The better Inverter Generator: Yamaha or Honda?

The Great Portable Inverter Generator Showdown: Yamaha vs. Honda: Are you in the market for an inverter generator? While there are several reputable manufacturers out there to choose from, there are two big brand names that stand head and shoulders above the rest: Honda generators for sale and Yamaha generators for sale.

So how do you choose between Honda generators for sale and Yamaha generators for sale?

Yamaha v Honda Inverter Generators

Both brands have popular portable generator models that tick all the boxes: reliable, lightweight, quiet and great value for money. In fact, the Honda generators for sale and Yamaha portable generators lead the 2000-watt portable generator class. Both generators make outstanding portable power solutions, whether you’re camping, caravanning, running an event, or for DIY projects.

So to really find out which is best, we need to look at the details. The real nitty gritty. And that’s where the Yamaha just comes out on top. To prove it, let’s compare the Yamaha EF2000iS with the Honda EU20i. Both are powerful, portable and super sleek with all the features you could want for camping and recreational use.

The Yamaha EF2000iS – best in class

Easier to maintain: Yamaha portable generators are marginally easier to maintain that their Honda counterparts. Take a look at the numbers – Honda recommends an extensive combustion chamber cleaning after only 300 hours of use, whereas the Yamaha only needs its head cleaned after 300 hours of use or once per year.

Standard extras: Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference, and this is where Yamaha wins. For example, the Yamaha EF2000iS includes DC battery cables as standard whereas the Honda EU20i doesn’t – even though both generators are able to charge 12-volt batteries.

Weighing in: When comparing portable generators, every gram makes a difference. And yet again, the Yamaha generator tips the scales. The EF2000iS Yamaha inverter generator is almost a kilogram lighter than the Honda EU2000i, making it the lightest portable generator in its class. Similarly, in the 1000 watt inverter models, Yamaha again is slightly lighter than its Honda counterpart.

Quiet down: When it comes to quiet power, Yamaha and Honda both have it covered. But the Yamaha generator is marginally quieter, thanks to the advanced Noise Block sound reduction system. This is an acoustically engineered sound reduction system comprising sound absorbing materials, moulded cases, an intake silencer, fibreglass insulation, plus newly designed mufflers and air fans. As a result, you can have a normal conversation next to the generator without raising your voice (or annoying your campsite neighbours).  Delving into the numbers, at the same distance the Yamaha Inverter range is typically in the order of 2-3 decibels quieter than the Honda range.

Fuel Switch: Lastly, a nice little addition that the Yamaha 2000 watt model has is a fuel shut off switch which is independent to the on/off knob (Yamaha refers to it as the ‘Petrol Petcock’). This means that you can turn off the fuel line when the unit is still in operation, enabling you to drain the remaining fuel from the carburettor. The Honda 2000 watt unit does not have this separate feature and consequently the Honda generators for sale can be harder to start after being stored for a longer period as the petrol in the carburettor can go off. This customer video review helps explain the Yamaha feature:

Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator Review

Check out the comparison table below – both impressive units, with Yamaha winning by a nose:

Remember, if your appliances require over 2000 watts at peak, then you will need to consider a larger generator, as gensets are fitted with a safety overload circuit breaker that will cut out the generator when more than 2000 watts is drawn.

For a comprehensive range of quality inverter generators, check the Recreational Range at My Generator.

Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator: Features and Benefits

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

Sean Connolly

Sean is the co-founder and Director of My Generator (mygenerator.com.au) with a keen in interest in the outdoors and power products.

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21 thoughts on “The better Inverter Generator: Yamaha or Honda?”

  1. Just purchased a NEW in the box honda. The generator would not start, had to open pilot jet and clean jets to get it started. The pilot jet was completely closed or blocked. I don’t expect to work on a brand new generator.
    I have owned 2 Hondas and they have lasted 11 yrs.
    I am very disappointed that a new generator is faulty out of the box.
    Maybe Yamaha is the way to go.

    1. Hi Carol,
      Thanks for your comment. We’ve sold hundreds of Yamaha inverter generators to happy customers all over Australia. We’ve never had an issue with the pilot jet being blocked ‘out of the box’. If I was you i’d be returning your faulty Honda generator.

    1. G’Day Ben – All generators are defined by their maximum wattage as labelled by the manufacturer. Therefore if you require a peak power load more than which is specified on the generator, you should look for a generator model with higher maximum output capacity. Continued attempt to try and draw a greater level of power than the stated maximum output will likely damage your generator after excessive triggering of the overload switch. Thanks.

  2. Hi Sean,
    I want to run 2 standard household fridges at once, will a the 2kva genie be able to handle this?
    If it can’t should I look at the 2.4 or 2.8 generators.

    Regards Scott

    1. Hi Scott, thanks for your question. The short answer is; it depends on the wattage requirements of your fridges…each model and make is different, so you need to find both the starting and running wattage requirements for your particular fridges to make sure you get the right generator. Best to contact the manufacturer of your fridges or look in the product manual.

      Typical household fridges have starting wattage requirements of approx. 1200 watts and running at around 200 watts, but these numbers can be higher or lower depending on the particular model and size of the fridge.

