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Review of the Champion 201004 Open Frame Portable Generator

9375 Starting Watts, 7500 Running Watts on Gasoline
Electric Start: Yes
Weight: 201.7lbs
Noise: 74dB
champion 201004

Should You Buy It?

Many 5-stars are awared by buyers of this particular model. And Champion regularly top the charts in consumer reviews for having helped a lot of people during emergencies and power outages.

The Model 201004 is a big portable generator, both for its power output, its weight and, for some, its noise. But it's very capable of providing you with plenty of power for a lot of equipment in your house/cabin/camper. 

Big generators sometimes have problems caused by mishandling in transit, so check everything before putting fuel in. This is because owners of different brands have experienced difficulties when trying to return a damaged/faulty unit once they have added fuel and then run into problems.

There have been a few failures, and those buyers say their interactions with Champion's Customer Service was not good.  

On balance, this is another excellent Champion product. Its weight means moving it from place to place won't be that easy, but if you are looking for a powerful generator for a variety of different uses, this could be it.
Highly recommended by owners
Electric start + Remote Key Fob
Powerful outputs
Life-Time Technical Support
Digital monitoring
Open frame so relatively noisy
Read on if you would like to learn more about this model.

Overview of the Generator

The 201004 is a powerful single fuel generator. In addition to its electric start, this one also has a wireless key fob so you can start the generator from a distance of up to 80 feet. 

It can power much of your home during blackouts, always remembering that no portable generator is designed to run 24/7. It's also a good choice for people working with multiple power tools and equipment on jobsites. 

There are several other Champion generators with the same power outputs that compete with this one, for example, the Champion 100813 and the dual fuel model Champion 100891. Worth noting that Champion say you can't add a remote start to models that don't have it as standard feature (which this model has).

Controls and Features

Champion 201004 Control Panel
The control panel is well-laid out and easy to use. It has an electric start ignition switch (which is complemented separately by a wireless key fob and a hand-pull recoil cord). A digital readout (Intelligauge) monitors voltage, frequency, and operating hours. The latter enables you to keep an eye on the correct maintenance intervals, which is essential to extend the engine's life. There are no warning LEDs, for example for low oil level.

For outlets, the unit includes 2xDuplex120v 20A GFCI protected household outlets (5-20R), a 120/240v 30A locking outlet (L14-30R), and a 120/240v 50A outlet (L14-50R). All the outlets have covers to protect them from the environment. Here is a selection of extension cords and adapters for use with the outlets, for example in changing the L14-30R to a TT-30R.

The choke is only used when starting the generator manually or with the ignition switch. When using the wireless key fob, an Auto-Choke operates, opening and closing it automatically.

A fuel valve must be engaged prior to starting the engine. You also use the fuel valve to turn the engine off, which it does so by starving the fuel supply, after which you turn off the ignition switch. 

Cold Start™ Technology makes starting in cold weather much easier.  And a Volt Guard™ built-in surge protector helps to prevent overloads and voltage spikes. However, if you plan on connecting sensitive electronics, you should use a line conditioner/UPS

Although there is no LED to warn of low oil in the crank case, the engine has a sensor that shuts it down if the level is insufficient for safe operation.

As the generator is EPA Certified and CARB Compliant it can safely be used in all 50 states.

Here is the manual for the 201004.

The generator does not have a carbon monoxide (CO) sensor which can warn you of the presence of this potentially deadly gas.

Power Output

A powerful 420cc 4-stroke engine produces 9375 starting watts and 7500 running watts. It runs for up to 8 hours at 50% load on a full 5.7-gallon fuel tank.

The manual contains advice on what changes you need to make for the correct operation at high altitude. This can make a big difference depending on the altitude of where you live. 

The unit is based on traditional technology and is therefore NOT parallel capable.


A strong frame and large engine mean this model, at over 200lbs, isn't far from being a lightweight. A foldable handle and set of rear never-flat wheels is provided as standard to facilitate its movement. Never-flat wheels are somewhat controversial owing to how easy they can break and/or develop flat spots. If you are thinking about changing them, here are some alternative wheels.

Noise Level

There are no standards by which manufacturers have to measure individual generator noise levels. The result is that making like-for-like comparisons is not easy. Because of this some manufacturers, such as Generac, don't list noise levels at all for any of their models. 

Champion, however, specify this model as having a level of 74dB at 23 feet. That, they say, is a bit louder than a vacuum cleaner, which is probably enough to tell you it is loud.

At the end of the day, it will be up to you to decide whether this is okay for you.

What Most Buyer Like 

Called an awesome generator for its power, it's fast and easy to set up and get going for the first time. The wireless electric start is great so they can start the generator remotely. The generator saved a lot of owners who were suffering from the outages caused during Hurricane Ida.

One buyer said it was big enough to power everything in his home minus the central air conditioner.

What Some Buyer Like Less 

It's heavy and loud, but this is to be expected. A few units have had problems, and others have been damaged in transit. Be sure to check everything visually before adding fuel.
Starting Watts9375W
Running Watts7500W
Starting Amps at 120V78.1A
Starting Amps at 240V39.1A
Running Amps at 120V62.5A
Running Amps at 240V31.3A
Outlets (All Covered)120/240 50A (14-50R)
GFCI 120V 20A Duplex (5-20R) (2)
120/240V 30A Locking (L14-30R)
Covered Circuit BreakersYes
Gasoline Run Time at 1/2 Load8 hours
Noise Level dB74
Parallel CapabilityNo
DC OperationNo
Automatic Voltage RegulationYes
Starting MethodsElectric + Remote
Recoil cord
Engine BrandChampion
Engine Size420cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Engine Speed3600
Fuel TypeGasoline
Fuel GaugeYes
Gasoline Capacity5.7 gallons
Gasoline Tank MaterialSteel
Engine Oil Type10W-30
Engine Oil Capacity1.2 qt.
Engine Oil IncludedYes
Low Oil Shut-OffYes
Wheel TypeSolid
Wheel Diameter9.5 in.
PGMA G300-2018 CompliantNo
EPA CertifiedYes
CARB CompliantYes
Length29.9 in.
Width26.0 in.
Height25.2 in.