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3 stars

Review of the Generac GP1200i Portable Inverter Generator

1200 Starting Watts, 1000 Running Watts on Gasoline
Electric Start: No
Weight: 33lbs
Noise: 0dB

Should You Buy It?

Generac pride themselves in being the company to first produce affordable units for the home in the US and say they sell more generators than all their competitors combined.

There are other inverters competing for this particular segment of the market, including some made by Generac, and this is why this model can be unavailable for purchase new. If you find this is the case and you wish to stay with the Generac brand, you could consider the Generac GP2200i as a viable alternative.

Key Points about the Generac GP1200i

Very Quiet operation
Light and easy to carry
Simple operation
Safe for use with sensitive electronics
Limited power
Customer Service could be better
Oil filling is messy
Weak recoil cord

Overview of the Generator

The Generac GP1200i is the cheapest and smallest in their range of gas-powered generators. Although it's low in power output, it's light enough for you to take virtually anywhere. Generac recommend it for camping, tailgating and other recreational uses- it has a spark arrestor. In a nutshell, don't expect to run this small generator other than occasionally and for short periods of time.

Control and Features

The control panel is one of the most basic you'll find on any generator. Just three status lights notify you of low engine oil, power overload, and readiness for use. The engine shuts down on its own when a low oil level is detected, and it won't start again until you add more. An Economy switch provides for the quietest operation under the lightest of loads.

For connections there are 2x120v 20 Amp household receptacles, and 2xUSB ports, all protected by rubber covers.

Although it doesn't appear to be mentioned in the manual, the carburetor can be emptied manually. However, because fuel will remain in the fuel line, the recommendation is to all a fuel stabilizer to help keep the fuel fresh and prevent any gumming up of the fuel system.

Generac do not supply any oil with the generator. Neither is it equipped with a carbon monoxide sensor.

Here is the Generac GP1200i manual.

Power Output

The unit is powered by a 54cc engine that delivers 1200 watts of starting power and 1000 watts of continuous power. It runs for up to 5.5 hours at 50% load on its 0.8-gallon fuel tank. An Economy mode automatically adapts engine speed to your load, promoting maximum fuel economy and reduced noise.

Unlike most other inverter portable generators, it doesn't appear that this model is parallel capable.

Under the name of True Power™ Technology, Generac's inverters deliver clean and stable current, in other words without fluctuations and spikes, so you can safely connect your sensitive electronics.

The power outputs of this model are fairly low and can be reduced further if you live in a place above a certain altitude.


The GP1200i has a compact, enclosed, lightweight design and weighs just 33lbs without fuel. The unit has a built-in handle making it easy for you to carry it around.  

Noise Level

As for noise, Generac don't publish a decibel rating for any of their generators because there are no industry standards that would make like-for-like comparisons easier. Instead, they say their "quiet" generator engines run at about the same level as a normal conversation.

What Most Buyers Like

This little generator works well within its limited power outputs. It's very quiet and light enough to carry around with one hand, making it ideal for taking almost anywhere. 

What Some Buyers Like Less

The recoil cord breaks too easily. And some owners point to quality control issues as their units leak gas and oil. Customer Service for owners who have problems with their units is regarded as unsatisfactory.

The design of the oil fill needs to be better as the filling process is messy.
Rated Power1000W
Starting Power1200W
Rated AV Voltage120V
Rated AV Load at 120V8.33 A
Rated Frequency60Hz
Dimensions (LxWxH in/mm)18.5x10.2x7.9 (470x280x200)
Weight (Dry)33lb (15kg)
Engine TypeSingle Cylinder 4-Stroke
Engine Displacement54cc
Spark Plug Part No.10000031505
Spark Plug Gap (in/mm)0.032 (0.8)
Spark Plug TypeTorch A5RTC or equivalent
Fuel Capacity / Type0.8 US Gallons, 3.0 L Unleaded
Oil Type10W30
Oil Capacity0.26 qt (0.25 L)
Run Time at 50% Load5.5 Hours