Duro​Star ​DS4000S Review

DuroStar generators are known for their excellent value and reliable performance.

They tend to feature nifty, portable designs whilst still offering significant power. 

The DuroStar DS4000S is no different. It’s a reliable old workhorse that will power your tools, appliances, and camping accessories with no issues.

With a maximum of 4000 watts and an actual usage of 3300 watts, this generator is ideal for work, home, and play. 

Let’s take a closer look at the DuroStar DS4000S and see what it has to offer.

DuroStar DS4000S Review

Technical Specifications

Rated watts

3300

Maximum watts

4000

AC load

120V

Output

30A

Fuel type

Gas

Tank size

4 gallon

Noise

69 dBA

Run time

8hrs

Outlets

2 x 120V, 20-amp, 3-prong, 1 x 120-volt, 30-amp twist-lock

Weight

94lbs

Dimensions (l x w x h)

24 x 17 x 17 inches

Wheel kit

Sold separately

Construction

This generator has an all-metal construction making it sturdy and durable. The open metal frame gives you easy access to the user interface and the gas and oil. 

The metal frame around the unit gives it a sturdy base to sit on. The frame is effective at preventing tipping when the unit is in use. The frame is also handy for lugging the generator around if you haven’t bought the optional wheel kit. 

I’ll be honest, at 93lbs I’m’ a bit disappointed that the wheels aren’t provided. I suppose if you are using this as a backup generator for your home you don’t really need wheels. However, the DS4000S is marketed for home, work, and recreation. For the latter two, wheels would definitely be an advantage. 

One of the best design choices made with this generator is the fuel gauge. Not a lot of generators have fuel gauges. This means that you have to guess when the fuel is low. Or you end up trying to peer into the fuel tank and getting a whiff of the fumes. 

The DS4000S places the fuel gauge right next to the fuel cap so you can easily check before you fill. 

While the gas tank is easy to fill, the engine oil is a pain. The opening is low on the generator below the user interface panel. It’s a very small opening and the supplied funnel doesn’t give you much more space. If you have a longer funnel hanging around, you’ll probably be ok. 

It just feels like an oversight on an otherwise thoughtfully designed generator. 

Noise

At 69dBA, this is considered quite a loud generator. The decibels are measured at 20 feet distance which is how far away from your dwelling the generator should be placed. 

69dBA is roughly the same noise level as a car, so it will have a bit of an impact on the tranquility of your campsite. It is slightly louder than it’s competitors who tend to come in at around 60dBA.

The generator is fitted with a ‘super quiet muffler’ which brings the noise down to 69dBA. I dread to think what it sounds like without the muffler! 

That being said, most customers aren’t really bothered by the noise level. They find that they can easily overlook it in the home and campsites. 

If you are particularly bothered by background noise, then you might want to consider a different generator. However, considering the design and wattage, it’s not extreme in terms of noise. 

Fuel Efficiency

With a 4 gallon tank, you’d expect to get a decent number of hours out of the generator. Reports suggest that at 50% usage, on a full tank you can get anywhere between 8-12 hours of constant use. 

This is about average for a generator this size with this kind of engine. It won’t blow you away but it also won’t cripple you with fuel costs in the long run. 

Some people mention an idle control switch which allows the generator to idle until energy is drawn from it. There is no mention of this in listings or the manual so we can’t confirm this feature. 

However, those who do mention the idle control are eager to point out that this feature helps them save on gas in the long run. 

Performance

This generator is a workhorse. It can chug away for hours and keep you powered reliably. That’s the best thing about this generator. It’s dependable. 

To start the generator you need to close the choke and pull the ripcord. It starts on the first or second pull so you don’t need to wrench your arm and back out getting it to start. Once it’s going you can open the choke and it runs smoothly. 

When you first start it and when you first plug in appliances you might hear a little sputter. This is perfectly normal. It’s just the engine getting up to speed with the demand. 

With 3300 watts to use, you can run a lot of appliances and power tools off this generator. It can manage larger household appliances like refrigerators, freezers, televisions, and computers as well as industrial appliances like circular saws, conditioning units, and drills. 

