The WEN 56200i’s biggest selling point is its form factor. It has a much more modern, portable and good-looking design than the rest of the portable generators we reviewed. Its lightweight design and carrying handle mean you can transport it just like a suitcase. This is very convenient for loading into the trunk of a car or back of a truck. This portability makes it a decent choice for situations that don’t call for a great deal of power.
The engine on this portable generator can produce 1,600 running watts and 2,000 surge watts. This is sufficient for many situations, like powering household items and electronic devices. However, if you want a serious backup power supply for appliances or power tools, you’ll need something that produces twice or three times that amount – like our top pick: The Generac GP5500.
On a full tank of gas, you can expect this generator to run for about 6 hours of continuous use. Which is impressive, since its tank only holds a single tank of fuel. The average running time among the portable generators we evaluated was 8 hours, so by comparison the fuel efficiency is among the best in this category.
This is the arguably the quietest portable generator we looked in our review. It only produces 51 decibels worth of sound while its running. This is much quieter than the loudest, which was 74 decibels and the next loudest from the 56200i the WEN Power Pro 56101 at 60 decibels. So, don’t expect to disturb neighbors or fellow campers too much with this generator.
Where this model falls down the most is in the number of outlets it offers. This shouldn’t be unexpected given its size and form factor. It offers 2 household style plugs that you can plug in common devices like TVs, computers and small appliances like microwaves. But it doesn’t have the capacity to power larger appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, to say nothing of being a home backup power supply.
But it does have something most portable generators don’t, a USB outlet. This is a great feature for the 21st century because it allows you to charge devices like smartphones and tablets without the need to attach it to a plug adapter that will take up one of your other outlets.
This is a good choice for a small, portable generator for use in non-intensive tasks. It looks great, is easily portable and has enough outlets to get you through a power outage or a night’s worth of camping. However, it lacks the power and additional outlets needed to be a reasonable alternate power supply for a house or long-term emergency situation.