      We have some customers that can get away with just using the 2000w Yamaha unit to run two fridges, but many other customers need a bigger generator model, again it just depends on the particular size and model of the fridges. The most popular generator for your type of application is the Yamaha 2800w model because of its larger fuel tank, so it can run your fridges for a lot longer without having to refuel…but once again, just make sure you check those fridge wattage specs before you buy your genset! Cheers, Steve.

  3. Hi Sean,
    I have been an outdoor power equipment technician for 7 years now and i have worked on hundreds of generators. so the most common problem is most people will only use their generator when the power is out, so say once or twice a year. And of course when they get it out next storm to use it, it wont start because the fuel has gone stale in the carby and made a mess. 50% of the time you can get away with cleaning the carby, but the other 50% of the time it needs to be replaced. So a Honda eu20 carby retails for $189 and in stock in australia, meaning i can have it at the shop the next day and the customer is happy. In a recent storm here i had a customer bring in a yamaha ef1000is, and it had stale fuel in the carby and wouldnt start. I stripped the carby half a dozen times to try get it going for the customer but no good, it needed a new carby, OR jets. so i tracked down the importer and got a quote for the carby. $297 WHOLESALE PRICE!!! plus GST, PLUS $25 FREIGHT, and no stock is kept in australia it has to be imported from japan with a 2-3 week wait. so i thought id go for the cheaper option of getting the jets, so the emulsion tube alone was $98 retail! plus $25 freight plus 2-3 week wait form japan!! for an emulsion tube! the same part for a Honda $20, australia stock and next day delivery.
    i think the biggest thing people over look when writing reviews is the repair cost, parts cost/availability and service. The closest yamaha repair agent to this customer was 2.5 hours away. you would only have to drive a maximum half an hour in most major cities/suburbs to find a honda dealer.
    And the problem Carol had above with the jet being blocked from new, this isnt Hondas fault, it could have happend to a yamaha aswell. The carbys both honda and yamaha are made under contract by mikuni, not honda or yamaha themselves, and yes honda start and test everything before leaving the factory but the fuel is injected straight through the carby venturi by machine (to make sure no fuel is in the carby to go stale) thats why a blocked jet wouldnt have been picked up, and i have found this atleast once with every brand of machine from Stihl, Honda, Briggs and Stratton ect. And anyway, thats what Warranty is for!
    thanks, Jake

    1. G’Day Jake – great feedback; thanks mate! Very useful to have someone of your experience share their knowledge…As you’ve mentioned, stale fuel in the carby is a problem we occasionally hear from customers also – this is why we point out the fuel shut-off feature on the Yamaha EF2000iS Generator (and all Yamaha Inverter Generators); you can drain the residual fuel from the carby so there won’t be any to sit and go stale – we get great feedback on this feature and it would be nice if more brands and models had this separate fuel shut-off valve. Yamaha refer to it in their product brochures/manuals as the ‘Petrol Petcock’. We recommend to customers if their generator has this helpful addition, to use it after each time they operate their generator…it’s usually the customers that don’t utilise the petrol petcock, or even more commonly the customers who have a generator without this feature who come unstuck with the stale fuel in the carby issue.
      Thanks again – we really appreciate your feedback! Cheers, Steve.

  4. I purchased my eu2000i generator January 2014. At the time the dealer told me to treat the fuel with Star-Tron, start and run every few months. Slowly, it kept getting harder to start, to the point now where it won’t start unless I take out the plug and shot some starter fuel in. (fuel pump works but after dozens of pulls the plug is still dry.
    I called the dealer and told me I had to use only ethanol free, run it for an hour a month and drain the carb after each use! (Poor customer stewardship?)
    Is anybody else having problems like this?

    1. Hi Tom, you are not alone with this issue; we get this question regarding the Honda eu2000i/eu20i quite a bit. It’s perhaps the only knock on what is otherwise a terrific generator; it doesn’t have a fuel shut-off switch separate to the on/off switch to the unit…which means that residual fuel remains in the carburettor when you turn off the unit and can cause the problems you are describing. Most other comparable generators will have a separate fuel shut off switch/petcock so you can turn the fuel switch off whilst the unit is operating and run the remaining fuel in the carburettor dry.
      In our experience, the best thing to do is as advised by your dealer; drain the carb after each use. Hope that helps, cheers – Steve.

  5. I just bought a Honda and I’m glad I did. All of the minor negatives are related to the fact that the Honda has a larger engine. That larger engine is all the better for surges.
    As for the fuel shut-off: the Honda has an integral carb drain, and it is easy to use when needed.

