Champion 100302 DH Series Portable Generator Review & Comparison

Champion Power Equipment is a renowned brand in portable generator manufacturing and technology, having been established in 2003.

While being in the market for little less than a decade and a half, it has managed to become one of the top brands in the business and regularly produces well-received, high-quality generators.

This experience in generator manufacturing is very clearly displayed in the Champion 100302 3,500W generator.

Marketed as a ‘hybrid’ generator, it promises to combine the pros of traditional generators and inverter generators to give you the best of both worlds.

Capable of providing 3,500 running watts and 4,000 starting watts, this hybrid model can find use in a diverse array of situations, from RVs and trailers to back up for households in case of a power outage.

Its inverter technology makes it especially appropriate for running sensitive electronics.

Design, Dimensions & Weight

Champion 100302As a hybrid model, the Champion 100302 is a mix of traditional and inverter features not just in technological terms but also design-wise.

It has an outer steel frame, typical of Champion’s traditional generators, which imparts to it sturdiness and a hard-wearing character.

Furthermore, like inverter generators, most of its parts are enclosed within a hard plastic container, and the controls are concentrated on a single panel, with the exception of the fuel valve.

Warning labels are also distributed evenly throughout the generator and appropriate warnings are placed near their corresponding parts.

As far as dimensions are concerned, it has a length of 20.5 inches, a width of 17.9 inches, and a height of 17.7 inches, making it quite a compact generator.

Furthermore, despite its steel frame, it is relatively light weight compared to Champion’s traditional generators with steel frames such as the Champion 46597.

It has a weight of 81.5 lbs when its gasoline tank is empty. However, when its gasoline tank is filled to its 2.9 gallon/11 liter capacity, it can weigh around 100 lbs.

This weight makes it the second lightest out of the generators that we have reviewed.

This also makes it an excellent choice for those looking for a lighter option which is still capable of generating a decent amount of power.

Table: This model has a very low weightChampion 100302 Weight

 

To see this generator being used in a variety of situations and to decide whether the size is appropriate for your needs, you can see Champion’s official video of the model here:

Power Output / Generation

The engine of this generator is Champion’s own and is a 224cc Champion 4-Stroke OHV. Since it is a 4-stroke engine, only engine oils meant for such engines may be used – all other oils will cause damage to it.

In particular, Champion recommends SAE 10W-30 classification oils.

This engine is capable of producing a running wattage of 3,500W and a surge wattage of 4000W, making it ideal for RV, trailer, and tent users.

It can also power basic electrical items such as ACs, modems, laptops, and fridges in case of a blackout.

In terms of running power, this model has a middling level of output when compared with other available generators.

It is tied for third place in terms of running power with other Champion generators. This means that its output level is quite good, with only two models having a higher running power, as can be seen in this table:

Table: This model has a good running outputChampion 100302 Power

 

Since it uses inverter technology, it produces a very smooth power supply and can thus be used to power sensitive electrical items just as computers or laptops.

It is also extremely power efficient as it can run for 17 hours with a full tank of gasoline on a 25% load.

Furthermore, it can be connected in parallel with another unit to increase the power supply available for use.

Fuel and Noise

The Champion 100302 is a CARB and EPA compliant model which can be used in all 50 states.

For fuel, it uses gasoline. More specifically, unleaded gasoline with an ethanol content of less than 10% by volume and an octane rating higher than 85 is required.

Since most gasoline available commercially has a rating of 86 or above, this shouldn’t be a problem.

It has a fuel tank with a capacity of 2.7 gallons or 11 liters. When this tank is full, the engine can last for up to 17 hours on a 25% load, making it extremely long-lasting.

Furthermore, it can produce a running supply of 3500W and a starting wattage of 4000W.

In terms of fuel tank capacity, this model has an average capacity, with there being 3 fuel tank sizes which are greater than this model’s and an equal number which are less.

However, in real terms, there are more models which have a higher capacity than this model than a lower capacity.

You can thus easily find models with a higher fuel tank capacity. These can be viewed here:

Table: This model has an average fuel capacityChampion 100302 Fuel

In terms of noise, this model is an intermediate between traditional generators which tend to be much louder and inverter generators which tend to be on the quiet side.

It produces a noise of 64 dB at 23 feet, which can become distracting if the generator is not kept far enough.

The noise level is one of the three highest out of the generators we have reviewed, being only 4 decibels lower than the loudest model.

Thus, while it is slightly lower in terms of noise than quite a few Champion models, there are also many generators on the market which are quieter than it which can be seen here:Champion 100302 Noise

Display & Control Panel

Champion 100302 control panel

As stated earlier, the Champion 100302 is fairly well laid out in terms of display, with warning labels featured prominently on the generator, being situated near the requisite components.

The controls are also concentrated on the control panel, with the exception of the fuel valve.

However, the labeling of the controls is in an extremely small font, making it hard to read or decipher, especially for those with weak eyesight.

