Best Caravan Generator: Yamaha EF2400iS vs Honda EU20i

Best Caravan Generator: Yamaha EF2400iS vs Honda EU20i
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YAMAHA vs. HONDA Caravan Generator

How do Yamaha and Honda caravan generators match up? Does anything compare to the Yamaha EF2400iS? In this blog, we answer the big questions.

You might have seen that the Yamaha EF2400iS recently came out on top in the Caravan & Motorhome Magazine’s Mega Portable Generator Comparison of 2014. This inverter generator boasts 2000W continuous output and 2400W peak output, which is pretty much all you’ll need for most caravanning tasks, particularly if you intend to run an air-conditioning unit. It also has a continuous ECO mode, parallel running (TwinTech) and dual 15A AC outlets. Sounds pretty good, right?

Honda EU20i: The Yamaha EF2400iS recently topped the Caravan & Motorhome on Tour Generator Comparison Testing

The Yamaha EF2400iS recently topped the Caravan & Motorhome on Tour Generator Comparison Testing

So does anything compare to the Yamaha 2.4kVA generator? Surely something from Honda is in the same class? To secure its crown once and for all, let’s compare it to the Honda 2kVA model.

We’ll admit this isn’t an exact like-for-like comparison. But it’s not apples and pears either. In fact, we know that many people compare the Yamaha EF2400iS against the Honda EU20i when they’re weighing up portable inverter generators for their caravan.

Let’s compare:

Power: The Yamaha EF2400iS has a higher maximum output at 2400 watts, which is an advantage when it comes to powering a Caravan/Motorhome air conditioner. While in some cases the Honda EU20i will cope well, the Yamaha EF2400iS outperforms it, given many A/C units will require more than 2000 watts at start up.

Clean power: Thanks to the inverter technology, both generators will safely power sensitive electrical devices, such as laptop computers, without power surges.

Easy to use: Both gensets feature a recoil start. Unlike the Honda 2000 watt, the Yamaha has a fuel gauge so you can easily check the fuel and see when it’s running low. Handy.

Weighing Up: The Yamaha generator is heavier than the Honda at 32kg and 21kg respectively. But it’s important to remember that with the Yamaha, you’re getting more power in the package. Often a consideration when you want to power a few appliances at once.

Quiet Please: Yamaha Generators are known for their quiet running, which is one of those things that makes the so attractive to the leisure and recreation market. Both the Yamaha EF2400iS and Honda EU20i have a super quiet 54 dBA at seven metres distance. This is less than conversation level at a distance of one metre.

Fuel Efficiency: When it came to the fuel efficiency test, the Yamaha 2400 watt was the generator in the comparison that lasted the longest under the same load on one tank of fuel. To be precise, it ran for 6.8 hours. However, this might not be clear when you look at the specifications because the Honda EU20i actually has a 10-hour run time. Here, it’s important to remember that the runtimes on the table are looking at how long the generator will last on a quarter load. The Yamaha unit, however, has a 6-litre fuel tank compared to the Honda’s 4.1 litres.

Honda EU20i

The Yamaha EF2400iS recently took out top spot in the Caravan & Motorhome on Tour Magazine Generator Comparison Test, and rated best for fuel efficiency

Warranty & Support: Both Yamaha and Honda provide an impressive 48-month warranty and approved national service network.

The Winner

In this battle, as with every generator comparison, it depends what you want. The Yamaha EF2400iS gives you significantly more power but you sacrifice some of the portability that the Honda EU20i offers. We say; if you are looking at running your caravan air conditioning unit and associated appliances, the Yamaha is your best bet. Because it’s also worth a reminder that air-conditioning units will require up to 4-5 times the power at start up; so you want to make sure you have enough capacity in your generator – we find that the 2400 watt generator is best suited to most caravan A/C units. Some campers can get away with a 2000 watt generator like the Honda EU20i – in any case, be sure to do your sums first! – we suggest you contact the manufacturer of your particular A/C unit to find the all important peak wattage number – remember, each A/C unit is different!  Also refer to ‘Final Advice’ below 🙂

