check out my thoughts on the matter in this article.