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I was a scout at one time.

Not the “talent” kind-of-scout, but the uniform-wearing-help-old-ladies-across-the-street kind of scout.

I took away three things.

  1. The best places to collect aluminum cans to recycle.
  2. How to build some really fast pinewood derby cars.
  3. How to be prepared.

No, excessive use of hyphens did not make the list.

But that third one goes way beyond the practical application of the motto during my time as a scout.

Back then, “being prepared” was having your trusty pocketknife at your side in the event you had to defend your honor, pry free from a bear trap or simply whittle a stick to a point—because every ten-year-old knows some sticks just need to be pointy.

Preparation is a whole industry now. 25-year-shelf-life-food. Canned water. Bug-out bags.

I know there’s plenty of you that wake up in the morning and say “C’mon nature. Whatcha got? Let’s go.”

But this scout-turned-homeowner isn’t really up to challenging nature on a daily basis. I don’t want to bug-out. Man, I just want to maintain.

And I know who wins when you challenge nature.

Pro tip: it’s not you.

So in a world of wind and ice storms, tornados and hurricanes—and quite often in my case—an errant car versus telephone pole, one might want to be prepared for loss of power.

Yup, that first-world problem of “how am I going to charge my phone when the power is out?”

I can deal with that.

It’s the loss of food in the fridge that is troubling. And A/C or heat would be nice.

 In 2004, I got to meet Charley, Frances, and Jeanne—back-to-back hurricanes that left me without power for almost 6 weeks. A generator inverter was helpful which is why this dad blog is reviewing the Briggs & Stratton Q6500

In 2004, I got to meet Charley, Frances, and Jeanne—back-to-back hurricanes that left me without power for almost 6 weeks.

 

Or that time the windstorm took out Pete’s power. Or that one ice storm. Or that other wind and ice storm. Pete’s place gets stormy. Again, an inverter generator is ideal for power outages.

Or that time the windstorm took out Pete’s power. Or that one ice storm. Or that other wind and ice storm. Pete’s place gets stormy.

Briggs & Stratton Generator Review

I was prepared in ’04 with a Briggs & Stratton-powered generator which allowed me to keep that food in the fridge, run some lights, a fan and even a window air-conditioner.

It was glorious.

And 13 years later, it’s still going strong.

But Pete and I recently had the opportunity to check out the brand-new Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower™ Series Inverter Generator.

I know you saw it. The little ™.

Say it. [quietly.]

“QuietPower.”

That’s what intrigued us. And anytime someone puts the little ™ it means they got something there.

The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower™ Series Inverter Generator review by DIY dad blog.

The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower™ Series Inverter Generator.

Briggs & Stratton wanted to change the game in the generator market. They didn’t just make some slick-looking product with a fancy pitch line. They started with data. They asked customers who have experience with traditional generators.

Here’s what people said:

  1. I want it to be quieter.
  2. I want it to be lighter.
  3. I want it to use less fuel.

Here’s what Briggs & Stratton Did:

  1. They made it more than 60% quieter than a standard generator.
  2. They made it 30% lighter than a standard generator.
  3. They made the engine deliver power according to load—saving fuel.

Here’s what Dadand said:

  1. My ears and neighbors thank you.
  2. My back thanks you.
  3. My wallet thanks you.

With the primary purpose for the generator being a residential backup power source, they packed a bunch of features into a small package.

For those of you that just want the facts, read on. For the TL;DR crowd, check out the video a little further down:

Home Generator Features

The Q6500 Inverter Generator has:

  • A steel frame enclosed with an impact-resistant protective shell
  • A 306cc Integrated Engine/Alternator that can run up to 14 hours (at 25% load)
  • 6500 starting watts, 5000 running watts
  • 4 120V-20A outlets, 2 USB outlets for charging your electronics, and a 120V-240V locking outlet if you want to hook up to a power transfer switch on your home’s electrical system
  • A compact size that is easily moved by a telescoping handle and never-flat tires

A Quieter Generator for the Home

The 306cc integrated engine/alternator delivers enough power to keep your essentials running. And it does it about 60% quieter than standard generators. It happens a couple of ways.

First, that slick-looking impact-resistant housing is not just form, but functions to help protect and quiet the unit’s operation. Also, they have a muffler and engine balancer combined with some soundproofing inside the housing to ease those eardrums.

And then the button. The QPT (Quiet Power Technology) switch just above the engine pull-cord takes this beast from wide open to eyes shut. The inverter technology delivers consistent power for anything from a deep freezer to your sensitive electronic devices. This is where the fuel efficiency comes into play. I mashed that QPT switch on and the Q6500 dropped to a lower RPM—and as I applied more load to the system, it adjusted engine speed automatically to compensate. Check the video for some fairly unscientific, uncalibrated SPL measurements, if you don’t trust your ears.

