Pros: Build quality, stable power, fuel efficiency
Cons: Weight, noise, no wheels
Im a Florida resident, and I purchased this generator after hurricane Frances (our third hurricane in 2004) to provide back-up electric power for my home. I was soon able to make good use of it during hurricane number four Jeanne!
I had actually wanted to get a more powerful generator. 5,500 watts was my targeted size based on the research I had done. I figured that 5,500 watts would be enough to power everything I wanted to run, while still maintaining a comfortable reserve of power in case it should be needed. At the time I was shopping, however, it looked as if there were no generators to be found anywhere in the southeast. After refocusing my search to include small-town hardware stores, I finally found this unit. Being anxious about the possibility of upcoming storms, I didnt want to let this one get away, so I bought it.
Reading through the manual, I was disappointed to learn that the LR4300 is only rated at 3,800 continuous watts. 4,300 watts is actually its peak power. In my research of other makes and models, the numeric designation in the model name always referred to the continuous rated wattage, and the peak wattage was always higher. Oh well, so much for having a comfortable reserve of power!
Never mind the concerns about not having adequate power, this little generator performed like a champ! Once I finally got it started (more on that below), this baby powered everything I wanted to run, and with apparent ease. We ran a refrigerator, freezer, two TVs, two box fans, several lights, a computer, and a small microwave oven with no problems. I figure that when the microwave was running, we were probably pulling between 4,400 and 5,000 watts for brief periods of time, but the unit seemed to handle it just fine.
The 7.5 hp Robin / Subaru engine runs smoothly, and is about as loud as a large lawnmower. Its not quiet, but if you can place it outside, at least 50 ft. away from your living area, you shouldnt be bothered too much by noise. The starting problem I mentioned above was related solely to the age of the unit when I bought it. The inventory turnover rate at this Mom-and-Pop hardware store was quite a bit lower that at your typical Home Depot or Lowes. I learned that my unit had been sitting in their stock room for at least five years! The carburetor had gotten all gummed-up, apparently from the gasoline left in it during testing at the factory. I discovered this when the carburetor started puking gas out of the overflow pipe as I filled the tank for the first time (!$#%&!$!#!!!). Its a good thing I decided to try a dry run before the storm actually hit! I ended up having to remove the carburetor and clean out the float bowl, free the float valve, and clean out the main jet (which was completely clogged). Once this was done, the engine always started on the first pull, and ran great. NOTE: This is a good example of why you should properly prepare your engine (i.e., drain the gasoline from the tank and carburetor) when the unit is to be stored for a long period of time.
Fuel consumption was modest at about .5 to .6 gal. per hour. With its 5 gallon tank, this should give you somewhere between 8 - 10 hours of continuous operation, though I never ran mine for that long at a time.
Overall, Im very pleased with the LR4300. Its sturdy, well designed, is of good quality, and it has proven to be all that I really needed to provide emergency back-up electric power for my home.