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Champion 46596 Portable Generator Review & Comparison

Champion Power Equipment was established in 2003 as a company which specialized in portable generators.

In the short period of time since it was formed, it has already become a well-known name in the industry and its generators are regularly commended by customers for their quality and reliability.

One such high-quality model is the Champion 46596 3,500W generator which is capable of producing a running supply for 3,500W and a surge power supply of 4,000W.

Since it is on the higher end of the below 4,000W scale, it is ideal for RV and trailer users as well as for those who want a generator as a backup for their house in case of a blackout.

It is a traditional generator, as opposed to newer inverter generators, and is advertised as being durable, long-lasting, and reliable in terms of power supply.

Design, Dimensions & Weight

Champion 46596

As stated above, the Champion 46596 is not an inverter generator which means its component parts are not packed inside a hard plastic exterior. Rather, this model has a steel frame which contains the components.

This steel frame enhances the sturdiness of this model greatly. However, it also adds to the weight, as this model weighs in at 99.2 lbs with an empty tank.

With its tank filled to its 3.8 gallon/14.4 liter capacity, it weighs around 123 lbs.

In comparative terms, this makes this model fairly average as far as weight is concerned as it falls in the middle of the range of weights of the models we have reviewed. This can be ascertained from the following table:

Champion 46596 Weight

Since it does not come with a mobility kit, its dimensions are more compact than other traditional generators. It has a height of 19.6 inches, a length of 23.2 inches, and a width of 17.5 inches.

While Champion itself hasn’t uploaded an official video of their model you can find a user-uploaded video here:

This can give you a better spatial idea of how its dimensions translate into real life settings and usage patterns.

Power Output / Generation

The engine in this model is manufactured by Champion itself and is a 196cc 4-stroke OHV engine. In laymen’s terms, this only means that you need to find an engine oil which is appropriate for a 4-stroke engine.

Champion itself recommends that you use oil with SAE 10W-30 rating.

As mentioned before, this model is capable of generating a running supply of 3500W and a surge power of 4000W.

This is towards the higher end of the spectrum of generators which can be used for powering households during blackouts. It can also easily handle RVs and trailers.

In the 3000W to 4000W range of generators, this model’s running output is one of the highest out of the models reviewed, with only a couple of generators exceeding its supply.

It shares this high output in common with other Champion generators.

If you wish to see a comparison of this model with other models vis-a-vis its running supply then you can look at this table:

Champion 46596 Running power

It has an extremely long lasting power supply and can run for 12 hours at a 50% load, making it indispensable for users who experience frequent blackouts or find themselves on the road in trailers very often.

However, since this generator is not an inverter generator it does not have an idling feature.

Furthermore, it is not completely suitable for powering sensitive electrical equipment which includes gadgets such as laptops and mobile phones.

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Fuel and Noise

The Champion 46596 has a fuel tank capacity of 3.8 gallons or 14.4 liters.

For fuel, it uses unleaded gasoline with an ethanol content of less than 10% by volume and an octane rating of 85 or above. Since most commercially available gasoline is rated 85 or above, this should not be a problem to find.

This model has a large fuel tank – in fact, its volume is one of the highest in this power output range. Few models have a higher fuel capacity than the Champion 46596.

This is evident from the following comparison table:

Champion 46596 Fuel Capacity

With a full tank of gasoline, this model is capable of generating a continuous supply for power for 12 hours at a half-load.

However, this model is not CARB compliant which means that it cannot be used in California as it doesn’t meet the state’s stricter regulations on emissions.

In terms of its noise level, this model produces a noise of 68 dB at 23 feet. This can get quite loud and can become annoying to some.

This is why it should be used only if you can place this model a sufficient distance from yourself.

This is quite a high noise level, both in absolute and comparative terms. It is one of the highest noise levels amongst generators which have a similar power output, being tied with other Champion generators. Champion 46596 Noise Level

Display & Control Panel

champion 46596 control panelThe control panel on this model has a sparse number of controls. The controls are also not centralized on the panel but rather spread out through the body of the generator.

For instance, the choke lever is not present on the panel but next to the carburetor.

The labeling on the controls is also in small print which can make it hard to read for those with weak eyesight.

