Pros / It has a surge rating that is 2,000 watts more than the running wattage.

Cons / It lacks an hours meter.

 Verdict / Whether you need power for a campout or you've experienced a natural disaster, the Honda EM5000S is the most reliable and safest portable generator available.

The Honda EM5000S portable generator is dependable and safe, and that's what matters most when you need nonconventional power during a natural disaster or a power outage. It is also durable enough to handle everyday use. It doesn't matter if you're a general contractor who'll use it every day or a family that only needs a generator for emergencies – the Honda EM5000S is one of the safest, most reliable and quietest gas generators available. For these reasons, it earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best portable generator.

Honda EM5000S Visit Site
  • Surge Wattage Increase
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Running Time
  • Fuel Tank Capacity
  • Weight
  1. The increase of power that the generator can produce for short periods.
    Watts (Higher is Better)
  2. 1  Honda
    2000.0 Watts
  3. 2  Yamaha
    1000.0 Watts
  4. 1500.0 Watts
  5. Category Average
    1225.0 Watts

Power & Fuel Performance

The Honda EM series has portable generators with power ratings that start at 4,000 watts and go as high as 10,000 watts. The power rating that you should get depends on the number of appliances you need to power. The 5,000-watt generator is the most common for families because it's enough power to ensure that essential appliances will be available during an emergency. The surge rating is 7,000 watts, which is the most power it can handle for about 10 seconds. This is important in order to start up appliances and tools with electric motors, because the startup wattage can be two to three times as much as the running wattage.

The 6.2-gallon gas tank isn't the biggest tank available, but the 389-cc engine is among the most efficient non-inverting gas generators. When only using 50 percent of the max wattage, the running time is 11.2 hours, which is the second longest running time available among the portable generators we reviewed. The Honda EM5000iS, which is the inverter generator in the series, has a running time of over 15 on only 4 gallons of fuel, making it one of the most fuel-efficient gas generators.

The Honda EM5000S has both an electric ignition and a pull ignition. The electric ignition allows you to start the generator by simply pushing a button. There's no need to strain your back pulling the recoil rope as if you're trying to start a stubborn lawn mower. The pull ignition is available as a backup in the event that the battery dies, which can happen if you don't use the generator often.

Safety Features

One of the best and most noticeable safety features of the Honda EM5000S is the 72dB engine, making it one of the quietest gas generators available. It's about as loud as a vacuum or a loud conversation. For comparison, most portable generators exceed 80dB, which is almost twice as loud. Since it's quieter than most generators, you can communicate better with others while working around it, and you don't have to worry about damage to your hearing.

Another great feature is the intelligent automatic voltage regulation (iAVR) system. All power generators have voltage regulators designed to maintain a consistent voltage, but the iAVR is miles ahead of other AVRs. It provides cleaner and more consistent power to your appliances than any other portable generator. One of the issues with power generated by an engine is that it can fluctuate, which can create power distortions that damage the circuits within your appliances. Honda's iAVR reduces fluctuations and distortions by 50 percent over other AVRs, which is one reason why it costs so much more than most portable generators.

Like all the best portable generators, the Honda EM5000S has circuit breakers that prevent overloading and a low-oil shutdown, which shuts down the engine when the oil gets too low. Unlike most portable generators, it also features ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. A GFCI measures the electrical current going to and from your appliances and shuts off the power if the returning current diminishes, which is an indication that it's taken an alternate path. For example, if you accidentally drop a power tool into a muddy puddle, the GFCI shuts off the power before the electrical current can electrocute you.

Control Panel Features

The control panel features four 120-volt AC household plugs, two twist-locking 120/240-volt plugs for large appliances and a 12-volt DC outlet for charging a car battery. It also features a voltage selector switch that allows you to isolate the voltage to 120 volts or 240 volts so that the iAVR can provide accurate voltage to your appliances more efficiently.

One of the few flaws is the lack of an hours meter, which tracks the number of hours that the generator has operated. An hours meter is important for gauging when to have the generator serviced. Like all combustion engines, proper servicing and maintenance is critical for it to perform reliably and last. Without the hours meter, you won't know when to have it serviced unless you keep meticulous records on your own.

Help & Support

Many manufacturers lack great customer support because they don't deal directly with customers, leaving any complaints, questions and servicing issues with the dealer you purchased the generator from. Honda is different. The Honda EM generators come with an industry-leading three-year warranty and excellent customer support. Not only does Honda provide one of the largest service center networks available, which allows you to easily find a Honda-certified mechanic to service it when needed, but it also provides maintenance tutorials, videos, a FAQs page and manuals. The only support feature that's missing is an email contact.


The Honda EM5000S is the best portable generator because it has a long running time, an electric start ignition, a quiet engine and comprehensive safety features. With the iAVR, you can safely power all of your appliances without worrying about fluctuations in voltage and electrical distortions, which can damage circuitry. Whether you use it every day or only in emergencies, no portable generator is more reliable and safe than the Honda EM5000S.

Honda EM5000S Visit Site