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Predator Generator Reviews & Buying Guide (Updated for 2020)

 

Predator generators are popular due to their high performance, well-priced generators, that perform extremely well under various circumstances. The larger models are popular for whole homes and back-up power, while the smaller models are often used by tradespeople. The new inverter generators are ultra-quiet power sources for a variety of uses. In this article, we cover everything you need to know before buying a Predator generator, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

 

The Full Line of Predator Generators:

Larger Generators:

predator 9000 generator predator 8750 generator predator 6500 generator
Predator 9000 Predator 8750 Predator 6500
Portable Conventional Portable Conventional Portable Conventional
9000W Max 8750W Max 6500W Max
7250W Running 7000W Running 5500W Running
420cc / 13HP engine 420cc / 13HP engine 240cc / 13HP engine
Wheel kit add-on Wheel kit add-on Wheels kit add-on
Electric start Electric start Electric start
13hr runtime 12hr runtime 13hr runtime
76 dB 76 dB 74dB
8 gallon tank 6 gallon tank 6 gallon tank
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Smaller Generators:

predator 4000 generator predator 3500 inverter generator predator 2000 inverter generator
Predator 4000 Predator 3500 Predator 2000
Portable Conventional Portable Inverter Portable Inverter
4000W Max 3500W Max 2000W Max
32000W Running 3000W Running 1600W Running
212cc / 6.5HP engine 212cc / 6.5HP engine 80cc/2.8HP engine
Wheels kit add-on Built-in Casters No wheels
Pull start Electric start Pull start
10hr runtime 11hr runtime 6.5hr runtime
72dB 57dB 65dB
4 gallon tank 2.5 gallon tank 1 gallon tank
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Predator 9000 Generator Review

predator 9000 generator

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Specifications Features
Conventional portable generator Electric start, pull start/ recoilback up
9000 Maximum Watts 8 gallon gas tank
8750 Running Watts 76 dB noise level
420cc / 13HP OHV air- cooled engine 13hr runtime @ 50% draw
4x 120V 20A outlets (3-prong) Low oil indicator & Low oil shutdown
1x 120V 20A twist-lock outlet (3-prong) UL Listed circuit breakers
1x 240V 30A twist-lock outlet (4-prong) 196lbs
1x 12V DC GFCI outlet  

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The Predator 9000 is Harbor Freight’s largest and most powerful generator. With 9000 peak watts and 8750 continuous watts, it’s more than enough juice to power a whole home during a power outage, and for severl days. It’s got electric start (though you need a battery hooked up for it) but there’s a pull-start as a backup. The low oil indicator is great so you know when to top it up, and there’s a low oil shutdown built in too. You can power everything through the 7x outlets built in, or have an electrician hook it up properly for a back-up. This thing has tons of juice, making it a great back-up generator, but you can also use it for most other uses too. It’s just very big, very heavy, and loud. The wheel-kit is sold as an add-on, so keep that in mind too. 

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Pros Cons
Can power whole home for weeks Wheel-kit sold separately
Enough wattage to power whole home Very heavy, somewhat loud
All the outlets you need (7x) Sometimes hard to find online
Multi-use: whole home back-up, job sites, RVing etc.  

 

Predator 8750 Generator Review

predator 8750 generator

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The Predator 8750 is Predator and Harbor Freight’s second most powerful generator. With 8750 max watts and 7000 continuous watts, it’s enough power to run an entire home during an outage for several days. The low oil indicator/shutdown is an awesome failsafe in case you run it low. The electric start requires a battery, but there’s a recoil start if not. A licensed electrician can fairly easily hook this up to your house to safely power the entire home, and without back-feeding the power grid. This is important so it won’t be a danger to hose working on the power failure. Installing LED lighting in the house is a good way to make sure it lasts longer. One user on Amazon powered a 9000sqft home for 10 days after Hurricane Irma, running almost 24/7 and only changed the oil once. Another user runs his entire mobile DJ service off the generator – 2x 1000 watt subs, 2x 1000 watt speakers, plus two turntables , mixers, computer and lights. It’s got enough power for whatever you need, just keep in mind it’s big and heavy and the wheel kit is sold separately.

