WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator Review – Too Good to be True?

While not as famous as Honda, Yamaha or Westinghouse, WEN generators have stormed the US market in recent years gaining instant popularity among customers nationwide. It looks like the primary mission of this relatively young company was to prove that a portable generator like WEN 56200i doesn’t have to cost a thousand dollars to run flawlessly.

56200i is to this date by far the most popular portable inverter generator released by WEN.

It has been universally acclaimed as a low-cost alternative for Honda EU2000i and other expensive inverters. The common opinion is that it delivers pretty much the same job while costing 50% less.

Does WEN 56200i really live up to its hype? We will try to find out in the following review.

WEN 56200i – at a glance

One of the first things I noticed when examining this generator is that its engine is pretty much identical to the one installed in a much more expensive Yamaha EF2000ISv2.

I am not entirely sure about but I strongly suspect that this is in fact the same 4-stroke 79.7 cc OHV engine as the ones installed in Yamaha inverter generators.

It seems that WEN obtained the license to install Yamaha engines in their generators or simply did an awesome job at replicating the Yamaha’s technology.

Whichever is true, WEN 56200i’s engine runs flawlessly and is indeed built very solidly.


Just like all best inverter generators on the market, WEN 56200i is equipped with pure sine wave technology which makes it safe to run the sensitive electronics. You can use it to charge your phone, computer or an iPad without worries.

It is both EPA III and CARB compliant. No matter where you reside in the US, you can legally use it in all states.

What you can instantly notice is the large variety of outlets available. WEN 56200i offers 2 x 12V AC, 1x 12V DC and a 5V USB port.

Technical Specs of WEN 56200i

Wattage: 2000 Starting / 1600 Running Watts

Outlets: 2x 120 V receptacles, 2x USB ports

Noise Level 51 dB @ 25% load

Weight: 48 lbs 

Fuel Type: Gasoline

Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 18"

Fuel Tank Capacity: 1 gal

Engine: 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV

Run Time: 6h @ 50% load

Starting Method: Manual recoil

WEN 56200i has a got an well designed control panel which is very easy to use

What I like about WEN 56200i

The immediate thing which makes people love WEN 56200i is how quiet it is.

It is undoubtedly one of the quietest generators we have ever seen (and heard).

At 25% load it produces only around 51 decibels of noise.

This is comparable to a lively conversation between two people and way much less than eg. a vacuum cleaner.

While there are generators even quieter than this such as Honda EU2200i or YamahaEF2000ISV2, those usually sell for more than double the price of WEN 56200i.

Really, thumbs up for WEN for making their inverter as quiet as possible – they really did a great job.

The generator is also not only quiet but very light and easy to carry. It weighs only 48 lbs, making it totally possible for an average person to carry it with one hand.

The handle is not the most comfortable we’ve seen but this is certainly not a big problem.

As for its gas consumption, WEN 56200i probably wouldn’t win the title of the most fuel efficient inverter on the market.

However, it still ranks in the top.

You could expect it to run for around 4-5 hours on a single gallon of gas depending on the load.

Finally – the price.

Simply WOW.

It’s honestly hard to believe that a generator so cheap can be so good.

If you ever thought that the generators made in China are all crap, WEN 56200i will prove you wrong.

What you get is a generator which performs perhaps only slightly less ideally than Yamaha or Honda but costs the fraction of the price.

If you are looking for a 2000 watt inverter generator under $500, in my humble opinion WEN 56200i is the best choice.

WEN 56200i is not perfect but offer an excellent value for money

 

Are there any serious downsides?

Fortunately, I haven’t found anything I would particularly dislike about this generator. Especially given its low price there is simply nothing serious to complain about.

One minor nuisance with this generator is that its fuel-saving eco mode does not really work when running above 1000 watts.

Lack of low oil level indicator is another feature I miss. It would definitely save me from having to worry too much about the lack of oil.

Frequently Asked Questions about WEN 56200i

Is it quiet enough to use at the campgrounds?

WEN 56200i is one of the quietest generators on the market. That’s why we think it is a great choice for campers.

However, most of the campground in the US adhere to strict noise regulations, especially during the night hours. If a campsite explicitly forbids its users to use any portable generators during the so-called quiet hours – you won’t be able to use any generator, no matter how quiet it is. WEN 56200i is no exception.

Where are WEN generators made?

All WEN generators are assembled in China. The engines are apparently the same as the ones used in Yamaha generators. However, we couldn’t find any confirmed info whether these are original licensed Yamaha engines or spin-offs.

How much noise does it make at 100% load?

Depending on how far away you stay from the generator, you should expect to hear approx. 60dB.

Can I run it in parallel with another inverter generator?

Yes, you can.

WEN sells the dedicated parallel connection kit for inverter generators.

Will it run my 8,000 / 10,000 / 11,000 BTU air conditioner?

WEN 56200i will run any air conditioner which consumes less than 1600 watts of power.

In order to calculate how many watts your AC exactly needs, check the label to find out it amp draw. Then multiply it by its voltage.

Eg. If your 120V 10,000 BTU AC consumes 9.8 amps then its running wattage would be 120 x 9.8 = 1176W. 

WEN 56200i generates up 1600 running watts so yes – it could run a 10,000 BTU air conditioner.

Does it need to be grounded?

No, you can safely use it without grounding.

Conclusion – should you buy WEN 56200i?

If you are looking for a quality inverter generator capable of powering large electrical appliances then I would say – yes. It is a really solid generator manufactured by the industry leader.

You can put a lot of trust in it knowing that it will run flawlessly whenever you need it. Even though it is really expensive, I personally think it is a good long term investment.

8.8 Total Score
Great inexpensive inverter generator

WEN 56200i is a fantastic alternative to expensive inverter generators. It offers the same functionalities and performs as well while costing only a fraction of their price. Quiet, lightweight, reliable and cheap - these qualities make it a real winner.

Performance
8.5
Design
8
Noise Level
9
Ease of Use
9
PROS
  • Very Quiet
  • Easy to Use
  • Compact
  • Much cheaper than Honda or Yamaha
CONS
  • Eco mode doesn't work well at higher loads

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Wattage: 2000 Starting / 1600 Running Watts

Noise Level: 53 dB @ 25% load, 59 dB @ 100% load

Fuel Type: Gasoline

Fuel Tank Capacity: 0.95 gal

Run Time: 8h @ 25% load, 3.4h @ 100% load

Outlet: 1x 120V 2000W max. (16.7A) 1600W rated (13.3A)

Weight: 45 lbs 

Dimensions: 20.2″ x 11.4″ x 16.7″

Engine: Honda GX100 98.5 cc

Starting Method: Manual Recoil

My name's Craig, I am a general contractor currently living in Dallas, TX. I've worked with different kinds of electric tools throughout my career, including the portable generators. In my spare time, I love going camping and tailgating with my family and friends. I've created this site to provide honest advice for people looking for the right portable generator and other related equipment for work and leisure.

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