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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Ryobi 1800w inverter generator review
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# Posted: 16 Oct 2014 08:02

I know many on this site use the Honda or Yamaha inverter generators for off-grid power. I've owned and used the Honda over the years and have loved it. A couple months ago someone must of thought they needed my generator more than I and lifted it out of the bed of my truck when I was on a job site.

Around Labor Day weekend I was in need of a new generator (I am a contractor and use generators on a regular basis) and my local Honda guy didn't have any in stock. I made a trip to Home Depot for some materials and came across a Ryobi inverter generator for $550. At first I discounted it but after walking the store for a little I thought 'what the heck' and picked it up. For what it's worth, here is my experience with it thus far:

Power: This generator powers all the same tools my Honda did, although with some of the higher draw stuff it seems to take an extra second or two to come to full power.

Size: Nearly the same size, and feels lighter, than the Honda.

Run time: Easily runs 8 hours at 25% load.

Noise: As quiet as the Honda.

Parallel connection: Just like the other inverters, haven't tried it yet though.

Quality: Here is where the price difference shows. Overall it seems a little more cheaply built. The plastic doesn't seem like it will hold up to winter temps but we shall see.

Features: Has wheels and a retractable handle for moving it around but the wheels are basically roller blade wheels that only really work on hard, smooth surfaces.

Main gripe: You need a screwdriver to remove the side panel to access the oil dip stick and oil fill. I'm removing the included torx screws and replacing them with thumb screws.

Overall for occasional use this generator would be fine at half the price. I'd be sure to use fuel treatment in it with every tank because I'm not sure how easy the carb would be to clean if it got dirty. I'll be keeping this generator in the bed of my truck for my regular daily needs and see how long it lasts.

Two weeks ago I ran it from 6pm Friday til 3pm Sunday while at the cabin with the family along. It ran just fine, powering the NuWave cooktop, microwave, lights and some of the kids toys. It used less than 4 gallons of gas during this trip and I only shut it off for 1 hour on Saturday while I ran a larger generator to power a couple saws.

For what it's worth.....

# Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:08 - Edited by: groingo

Other than getting much less fuel mileage than Honda or Yamaha and actually being built for Ryobi by Topsun China it has all the features and more and with good common sense care should do the job, one word of warning... .be sure you ACTUALLY have a service center where you can actually get parts if you need them, actually call and verify, the Chinese have a bad habbit of listing service centers without their knowledge and leaving you hanging, other than that give it a good shakedown before your 30 day return expires just to be sure.

# Posted: 16 Oct 2014 23:46

JJ, I also have a 2kW Ryobi. Have you noticed the ground terminal with the wing nut in the lower left corner of the control panel? When I use mine, I attach a ground wire to the terminal and an 8 foot copper clad steel ground rod driven diagonally into the earth, but it is a pain in the neck to remove or to attach the wire to the flimsy ground terminal. To add oil I use a long necked funnel, another pain in the neck. The Ryobi's weight and bulk make it a two-hand operation to move it around, compare to the one hand needed for the 1kW Honda I used to have. Overall, though, I am satisfied with its operation and economy. And the price was right, too.

# Posted: 17 Oct 2014 21:08

groingo - Yes, it is a cheap Chinese knockoff, and it is priced as such. I have read reviews online about the service department issue, but I consider something like this to be like Harbor Freight tools - disposable. If something goes majorly wrong with it, it just gets pitched. For occasional use with care, as you suggested, I'd think this thing will last quite a while.

adakseabee - I haven't done anything with the ground, but our cabin is on helical piles so I was just going to mount a clamp to one of the piles to connect the ground terminal to. We will eventually be hooked into the grid but probably not until next summer at this point so the generator is just to get us by until then. The road our cabin is on is pretty steep and the county stops winter maintenance about 1.5 miles down the mountain from us. We are in north central pa and on the north side of the mountain so getting there in the snow can be tricky.

The two-handed carrying isn't that bad, imo, and is a little more comfortable to me than that weight hanging off of one arm. I usually don't have to carry it that far anyway so it isn't a big deal but I can see how it would be for some people.

For it's price, it is serving it's purpose. I run it on almost a daily basis so it shouldn't be too long to see if how long this thing will last.

# Posted: 17 Oct 2014 21:34

Cheap Chinese with a nice known names on it. Same chinese junk, different wrapper. It will work in a pinch. I'm a stickler for high quality tools. I'm done buying junk. When I look for tools, I go by price. Not the lowest, but the highest. I can afford it and not going to suffer.