    Honda service centers are everywhere – not that you’ll need one – but if you do

  6. If one of the “great” things (Or issues) about the Yamaha vs. the Honda is that the Yamaha
    has that fuel shut off & the Honda does not. I would suggest that any (average guy) should
    be capable of installing a shutoff valve in the fuel line of their Honda. There are a few good
    choices of shut off valve and they only cost a couple of bucks along with a couple of clamps.
    I’m SURE one could be mounted in a hole drilled through the plastic case and the fuel lines
    would stay on the backside. If not being able to turn off the fuel and run the generator till it quits
    is TRULY the cause of so many no start issues (with Honda’s) after the IMPROPER storage of your generator with fuel in the float bowl. It seems a few moments to fix this problem with a minor modification to the Honda is well worth the effort.
    I like that the Honda has the considerably larger c.c. motor. (Not really for any specific reason).
    I really don’t know what to make of the (maintenance schedule) of either unit or if one is really any easier
    to do than the other.
    That the Honda Parts seem to be easier to get & seem to be of so much less cost would seem to be in Honda’s favor. Though since (most) of the problems are usually related to the carby. and they supposedly BOTH use a Mikuni carby. I am not sure why one could not obtain any carb. related parts for their Yahama at the close-by Honda supplier?
    One of the bigger differences I had read somewhere about these two very identical generators had to do with a major difference internally with IIRC what was something to do with the Yamaha having a much better bearing on either the main crank or piston or both. Maybe one of you guys that’s in the business could comment on that?

    I would like to further add and ask questions about something that is not talked about here and that is the conversion kits to use LP gas for your “portable” generator. While there is certainly an added expense to purchase and install one of these kits, There would seem to be an elimination of MANY of the problems associated with the use of gasoline. IE:
    1.Ethanol & all it’s related problems.
    2.Stored gasoline’s limited shelf life vs. LP’s unlimited shelf life.
    3.The above mentioned issues of the need to drain gasoline from carbys. (No issue with LP converted unit).
    4.#20 (gas grill size) or #30 pound size LP storage tanks far outlast the runtime of the gasoline tanks that come standard with either of these units.
    5.IMHO, LP gas in a tank is Easier & Safer to store than Gasoline! (I have NEVER spilled LP gas or overfilled the tank. I wish I could say the same about Gasoline!).
    So again, Maybe some of you guys with more experience in repairs or actual usage of these units could add your Pros & Cons to the LP Gas option for the generator???
    I would be interested in at least TWO Specific questions….
    1. Do you think you should “break in” the generator on gasoline before you switch over to LP use? (as in seat the rings with gas?).
    2. Is there any issues with the temperatures of combustion of LP vs. Gasoline. (Does LP operate at higher temperatures & are those higher temps. going to (burn up) say the valve seats much quicker?)
    3. I have read that LP is going to burn MUCH CLEANER. Is that going to significantly increase or maybe even eliminate the need for certain parts of the maintenance. (Head cleaning)????
    What other Pros or Cons can anyone add to LP operations ???

    1. Hi Tom, many thanks for your comprehensive comments. One of the main things we are constantly reminded about from the manufacturer’s is that making modifications to the generator will void the manufacturer’s warranty and may cause damage to the generator itself and potentially pose safety risks (depending on the type of modification).
      In terms of gas conversions for portable generators, this is not something that we commonly see in Australia…if at all. I know this is something far more common in the US…it is interesting to find information that warns against such conversion because “Gasoline has an Ignition Point of 475–536 °F. When a generator is manufactured to run solely on gasoline these temperatures are taken into consideration and the engine components are made to handle these temperatures. Propane (LP) has an Ignition Point of 920-1020°F and Natural Gas (NG) has an Ignition Point of 900–1500°F. These higher temperatures will cause damage over time on any “gas only” powered engine.” – However there is also some information to say that certification for conversions can be acquired and that some larger engines/generator models are designed to handle LP operation, along with the cleaner emissions benefits. But again, given this is something we don’t see in Australia, perhaps some of our US readers can weigh-in to the LP conversion conversation with Tom?
      Thanks guys

  7. I have owned both models and live off the grid. We run our inverter 10-12 hrs per day and change the oil every 2-3 days. We have a mechanic come out and service about every two months. The yamaha went 14 months before needing a new piston. The honda only lasted 2 months before it needed a new piston and we have had to call our mechanic 5 times in the past year because it either would not start or was running poorly, surging and misfiring. In the first year we never had to call the mechanic because the yamaha was not working.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks very much for the comments, it is always interesting to hear the experience form people like yourself, living off the grid. We wouldn’t recommend to run a small air cooled inverter generator for that many hours a day. For that kind of repeated heavy use, we would recommend a water cooled diesel generator that runs at 1500rpm.

      We have supplied the Pramac 9kVA Single Phase Rental Ready Perkins Diesel Generator for this kind of application.

      – Water cooled
      – 1500rpm
      – Easy access for maintenance and oil change
      – Heavy duty silenced canopy
      – Lockable control panel with 2 wire auto start controller.
      – Fully bunded base.

      We also have the Kubota low boy range of water cooled stationary generators that run at 300rpm. These are a reliable off grid silenced option with a 2 year warranty.


  8. Hi I am looking to buy an inverter generator to powerup our food truck.
    Can you please explain the difference between the Yamaha EF6300ISDE and the EF6300ISE models?


    1. Hi Carlo,

      The Yamaha EF6300ISDE is the Dual Voltage model. This puts out 120V or 240V. This model is not available in Australia as we only use 240V.

      We supply the EF6300iSE which is a 240V machine.



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