Predator 3500 Review

Predator 3500 Review & Buyers Guide

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Predator 3500 Watt Inverter Review & Summary

Product Name: Predator 3500

Product Description: The Predator 3500 has 3000 watts continuous power and 3500 watts surge power. It is a versatile and relatively quiet inverter generator that is both suitable for light loads and mid-size loads when connecting two units with a parallel kit.

  • Noise Level
  • Reliability
  • Value vs. Cost
  • Ease of Use
4.5

Summary

For its price category, the Predator 3500 is good value. It scores well on all the basic features that you want from an inverter generator such as quiet running, low THD and portability.

Though none of its specs are outstanding, it scores well overall making it a very versatile model. It works great in almost every setting including tailgating, RVing, camping and even functions well for an independent contractor.

For its price category, the Predator 3500 is good value. It scores well on all the basic features that you want from an inverter generator such as quiet running, low THD and portability.

Though none of its specs are outstanding, it scores well overall making it a very versatile model. It works great in almost every setting including tailgating, RVing, camping and even functions well for an independent contractor.

This review is not based on any personal tests done on the machine but rather a comprehensive overview of the Predator 3500 derived from expert reviews, customer comments and the specifications provided by the manufacturer. Any conclusions drawn in this review are based on a comparison of these three different sources of information.

Harbor Freight Predator 3500 Specs & Usage Information

Predator 3500: Technical Specs
Product InformationDetail
Running Watts3,000 watts
Surge Wattage3,500 watts
Tank Size2.6 gallons
Run Time11 hours @ 1/4 load
FuelGasoline
Noise Level57 dB @ 1/4 load
Weight99.2 lbs

One of the more impressive features of the Predator 3500 is how little difference there is between the surge wattage and continuous power. With only 500 watts difference it is easier to estimate which appliances it can power.

With this amount of power combined with the inverter technology, this generator is perfect as an off-grid power source for RVs, tailgating and camping. It also runs super quietly at just 57 decibels so that you won’t disturb your neighbors or the peace and quiet of nature.

This is also a good choice for when you are in need of a power source that you can leave on overnight. Keep the essentials, such as lighting or a small space heater, running for up to 11 hours with a full 2.6 gallon fuel tank.

If you need more power but don’t want to compromise on portability, purchase a second unit and make use of their parallel capability. With two connected units you get 7000 watts of continuous power which is the same as a mid-size conventional portable generator but minus the noise.

Portability is another selling point of this model. Predator included four wheels instead of two for easier manoeuvring and two carrying handles so that you can spread the 100 pounds between two people.

Intuitive Control Panel

3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator

On the control panel is a digital display with a warning light for low oil and overloading directly underneath it. There is also an indicator light for output, a button for changing to eco mode and a switch for the electric start.

On the same panel are the power outlets, two 120 volt grounded outlets, one 120 volt twist lock and a 12 volt DC outlet for charging car batteries. Each one has its own circuit breaker restart button and there is also an automatic low fuel shutdown for extra safety.

Considering all these features, Predator delivers their product at a very reasonably price. Within the same price category, their competitors come up with inverter generators that are significantly smaller in capacity, usually around 2000 watts.

So, if you are looking for a reasonably priced inverter with decent power, the Predator 3500 is a good choice. Its specs and features are good value for money giving you portability, ease of use and safety.

Predator 3500 vs 2000 Inverter vs 6500

3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator
Predator 62523 625233 Super Quiet Inverter Portable Generator
Predator Portable Generator 6500 Peak/5500 Running Watts And Generator Wheel Kit
Model
Predator 3500
Predator 62523
Predator 6500
Running Watts
3000 watts
1600 watts
5500 watts
Runtime
11 hours @ 1/4 load
12 hours @ 1/4 load
12 hours @ 1/2 load
Tank Size
2.6 gallons
1 gallon
6 gallons
Noise Output
57 dB
65 dB
74 dB
Prime Status
-
-
-
3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator
Model
Predator 3500
Running Watts
3000 watts
Runtime
11 hours @ 1/4 load
Tank Size
2.6 gallons
Noise Output
57 dB
Prime Status
-
Predator 62523 625233 Super Quiet Inverter Portable Generator
Model
Predator 62523
Running Watts
1600 watts
Runtime
12 hours @ 1/4 load
Tank Size
1 gallon
Noise Output
65 dB
Prime Status
-
Predator Portable Generator 6500 Peak/5500 Running Watts And Generator Wheel Kit
Model
Predator 6500
Running Watts
5500 watts
Runtime
12 hours @ 1/2 load
Tank Size
6 gallons
Noise Output
74 dB
Prime Status
-

Last update on 2019-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Predator is not a brand with the widest range of products but you do have some choice in the capacity. Besides their 3500-watt model they manufacture a smaller 2000-watt inverter generator and a larger conventional portable generator with 6500 watts of power.

