Did you know that you’re living in a digital world? Smartphones occupy the attention of friends and family. On the bus to work, folk are texting or tweeting. It’s the same in the car, with passengers supplying GPS directions via a friendly virtual assistant. Even a weekend getaway, one that takes you off into a secluded canopy of trees, doesn’t guarantee an escape from mobile devices. Fortunately, the portable generator market is well aware of the need for a digitally precise electrical power supply.
Capable of safely powering all of your mobile gadgets and more, the DuroMax XP2000IS is the answer to your off-grid digital living needs, all thanks to a core feature the technical types refer to as inverter technology. Tasked with outputting a perfect voltage output, an alternating current sine wave that can happily charge the fussiest electronic devices, this attractively featured piece of equipment has earned its place on many power generating shortlists. Gas-fueled and blue in hue, the DuroMax XP2000IS is light, line-power proficient, and loaded with the kind of features that will delight today’s demanding electronic devices.
- Dimensions: 19 x 10.5 x 17 inches
- Weight: 47-lbs
- Wattage: 2000-Watts starting and 1600- Watts running
- Output: 120-Volts AC, 12- Vot DC, and 5-Volt DC
- Engine Features: 3.0-HP. 4-Stroke single Cylinder
- Engine Displacement: 80-cc
- Fuel: Unleaded gasoline
- Tank Run Time: 6.5-hours
- Noise Level: 61-dB
- Integrated Inverter: Yes
- Starter Type: Manual recoil
Also known as the Side Kick, the DuroMax XP2000IS is designed to be your camping, work services, and emergency power event companion. The output electrical energy, as already discussed, is pure and stable, which is just as a modern electronic device likes its charging power.
This portable generator has been repeatedly reviewed as an essential companion device, a sidekick power producer that delivers the goods on several fronts. There’s the battery charging connection, the 12-Volt, 8-Amp direct current connection. Charge a vehicle or boat battery with this outlet and never be stranded in the back of beyond. Furthermore, there’s a second DC outlet. This port is important. It’s a USB connector, a little squarish outlet that every smartphone owner knows well. Sure, your phone’s battery indicator may choose to hover dismally above the zero mark at the worst possible moment, but that’s no longer a problem, not when you have access to a dedicated portable USB power line.
As for the primary outlets, there are two 120-Volt, 13.4-Amp, 60-Hertz electrical sockets. They’re the standard three-pin variants that include an earthing line, so do hook up the generator to a nearby ground connection via the ground terminal. Look for it on the control panel. Can’t you see it? It’s there, way down on the bottom left edge of the panel.
Engine & Fuel
The power outlet section really received lots of attention, and that’s because this digitally-gifted portable generator is equipped with some interesting extras, including the USB outlet, a port that will quickly recharge your smartphone or MP3 player. But what about the mechanics, the engine and fuel section? Without engine reliability, none of those fancy ports and outlets will operate, so just what is happening at the business end of this compact genny?
A gas tank tops the blue brick of the all-metal housing. The 4.5-Litre/1.18-Gallon reservoir provides enough liquid sustenance to keep the 4-stroke engine purring along for 6.5-hours. Some owners say the engine will run for a little over 8-hours. Do remember that these figures have been recorded while the generator was running at half its rated load. As for the oil, none is provided when the engine is shipped. Fill the crankcase with SAE 30 or 10w-30 engine oil. You’re going to have to remove the outer casing cover to get into the engine, which isn’t ideal, but the sealed housing does keep the generator free of outside pollutants, plus it looks pretty cool when those covers are fastened.
Fuel filling is a little easier. It’s hard to miss that big fuel cap, for it’s located right at the top of the housing, just in front of the smoothly incorporated lift handle. Incidentally, a carburetter-regulating air vent is built into the fuel cap. Adjust it accordingly so that the engine receives the correct air/fuel mix. Finally, the DuroMax XP2000IS portable generator is equipped with multiple engine safeguards, including a low oil shutdown feature, a fuel-regulating smart throttle, and a spark arrester. To locate that latter safeguard, rotate the all-metal frame until you’re facing the muffler cover. There, outlined by a ringed flange clamp, the spark arrester assures CARB and EPA compliance.
Let’s play a game, no, it’s a simulation of an emergency. The power has cut out abruptly. Your flashlight comes on, perhaps during the worst storm you’ve ever encountered. It’s alarming, this darkness and howling wind, but you make it to your garage. Your DuroMax XP2000IS is stationed in a dry corner. You lift it free by its integrated handle. It’s a little heavy, so send the man of the house to heave the 47-lb metal frame free. On the left side, there’s the manual action recoil start mechanism. It’s recessed into the side panel and framed in polished silver. Grip the chunky handle. Next, move your flashlight beam over the control panel. You’ll want to turn that 3-in-1 rotary switch to the choke position. Turn the air filter on the fuel cap to the ON mark, then give the starter cord a solid tug.
