Friday, July 5, 2013

DuroStar DS4000S Product Review: Portable Emergency Generator

Last summer (2012), a lovely storm rolled through and left us in a blackout for nine days.  I think we could have handled the nine days fine, except the temps stayed 100, and occasionally above.  To make matters worse - we had no generator, but our neighbors did.  I listened to it every night as I laid under the stars trying not to think of their lovely a/c running. 

Now that July is here again, I thought it'd be a great time to do a generator review!  I picked out the DuroStar DS400S because of the great ratings it received.  Since it's portable, it's great for campers, RV owners, home back-up power, on the job sites, and cabins in the middle of nowhere. 

Here's what I found on amazon, along with a phone call to the factory:

Ratings: 4.4 stars out of 5 from 188 comments on amazon.

Price: Reg. $479.99.  Amazon's price:  $329.99 + FREE SHIPPING!  That's a 31% savings.

The main features:

It's got 4 gallon gas tank and runs for 8 hours
EZ-Pull recoil start
Auto low oil shut off
4000 watt surge/3300 watt continuous
EPA Approved

Product Details:

According to amazon, it's dimensions are 20" x 27" x 22"
Amazon lists 2 different weights.  One says it weighs 93 pounds shipping weight, and the other says 135.  I called the company and they said it's 94 pounds.
7.0 horsepower
air-coiled overhead valve engine
NOT CARB compliant (So, not sold in California)
4-stroke single cylinder

More details:

If you run it at 1/2 load, you can get 8 hours out of 4 gallons of fuel.

Smooth quiet operation.  Recoil start, and the "super quiet" muffler reduces engine noise to 69 dBA.  According to one customer, it's as loud as a 22" lawnmower.  Another customer said it was more like 3 lawnmowers, and a third claimed it was right up there with a jet engine.

Big plus!  It has an automatic low-oil shut off.  Great for protecting the engine.

Limited 1 year warranty.

Comes with a few tools, that one customer said isn't quite adequate for assembling the generator.

Power panel:

Main controls, start switch, volt meter, circuit breaker
Two 120 volt, 20 amp, 3-prong outlets to supply power to all your home appliances
Plus!  One 120 volt, 30 amp outlet for high-powered tools.

Consumers Say:

There were 188 comments, so I didn't exactly make it through them all, but I did do about half.  Here's what I found. 


1)  No one likes the manufacturer, because they felt they got the run-around.  Messages were left, and no one called them back. However!  Everyone loved amazon's customer service when something went wrong. 

2)  Some claimed the generator worked a short time and quit.  Some said it wouldn't start at all.

3)  It requires a flexible funnel to put the oil in.  They were unhappy about that.

4)  And there were those who had never actually turned theirs on, but they were certain it deserved a 2.


1)  Loved the size.

2)  Loved the performance.

3)  Loved the ease of use.

4)  It's a great buy when you are on a tight budget.

5)  And there were a few who hadn't actually turned theirs on, but they were certain that it would deserve a 3 or 4. 


1)  Make sure you buy the wheel set, after all, it's 94 pounds - don't kill yourself.

2)  Use synthetic oil.  It will make the engine run better.

3)  Because of the position of the oil cap, use a flexible clear funnel with a plug.

4)  Drain the fuel tank when you put the generator in storage.  Old fuel is bad for any motor.

5)  Just like with any small engine, make sure you use a fuel stabilizer.

6)  Don't run the generator 24/7.  It needs some down time for the sake of the motor.

7)  One guy suggested picking up 4 tri-plugs, and 4 50' extension cords with lighted ends.

8)  Remember to buy a cover to protect it.

9)  A really big one here!  Make sure you chain your generator down.  During a blackout, there's a really good chance of someone stealing it.

10)  Do what the instructions say and change the oil every 20 hours.  It will extend the life of your generator.

11)  A back-up generator is a must if you have small children.


1)  Remember to never, ever, put your generator in the house.  You will die.

2)  If you or anyone in your family has a health problem, such as asthma, etc., or care for someone who is elderly - you need a generator. 

Here’s what it looks like:

DuroStar DS4000S in action.


The DuroStar DS4000S 4,000, is a great piece of kit.  It's small, so if you're cramped on storage space it's not a big deal.

There were quite a few items mentioned above that consumers said were necessary, so rather than add links off to them, I put together an amazon store with the things they suggested.  It's called Emergency Standby Generator Supplies, and that's all it has in it.  Makes for fast and easy shopping.

However, if you want to check out the other generators at amazon, click here.

Hope the review has been helpful.  Leave a comment if there's anything else you want me to research for you.  I’ve got some articles I’ll be posting on generators and blackouts this week that you might find helpful.  Be sure to sign up for notifications.

To learn more about fuel stabilizers, check out my article here: Fuel Stabilizers in Emergency Backup Generators: A Big Waste of Money? Or Do They Really Work?




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