Table of Contents
- Why Do You Need a 5500-Watt Duromax Generator?
- When Duromax 5500 Generator is Not an Option?
- Duromax 5500-watt Generator Review: XP5500E Vs. XP5500EH
- Accessories for Duromax 5500-Watt Generators
- PROS AND CONS
- XP5500E or XP5500EH? Which Duromax 5500 Generator to Choose?
- Alternatives to Duromax 5500 Generators
Duromax generators provide an alternative power solution for emergency situations. Among other things, they are a practical way to power your tools and equipment when working in the field away from the grid.
Duromax XP5500 generators are the most affordable yet reliable portable generators in their class. Manufactured by Duromax Power Equipment, an Ontario, California-based company, these generators are the “perfect alternative power solution for home, work and play.”
Besides its focus on quality, reliability, and durability, the Duromax Power Equipment company credits itself for industry innovations like:
- Dual Fuel, which gives you the flexibility to switch between propane and gasoline fuels,
- Power Boost Technology, which doubles the standard 120v amperage for heavier loads,
- Electric start button, that takes all the strain out of starting your generator,
- 23hp Power V-Twin Dual Fuel engine, that produces up to 15,000 watts of power,
- Lighted Instrument Panel, which makes it easier and safer to start the generator in conditions of poor light.
Founded as recently as 2003, Duromax Power Equipment has built an impressive product catalog that includes power washers, engines for lawn mowers and other power tools. The company also manufactures accessories for its product range, such as hoses, cables, plugs and covers.
However, it is with portable generators that the company has made a name for itself. The company sells options ranging from portable generators as small as 2,000 watts to behemoths as large as 15,000 watts, with numerous other options in between. Whatever your portable power needs are, there’s a Duromax generator for you.
We’re focusing on the XP5500 series in this Duromax generator review. It’s a head-to-head comparison between the XP5500E and the XP5500EH. We’re going to break these two models apart to give you a better idea of what each offers. We hope that after reading this, you will be able to make an informed buying decision.
Why Do You Need a 5500-Watt Duromax Generator?
If you have ever lost power to a hurricane, blizzard, or violent rainstorm that knocks out power lines, you will know just how convenient it is to have a reliable backup generator.
- Without a backup generator, all that food in the freezer will spoil.
- With no way to charge your phones and laptops, you are literally cut off from the world.
- If the power outage happens in the middle of a frigid winter, you will be looking at very cold and long nights.
And let’s suppose you work or run a business from home. Whether you use computers or power tools, without an alternative power source you are effectively idle until power is restored. Duromax generators in the 5,000 wattage class are designed to save you from these sorts of headaches.
Emergency power source for home
Whether it’s expected or not, every power outage is inconvenient. And whether the outage continues for hours or days, you will never get used to the darkness, or the cold/heat because the AC is off.
The two Duromax 5500-watt generators we are reviewing today produce enough electricity to meet the emergency power needs of a suburban home. They will keep your key appliances and devices running, including your:
- air conditioner
- sump pump
As long as you have gas (or propane), a Duromax XP5500 generator will keep all the appliances you can’t do without running until grid power is restored. It will keep your internet connection active so you don’t fall behind on work nor be cut off from friends and family.
In terms of value, a backup generator will pay for itself on the saved groceries alone. With one, you may just be able to endure a blackout in relative comfort.
When working in remote areas or anywhere you can’t plug into the power grid, you must have a portable power source. Unlike in a home setting where a portable generator is essentially a backup, for operations where you mostly work out in the field it is often your primary source of power.
A grab-and-go power source, the Duromax 5500-watt generators are portable enough to haul between job sites without much strain. They have enough runtime to last an entire day on one tank. Because the generators are fitted with wheels, you can move them around the job site as you wish.
The Duromax 5500-watt generators are made to last. Just as well, as unlike in home settings where the generator is only ever needed in emergencies, out on the job site they have to handle repeated use and possible rough handling, depending on the type of work involved.
Power tools you can run with these generators include your drills, grinders, and heavy-duty table saws.
The great benefit of owning a portable generator is that you can use it in a variety of settings. Their compact size means you can move them around with ease. You can be using it to power your home appliances and lights during an outage one week and to charge your devices and power your entertainment system on a camping trip another week.
An important step when choosing a portable generator is to work out how much power you need. With that knowledge, you will then select the most portable generator you can find in that wattage range. A Duromax 5500 generator will give you enough power to simultaneously run most of the appliances in your camper, with some to spare.
The only concern you may have is the noise restrictions at the place you will be camping. Some campgrounds and caravan parks have strict policies against loud generators, so you should take that into consideration as you shop.
