WEN 56180 Portable Generator Review with Pros / Cons & Specs

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In Brief: WEN 56180 Review

This is a fairly simple and straightforward generator. It is very easy to use. The manual start generally does not give issues under normal temperature conditions. It is capable of fulfilling the basic expectations of customers by acting as a reasonable back-up or small power source but does not have any additional features over and above this.

The WEN company generators are generally well-received and popular, with one such generator being the WEN 56180 generator, which has a surge wattage of 1800W and a running wattage of 1500W.

As with most generators with wattage in the thousands, this model is also marketed as being compact and lightweight.

It’s a good option for camping, especially in national parks and forests, and can run a number of small appliances. Apart from tailgating, it is also useful backup during an outage as it can power essential appliances.

Design, Dimensions & Weight

This model is not an inverter generator, and as such its constituent parts are not placed inside a hard plastic body.

Rather, it has a metal frame, which adds to its sturdiness, with the constituent parts placed within the frame. Appropriate warning and maintenance stickers are placed near the corresponding parts.

The WEN 56180 is also marketed as being compact, with a length of 20 inches, a width of 15.75 inches, and a height of 16.875 inches. This makes it easy to store as well as to stow away for travel and transportation purposes.

This compactness also has an influence on its weight, which is similarly touted by WEN as being quite low.

The dry weight of this model is 51 lbs, which means that it can generally be lifted and moved about by a single person without excessive difficulty.

WEN itself has not uploaded an official video of this model but a user-uploaded review can be seen here, which can give you an idea about its size in real terms:

Power Output / Generation

The engine for this model is a 98cc, 4-stroke OHV single cylinder engine with a forced air cooling system.

For a layman, this information is not immediately relevant except for the fact that you must choose engine oil which is appropriate for a 4-stroke engine.

For general use, i.e. use above 40F, the manual recommends a 30W, 4-stroke oil. A 10W-30 synthetic oil is also acceptable.

The manual gives a more elaborate chart of which oil is appropriate for use depending on the temperature which should be consulted before usage.

It is capable of generating a surge power of 1800W and a running supply of 1500W. When its fuel tank is filled to its maximum capacity of 1.45 gallons it is capable of running for 7.5 hours on a half-load.

This output means that the WEN 56180 is capable of powering important essentials like a refrigerator, microwave, or computer.

It can also power a few small power tools which can make it useful for job sites.


Fuel and Noise

The WEN 56180 model uses unleaded gasoline as fuel. It must have a minimum octane rating of 87, which means that only mid- and high-grade gasoline can be used.

The gasoline must not be stale or contaminated either by water or by dirt.

This model is also both EPA and CARB compliant, which means that it can be used in all states within the US.

On a full tank, this model is capable of running for 7 and a half hours at half-load, which is a reasonably long usage period. However, with higher usages, the run time will obviously be shorter.

Its noise level is 63 dB at a distance of 22 feet from the generator, which can become loud and distracting if there is not sufficient space to keep the generator at a decent distance from you.

At this level, it can also become a nuisance for other people in official camping grounds and should be used with caution in such situations.


Display & Control Panel

WEN 56180 Control PanelThe control panel is large, with prominent controls which are well labelled in yellow and white, which contrast against the black background thus making them highly visible.

However, all the controls are not concentrated on the control panel. Furthermore, the number of controls is quite low, giving you reduced control over your usage.

The choke lever and fuel valve are located on one side, near the air cleaner and fuel tank respectively.

Since the constituent parts are placed within a metal frame, there are also appropriate warning labels and maintenance reminders placed near the corresponding parts.

The control panel contains the following controls:

  • ON/OFF Switch
  • Grounding terminal: consult your local guidelines before grounding this model
  • Circuit breakers
  • 3 receptacles: a 120V AC duplex receptacle and cigarette lighter style 12V DC receptacle

Startup and Shut down

This generator only has a manual start option. Before starting the generator, ensure that all loads are unplugged from it, check the oil and fuel levels, and ensure that the generator is properly grounded.

After this, perform the following steps:

  • Turn the fuel valve ON
  • Move the choke lever to its CLOSED position
  • Flip the On/Off Switch ON
  • Slowly begin to pull the starter cord until resistance is felt. Then pull it sharply.
  • Once the generator starts, slowly move the choke lever to OPEN position
  • Before connecting any loads to the generator, allow it to run for several minutes to stabilize its speed and temperature.

To turn off the generator, first disconnect all loads from it and let it run for a few minutes so that its internal temperature and engine speed are stabilized. Then turn the engine switch OFF.


Additional Features

This is a fairly simple generator and does not possess any special or additional features.


The warranty for the WEN 56180 is a limited two year warranty.

This means that the warranty lasts for two years from the date of purchase when the generator is used for personal purposes and for 90 days if used for commercial purposes.

To be eligible for warranty, you must fill out the warranty card with complete details and mail it to the address mentioned on it, along with a proof of purchase, which is generally the receipt.

The warranty allows you to avail of labor or an exchange of parts in case of a malfunction or defect in the generator for no cost.

However, labour is only provided in the 48 contiguous states of the US. To avail of the warranty, do not contact the local dealer but rather contact WEN’s Customer Services who will instruct you accordingly.

If required, you will have to ship the generator to them, along with a copy of your warranty card and proof of purchase, along with a detailed description of the problem that you are facing.

You will also have to bear the initial shipping charges.

Their contact details are as follows:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (800) 232-1195
Address: WEN Products
2750 Alft Lane
Elgin, IL 60124

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance is essential for the smooth functioning of any generator as it covers a number of procedures which ensure that the generator is kept in fit and running order.

These procedures can include replacement of parts, cleaning of components, or even basic procedures like changing the engine oil.