 Yamaha EF2400iS vs. Honda EU20i Comparison Table:

Yamaha EF2400iS Honda EU20i
 Maximum Output: 2400 Watts 2000 Watts
 Rated (Continuous) Output: 2000 Watts 1600 Watts
 Operating Hours (1/4 Load): 9 hrs 10 hrs
 Fuel Tank Capacity: 6 L 4.1 L
 Size (LxWxH): 527x419x459 mm 510x290x425 mm
 Dry Weight: 32 kg 21 kg
 Noise Level (1/4 Load / 7m): 54 dBA 54 dBA (Eco On)
 Starting System: Recoil Recoil
 Fuel Gauge Monitor: Yes No
 DC Output: Yes Yes

Final Advice

Just be conscious that there are some external factors that can slightly ‘de-rate’ any generator’s power capacity. Most commonly, when operating the generator in hot temperatures some of the power output can reduce; as a guide, an increase every 5 degrees in temp above 25°C can reduce the generator’s power capacity by up to around 10%. Additionally, longer extension chords can also  de-rate a generator’s output – anything longer than 3-4 metres will slightly reduce the power. Lastly, it also pays to be weary of unintentionally drawing power to charge your battery system at the same time as running your caravan air-con for example – sometimes trying to draw power for both sources at the same time will be too much for some generator models.

This is worth keeping in mind, as we often get calls from customers who’s generator isnt quite large enough to handle the extra heat, chord length or battery charging demands when also running a caravan air con for example…these are some other reasons to perhaps consider a slightly larger generator model for your caravan, so you have some extra power up your sleeve if required 🙂

 

 

Sean Connolly

Sean Connolly

Managing Director at My Generator
Sean is the co-founder and Managing Director of My Generator (mygenerator.com.au)
Sean Connolly

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Comments

  • Phil Potvin May 31, 2015, 9:21 am

    Is there a fair comparison between the Yamaha EF2400is and the Honda 30i Handy units as I am seriously trying to buy the right generator to power not only my brand new 2015 – 16′ New Age Manta Ray caravan air conditioning unit but also the microwave and LED lights all at the same time. We only camp in non-powered sites so this feedback information back from you is critical and more than likely applicable to others for our same or similar requirements.

    • My Generator Admin June 1, 2015, 1:05 am

      Hi Phil, thanks for your question. It all comes down to the wattage requirements of your particular appliances. I would strongly suggest you give your Air-Con manufacturer a call and ask them for the starting wattage of your particular unit – we find the technical support staff for most Caravan Air-Con brands to be very helpful. Similarly, you will need to find the starting wattage of your microwave – again, its that starting wattage which is the most important number.
      Once you have these numbers for your appliances, you can work out what size generator will work for you. Our Generator Buyer’s Guide provides a step by step example regarding generator sizing which may also help.
      Regarding the comparison of the two generator units, the Yamaha EF2400iS is slightly lighter, quieter and over $1,000 cheaper than the Honda EU30i Handy, but obviously the Yamaha produces slightly less power…so again, it all comes down to the wattage requirements of your particular appliances. You may also find this article helpful: Mega Portable Generator Comparison – The Results from Caravan & Motorhome Magazine.
      Cheers, Steve.

  • Glen Hastwell January 6, 2016, 12:18 am

    Will the Yamaha EF 2400is run any Caravan Air-Conditioner?

    • My Generator Admin January 6, 2016, 1:04 am

      Hi Glen, we always advise that you find out what the peak power surge at start-up (in watts) that your particular Caravan Air-Con model will require. This enables you to correctly size what generator you need. Often the best way to do this is to contact the Air-Con manufacturer, speak to their technical department and ask what size generator they advise will run your model of Air-Con.

      In terms of the Yamaha EF2400iS, from our testing and experience, it will run mostly all Caravan Air-Con models from the major brands on the market, noting that there are a couple of specific Caravan Air-Con models at the larger end that will test it, or even be too much for generators of this size, especially in hotter conditions. Note that some older Air-Con models are not very efficient and can draw quite a bit of power.