A Smaller, Lighter Backup Generator

Briggs & Stratton claims the Q6500 QuietPower Series is about 45% smaller than a standard generator. I compared it to my older generator, which puts out about 3750 starting watts, which is much bigger. It’s not apples to apples, but without doing all the math in my head, it seems about right.

I can say my old generator is heavy. It’s a chore to have to move it around. And it has tube tires, which are flat every time I need to use it.

The Q6500 is 128 lbs., and has a telescoping handle that I was initially a little unsure of, but seemed to do the job nicely. Once you hit the balance point it’s fairly effortless to push/pull around. Check out my 9-year-old in the video. And the tires are a hard plastic/rubber mix, which is nice that I won’t need an air-compressor to fill up (particularly when I don’t have power to run an air-compressor)

Choosing a Home Backup Generator

I’m no pro on choosing a generator. But I can make lists. And do simple math.

I started with what I needed to run—tools, appliances, etc.—and wrote them down.

I looked through owner’s manuals (yes, I save them) and found out what the running wattage requirements were for the appliance, and then the additional starting wattage requirements. There might also be a label on your appliance that has this info, or just search online.

Here’s what your list might look like:

Appliance Starting Running
Refrigerator 2200W 700W
Deep Freezer   1500W 500W
TV N/A 500W
Light Bulb N/A 75W
Add up your total running watts: 1775W
Now take the one single item with highest number of additional starting watts and subtract it’s running watts.
Refrigerator 2200W -700W
=1500W
Add that to your total running watts: +1775W
Power Requirement Total: 3275W

In this scenario, you need a generator that can provide at least 1775 running Watts, and handle a load of 3275 starting Watts.

Q6500 QuietPower Series Review

After unboxing, we had to take off the side panel to access the oil filler and added oil from two poly bags supplied and shipped inside the housing. Our take on the Q6500 is that it seemed to live up to the claims of being lighter/smaller as I lifted it up on my workbench to do the latter, and I’d never attempt that with my old one. And my 9-year-old easily carted it around our home.

Pete and I both experienced easy starting, about 3-4 pulls after putting some fuel in for the first time. And the starting procedure was like most small engines: turn on fuel, pull the choke (on the front of the panel), pull to start and turn off choke.

Four outlets seem just fine, I only have four on my older model and have never needed more. I don’t have a power transfer switch on my home, so I may not be using the larger service plug.

The Q6500 Quietpower Series has enough outlets to power your essentials, including two USB ports to charge your sensitive electronic devices.

The Q6500 Quietpower Series has enough outlets to power your essentials, including two USB ports to charge your sensitive electronic devices.

My old generator did come with a large extension cord, that plugs into its 30A outlet and splits four ways into standard plugs. The Q6500 did not ship with any types of cords. So if you want to use the larger service plug, you’ll have to source that yourself. Not a deal-breaker, but think about how many cords, and how long of a run it is to get outside to the generator.

Because…you must be running this outside.

We liked the fact that it had an LED display that showed the load on the generator, in the event you did some shifty math. And having a front-panel overload reset and main circuit breaker switch easily-accessible makes for trouble-free troubleshooting.

The generator at full throttle did seem quieter than my old model. Pete confirmed his satisfaction with an emphatic “Yeah, it’s pretty quiet.” And when running in the Quiet Power mode, it toned down to a low drone idle. As we applied load during operation in this mode, the generator would surge and vibrate for a moment—but Briggs & Stratton assured me this is where the fuel efficiency comes into play, adjusting engine speed according to power draw.

We both tried various power tools, like a shop vacuum and a small air compressor, drills and the like, and never even got the LED display to indicate 25% load. And with the Q6500’s available power nearly double what I currently have, we’re fairly certain we won’t have any problems next time the power goes out at either of our homes.

I anticipate giving this a try next time we go camping as well. The 120V-240V locking outlet will hook right up to our little popup camper if we’re off-grid.

All-in-all, and hyphens aside, we had a really good experience in testing and reviewing this inverter generator, it performed well (in our unscientific analysis) and feel that if you are in the market for a lighter, quieter, more efficient generator, then look to the QuietPower Series from Briggs & Stratton.

The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower Series is available now at Home Depot with an MSRP of $1,499.

Win a $500 Home Depot Gift Card from Briggs & Stratton

One lucky Dadand reader will win a $500 Home Depot gift card courtesy of Briggs & Stratton. From July 23, 2017 to August 21, 2017 you can submit up to 4 entries (and additional entires by tweeting everyday) by completing the following:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize will be fulfilled by Briggs & Stratton (a third-party company). Dadand.com cannot be held responsible for prizes that are not fulfilled by third-party companies. Specific Terms & Conditions apply to this sweepstakes.


Disclosure

Special thanks to Briggs & Stratton for sponsoring this post. Dadand has received product, compensation or both. Despite that, the opinions expressed by Dadand are our own and are for entertainment purposes. To provide as much transparency as possible, Dadand makes every reasonable effort to disclose the source of all products and services reviewed.

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