Let’s talk Predator. No, no, we don’t mean that awesome Schwarzenegger movie. We mean the generator brand.
Predator have earned their place as one of the world’s leading generator manufacturers by providing some of the best products on the market at the minute.
You’ll mostly find them sparking life into commercial environments, but they actually have a really diverse catalog.
Whether you’re looking for a small inverter generator for use at home or on the road, or something more substantial, capable of powering a vast network of electronics, Predator will have something perfect for the job.
Predator are also a brand dedicated to bringing your world to life at realistic prices.
Their customer-kind outlook is yet another reason why predator is synonymous with excellence in the industry.
They’re a contractor favorite, having cultivated strong working relationships for well over a decade. Chances are you’re never too far away from a structure or system that was facilitated in some way by a predator generator.
So, if any of that sounds good to you, fantastic, you’re in the right place. We’re going to be ranking and reviewing three of the most sought after Predator generators available at the minute.
Don’t be disheartened if none of the three appeal to you, because we’re going to follow up our reviews with an in-depth Predator buyer’s guide. Then you can continue your search and find the perfect Predator for you.
Craving That Raw Power?
Here’s our top pick in pride of place to save you time and effort.
OUR TOP PICK
Introducing the apex predator, a sophisticated inverter generator that gives you unparalleled power articulation, meaning less fuel, longer running time, and cleaner energy.
With a 3500-watt start and 3000-watt running capacity, you’re not going to be able to power the whole block, nor your whole house all at once.
What you will have is enough reliable, clean energy to power the essentials for a maximum of 11 hours on a 25% load, perhaps more if you use the eco-throttle function.
That’s the perfect capacity for an outdoor event or party, or for providing some home comfort when you’re deep in the murks of a forest on a camping trip.
It’s even powerful enough to start and run RV AC systems up to 15000 BTU.
But what if you wanted to push this thing to its limits.
How long would it last then? The 3-gallon tank and high-performance motor will provide you with maximum juice for just over 2.5 hours.
Just as a predator needs to be as it stalks its unwitting prey, the P3500 runs silently.
Well, maybe silent is a bit of a push, but for a generator, this diminutive killer is incredibly quiet.
Most medium-sized standard generators run at beyond 70dBA. You can expect little more than a purr from this Predator running at 57dBA.
That’s about the volume of an electric toothbrush on its highest setting.
Weighing in at 110lbs, it’s not the lightest generator of its size, but there are some really thoughtful appointments here to make it as practical as possible.
What we’re most excited about are the wheels. You get four. Count ‘em...four!
That’s unheard of in generator world. Two or none at all is often the standard, so this is an especially great feature.
It’s not just practical for transportation, it’s easy to use as well.
It comes with an electric start switch, so no fiddling around with manual approaches.
Once it’s up and running, you can supervise its processes via the digital LCD display with low oil, overload, and output light signals.
To keep you, your things, and itself safe as possible, the 212cc air-cooled engine automatically cuts out if it senses oil is almost depleted.
The one thing we felt could be improved are the outlets.
Normally inverter generators of this size come with at least four, but you only get three in this case.
- Air-cooled motor
- Runs for 11 hours on a 25% load
- Super quiet 57dBA running volume
- 3500-watt startup
- 3000-watt running capacity
- Digital LCD display keeps you informed at all times
- Fairly large 3-gallon tank
- Automatically shuts down when oil runs low
- Electric start
- Eco-throttle function reduces energy consumption
- Four wheels for portability
- Incredibly solid enclosure
- It’s quite heavy
- Not powerful enough for some applications
- Only three outlets
Devouring darkness with electric jaws at our number two spot is a larger than life Predator with massive power potential making it perfect for commercial and demanding recreational applications.
This monstrous open frame standard design generator has a 420cc air-cooled OHV 4-stroke motor capable of providing 8750 watts of peak power and a consistent 7000 watts while running.
That’s pretty much enough energy to power a small to average-sized house as long as you’re not turning everything on at the same time.
Much like our number one pick, our subordinate Predator has a handy electric start button, but unfortunately, it requires a battery that is not included with the purchase.
Not to worry though, you also get a traditional cord back up starter.