      In summary, most people requiring a generator to run their Caravan Air-Con will opt for a Yamaha EF2400iS – it is a quiet, reliable and fuel efficient machine that will comfortably run the vast majority of Caravan Air-Con units on the market. It is THE generator that we recommend for Caravan Air-Con units. The main reasons that people might opt for / need a different model of generator for their Caravan is:

      1) They have an especially large Caravan Air-Con unit that needs more power so they need a larger generator (or in some less common cases the opposite is true, whereby they have a smaller Air-Con unit and can get away with a 2000w generator). Again, these types of cases are not as common, but its always best to find the peak power surge draw of your specific Air-Con model.

      2) Many people will just want to run their Caravan Air-Con from the generator and that’s it. However, some people will have a number of other Caravan appliances they want to run at the same time as their Air-Con, e.g. battery system charging, kitchen appliances, electronics etc. This is where you’ll need to know the power draw of those other appliances also. The Yamaha EF2400iS might be ok to run your Air-Con plus some other appliances at the same time, or it might not – it obviously depends on how much power the sum of all your particular pieces of equipment will draw.

      Lastly, its worth noting that in hotter environments, any generator’s power capacity will slightly reduce. Also, the longer the extension leads, the more the generator’s capacity will slightly reduce too. Just be weary of these additional influences on the power performance of a generator – so if you are going to be in particularly hot environments (above 30 degrees Celsius), or run long extension leads (longer than 4 metres) then factor in some additional power contingency when doing your generator sizing calculations. We often get calls from customers saying that their 2000w generator won’t run their Air-Con when it’s hot or when an extra extension lead is attached.

  • Ken Brooks January 15, 2016, 12:14 am

    I have an Air Command Ibis air conditioner in my caravan. Will a Yamaha 2400 start it?

    • My Generator Admin January 15, 2016, 12:35 am

      Hi Ken – The short answer is yes; the Yamaha EF2400iS is the most popular generator model for running Caravan A/C units. Ideally you would know the starting and running wattage for your particular air conditioner model to be sure you are choosing the most appropriate sized generator. We find the best way to get this wattage information is to contact the manufacturer (in your case; Air Command). Their service dept. is very helpful and for most of their range of air conditioners they will likely advise around a 2.4kVA to 2.8kVA generator, with the main caveat being that external factors such as high temperatures (above 30°C) and long extension leads (over 3-4 metres) will slightly de-rate any generator’s power capacity. Also keep in mind that if you want to run other appliances at the same time (or simultaneously charge your battery system) then this extra power needs to be taken into consideration when sizing your generator also. We recommend that you do your sizing research/calculations for your air-con model (and any other appliances) then allow for a bit of extra power contingency up your sleeve if required.

      In summary, the Yamaha EF2400iS will run your Ibis Air Command air conditioner. For extra piece of mind and to discuss your particular model/situation to ensure you make the best choice, you can contact your air con manufacturer (Air Command) or feel free to give us a call also on 1300 400 122 to discuss more. Thanks!

  • century campers March 16, 2016, 3:14 am

    Thanks a lot for giving us such details on this topic. This will be such a helping hand when selecting a caravan generator.

  • Oliver Jones May 17, 2016, 6:51 am

    I believe they are very similar and commonly have the same performance.It will depend on which of the two products is more effective and usable in terms of longer life.

  • Bill Webster July 29, 2016, 12:25 am

    Hi Ken.
    As a complete newbie looking to set up a motorhome for protracted off grid existence, I wanted to know whether the 240 volt requirements can be supplemented by the vehicle’s engine power output? You write that an aircon startup draws extra power. Could having the vehicle running when powering on the aircon (or other high draw component) cover any lack of power from a generator?

