Are you in the market for a portable generator to meet your temporary power needs when you’re off the primary grid? There are many options out there that can make your selection challenging. Among the many reliable portable generators is the Predator 3500 inverter generator. It is a powerful and quiet operating inverter generator that you can use for different purposes, bringing you convenience and peace of mind.
This review will go deeper into this generator, analyzing its features, ease of use, pros, and cons, among other important pointers.
Features of Predator 3500 Inverter Generator Review
Functionality and Ease of Use
It is a compact size generator that can easily be misunderstood as a noisy model. However, on a closer look and analysis, it is a super quiet generator thanks to its advanced inverter technology. As an inverter generator, you can be sure of getting energy with low THD levels making it suitable to power your sensitive appliances.
This generator has a 212cc air-cooled OHV gasoline-powered engine that offers a peak wattage of 3500W and 3000 running watts. This amount of power can meet your various power needs at home when powering essential appliances, in your RV, camping, tailgating party, and powering your power tools. Predator 3500 features a simple conventional pull-start mechanism and an easy-to-use electric starter. The generator comes with a battery-saving you the agony of buying a battery separately.
If you have more power demands and still want to maintain the features of this generator, it supports parallel connections. You can connect two Predator 3500 inverter generators to achieve a 7,000 peak wattage which can power many appliances and maintain silent operation features.
For user-friendliness, this generator has an intuitive control panel that has the following;
- It has a digital display that shows the generator’s power output, voltage, and lifetime run hours. This information is useful when monitoring the status and activity of this generator. You can schedule its maintenance based on the lifetime run hours the generator displays.
- Light indicators displaying whether the unit is ready for loading, an overload signal, and low oil signal as well
- There are four power outlets; Duplex 120 volts 20A outlets (household-style), single 120 volts 30A outlet, and a 12 volts 8A DC outlet. There are circuit breaker restart buttons on each outlet that protect your plugged-in appliances and generator from overload risks.
- An eco-mode switch that allows the generator to run in a fuel-efficient mode.
Fuel Capacity and Consumption
This model has a fuel tank capacity of 2.6 gallons. This generator can run for up to 11 hours on a single tank when running on a quarter load. This fuel consumption rate is an average of 0.22 gallons per hour.
The extended runtime is due to the economy mode feature in this generator. If you are looking for an inverter generator that can power a small space heater and lighting throughout the night, consider this model. The runtime is also adequate for running few power tools during the day or your entertainment appliances and lights at the camp or tailgating party.
This generator has an enclosed design giving it an attractive feature compared to the conventional open frame models. Because of this design, it occupies tiny space. You can comfortably pack this unit in your RV and boot of your car for easy transportation and storage.
The model has a dry weight of around 100 pounds. This weight is manageable when you want to transfer this unit to any location. It also has four wheels rather than the ordinary two wheels in most models and double handles to enhance its maneuverability. You will not have a hard time moving this generator on all terrains.
One critical factor to consider when buying a portable generator is the amount of noise a unit produces. This is because most portable generators are used for emergencies in residential areas, camping, and RVing. All these areas of use are sensitive to the noise level a generator produces. Predator 3500 inverter generator operates quietly at 57 decibels when the unit is on a quarter load and operating from 23 feet. This noise level output is acceptable in residential areas and camping sites and is ideal for hospital setups.
You can compare the low noise output from this generator to that of a running refrigerator or the noise setting of an office. You can therefore do zoom meetings or teleconference when this generator is running.
Accessories Included During Purchase
A reputable generator manufacturer ensures their products are ready for use whenever their consumer buys them. Harbor Freight Tools will not disappoint you on this. The generator comes with;
- A DC cable
- 30 amp RV adapter
- Fuel funnel
- Spark plug wrench
- A user manual
Optional accessories that you can buy for this generator are a parallel kit and a weatherproof cover.
A portable generator can be an expensive investment. Therefore, you need to be sure that your investment will be durable. Predator 3500 inverter generator comes with a 2-year warranty that covers manufacturer and craftsmanship defects. To maintain the generator’s warranty claim, only use the generator as per the manufacturer’s instructions. The instructions include a maintenance schedule. This generator can serve you for many years if it is correctly used and maintained.
Common Problems With Predator 3500 Inverter Generator
While this generator has all the essential features that one can admire in a portable inverter generator, it is not perfect. Here are few challenges with this model;
Inability to maximize the four wheels:
This generator has four wheels to ease its movement once it is on the ground. However, it doesn’t come with foldable or telescopic handles to help users utilize the four wheels. The manufacturer can improve o this to make it user-friendly.
Even though this is an inverter generator, the generator experiences power surges even when there is no load. This could be a mechanical issue with the engine.
Absence of an in-built fuel gauge:
This generator does not have a fuel gauge, making it hard to monitor the fuel level. However, the manufacturer has improved this on the new model (Predator 3500 56720) that has been released.
The stated challenges can, however, not demoralize you from investing in this model.
- It is a parallel capable generator.
- It has both electric and recoil start mechanisms.
- It is lightweight and highly portable.
- It falls in the budget-friendly generators category.
- It has a relatively small fuel tank volume contributing to low runtime.
- It is not a popular brand in the world of portable generators. This means you may have a hard time getting its spare parts from a local generator dealer.
With all the best features in this generator, the manufacturer offers this model at a reasonable price. Other manufacturers are offering similar prices but for some lower capacity generators of up to 2,000 watts. Predator 3500 inverter generator scores well in terms of reliability and pricing.
Why You Should Buy Predator 3500 Inverter Generator
This generator can comfortably offer you 11 hours of continuous operations when running on a quarter load. The runtime can slightly drop to about 9 hours when running the unit on a 50% load. Whether you are running it on half load or quarter load, you are sure of an excellent runtime.
