If you are in the market for a generator that fits all your outdoor needs, whether it be running your RV, your DIY tools, or your recreational needs, a mid-size predator generator may be the perfect fit for you. Maybe, you are looking for a go-to unit for emergencies that can power your essentials all at once.
Having a unit that can fit all your needs is as important as all of your activities. You will need a unit that will work hard, provide enough power, and not impede your ability to enjoy nature. The mid-range inverter generates check off all of those boxes. A functional and portable unit is Predator 3500 generator.
Predator 3500 Generator Review – Specs & Features
The Predator 3500 by Harbor Freight is a workhorse of a mid-size unit. It is a portable unit with built-in wheels and handles for moving. It comes in at about 99 pounds, putting it at an average weight for mid-size generators. The generator is an inverter power model, which allows for it to be efficient, reduce noise, and safer for your myriad of electronics. Here is a closer look at what makes the Predator 3500.
- 6-gallon gasoline fuel tank
- 3500 peak Watts; running watts 3000
- At 25% capacity, it runs for 11 hours
- The engine is a 212cc air-cooled OHV
- Holds 20 fluid oz of oil
- 2- 120v AC grounded outlets
- 1-120v AC twist-lock outlet
- 1-DC 12 volt 2 pin outlet
- The generator is 22 x 17 and weighs just under a hundred pounds
- Inverter power generator
- Noise level rated at 57 decibels
The Predator 3500 takes 20 oz of oil, and the manufacturer recommends that you use the 10w – 30 SAE engine oil. Many of the Predator 3500’s features revolve around safety and convenience. Here is a list of some of its features.
- Built-in cast wheels for smooth movement
- LCD digital screen to monitor oil overload and output indicators
- Electric start
- Fuel efficient
- Power output is a clean power curve
- Parallel cable compatible
- Includes RV adapter which is 30 amp
- Backup pull start in case startup battery dies
- Automatic low oil shutdown
- Fully enclosed unit to protect the interior and ensure that it is quiet
- Components made from copper which is longer lasting
- Throttle switch for increased fuel efficiency
- Overload protection
This unit comes with an accessories kit. The manufacturer supplies you with a funnel, a tool kit, an RV adapter, and charging cables for your battery. The Predator 3500 also has a manufacturer warranty for up to two years. This model is certified for emissions control by the US Environmental Protection Agency( EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Every generator has some fantastic qualities, and others that we wish could be improved. We have compiled a list of things we love about the Predator 3500 and a few things we wish we could change.
Predator 3500 Generator – Things to Consider
The Predator 3500 is perfect for outdoor recreational use, RV use, camping, and even tailgating. It also produces enough power for home use and emergencies. Specs and features play a significant role in your generator choice.
The other factor to consider is watts. Everything you use that is electrical has a specific number of watts that it runs. You determine your wattage by multiplying your volts and amps. You will need to do the math to see how much your volts and amps equates to in watts.
You want to focus on running the generator at its running Watts and generally want to avoid pushing it to its peak watts for prolonged periods. Running it at peak watts for an extended time can put a strain on the inner workings of the unit. This type of strain can cause the unit to malfunction or stop working altogether. Another factor to keep in mind is, in most cases, improper use will also void the warranty.
The Predator 3500 is an inverter generator. This feature makes it quieter and more fuel-efficient, but what exactly is an inverter.
What Is an Inverter?
An inverter takes power and changes or “inverts” it into cleaner energy that is more usable for your sensitive electronics. Inverter technology is newer to generators. The inverter itself is a unit made of specialized electronic circuitry and magnets.
Green Gear Global states that the technology behind inverters puts out an “AC current like most conventional generators, but the current is then connected to DC voltage.” This energy is then “inverted” into AC voltage power again, but this version is clean and consistent energy.
Regular AC power is block waves. However, this new inverted power is composed of sine waves. Total harmonic distortion is the measurement for these waves. Total harmonic distortion allows power systems to have:
- Lower peak currents
- Less electronic heating
- Low electromagnetic emissions
- Low probability of core loss in motors
This new current of power produced by this process is a constant flow of volts to your appliances, which protects your more sensitive electronics such as laptops and televisions. The THD plays a vital role in allowing you to use inverter generators for high tech devices.
This constant flow of energy is also what allows the inverter generators to be more fuel-efficient. The engine speed adjusts to the power flow that is needed instead of running at a constant RPM as traditional generators do. As far as quality goes, the inverter generator’s power is similar in quality to the electricity that you will generally get from your electric company.
Why Is an Inverter So Quiet?
By design, inverter generators are automatically quieter than conventional generators. Their engines are quieter and have specialized mufflers and technology for sound dampening. Because of its microprocessors and electronics, it will automatically lower engine speed when it is running a lighter load of power, which leads to the reduction of noise.
Conventional generators are generally noisier because their power output is continuously fluctuating. Many inverter generators can run at a decibel level that is similar to a group of people conversing, whereas a conventional generator is similar to a chainsaw.
Since the noise level of generators is a sticking point for many buyers, manufacturers spend extra time and energy on ensuring that the inverter generators have everything they need to be as quiet as possible since this is one of its primary selling points.
Is an Inverter Generator Powerful?
Because they are smaller and portable, the amount of power that can be produced by an inverter generator does not pass around 4000 watts. While shopping, you will most commonly see them running anywhere from 1000 watts up to that 4000 watts.
While inverter generators may not be powerful enough for heavy-duty use, it is perfect for outdoor activities like Rving, camping, hunting, and other recreational activities. The bonus is it will allow you to enjoy nature still and have a conversation without the noise pollution.
Why Is an Inverter Generator More Expensive?
Just like anything we buy, having more features comes with a higher price tag. When it comes to pricing, you are paying for these benefits:
- Fuel efficiency
- A constant flow of power
- Quiet operation
- Ease of use
These features factor into the price of the unit on top of the usual factors such as watts, engine size, and fuel tank capacity. Ease of use and easy product care also come along with an inverter generator.
Predator 3500 Generator Housekeeping
Since Predator 3500 is an inverter model, it is easy to maintain. It comes with a manual that lays out easy care instructions and a maintenance schedule. The unit also has an illustrated quick start guide to make running the generator as user friendly as possible.
It is important to remember to perform the first service on time within the conditioning period and to make sure the maintenance happens on schedule after that. This will keep your Predator 3500 running in tip-top shape and will keep your warranty intact.
Now that we have explained more about the technology behind an inverter generator, and how it differs from conventional generators, you can see how Predator 3500 is the best of both worlds.
It is quiet, compact, and portable. The 3500 peak watts gives you plenty of power to run your essentials, whether you are enjoying your favorite outdoor activity or using it to help power tools for your business. If you are using the Predator for emergency backup, your neighbors will enjoy its quiet functionality as much as you will.
Most importantly, it’s power is clean and will not harm your electronics, especially those with microprocessors, which these days can be a lot. It has a decent cost to features ratio and its fuel efficiency will allow you to recoup some of the cost associated with buying an inverter generator. It’s overall versatility, and excellent consumer ratings make the Predator 3500 a reliable purchase for taking care of your generator needs.