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Author Topic: Why are Honda generators so expensive?  (Read 171723 times)

Posts: 12622

« Reply #75 on: March 09, 2012, 05:51:53 AM »

You miss point here completely. A LOT of quality items are made in China because labor is cheap and export is a big part of its economy. To suggest that something made in China cannot be very reliable is very foolish. A lot of HDTV's  and electronic equipment as well as a lot of ham gear is assembled in China too that has good track records while a certain brand assembled in US has a poor track record. Also the single biggest reason generators fail is because they are not properly serviced. When run 24/7 they need be monitored for oil level and have oil changed every few days too. I know of a few that never did either regularly and then complained of motor problem or excessive oil consumption. Five year ago my China unit saved my food and powered us for nearly 5 days and I ran it at max capacity and then some and even overloaded it a few times to point it pulled it down and it survived. Never missed a beat. Last summer it powered us again for nearly 2 days and never missed a beat and started right up after not being run for 2 years. It is back covered up and in storage again and I know I could put gas and oil in it again and it will start right up.  If you are really worried about reliably, you can buy 2 or even 3 generic ones for less than one Honda and have a spare to use when servicing other and more power capacity when you need it too. You can pay 10 bucks a gallon for gas or 3.50 but they both do same thing. Your choice.

Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..

Posts: 6252

« Reply #76 on: March 09, 2012, 07:45:22 AM »

...How good is the warranty on these cheap China built units?
Harbor Freight has these generators, 7KW but only a 90 day
warranty.  Wonder why....

The simple explanation is this.  The cheap units are warranted against failure during the period that most failures would occur--unless the unit is/was misused or not maintained properly.  Knockoff manufacturers will use whatever parts are shipped to them, so they only warrantee their units for a short period.  That is all that is really needed--at the price those units are sold for.  You get what you pay for--and you take your chances.

Honda and its dealers charge higher prices and give longer warrantees because of the more rigidly controlled manufacturing process and the tighter quality control on the parts used.  That is why they'll offer longer warrantees--they KNOW their equipment will last, and they'll not lose money on that longer warrantee. 

If Honda turns away a shipment of parts for quality issues, that shipment is sent to others who use those parts for their units--such as the Chinese knockoffs.  The parts may be perfectly good--and that is why not too many of the knockoffs have issues.  There again, a few of those parts may be bad, and that accounts for the higher failure rate of the knockoffs.

If you want quality and solid, issueless performance, get Honda.  If you want something that will work, but you're willing to take a chance on it, get the knockoff brand.  Simple explanation--and solution. 

Posts: 12622

« Reply #77 on: March 09, 2012, 09:17:33 AM »

Basically you are paying for a name because it DOES NOT cost 3 to 4x more to build a reliable generator. As I have mentioned before there was a time when Honda was a preferred engine for premium power equipment as there was no real competition but they have been mostly replaced by commercial grade motors from Kawasaki, Yamaha,  Subaru (which uses chain driven OHC on many of their engines) and Briggs Vanguard (built in Japan by a division of Toyota) because they cost less and have a better track record and even more fuel efficient too in some applications. It is a very big MYTH that you have to buy a Honda to get a reliable generator and a MYTH that Honda would love to keep alive. BTW everyone knows who Toyota is but few know the Subaru is owned by Fuji heavy industries which is like the Caterpillar equipment of Japan. They know how to build things to last.  Furthermore the Vanguard engine is so tough that it and not Honda is the engine of choice for large commercial mowers that can run up several hundred hours of run time a month in severe conditions at times and were down time for engine failure is not tolerated well too.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 09:27:06 AM by W8JX » Logged

Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..

Posts: 38

« Reply #78 on: March 16, 2012, 01:49:13 PM »

Quality and service after the sale, including warranty. Thats not to say that other brands might not serve as well depending on your need but you get what you pay for. I am told that the Honda generators have a more sine wave like output which is important if you are usinging it for sensitive electronic equipment.  Some of the Northern Tool generators have Honda engines but not the generator part as far as I can tell. My Northern 10kw is electric start which works well when I remember to check to battery acid level monthly and leave it connected to the trickle charger. And yes, even with a trickle charger you need to check the levels. Some other other tips, use a gasoline stabilizer in your stored fuel and in the fuel in the generator, use up your old fuel and replace it yearly. Use white gas [that is, without ethanol if possible] for your storage gas, and when taking the generator out of service, turn the fuel feed off while the unit is running and let it run until it stops. This helps keep the carb from gumming up. On another issue, I have a smaller Briggs ans Stratton 5kw unit I purchased in 1984, and it still works fine. It hasn't been run for thousands of hours, but still starts fine and works fine. It just wasn't big enough to do what I needed it to do [Run a house minus the heat pump and deep well pump.] Figure out how much load capacity you need for the job, then add 50% for surge and you will be about right.
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