Looking for a generator that can power your RV, allows you to take your parties on the road, and can run your essential appliances at home after a power outage? This review considers the case for the Champion 4500-watt inverter generator.
If you wish to keep all your devices running during a power outage, a quiet generator with sizable capacity is an essential investment. Capable of powering your essential appliances and devices for work, home living, or leisure, it’s not surprising that the Champion 4500-watt inverter generator is a popular option. For RV owners, in particular, this RV-ready generator can elevate your experience significantly.
Champion branded generators are made by Champion Power Equipment, an American company based in Santa Fe Springs, California. Since 2003, the company has been making portable and standby generators for the home, DIY, and recreational markets. It also makes tillers, cultivators, power washers, water pumps, and log splitters, among other products.
Even though Champion has a diversified product range, it is on portable generators that the company has built its growing reputation. Thanks to its affordable yet durable and efficient portable generators, Champion is now giving established brands like Honda a good run for their money.
The Champion 200988 is an inverter generator that delivers 3,600 running watts and a surge capacity of 4,500 watts. The generator runs on both gasoline and propane out of the box.
Many parents and property owners are uneasy about using gasoline around the house because of its flammability. So, a generator that runs on propane is a safe choice. Besides its safer handling, propane is a cleaner-burning fuel than gasoline.
While the Champion 4500 inverter generator has enough capacity to power your essential appliances at home, among other uses, it is perhaps most ideal for powering RVs. RV-ready, with a 120V 30A (TT-30R) RV outlet, it can directly connect your entire RV.
Unboxing the Champion 200988 4500-Watt Dual-Fuel Inverter Generator
The 4500-watt champion inverter generator comes well-packaged, which minimizes damage during transportation. Depending on where you are buying, your generator may look a little different from a model you may have seen at a friend’s house.
But the differences don’t go deeper than how much black or yellow there is on the casing. According to Champion, the specs and features will be the same, as long as it’s a 4,500 dual-fuel inverter generator.
The generator you will unbox is compact but a bit heavier than you may like, which is the reason it has three handles instead of one. More on that in a moment.
The Champion 200988 comes with everything you need to run it besides the fuel. As well as a USB adapter, also in the box will be an LPG hose with a regulator, oil funnel, 8/10mm wrench, spark plug wrench, and a reversible Phillips/flathead screwdriver. They even throw in a bottle of engine oil. So, with your gasoline or propane on hand, this thing is ready to rock and roll out of the box.
The Champion Power Equipment 200988 has two 120V AC 20A 3-prong receptacles, one 12V DC 8A automotive outlet, and a USB port. As stated earlier, you also have a 120V AC 30A 3-prong RV port so you can hook your RV directly without the mess that extra adapters bring. For your safety and the protection of the generator, all the ports on the Champion 4500-watt generator are covered.
Besides their low noise output, inverter generators are widely desired for their clean power. This 4500-watt Champion generator produces clean sine wave power with a THD below 3 percent. A THD this low means the current from the generator flows so smoothly that you can confidently connect your CPAP and mobile devices without worrying about them getting fried.
Tank Capacity and Runtime
Before we can talk about the tank size, the fact that it runs on both gasoline and propane is a win already. The obvious benefit is the choice this gives you to use the type of fuel that’s most accessible at a given time.
The Champion 4500 dual-fuel generator’s gas tank can hold 2.3 gallons of gasoline, which is enough for 14 hours of runtime with the generator running at 25 percent of its capacity.
Running from a full 20-lb propane tank, the generator delivers 21 hours of runtime operating at 25 percent of its generating capacity. That’s almost a full day of non-stop operation.
You can double the power output by hooking the generator up with another Champion 200988 using a parallel kit that you have to buy separately. So, instead of buying a larger generator you could save money and buy another of this same model.
Thanks to a fully encased body and quiet technology, the Champion 4500-watt inverter generator is whisper quiet for the power it produces. It runs at a steady hum of 61 dBA measured from 23 feet. That is barely audible from inside your RV.
