Honda vs. Yamaha Generator Comparison
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Honda and Yamaha are two of the most popular international portable generator brands. Both Japanese manufacturers earn great reviews for their off-grid power products but which one is better?
A great engine makes for a very promising portable generator which is why Honda and Yamaha, better known for their worldwide presence in the automobile industry, also make excellent generators. So, is the engine the main feature that makes their products so reliable or are there other signature design elements that contribute to the overall quality?
Read on for a closer look into Honda and Yamaha generators, what sets them apart from American and British brands and how they compare to each other. Check out their best ranking models and see which one best suits your needs.
About The Brands
The company’s founder, Soichiro Honda, started the business by modifying engines for wireless radios to create a motorized bicycle. At the time, just after the end of WWII, bicycles were still the most common mode of transportation in Japan so his concept quickly took off.
Less than a decade later, in 1953, the company began producing power products, reaching the 100 million products produced milestone in 2012. Their very first portable generator was the E300, released in 1965.
Within the portable power section, the goal is producing devices that are commercial-grade but with the ease of use of a household product. This is why their main focus is on sine-wave energy or inverter generators which are lightweight, quiet, easy to handle and suitable for sensitive electronics while still being sturdy enough for prolonged use.
The history of Yamaha has a similar timeline to Honda. Yamaha’s first market was motorcycles and they did not produce generators until 1973 when they released their first model, the ET1250.
Just like its Japanese rival, their power products department is focusing on high performance inverter generators but Yamaha has more variety in the product type. Besides the small capacity inverters the company also produces mid-size conventional portable generators and diesel-powered versions for commercial use.
However, their inverter technology is still the star feature which combined with their unconventional but fun designs make for a very recognizable product. Their models are known for being fuel efficient, quiet and compact.
Since the star product of both brands are their inverter generators, making a general comparison of their common features is possible. Take a look at the key qualities of any sine-wave technology generator and how these two companies match up.
One of the smallest Yamaha units is the EF1000iS which weighs less than 30 pounds while their heaviest device is the diesel-powered commercial stationary generator, EDL11000SE, weighing 650 pounds. On average, their hand-carried devices weigh less than 75 pounds while the larger versions that must be pulled weigh around 100 – 200 pounds.
When you look at the Honda models you will notice that there is not much difference in weight when you compare products in the same output category. For example, in the 2000-watt inverter category the Honda is only 2 pounds heavier than the Yamaha.
However, there is a significant difference in their larger models. For example, in the 7000-watt conventional portable generator category, the Yamaha EF7200e weight 205 pounds while the Honda EU7000is weighs 260 pounds.
On the other hand, there is more to portability than just weight. The carrying handles, wheels and overall design also plays a role in how easily you can move it around.
This is more difficult to compare without looking at individual units but there are a few recurring design elements. For example, neither brand has a standard wheel kit for its mid-size conventional portable generators and a single u-shaped carrying handle is the most common choice for their smallest capacity inverters.
The heavier inverter generators like the Yamaha EF3000iSE and the Honda EU7000is do have rear wheels and a pulling handle, however. In this category, Honda has a slight edge on portability because of the cart-like design.
Both brands are known for their extremely quiet units. For example, the EU2200i is rated at just 53 decibels and the EF2000iS has a rating of only 61 decibels.
It is important to know that on a smaller load, the Yamaha engine’s noise level drops significantly with the EF2000iS rumbling as low as 51 decibels on a quarter load. For the Honda, there is a less noticeable sound level difference between the load sizes.
In practice this means that the Yamaha might come out as the more quiet choice depending on the load it is running. Overall though, together they are still the front runner of the field when it comes to silent operation.
Honda generators are famous for their low maintenance requirements. This is because the manufacturer gives preference to straight-forward basic designs with fewer parts – fewer parts means less chance of elements breaking down.
However, this also puts the product line at risk of being oversimplified and missing out on a few monitoring aspects and extras that enhance the user experience. For example, you can expect more power outlets and a more detailed control panel from Yamaha.
So, this brings you to a dilemma. Do you trust the reputation of Honda engines and accept that you have less monitoring opportunities or do prefer the peace of mind that comes with the more detailed display panel of Yamaha models?
If you are looking for more modern technology and design, Yamaha is the better choice because they truly focus on the demands that modern consumers have like an extremely low THD (<1% in inverters). On the other hand, if you just want a simple generator that is no fuss and highly dependable, Honda is your safer bet.
