The PowerSmart P2000 - Anywhere Electricity

    Pulling power from a lightweight portable inverter generator

    John CappaPhotographer, Writer

    If you’ve ever pushed a mower or ridden a go-kart, then you probably know the name Briggs & Stratton. What you may not know is that 8 out of 10 of America’s leading lawnmower brands feature Briggs & Stratton power. The company is the world’s largest air-cooled gasoline-powered engine manufacturer and has been building small engines for over 100 years.

    The company recently released an affordable, lightweight, portable inverter generator, the PowerSmart P2000. The P2000 weighs just 50 pounds and produces 1,600 running watts and 2,000 starting watts. It’s compact at 21.0 x 14.2 x 17.4 inches so you can easily fit it in your 4x4 and hit the trail for those camping trips where you don’t really want to rough it without your hair dryer, electric blanket, and coffee maker.

    The PowerSmart Stratton P2000 features two common 120-volt AC outlets for powering lights, appliances, tools, and electric motor loads. There is also a 5-amp, 12-volt DC cigarette lighter outlet that, among other things, can charge an automotive battery using the included battery charge cable. All outlets are protected by an automatic overload system. On the engine side, a low oil indicator system will shut down the generator if the oil level gets too low during operation.

    The Stratton P2000 comes packaged nearly ready to run. Each generator is shipped complete with an informative owner’s manual and the required 13.5 ounces of oil to be added prior to startup. All you need is fuel.

    Wattage Requirements
    To avoid overloading and damaging your generator, it’s important to make sure that you don’t exceed the wattage rating. The P2000 can handle a single ½hp drill, 400 iPhone chargers, a hair dryer, or 100 fog machines! At left are the required running and starting watts for some common items you might want to power with your generator.


    WATTAGE REQUIREMENTS
    Tool or Appliance Rated (running) Watts Additional Starting (surge) Watts
    Light bulb 75 0
    Halogen work light 100 0
    LED work light 15 0
    iPhone charger 4 0
    Reciprocating saw 960 960
    Air compressor (1.5hp) 2,500 2,500
    Hair dryer 1,250 0
    Drill (0.5hp) 1,000 1,000
    Circular saw 1,500 1,500
    Microwave (1,000-watt) 1,000 0
    Coffee maker 1,500 0
    Electric stove 1,500 0
    DVD/CD player 100 0
    Color TV (27-inches) 500 0
    Fog machine 16 0
    Window A/C (10k-Btu) 1,200 1,800
    Water well (1⁄3hp) 1,000 2,000

    The PowerSmart feature of the Briggs & Stratton P2000 is said to greatly improve the fuel efficiency of the generator. When the PowerSmart switch is turned on, the engine speed automatically increases as electrical loads are connected, and decreases as electrical loads are removed. This convenient feature automatically reduces noise levels when you don’t need full power.

    The P2000 is significantly less expensive than many similar portable generators, and a lot quieter than most of the discount generators we’ve used. It feels like a quality, well-thought-out product with great attention to detail. We appreciated the well-sealed fuel and oil caps along with the fuel and oil spill redirectors. Easily removable panels give you access to important areas of the generator such as the spark plug and oil fill cap. LED lights in the front panel provide important diagnostic information. Even pulling the start cord feels smooth and solid, instead of tinny and cheap as with some other generators.

    Our P2000 starts easily, generally with only a pull or two, even when cold. Multiple sturdy carry handles on top make it easy for one or two people to lift or carry the generator. The outside of the generator is covered by a smooth plastic cover. All of the switches, knobs, and mechanisms are either hidden behind the panels or submerged so they don’t snag on anything and break off. One feature we wish the Briggs & Stratton P2000 had is a fuel shutoff. A fuel shutoff would allow us to run the carburetor dry prior to storage to prevent carb gumming and deposits. So far we haven’t had any problems, but it’s generally inevitable (especially for smaller engines) with the amount of ethanol typically found in today’s unleaded fuel. It’s certainly a good idea to use a fuel stabilizer on a piece of equipment like this that isn’t used regularly.

    Pros
    Compact and lightweight
    Quality features at a reasonable price

    Cons
    Wish it had a fuel shutoff
    Not available in California


    Briggs & Stratton P2000 Specs
    Starting wattage 2,000
    Wattage 1,600
    Load current (amps) At 120 volts AC: 13.3 At 12 volts: 5
    Rated frequency (Hz) 60
    Phase Single
    Displacement (cc) 105.6
    Fuel capacity (gal) 1
    Oil capacity (oz) 13.5
    Run time @ 1⁄4 load 6.5 hours
    Weight (lb) 50
    Length (in) 21
    Width (in) 14.2
    Height (in) 17.4
    Consumer warranty 2-year limited
    Commercial warranty 90 day
    Retail price $699