Predator 3500 will safeguard your appliances from overload risks and protect your generator engine from running with no oil. This generator has circuit breakers on its outlets that trip when there is an overload. It also has a low fuel sensor that automatically shuts down the engine when the oil level significantly drops. This feature ensures the generator’s engine does not run without oil hence extending the engine’s lifespan.
From its intuitive control panel to the rolling casters on this model, you will have a simple time using and transferring this generator to the desired location. The electric start option allows you to start the generator with a simple press of a button.
A multi-purpose generator
You can use this generator to power your essential electronics at home when there is an emergency. With its portability features, you can use it to power your RV, tailgating party, and camping. You can also use it at a remote job site to run a few power tools.
A Comparison Between Predator 3500 Inverter Generator and Competitors
One of the biggest competitors of Predator 3500 is the Champion 3500 100559 model. Let us see how the predator model will perform.
Predator 3500 Vs Champion 3500 Review
- Power ratings: These two generators have different power ratings. The Champion model takes the upper hand with 4375 starting watts and 3500 running watts. Against predator unit that delivers 3500 starting watts and 3000 running watts.
- Noise ratings: Predator 3500 operates at an ultra-quiet noise level of 57 decibels, while the Champion model operates at 68 decibels. Predator 3500 wins in operating quietly.
- Power outlets: The champion model has better quality power outlets. While both models have duplex household-style outlets, the Champion model has a 30 amp RV-ready outlet. Even though Predator 3500 can also power an RV, you will have to use an adaptor. The champion model has covered outlets protecting them from dust and other debris. The covering isn’t available on the Predator model.
- Fuel source: Predator 3500 only runs on gasoline, while Champion 3500 has a dual fuel capability. The Champion model can run on either propane or gasoline.
- Startup mechanism: Both models have electric and recoil startup mechanisms; however, Champion goes the extra mile. The champion model has a Cold Start Technology making it easy to start this generator in cold weather.
Both models have their pros and cons. While the predator model offers you a silent operation than the Champion model, the Predator model sacrifices its power output. The Champion model has more power output but is noisier than the Predator.
Predator 3500 Vs Honda EU3000iS Review
These two units are almost similar in appearance. However, their functionality differs as follows;
- Power ratings: Predator 3500 has a higher starting and running power than Honda, which has a starting power of 3000W and 2800 running watts.
- Noise ratings: Honda EU3000iS is among the portable generators with the lowest noise output; it has a low noise score of 50 decibels. The predator model, on the other hand, operates with a noise rating of 57 decibels. Noise rating sin both is when both units are running on quarter loads.
- Fuel autonomy: Even though Honda EU3000iS has a 3.4-gallon fuel capacity compared to 2.6-gallon on Predator 3500, Honda has a higher fuel efficiency rate. Honda offers a fuel consumption rate of about 0.17 GPH (gallon per hour) while Predator has a rate of 0.22 GPH. However, fuel autonomy is also determined by the power output of the generator.
- Portability: The Predator model is lighter and portable than Honda EU3000iS. Predator weighs about 100 pounds and comes with wheels, while Honda weighs about 130 pounds and has no wheels.
- Price: Honda EU3000iS is an expensive model costing about thrice the price of Predator 3500.
- Advanced safety feature: Modern Honda EU3000iS models come with a CO minder feature which is not present on the Predator model. The CO minder feature monitors the ambient carbon monoxide levels. It stops the engine when it detects the level is becoming dangerously high.
If you are operating on a small budget, Predator 3500 is your best choice. It will cost you less and deliver more power than Honda EU3000iS. However, the Honda model has a low noise rating and high fuel efficiency than the Predator model.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can Predator 3500 inverter generator power?
This will depend on where you intend to use the generator. As a 3500 watts generator, you can use this generator at home, campsite, or even a job site. When using it at home, you can power; an energy star refrigerator, rice cooker, an electric frying pan, and 5 LED light bulbs simultaneously. When camping, this generator can power an 11,000 BTU air conditioner and other few appliances. You can also use this generator at a job site to power a grinder, reciprocating saw, and a drain cleaner concurrently.
How can I start off my new Predator 3500 inverter generator?
After receiving your predator generator:
- Check the oil level, add gasoline and run it for about 8 hours with no load.
- Change the oil after 8 hours and start running it on a lighter load for some hours.
- Do not load the generator to over 75% before it runs for about 25 hours. Once the generator has an accumulated runtime of over 25 hours, you can operate it like any other generator.
How can I clean the air filter on my Predator 3500 inverter generator?
Predator 3500 can either have a paper filter or foam filter elements. The two have different cleaning procedures. If you’re using a paper filter element, get a well-ventilated area and blow the filter with pressurized air to remove dust and any other dirt from the filter. For a foam filter element, wash the element in warm water that has mild detergent for some minutes. Rinse it thoroughly and squeeze out the extra water and let it dry. For the filter, soak it in mild oil for some seconds and squeeze out the excess oil. Your filters will be ready to be fixed back into the generator.
After how long should I change the oil on my Predator 3500 generator?
After finishing the breaking-in period, change the oil once. After that, be changing the oil after every 100 hours of running this unit or after 6 months of usage, whichever will come first. As a safety feature, always check the oil level before starting the generator.
Predator 3500 inverter generators score well on all crucial specs you may be looking for in a portable inverter generator. Some of these specs include low THD levels, portability, and quiet operations. It is a reliable generator for RV and camping revelers, tailgating, job site power demands, and running essential power equipment at home in a power blackout. The generator has adequate power output and has parallel connection capabilities in case you have more power demands. It is a user-friendly generator with safety features offering high runtime. The winning point for this generator is its affordability and ability to operate quietly.
So, should you buy this generator? In my opinion, yes, it is a worthy investment.