Harbor Freight generators


Inverter vs. conventional generator. The former will be quieter, smaller, more fuel efficient and more expensive.

HF has a 2Kw generator for about $400 and a 3.5Kw rig for $650 (these are sale prices). The little one looks like a nice rig, but prob not enough to run AC. The big one is heavy enough that you’ll be rolling it around, not carrying it to your trailer.

A charm of the above 2 generators is that you can sell the purchase to your significant other with “we’ll keep it at the house in the event we lose power”.

HF also has a cheap $88 conventional generator. It’s a handy size, easy to toss into the trailer, and is enough to run everything up until you want AC. It’s durability is likely questionable, but mine’s lasted a couple hundred hours over the past couple years. It’s not a quiet generator so you can’t run it at night or you’ll annoy your beer-drinking buddies. Mine had a leak in it’s fuel tank that bedeviled me for several years. Turned out to be a hairline crack in the bottom of it’s fuel tank which I sealed with epoxy.


I wound up buying a Wen 2000 watt inverter generator through Amazon. They are normally more, but this was a scratch and dent kinda deal and I got it for $350 or so. It starts easy and runs things like my lights and air compressor with ease.

Running my 1500 watt heater? Yeah, it sucks at that. I’m wondering if the 2000 watt Hondas would be any better.


Your post made me go check out Amazon. A couple Wen generators caught my eye. Upon close inspection, I’d almost swear they are HF generators wearing different clothing. Maybe based on same design but have tighter QC, I dunno. Certainly HF stuff often doesn’t last too long.

Later edit. Dang! I see a whole bunch of generators that look exactly the same, but all with different brand names.


Pretty sure you’re right. Only minor differences if I’m remembering right, like maybe the USB connection in the front of the Wen isn’t on the HF. I’m bummed that it doesn’t run the heater well. It’s supposed to be a pure sine wave generator, though, so maybe I’ll have luck with the electric blanket. Though I might look into a 12V option for that.


It’s worth pointing out that this is really a 1600 watt rated generator. The 2000 watt they quote is a peak rating.


On a lark, I bought a new heater. It has a 900w low setting and a 1500w maximum setting. I figured I should at least be able to run it on the low setting.

Turns out it runs both settings just fine, unlike my other heater. So I can be sure to be warm in the trailer, which is awesome.

Side question: what do you do with your generator when you need to run it and it’s raining out?


Generator in the rain. Usually I just take my crappy generator and I don’t care if it gets wet. I don’t think my good one has gotten wet.

Speaking of which, I ran the good one over the weekend so it’s fuel wouldn’t jelly inside of it’s carburetor. I might have waited too long. It didn’t do too well. Was very hard to get it started. Then it took several hours before it was willing to run on “normal” mixture instead of choke. I put some fuel system cleaner in it and let it run for a couple more hours until it ran out of gas. Not sure if, when I actually connect a load to it, the engine’s gonna have the grunt.

I have a little electrical heater that I’ve taken to an event or two. Crappy little thing, but I measured it’s power consumption and, like yours, it pulls 1500W, which kinda surprises me. It doesn’t do much to keep the trailer warm. If it gets down to 30, when I wake up in the morning I’ll find the trailer at prob 40. I would have thought that, given that the trailer was closed all night, the heater would do better.

My preference for heating the trailer is propane. A little propane heater will put out huge heat. Just get a CO alarm for the unlikely event that something weird happens such that your heater’s combustion gets screwed up and it tries to kill you.


You may recall my giant ass kerosene heater from CMP. I’m trying to get out of the business of lugging it around. The little space heaters do fine for me, and this new one puts out way more heat than the last one. May get to test it out this weekend at VIR.