Battle of the 3kVA Generators: Yamaha EF2800i vs Honda EU30iu

YAMAHA vs. HONDA 3kVA Generator - Who Will Win?

It's Honda versus Yamaha, as My Generator compares the features and specs of the Yamaha EF2800i and Honda EU30iu portable inverter generators.

First, let's look at why you might choose a Yamaha or Honda 3kVA generator in the first place. These generators are designed for portable use, but they provide more power than you would generally need for the average camping and caravanning trip. Most will look for something closer to a 2000 to 2500 watt maximum output. But the additional capacity can be great if you want to charge your van's battery while also running higher wattage appliances like the air-conditioner, microwave and other electrical equipment.

Where these generators also really come into their own is for the trade, events, farming, DIY use, domestic back-up and small business operation. Though slightly heavier and bulkier than their 2000W siblings, they are still built as portable generators and, for that reason, will be easy to move wherever you need them.

The Yamaha EF2800i inverter generator is one of the most versatile units in the Yamaha range: great for recreation, trade, small business and domestic back up uses

Comparing the Yamaha EF2800i and Honda EU30iu isn't an exact like-for-like comparison. But the Yamaha is rated at 2500 watts continuous, compared to the Honda's 2600 watts continuous, so there's really not much in it. Worth bearing in mind when you consider that the Honda as a pricetag of around $1000 more!


Let's compare:


Clean power:

Both generators have an inverter system to stabilise the amount of voltage and frequency produced by a petrol engine driven alternator through the supply of sine-wave electricity with a distortion ratio of less than 2.5%. This makes them the ideal power source for micro-computer controlled electrical appliances. In other words, you can use them to safely power laptops, computers, mobile phones, camera equipment etc.

Weighing Up:

The Yamaha generator is significantly lighter than the Honda at only 29kg compared the Honda's 35kg. So even though Honda boasts that the EU30iu is the lightest in its class, you can get almost the same rated output for a good 6kg less.

Quiet Please:

Honda claims the Honda EU30iu is the quietest generator in its market segment. And with a range of only 56-60dBA, it just might be. It's worth noting that the lower end of this noise range is only achieved when the Eco mode is switched on. The Yamaha EF2800i is pretty quiet for a generator of its size, producing a respectable 60dBA.

Yamaha Smart Throttle technology provides extremely fuel efficient operation
Yamaha Smart Throttle technology provides extremely fuel efficient operation

Fuel Efficiency:

Both the Honda and Yamaha generators run off standard unleaded fuel. Yamaha has the "smart throttle" feature, which automatically adjusts the engine speed to precisely match the energy load. Honda has the "Eco mode" feature, which does the same thing. With a 5.9-litre fuel tank, the Honda EU30iu runs for 7.7 hours continuously on a single tank, so long as the Eco-throttle is switched on and it's only at 1/4 output. However, the Yamaha is in a class of its own. It has a massive 11.2 litre fuel tank and will run for an astounding 17 hours continuously (also 1/4 load). There's really no contest there...

Added Extras:

The Honda 3000 Watt unit comes with a special cable, so it can be run in parallel with another EU30iu to double the output if required. Unlike the Honda, the Yamaha has a handy fuel gauge, which is particularly useful for when you need to plan ahead.

Warranty & Support:

Both Yamaha and Honda provide an impressive 48-month warranty: nice... and if you ever require repair or servicing, both brands have accredited national service networks.

Yamaha EF2800i Inverter Generator: Best All-Rounder?

What Do Our Customers Say?:-

Running your home from a small backup generator


The Winner:

Both generators have their advantages, but with an extended running time, it's the Yamaha EF2800i that comes up trumps for recreational, trade and domestic applications alike. The Yamaha is a little louder, but its lighter and did we mention that it's around $1000 less than the Honda EU30i?

Yamaha EF2800i vs. Honda EU30i Comparison Table:

  Yamaha EF2800i Honda EU30iu
Maximum Output: 2800 Watts 3000 Watts
Rated (Continuous) Output: 2500 Watts 2600 Watts
Operating Hours (1/4 Load): 17 hrs 7.7 hrs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.2 L 5.9 L
Size (LxWxH): 487 x 395 x 425 mm 622 x 379 x 489 mm
Dry Weight: 29 kg 35 kg
Noise Level (1/4 Load / 7m): 60 dBA 57 dBA (Eco On)
Starting System: Recoil Recoil
Fuel Gauge Monitor: Yes No
DC Output: No Yes

Still not sure which generator is right for you? Give one of our product experts a call on 1300 400 122!

DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

4 thoughts on Battle of the 3kVA Generators: Yamaha EF2800i vs Honda EU30iu

29 April 2018
I do believe that the Yamaha EF2400IS is capable to run the air command Ibis 3. Do you think this Generator could do the job? (It’s the noise level difference from the bigger unit Yamaha EF2800i which deterres me to get that Generator).

