One can not overstate the importance of a quality generator in your garage or shed. It is useful in a variety of ways that speak to the quality and convenience in your activities. Generators supply power in remote locations like while camping, or at the cabin. But they also keep us powered when the storms come our way and knock down the conventional power lines. That generator will power your lights, your radio and television, and it will keep the food in the refrigerator from going bad. Knowing which generator you need will depend on your power demands. The market if rife with options and quantity. It is up to you to plan your needs and to purchase a quality generator like the DuroStar DS4000S.
Choosing the Proper Generator
Knowing that you need a generator is not enough. You need to know what kind of generator you need and at what capacity you will be running it. You can purchase a top of the line, special edition, maximum power generator; but if you are only running one lamp and a box fan, you have over-purchased your generator needs and are wasting your money and power.
On the other hand, if you are expecting to power a window air conditioner, several lamps, the basement sump pump, your television and a hair dryer, but you didn’t do your research and picked up the cheapest available generator, you will be disappointed and left in the dark.
Draw, Budget, and Utilization
Knowing your needs and expected current draw is critical to purchasing the right generator for you. Many charts and graphs are available online that show the average current draw for many household items. This will educate you on how much power you will require once you determine which appliances you will need to power.
Once you determine the power class of generator you need, the budget is set and much easier to sort through. Selecting the generator is a matter of perusing through reviews such as this one, identifying the available brands and options on each generator and determining which one is the right fit.
Deciding your current draw is critical and requires you to answer a few questions. What will you be using this generator for? How often? If you want to use this investment for multiple purposes, you will want to plan for the purpose with the higher power draw so you will not be left disappointed. If the initial plan was to buy this generator for the remote job site where you will be running one power tool at a time, but since you are purchasing a generator, it would be nice to use it to power the RV for the big camping trip; be sure to calculate the higher current draw of the RV when budgeting your wattage. A small generator will be enough to run that saw but may not be enough to run the RV.
Enter the DuroStar DS4000S
The DuroStar DS4000S is designed to support all your moderate remote power needs. This model runs at a continuous 3300W with a surge to 4000W. Enough to run multiple appliances without having to sacrifice one device’s power to run another.
A four gallon fuel tank will hold enough gasoline for this machine to give you eight hours of runtime. This runtime estimate is calculated under the assumption you are running the generator at half capacity and drawing roughly 1650W consistently. Of course, if you draw less, the generator will run longer and if you run more, the fuel will not last quite as long. Regardless of your heavy or lite usage, checking the easy to read fuel indicator should be part of your regular checks while running the generator.
Features of the DuroStar DS4000S
Generator power panels can range from the simplistic to the overly complicated. This DuroStar DS4000S is right in the sweet spot offering you a clean working surface without the clutter of unnecessary distractions. Far to the left and nicely separated from the rest of the user interfaces is the engine control switch. It is a large illuminate rocker switch which will guide you to the critical cutoff even in the dark.
Below the engine switch is an alarm LED for your engine’s oil. Low oil is bad for any engine but is a critical alert for a small engine running long and hot to power a generator. Basic maintenance for your portable generator should include a strong focus on changing your oil and monitoring oil levels, but if your oil should run low during use, this LED will light up indicating your need to immediately solve the problem. This alarm light may save you from burning up your engine during extended usage.
Volts, Breakers and Outlets
An analog voltmeter gives you real time confirmation that your generator is putting out usable power. When you hear changes in the run speed or see flickering lights, a quick glance at the face plate’s voltage meter will allow you to confirm proper generator output.
The main breaker switch acts as a safety switch both before and after power is connected. Turning the breaker off allows you to connect all external power cords before starting the generator. Once the engine is started and running up to speed, a flip of this switch connects power to your devices, saving them the startup surge and without you plugging anything in to a running generator.
Outlets on the face of the control panel include a dual 20A standard three prong outlet for all your commercial home needs as well as a twistlock 30A outlet for the heavier duty appliances that draw more power.
Power Capacities of the DuroStar DS4000S
Having calculated your required power draw, you purchased the DuroStar DS4000S knowing it was a powerful generator that met or exceeded your needs. Surging to 4000W and running on a consistent 3300W, this power plant will certainly be enough to give you that critical power. It’s ideal for when out on camping trips, at the large tailgating parties, or at home when the power goes out from a storm.
The surge rating of 4000W means that this generator will give you that extra moment of power required to get many electrical appliances started. For instance; a typical refrigerator hums along using around 700W and then will cycle off when it reaches temperature. However, when it cycles back on, it takes a momentary surge of around 2200W to get it started. Then, it drops back down to 700W again.
You will want to plan your total draw at the 3300W rate and ensure that any surging appliances do not put you over the 4000W range. In a storm, the DS4000S will push enough power through to power a lot. This includes several lights, the television, keep the refrigerator running and even let you make a pot of coffee. Or at the tailgate party, it will easily run that PA system and keep the bouncy-house inflated. It can do this with plenty of power to spare.
Focusing on Physical Construction
Solid construction of the open steel frame creates a rigid and sturdy tool. This will serve you well over the years of use. The entire power plant is isolated from the frame by compressible motor mounts. These mounts absorb some of the vibration inherent in a running engine. It makes for a more stable platform for the generator. Additionally, it also cuts down on the noise that would ordinarily be transferred to the frame.
The body of the generator measures in at 23”x18”x17.5” This is small enough to be transported in the trunk of your car if necessary, or easily hoisted up into the back of a truck at a moment’s notice. However, weighing 102 pounds, this generator can be heavy enough to require a two-man lift. Moving the generator around from storage to use is a simple task when the optional wheel kit is installed. The solid rubber tires won’t go flat on you when you least expect it and the center grip handle makes pulling this around the campsite an easy task.
Pros and Cons of the DuroStar DS4000S
The DuroStar DS4000S is a great generator for the price. It competes with larger brand portable generators and is a fraction of the cost. However, even the best device will have perceivable flaws. Here is a short list of the pros and cons we found on the DS4000S generator.
Currently listed on Amazon for $269, this is a tiny fraction of comparable sized generators from other brands. The Honda EB3000 MSRP is $1479. The Generac GP3300 is listed for $489.
Con: Heavy and loud
The flip side of less costly is less refined. This generator is a heavy unit to lift in and out of vehicles or onto garage workbenches for maintenance. The muffler system does a fair job of cutting down the output to 69dB. However, that is the volume of the average household vacuum cleaner.
This particular model generator has been on the market for a while and has been tested and reviewed by many consumers. Most people are happy with this product and give a favorable report on its operation and customer service. This is not a speculative entry into the generator market. The DS4000S has been tested and proved itself worthy.
Con: Not CARB Compliant
California buyers beware, this generator is not certified to meet the California Air Resources Board rules and regulations. The manufacturer cites this generator is EPA approved, but this unit can not be sold in the state of California.
When looking for a moderate power and highly reliable generator on a budget, the DuroStar DS4000S is an excellent choice. It is a no-frills generator that comes in as less expensive than its contemporaries because it doesn’t focus on the non essential purposes of the generator. Basic looks and heavier design won’t stop this portable generator from producing all the power you need for a long time to come.