Generac 5939 GP5500 Review

Generac 5939 Review & Buyers Guide

Briggs & Stratton P2200 Review & Summary

Product Name: Generac 5939 GP5500

Product Description: The Generac 5939 is known as a durable portable generator that is powerful enough as a home backup generator or work site generator but still compact enough for tailgating, too.

  • Noise Level
  • Reliability
  • Value vs. Cost
  • Ease of Use
3.9

Summary

Generac is a go-to brand for generators in the United States and their 5939 model is one of their classic products. What makes this portable generator stand out from similar models and why is it such a trusted model?

Scroll down to get full specs on the Generac 5939 GP5500 and find out what the advantages and disadvantages are of its features. Also, read our comparison of the Generac GP5500 with other portable generator models in the same series and the best reviewed 5000 watts portable generators on the market.

The Generac 5939 is known as a durable portable generator that is powerful enough as a home backup generator or work site generator but still compact enough for tailgating, too.

Generac is a go-to brand for generators in the United States and their 5939 model is one of their classic products. What makes this portable generator stand out from similar models and why is it such a trusted model?

Scroll down to get full specs on the Generac 5939 GP5500 and find out what the advantages and disadvantages are of its features. Also, read our comparison of the Generac GP5500 with other portable generator models in the same series and the best reviewed 5000 watts portable generators on the market.

About the 5939

The Generac GP5500 is one of the most popular portable generator models by this American brand. It is an overall versatile and powerful portable generator which is why it has been on the market for several years.

There are several variations of this model but in this review we are looking at the Generac 5939. The Generac 5939 GP5500 is the only model of its type that is both CSA and CARB compliant so this is the only version that they ship to California.

The Generac 5939 is a good alternative for a stationary home backup generator since its 5500 watts running power and nearly 6900 watts starting power is enough to run most household appliances.

It also holds enough power as an off-grid source of electricity for work sites or construction sites. The steel frame makes this model a sturdy design that is safe for heavy-duty use.

Generac also recommends this model for tailgating. The design has never-flat wheels and a folding handle which make it portable enough to haul it the required number feet away from your RV.

In theory, being a portable generator you can also use this model for outdoor activities such as camping. However, it is heavy and noisy taking it out into nature so it would be misplaced in a quiet public space.

5939 GP5500 Specs

Generac 5939 GP5500: Technical Specs
Product InformationDetail
Running Watts5500
Surge Wattage6875
FuelGasoline
Tank Capacity7.2 Gallons
Run Time10 Hours at 1/2 load
Weight171 lbs

The size and weight of the Generac 5939 GP5500 makes sense for the amount of power that it holds. This portable generator has an impressive starting wattage of 6875 watts and 5500 running watts.

The big difference in running watts and surge watts means that this model can handle household appliances that have a big difference between their starting power requirement and running power requirements. For example, the starting power requirement of many refrigerator and freezer models is three times the watts of its running power requirement.

As is expected of portable generators, the bigger the power the bigger the size. You start to question how portable a generator really is when it weighs 171 pounds like the Generac 5939.

On the other hand, Generac has been able to shave off a few pounds with the 5939 model. Plus, the heavy-duty wheels and folding handle compensate for the weight, at least in some way.

The run time of the Generac GP5500 is good. With a full 7.2 gallon fuel tank the engine is able to run for 10 hours at a quarter load which is enough for keeping the generator running overnight.

Then there are the features that affect its ease of maintenance and how user-friendly it is.

Surprisingly for a portable generator of its size, the Generac GP5500 still only has a recoil starter. A pull start is always more effort than an electric push start or remote start.

The control panel is also limited. There are no DC outlets but it does have four 120 volts 20 amp outlets and one 120 volts 30 amp outlet. Each outlet is covered and has its own circuit breaker.

Aside from the outlet, the only other feature on the control panel is an hour meter that helps to remind you when it is time for routine maintenance.

There is an automatic low-oil shutdown but there is no indicator light for this on the control panel.

Overall, the Generac 5939 is a very basic but powerful portable generator design.

Generac 5939 GP5500 vs Generac GP6500 & GP3600

The Generac GP series consists of many types of portable generators starting from as small as an inverter generator with 2300 watts running power to a heavy-duty portable generator with 17500 watts running power.

If you are looking for a small lightweight portable generator or when you are looking for a commercial/industrial portable generator, your choice comes natural. You simply have to look at the power output.

However, when you are considering the GP5500 then you are likely looking for a more versatile portable generator or one that is a good compromise between power and portability.

So, let’s compare the Generac 5939 GP5500 to its closest models in the series, the Generac 7690 GP6500 which is one level more powerful and the Generac 7677 GP3600 which is one level less powerful.

Aside from the obvious difference in running watts and surge watts there is another notable difference in power. Both the Generac 7690 and Generac 7677 have the PowerRush Advanced Technology which gives up to 40% more surge power compared to its running power.

