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4 and a Half stars

Review of the WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator

2000 Starting Watts, 1600 Running Watts on Gasoline

Electric Start: No

Weight: 39lbs

Noise: 50dB


Should You Buy It?

There are a wide range of mostly positive views about the SQ56200i. Basically, buyers recommend the generator because of it's price to performance.

Like most reviews, however, initial reactions tend to be mainly positive, with fewer reports of long-term reliability and where such views do exist they are mixed.

As an affordable and low powered inverter, you shouldn't expect too much from this generator. It does have its positive points, being very affordable, and for many people it may be just what they need for light and occasional use. 

Finally, we reiterate the need for you to make sure this generator's power output is more than sufficient for your calculated needs (see below under Power Output).

Key Points about the WEN 56200i

Lightweight design
Parallel capable
Value for money
Easy setup and operation
Safe for use with sensitive electronics
Limited power
No guidance on break-in
No hour meter
No electric start
Oil change every 25 hours
Customer Service could be better

Overview of the Generator

The WEN 56200i is a light and super quiet portable inverter generator. It's an attractive option for weekend camping and tailgating, to power lights, a small microwave, music system or a laptop. It's also a useful addition for a boat, and as an additional, admittedly limited, power source for your RV. 

Controls and Features

With a simple to operate dial with "Off/On/Choke" positions, the control panel also includes LEDs for low oil level, output, and overload. 

It has connections for parallel use (see below), 2xthree-prong 120v receptacles, and one DC 12v 8-amp outlet for charging batteries - Note: the DC 12v outlet doesn't have overcharge protection. A 5v USB port is also included.

There's no electric starter on this model. Once going, an ECO Mode switch reduces or increases engine speed (RPM) automatically to match the load demanded. This feature is designed to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize noise. A low oil pressure sensor stops the engine automatically when the oil level is too low, and it won't restart until sufficient oil is added.

Unlike some other units in this range, the SQ56200i has a simple fuel gauge.

The WEN 56200i manual underlines how important it is to drain the carburetor after each use to prevent clogging by stale fuel. You also have a fuel shut-off which allows the engine to burn remaining fuel in the carburetor before stopping. Alternatively, you can use a tube attached to the carburetor to manually drain what's left.

With EPAIII Certification and CARB Compliance, this model is qualified for use in all 50 states. It also has a spark arrestor, enabling it to be used in National Parks and on camp sites.

With a 1.19-gallon fuel tank, the generator runs for up to 6 hours at 50% load.

WEN offer a 2-year warranty on all their inverter generators.

Power Output

Powered by a 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine, it's capable of producing 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts. These outputs can be doubled by connecting to another SQ56200i in parallel using this optional WEN 56421 Parallel Kit.

The inverter has a pure sine wave, limiting Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) to under 0.3% and below 1.2% at full load. This means there are no potentially damaging fluctuations in output, so you can safely connect your sensitive electronics.

Several high-altitude kits are available if you intend to use the generator between 3000 and 8000 feet. Just be aware that engine performance can be significantly affected by altitude and ambient temperature, which might affect your choice of model.


Weighing 50lbs, this is an easily manageable portable generator, and one person should not have much difficulty in moving it around.

Noise Level

WEN's specifications indicate it has noise levels at 22 feet of 50dB at idle. On loads of 25%, 50% and 75% the associated noise levels are 51dB, 52dB and 55dB. 

What Most Buyers Like

This generator ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, wattage, size, and weight. Many buyers say it's easy to start and very economical, especially with the Eco feature, and it looks well put together.  Although it's not made for hard use, you should look no further for camping and other similar recreational uses.

What Some Buyers Like Less

WEN's Customer Service can be friendly but is too often ineffective. Buyers are left on the line by agents for long periods who don't always follow up on what they promise.

The manual is good and easy to understand what to do. But there isn't enough information on how to do it or on how to break in a new generator. 

Fuel and oil leaks are reported after some use and having to change the oil every 25 hours seems excessive.

It's no good for Radio Hams as there's no radio-frequency interference (RFI) filtering.
Inverter TechnologyYes
Rated Voltage12V DC
Rated Amperage8.3A
Rated Wattage100W
USB Charger5V, 1A
Rated Wattage1600W
Surge Wattage2000W
Rated Voltage120V
Rated Amperage13.3A
Frequency60 Hz
Phase Single
CARB CompliantYes
LxWxH (inches)18x11x18
Engine Type4 stroke, OHV, single cylinder forced air cooling
Spark Plug TypeNGK CR5HS/Torch A5RTC
Spark Plug Gap0.6 - 0.8 mm (0.024 - 0.031 in)
Spark Plug Torque1/2 - 3/4 turn after gasket contacts base or 15 ft-lbs
Displacement79.7 cc
Fuel Tank Capacity1.19 US gallon 87 octane minimum
Oil Capacity12.7 fl. oz. (0.38 L)
Lubrication SystemSplash
Half-Load Run Time (Hours)6
NOISE (from 22 ft ambient 44 dB)
No Load50dB
25% Load51dB
50% Load52dB
75% Load55dB