If you want to learn more, read our full Predator 8750 Generator Review Here.

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Pros Cons
Can power an entire home for weeks Wheel-kit sold separately
Tons of power, hopefully more than you’ll ever need Heavy
All the outlets you need  
Multi-use: whole house back-up, remote work, RVing etc.  

Predator 6500 Generator Review

predator 6500 generator

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Specifications Features
Conventional portable generator Electric start, pull start/ recoilback up
6500 Maximum Watts 6 gallon gas tank
5500 Running Watts 74 dB noise level
420cc / 13HP OHV air- cooled engine 12hr runtime @ 50% draw
4x 120V 20A outlets (3-prong) Low oil indicator & Low oil shutdown
1x 240V 30A twist-lock outlet (4-prong) UL Listed circuit breakers
1x 12V DC GFCI outlet 165lbs

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If you’ve been comparing a few models, you’ll likely notice quite quickly that the Predator 6500 and 8750 are quite similar. They both have the same sized engine, gas tank, and nearly everything else. Where they do differ is the amount of outlets they provide, with the 8750 providing one additional 3-prong , twist lock outlet, and an additional 2250 peak watts, and 1500 running watts. Aside from that, these two are almost identical. If you don’t need or want the extra power that the 8750 provides, and can get by with only a few appliances running in an emergency, this is an affordable alternative. Plus, with the same sized gas tank and engine with less output, you’ll potentially get some longe runtime from a single tank – depending on your power draw. In any case, it’s a great tool for emergency, job site, recreation and household use, as you can’t beat the price. 

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Pros Cons
Electric start  Wheel-kit sold separately
Great job site generator Not as much wattage as 8750
Affordable, no frills back-up  
Multi-use: emergency back-up, job sites, recreation, RVing etc.  

 

Predator 4000 Generator Review

predator 4000 generator

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As we move down our list to the smaller generators, you slowly need to consider that for emergency or back-up use, you’ll want less things powered by the generator, since they can only handle so many watts – 3200 running watts for the Predator 4000. This is still potentially enough for short-term emergencies, but assuming your fridge is 700W, and your stove is pull up to 2500 watts you’re quickly out of power for your flights. Where this cheap generator has more use is for job sites or remote use, as it’s only 99lbs, gives you 10hr of runtime @ 50% and still has the same 4x 120V outlets and the 4-prong 240V outlet as the 6500. It can also power most RV A/C’s making it great for recreation use. Just keep in mind it’s only got a pull-start, and the wheel kit isn’t included. 

If you want more information on this model, check out our full Predator 4000 generator review

Pros Cons
Good runtime – 10hr  Wheel-kit sold separately
Great job site generator No electric start
Quite cheap for what you get   
Multi-use: emergency back-up, job sites, recreation, RVing etc.  

Predator 3500 Inverter Generator Review

predator 3500 inverter generator

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The Predator 3500 Inverter Generator is our pick for the best predator generator you can buy. It’s packed with features and a good amount of power making it suitable for almost any use. Even with just a 2.5 gallon gas tank, it can get up to 11hr of runtime at 50% draw, due to the inverter technology. You won’t be able to power too much in the event of using it as emergency backup, but you can certainly get by. Where this generator really shines is the super-quiet operation, and long runtime. This makes it absolutely perfect for food vendors, events like camping, RVing and tailgating. If you’re not using too large of tools it’s also great for job sites due to the built-in casters. It’s got electric start, a digital LCD screen, and really the only downside we can nitpick on is that there’s only two VAC outlets, but you might not even need them. Overall, this is an amazing machine, and it’s also capable of parallel hook-up with a second generator so you can double your power output if you find you don’t get enough. 

If you want to learn more about this option, check out our predator 3500 review here.

Pros Cons
Great runtime, 11hr  3500 Max Watts
Electric start Only 4x total outlets
Super quiet, only 57 dB  
Built-in casters  
Parallel hook-up possible, RV adapter included  
Perfect for recreation, RVing, tailgating, food stands, and more.  