If it works for you, then that is great. But in time, service or parts, you will find they wont be available at all or "that model has been discontinued"

# Posted: 17 Oct 2014 21:51

toyota - I agree. most of my business power tools have German or European names on them, some Japanese. My bigger generators are all Hondas or Lincoln Electric welders. I try to buy US made as much as possible, but that's hard to do anymore.

I was only bringing up this generator as an alternative to the pricier ones, knowing that not all cabin owners can afford or really need the higher end items. I'm thinking of some who build their cabins out of all recycled materials and just don't have $1k to spend on a generator but need power from time to time.

# Posted: 20 Sep 2015 19:04 - Edited by: Audiophile

I purchased the Ryobi RYI2200 for my small cabin site and it has worked well so far. I have used it for a few hours and it is quiet. It provides enough power for a small (~150sqft) cabin. Here is a video I made of the generator to get an idea of the noise level:

Ryobi RYI2200 Generator noise level for a small cabin.

JJ, any updates on the generator's reliability? Thanks!

# Posted: 20 Sep 2015 19:33

Sounds not bad, Mom's new Champion 4000 has a big muffler that really does the job, also very happy with it.
Looks like from your video you will have some good solar exposure for the cabin too!

Gary O
# Posted: 20 Sep 2015 21:48

I'm with Toy, buy quality.


There are times.

HFT is good for what it is, and I've carefully shopped there.
Got our 3000 watt genny there.....10 years ago.
Got our 8750 watt genny back in April.
Needed it for the larger power tools, but only a few hrs a week.
Love the elect start.
No issues so far.

Now, about Ryobi gennys;

Bought the 2200 back in April.
Use it 5-6 hrs a day.
The weather flap over the outlets fell off the first week.
There is no debris screen for the fuel tank.
The oil plug and filler hole are one and the same.
Thus you have to tip it in order to change the oil, or have a really tiny syphon gizmo.
And it's in such a convenient have the thin fingers of an alien with a couple extra universal joints, and suction cups for fingertips.
Yes, I too use a long neck funnel, and carefully measure out the 12 oz beforehand.

The 'wheels'....heh heh.
Tried the retractable handle and ended up dragging the thing on its side.
The carry handles on each side are nice, and necessary.

I no longer change the oil every week, and have backed off to once a month.

Had a little event back in July.
It coughed and quit on us. Lights off at around 9p...sitting in the dark...blinking.
Maybe it was the 'float', maybe it was a particle in the line, maybe whatever, but it magically corrected itself.
That was back in July.
No issues since.

At $550, these are throw away.
I may get another for back up for this winter.
I may get the Honda next summer, depending whether or not I get serious with solar.
Just can't see paying $1200 for something so small. But that reputation and quality is rather big out here in the sticks.

Its a decision I'll make this fall.

# Posted: 20 Sep 2015 23:43

As you all know, I have the Honda EU2000i for camping and cabin power. I use a Honda EU6500is for home. My neighbor on my recommendation picked up a new Honda EU2000i that he used for camping etc. He had 150 hours or so on it. Goes out and buys a new trailer with a 13,500 BTU AC unit. I inform him his 2000 will not run that unless he gets the parallel kit and gets a second one or get the EU3000is. He wanted just one gennie, told me the Honda dealer would give him $600 trade in on his Honda EU2000i. I asked him if I could buy it for that same amount,. He said yes. So now I have a backup low hour Honda EU2000i if my first one ever quits. I don't see that happening.

# Posted: 21 Sep 2015 22:58

Groingo, yea my neighbor a few miles down the road stopped by while I was felling trees and told me that he is getting Solar on his house. My wife likes solar but I wanted plenty of reliable overnight power in case any bears or other critters set off the motion sensor flood lights. Plus putting the generator in the trunk of the car is easier than disassembling batteries and inverters when I leave the cabin.

Gary, thanks for the info on the Ryobi.

I agree on buying quality as well. I originally purchased a Power Pro 900 watt generator for ~$150. After the 10-12 pull it finally started but it never output 120v. It must have been louder than my chain saw as well. I returned it for a refund and bought the Ryobi. Needless to say, the Ryobi is a Bentley by comparison.

# Posted: 22 Sep 2015 10:15 - Edited by: groingo

Your motion detector lights should have a timer to shut off after a certain time, but if bears keep turning them on you may want to find out what is attracting them and remove the attraction.

You sound like me, I have multiples of everything and when a good deal. comes along it's hard to say no.....good investment in the Honda!

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