Repeat that last step until the engine is running. The redesigned recoil starter should kick the engine into action in no time at all. It’ll settle rapidly, which means the portable generator has dropped from its 2000-Watt starting output. It’s now throttling back into a steady 1600-Watt electrical sine wave. That digitally stabilized alternating current is ready to energize your sensitive electronic gadgets and act as an emergency backup power source, one that’ll get you through the stormy night. Switch the rotary control to ‘RUN’ and start plugging in your lights. By the way, that now warm engine is going to spin at 4100-RPM. If fuel economy is an issue, you’ll want to flip the Engine Economy Control button to ON. Once activated, the economy mode intelligently throttles the engine. The engine speed now varies in response to the applied load, so additional fuel savings are realized.
Plugs & Control Panel
A first mention is reserved for the USB outlet, a port that’s a standard part of the computer sector. The integrated 1.5-Amp, 5-Volt DC outlet proves the Side Kick XP2000IS is built specifically to power sensitive electronic devices, although it also has enough raw oomph to keep your light power applications switched on for over six hours. You’ll find that USB outlet in the lower left quadrant of the intuitively configured control panel. Slightly above this outlet, a 12-Volt, 8-Amp DC receptacle has pride of place. It’s a handy extra, one that many a boat or RV owner will instantly recognize as a key feature, for there are 12-Volt batteries to be charged on long trips.
Moving on, the lower right side of the panel features two 120-Volt, 13.3-Amp power outlets. As you’d expect, these are the primary outlets, the power points that will be providing energy to camping/emergency lights, appliances, stereo systems, and even a few low-duty power tools. Also, this is a special class of machinery, so you can daisy chain two DuroMax Side Kick XP2000IS generators and double the output power, but you’ll be hearing more about this particular feature later. Next, embedded at the lowest point on the control panel, two parallel ports facilitate this daisy-chaining function. Take note, you’ll require a separately sold parallel cable along with the second identical XP2000IS, for the cable is not included in the box.
The Side Kick XP2000IS emblem is etched into the top left corner of the control surface. Below, three horizontally arranged indicator lights provide essential feedback. There’s a low oil light, an overload indicator, and an AC Pilot light. Please keep an eye on these important little lights at all times. To the right of those, a 3-in-1 start control is located within easy reach of your hand. It contains the RUN, OFF, and CHOKE controls that determine the start sequence. Beyond these essential buttons and rotary controllers, there’s a circuit breaker, which is logically positioned close to the two main power outlets. That leaves the Economy Switch, that aforementioned smart throttling feature. Picture it as a fuel-sipping feature, a setting that conserves this precious liquid during some impossibly lengthy emergency situation.
A muted 61-dB noise envelope is produced by this compact blue package of power generating muscle. To give you some idea of an appliance that produces that amount of noise, listen to an air conditioner in a busy restaurant. Know that the Economy Mode further reduces the noise, then feel a sense of excitement at the thought of hooking up a TV or stereo system, for you’ll be able to hear these entertainment sources without too much interference from a disruptive engine. Indeed, the advanced engine architecture and oversized muffler combo really manage noise very well on this popular inverter generator.
Running a finger down the feature list, a big check mark is placed against this state-of-the-art function. Located at the bottom of the control panel, to the right of the ground terminal, two parallel outlets facilitate parallel operability. That means you can hook up a second XP2000IS to run simultaneously, thus doubling the output power. As you can guess, this isn’t a common characteristic you’ll find in standard generators, not when the AC waveforms require careful syncing. Being an advanced inverter model, though, this digitally controlled equipment manages that syncing operation with ease.
Unfortunately, those special parallel cables are not included in the box. Consult a DuroMax dealer if you own two of these portable generators. Now, when they’re daisy-chained in this manner, you have access to a full 3000-Watts of synchronized AC power. A 25-Amp thread of appliance and tool energizing current is now on hand to really get you through the worst possible emergency. Do note, these are two identical generators, so you’ll be experiencing more noise along with the output hike.
The clues are there for you to see. The parallel operations feature, the ability to daisy-chain two of these portable backup generators, pairs logically with a native digital power output function. In other words, the voltage sine wave is stable and perfectly capable of adjusting on the fly so that it harmonizes with a second output waveform. Let’s not dance around the issue any longer, this is an inverter generator, a superior package of power generating equipment that uses a specially embedded microprocessor to condition the engine-generated power.
Smaller than a regular genny, this technologically refined circuitry incorporates numerous benefits. However, there’s a cost attached to those benefits. Because of that superior design, expect the cost of the DuroMax XP2000IS to orbit the $500 mark.
Put the above prices into perspective by viewing the original manufacturer’s price. Set originally at $899.99, these lower tags are very attractive, especially when you consider the advantages you’re receiving. The smaller size, the electronically stabilized output sine wave, the USB outlet, all of these features are highly desirable in a contemporary portable inverter generator. Sure, a regular model might produce the raw output you’re after, but it’ll likely be bulky and quite incapable of generating the conditioned AC you need to charge your sophisticated electronic gadgets, prime amongst which would be your smartphone, a device you’ll use as a lifeline during a power outage.
