Powerhorse Portable Generators Review: Hard to Find, Worth the Search?

Powerhorse 9000W portable generator

Powerhorse 9000W portable generator

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

Powerhorse portable generators (not to be confused with Powerhouse generators) are marketed by Northern Tool + Equipment. They offer a full line of generators ranging from 2500 watts all the way up to 13,000 watts.

I should mention up front that Powerhorse generators can be difficult to find in stock at Amazon. I was able to find listings for all wattages except the 13,000. So after you check the availability at Amazon, you might have to actually shop for one elsewhere too.

Speaking of checking Amazon, you can click the links in the list below to see the pricing and availability of these Powerhorse generators there.

If you want to skip ahead to a certain section of this review, you can click a link in the box below. Otherwise, you can just keep scrolling and reading as usual.

What Can I Use a Powerhorse Generator For?

If you’re talking about all the models in the Powerhorse line in general, you can use them for virtually any purpose. They work well for camping, tailgating, outdoor parties, etc. They can power TVs, appliances of all sizes, lights, and more.

You will especially find them useful during blackouts, storms, and natural disasters when the power grid fails in your area.

If you’re wondering about a specific model, then it depends on how many items you need to power and what size they are. As with any portable generator, not just the Powerhorse models, you need to add up the power required by everything you really need to run and pick the appropriate wattage of your generator based on that figure.

Who Makes Powerhorse Generators?

I mentioned above that Northern Tool + Equipment markets these machines, but that doesn’t mean that they manufacture them.

Northern Tool has a testing facility in Faribault, Minnesota, where they say they check out these models to “ensure optimum performance and maximum life” by putting them through “thousands of hours of rigorous testing situations”.

That can’t mean that they test every single unit before it is sold. Perhaps they spot check them to make sure that the quality standards they want are maintained.

The generators are apparently made in China. Some have said that at least some of the models might be Honda clones. (I cannot verify this claim.)

They are made with overhead valve (OHV) engines that, according to Northern Tool, are “built to last with industrial-strength cast iron cylinder sleeves and dual ball bearing high-performance forged crankshafts.”

They further state that a “high-end 100% copper-wound generator head allows operation at full load continuously for weeks without overheating.”

Northern Tool claims that harmonic distortion is less than 5%, so you should be able to run your more sensitive electronics without worry.

All models have a Low Oil Shutdown feature to protect the engine should the oil drop to an unsafe level.

Many of these models have an electric start, but you need to supply them with a battery as one is not normally included in the main purchase. This seems unusual to me. If your generator requires a battery, why wouldn’t you supply one that you know is going to work with the starter? (All electric start models do have a recoil backup starting mechanism.)

You do get a wheel kit with the larger models. You may have to install it yourself. Not that this is a problem. I haven’t been able to find out whether or not it comes installed though.

Even though you may not be able to find the model you want at Amazon (see note above), Northern Tool says that they are always in stock through them. You may find them via other outlets as well.

If you purchase from Northern Tool and subsequently need repairs, the company says, “Our professional in-store service department performs all repairs on site. Replacement parts are stocked at our Northern Tool + Equipment warehouse and ready to ship the same day your order is received.”

All models except the 13,000 watt have a manufacturer’s 2-year consumer and 90-day commercial warranty.

How Do the Powerhorse Models Compare to Each Other?

Take a look at the tables below to see the similarities and differences from one model to the next at a glance.

I was unable to find the decibel level for a few models. I would expect that they are in a range similar to the others nearby. Since most of these are not inverter models, they tend to be noisier than other brands of equal power.

Model 750137 750138 750139
Start / Surge Watts 2500 4000 4000
Running Watts 2000 3100 3100
Starter Recoil Recoil Electric / Recoil
Engine DH212 DH212 DH212
Displacement (cc) 212 212 212
Run Time* (hrs.) 11 10.6 10.6
Fuel Capacity (gal.) 3.9 3.9 3.9
Receptacles Four 120V, 20A;
one 12V DC
Eight 120V, 20A;
one 120/240V 30A locking;
one 12V DC
Eight 120V, 20A;
one 120/240V 30A locking;
one 12V DC
Dimensions: LxWxH (in.) 25 ⅖ x 18 ¾ x 19 ¾ 25 ⅖ x 18 ¾ x 19 ¾  25 ⅖ x 18 ¾ x 19 ¾
Shipping Weight (lbs.) 102 115 138
Decibels 67 n/a n/a

*Run time is rated at ½ load

Model 750140 750141 750142
Start / Surge Watts 7000 7000 9000
Running Watts 5500 5500 7250
Starter Recoil Electric / Recoil Electric / Recoil
Engine DH420 DH420 DH420
Displacement (cc) 420 420 420
Run Time* (cc) 10.4 10.4 9.6
Fuel Capactiy (gal.) 6.6 6.6 6.6
Receptacles Eight 120V, 20A;
one 120/240V 30A locking;
one 12V DC
Eight 120V, 20A;
one 120/240V 30A locking;
one 12V DC
Eight 120V 20A;
one 120V 30A locking;
one 120/240V 30A;
one 12V DC
Dimensions: LxWxH (in.) 33 x 24 x 25 33 x 24 x 25 33 x 24 x 25
Shipping Weight (lbs.) 188 225 215
Decibels 74 74 75

*Run time is rated at ½ load

Model 750144 799215
Start / Surge Watts 11,000 13,000
Running Watts 8400 10,000
Starter Electric / Recoil Electric / Recoil
Engine n/a n/a
Displacement (cc) 457 622
Run Time* (hrs.) 8.5 15
Fuel Capacity (gal.) 6.6 12.6
Receptacles Eight 120V 20A;
one 120V 30A locking;
one 120/240V 35A;
one 12V DC
Four 120V 20A;
one 120V 30A locking;
one 120/240V 30A locking;
one 120/240V 41.7A;
one 12V DC
Dimensions: LxWxH (in.) n/a 33 ½ x 24 ⅖ x 25 ⅗
Shipping Weight (lbs.) 209 324
Decibels n/a 77

*Run time is rated at ½ load

You can see that most of the models have 8 standard 120V receptacles. This is many more than most other brands. So if that is a feature you need, you should seriously consider getting a Powerhorse.

What’s the Verdict on Powerhorse Portable Generators?

Owners are generally satisfied with the performance and reliability of these machines. Reviews tend to be a little mixed, but the positives outweigh the negatives. There are always going to be a few units that don’t work as promised, no matter which brand you choose, and it’s easier to consider telling about problems you had than to give a glowing review when all is working fine.

If these generators were more widely available at Amazon, it would be easier to give you a better feel for their popularity. Lack of availability there is not automatically a bad thing. In fact, if you do eventually make a purchase directly from Northern Tool, you may find it easier to get support should problems arise.

All that said, why not…

Check the availability and pricing of Powerhorse portable generators at Amazon now?

And remember: It’s Powerhorse, not Powerhouse.