In a world obsessed with solar power there is still a tried-and-true power source that reigns supreme: the gasoline-powered generator. Advancements in technology have made these machines smaller, lighter, quieter, more efficient, and safer for all types of sensitive electronics. While solar still has size and cost limitations, a simple generator can power all of your outdoor activities for a near-infinite amount of time with the only worry being gas supply.
Yamaha, the blue motorcycle company, also happens to be a leader in the world of inverter generators, and has recently debuted a new lineup. Ranging from 2,200 and 6,300 watts of output, these new updated machines can power anything you can imagine. To put the newest Yamaha generator to the test, we opted to pick up the smallest and what we believe is the most versatile model in the lineup: the ES2200iS. Follow along as we dig into what makes this unit special.
Yamaha Engine Power and Performance
The Yamaha ES2200iS inverter generator is equipped with the company’s 79cc MZ80 four-stroke single-cylinder engine. Fitted with a relatively large 1.24-gallon gas tank, Yamaha says that the ES2200iS will run at 1/4-load continuously for more than 10 hours. In this application the engine is fitted with a mechanical choke, on-off switch, and a recoil “pull” starter. The large engine and fuel tank come at a cost, and it’s the generator’s 55-pound weight. Thankfully, Yamaha has included three large carry handles in the case design, which makes moving it around a bit less cumbersome.
Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator Features
The Yamaha EF200iS comes packed full of useful features for use at home, at the jobsite, in the backcountry, and everywhere in between. First and foremost, this unit provides up to 2,200 watts of starting power and 1,800 watts of continuous power. The generator is equipped with two standard 120-volt 15-amp three-prong power outlets and a 12-volt receptacle. Where it differs from a lot of generators in this size class is that the EF2200iS also sports a 120-volt 30-amp RV outlet. The 30-amp outlet alone makes this generator a better choice for most RV owners.
Also included on the front control panel are an LED output-indicator with overload and low-oil indicators. The unit features an easy overload-reset button along with a quick-reset breaker. Another feature that we appreciate is the Yamaha Smart Throttle. Toggled with the panel mounted “Econ” switch, when turned on the generator lowers its idle speed when power load is low and automatically throttles up when more power is demanded. Using this feature is a great way to both lower overall noise output and conserve fuel.
On the safety front, the Yamaha EF2200iS comes equipped with a CO sensor, which shuts off the engine if it detects high levels of carbon monoxide buildup. It should go without saying that anything with an engine should never be operated in any kind of enclosed space. Nevertheless, people do it, so these types of safety features are required to save them from themselves. If the CO sensor is tripped, the unit will not restart for five minutes. In addition to the CO sensor, the generator features a ground lug on the front panel, allowing the unit to be grounded to a proper grounding rod for additional protection against electric shock.
Are Yamaha Inverter Generators Quiet?
If noise is a concern, then buying a Yamaha inverter generator like the EF2200iS is likely going to be your best bet. Yamaha states that this model will generate between 57 and 65 dBA, depending on load. For reference, 60 dBA is about the same loudness as normal conversation, and a standard lawnmower runs about 85 dBA. This means that once you step a few feet away from the generator it will be barely noticeable when running. By contrast, the closest competitor, Honda’s EU2200i, is rated at 48 to 57 dBA. It’s difficult to find a comparison close in output that’s not an inverter unit, however the larger non-inverter generators typically run 74 dBA (Yamaha EF5500) and up.
Where Are Yamaha Generators Made?
Yamaha is headquartered in Japan and to this day the majority of the company’s generator line is still manufactured there. However, Yamaha does assemble some products at a factory in China, and this ES2200iS is one of those models. There’s no need to fret, however, as all Yamaha generators are built to the same stringent specifications and are backed by a 3-year warranty.
What if I Need More Power?
While 1,800 watts of output is plenty to power almost anything, there are certainly times when more is needed. Of course, you can upgrade to either the EF4500 or EF6300 model, both of which come with increased size, weight, and cost. As an alternative, Yamaha offers the ability to link two EF2200iS generators together through what the company calls Twin Tech. By plugging this special cable into each of the generator’s parallel ports, the user will be able to utilize up to 30 amps of power and nearly double the wattage. Running two EF2200iS generators in parallel will power even the most power-hungry RV air conditioning unit, and much more.
How Much Does a Yamaha Inverter Generator Cost?
Getting into the inverter generator game is not an inexpensive endeavor. The Yamaha EF2200iS carries a starting MSRP of $1,200 and is currently the least expensive model in the company’s lineup. Of course, they can be found from time to time for less than that from retailers. The price increases as the power output does, to a maximum of about $4,700 for the EF6300iS.
Our Thoughts so Far
To date, we’ve only logged a few hours on our EF2200iS. What we can say is that the generator is easy to start, with decent ergonomics. We do wish the starter was located on the opposite side of the unit, as it would then be perfectly situated for the 90 percent of the population that is right-handed. The manual choke works as advertised, however we do miss the automatic choke and Smart Knob from the older EF2000 model. The EF2200iS is incredibly quiet, and if placed on the backside of an RV, camper, or pickup it’s almost unnoticeable.
Thankfully, we haven’t overloaded the generator. However, we have plans to push the EF2200iS to its limits and bring real-world use figures in our next report. Stay tuned and we see what this thing can really do.
More Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator Details
The Twin Tech parallel cable, which is sold separately, allows two EF2200iS units to be linked together for higher output. This not only allows the 30-amp RV plug to be used but also allows for greater versatility. You can take one generator when 2,200 watts are required and take two when you need more. And two EF2200iS units ($2,400) cost considerably less than one EF4500iSE unit ($4,000).
One of the best ways to keep any small engine running efficiently is to drain the carburetor before storing it for any period of time. Even modern fuel can quickly turn sour and clog the tiny jets inside these small carbs.
Yamaha has included what has to be one of our favorite features on the new EF2200iS generator, an easily accessible carburetor drain-valve. Once the rubber plug is removed, simply turning the valve will drain any remaining gasoline from the carburetor through the small hose.
Servicing the spark plug is easy as well. Just remove the rubber plug from the top of the case and the spark plug can be removed with the use of a short extension and plug socket. Yamaha has even stuck the spark plug model number on the case for easy reference.
Accessing the engine for servicing more than just the spark plug is as easy as removing two screws and pulling the cover out of its rubber grommets.
With the cover removed you can access the engine air filter and oil fill. Oil changes can be a bit tricky, as there’s no dedicated drain plug. Instead, the unit needs to be tipped on its side to drain the old oil. It can be a messy endeavor.
Making it easy to monitor fuel level is this handy gauge on the top of the generator case. A red indicator floats between “F” and “E” and gives a rough estimate of how much fuel is left inside. We’ve had issues with older Yamaha generator models’ floats getting stuck after prolonged use, so we’re quite interested to see how these hold up over time.
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