I purchased this generator from Harbor Freight Tools, in the event of another natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy. You couldn’t get them then, but you can now.
Since forever and ever, whenever there will be some big weather-related event, there will be gas lines, I also intend to purchase a 20-30 gallon holding tank for fuel, and fill it periodically throughout the year, offloading fuel to each of the vehicles every couple. This way I’ll have a “stockpile” of fuel for the generator.
All in all a good machine, it’s a Chinese-special (# 69, if I’m not mistaken) Honda clone engine. Seems to run well and does produce power. I wouldn’t want to run any sensitive devices off of it, even to go as far as saying to not charge your portable, personal devices on it (leave that for the car or a power inverter). For fans, lights, A/Cs, fridges, freezers, heaters, and induction motors it should be fine.
I plan on using this to run my boiler in the winter (which basically consists of 2 induction motors), and my chest freezer. Stuff in the fridge can either perish, or be frozen, as I can’t see investing fuel more valuable than gold in saving of food. Using that to save at least 0 worth of frozen food is worth it, unless I know that power will be restored soon (the stuff in the freezer stays fully frozen for at least 24 hours).
The wattage of this generator also allows me to run other devices, such as my microwave should I need to heat something quickly (although I’d probably use the stove or the grill if conducive). Theoretically, I can also run one of my washing machines at a time (need to allow for the sump pump as well, else a flood). Since my dryers are gas, and require 1100 watts to heat the element for pilotless ignition, and about 400 watts once the burner is lit, I can also dry the laundry. This, of course, would only be done during a crisis of extended periods without power, fuel-supply-permitting.
During Sandy we lost power for 9 days. For entertainment, I would go to a local hotspot with my netbook and download any videos I wanted to watch, then watch them on battery power at home. The cell phone/tablet would be charged off an inverter from the car battery; I could also charge the laptop from that as well. The inverter ran me a light bulb, clock, and radio, and did fine. No need to spend countless hours trying to get gas for basic necessities.
I recommend you use your generator sparingly as well, in order to save fuel.
This one seems to do the trick, even with all of my misadventures testing it. Still kind of cool to have a “machine” that changes liquid gasoline into electricity.