Fuel efficiency is how much fuel the engine consumes for running a certain period of time at a certain load. This gives you good insight on the running costs that you can expect from that particular model.
It is a common mistake to look at the run time of a product and assume that this is the key indicator of how fuel efficient it is. For a more precise picture, you should look at the tank size of the unit and the corresponding run time at different loads.
Again, there is some variance on which brand has the edge so it really depends on the product category. For example, in the smaller inverter range the Yamaha models run for about 1 hour longer than the Honda models but in the larger product range it is often vice versa.
In general though, both brands have very fuel-efficient engines. They are both excellent choices for when you need an off-grid power source for an extended amount of time.
Compairing Popular Models From Each Brand
Both manufacturers have had their fair share of price winning products and designs that earn rave reviews from both consumers and experts. Let’s take a closer look at their most respected models and how they compare to each other.
Honda EU2200i vs. Yamaha EF2000is
No comparison between these manufacturers is complete without mentioning these two iconic products – the EU2200i and EF2000is. The EU2200i is part of an ever-evolving series which remains one of Honda’s most popular product ranges to this day and the EF2000is is perfect example of how Yamaha’s design makes it stand out from its competitors.
Last update on 2019-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Honda is regularly updating their EU-range inverter which is why it has 200 watts more power than the Yamaha. However, earlier versions of this Honda product does set it at the same output as the EF2000is.
As mentioned before, both manufacturers deliver highly efficient engines which is shown by their run times of around 10 hours on a rated load. This is an impressive achievement for their small fuel tanks.
Surprisingly, the Honda weighs slightly more than the Yamaha despite its smaller tank size. Usually, the tank size is a clue on which model is more lightweight but that is not the case here.
Overall though, these are very portable designs, both with a simple u-shaped carrying handle at the top. The design is compact enough to fit in the car boot so it works great for camping.
On noise, they also both score exceptionally well but the prize does go to Honda. On a quarter load the noise level is as low as 48 decibels which is basically just a whisper for a power tool.
On the other hand, Yamaha also stays below the noise level of a typical conversation so do not write it off immediately. Both are suited for use in a public space or quiet nature reserve where you hear every single crackle.
Overall, these two stellar products are very similar to each other. The main considerations you would want to make is the noise and the amount of power and that is up to the specific situation.
Yamaha EF7200DE vs Honda EU7000iat
Next up is somewhat of an unfair fight because besides the similar output, these two models have little in common. The EF7200DE is a conventional portable generator while the EU7000iat is an inverter generator which considering its output already puts it in the lead.
Last update on 2020-01-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Though their surge power is similar, there is a significant difference in their running power. There is a big drop from surge power to running power for the Honda which actually puts the Yamaha ahead in terms of capacity.
The EF7200DE is also capable of running for longer, 1.5 hours longer, in fact. However, considering its tank size it does seem like the EU7000iat is the more fuel-efficient choice.
The final aspect that the EF7200DE scores better on is the weight since it is about 15 pounds lighter. On the other hand, considering the portability of the respective designs, the EU7000iat still has an edge.
The EU7000iat is more compact and the rear wheels in combination with the folding handles make it super easy to maneuver. In other words, with such a portable design the difference of 15 pounds is neglible.
Another big difference is the noise level with Honda clearly being the more quiet option. Thanks to the sine wave technology, the engine runs super quietly at similar levels to a unit with only 2000 watts capacity.
In comparison, the conventional portable generator is very loud so if you have close neighbors or want to use this generator for recreation purposes, definitely choose the quiet Honda inverter. This is not the only reason you should choose the red machine, though.
Again, 7000 watts output is a major achievement for inverter technology and its portable design is arguably even better than having to carry around two separate smaller units and a parallel kit. So, if you have mid-size power requirements for sensitive electronics, the EU7000iat is a great solution.
As the general comparison and product comparisons show, these two Japanese manufacturers are very close in terms of product specs and quality. Many of their products have similar qualities and pros / cons, which makes it difficult to name a definitive “winner”.
So, if you are on the market for a quiet generator with excellent construction and specs, look for both Honda and Yamaha options. If you have specific spec requirements in mind, compare generators from both brands to find the one that will suite your needs best.
Both brands have a long history of top quality products, and arguably at the very top of the market when it comes to generator manufacturing, so you really can’t go wrong with either.