The manual for the WEN 56180 provides the following maintenance schedule:

  • As required: change engine oil, change spark plug
  • Every 8 hours or daily: drain carburettor, check engine oil level, check fuel level
  • Every 25 hours: replace engine oil, check air cleaner cartridge
  • Every 50 hours or 3 months: replace engine oil
  • Every 100 hours or 6 months: check and clean air cleaner cartridge, check, clean, or regap the spark plug
  • Every year: change spark plug, clean fuel tank


Customer Review Analysis

The WEN 56180 is an extremely popular model and as such, a number of people have bought and used it. From their reviews, the following likes and dislikes of customers have been ascertained.


Low weight

Many reviewers have commended this model for its light weight, which makes it extremely easy to move and transport, even for older users

Compact size

Many users have noted that the compact size of this model means that it is easy to store when not in use as it doesn’t take up much place – it is also easy to transport to its destination of use

Easy recoil start

Many users have noted that the recoil start on this model is very easy to use and efficient – it gives no issues and the generator starts on the first pull of the starter cord

Ideal for small usage patterns

Quite a lot of users have also mentioned that, as advertised, this model is ideal for running small electrical appliances along with basic electronics, powering them without any hassle – it thus delivers on its promises

Improvement areas

Noise level

Many users, in both positive and critical reviews, have noted that this model is quite loud, having a noise level of 63 dB at a distance of 22 feet, which can make it a nuisance

Oil fill tube placement:

Some users have noted that the oil fill tube on this model is very oddly placed, and thus a straight funnel cannot be used to fill in oil in it without placing the generator on its side

Issues with starting

Some reviews have noted that this model gives issues with starting, which can range from severe problems such as the engine switch not working or sputtering of the engine to more minor issues like an air-locked carburetor



As with any model, the WEN 56180 comes with its own particular pros and cons. These are as follows:



This model is highly compact in its dimensions, which also means that it is quite light weight – this makes it easy to store, transport, and move around

Easy to use

This model can be used very easily, having only a limited number of controls on the control panel and a recoil start which generally works with only one pull of the cord

Reliable output

This model is generally reliable, with many users stating that they use it as a basic backup or in places where there is no electrical connection – it delivers on its promises and is able to power many household basics with ease


Noise level

This generator has a noise level of 63 dB at 22 feet, which is definitely on the louder side and can disturb people around it, making it less than ideal for camping trips on official camping grounds

Oil tube placement

The oil tube is placed oddly on this generator, which means that to fill it properly it will either have to be placed on its side or a twisted funnel will have to be used

Problems in lower temperatures

Some users have mentioned, and the manual also notes, that this model can give problems with starting in temperatures below 40˚F, especially with the manual start

No hour meter

There is no hour meter on this model, which makes timing maintenance troublesome for users


Is this model an inverter generator?

No, it is not.

Is this an electric start generator?

No, it is an only manual start generator.

What oil is recommended for this model?

For temperatures above 40˚F, a 30W, 4-stroke synthetic oil or a 10W-30 synthetic oil are recommended.

How long does the warranty last?

It is a 2 year limited warranty and covers generators for private use for 2 years and generators for commercial use for 90 days.

What is the noise level of this model?

It has a noise level of 63 dB at 22 feet.

How many gallons is the fuel tank?

1.45 gallons

How long does this model run on a tank full of gas?

It can run for 7.5 hours on a half-load.

Can this run multiple refrigerators or air conditioners?

No, it cannot.

How much does this model weight?

It weighs 51 lbs.

What are the dimensions of this model?

It has a length of 20 inches, a width of 15.75 inches, and a height of 16.875 inches.

Does this model come with a wheel kit?

No, there is no wheel kit available for this model.

Can this model be used to power sensitive electronics?

It shouldn’t be used – inverter generators are more suitable for that.

What is the fuel type for this model?

Unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of at least 87.

Does this generator idle?

Yes, its engine’s RPM changes according to the load placed on the generator.

Where is this generator manufactured?

It is manufactured in China according to US specifications.

Is this model CARB compliant?

Yes, it is.


WEN 56180 1800-Watt Portable Generator, CARB Compliant
  • EPAIII and CARB compliant generator allows for operation in all 50 states
  • Rated amperage 12.5 A.1800 surge watts and 1500 running watts provides power for both times of emergency and recreation
  • Operational volume (decibel): 63. Lightweight and compact generator runs at half load for 7.5 hours off of 1.1 gallons of gasoline

Recommended Accessories

WEN itself recommends only a cover for this generator as an additional accessory, which can be useful if storing it for a long time or using it in dusty locations. It can be purchased here:

However, many users have also suggested buying a flexible funnel for this model to fill the oil and Amazon also indicates that these two items are frequently purchased together. Such a funnel can be bought from Amazon:

Engine Oil, Fluids, Gasoline, Liquids, Kerosene Funnel with Flexible Extension

Buy from Amazon>


This is a fairly simple and straightforward generator. It has a small number of controls and does not really have any additional features. As such, it is also very easy and simple to use and gets the job done.

It is very easy to use, with a few older users commenting that even though they were apprehensive at first, they found it quite easy to start. The manual start generally does not give issues under normal temperature conditions.

At the same time, users have also noted significant issues with this model. The placement of the oil fill tube has been one such issue since filling oil in the engine becomes a laborious process.

Using this model under 40˚F can also possibly throw up problems. The noise level is also a concern for users.

All in all, it is a fairly average generator in its power range.

It is capable of fulfilling the basic expectations of customers by acting as a reasonable back-up or small power source but does not have any additional features over and above this.

best overall rating ★★★★★

Westinghouse WGen3600v Portable Generator

WEN 56180 1800-Watt Portable Generator, CARB Compliant


Last update on 2022-10-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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