Honda EM Series Portable Generators: Overview and Review

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 features several inverter machines. The EG series as well as the EB and EM have large gas tanks. The EB series 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 below.

On the Honda website, Honda ends the name of each of these models with the “S”. However, the label on the machine itself ends in “SX”, and you may see this designation elsewhere too. I have not seen a difference between the model names given above and EM4000SX, EM5000SX, or EM6500SX.

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 and learning about all the EM models.

How Do the Models in the EM Series Compare to Each Other?

As you might expect, the three EM models are quite similar in many ways, but they also have 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.

Model EM4000S EM5000S EM6500S
Engine iGX270 iGX390 iGX390
Displacement (cc) 270 389 389
AC Output* 3500W 4500W 5500W
iAVR Output** (10 sec.) 5000W 7000W 7000W
DC Output 12V, 100W 12V, 100W 12V, 100W
Starter Electric, Recoil Electric, Recoil Electric, Recoil
Fuel Tank Capacity (gal.) 6.2 6.2 6.2
Runtime per Tank (hrs.) 10.1 8.1 6.9
Decibels* 71 72 73
Warranty (yrs.) 3 3 3


*Figures are for rated output and load. All models also have 120/240V output.

**See below for more information on iAVR output.

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 how long they will run on that amount of fuel.

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 at the start so you can get larger equipment going more easily.

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 and still get the power you need.

How Does Honda Suggest You Use These EM Series Generators?

Based on the ideas given by Honda, 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

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.”

Check the pricing and availability, plus any discounts, of these Honda portable generators at Amazon now. (Click one or more links below.)