The closer comparison is with the 2000-watt version since they both have inverter technology. It is significantly narrower and more lightweight, weighing only about half.

If you don’t require much capacity, the 2000-watt alternative gives you better portability. The top is fitted with a u-shaped carrying handle for easy carrying – you can even hold two at a time if you want to double your power with the parallel capabilities.

The 2000 watt Predator also runs longer than the 3500 option. With a 12 hour runtime on a 25% load, the Predator 2000 beats out the 3500 model, which has an 11 hour runtime on the same load. However, the 25% load runtimes of both the 2000 and 3500 only barely manage to draw even with the 6500 model running double the load.

If more power is what you need, you may have to switch to conventional portable generator technology. However, this also means missing out on quiet running, since several reviewers point out that the 2000 model is fairly loud, even for its capacity.

Considering these differences, users recommend the 6500-watt for contractors that need an off-grid power source for their power tools and batteries. There is often another way to move heavier tools on a construction site so the less portable design would not pose as much of an issue as it would for residential use.

One element that all reviews agree upon is the reliability of the engine, for all three models. Predator uses an older model engine which may not have the output of certain newer engines but it is less prone to breaking down or needing maintenance, and is easier / cheaper because the market is already familiar with it.

Recommended Uses For Each Model

Click the model below to check out recommended uses.

Predator 2000

The 2000-watt inverter generator is best for light loads and charging sensitive devices like laptops and mobile phones or as an alternative off-grid power source for RVs when you make use of the RV ready parallel kit.

Read Customer Reviews for the Predator 2000

Predator 3500

The 3500 mid-size option is more versatile with the same portability, quiet running, and safety of its little brother (but with a much better rating for run time and output). This is a great choice for RVs as well but equally good for camping, tailgating and even as a small home backup generator when used in parallel.

Read Customer Reviews for the Predator 3500

Predator 6500

The Predator 6500 is the largest alternative and is more of a workhorse that fits best in scenarios that require heavy duty use. It is the most affordable option as well, but you may need to put down extra for a wheel kit to keep it a portable design.

Read Customer Reviews for the Predator 6500

 

Predator 3500 vs Similar-Sized Inverter Generators

Any comparison of inverter generators seems to bring up the extremely well-reviewed Honda models. In this case, you can compare the Predator 3500 to the Honda EU3000is, which falls in a higher price category.

It is only fair to also compare it to a more budget option, which is where the Firman W03081 comes in. Depending on the starter type that you choose, the Firman can cost you a couple hundred dollars less (manual recoil version is the cheapest, remote start version is the most expensive).

3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator
Honda Super Quiet Gasoline Portable Generator with Inverter (EU3000IS1A 3000Watt Electric Start Inverter)
Firman W03081 3300/3000 Watt Recoil Start Gas Portable Generator cETL and CARB Certified
Model
Predator 3500
Honda EU3000is
Firman W03081
Running Watts
3000 watts
2800 watts
3000 watts
Runtime
11 hours @ 1/4 load
20 hours @ 1/4 load
9 hours @ 1/4 load
Tank Size
2.6 gallons
3.4 gallons
1.8 gallons
Noise Output
57 dB @ 1/4 load
50 dB @ 1/4 load
58 dB @ 1/4 load
Prime Status
-
-
3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator
Model
Predator 3500
Running Watts
3000 watts
Runtime
11 hours @ 1/4 load
Tank Size
2.6 gallons
Noise Output
57 dB @ 1/4 load
Prime Status
-
-
Honda Super Quiet Gasoline Portable Generator with Inverter (EU3000IS1A 3000Watt Electric Start Inverter)
Model
Honda EU3000is
Running Watts
2800 watts
Runtime
20 hours @ 1/4 load
Tank Size
3.4 gallons
Noise Output
50 dB @ 1/4 load
Prime Status
-
Firman W03081 3300/3000 Watt Recoil Start Gas Portable Generator cETL and CARB Certified
Model
Firman W03081
Running Watts
3000 watts
Runtime
9 hours @ 1/4 load
Tank Size
1.8 gallons
Noise Output
58 dB @ 1/4 load
Prime Status
-

Last update on 2019-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Predator is still the most powerful option but the other two alternatives are not trailing far behind. There is however a significant difference in the run time with the Honda leaving the others far behind with a run time of up to 20 hours on its rated load.