Dimensions and Portability
For the power it generates, this Champion generator is quite portable. But in truth, it is quite heavy, even though its weight falls in the expected range of inverter generators in this wattage class.
In terms of bulk, the generator is compact, enough to fit under the tonneau cover of an F-150 pickup truck. It is its weight that’s the challenge, tipping the scale at slightly over 100 pounds. That is heavy for most people to carry unassisted.
To their credit, the designers of this generator did realize that a generator this heavy needs wheels and a cart-style handle to easily move it around. While we have a few things to say about the never-flat wheels, we love the sturdy handle that folds nicely onto the face of the generator. Until you lift it, it is barely noticeable.
According to some reviewers, the wheels should have been larger. As small as they are, you will struggle to maneuver the generator across any soft surface. Good thing the generator has two handles that you can use with the help of another person to haul the generator if the wheels do fail.
The Champion 200988 uses a dual-fuel 4-stroke, 212cc engine. That dual-fuel capability has to be underscored. While propane gives you lower running wattages, the fuel keeps virtually forever, while gasoline degrades rather quickly.
There are two ways to start the engine – the manual recoil and the electric start. The manual recoil is fairly easy, often starting the generator on the first or second pull. The electric start, which is the more user-friendly option, works with the convenient and easy-to-grasp Champion EZ start dial that chokes, starts, and runs the generator in one smooth, swift action.
This is a variable speed engine that can throttle up and down depending on the connected load’s power demands. That feature has the triple benefits of saving fuel, lowering the noise output, and minimizing engine wear.
This generator was designed to be painless to service, starting with the oil change. The access panel to the oil spout is small and toolless. You don’t have to remove the whole side panel just to change or add oil. Simply turn a dial lock with your finger and lift the small panel right off.
The battery terminals are on the other side, which is the generator’s main service area where you can access the spark plug, air filter, and carburetor. But this time, you must remove the whole side panel.
The battery terminals are nicely labeled, with safety caps that you must remove before snapping the terminals together when you first set up the generator. There is no need to remove the battery. By the way, the actual battery is accessible through a small, toolless door just below the control panel.
Using Your Champion 4500 Inverter Generator
Champion recommends that you use the first 5 hours as the break-in period for your generator. This helps to seat the piston rings and cylinder wall. To start, add the oil, which is supplied pre-measured. A funnel is also provided to make this as efficient as possible. With the oil added and gas-filled, run the generator at 50 percent capacity, changing the load as you go.
As part of the break-in, experts advise using a magnetic oil dipstick. This dipstick helps to clean the pistons and cylinder of metal shavings. The metal shavings stick to the dipstick as the oil circulates.
When you finally change the oil, the engine should be as clean as a whistle, ready to take on whatever you have to throw at it. Changing the oil is an easy, mess-free job. There is a small hose with an end cap that you pull out and unscrew to open and let the oil drain out into a container. After the oil has drained out, simply fold the hose and put it back in.
What You Can Power With the Champion 200988 4500-Watt Dual-Fuel Inverter Generator
For any generator, the real test is the load test. How many loads it can power is what proves it’s worth its weight. Features, in this case, are a secondary concern.
The Champion 4500-watt inverter generator produces 3,600 running watts. This is what it can consistently supply without overloading. The 4,500 watts are its peak generating capacity, an output it can only manage for brief moments but which is important for starting up motor-powered appliances and tools.
So, when calculating your loads, pay more attention to the running watts. With this generator, you can power any 120V appliance as long as it is not hardwired into your home’s electrical service. RV owners can pretty much run everything with it, including an AC, fridge, microwave, lights, TV, and still have some capacity left over.
How to Maintain Your Champion Power Equipment 200988 Inverter Generator
Inverter generators require regular oil changes to keep them in tip-top condition. Champion recommends 10W-30 engine oil. Operating the generator correctly also helps to reduce the incidence of common faults. So read the manual and understand how to start and shut it down the right way.
