OK...let me clarify that this review is based upon a slightly earlier version of the Coleman 1850 Watt Generator. But, from all the specs I can find, the newer version just has an upgraded appearance. I purchased this little generator for emergency use since we live in an area that does lose power from time to time. I was really prompted to buy it after having a major ice storm and not having power for almost 5 days....and it was in February in western NY! Since buying this smaller portable generator, I've also purchased a larger 5000 watt generator, and installed a bypass panel in my basement so I can choose what circuits I want to run with a larger generator providing the power.
Recommend this product?
The generator comes fully assembled. All you have to do is add the correct oil to the reservoir, fill the gas tank. Then READ ALL DIRECTIONS AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS!
If you are looking at portable gas generators for the first time, make sure you understand wattage and what smaller/larger generators are capable of, and the difference between utility generators and generators designed for use with recreational vehicles and/or where fewer decibels are required. The Coleman Powermate generators, in spite of being fully enclosed, are rather noisy when they are operating. They're fine for use during emergencies when people expect to hear the sound of generators running. But, Powermate generators are not designed for use with recreational vehicles. Generators designed for use in motorhomes, travel trailers and rv use are much quieter AND much more costly.
This 1850 watt generator will handle a surge of 1850 watts, but will only handle around 1500 watts of continual load. This means, you can only power certain appliances and lighting when being used. For example, this generator will only handle one electric heater and a couple of lamps for lighting. Or, you can use it to power up your refrigerator and still run a light or two.....but you can't plug in a heater, refrigerator, freezer and some lights. It isn't rated for that kind of draw. So, if you want to buy a generator, you have to determine what you want to power, and then look at the amount of wattage required for each item. For that reason, most folks wanting emergency house power will get at least a 5,000 watt generator.
Another important factor is that smaller generators such as the Powermate are not designed for use with electronic gear including televisions, computers, video games, etc. These generators can have too much fluctuation in their output....hence, the manufacturers provide warnings. Don't ignore them...I killed a microwave oven trying to use it with a generator! Generators with "line conditioners" are equipped and designed for use with electronic gear. They are available for sale, but will also be more costly. However, a little Coleman will be fine for running some lights, a small heater, refrigerator or freezer.
Here's how I've used mine. When needed, this little puppy can be placed OUTSIDE (never in an enclosed area). After filling with gas, and checking to make sure the oil reservoir is filled, they start up as easily as a properly running lawn mower. READ the safety precautions and operation directions! My Coleman has always been easy to start and usually starts with one or two pulls of the cord. I use a couple of heavy duty extension cords (they must be rated to handle the wattage/amperage load) to plug in a couple of lights. If power has been out long enough to be a concern, I will plug in one appliance i.e. the refrigerator and let it run for a few hours to keep the contents chilled. After running the refrigerator, I'll unplug the cord and transfer it to something else such as the freezer. If I need to cook something in an electric frying pan, or make some coffee in the electric coffee brewer, I just make sure that I'm not running any other high wattage item. A small generator such as the Coleman 1850 can get you through a lengthy power outage as long as you know how to rotate and alternate between power needs.
These generators are also handy for running power tools in areas where electricity is available. The 1850 is small enough to haul in the truck or car (with appropriate safey precautions). Though a little heavy....most guys won't have a problem handling it. My wife would find it a bit heavy. Again, I'll emphasize that they're not for use when camping near other people, or for use where the noise will make you very unpopular!
Maintenance of these little generators is pretty easy. Once a year, you should check and replace the spark plug as needed. Also, it's best to run these generators every now and then. Burn the old gas and add some fresh gas. Always use a gas additive such as Stabil....it really helps prevent the gas gumming up and plugging the carberator and fuel lines. In lieu of using a fuel additive, you can shut off the fuel line via the in line valve, and burn off any gas remaining in the carberator and fuel lines.
Because my little Coleman has been reliable, and very useful during power failures, I'll give it a high recommendation. But, before buying one, do your homework and make sure you're buying the right generator for your needs.