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4 and a Half stars

Review of the Champion 100165 Dual Fuel Open Frame Portable Generator

9375 Starting Watts, 7500 Running Watts on Gasoline
8400 Starting Watts, 6750 Running Watts on Propane
ELECTRIC START: YES

champion 100165 portable generator

Should You Buy It?

At an affordable price, Champion offer a generator powerful enough to run quite a lot of appliances in your home during an emergency. If this is what you are looking for in a generator, then the addition of a dual fuel feature may make it a competitive option.

The generator, like other heavy units, may turn up damaged as a result of bad handling in transit. Check the welds on arrival. Some might have been either damaged during delivery or poorly done at the factory and slipped through quality control.

The final answer considering all the evidence is yes, this model could be an excellent choice.

Key Points about the Champion 100165

4 and 5-stars given by most owners
Dual fuel versatility
Powerful outputs for home backup
Life Time Technical Support
Digital monitoring
Heavy
Open frame so noisy
Uneven Customer Service
Some quality control issues
No fuel gauge
More information on this model is contained below.

Overview of the Generator

Champion 100165 Overview
This is one of Champion's more powerful open frame generators which is aimed at RV owners, larger jobsites, and those who are looking for a powerful, portable and flexible home backup system. It has the versatility of working both with gasoline and propane, which some people prefer because of added flexibility when they can't get one or other of the fuels.

Given its high output, the 100165 is capable of powering more than just the basic and essential home appliances. As such, it's an ideal portable home backup for longer power outages. However, for extended periods some manufacturers recommend a static generator solution which will set you back a lot more.

Champion produce a gasoline only model, the 100813, which has the same gas powered outputs as to those shown here. Other alternatives include Champion's Dual Fuel Champion Model 100891, and Westinghouse's WGen7500 and WGen7500 Dual Fuel generators.

Controls and Features

Champion 100165 Dual Fuel Panel Detail
The 100165 uses traditional rather than inverter technology. It has a Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) rating of between 12% and 20% depending on the load. If you intend to connect sensitive electronics susceptible to power fluctuations, Champion recommend using a line conditioner. Alternatively, you could consider one of their portable inverter generators (for example the less powerful single fuel 5000 watt Champion 100519).

Even without inverter technology, the generator includes Volt Guard™, a built-in surge protector. This helps to prevent overloads and ensure your TVs, computers, and appliances are safe when connected, but it won't give you the sort of protection an inverter does. 

You can monitor voltage, hertz, run-time hours and maintenance intervals using the digital readout (Intelligauge) on the control panel. Clearly it's important to be able to keep strictly to the maintenances schedule to help ensure a longer life for the unit.

The generator has an electric start as well as a manual easy-to-pull recoil cord. Like all of Champion's generators, this one has Cold Start Technology™ which makes starting easier in colder climates. It also has a sensor to monitor the engine's oil level. If the level is too low the engine automatically cuts out and will not restart until an adequate quantity of oil is added. 

For receptacles, there is a 120/240v 30A Locking (L14-30R), a 120v 30A Locking (L5-30R),  and a GFCI 120v 20A Duplex (5-20R) (2). Extension cords and adapters are needed to make the necessary connections.

With CARB Compliance and EPA Certification, it can be used in all 50 states.

You can find the manual for this model here.
 
Champion have not fitted a carbon monoxide (CO) sensor to this model.

Power Output

This model has a powerful 439cc 4-stroke engine producing 9375 starting watts and 7500 running watts on gasoline. And it runs for up to 8 hours at 50% load with its 6-gallon fuel tank.

On propane, it outputs 8400 starting watts and 6750 running watts, operating for up to 5.5 hours at 50% load. The unit includes as standard a 3.3-foot hose kit with a built-in regulator for connection to a propane tank.

The100165 is NOT parallel capable. If you plan on connecting sensitive electronics the advice is to use a line conditioner/UPS.

Altitude is an important factor when deciding which portable generator to buy because it can have a significant impact on performance. We suggest you have a read of our blog post on this issue, which you can find here.