Recreational vehicles (RVs)
When fully decked out, an RV will typically have your standard home appliances like your fridge, microwave, air conditioner, coffee pots, hairdryer, computer, and some light bulbs. All these need portable power. And for this particular setting, Duromax XP5500 generators really shine.
It’s unlikely that you will have to run all your RV’s electrical appliances and devices simultaneously. Besides your AC, you will only use most of them only a few times during the day. That limits your maximum power needs and means you can get off investing in a medium-sized generator. A Duromax 5500 generator will be sufficient.
When Duromax 5500 Generator is Not an Option?
There are scenarios where you don’t need 5,500 watts of power. For a typical tailgate, for example, you are not going to need so much power.
If you own a small recreational boat, you should also look for a smaller generator. Not only will you not have enough space for a 5,500-watt generator, but that’s also too much power than you need.
Duromax 5500-watt Generator Review: XP5500E Vs. XP5500EH
The Duromax brand markets some of the most popular portable generators on the market. On Amazon, the Duromax gasoline XP5500E and dual-fuel XP5500EH are the most popular generators in the 5,500-watt category.
We tested the generators, read the manufacturer’s product pages, and studied the 4,000+ verified buyer reviews on Amazon to learn what makes these Duromax generators so popular.
We sought to separate the XP5500E and XP5500EH Duromax generators on their key differences and learn how those may affect your final choice. We have summarized our findings below:
Fuel Type and Power Output
The fuel options are what mark the Duromax XP5500E and Duromax Dual Fuel XP5500EH generators apart. The XP5500E runs on gasoline, while the hybrid XP5500EH gives you the option of using gasoline or propane.
The Duromax XP55500E produces 5,500 watts of peak/maximum power and 4,500 watts of running power. What this means is that the generator can sustain a 5,500-watt load for only a short period of time, typically the brief spike when an electrical appliance is first turned on.
After an appliance starts, its power needs drop and the generator defers to what is commonly known as running or continuous power.
The Duromax XP5500E generator’s 4,500 watts of running power is enough to handle multiple tasks. However, the generator will not power everything in your home. A large stove, for example, will likely trip the generator.
The hybrid Duromax XP5500EH uses the same 4-Cycle Air-Cooled Spark-Ignition engine as the XP5500E and produces the same peak and running power when running on gasoline. The running and peak power drops slightly to 5,225 watts and 4,275 watts respectively when you switch to propane fuel.
Tank Capacity and Runtime
The XP5500E has a gasoline tank capacity of 3.96 gallons. According to the manufacturer, that gets you a total runtime of 8.9 hours at 50 percent load. And depending on how long your power outage lasts, that may be too many gas refills than you may prefer. Of course, you will enjoy longer runtime if your load is smaller.
The XP5500EH’s 4-gallon capacity is slightly larger than the XP5500E’s. The runtime, at 9 hours running the generator on half its load capacity isn’t a lot better either.
The great advantage with the XP5500EH is the flexibility to switch between propane and gasoline. The slight difference in peak and running wattage between gas and propane and is down to gas being a faster burning fuel. But that’s negligible when you consider how convenient it is that you can switch between two fuels.
Though the manufacturer recommends and tested total runtime for a 20 lbs propane tank, you can use a larger capacity tank. If you do that, you will get more runtime on one tank than the 8 hours a 20 lbs tank gives you.
The Duromax XP5500E and XP5500EH generators use the same 224cc, 4-Cycle Air-Cooled Spark-Ignition engine. The 7.5hp engine delivers plenty of power with a fairly moderate noise rating of 69 dB.
Though the racket the generator makes won’t make you too many friends at the campsite, it compares favorably with the other generators in this class and isn’t the worst sound you will hear during a power outage.
To start the engine, you have two options. There is the conventional recoil pull-start and the electric starter button for those that haven’t got the muscle. The battery comes included.
The fuel consumption of 0.44 gallons per hour at 50 percent load is quite impressive for generators in this price range. In terms of its carbon footprint, the Duromax XP5500 generators are approved by CARB in California and by the EPA in all 50 states.
Something important that we have noticed and which several of the Duromax generator reviews mentioned is that the engine rarely ever stalls, even when you overload it. That’s because the circuit breaker trips before that happens.
There is nothing to separate the XP5500E and the XP5500EH in terms of outlets. Both feature two 120V 20A GFCI outlets and one 120/240V 30A twist lock. The power panel features a voltmeter that helps you monitor the amount of power the generator is expending for the connected load, as well as 12V DC ports for charging external batteries.
The Duromax XP5500E weighs 122 lbs, while the XP5500EH is two lbs heavier. That’s the dry weight, which excludes the gasoline. Although that sounds like it’s a lot, it is still lighter than many other generators in this class. Again for an all-metal construction, the durability you get makes the weight easier to bear.