If you’re taking it camping, you’ll be able to run an RV from it. It’s probably a bit overpowered for basic tent camping. You’ll hardly bother it with things like lights and charging packs. However, it will allow you to add a bit of luxury and comfort to your campsite as it can power microwaves and refrigerators without breaking its stride. 

The only performance-related issue with this generator is that it can’t run 240v appliances. This means that if you are using it as a backup home generator, you won’t be able to run ovens, stoves, or washing machines. 

Maintenance

The manual supplied with the generator gives you very detailed maintenance instructions. It covers everything from filling and changing the oil and the gas to cleaning the air filter. 

Most of the maintenance for this generator can be done at home and most of the tools required are supplied. 

Checking and changing the oil is fairly simple. The dipstick is attached to the oil cap so you’ll never lose it. To change the oil you’ll need a hex wrench and a bottle or tray to catch the runoff. The oil drain is easier to access and use than the actual filling spout!

The good thing about this unit is that you don’t have to tip it to drain the oil. The drain is located low down so gravity does all the work for you. 

The generator also has a low oil shut off. This protects your engine from damaging itself. A small light on the user interface panel will tell you if the shut off has been activated. Even so, you should check the oil levels before each use. 

Draining the gas is a bit tricker. The drain is located quite close to the engine fan which means you need a narrow bottle or cup to catch the drained gas. Again, another design oversight. 

As well as the maintenance instructions, the manual contains a maintenance schedule and a blank maintenance log. These will help you keep track of the number of hours you’ve used the generator and what maintenance you’ve done. 

Customer Reviews

With nearly 2000 reviews, there are plenty of owner testimonials around that can alleviate any worries or fear. 

Mostly, customers are blown away by the great value for money you get with this generator. It is fairly cheap compared to competitors but it works exceptionally well. 

Customers are happy to report that the generator starts the first time and that it can run for days without any issues. Many customers have used this generator following hurricanes and storms. They have powered most of their household devices from it with no break in power. 

One of the most common phrases used in reviews is ‘runs like a champ.’ To be honest, I don’t think there is a better way to describe this generator. 

One thing that comes up as a downside to this generator is that it is not shipped with oil. You will need to go out and buy oil for the engine. It’s not the biggest problem, but if you were hoping to use it straight out of the box you’ll be a bit disappointed. 

Then there’s the whole oil filling issue. It’s annoying more than prohibitive but still not ideal. Many customers feel that the whole oil system, including filling and draining, just didn’t get a lot of thought in the design process.

Overall, this is a decently powerful workhorse. It will keep your home, job site, and campsite ticking over with no issues. Sure it’s not the slickest design, but it does what it’s supposed to do. Give you plenty of power. 

This is one of the best 4000-watt generators in terms of pricing. It tends to come in at around $50 cheaper than the closest competitor. Its decent fuel economy means that it’s not a money pit which is always appreciated.

If you’re after a reliable, fairly priced 4000-watt generator, this is a good solid choice. It will serve you well for years with a little bit of maintenance. 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Good value for money.
  • Easy to read fuel gauge.
  • Sturdy, durable construction. 
  • Reliable performance. 
  • Sufficient power output for home, work, or recreation. 
  • Average fuel consumption.

Cons:

  • Awkward oil tank positioning. 
  • Draining gas is a bit awkward.
  • No 240v output. 
  • The wheel kit needs to be purchased separately.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a decently powerful workhorse. It will keep your home, job site, and campsite ticking over with no issues. Sure it’s not the slickest design, but it does what it’s supposed to do. Give you plenty of power. 

This is one of the best 4000-watt generators in terms of pricing. It tends to come in at around $50 cheaper than the closest competitor. Its decent fuel economy means that it’s not a money pit which is always appreciated.

If you’re after a reliable, fairly priced 4000-watt generator, this is a good solid choice. It will serve you well for years with a little bit of maintenance. 

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    I'm an environment and energy blogger who teaches outdoor and energy enthusiasts how to be better informed when it comes to purchasing or maintaining a generator, solar panel system, or anything else related to your energy needs.