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4 stars

Review of the Briggs & Stratton Quiet Power Series Q6500 Portable Inverter Generator

6500 Starting Watts, 5000 Running Watts on Gasoline
Electric Start: No
Weight: 139lbs
Noise: 66dB
Briggs and Stratton Q6500

Should You Buy It?

The Q6500 comes from a well-established brand that is perhaps more famous for its lawnmowers.

This model packs a fair amount of power for an inverter and, on paper, is also a good solution for some home backup. And it is usually priced well below some other brands offering similar features.

So, why should you buy this one? Well, although it has few frills, it has a lot of positive features for the money, offering the benefits associated with inverter technology, packs a good punch, and the price might be right for  your budget.

Key Points about the Briggs & Stratton Q6500

Good power outputs
Comes with tool, oil, and funnel
CO Guard, auto shutdown
Safe with sensitive electronics
Wheel kit and telescopic handle
Level of quality control
Technical Support outsourced
Customer Care
No Electric Start
Below we set out more information on this model, including owner likes and dislikes.

Overview of the Generator

The Q6500 is a no-frills powerful and compact model in Briggs & Stratton's QuietPowerâ„¢ Series of portable generators built around inverter technology and said to be 60% quieter and 30% lighter than traditional generators.

Controls and Features

briggs and stratton q6500 control panel
The control panel is pretty basic but functional and has all the required basics.

There is no electric start on the Q6500. Other than a simple fuel level gauge on the top of the unit there are none of the other type of gauges you might find on competing models. Instead, there are four power LEDs to let you know how much power is being drawn at any one time (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%), and a carbon monoxide warning LED (Briggs & Stratton's patented CO Guard). This automatically stops the generator when it detects a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in its vicinity. 

A switch allows the user to initiate Briggs & Stratton's "Quiet Power Technology". This is essentially an economy mode, which is designed to give you better fuel economy and considerably less noise when there is a limited or no power draw. An overload reset button, a grounding lug and a main breaker go to make up most of the other items on the panel.

A system ground connected to the AC neutral wire (the neutral is bonded to the generator frame) connects the generator frame components to the ground terminals on the AC output receptacles.

Power outlets are also fairly basic comprising of a duplex 120v 20A GFCI, a 120/240v 30A Twist lock and two USB ports.

While the generator is said to be EPA Certified, the generator is not CARB compliant, so it can't be used in California. 

Autonomy is quoted to be a runtime of up to 14 hours at 25% load and 10 hours at 50% load from its 5-gallon gasoline tank, which is about average for its size.

As found on most portable generators, the Q6500 also has a sensor to automatically shut down the engine in the absence of sufficient oil.

One plus is that the unit ships with standard, non-synthetic, SAE 30 oil together with an oil funnel to facilitate filling. Without the funnel you could easily make a mess.

Briggs & Stratton include a 2-year limited warranty on this model for residential use and 1-year for commercial use. The warranty cover manufacturing and workmanship defects.

You can find a manual for this product here.
While CO Guard technology is good, you may want to go here to learn more about generators and carbon monoxide.

Power Output

The Q6500 is powered by a 4-stroke 306cc engine delivering a starting power of 6500 watts and a running output of 5000 watts. These outputs are sufficient to run various appliances in your home, but not, for example, a water heater and an air conditioner at the same time. 

Page 9 of the manual indicates you can use a minimum 85 octane fuel when operating this generator at over 5000 feet, but to remain emission compliant, high-altitude adjustment is required to also mitigate loss in performance and increased fuel consumption. Also,  Operation of the engine at altitudes below 2,500 ft. (762 m) with the high altitude kit is not recommended.

If you're interested, we look more closely at why you need to take account of where you live in terms of altitude when deciding on your power needs here.

Like other inverters, and unlike traditional generator technology, the power delivery is clean, allowing you to safely connect sensitive electronics.

What Most Buyers Like

Quite a few buyers are very pleased with the product. Among the positive comments are, the generator is very quiet and easy to move around as well as being easy to start. Another owner who experienced a winter storm in Houston found the unit to be quite economical.

What Some Buyers Like Less

There seem to be mixed feelings among some owners about the Q6500. Besides some having been "dead on arrival", one buyer finds it can't power their RV air conditioner or go beyond charging a few devices without an overload condition occurring. Others think it is hard to start and nosier than advertised.

Not everyone is happy with the quality and effectiveness of customer care.
Model Number030761
Starting Watts6500
Running watts5000
AC Voltage120/240v
DC (USB)5v
AC Current at 240v20.8 Amps
AC Current at 120v41.6 Amps
Engine MakeBriggs & Stratton
Engine TypeOHV 4-Stroke
CO GuardYes
Low Oil ShutdownYes
Fuel tank capacity (Gallons)5
Oil capacity (Ounces)36
Run time 25% load (Hours)Up to 14
Run time 50% load (Hours)Up to 10
Noise level from 23feet66dB
Starting typeManual Recoil
GFCI 120v AC 20A4 (2xDuplex)
120/240v AC 30A Locking1
USB Ports2
PhaseSingle Phase
Length (inches)24.8
Width (inches)21.1
Height (inches)21.5
Weight lbs.139
Power Use LEDs25%, 50%, 75%, 100%
EPA ApprovedYes
CARB CompliantNo
Wheel Size (inches)8
Wheel Kit TypeSolid Never-Go-Flat
Telescopic HandleYes
Consumer Warranty (Years)2
Commercial Warranty (Years)1