In terms of bulk, the two Duromax 5500-watt generators have exactly the same dimensions. The size (25″ L x 22″ W x 22″ H) is reasonably compact for generators that deliver 5,500 watts of power. The open-frame design also makes it easy to lift the generator and greatly enhances its stability, especially when placed on uneven ground.
Besides the circuit breaker, there are other safety features on both Duromax XP5500 generators that potential buyers will love. The more significant of these is the spark arrestor on the attached noise-reducing muffler that makes it safe to use the generators in forested areas.
For the engine’s protection, there is a low-oil shutoff feature that automatically stops the engine when the oil runs low. A surge arrest feature protects the generator from power surges, which safeguards your investment and ensures trouble-free operation.
If you are particularly concerned with fuel safety, perhaps because you live in a fire-prone region, the Duromax dual fuel model will be the best option for you. Propane gas is safer to keep around the home than gasoline and stores indefinitely, unlike gasoline that degrades pretty fast.
Do not connect your Duomax generator directly to your house’s wiring. That can create a back feed, which is a hazard to yourself, your neighbors, and power utility workers. Invest in a manual transfer switch.
An important safety tip is to not operate a fuel-powered generator in an enclosed space. Run a cord at least 20 feet out to the back of the house where the generator should get plenty of air. That prevents any build-up of carbon monoxide, which is toxic and hazardous to your health.
For your safety, always direct the exhaust away from doors and windows. And to protect your generator, run it under a canopy that shields it from the rain. Moisture causes wires to corrode, messing up the electrical connections.
A noteworthy feature of both the Duromax 5,500-watt gasoline and dual fuel generators is the fully-featured power panel. Besides the wide selection of outlets and a voltmeter, the panel also displays a fuel gauge that helps you monitor the fuel level in your generator.
It is a good practice to refill the gas before the generator runs out. There is a risk that the generator’s coils will lose their magnetism if you leave it to run until it’s out of fuel. Having said that, never refill your generator while it’s running as that causes a fire risk. Always switch off and allow it to cool off before refueling.
Both the Duromax Dual Fuel XP5500EH and XP5500E gasoline generators work pretty much out of the box. Save for the provided wheels that you have to fit yourself, both generators come fully assembled. You will, however, have to fill the oil before starting the generator. The generators are easy to figure out even for first-time users.
There is no hybrid switch on the Duromax XP5500EH dual fuel generator. To switch from gas to propane, simply turn off the gasoline valve. Also, remember to press the propane valve primer when starting the generator.
The battery wires on both generators come disconnected. So you should connect them first, otherwise, the electric start will not work. Let the generator warm up before adding the load.
As long as you regularly change the oil and add a stabilizer to the gas, the Duromax 5500-watt generators should run pretty much maintenance-free.
The manufacturer recommends changing the oil after every 20 hours of use. That may get annoying during an extended power outage but it is crucial for the good health of the engine. A funnel is provided for the oil change.
Running the generator for 15 minutes at least once a month will prevent the fuel seals from drying out, something that will cause issues when you eventually lose power and have to run the generator. Doing so will also recharge the battery and ensure the electric start stays well powered.
Avoid overusing your cords and always replace them at the first sign of wear. Specifically for the XP5500EH dual fuel model, always inspect the propane hose for wear and damage and make sure to check that the valve is firm and secure before starting the generator.
Most people who will buy the Duromax XP5500E will only use it in a power outage situation. Depending on where you live, you may not experience a blackout for months. Gasoline degrades with time, so make it a point to always mix in a gasoline stabilizer.
Using old, spoiled gasoline can damage your carburetor. Adding a stabilizer to your gas will prolong its life up to a year.
Pricing and Running Cost
For their American-made build quality, the power they deliver, and the price they retail for, the Duromax XP5500 generators are great value. This is the recurring sentiment in all the Duromax generator reviews we read as we researched for this article.
Between the two models, the dual-fuel XP5500EH is slightly more expensive, but that’s to be expected. On what is cheaper to run between the two, it is hard to tell. Propane is cheaper to buy but gets you less power than gas.
Since they require little to no maintenance, the running costs for the XP5500E and XP5500EH generators are minimal. The one regular cost you will have to budget for, besides fuel, is the oil that you have to change fairly regularly.
Accessories for Duromax 5500-Watt Generators
Included in the box for both the XP5500E and XP5500EH is a wheel and handle kit. Adding the handles is straightforward but you will want to make sure you install the wheels right. Slide the two provided washers on either side of the wheel on the axle before securing it in place with the provided pin.