    • Lachlan July 29, 2016, 12:46 am

      Hi Bill – the article is referring to air-conditioners for recreational vehicles that require 240 volt power from either mains power or a generator. We are aware of some people using their camping battery system (usually larger ones) and a power inverter (say 3000 watts or above) and starting/running their air-con that way…this can draw quite a bit of power from your batteries, but is an alternative to using a generator. In terms of your vehicle, it would depend on your particular battery system set up – it might pay to speak to a RV air-conditioner installer. Thanks

  • Gary Knox October 3, 2016, 5:36 am

    Will either of these generators charge up a low house battery power supply, say from 11.5V back up to 13V, if the solar power input is too low over a number of days?

    • L Adams October 10, 2016, 12:23 am

      Hi Gary – I would be inclined to ask your solar installer for a recommended size and type of generator that is suitable for your particular battery system. Each set up and system can have certain subtleties and so it is always best to discuss charging your batteries via a generator with your installer.
      Overall, our most popular type of generator as a back up to off-grid solar systems is an Auto Start Generator – these are two wire auto start gensets that automatically start up to recharge your batteries when they get too low on charge.
      Many thanks.

  • Raymond Murdoch October 10, 2016, 1:22 am

    Can you connect two of the Yamaha 2.4kva’s together to get more power?

    • L Adams October 10, 2016, 7:15 am

      Hi Raymond, yes you can. The Yamaha EF2400iS has parallel capability that Yamaha call ‘Twin Tech’ – via the parallel cables you can connect two EF2400iS models together and they will produce almost double the maximum power output and provide 3800 watts of continuous power.

  • Phil Hayes October 10, 2016, 2:14 am

    I’m looking at both a generator and air conditioner for my caravan. This article is useful for the generator research but do you know where I can get some advice on caravan air conditioner models?

  • Phil January 10, 2017, 12:08 am

    What about Briggs and Straton generators 2kva and 3 kva any comparisons

    • L Adams January 10, 2017, 12:28 am

      Hi Phil, as we haven’t tested the Briggs & Stratton inverter generators, it would be good to get feedback from the forum from anyone that has?
      We do sell larger trade gensets powered by Briggs & Stratton engines which we know are a reliable product in our commercial range. I understand the Briggs inverters are made in China and offer a slightly shorter warranty than the likes of Yamaha or Honda…so perhaps they aren’t considered top-end premium, however their 3000 watt model looks like a lighter option than the Yamaha EF3000iSE or Honda EU30iS which have similar rated output capacities. Open to more feedback from others? Thanks.

  • Mark Maloy March 17, 2017, 8:40 pm

    Hi, Have you had chance to test the Briggs and Straton generators 2kva and 3 kva for comparisons yet?
    regards

    • L Adams March 19, 2017, 11:01 pm

      Hi Mark, we’re looking to test the new Briggs P2200 PowerSmart model next month. However, from a quick initial look at the specifications, we’re not sure it will stack up as a leading caravan generator model though – in our experience, generators with capacity of around 2400 to 3000 watts suit most (but not all) caravan owners requirements, so it may be a little under-sized for many RV applications. More likely the larger Briggs P3000 PowerSmart model will suit more caravan applications, but the downside is that the P3000 weighs 44 kilograms.
      Having said all of that, it all comes down to your particular appliances and how much they draw – as mentioned, currently most people will need around 2400 to 3000 watts (especially for air conditioners, microwaves etc.), but some RV owners don’t need that much power and appliances are becoming more energy efficient, meaning less power is required for the latest quality caravan equipment. Watch this space, thanks.

      • Mark Maloy March 20, 2017, 8:27 pm

        Thanks for the reply.
        Regards
        Mark

  • jeff August 22, 2017, 8:02 am

    Hello Michael, I have read your previous responses and appreciate your points. Can I bypass my caravan’s 25amp battery charger by hooking a 1kva Yamaha or Honda generator to the caravan’s anderson plug (which is used to charge the caravan batteries from the vehicle’s alternator when driving) via a domestic (say 6amp) charger? I have been thinking of exchanging my 2kva honda for a 1kva unit to spare my aching back. Cheers, Jeff.

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