My Generator Response
Hi Jurg - yes the Yamaha 2400 Watt Inverter Generator will run your Air Command Ibis Mk 3 RV Air Conditioner. This model of generator is the most popular for running Caravan Air Conditioners - it is extremely quiet and has impressive fuel economy. You are correct, the slightly larger model, the Yamaha 2800 Watt Inverter Generator is an 'open frame' style unit (i.e. not enclosed like most other inverter generators) and therefore it is slightly louder than the Yamaha 2400 watt model. Many thanks

3 October 2016
I have recently contacted Air Command in Adelaide and they told me I require a minimum of 2.8kva to run my ibis air command A/C. I currently have a Honda 2kva which under no circumstances will run this unit. Am I better off to purchase another 2kva Honda and run the two units in parallel or cut my losses and purchase a larger unit of either from Yamaha or Honda. The weight difference between having 2 units is 42 kg compared to approx. 35 kg. Can you please offer me some sound advise as this is a confusing situation to be in as most caravanners with my Air Command unit would agree with.

My Generator Response
Hi Roger - great question. We often get customers telling us that a 2kVA generator will not run their caravan air conditioner...or it will in some instances, but in hotter environments (when you need it most) it won't. As for your situation, I suspect it will just come down to personal preference. You could buy the Honda Parallel Kit and another Honda EU20i which will almost double the power output when paired together, meaning you will certainly have enough power for your Caravan A/C as well as some other appliances should you wish. Obviously the down side of this is the additional weight to carry and space taken up when travelling. The Yamaha EF2800i will be the lighter option at 29 kilograms and you get an 11 litre fuel tank providing around 17 hours run time at quarter load. It's a compelling option priced only slightly higher than a Honda EU20i. Overall, it comes down to your could look at selling your Honda and buying the Yamaha EF2800i - often premium grade power products will hold reasonable value when sold second hand if they have been well looked after. Thanks.

27 August 2016
Hi Shaun, I am looking for a backup generator for my off grid system and was wondering just what you would recommend. Firstly , i was looking at a Honda 7kva electric start but the price tag is a bit restrictive. I then found your site and the comparison between the Honda 3kva and the Yamaha EF2800 i. we have a gas stove, gas H/W, and gas fridge so will only running lights (am changing to LED lighting) and a washing machine (Cold water only energy efficient) so i would assume that either of the above generators would suffice. I would however prefer electric start and am wondering if this is available . If so, would you please be able to provide pricing for same. Thanking you in anticipation Dennis Lockett

My Generator Response
Hi Dennis - thank you for your inquiry. You are correct, both Honda and Yamaha have larger inverter generator models that produce 5500 watts continuously; Yamaha has the EF6300iSE and Honda has the EU70i - Both are typically priced at around $5,000 - $6,000. If you dont need that much power, then you can certainly save yourself some money and go with a smaller generator - just be sure that your washing machine doesnt surge over the peak output of the generator - so, if you opt for the Yamaha EF2800i, this produces a peak output of 2800 watts, so for that generator your appliances need to draw less 2800 watts that when surging. This power information for the product can usually be found from the manufacturer, and it always pays to check just to be sure. In terms of electric start, the EF2800i is not electric start - it is a very popular model because it produces quite a bit of power, only weighs 29kg, has an 11 litre long range fuel tank and is priced at around $2,000, making it very compelling overall. It is slightly noisier than other inverter generators (rated around 60dBA) because it does not have the soundproof casing that most other inverter models have - but this is why it is so much lighter than similar sized models. The EF3000iSE is an electric start model, is fully encased with the soundproofing material, however is heavier and more expensive than the EF2800i. Lastly, it is worth talking about auto-start generators - you initially mentioned the generator would be to backup your off-grid system; if you want to look at an option whereby a generator automatically starts to top up your solar batteries (the generator is connected to your solar battery system) when the charge gets low, then you need to consider an auto-start generator - check out our range HERE. This is an alternative to running your appliances directly off your generator and these type of auto-start generators are very popular with off-grid solar set ups. Please feel to give us a call on 1300 400 122 to speak to a generator expert and discuss further. Many thanks.

18 January 2016
Looking at yamaha 2800i, noticed its in open frame compared to closed in designs. How does this go in caravan? Have bought cheaper closed in brands before but absolute pain to take apart when problems, so like idea of open look. Only need it to run AC in van, will this suit me?

My Generator Response
Hi Laurie - great question. The most popular generator models for caravan air-conditioners are the Yamaha EF2400iS and the Yamaha EF2800i. The main difference between the two is that the EF2400iS is the more typical inverter style enclosed generator with sound proofing insulation, meaning its extremely quiet with a noise rating of 54dBA. The EF2800i provides a bit more power, and is in the open frame style (as you pointed out) - which makes it 3kg's lighter, but also means that it has a higher noise level rating at 60dBA as it doesn't have the enclosed casing. Choosing between the two, obviously people first look at their power requirements and opt for a generator which best suits their appliance's power draw (noting that both the Yamaha EF2400iS and Yamaha EF2800i will run mostly all caravan air con models on the market). Then it comes down to how particular you are with noise level; the Yamaha EF2800i is not considered "loud" like a conventional trade generator, but it is just not as quiet as the EF2400iS, which is super quiet. The other notable feature of the EF2800i is its 11 litre long range fuel tank; meaning it can run for 17 hours at quarter load. This makes it also popular for backup power at home (running fridges etc.) or for off-grid weekender cabins etc. Cheers, Steve.

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