Then again, the Honda also has the largest fuel tank which explains why it also has the longest run time. Its fuel tank takes up 3.4 gallons of gasoline while Firman and Predator fitted their generators with a smaller size, 1.8 gallons and 2.6 gallons respectively.

Keeping the tank size and rated run time in mind, it seems that Honda is still the most fuel efficient but Predator is not that far behind in comparison. So, when it comes to running costs, both the Honda and Predator are fair choices.

In terms of noise, the Honda wins again with a rated noise level of only 50 decibels on a 25% load. At full capacity it gets closer to the rated noise level of the Predator, differing by just 1 decibel.

Compared to these two, the Firman is loudest with several reviewers pointing out that the engine is considerably louder than what you would expect from its official marketing. So, the Honda is still the best option for campsites since it will disturb nature’s peace the least.

In terms of portability there is not much difference between the Firman and Predator since they are similar in weight and both have a wheels and carrying handle design. The Honda is a lot heavier though, by about 50% and it does not have a pull handle to compensate for that.

Overall, the Firman and Predator are quite similar in their specs. You do however get more flexibility in use with the Predator, especially considering its capacity and number of power outlets.

The Honda on the other hand is much more expensive than the other two generators, costing over double both the Predator and the Firman. The question is whether you are willing to pay for the brand reputation at such a difference.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

The Predator 3500 is a quiet inverter generator with a noise level of 57 decibels at its rated load. If you are running a light load the engine sounds are not too bothersome which is why it is an attractive model for public areas like during camping, on an RV or for tailgating.

Its fuel efficiency is decent, not ranking at the top compared to competitors in the same output category but still good enough for overnight use. Considering it only has a 2.6 gallon fuel tank, the running costs are very affordable.

Another money-saving aspect is the easy maintenance. Besides the standard routine maintenance of oil changes test runs, there is not much for you to worry about.

Although a pulling handle would be nice given the rear wheels, this model is still lightweight enough for carrying. Even better is spreading the weight between two carrying persons by making use of the basic handle on each end of the generator.

Overall, this is a versatile model that has good features for its pricing. It is a no-fuss, easy to maintain inverter generator with qualities that you might pay extra for with other brands.

Predator 3500 Super Quiet Inverter Generator
  • 212cc air-cooled OHV gas engine
  • 11 hour run-time @ 25% capacity

Last update on 2019-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Disadvantages

As with any product, there is room for improvement. The first change we’d like to see is a fold-down handle to fully maximize the use of the 4 wheels.

This is a simple design adjustment that many manufacturers miss out on. Although 100 pounds is lightweight enough to carry, this product would be more user-friendly if it was easily pulled along.

Another welcome change would be the warranty. There are good aspects to it such as the 90-day replacement policy but a 2-year warranty seems short compared to what other brands offer.

Conclusion

Many reviewers appreciate the value for money that you get with the Predator 3500. It has all the features that you are looking for in an inverter generator plus a few nice extras such as 4 wheels instead of 2, low noise level and fuel efficiency that can keep it running overnight.

No matter the situation, this model will likely fulfill its purpose. At 57 decibels on a rated load it is quiet enough that you can take it on your camping trip and it won’t overpower the music during a tailgating party.

Independent contractors and handymen will value its portability while still delivering enough output for their power tools when adding a parallel kit to the purchase. With two connected units you get 7000 watts of continuous power which is perfect for keeping the handheld tools running.

With a parallel kit you could even use it as a home backup generator but only for the essentials such as the refrigerator, lighting, electric stove and a space heater. The quiet running and easy maintenance makes this an even more attractive option.

In short, this model is a safe bet for most situations and it comes at a very reasonable price. Though other brands may have released models with certain standout specs, the Predator 3500 remains a smart choice across the board instead of a niche market design with limited purpose.

9.5 Total Score
Versatile & Reliable

Noise
9.5
Reliability
9
Value vs. Cost
10
Ease of Use
9
Check Price and Read User Reviews on Amazon