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4 and a Half stars

Review of the WEN Super Quiet 56203i Portable Inverter Generator

2000 Starting Watts, 1700 Running Watts on Gasoline

Electric Start: No

Weight: 39lbs

Noise: 51dB


Should You Buy It?

This is a versatile low powered and inexpensive inverter from which you should not expect too much. It does have a lot of positive points in its favor, such as being very affordable and light, which for many people may be the deal clincher, and a really clean power output.

The model is ideal for light occasional use, though one owner mused that paying extra for a more durable model may have been for them a better and cheaper long-term solution. 

It's also always wise to be sure that this model has enough power for what you need it for. If not, then you should go for a more powerful alternative model, a selection of which you can see in the inverters.

But if you decide to buy this model one owner strongly recommends you be meticulous in the small engine's "break in" process. For this, choose an inexpensive magnetic oil stick and drain plug to collect metal particles resulting from operation, especially early on. And only use ethanol-free fuel, change the oil often, and use an NGK BP5HS spark plug. Furthermore, use it regularly to keep things running smoothly. 

Key Points about the WEN Super Quiet 56203i

Performs above expectations
Quiet in Eco Mode
Light for easy movement
Very economical
Parallel capable
Safe with sensitive electronics
No hour meter
Uneven Customer Service
Quality control problems
No electric start

Overview of the Generator


The WEN 56203i portable generator is a very affordable, compact, light-weight, and quiet inverter. It's aimed mainly at recreational users, boat, and RV owners, and for powering very basic appliances for a short time during power outages.  It's close in specifications to the WEN 56200i.

Controls and Features


The control panel includes LED lights to indicate low oil, output, and overload. In addition, there is an Off/On dial and a fuel shutoff. The latter ensures that fuel in the carburetor is used up before stopping, which is essential to prevent stale fuel gumming up the carburetor over time. However, because fuel can remain in the fuel lines, it is advisable to use a fuel stabilizer, which will help to end its life for about a year. The choke is of the manual kind.

Two three-prong 120v 14A NEMA 5-20R receptacles, one 12v 8.3A DC receptacle and two 5v USB ports are included for appliance connections.

Buyers can use this generator in all 50 states as it's both EPAIII Certified and CARB Compliant. It also has a spark arrestor so you can use it safely in National Parks and camp sites.

The unit is started by a manual recoil pull mechanism. There is no electric start option. Once the engine is going, sensors can detect a low oil or fuel level and automatically shut it down to prevent damage.

It runs for up to 7 hours at 50% load and 10.8 hours at 25% load on its 1.06-gallon fuel tank.

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

For more detailed information you can download the WEN56203i manual.

Power Output

The inverter is powered by a 79cc 4-stroke OHV engine with a cast iron bore. Some of the engines appear to be made by either Zongshen ( - clickable links not included as the site is reported as Non secure) or Rato ( and produces 2000 starting watts and 1700 running watts. An ECO Mode adjusts engine speed automatically, matching power output to the demand to maximize fuel efficiency, as well as reducing noise and emissions.

Because you should only use a maximum of 90% of the running watts specification, you shouldn't really exceed 15300 watts continuous. Also, ambient temperature and altitude can significantly reduce power outputs, so you need to take where you live into account when choosing a generator.

For more power, you can increase the output by connecting another SQ56203i with a separately sold WEN 56421 Parallel kit.

Using inverter technology, the power output mirrors a pure sine wave with a Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of under 1.2% at full load. One owner found it to have an extremely clean output, even under heavy load. So you can safely connect any equipment that includes sensitive electronic components.


At just 39lbs, this is one of lightest portable inverters you will find. It's ideally suited to people who have difficulty in moving larger and heavier models.

Noise Level

The generator is measured at 51dB on 25% load at a distance of 22 feet. WEN say this is quieter than a window air conditioner or an ordinary conversation.

But we all hear noise in different ways, so published levels might not mean a lot to many people. And because there are no set standards for taking such measurements manufacturers do it in their own way, making comparisons even harder. At least one manufacturer doesn't think it's worth publishing dB levels for this very reason.

What Most Buyers Like

Buyers are mainly positive in their reviews and recommendations for this very affordable inverter, which performs above their expectations. And it's often a lot less than half the price of some of the more premium brands, making it one of the best options in this range that you can buy.

The manual is excellent, with a list of parts which you can buy.

They are surprised at how light and quiet it is, although they admit that when pushed it can get "a little noisy".

They are also pleased with how incredibly economical it is. One was able to run his internet, television, some lights, and a fridge with no problem. And it ran smoothly and quietly, humming along during two power outages for about 6-8 hours each time, and was "nowhere near going through the 1 gallon of gas".

What Some Buyers Like Less

A very few well-packaged units have turned up dead on arrival, and some have smoked and failed early on.

Some of the controls feel cheap but, as one buyer notes, you get what you pay for.

With various parts being made of aluminum the generator can get as "hot as hell". 

It failed to run a 13900 BTU roof-mount air conditioner. On the other hand, another owner says it did manage to start and run a 13500 BTU 11.9 Amp floor standing air conditioner.

Oil changes every 25 hours seem excessive and customer service are unable to explain why, which they claim indicates a bad design. Changing the dipstick for a magnetic one is recommended as it will pick up quite a lot of shavings during the early period of operation (the sort of engines in these portable generators do not have an oil filter to collect this potentially damaging debris).

One buyer returned the unit unused because the manual failed to explain clearly how to ground it. They say most modern, small portable generators are grounded through their frame to conduct current away from critical areas. However, the manual says this model must have an external grounding to operate safely.

An hour meter would be useful to help owners track oil changes easier.

Several buyers found their generators were unable to deliver the rated output "by quite some distance".

Radio HAM enthusiasts should "steer clear" of this generator because it has no RFI filtering.

Customer Service could be better according to some buyers.

Inverter TechnologyYes
Rated Voltage12V DC
Rated Amperage8.3A
Rated Wattage100W
USB Charger5V, 1A
Rated Wattage1700W
Surge Wattage2000W
Rated Voltage120V
Rated Amperage14.1A
Frequency60 Hz
Phase Single
CARB CompliantYes
LxWxH (inches)17.3x11.5x17.7
Engine Type4 stroke, OHV, single cylinder
CoolingForced air
Spark Plug TypeNGK BP5H/Torch E5T
Spark Plug Gap0.6 - 0.8 mm (0.024 - 0.031 in)
Spark Plug Torque11.1 - 14.7 ft-lbs (15 - 20 Nm)
Engine Speed4300 RPM
Fuel Tank Capacity1.06 US gallon (4L)
Fuel ShutoffYes
Oil Capacity17.1 fl. oz. (0.5 L)
Lubrication SystemSplash
Half-Load Run Time (Hours)7
25% Load51dB