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Honeywell generators have power ratings ranging from 3,250 to 7,500 watts. Since 5,000-watt generators are most popular, we reviewed the Honeywell 5500. This generator has a running wattage of 5,500 and a surge rating of 6,875 watts, which it can produce for up to 10 seconds.

One of the flaws of the Honeywell generator is the inefficient engine. The 389 cc overhead valve engine and the 5.8-gallon fuel tank combine for a running time of only 9.1 hours on a 50 percent power load. For comparison, the best portable generators have a running time of up to 14 hours on a 50 percent power load. This makes the 5500 a reliable generator for short-term blackouts, but if you experience an extended blackout, it will require more fuel to keep your important appliances running.

The best feature is the electric start. This saves you the strain of yanking on a recoil rope to turn over the engine. However, if you only plan to use it during an emergency, it could sit in your garage for years at a time, which may result in a dead battery when you do need to use it. For situations like this, a recoil ignition is available to start the generator.

The control panel has a simple design with few controls. It has four 120-volt plugs like all the best generators and one 120/240-volt twist-locking plug for large appliances. The only thing you need to worry about with the buttons is resetting the circuit breakers when an outlet is overloaded.

The Honeywell 5500 lacks some important safety features. It doesn't have a spark arrestor, which prevents sparks from exiting the exhaust and starting a fire. While it has heavy-duty tires, they aren't never-flat tires. If the generator sits for an extended period, the tires can become flat, which makes the 185-pound generator difficult to transport. It also lacks GFCI protection, which is among the most important safety features because it protects you from electrocution if the electrical current finds an alternate path outside the appliance.

Made by Generac, the Honeywell portable generators have a simple design that provides reliable power to your necessary appliances. The control panel features four standard 120-volt plugs and one 120/240-volt plug, circuit breakers and an electric start. However, it consumes more fuel than most gas generators.

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