The control panel contains the following controls:

  • Engine Switch: Turns the engine on and off
  • Circuit Breakers: Protect the generator from overloading
  • Voltmeter: Displays the output voltage
  • Grounding terminal: Used to ground the generator – consult local regulations before attempting to ground your model
  • 3 power Receptacles: A 120V, 30 Amp twist-lock receptacle, a normal 120V, 30 Amp receptacle, and a 120V, 20 Amp outlet

Startup and Shut down

This model only has a manual recoil start procedure. It does not have electric start or remote start options.

Before you start the generator ensure that all loads are unplugged from it and that it is in an open, well-ventilated location and on a level surface. After this, perform the following steps:

  • Turn the fuel valve ON
  • Press the ignition switch ON
  • Move the choke lever to its CHOKE position
  • Start to pull the starter cord slowly until resistance is felt and then pull sharply
  • As the engine begins to run move the choke lever to RUN position
  • To turn off the generator you must first unplug all loads and let it run with no load for a few minutes to
  • stabilize its internal temperature and engine speed. Then, follow these steps:
  • Turn the fuel valve to OFF
  • Let the engine run till fuel starvation (this will take a few minutes) and then press the engine switch OFF

Additional Features

The Champion 46596 is a very standard generator model and as such doesn’t have any additional features.

Warranty/Repairs

This model comes with a 3-year limited warranty. This means that the warranty can be used for 3 years after the date of purchase if the generator is used for personal usage.

However, it only lasts for 270 days after purchase if it is used for commercial purposes.

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 local Champion Power Equipment retailer within 10 days of purchasing the generator.

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

However, a 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.

The warranty is also voided by unauthorized alterations and improper usage of the generator.

To avail this warranty you must contact Champion Power Equipment by phone, email, or mail and they will instruct you after assessing the problem you face.

They will also give you a reference number which you should note down since you will have to use it in all further warranty-related correspondence with them.

The contact details of Champion are as follows:

Address: Champion Power Equipment, Inc . Attn: 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

Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator (EPA)

Proper and regular care and maintenance is vital to the smooth and continued functioning of your portable generator.

Improper or infrequent maintenance can cause problems with the running of your generator.

Furthermore, you will be unable to use your warranty if you do not follow the prescribed care and maintenance schedule prescribed in the manual.

The manual for the Champion 46596 prescribes 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, check the LPG hose for leaks
  • 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 and LPG hose

Consumer Comments

Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator (EPA)

By collating the extensive customer reviews of the Champion 46596, the general reception of this model by customers and actual users can be determined and their likes and dislikes can be analyzed.

Customers have Liked:

Long run-time

Many reviews have noted that this model can run for an extremely long period of time (up to 12 hours on a half load) which makes it extremely useful especially during long power-cuts or trailer trips

Easy Set-up and Start

Many reviews have also noted that the set-up for this model is easy and smooth, with no unnecessary or complicated procedures, and that the manual, recoil start works smoothly and does not give any problems

Value for money

Quite a few reviews have also noted that for the cost of this model it works extremely efficiently and meets all the expectations related to power supply and longevity that users have – some customers have even favourable compared this model to generators by more established brands such as Honda

Customers have disliked:

Weight

Many reviews have noted that this model is quite heavy, which makes it hard to transport – furthermore, this model doesn’t come with a mobility kit and it must instead be purchased separately – this further hampers mobility

Noise

Some customers have complained about the noise level of this generator which, at 68 dB at 23 feet, can become a nuisance for some, especially if you do not have enough space to keep the generator a sufficient distance away

Pros/Cons

Through an analysis of this model’s features and manual, along with collating customers’ opinions about it, a list of pros and cons of this model’s design and functioning can be made. They are as follows.

Pros

Long run-time: this model is capable of running for 12 hours on a half-load, which makes it extremely long lasting during use, which means that it is also extremely fuel efficient – this can be especially useful during emergency blackout situations when it can take a long time for regular power supply to be restored

Sturdy and Long-Lasting

The steel frame of this model ensures that it is a sturdy and hard-wearing generator which is guaranteed to last you a long time – the 3 year warranty further ensures that it will last you at least a couple of years and, according to customer reviews, easily has a longer lifespan than the warranty.

