I like the idea of portable power, hence my fascination with battery technologies. But, battery power has its limits and there is still a strong case for having the extra oomph of a generator nearby that can provide a power plug in. This has been reinforced for me recently with a series of power cuts in the village in Sussex where I live. During the longest power cut I was right in the middle of converting some rough oak planks into more manageable square edged pieces ready for thicknessing, when the power went off. Luckily, I had the power of the Honda EU22i to turn to. It was literally only a matter of minutes before I was able to get going again - with my guide rail saw plugged into the generator I was able to finish the job. Unfortunately, the power stayed off long enough to prevent me cooking a healthy meal so I was forced to go out for fish and chips!!
It was great to have a real situation in which to try out the Honda and experience the genuine relief and convenience of having an alternative source of energy. My family in South Africa all have a generator on hand in the garage, or wherever, to take the strain during power cuts. In Europe, we are probably less reliant on emergency power sources, but judging from the number of small generators I see at food and music festivals etc, we aren’t slow to recognise their usefulness.
Appearances Do Matter
The Honda EU22i is very handsomely and neatly enclosed in its bright red and grey plastic casing with a huge carrying handle on top. This neatness emphasizes how compact and simple the machine is to operate, but also how portable and convenient it is.
There are a couple of ‘doors’ into the casing – on one side undoing a screw will release the large panel that conceals the all-important oil filler/level checker and air filter box. All the wires and connections are neat and well protected so it seems as though a little bit of damp won’t affect them.
On the other side, a smaller ‘door’ reveals the spark plug and connector. This makes changing and checking spark plugs pretty straightforward.
Controls and Operation
The business end is the most important part since it contains all the controls, warning lights and outlet plugs. It is neatly and logically laid out with the two three-pin 230v outlets dominating. They have covers over them to help with weather protection – as it is clear that this generator will be used outdoors in one of our famously wet summers.
There is an array of warning lights for oil, overload and output so the motor is easy to monitor.
There is also an AC circuit protector and a couple of parallel operation outlets and the eco throttle switch that can be used to slow the motor when the power being taken is not at full requirements.
What is clear is that the switchgear is simple and clear and easy to operate. Even someone not familiar with the generator could quickly learn the basic controls to be able to use it safely and efficiently.
On the opposite side of the casing is a grille panel that conceals the exhaust outlet. This grille protects users from the inevitable heat produced by the motor and reduces the possibility of accidental burns.
To make it as easy as possible to start the motor - and I do hate struggling to start motors – the motor pull cord, motor control switch and choke lever are all on one side of the generator.
Of course, you do need to check the oil and petrol levels before you begin – this takes a couple of minutes. I have already mentioned the oil filler, which simply needs unscrewing to check the oil level. The petrol tank cap is placed on top of the machine right next to the main handle. It uses a robust cap which is unscrewed to reveal a filter that fits closely into the neck of the tank. The filler cap has a lever on top that vents the tank. When not in use, the vent has to be sealed to help prevent fuel leakage. To start the motor, the fuel tank vent has to be opened, the motor switch set to ‘On’ and, depending on conditions, the choke lever may have to be set to ‘closed’. I found it easy to start the motor by grabbing hold of the main handle and pulling on the starter cord. Modern engines like the Honda do not have that fierce compression kickback that old motors had, and it only took half a dozen pulls on the cord to get the motor going.
Practical ‘In Use’ Experience
Although at just over 19Kgs, the Honda fits into EU weight and manual handling rules, I am happy that I didn’t have to carry it very far. The huge grab handle certainly helps to manage the carrying, and I am sure a burly builder would have no problems bringing it onto site up a few flights of stairs. The truth is that the generator is going to spend most of its life placed on a flat surface producing power, so carrying it is not its most important feature. However, in pretty well every other respect, the Honda is an ideal small generator. Its fully enclosed case provides bump and weather protection, as well as making it a neat and unobtrusive package wherever it sits.
I was really impressed with the low noise levels emanating from the motor. You do not have to raise your voice to be heard, even close up to it.
Power output was enough for me to run a couple of power tools from it simultaneously and keep up a conversation with my workmate as we both worked.
In short, the Honda EU22i is a compact and powerful bit of kit that is genuinely portable and very easy to use. It won’t annoy bystanders with excess noise and has the reputable and reliable Honda engine that starts easily and is easy to maintain.
Lots to Like!
Aimed at: leisure and professional users, camping, festivals etc etc
Pros: Portable, efficient and quiet