You won’t have to worry about inflating wheels as they are solid rubber. However, you may notice that the wheels aren’t perfectly round after the generator has been standing in the same spot for months. Rolling the generator a few times should fix this.
For your oil changes, there is a funnel provided so there aren’t any messy spills. Also included in the box are DC charging cables, a tool kit with spanners and screwdriver, and a spark plug and wrench. You will find the manual in there as well.
|Fuel Type||Gasoline||Dual Fuel|
|Engine Type||4-Cycle Air-Cooled Spark-Ignition||4-Cycle Air-Cooled Spark-Ignition|
|Surge Watts||5,500||Gasoline 5,500, Propane 5,225|
|Running Watts||4,500||Gasoline 4,500, Propane 4.275|
|Runtime (at 50% load)||8.92 Hours||8-9 Hours|
|Weight||122 lbs||124 lbs|
|Noise Level||69 dB||69 dB|
|Starting Mechanism||Recoil, electric start||Recoil, electric start|
|Warranty||3 Years||3 Years|
|Certifications||CARB, EPA||CARB, EPA|
|Fuel tank capacity||3.96 gallons||3.96 gallons|
|ST Switch Ready||Yes||Yes|
|Transfer Switch Ready||Yes||Yes|
PROS AND CONS
XP5500E or XP5500EH? Which Duromax 5500 Generator to Choose?
It is easy to reduce the debate on gas vs dual-fuel to power output and fuel cost, but it’s not all about that.
Many people who prefer propane may do so not because it is cheaper than gasoline, but because it is cleaner burning, is kinder on the environment, and stores better than gas. That last benefit is important, especially for a backup generator that may not see any action for months. While propane stores indefinitely, gasoline doesn’t and poses more serious fire risks.
Those who prefer gasoline may also not do so solely because it has a higher energy density, but perhaps because it is easier to source during emergencies.
Your choice between gasoline and propane depends on your individual needs and, crucially, what’s convenient for you. A dual-fuel generator like the Duromax XP5500EH gives you options. Knowing that if you can’t get gas you can always use propane improves the odds you will have power however long an outage lasts.
Alternatives to Duromax 5500 Generators
So what if the Duromax 5500-watt generators don’t quite measure up to your needs?
We spent some time researching the best alternatives to the Duromax XP5500E and XP500EH portable generator models. After separating the wheat from the chaff we have settled on the following:
This is a heavier, slightly larger capacity generator with peak and running power ratings of 6,600 and 5,300 watts respectively. Because it also has a larger, 4.7-gallon fuel tank, it delivers 13.5 hours of running time. Westinghouse has a gasoline-only option in this class.
With almost the same starting and running watts ratings as the Westinghouse WGen5300DF, this Generac generator runs for 10 hours with 50 percent of its load capacity on a 6.7-gallon tank. The Duromax 5500 generators, thus, compare favorably on power output. Like the Westinghouse WGen5300DF, at 180 pounds, this generator is also less portable.
The peak and running watts ratings for this generator aren’t much different than the above two. One area where it has a lot going for it is on the outlets, where it has four 120V 20A GFCI protected household outlets compared to the Duromax generators’ two. It has a larger fuel tank without necessarily boasting a better running time. It is also heavier and louder.
Duromax generators are made to last and will serve you reliably for many years, whether you are using yours for regular job site work or as your electricity backup. The XP5500E and XP5500EH models are no different.
Duromax generators are made in California, USA by the Duromax Power company. You can buy yours at any of the usual places online, like Amazon, Tractor Supply, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.
Duromax generators self-charge their batteries. So the battery will eventually go flat after a period of inactivity. Make sure to run your generator for at least 15 minutes every month to keep the battery charged up. There is a recharge light on the generator’s front panel that will switch off once the battery is fully charged.
Both the Duromax XP5500EH dual fuel and XP5500E gasoline generators have an electric starter. If the battery is flat, you have the second option of the conventional recoil pull start.
Duromax 5500-watt generators have a volume level of 69 dB. Most of the noise is mechanical. The engine itself does not make much noise.
The California-based Duromax Power Company makes and assembles the engines that power its Duromax line of portable generators.
SAE 10W-30 is the recommended oil for Duromax generators. In sub-zero temperatures, SAE 5W-30 works best, but if it’s particularly hot, use SAE 30 oil.
Both Duromax XP5500E and XP5500EH generators are excellent value for money. Generators are a lot more expensive than these weigh more and are bulkier, without necessarily delivering more power.
The generators start without a fuss and will be powering your vital electrical appliances within minutes of a power outage. RV-ready, they are a workhorse on the job site and hardly need any maintenance.
For the flexibility of fuel choice, get the Duromax XP5500EH, and for a reliable portable generator that will serve you for years, get either of the two.