Easy Starting Procedure

Not only is this model easy to set up, with clear and easy to follow instructions given in the model, but the manual start procedure is extremely easy, with the engine starting on the first pull of the cord – many customers said they were skeptical of the manual start but soon realized that it is hassle-free and rarely, if ever, gives problems

Cons

No Hour Meter

This model does not come with an hour meter which makes it hard to track the number of hours it has been used for and hence time maintenance accordingly

Low Portability

This model has a weight of 99.2 lbs which makes it hard to maneuver and transport – furthermore, the mobility kit does not come with the generator and hence there are no wheels which can help to enhance its mobility

Noise Level

This model produces a noise level of 68 dB at 23 feet – this can be quite distracting especially if you do not have enough open space to keep the generator sufficiently far away – this level of noise also means that it cannot be used for camping

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FAQs

Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator (EPA)

What is the Weight of this model?

A. It weighs 99.2 lbs with an empty tank.

What is the Warranty on this model?

A. Its warranty lasts for 3 years from the date of purchase if it is used for personal usage and 270 days from the date of purchase if used for commercial purposes.

What is the Noise Level of this model?

A. It has a noise level of 68 dB at 23 feet.

What is the Fuel for this model?

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

Can one unit of this Model be connected in Parallel with another one?

A. No, it cannot.

What is the Size of the Gas Tank?

A. It has a volume of 3.8 gallons/14.4 liters.

Does this model have an Electric start?

A. No, it only has a manual recoil start.

Does this model have an Hour Meter?

A. No, it does not.

Does it have any 4-Prong Outlets?

A. No, it doesn’t.

Can this model be Run in the Rain?

A. No, it cannot be run in the rain without a proper covering.

Does this model have a 220V Outlet?

A. No, it only has 120V outlets.

Does this model have a DC outlet?

A. No, it only has AC outlets.

How long does a tank of gas last?

A. At half load, a full tank of gasoline lasts for 12 hours.

What country is this Generator made in?

A. It is made in China.

What are the Dimensions of this model?

A. It has a height of 19.6 inches, a length of 23.2 inches, and a width of 17.5 inches.

Pricing

This model is very economically priced, costing only $277 right now at HomeDepot. It has the lowest cost of any of the reviewed models in a similar power output range.

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Our Recommendation

Our rating is based on a comparative analysis of this model with others, keeping in mind customer reviews and features. The ratings are as follows:

Price: Comparatively it has the lowest price of all the reviewed models at $277. It is thus the most economical option in this power range.

Noise level: Noise is a setback as far as this model is concerned as it has one of the highest decibel levels of the reviewed generators.

Fuel Tank Capacity: It has a tank volume of 14.4 liters which is quite sizeable and ensures that this generator provides a long usage period. Only a couple of generators have a higher volume than this.

Performance: Apart from the noise of this model, which has already been rated, there have not been any significant complaints from users, which means that this model delivers in terms of its performance.

Ease of use: Many users have commended this model for being easy to use, with the starting procedure being particularly uncomplicated. However, it does lack an hour meter which makes maintenance hard to time.

Overall, this is a reliable and trustworthy generator which produces a high voltage for its range and can last for a long period of time. These features are especially commendable due to the price at which this model is available.

9.3 Total Score
Champion 46596 RV Portable Generator

Champion 46596 is a reliable and trustworthy generator which produces a high voltage for its range and can last for a long period of time.

PROS
  • Long run time
  • Sturdy
  • Easy Start
CONS
  • No hour meter
  • Slightly Noisy
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Recommended accessories

This model does not come with a wheel kit and since it is relatively heavy, it is advisable to buy one to increase its mobility. This can be purchased here from Amazon here>

If you are using this in a dusty area or want to keep it in storage, it is also suggested to buy a cover for proper care and storage. Check it out here>

Summary

This model is, overall, a reliable portable generator in the under 4,000W bracket which can serve the needs of those with RVs and trailers as well as those looking for a backup in case of power outages.

While it cannot power your entire household, it can easily look after the basic needs.

Its steel frame ensures sturdiness and longevity, which is buttressed by the three-year warranty. It is easy to use and start, with a detailed manual and runs for a long time – 12 hours on a half-load.

However, it should be kept in mind that this model has a high noise level (68 dB at 23 feet) which makes it a poor choice for camping.

It is also heavy and unless you buy the mobility kit separately, it can be slightly hard to transport due to its weight.

All in all, though, it is a good investment and is value for money since it is an economical and affordable generator which delivers in terms of power supply, reliability, and longevity.

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