Thanks to the sheer size of this blood-red beast and its 6.6-gallon tank, you can expect a ridiculously long 12 hour, 50% load run time from one tank of octane unleaded fuel.
Pushing this thing even harder will likely give you around 8 hours of solid power.
This Predator is ideal for use in emergencies, professional environments, for heating, cooling, large-scale lighting, lawn machinery, recreationally, and for the home.
As you’d expect, with great power comes a mighty, dinosaurian roar!
This Predator howls along at 76dBA which is akin to the average vacuum cleaner.
This means it’s not exactly appropriate for sound-sensitive applications, but that’s the compromise you make for a portable generator of this size.
Let’s talk about mobility. This is a heavy unit. It’s still advertised as a portable design, but it’s not necessarily meant to be lifted.
You can lug this 196lbs gargantuan around on its pair of wheels by the rubber-coated handle protruding from the stainless steel roll cage.
As it’s a standard generator, you shouldn’t expect a fancy LCD display, but you do get a clear and effective low oil indicator and the same low oil automatic shutdown as our top pick.
This is going to keep your appliances safe and prolong the life of your generator.
Where this Predator makes our number one choice look like a kitten is the outlets.
You get seven in total: four 120V duplex outlets, one 120V twist lock outlet, one 120/240V twist lock outlet, and one 12V DC outlet.
It’s not technically an RV ready generator, but a basic RV connection can be set up using the L5-30R receptacle.
You can also connect it up to your breaker box using the L14-30R receptacle.
The price of this predator is nothing short of miraculous.
Generators of this size normally set you back a fair bit more, but we suppose that’s why it has been awarded Best Buy three years in a row by a leading consumer product testing publication.
- 8750 starting watts
- 7000 running watts enough to power a small home
- Can be hooked to your mains
- Can be made semi-RV ready
- 6.6-gallon fuel tank provides 12 hours of power at 50% load
- Seven outlets
- Air-cooled, 4-stroke motor
- Incredibly affordable for its size
- Wheels and extended handle make it easy to maneuver
- Suitable for a variety of applications
- Rugged steel roll cage
- Electric start and cord back up
- Automatic low oil shutdown
- It’s really noisy
- Not fully RV ready
- It’s a really heavy generator
Our third and final Predator sits between our other two picks in the food chain, providing you with a middling amount of power perfect for powering machinery on building sites, or a small food truck.
With a surge of 4000 watts and running capacity of 3200 watts, you can power a pretty wide array of appliances and machinery.
It’s just slightly more powerful than our first pick, but that doesn’t mean it’s any better or worse. It just has different applications.
If you’ve got some cotton wool handy, you may want to stick it in your ears.
Due to its open-frame design, the running volume is going to be much more in line with our second pick despite the power rating falling closer to our first. The EPA will run at around 70dBA.
In terms of portability, do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s start with the bad.
This little red lion has no wheels or handles. You have to transport it using nothing but the stainless steel roll cage.
It’s a little disappointing, but the good news is, at 99lbs, it’s the lightest of our three predators.
Some more good news, you can buy a wheel kit separately.
The heart beating in the chest of this sharp-toothed triumph is a 212cc 6.5HP air-cooled OHV gas engine.
So, like our other two picks, there’s no chance it’ll overheat unless it’s used for a long time in extreme temperatures.
You get a total of four outlets this time around and while the output is stabilized, you will need a separate power conditioning unit to safely power sensitive electronics such as laptops and TVs.
The options are two 120V 20A duplex outlets, one 240V 30A twist lock outlet, and one 12V DC outlet.
Moving on to performance specifications. Running the EPA at 50% its maximum load, you’re still ensured a respectable 10 hours of uninterrupted power.
We did notice that a small number of customers had problems with this generator when used for extended periods.
- 4000-watt surge
- 3200-watt running power
- Air-cooled engine
- Four versatile outlets with stabilized output
- Lightest generator on the list
- Sturdy steel frame
- More powerful than our top pick
- Wheels sold separately
- Pretty loud for a small generator
Let’s discuss some of the things you should consider before you commit to a Predator generator.
Powering a house is no mean feat. The average house will likely take 9k watts or more to function without a hitch no matter what is turned on.
