BEWARE: Don't buy a used generator until you read this!

Second-hand cars are one thing, but when it comes to buying a used generator, there are a few things you should be aware of.

Let's be honest, nobody likes to part with more hard-earned money than they have to, which is why the second-hand market in Australia is big business. But just like when you buy a second-hand car, if you see a used generator for sale, it's worth stopping and giving it a little more thought.

Buying a used generator for sale is risky

Before you start shopping, weigh up the pros and cons of buying a used or new generator. To help, here are some things you need to know:

Does the generator come with a warranty?

This is a huge no-no for many people. When you're buying something with so many moving parts like a generator, you want the piece of mind that you can get it fixed if something goes wrong. And even though generators these days are built to last, things can still go wrong. Of course, some second hand generators may come with a warranty or guarantee of some kind, depending on their age. But that warranty is usually void if you are not the original owner. With a new generator, however, you always get a warranty and have the peace of mind that there is after-sales service support should you require.

Premium Generator Brands like Yamaha have 4 year warranties and extensive national service networks

How much was the generator used?

The thing about buying a used car is that you know how much it's been used - look at the kilometres. You know each kilometre has taken its toll on every component of that car, from the body to the engine, suspension and tyres, and can make your decision accordingly. So how do you know how much the generator has been used? In short, you don't. There are some signs an expert technician can pick up on...but most of the time you just have to take the sellers word for it. They might tell you that second hand Honda generator has only been used occasionally for back-up or standby power, but the truth is you will never know. With a new generator, you know exactly where that unit has been and who it's been used by - that is, nobody until you.

Do you get value for money?

One argument for buying a used generator is that it provides better value for money. But the pricetag on those used Honda generators isn't the best way to gauge whether you're getting good value for money. You need to consider fuel economy, durability of parts/components and many other factors. This is where a new generator will always win over a used generator; you need to consider the costs going forward, not just the initial outlay.

Used Honda Generators may look to have appealing price tags, but they could cost you more in the long run

What features do you want?

If features are important to you then a new generator could be the better option. Generator technology is evolving all the time, and manufacturers are constantly introducing sets with additional features to drive better fuel economy, efficiency and safety. Just another reason why new generators provide better value for money over used generators...furthermore, some generators require factory fitted additional accessories for your specific use - things such as remote start, two-wire auto start, earth leakage protection etc. These extra features need to be fitted by the manufacturer to ensure appropriate compatibility with your genset.

So if you're looking for great value for money and peace of mind, your best bet is to choose a new generator. The additional cost outlay will likely save you more money in the long run.

Premium vs Budget Generator


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

2 thoughts on BEWARE: Don't buy a used generator until you read this!

21 January 2016
I have had long conversations with Mick and I have to say he sounds very happy to assist. In addition I think he knows the generator business. Some of the specifications don't exactly match the pictures but they are similar. One thing he does which is so so different than MANY Ebay sellers, is that he gives the output in Kw (watts) not KVA which often needs to be converted by the power factor (usually 0.8-0.85) This means as an example 2KVA does not mean 2000 watts Mick converts that to the customer as 2.0 x0.8 which is around 1600 watts constant At least he will tell you that if you need to run something needing 2000watts the 2KVA machine will not do the job.. How do I know that? Mick refused to supply me a generator that he felt he could not support and because he believed would not suit the purpose. That cost him an $1800 sale. Good enough for me.

My Generator Response
Thanks for sharing Allan. We couldn't agree more! We are aware of many sellers (particularly on places like eBay) who overstate their generator model's capacity. Not only stating kVA for inverters instead of Watts (like you point out) but also including misleading specs like OSE (other seller equivalent) ratings. We understand eBay are starting to come down on this type of practice. In any case, a good retailer should always recommend the right generator size for the intended application, not just look for the quick sale. Glad you had a good experience! Cheers

19 June 2015
Hi there, I am starting a food trailer business and up to the stage of buying a generator. I've been advised from other vendors to stick with a Honda so I did my research on them and the suitable ones capable of running all my appliances are the eu65is and eu70is. Both hovering around the $5500 mark. But my trailer builder referred me to a company called Mickey Blu who produces their own generators using Hyundai motors and Honda technology with their best 8.6kva gen only $1999. Specs are almost identical and he's almost convinced me to buying it. But I try searching for reviews on his products but find nothing. If you know anything about mickey blu please advise me. It's a huge difference in price, I don't mind spending the money for reliability and good brand name , but not if I don't need to. Thanks regards Khoa

My Generator Response
Hi Khoa, thanks for your question. We have helped many owners of food trailers/food trucks, coffee carts and mobile catering set ups with a suitable portable generator for their business. Our most popular unit for this type of application is the Yamaha EF6300iS Inverter Generator, which is comparable to the Honda EU65iS & EU70iS you mentioned and similarly priced, although the Yamaha is quite a bit lighter. You can read more about the differences of the Yamaha and Honda 6.5kVA inverter generators in this article here, and you may also find this article helpful: Best Generators for Food Vans revealed. In terms of your question regarding Mickey Blu; we are not familiar with their products either, so we cannot comment either way. Our advice however is that given you will be using your generator to run your business, then you should consider paying more from the outset for a premium brand such as Yamaha or Honda - the premium brand generators are built to withstand more frequent use and they come with national service networks around the country and in our experience, their after sales support for any servicing, warranty or parts requirements is excellent. For recreational infrequent use, some cheaper budget brand generators can be worth considering as you won't be using it all the time and you can save some money...but when it is for your business, then we recommend you opt for a reliable, premium brand generator which are built to handle your intended level of use. Thanks, Steve.

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