The controls available on the panel are as follows:

Engine Switch

Economy control switch

Used to turn the economy mode on and off – economy mode adjusts the speed of the engine to the load to increase efficiency

3 Indicator Lights

The output indicator turns on during normal functioning of the generator, the overload indicator turns on when the generator is overloaded and causes it to shut down, and the oil warning indicator turns on when oil is low in the engine and also forces the engine to shut down

Parallel Receptacles

Used to connect this model in parallel with another generator

Circuit Breakers

Protect the generator from being overloaded

Grounding Terminal

Used to ground the generator – consult the local regulations before doing so

4 Receptacles

A 120V, 20 Amp AC duplex, a 120V, 30 Amp receptacle, and a 12V DC receptacle

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Startup and Shut down

This generator only has a manual/recoil start option. Before starting, ensure that the generator is on a flat, level surface in an open area with plenty of ventilation.

After this has been ensured, perform the following steps:

  • Turn the fuel valve ON
  • Pull the choke lever to CHOKE
  • Flip the engine switch ON
  • Pull the starter cord slowly until resistance is felt and then pull sharply
  • As the engine begins to run push the choke lever to RUN position

To turn the generator off, first ensure that all loads are unplugged from it and then let it run for a few minutes without a load to stabilize its internal temperature and speed. After this, follow these steps:

  • Turn the fuel valve to OFF
  • Let the engine run till fuel starvation – this can take a few minutes
  • Flip the engine switch OFF

Additional Features

Most of the features in this model arise from its hybrid nature – it has a strong steel frame but is still lighter than traditional generators, it has the high power output which traditional generators can reach but also has a stable current output characteristic of inverters, etc.

The only additional feature in this model is the economy mode. This can be operated by the Economy Control Switch on the control panel.

It adjusts the speed of the engine to the load, allowing it to idle during periods of low load. This saves on fuel and decreases noise.

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Warranty/Repairs

The Champion 100302 comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

This means that the warranty can be availed up to 3 years after the date of purchase if the generator is used for private usage only but only up to 270 days after purchase if it is used for commercial purposes.

To avail of this warranty, you must contact Champion Power Equipment via email, letter, or phone and they will instruct you according to the problem you face.

They will also give you a reference number which you should note and use in all further warranty and repair-related correspondence with them.

This warranty lets you get free repairs or replacements of components in case of a malfunction.

However, the warranty cannot be availed if the proper maintenance and usage, as given in the manual, is not followed. This makes it integral to read the manual thoroughly before use.

To register for this warranty you must fill the warranty card you receive with this model and submit it along with a receipt of purchase to your nearest authorized Champion Power Equipment dealer within 10 days of purchasing the generator.

The contact details of Champion are as follows:

Champion Power Equipment, Inc .

Customer Service, 10006 Santa Fe Springs Rd.

Santa Fe Springs, CA90670

Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-877-338-0999 (available Monday to Friday between 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM PST)

Email: [email protected]

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance for your unit is a must. In particular, following the manual’s instructions on periodic maintenance is key to the functioning of your generator and to maintaining its longevity.

Furthermore, improper care or maintenance voids the warranty of your model.

For this end, the manual of the Champion 100302 recommends the following maintenance schedule:

  • Within the first 5 hours: Change the oil
  • Every 8 hours or daily: Check oil level, clean area around air intake and muffler
  • Every 50 hours or every season: Clean air filter, change oil if operating under heavy load or in a hot climate
  • Every 100 hours or Every Season: Change oil, clean or adjust the spark plug and spark arrester, check or adjust the valve clearance (should be done by experienced users or Champion certified retailers only), clean fuel tank and filter (should be done by experienced users or Champion certified retailers only)
  • Every 250 Hours: Clean combustion chamber (should be done by experienced users or Champion certified retailers only)
  • Every 3 years: Replace the fuel line

Consumer Comments

Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter with Quiet Technology

While the Champion 100302 isn’t the most extensively reviewed model that Champion Power Equipment sells, an analysis of verified buyers’ reviews of the model can still be useful in unearthing customers’ likes and dislikes.

Customers have liked:

Economical Price

Most reviews have stated that this model is priced affordably, making it accessible to a wider audience, with quite a few customers stating that they bought this model at half the price of generators with similar specs but made by more established companies such as Honda

Portability

Quite a few reviewers have stated that this model’s light weight made it easy to maneuver – coupled with the possibility of installing wheels on this model, the Champion 100302 is highly mobile and portable

Relatively Low Noise

Some reviewers compared this generator’s noise level to other generators they owned, stating that while this isn’t the quietest generator available its noise level was still low enough for it to be tolerable

Good Performance

Many users have noted that this model is easy to use, with clear instructions, and fulfills their expectations through its high performance

The critical reviews of this model were too few to deduce significant points from which is why the general dislikes of customers cannot be ascertained clearly.

Pros/Cons

Like any model, the Champion 100302 also has its only strong suits and weaknesses. These can be determined by looking at customer reviews and the model’s manual itself.