While it may be impractical for your power needs, avoiding running the generator at full capacity helps minimize wear. As well as reducing noise and minimizing repairs, switching the generator to the economy mode when running it at 50 percent of its capacity will help to lower your fuel bill.
Other Notable Features of the Champion Power Equipment 4500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
- Overload and Low-oil Protection. If you plug too many appliances on the generator, the generator is designed to protect itself from damage by automatically shutting down. For this purpose, the generator has three separate circuit breakers for the two 120 AC receptacles, the 12V DC port, and the 120V 30A RV port. Running your generator low on engine oil is just as bad on your generator’s health, if not worse, as overloading it. Again, the Champion 200988 has a way of protecting itself from this. An in-built sensor triggers an automatic engine shutdown when the oil level drops too low, which protects the generator from severe damage or a drop in performance.
- Intelligauge With Power Meter. For attentive owners, your generator should not have to overload. The Champion 200988 has a handy intelligauge that helps you to monitor your generator’s vitals and gives real-time readings of the frequency, voltage, lifetime run hours, and power output. The power output reading allows you to keep a handle on how much power your load is drawing, so you can avoid overloading the generator. You don’t have to make a mental note of how much wattage you still must work with before plugging in every load item.
- Fuel Gauge. The lack of a convenient way to monitor the fuel level is a common weakness of portable generators. The Champion 4,500-watt inverter generator addresses this with an easy-to-read gasoline meter. The meter allows you to check the gas level at a glance, so you always know how much fuel you have and the runtime to expect every time you use the generator.
What Users Have Said About the 4500-Watt Champion Generator
Many customers praise how quiet this generator runs. They also rave about how easy it is to set up and its reliability. On the downside, however, there have been reports of unresponsive customer support.
|Amperage||26.3A @ 120V|
|Running Watts||3,500 (Gas), 3,150 (Propane)|
|Peak Watts||4,500 (Gas), 4,500 (Propane)|
|Fuel Type||Dual Fuel|
|Tank Capacity||2.3 gal.|
|Max. Runtime||21 hours|
|Dimensions||23.2″ x 17.7″ x 20.1″|
- Equal starting watts for gas/propane
- Clean electricity
- Relatively lightweight
- Relatively quiet operation
- Long run time
- Accessible control panel
- Shorter run time on gas
- Lacks remote start
Comparing Champion 200988 To Its Competitors
The Champion 4500-watt inverter generator delivers a runtime of 14 hours at 25 percent of its capacity from a full tank of gasoline. When using propane fuel, there’s the potential of driving up to 23 hours of runtime if you are using a 20lb tank.
The Champion EZ start dial is an intuitive way of starting your portable inverter generator. The dial has the CHOKE, START button, and RUN switch all on the same dial. It is part of the electric start mechanism used on Champion generators like the Champion 200988’s and which ensure quick starts in cold weather.
The Champion 200988 4500-watt inverter generator has a sound level of 61 dBA, which is quiet for the power that it generates. Running the generator in the fuel-efficient economy mode guarantees quiet operation.
According to Champion power Equipment, the first 5 hours of using your generator are the break-in period. During this period, run your generator at no more than 50 percent of its capacity, varying the load occasionally. After the 5 hours are up, many people recommend changing the oil.
Some Champion inverter generators have a remote start while others do not. The Champion 200988, for example, does not have a remote start, while the Champion 200986, another 4500-watt inverter generator with the same specs does have a remote start.
Check Out More Of Our Champion Generators Reviews
The 4500-watt Champion inverter generator makes a very strong case for RV owners, DIYers, remote cabin owners, outdoor party enthusiasts, and homeowners looking for a reliable and quiet portable generator. Built tough, with a fully enclosed body that minimizes noise, the Champion 200988 comes ready to use out of the box and can handle prolonged operation.