Pros / It delivers raw power and utility as well as any product we reviewed.
Cons / It is the most expensive generator we evaluated.
Verdict / If you’re willing to take on the extra expense, it’s a great tool to have.
The Honda EM6500S portable generator is dependable and safe, and that's what matters most when you need emergency 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 EM6500S is one of the safest, most reliable and quietest gas generators available.
All other things being equal, this is one of the best portable generators you can buy. However, its primary drawback is the price. At the time of this writing, the Honda EM6500s costs almost $2,500. Which isn’t unreasonable considering what you get for it. But if you don’t want to splurge, consider less expensive models – like our top overall pick: Generac GP5500.
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 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 7 hours, which is the second longest running time available among the portable generators we reviewed.
The Honda EM6500S 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 if the battery dies, which can happen if you don't use the generator often.
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.
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.
The Honda EM6500S is one of the best portable generators because it produces great power, features 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.