Over a million generators are sold every year, from over 30 manufacturers with that number growing more and more every year. With two main types of generators, conventional or inverter, the options can seem endless. With a traditional generator, you will get maximum power, reliability, and versatility. They are also extremely durable. With conventional generators, you get an excellent value for the price you pay.
Conventional generators can be power heavy loads for emergency backup, recreational use, and on job sites. They are also a durable unit that will work for you for an extended time. There are many features and specifications when you get into brands that differentiate one from another. One model, Predator 4000, has been around since 1977 and is manufactured by Harbor Freight. We are going to look a little deeper into the Predator 4000.
Predator 4000 Generator Review – Specs & Features
The Predator 4000 generator is a conventional gas-powered generator. It weighs just under a hundred pounds making it a sturdy option for everyday use. With its recoil start, it is easy to get going right out of the box. Let’s take a deeper dive into its specifications and features.
- 212cc HP air-cooled OHV
- 4000 peak Watts 3200 running Watts
- Two 120 volt 20 amp duplex outlets
- 240 volt 30 amp twist-lock outlet
- 12 volt DC outlet
- 10 hours of runtime at 50% capacity
- 4-gallon gas tank
- Noise level is about 72 decibels
- Separate DC and AC circuit breakers
- Low oil indicator and low oil shut off
- 1-inch steel roll cage
The Predator 4000 is EPA emissions certified; however, it has one model that is approved for California while its general models are not. While this model has many useful features, every generator always has a few downsides. Here is what we have compiled for the Predator 4000.
Conventional generators are reasonably basic. They have a simple construction of a fuel-powered engine put together with an alternator to produce power that is available for you to use in many different capacities. Many are portable units for use in your home, on the road, or even at your work.
Conventional generator run off of one of three different fuel types which are:
There are a few models of conventional generators that are multi-fuel and can run off of either gas or propane, and they leave it up to you, the consumer, to choose which one best suits your needs. However, it is typical for the generators to be single fuel.
The defining characteristic of the generator is that it runs at a constant rpm of 3600 to produce 120v of power at 60 hertz. The one downside of these generators is that it does not maintain this level well, so the output is often inconsistent and can produce surges in the power level. This also makes them a little louder and less prudent for use with sensitive electronics.
The most significant advantage of a conventional generator is there is a wide variety of options depending on how much power you need. The power options can be up to 10,000 watts in a portable unit. However, 10,000 watts is quite a bit of energy. Units like the 4000-watt Predator are generally enough power to fulfill the average person’s needs.
When you get down to specific models, there are many questions you should answer to know if this model is the right one for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
When researching if the Predator 4000 is going to be your next generator, many common questions may likely arise. We have rounded up a few of these questions and their answers for your consideration.
What Will My Generator Power?
With 4000 peak watts and 3200 running watts, you have a lot of power to use. To give you an idea of what the Predator will power on average, it will power at once:
- 700-watt refrigerator or 7-100 watt light bulbs
- 1800-watt skill saw
- 625-watt microwave
This combination brings the total watt usage to 3125, which is just under 3200 running watts. Your generator should always run at 90% of capacity and not exceed the total running watts.
How Do I Determine How Much Power I Need?
Look at what appliances, tools, or electronics you want to power and add their watts together to see if they fall into the 3200 watts category. Use this to determine how much power you will need.
What if I Do Not Know the Watts?
It is simple to determine watts on your own. If the item you want to power does not list the watts, you can take the amps x the volts. The final number will give you how many watts it will need to run. The manual for the Predator 4000 includes a list of items from the home to the job site to assist you in estimating the wattage of your electronics.
Do I Need to Do Any Special Maintenance?
As with any generator, your Predator 4000 will need to be serviced after its initial conditioning or break-in period. With this model, it is as simple as an oil change at 20 hours. Before every use, it is wise to give the generator a once over. Make sure to:
- Brush off outside of the engine
- Check engine oil level
- Check air cleaner
- Check deposit cup
After that, follow the guidelines of the manual for continued maintenance.
What Type of Oil Should I Use?
Predator’s manufacturer recommends that for general use, you use SAE 10w-30 oil, which is rated 32 degrees and up. For colder conditions, they recommend SAE 5w-30. To add oil to the generator, you will need a funnel for ease of pouring.
What Cables Do I Need?
You will need a grounding wire to ensure your Predator is safely grounded. As far as extension cords go, you can use any that fit the plug specifications. Just remember that using shorter cables is better.
How Do I Store My Generator?
If you are only using your generator for emergency backup, you may want to store it after your storm season is over. To store it for 20 days or more, make sure you:
- Clean the engine of the generator
- Use fuel with an additive to protect your tank
- Change oil
- Ensure spark plugs are properly lubricated
- Place in a covered, dry, level, and well-ventilated area
Remember to start it up for at least 15-20 minutes once every 3 months to ensure everything is in working order.
Can My Predator be Used in the Rain?
It is best to put a shelter over your generator when using it in inclement weather. Many of its parts should not have rain or snow always on them. When placing a cover over your generator, make sure you have airflow on all sides.
Will Altitude Affect The Predator?
If you live or plan to use Predator 4000 above 3000 feet, the manufacturer does recommend some adjustments to ensure that the generator still performs efficiently. A qualified mechanic should adjust:
- Anything that controls the air-fuel ratio
If these components are not properly adjusted, your generator will likely not function properly. Not modifying these parts may also void your warranty.
Does the Predator 4000 have a warranty?
The Predator does come with a warranty. The generator is covered for 90 after your purchase date for durability and workmanship, as the manufacturer wants to ensure you only receive a quality unit.
After the 90-day warranty passes, the Predator does have a 2-year emissions control system warranty.
Does the Generator Come With a Manual?
Predator 4000 comes with a manual as well as a quick start guide and a buying guide. The manual is comprehensive and can answer many of your questions, making it possible for you to do most of your maintenance to your generator. Though, if you ever feel uncomfortable with any of the electrical hook-ups, always consult an electrician.
The Predator 4000 is a portable, fuel conscious workhouse that gives you a lot of power for emergency preparedness, power tool operation, and while camping. This unit has many safety features like its steel roll cage and low oil indicator, making it possible to feel at ease while using it. It also has built-in feet that allow it to sit flat on its surface, making it sturdier.
It is easy to start with a flip of a switch, turn of a button, and smooth pull cord, making it convenient for everyone in the family to use. The Predator 4000 will prove to be an excellent addition and will fulfill your basic energy needs.