In practice, this means that the engine can handle appliances with high starting power requirements without the generator needing to be much larger in size and running power. If you are looking for greater portability with more power then the Generac 7690 or Generac 7677 might be good alternatives.

The Generac 7690 and Generac 5939 are quite similar in price range so consider whether you can make use of the extra power.

There is a significant price difference between the Generac 7677 and the Generac 5939 but that is expected for a running power difference of 2000 watts. If you are looking for a budget option and can do with less power then consider going a size down from the GP5500.

In terms of design and technical specs each of these models are quite similar. All have a basic control panel with 120 volt covered outlets, circuit breakers and a hour-meter. All models also only have a pull start.

So, the main difference to look at when deciding between models in the Generac GP series is your budget and how much power you need.

Generac 5939 GP5500 vs Comparable Portable Generators

In the same power output category but from a different brand you have the Wen 56551. it is the more budget-friendly option but do its features match up to the Generac 5939 GP5500?

In terms of power, the Generac GP5500 has the upper hand since it has more surge power and more running power. The Wen 56551 has 5500 watts surge power and 5000 watts running power.

The fuel tank of the Wen 56551 is smaller at 6.5 gallons. Despite the smaller fuel tank the Wen 56551 has a longer run time since it can run for up to 11 hours on a quarter load.

Another feature related to power is the outlet. Whereas the Generac 5939 only has AC power outlets, the Wen 56551 also has one DC outlet.

Like the Generac 5939 the Wen 56551 also has a folding handle and wheel kit. This is definitely necessary to pull the 182.5 pounds of the Wen model. The Generac model is lighter by about 10 pounds when you are dealing with a portable generator of this size that difference in weight is nearly negligible.

Both control panels are similar in the way that they are both basic. The Wen 56551 control panel also only has the power outlets, circuit breakers and an hour-meter.

The final difference to consider is the price. The Wen 56551 is the more affordable option when compared to the Generac 5939 but is the price difference worth the difference in power?

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

This review has already touched on how basic the Generac 5939 GP5500 is but that can also work to your advantage. If you prefer a basic machine with no fuss, then the Generac 5939 is a good option.

What you get with this machine is simple handling and a lot of power. Compared to other portable generators that have a similar size and weight, the Generac 5939 holds more power.

The design is good for heavy-duty use since it has a steel frame, never-flat tires and a folding handle for pulling the generator along. Considering its purpose as a heavy-duty portable generator, you can understand why the control panel is quite basic.

Run time is also good for a portable generator with this power capacity. It is suitable as a home backup generator since it can run overnight without you having to refuel in the middle of the night.

Another advantage related to power is its high surge power. New buyers of portable generators often make the mistake of not thinking about the starting power requirements of their electrical appliances.

One of the reasons why portable generators overload is the lack of surge power for the connected electrical appliances. Generac is a good example of a manufacturer that knows how to offer users high surge power without compensating in size, weight and running power.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages associated with the Generac 5939 GP5500 have to do with how basic it is. As mentioned, this can also be its advantage depending on its purpose.

The control panel has limited information which makes monitoring fuel level, oil level and load more difficult. This means you need to physically check for these things which you cannot do when the engine is still running.

Many larger portable generators have a push start but this Generac model, again because it is basic, only has a recoil system for starting. Technically speaking, this reduces the chances of the engine not starting due to electrical glitches so it does advocate easier maintenance and less chance of faults.

Another disadvantage is the lack of a DC outlet which means you cannot connect the generator to a battery. Depending on where and what you want to use the generator for, you might not need a DC current, though.

The last disadvantage is the noise level. Yes, most large portable generators are noisy but reviewers have mentioned the noise level of this portable generator, in particular. Generac has fitted this model with a muffler but users and reviews note that it does not perform well enough to drown out the noise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Generac 5939 GP5500 is a good powerful portable generator. It has a good mid-point power output which makes it suitable for a number of purposes like a home backup generator, construction site generator or for tailgating.

However, considering its portability this specific model might be most suitable for a construction site. The noise level it produces are also less of a problem on a construction site.

If you have enough outdoor space and don’t bother the neighbors, this portable generator is also powerful enough for a home standby generator. As a home standby generator you also do not have to move it around too much.

When comparing with other models of the same brand and different manufacturers, the main thing to consider is price and power. There are more affordable options on the market but you will have to compensate the price with less power.

Also, the big difference in surge power and running power of the Generac GP5500 is truly an unique feature that proves very useful. This difference allows for less fuel consumption and thus a longer run time compared to other portable generators with the same power output.

The newest 5939 model is both CSA and CARB certified so if you are interested in the Generac GP5500 then make sure that you purchase the CSA and CARB compliant model.

8.9 Total Score
Powerful & Durable (but not the best when silence is key)

The Generac 5939 is known as a durable portable generator that is powerful enough as a home backup generator or work site generator but still compact enough for tailgating, too.

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