Pros

Steady Output

As a hybrid, this model possesses inverter technology which means that the output current has minimal distortion and fluctuations, unlike in traditional generators, which makes it suitable for use with sensitive electronics like laptops

Economy Mode

This mode allows the engine to match its speed to the load and hence idle during periods of low load – this increases fuel efficiency and reduces noise

Sturdy Frame

The steel frame on the outside of the model is typical of traditional generators made by Champion and increases its hardiness, thus contributing to the longevity of the model

Value for Money

This model packs within its compact volume the features of both traditional and inverter generators while being priced economically – this makes it a worthwhile option for its price point

Cons

Noise

While the noise level of this model is lower than traditional generators, it is still not as low as inverter generators – with a noise of 64 dB at 23 feet, the noise level can get disturbing if kept too close, particularly during camping which is why this model is not marketed towards campers

No Twist-Lock Receptacle

Despite being marketed for RVs and trailers, this model does not have a twist-lock receptacle to connect easily to RVs or trailers

FAQs

Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter with Quiet Technology

Does this model have an electric start?

A. No, this model does not have electric or remote start options. It only has a manual/recoil start.

What are the dimensions of this model?

A. It has a length of 20.5 inches, a width of 17.9 inches, and a height of 17.7 inches.

Is this a pure or modified sine wave generator?

A. It is a pure sine wave generator. Furthermore, since it is an inverter generator, the wave has extremely low distortion.

Does this have a low oil shut-off?

A. Yes, it does.

Does this model come with wheels?

A. No, wheels must be purchased separately for this model.

What is the noise level of this generator?

A. It produces a noise of 64 dB at 23 feet.

Is this an inverter generator?

A. Yes, it is.

What does ‘digital hybrid’ generator mean?

A. It is an inverter generator mounted on the steel frame typical of a traditional generator.

What fuel does this model use?

A. It uses unleaded gasoline with an octane rating above 85 and an ethanol content of less than 10% by volume.

How much does this model weigh?

A. It weighs 81.5 lbs with an empty tank and should weigh around 100 lbs with a tank full of gasoline.

Can this be used to charge sensitive electronics like phones or laptops?

A. Yes, it can since it produces a pure sine wave with low distortion.

How much gasoline does the fuel tank hold?

A. It holds 2.9 gallons or 7 liters.

How many receptacles does this model have?

A. It has 4 receptacles: a 12V DC receptacle, a 120V, 20 Amps AC duplex, and a 120V, 30 Amps AC receptacle.

Can this generator run 15,000 BTU ACs?

A. Yes, it can.

Does this generator work in high altitudes?

A. Yes, it does. The manual has specific information on its operations at higher altitudes.

Pricing

Price-wise this model is in the higher half of the cost spectrum of the models we have reviewed, which means that there are models available with comparable stats which are priced lower than it.

Our Recommendation

Based on a comparative scale, keeping in mind the other models we have reviewed, we have rated the various aspects of this model as follows:

Price

While this model falls in the higher half of the list of models we have reviewed, it is still not expensive as many other models on this list. However, there are definitely models which are priced cheaper than it.

Noise level

This model has one of the higher noise levels and is just 4 decibels below the loudest generators out of the ones we have reviewed.

Yet, in absolute terms, it is quieter than many models, even though there are models with lower noise levels available.

Fuel Tank Capacity

This model has an average fuel tank capacity, which falls approximately midway between the maximum of 15 liters and a minimum of 5.7 liters out of the reviewed models.

Performance

This model has been commended by many users for its performance, with only a minuscule number of negative reviews by customers being given.

Ease of use

This model is easy to use, combining the benefits of traditional and inverter generators and making it a customer favorite.

Overall, this generator delivers on its promise of blending the best of traditional and inverter generators by providing a high yet steady output along with being easy to use and value for money.

9 Total Score
Champion 100302

Champion 100302 combines elements of inverter and traditional generators to offer you the best of both worlds.

PROS
  • Steady Output
  • Value for Money
  • Sturdy Frame
CONS
  • No twist-lock receptacle
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Recommended Accessories

This model does not come with a mobility kit or integrated wheels which is why a mobility kit is recommended.

Champion recommends the Champion wheel kit model 40065 which is the axle-free wheel kit.

Furthermore, a parallel connection kit can be purchased if you wish to connect two units of this model in parallel with each other to increase the power supply.

This can be purchased here from Amazon>

Champion 50-Amp RV Ready Parallel Kit for Linking Two 2800-Watt or Higher Inverter Generators

Summary

This model is marketed as a digital hybrid and as such combines elements of inverter and traditional generators to offer you the best of both worlds.

It gives the tank capacity, sturdy frame, and long-lasting power supply of traditional generators. At the same time, it gives the noise reduction and low-distortion output of inverters.

It is marketed towards RV and trailer users but its high output and low-distortion current make it good as a backup during power outages especially if you have to use sensitive equipment like modems, mobiles, or laptops and computers.

It does not have too many drawbacks, apart from perhaps its noise level which comes in at 64 dB and the fact that the mobility kit does not come with the model but must be purchased separately.

However, all in all, this is another reliable generator produced by Champion which manages to blend two distinct inverter technologies together to great effect.

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1 Comment
  1. We have been using this for a few months now. Works great.

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