What’s in The Box
You’ll find an instruction manual in the box. Don’t lose it, not if you want to page through all of the starting guidelines and maintenance procedures. The DuroMax XP2000IS may be a superior product, but it’ll still require some good old-fashioned care. Cradled alongside the manual, there’s also a spark plug wrench. The T-shaped tool needs to be kept near the generator for those times the air/fuel mix is set too rich. An unpleasant gunk builds up on the plug ignition points when the unleaded gasoline runs rich.
Finally, your package includes a handly filling funnel. Use it wisely, and don’t just wedge a hose into the fuel tank. After all, this is a fully enclosed unit, a blue-hued, streamlined piece of equipment that keeps moving parts away from probing fingers, so it deserves to be treated with some respect. By the way, the absolute last item in the box is the portable generator, a 2-kW digital inverter device that’s EPA and CARB compliant. Those last features may not occupy any space in the box, but they’re there just the same, built into the environmentally safe engine architecture.
While a properly conducted maintenance strategy will extend the life of your XP2000IS, this DuroMax product doesn’t rely on half-measures. There’s a warranty in place to reinforce your maintenance work. You’ll receive a 1-year limited parts protection guarantee. This means that replacement parts are installed for free if the portable generator fails due to a manufacturer flaw, workmanship defect, or material fault. Additionally, the policy may include a thirty-day satisfaction guaranteed proviso, which really strengthens this manufacturer-assured safety net. Somehow, however, you’re going to fall for the Side Kick so hard that you’ll never want to return this digitally capable mobile genny.
Pros and Cons
- This is an inverter generator
- It runs at 1.6-kW (Parallel cables and a second identical generator will double that output rating)
- Carb and EPA compliant
- Includes an embedded USB outlet
- Fitted with a muffler and a spark arrester
- Quiet 61-dB operation
- Low oil shutdown control
- The device frame is all-metal
- Uses a manual start mechanism
- Parallel cable are not included
- Designed for light power applications
- Requires a break-in period
Even though a push-button start is conspicuously absent from the Side Kick XP2000IS, reviewers aren’t offended by that omission. Just the opposite, in fact, the starter cord tends to work the first time it’s tugged from its housing. That’s quite a convenience, especially since no one enjoys tiring themselves out before the camping or working event has even properly started. As for an emergency scenario, you really want a portable generator that’s going to roar to life on the first tug, right?
Some of the more experienced owners out there did have a few caveats of wisdom to add, though, including a few tips that focus on engine break-in. Bite the bullet and give in to the advised pre-operation run check. Something like a 3-hour break-in period seems to be standard. Set your Side Kick on a level surface, run it in normal mode (Without any connected loads), and finish the test. Next, drain the oil/fuel tanks, let the generator cool, and then refill the product with its two essential fluids again, as directed by the owner’s manual. When you’ve completed this burn-in period, you can start hooking up your electrical loads.
It’s hard to find any actual flaws in the design, which is why this product is universally respected and wrapped in five-star reviews. A couple of owners did complain about the pull-start feature. They said the start cord required many tugs before the engine chugged up to full speed, but those complaints were definitely in the minority. There’s a chance, however remote, that the vented fuel cap could confuse some operators. Otherwise, this is a stellar option, one that’s practically designed to provide a lifeline to all of your fussy electronic devices.
There’s a real appeal to the sealed housing that surrounds the Side Kick XP2000IS. For those who wish to use the portable generator at a tailgate party, little children won’t be able to stick their enquiring fingers into an exposed opening, into a place where moving part are busily at work. Then there’s the daisy-chaining feature. For a 47-lb lightweight, you’re receiving 1600-Watts of running power, which is enough for most of us, but this generator goes the extra mile by incorporating this parallel output function. If your electrical needs aren’t met, bring in a second XP2000IS. Buy the parallel cable. You’ve now got access to 3.0-kW of output power, all thanks to the inverter-facilitated innards of this digitally proficient blue box.
A 12-Volt battery charging receptacle, two 120-Volt AC outlets, and even a USB port, the DuroMax XP2000IS has proven itself to be an all-rounder. A core 3.0-horsepower, single cylinder engine provides the kinetic energy, that raw oomph of spinning movement. Running for up to 8-hours on a single 1.18-gallon fill, the prime mover rotates at 4100 revolutions per minute, but that velocity is adjustable, thanks to the economy control mode. Sure, despite this feature-rich build, extra expenditure is required to get the best out of this set-up. There’s a run-in period to consider, and inverter generators do cost more than their standard alternator-output cousins. But think about the gains you’re getting when you purchase this model. A spark arrester, the confidence to use the equipment in a heavily forested environment, surge protection, and more, this compact package most definitely delivers the goods.
Buy one, a single XP2000IS, and power many sensitive electronic devices, plus a host of equipment during a power outage. It’ll drive some lighter power tools, worksite equipment, and camping gear. Then, when you’ve seen just how well this acclaimed generator performs, buy a second model, plus the required parallel output cables. Daisy-chained as a pair, the dual Side Kicks will now satisfy your most demanding power backup requirements.