For those who need a “top of the line” portable power source, whether for a contractor’s power tools at a distant job site or for long-term outages at home, there are plenty of products that are up to the task. The PowerPro 56101, however, is not among them. But what it lacks in max power output and quietness, it makes up with portability and a much lower price point.
Looking at the various heavy-duty or ultra low-noise portable generators out there, you will find they are usually either very bulky or expensive (and sometimes both). But what about the occasional user? Someone who only needs a few hundred watts every now and then, maybe to blend some margaritas while tailgating, or to just keep the fridge running for a few hours until the power comes back on. For these situations, a low-cost option like the PowerPro 56101 might be the best choice.
Capacity and Output
The PowerPro 56101 has a 1-gallon fuel tank (about 3.8 L), which the manufacturer says will last about 5 hours when running at 50% load.
- Rated AC output: 900 Watts
- Maximum AC output: 1,000 Watts
- Maximum rated AC current: 7.5 Amps @ 120 volts
- DC output? – Yes, 12 volt, rated 8.3 Amps (100 watts)
- One (1) 120v AC and one (1) 12v DC receptacle, each with a circuit reset button
- Dimensions (Length x Width x Height): 14” x 12” x 13.5” (355.6mm x 304.8mm x 342.9mm)
- Weight (dry): 35.5 lb (16.1 kg)
- Weight (with fuel): 41.3 LB (18.7 kg)
PowerPro 56101: Strong Points
Less than $125 – You can have the ability to produce electricity, pretty much anywhere you want, for a little over a hundred bucks. To me, that’s pretty cool.(Update December 2015: Since this was first written (Nov 2015), the price of the PowerPro 56101 has increased from about $120 to $180 as of 12/19/2015, then the price dropped to about $140 a few days later. Click here to check the latest price)
- Portable Size, Relatively Low-weight – Unlike larger (though admittedly higher-capacity) generators that need wheels to transport, the PowerPro has a handle and weighs a little over 35 pounds. It’s essentially the size of a small cooler.
Picking up this cheap generator could also come in handy later on if you’re trying to decide whether to drop a lot of money on portable gas/battery powered tools that you might only use occasionally. Why not go with a cheap, reliable plug-in model instead? If you have a few hedges that need trimming on the far corner of your property, just fire up your PowerPro 56101, plug in a $30 hedge trimmer, and you’re good to go.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Dual-Outlet (kind of) – In addition to one three-pronged 120v AC outlet, it also has a 12v DC outlet. Instead of conveniently using a cigarette lighter-type outlet, they opted for some obscure two-pronged type of outlet. Not a huge deal, it’s just kind of hard to count it as a feature since I don’t know of anything you’d plug into it. I know someone is going to say “that’s used for such and so…” to which I would say “OK, great, but do most people have any use for this kind of outlet?” No. On the other hand, many users probably do have some appliances/tools that use a cigarette lighter plug.
- Run-time – The manufacturer states that this generator will consume 1 gallon of gasoline every 5 hours, when run at half-load (450 watts). Assuming a cost of $2.20 per gallon, that works out to around a buck per kilowatt-hour1 which, honestly, probably isn’t that big of a deal given the generator’s low cost and that most owners will only use it occasionally, such as during power outages. Given that the average U.S. household spends closer to $0.12 per kwh, though, let’s just hope the outage doesn’t last too long.
1(1/5 gallon burned per hour x $2.20 per gallon)/(450/1000 kilowatts) = $0.98
- Loudness – Many have commented that this generator is pretty loud (60dB at 22 feet, according to the manufacturer). Some have taken to replacing the stock muffler or building a sound-dampening box for it to run in, with varied results. For most people, though, it’s fine out of the box. If loudness is an important factor for you, there are plenty of much more quiet portable generators, such as the Yamaha EF2000iS, but a higher price point.
- Two-stroke Engine – It’s worth noting that it uses a two-stroke engine, which means mixing special oil into the fuel before running it. On the other hand, this does mean not having to change the oil.
This affordable portable power generator is easy to transport and is an excellent choice for running a few appliances during occasional power outages, tailgating, or light work site use. At 1000 watts, it won’t be enough to power your whole home or heavy equipment, though. Overall, the PowerPro 56101 is a strong contender among low-cost, light-duty portable generators. And at this price point, there’s a lot to like.
(Update 12/19/2015: In the weeks since this was first written, the price for the PowerPro 56101 went up about $50-60 at many retailers. It’s still a decent generator, although slightly less of a good value at that price point.)