Weight

At 202.4lbs this generator is one of the heavier ones. It's supplied with a kit of never-flat wheels and a foldable handle to assist movement. Some buyers don't like the never-flat wheels for various reasons. Look here if you want to know more about this. 

Noise Level

With a sound level of 74dB at 23 feet, this level is said to be about as loud as a vacuum cleaner. While loud, it is comparable to other generators at this power output level.

It's worth mentioning here that generator manufacturers don't have to comply with any regulations regarding how they measure noise. So indicated levels should be taken as just indications. You will probably need to physically listen to a generator to decide if it's okay or not, however impractical that has become recently.

Have a look here if you want some more information on decibel levels and what they mean. And here on the subject of why they are so noisy.

What Most Buyers Like

A majority of buyers give this model a thumbs up with 4 and 5-stars for its power and versatility. They say that for the price it's a good system for home backup. And in an emergency, buyers say it's easier to find propane than gasoline, even though on propane it runs out of fuel pretty quickly. 

Most, but not all, customers are happy with customer support and their fast, positive and responsive interaction. We imagine it depends who you get on the other end of the line, and of course the level of a buyer's frustration.

What Some Buyers Like Less

There are a few issues about alleged weak frames and welds, often exposed by mishandling in transit. But it could also be a problem with quality control at the factory. (Note: Damage through mishandling in transit seems to be a general problem with heavy open frame models).

Other notable comments include:

- Customer service is good for most of the time, though there are times when customers have been less than happy. 

- The company could strengthen the panel's black and yellow plastic because it flexes when plugging in appliances.

 - There is no shut-off switch, and you have to close off the fuel to stop the generator.

- It's loud, but bearable, and the level of noise is a necessary trade-off for the higher power output. 

- It's not easy to move the unit around. The company should supply as standard an additional kit for the front wheels.

- The manual is unclear on how to use the choke properly.

- It won't start on gasoline with a flat battery, as one owner notes, the carburetor needs power for fuel to flow to its main jet.

- Champion could improve the Intelligauge because it only shows voltage, frequency, and run time. It also needs a fuel gauge.

- There should be a main circuit breaker on the control panel.
SPECIFICATIONS
Portable Generator TechnologyDual Fuel
Gasoline Starting Watts9375W
Gasoline Running Watts7500W
Propane Starting Watts8400W
Propane Running Watts6750W
Gasoline Starting Amps at 120V78.1A
Gasoline Starting Amps at 240V39.1A
Gasoline Running Amps at 120V62.5A
Gasoline Running Amps at 240V31.3A
Propane Starting Amps at 120V70.0A
Propane Starting Amps at 240V35.0A
Propane Running Amps at 120V56.3A
Propane Running Amps at 240V28.1A
Volts120/240
Frequency60Hz
Outlets 120/240V120/240V 30A Locking (L14-30R)
Outlets 120V30A Locking (L5-30R)
GFCI 20A Duplex (5-20R) (2)
GFCI OutletsYes
Covered OutletsNo
Covered Circuit BreakersNo
Gasoline Run Time at 1/2 Load8.0 h.
Propane Run Time at 1/2 Load5.5 h.
Noise Level74.0 dBA
Parallel CapabilityNo
DC OperationNo
VoltmeterIntelligauge
Automatic Voltage RegulationYes
BatteryYes
Start TypeRecoil, Electric
Engine BrandChampion
Engine Size439cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Engine Speed3600
Fuel TypeGasoline, Propane (LPG)
Fuel GaugeNo
Gasoline Capacity6.0 gal.
Gasoline Tank MaterialSteel
Engine Oil Type10W-30
Engine Oil Capacity1.2 qt.
Engine Oil IncludedYes
Low Oil Shut-OffYes
WheelsYes
Wheel TypeSolid
Wheel Diameter9.5 in.
PGMA G300-2018 CompliantNo
EPA CertifiedYes
CARB CompliantYes
DIMENSIONS
Length27.8 in.
Width28.7 in.
Height26.4 in.
Weight202.4 lb.
Last updated on: 9 December 2022
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