 

Predator 2000 Inverter Generator Review

predator 2000 inverter generator

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The Predator 2000 Inverter Generator is the smallest of the entire lineup, but still one of the most popular and affordable models. It’s great for small temporary use like charging batteries or heading out camping, but it’s not going to fit the bill for everyone. For more information, check out our full predator 2000 inverter generator review.

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Pros Cons
Great runtime, 6.5 @ . 50%  2000 Max Watts
Extremely durable, high impact housing Only 3x total outlets
Super quiet, only 52 dB No low oil shutdown
Extremely portable, only 57 lbs  
Parallel hook-up possible  
Perfect for camping, boating, RVing and more.  

 

Great for the price, and the quietness. Great for a small trailer/camper or tailgating. Drills, chargers, cold days require more cranks to start

The Most Important Things to Consider When Buying a Generator:

Wattage

The wattage of your generator is likely the first thing you’ll want to decide on when buying. The amount of watts (power) your generator can produce dictates how many things you can run off of it. There are two wattages to consider with generators. 

The smaller number is referred to as running or rated watts are the amount of watts (or amount of power) required to power the devices you are powering from your generator.  

The larger number is referred to as starting, peak or max wattage. Many devices, those with a motor, require a larger amount of watts during the start-up of the device. The peak wattage number of the generator dictates the maximum amount of watts the generator can handle from a device being powered up. 

For example: Let’s say you buy a 3500W peak generator with a 3000W running wattage. if you had a TV drawing 500W, a fridge drawing 700W and some lights at 300W total, and then a large A/C drawing 1500W when running, you’re running at the max running wattage of the generator (500+700+300+1500 = 3000). But, let’s say the A/C requires an additional 600 watts at start up, then runs at 1500 starting watts for a total of 2100 starting watts. You’ve now got 3600W required for start-up, 100W more than the generator can handle (3500W). 

All this is to say, you just want to make sure you pick a generator big enough for ALL your potential uses, and don’t undersize yourself. If you need more help, check out this infographic from Harbor Freight which might help:

choose a generator

 

Runtime

What’s this generator going to be used for? Most runtimes are calculated at 50% power draw (watts). The more you plug in, the more runtime you lose. If you’re tailgating and just powering some speakers, you’ll get lots of runtime even from a smaller generator. If this is going to be used for back-up generator use to power your home during a hurricane, you’ll need a big generator to get you the runtime you need.


Inverter vs Conventional

Two of the generators on our list – the 2000 and 3500 – are inverter generators. They differ from the other conventional generators in a few ways. Inverters actually produce electricity in a different way. Conventional generators only produce AC electricity, inverters produce in 3 phases – high frequency AC to DC back to a stable AC Current. This essentially produces a mroe ‘stable’ current, making it safer to power sensitive electronics. This unique property also makes inverter generators more fuel efficient, more portable (as they produce more power in comparison to their size) Inverter generators are much quieter than conventional generators – by 20+dB at least. This makes them great for tailgating and camping. Less emissions as well, but a little more expensive. Here’s an example of the super-quiet 3500 doing its thing:

Other things to consider: 

Portability:

Some generators don’t include wheels, so if you need to be transporting it, consider if you need to buy a wheel kit. Also consider the weight of the unit, as some of these things are BIG.

Noise:

Depending on the use, the noise output of the generator will impact your decision. You don’t want an extremely loud generator when camping, RVing or running a food truck, though it probably doesn’t matter for a job site when you’ll have hearing protection anyways. Consider an inverter generator if you want a super quiet generator. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who Makes Predator Generators?

Predator generators are manufactured by Harbor Freight. Predator is simply the brand name of their portable generators. Harbor Freight has been a trusted brand of high quality, affordable tools since 1977. 

How Good Are Predator Generators?

Predator Generators are some of the best generators you can get today. They’re also some of theo most affordable, making them a top pick if you’re looking for a generator.