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Review: Sportsman 1,000-Watt Portable Generator


If you’re serious about your preparedness, then you really should consider owning a backup generator! Of course, a portable generator isn’t meant for long-term use. It is mostly for power outages, that might last a few days or at most a few weeks. You can’t possibly store enough gas or oil, for operation of a portable generator for years and years. It is a short-term solution – period!

There are so many different types and sizes of generators out there, it will make your head spin. When shopping for a portable generator, you have to keep in-mind what you intend to operate with your generator. We own several portable generators, one is a 3,500-watt, for heavy usage, and the other one is only 1,000-watts and it gets the most use. We simply don’t need to operate everything in our home, that runs off of AC electricity when the power goes out.

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS: DO NOT OPERATE ANY GAS POWERED OR PROPANE POWERED GENERATOR INDOORS – IF YOU DO, YOU RISK CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING – SIMPLE AS THAT.

The Sportsman 1,000-watt portable generator under review today, is one we purchased from Home Depot,  several years ago. I studied their web site for what I believed would be the best choice for us, for our second portable generator, that would be used more often than the larger portable generator we already had on-hand. You must also keep in-mind that, the bigger (more wattage) your generator puts out, the more fuel it needs to run – that is something to keep in the back of your mind. Plus, you also need to know local laws, when it comes to storing fuel on your property – some locales are very strict on this, and might only allow you to have 5-gallons of fuel – if you have a high wattage portable generator, that 5 gallons of fuel, probably won’t last you half a day, if you are running the generator with a full load.

The copy hype for the Sportsman 1,000-watt generator states that this unit is “the ideal size for hunters and campers to run small appliances, such as a portable television”. Personally, if I’m out hunting or camping, I don’t believe I’ll have a portable television with me, unless I’m in my travel trailer. This little two-stroke portable generator only weighs 38-pounds. So its easy to transport in the trunk of your car, or bed or your pick-up truck – without fuel in it. I don’t do tailgating parties or anything like that, so I don’t worry about transporting this generator – it stays at home.

A two-stroke engine requires a mixture of gas and two-stroke fuel. In the case of this generator, the fuel tank holds .8-gallons of gas, and you have to have that gas mixed 50:1 with the two-stoke oil, you can’t just mix any kind of oil with it. No, it takes a special two-stoke formulated oil that you can get at any big box store, farm/ranch supply store, etc. This oil is cheap enough, and it doesn’t require very much of it, that you can keep several bottles on-hand and mix it as needed. Some places sell this fuel ratio already mixed, however it is very expensive – I priced a one quart can – and it was almost $20. That equates to $80 per gallon, and that is highway robbery, if you ask me.

Equipped with a single 120-volt outlet, and with a 900-watt (continuous) output, you don’t want to plug-in a lot of appliances at once. However if you need to run more than more electrical appliance, you can use one or more power strips. Keep in mind that the wattages needed to operate whatever it is you want to run. You can check the Home Depot web site, or the owner’s manual for this generator, and it gives you some basic information on how many watts are needed to run things. The Sportsman 1,000 can run for up to five hours, at half load on one tank of gas, and that’s pretty decent.

Related:  Brandon Smith - of the highly-recommended Alt-Market blog.

Sportsman 1000 Watt GeneratorThis generator has a traditional recoil starting cord. It has an overload protection built into it, and if you plug in something that has more wattage than you need, the generator will shut down. Of course, unplug that device and wait a few minutes and you can restart the engine. One thing I learned with some generators is that when you first go to start them, and you close the choke, and open the fuel valve – it is best to let it sit about 5-minutes, before trying to start it. What happens is that, when you turn the fuel valve to the “on” position, it tends to flood the tiny carburetor and it won’t start – be advised.  By the way, this generator is EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) approved for sale in that state.

The owner’s manual states that, you shouldn’t run this generator above 3,000-feet – I haven’t taken it that high, but if you live in a higher elevation, then you probably shouldn’t buy this generator.

