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4 and a Half stars

Review of the Champion 100302 RV-Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter Generator

4000 Starting Watts, 3500 Running Watts on Gasoline
Electric Start: No
Weight: 81.5lbs
Noise: 64dB
Champion 100302 portable generator

Should You Buy It?

There is no electric start, which many people would like to have seen as a feature on this model.  And, as you will see, there is the question of more noise than expected. But this tends to be an issue with most generators because noise remains very subjective, and you might very well have a different opinion. So if you are happy with the specified 64dB, then this inverter could be a very good buy. It's reasonably powerful and comes with the benefits of inverter technology.

Evidence from the reviews we have seen clearly shows that all manufacturers have a minor number of problems with defective units. For many people, it might seem like the luck of the draw. But when customers have had problems, Champion more often than not reached out in an effort to resolve them.

As usual, you should confirm you don't need more or less power output for your needs, both now and in the near future. And if you do opt for this one, remember it's pretty heavy. So protect your back by getting the optional wheels too.

Key Points about the Champion 100302

5-stars from majority of owners
Easy to set up and start
Light weight and compact
Life-Time Technical Support
Clean power outputs for sensitive electronics
No wheel kit included
Noisier than advertised
No Fuel Gauge or Hour Meter
No Fuel Shut-Off

Overview of the Generator

The Model 100302 is a Digital Hybrid Open Frame inverter said to be 50% quieter and 20% lighter than a traditional 3500 watt generator. It's aimed at RV owners, campers, those working on smaller jobsites, and others who want a source of limited home backup power. 

Controls and Features

Champion 100302 Control Panel
The controls are well-laid out in a Quick Touch Panel. The receptacles include a 120v 30A RV (TT-30R), two 120v 20A household outlets (5-20R) and a 12v DC automotive-style socket. There is no automatic voltage regulation on the 12v outlet.  The unit also comes with a dual USB adapter and battery-charging cables. The 120v 30A outlet is for direct connection to your RV with an appropriate cable extension

There is no electric start on this model, just a manual recoil cord.

An Economy Mode uses Champion's Quiet Technology and Extended Runtime. This monitors power draw and adjusts engine speed according to the load, thereby reducing noise and improving fuel economy. It also promotes a longer engine life.

The 100302 doesn't have an hour meter or fuel gauge. However, there are warning lights for low oil level and overload, plus a light to indicate the unit's readiness. The engine will cut out if the oil level is too low and refuse to start until you have added more.

The generator runs continuously for about 17 hours at 25% load on its 2.9-gallon tank.

On this model, you have to drain any residual fuel in the carburetor after stopping the engine and before storing the unit. Taking such action prevents the problem of stale fuel gumming up the carburetor, which will stop the generator from starting however hard you pull the cord. 

Champion offer a 3-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support.

You can see the manual for this generator here.

WARNING: The generator does NOT have a carbon monoxide (CO) sensor.

Power Output

This model is powered by a 224cc engine made by Champion. It delivers 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts.

With inverter technology you can connect sensitive electronic devices without fear of damage caused by spikes in the power output.

It is parallel capable, so you can double the power by buying the optional 100319 Parallel Kit for connection to a compatible unit.


Weighing in at 81.6lbs, this is one of the heavier inverters. Although you could move it on your own, two people are preferable in order to avoid injury. There is an optional wheel kit which you can purchase and fit yourself.

Noise Level

Champion have equipped this model with Quiet Technology, and say it has a decibel rating of 64dB. While this is about the equivalent of laughter, as an open frame model it is bound to be louder than closed frame inverters.

What Most Buyers Like

As an open frame inverter this generator received many 4 and 5-star reviews. It is a popular choice for buyers who want a reliable product with some extra power at an affordable price. 

Most users find the decibel level acceptable (but see below). It will run a 13500BTU A/C in an RV, but one owner notes it doesn't stretch to 15000BTU.

Starting the generator is easy using the manual recoil pull cord.

Buyers say they like its light weight, compactness, ease of use and affordability. They also give a thumbs up to the company for including a supply of oil and a funnel, so all you need is gasoline to get it started quickly for the first time. 

The 3-year warranty and Free Life-Time Technical Support is an added plus. 

Customer support, with a few exceptions, is regarded as good.

What Some Buyers Like Less

There are cases of units that are either dead on arrival or fail after some initial use. These customers say that the support they received from Champion could have been a lot better.

A lot of buyers think the generator is much noisier than advertised. One suggests a cheap muffler is to blame and, without a modification, the unit is RV-park unfriendly. Another owner says he discovered in the fine print that the decibel level was fit for a construction site. But this assertion may be a distorted interpretation of what the manual actually says near the foot of page 15.

A lot of people believe the optional wheel kit is essential for moving the generator around and should come as standard as it's not light enough to carry around.

A few units have been hard to start, and there has been an occasional fuel leak.

There is no separate gas line shut off to use up residual fuel in the carburetor prior to storage. Neither is there a fuel gauge nor an hour meter. Some customers think that these features should have been included in the design of this model.
Gasoline Starting Watts4000W
Gasoline Running Watts3500W
Gasoline Starting Amps at 120V33.3A
Gasoline Running Amps at 120V29.2A
Outlets 120V30A (TT-30R), 20A Duplex (5-20R)
Outlets 12VDC Automotive
GFCI OutletsNo
Covered OutletsNo
Covered Circuit BreakersNo
Gasoline Run Time at 1/4 Load17 hours
Noise Level dB64
InverterOpen Frame
Parallel CapabilityYes
DC OperationYes
Automatic Voltage RegulationNo
Start TypeRecoil
Engine BrandChampion
Engine Size224cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Engine SpeedVariable
Fuel TypeGasoline
Fuel GaugeNo
Gasoline Capacity2.9 gallons
Gasoline Tank MaterialSteel
Engine Oil Type10W-30
Engine Oil Capacity0.6 qt
Engine Oil IncludedNo
Low Oil Shut-OffYes
PGMA G300-2018 CompliantNo
EPA CertifiedYes
CARB CompliantYes
Length20.5 in.
Width17.9 in.
Height17.7 in.