At first glance, the Generac GP3000i seems like a great choice if you’re looking for a high quality, quiet portable inverter generator. Generac is one of the largest, longest-running generator manufacturers in the world, so you would expect a lot of work went into making this generator a top quality product.
However, this “engineered in America” generator is manufactured by a third party, and seems nearly identical to several other models on the market. Does having the backing and experience of an established brand make the GP3000i a better choice than its competitors, or are you just paying extra for the name?
Outlets and Output
Household AC power is available from a NEMA 5-20R duplex outlet. This outlet has two sockets supporting a total of 20 amps of current draw. That way, you can run one extension cord to draw 100% of the available power.
For RV power, there’s an L5-30R locking plug outlet. This outlet provides up to 3,000 watts and 25 amps of temporary power, and up to 2,300 watts and 19.1 amps of sustained power. That way, you can use 100% of the generator’s capacity from one connection. If you will only use 120 volt appliances, you can buy an extension cord that plugs into this socket and has multiple 5-20R sockets at the other end.
Usually, parallel connections only support identical generators. However, Generac says this connection can be used with their GP3000i, GP3500iO and iQ3500. Using two generators in tandem doubles output, while keeping noise levels low. Generac’s parallel kit has built-in 14-50A and TT-30R outlets. These outlets are commonly used for RV shore power, making it easy to get all the power you need for your rig or trailer through a single connection.
Generac claims its Powerrush technology gives the GP3000i the ability to provide 50% more power in small bursts for reactive loads, so it can start a 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner by itself. Since this generator can produce 2,300 watts of running power, this feature should give it a peak output of 3,450 watts. However, actual starting output is only 3,000 watts. Realistically, this limits this generator to powering a 12,000 BTU air conditioner.
How Good is the GP3000i for RV Use?
This is an inverter generator, which means power fluctuations are smoothed out before electricity reaches the outlets. Under load, Generac says users can expect harmonic distortion under 3%. This makes it safe to use the GP3000i to power electronics.
If you’re looking for RV shore power, this generator offers enough power to keep a travel trailer, folding trailer, or Class C motor home running. While Generac doesn’t list anything in their manual or sales literature about emissions, this generator is CARB compliant, and it has a spark arrester. This makes it legal to use in most parks and camp sites.
The GP3000i has more than enough power for tailgating. It can safely run your TV and radio, while providing enough power for a coffee maker or a small hot plate.
Looking for a quiet work generator? This unit has enough power to handle large and small tools, including air compressors up to 1 HP.
This generator isn’t going to power your whole house, but it can keep a full size refrigerator running during a blackout. Since it has an inverter and USB ports, you can also use it to keep all of your electronics running, including your TV and phone charger.
If you are interested in more RV ready generators on the market you can read our review compilation of our favorite selections at https://constantpower.org/best-portable-generator-reviews/rv/
The GP3000i measures 22 x 13.3 x 18.4 inches, including a large, fixed handle. It has a dry weight of 59.5 lbs. Expect the total weight to be closer to 75 lbs. with oil and a full tank of gas. That’s not bad for a generator with a 150cc engine, but this is about as big as a generator can be and still be considered portable.
What Do I Need to Use This Generator?
Generac used to make high altitude jet kits for 3,000-6,000 feet and 6,000-8,000 feet. However, both kits are listed as “no longer available” on their website at the time this article was published.
The ground connector must be used for the ground (third) prong to work. You’ll need to attach a grounding spike to this connector before starting your generator.
How Do I Use This Generator?
One complaint owners have about the GP3000i is its overly sensitive low oil shutoff. Unless the oil level is at the full mark and the generator is level, there’s a good chance it won’t start. The entire side panel must be removed to check the oil level.
A single knob controls both the ignition and choke. The engine almost always starts on the first pull, even at low temperatures. The engine needs to run for a few minutes before opening the choke and plugging in appliances.
Economy mode adjusts the throttle automatically to match the load on the engine. While most generators can use a smart throttle on all but the heaviest loads, Generac says this feature should only be used when using non-reactive loads. If you want to use anything with an electric motor, the generator engine must be kept at full throttle.
Owners can expect a full gas tank to keep the engine running for 4.5 hours at 50% load. Unlike Generac’s other small generators, there’s no external fuel tank available for this model to extend runtime.
Generac refuses to publish noise ratings for any of their products, as they say there is no industry standard. Normally, this would mean the manufacturer is trying to hide the fact that their generator is unusually loud. However, the GP3000i goes further than most enclosed generators by lining the seams between panels with an insulating foam. Owners report that this model is exceptionally quiet, even when compared to high-end competitors.
Generac recommends having the engine valve clearance checked after the first 50 hours of use, then every year or 300 hours after that. This is something you’ll probably want to leave to a dealer. Fortunately, the company has a massive dealer network.
Every 6 months or 100 hours of operation, you’ll need to clean or replace the air filter, change the oil, and clean the spark arrester. Every season or 300 hours, you will need to replace the spark plug, crankcase breather hose and fuel filter. You’re on your own for these repairs. Maintenance instructions in the owner’s manual are either missing details, or missing entirely.
The case has a spark plug hatch for easy access, but the entire side panel must be removed to access the engine for all other maintenance, including checking the oil. Generac recommends using 5W-30 synthetic oil, but conventional 10W-30 can be used in cold temperatures and SAE 30 in warm weather.
Generac recommends using fuel that is less than 30 days old, even if it was treated with a stabilizer. If you plan on using this generator for backup power, you need to keep the tank and carburetor empty during storage.
Warranty and Support
Generac covers both parts and labor for one year, and they cover replacement parts for three years. Commercial users guaranteed for one year or 1,000 hours of use, while there no coverage for rental use.
Support from Generac is notably poor, with the company dodging questions on their website and referring owners to their local dealer instead of handling problems directly. Fortunately, in most of the country, you’ll never be far from an authorized dealer.
If you’re looking at the GP3000i primarily because it’s backed by a major manufacturer, expect to be disappointed. Generac’s user support is terrible, and the lack of common accessories makes this unit a far worse buy than their popular GP2200i. That said, they do have a good dealer network, and you can expect the same level of service from them that you would get from any other outdoor equipment dealer. If you decide to buy one of these generators, skip Generac’s owner support and work with your local dealer.
Despite these problems, owners of this generator are generally happy with their purchase. The outlet setup and output fits the needs of most portable generator buyers, and the engine is easy to start. Reports of long term problems are rare, and are usually tied to normal generator problems, like stale fuel. Aside from the overly sensitive oil level sensor, it’s clear that the built quality of the GP3000i is a cut above similar generators on the market.