Being that you’re never going to be using all your facilities and appliances simultaneously, you may be able to get by with around 7.5 or 8K.
Unfortunately, the current Predator line doesn’t include a large stationary backup style generator. If you still want to go big, your best bet is the Predator 9000-Watt Max Starting Extra Long Life Gas Powered Generator - EPA III.
It will keep your house mostly functional in the event of an emergency.
Home use doesn’t have to mean big generators. If you’re looking for something that will help you out with just the essentials, we highly recommend our top pick.
It’s quiet, energy-efficient, and portable. That said, because it’s an inverter generator, it’s one of the most expensive Predators available.
If you want more power for less money, you can always go with our third pick or perhaps the Predator 6500-Watt Max Starting Gas Powered Generator - CARB.
It’s a standard generator so the price is right, but then obviously you have to consider its energy consumption and running volume.
If by home use you mean to provide energy for large power tools, you’ll need something with at least 3500 watts of surge power. That’s only if you plan on powering one at a time.
Should you need multiple tools powered simultaneously, you might consider something with at least 5.5K surge watts.
You’ll probably have come across the term RV ready when shopping for a generator. This means they have an outlet that can connect straight up with your RVs mains without the use of adapters.
When you consider the kinds of appliances you’re likely to use at the same time in your RV, you’ll probably need at least 3500 watts of running power and an even higher surge capacity.
As mentioned on our list, our second prime Predator can be used to power RVs to a certain degree, but luckily, Predator have an even more appropriate option in their lineup.
The Predator 2000-Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator is an RV ready model ready to electrify your home away from home. It’s basically a smaller, more affordable version of our top pick.
The bad news is, it’s quite a small generator. The good news is that they work in parallel. Pairing two of these should be more than enough power to keep your RV whirring away.
Both inverter and standard generators are great for commercial applications. Inverters have their full enclosure to protect them, and standards have their stainless steel roll cage, making them both suitable for bearing the rigors of a professional environment.
As we’ve already discussed, Predator are a favorite of American contractors due to their performance, durability, and price. Any one of their generators would be helpful on, say, a construction site, but to save a bit of money, we recommend choosing a standard open-frame design.
Work environments are already noisy, so a loud generator isn’t exactly going to disturb the ambiance. You can also get standard Predators with a much higher power, making them perfect for larger machinery and power tools.
Realistically, we think a Predator between 4-7K watts will be sufficient for most commercial applications.
Getting to Know Predator Generators
The Good Stuff
Predator are an esteemed company with a pretty significant history in the industry at this point, and with time comes experience, with experience, quality.
Harbor Freight, the parent company, have been a dominant force in American hardware since the late 80s.
Started as a small family business in 1977 with the goal of providing top quality tools at prices working class people could afford, they’ve played a huge part in enriching America.
An entire economic class could now start realizing their dreams, start businesses and make a living where previously, it was an impossibility.
Predator generators are an extension of this ethos that has remained unchanged for almost 50 years.
The Bad (But Still Actually Pretty Good) Stuff
Although Harbor Freight is an American company, Predator generators are actually made in China. We don’t really believe this has a negative effect on their quality, but some people prefer things to be American made.
We’d argue that most American generators are probably made in China or other faraway countries. ‘AmericanMade’ is mostly a marketing ploy.
There may be slightly more stringent quality control protocols in place (that’s a big maybe), but the crafting processes and the parts will be very similar.
Harbor and Freight most likely set production in China to keep overall costs down. This means they can sell their products at affordable prices.
But how do they compare to other top generator suppliers? Are they any better? The answer is probably no. While Predator generators are amazing machines, there’s no evidence to suggest they’re any more competent than other top brands such as Honda, or Generac.
That doesn’t sound like we’re really selling them, does it? But there’s no evidence to suggest they’re any worse than these brands either.
The fact they’re matching the quality of or even competing at all with these industry leaders is the biggest selling point we can think of, and they’re more affordable too.
No machines are perfect. Just like living things, they deteriorate over time.
For us it’s biology, for them it’s physics.
But you can trust that Harbor Freight have done their best to create an amazing generator because for them, it’s not just business, it’s a utilitarian, and social ideal that helps to give all Americans access to the goods they need to succeed, regardless of class or wealth.