Sportsman 1000 Watt GeneratorOf course, there is an on/off switch – and I can attest that, more than once, my oldest daughter, has forgotten to check if the switch was in the “on” position, before trying to start it…when in the “on” position, and after you have turned the fuel switch to the “on” position, more than likely, this little machine will start on the second or third pull of the recoil cord. We like to run our generators every couple of months, to make sure they are working, we only run them for about 10-minutes.

I will say, because this is a two-stroke set-up, that it is a bit noisy compared to our 3,500-watt generator. It just comes with the motor and the muffler. Not a big deal, because we live out in the boonies, and we have no nearby neighbors to complain about any noise. And this is only a two horse power engine.

Assembly

When the Sportsman arrived, we only needed to attach the carrying handle and the rubber foot pads. Those tasks took just a few minutes. Of course, we read through the owner’s manual – I always do that, believe it or not. Even when I get a new gun sample to test, I read the owner’s manual, even though I might be familiar with that particular model gun. The generator comes with a spark plug wrench and a screw driver. I strongly suggest that, you get several spare spark plugs for any generator you might own – they don’t last forever. Sure, after “X” hours of use, you can pull the spark plug and clean it, but they are so inexpensive that it just easier and smarter to pull the fouled plug and replace it with a new spark plug. It only takes a minute or two. And you’ll know when your spark plug is starting to get fouled – the generator will start running a little rough.

This model generator comes with a one year limited warranty. The warranty card states, that if you have any problems, you should call the company, and not return it to where you purchased it. Well, the second time my daughter went to start this little machine, the pull cord broke. We called Home Depot, and they told us to bring it in and they’d repair it. Well, they gave us a replacement generator – brand-new – that’s customer service!

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Our Use

Living out in the boonies, we have a lot of power outages especially in the winter, when trees come down over the power lines. At times, we are without power for several days before they get to us – the small towns in the area have their power restored first – we’re accustomed to being “low priority.” If its cold, we pull out our kerosene heater, which really warms the entire house – when it is placed in the living room – it works better than our baseboard electrical heaters do. Sometimes, we just sit on the sofa – the wife and I – and listen to the portable radio. Other times, we might want to watch the big screen television, and that’s when we get the little Sportsman generator out and running, and watch television – or I can even get on the Internet. The big screen television doesn’t use many watts, believe it or not. We rarely turn the lights on and use the generator for that at night – instead, we have alternate portable lighting.

When time comes to do some cooking, we can’t use our electric stove, so we either go out to our travel trailer and use the propane stove out there, or we hook up a propane tank to our camp stove and cook that way – it’s not a big deal to us, when the power goes out – it really isn’t!

Pricing

When we purchased this little Sportsman 1,000 watt portable generator, it was on-sale for only $90 – one steal-of-a-deal. I checked the Home Depot website before starting this article, and they are now listed at $149.99 – still a decent deal. However, they launch sales all the time, so keep checking if you don’t want to pay full retail for it. We even received free-shipping.

If you want to be prepared for short-term power outages, and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a big portable generator, then check out this little gem. It will do most of what you want it to do, just don’t think you can operate all of your electrical appliances at the same time. You can run a washing machine – but not a clothes dryer. Note that you have a water well, that this little 120 Volt generator won’t operate a 220 Volt well pump. That’s why we keep plenty of water stored at our digs.

Take some time to figure out how many watts you think you’ll need to run before buying any generator, and then make your choices based on that, and of course, on your income. For us, we are pleased with this little 1,000-watt generator – it gets used a whole lot more than our bigger one does, since it doesn’t burn through the fuel like the big one does. If the power is going to be out for days, then we crank-up the bigger generator, and plug-in the refrigerator and freezer twice a day for about 45-minutes, to keep everything cold or frozen.

Checkout the Home Depot web site, you’ll you’ll likely find a backup generator to fit your needs.



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