DuroStar DS4000S 4000 Watt Portable Generator Review

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DuroStar DS4000S 4000W Portable Generator

DuroStar DS4000S

The DuroStar DS4000S 4,000 Watt portable generator is mid weight, reasonably fuel efficient, compact, and comes in a the usable 3300 running watt range. It’s a good seller on Amazon for portable generators. It’s not super quiet but fairly good for this size.

This unit makes a good emergency generator size and users have been happy with this for unit for getting through the hurricanes of late. Comparatively it’s also usable for recreational vehicle use.

This is not an electric start model and does not come with the optional wheel kit. The model is also not CARB compliant. DuroStar is made by DuroPower.

Power Output and Generation

The DS4000S generates power with a 7.0 HP, 208cc, single cylinder 4-stroke OHV engine. It is a force air cooling to ensure adequate transfer of heat rejection.

The rated output is 3300 watts AC, with a maximum surge/starting of 4000 watts providing 20 and 30 amps @ 120V at the 3-prong (2 NEMA 5-20R) and twist lock (1 NEMA L5-30) outlets respectively.

It’s single phase 60 Hz power generation for the US market..

The ignition system is a non contact Transistor setup (electronic ignition for us commoners ) minimizing tune up issues.

This engine does have a low oil sensing system to protect the engine.

Fuel Type and Noise Levels:

durostar DS4000S Fuel Tank

DS4000S Fuel Tank

The DuroStar DS4000S uses standard Unleaded Gas and has a capacity of just shy of 4 gallons of regular gas. The tank is constructed of all steel which helps protect against degradation and gives it long term durability. The tank also has a built in fuel gauge for monitoring consumption. (Note that many customers were recieving this unit without the fuel gauge and a black fuel cap rather than the chrome, which may have been to the increased demand during the recent hurricanes.)

Running time on one tank is published at 8 hours at half load, however, may users are powering the basics of fridge, lights, TV and getting closer to 11 to 13 hours of run time. This is more comparable to other generators in this class. DuroStar may just be conservative on their duration as not to over promise results.

As a 4 stroke engine it does not require any oil mixing, but only crankshaft which requires 20 oz. or about a 3/4 qt. Standard 10W-30 is suggested for the normal outdoor temperature ranges of just below zero to mid 80 degrees F.

5W-30 oil is indicated for minus degree weather and straight 30 is for over higher temps in the plus 80 range.

Noise:

Claims of super quiet muffler and quietness of a generator are relative and the noise level published for this generator are 69 dB This is similar to this general size range of generators. I relate it to generally the background level you will hear when close to a running car or 50 to 100 feet from a major road. You can carry on a conversation, but you’ll need to be within a couple of feet to hear each other.

It does have a spark arrestor so is approved for use in National Parks.

General comments by users are indicating it’s quieter than there lawn mowers and are overall happy with the noise level.

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Dimensions and Weight

The DuroStar DS4000S is about 2 foot on a side plus or minus with actual published dimensions (L x D x H): 27″ x 20″ x 22″. That’s compact enough to store in most locations, but do consider you’ll get extra height if you add the wheel kit of about 4 more inches. and a few more inches of width.

The generator weights 94 lbs. and with gas add 24 more pounds. You’ll need a couple of strong guys to move it around or some type of hand truck. It is worth considering getting the wheel kit unless you plan on mounting it permanently to a trailer or in your truck.

Typical Uses and Needs

This DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator is good for emergency and RV uses. At the 3300 running watts it is good for general construction work where power needs are not excessive or where surge watts won’t be pulling at the top end of the load..

A good majority of owners have indicated good results for there basic needs and are happy at this wattage for generally running what they need in emergency and recreational conditions..

Display & Control Panel, Start-up

DuroStar DS4000S Operating Panel

DuroStar DS4000S Operating Panel

The main panel has a basic wide setup that covers the length on one side. On the left is the engine switch for running and stopping the generator. There is no electric start with this model so the recoil rope is the starting method. The low oil alert lamp is below the engine switch and when lit will stop the engine if sensing low oil.

Next the the engine switch is basic information about the DS4000S and a reminder of what to do before starting.

In the center of the panel is the is a 2 inch square Volt meter so you can see that the unit is producing what you expect.

The panel has a lever switch breaker that protects from overload. (works like your breakers in the house) This protects at the 30 amp level. On the far right is the 20 amp breaker for the duplex plugs.

The plugs are located generally on the right side of the panel with a 120V AC twist lock for RV use and two 120V 3-prong duplex plugs. There is no 240V or DC connection on this unit.

The grounding terminal is located lower far right on the panel next to the duplex plugs.

Start-up

The generator uses a recoil rope (pull rope) starting method. This is not an electric or remote start model.

After initial set up of adding oil and fuel and grounding the unit operation is:

Start Up:

  1. Disconnect all electrical devices
  2. Turn on fuel cock knob
  3. Move choke lever to Closed
  4. Turn red engine switch to on
  5. Pull recoil rope starter
  6. After starting, engine should run with choke closed are nearly closed for about a minute then move to half open for another half minute before opening full.
  7. Let generator run for a few minutes to warm before applying load
  8. Plug in devices make sure they are turned off and switch main circuit breaker to on.

Shut Down:

  1. Turn off electric devices
  2. Switch off the main circuit breaker
  3. Allow generator to idle to stabilize the temperature for a few minutes
  4. Turn fuel cock off (let engine run dry if going to storage)
  5. Turn engine switch to off.

Tips for storage: For long term storage you’ll want to drain the system or add fuel stabilizer.

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Additional Features

The DuroStar DS4000S is a basic economic model without frills or bells and whistles.

The unit does come with vibration isolating mounts to allow for smooth and quiet operation especially when mounted to a trailer or other frames.

DuroStar Generator Provided tools

Generator Provided tools

Included is a basic tool kit of two open ended wrenches (spanner) and a screwdriver which are really only provided for unpacking and removing the metal and wood block used for shipping. Suggest you use your own good tool set on this one for maintenance and care.

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Care and Maintenance and Use

Using

As with any generator you need to ground it. This is typically a requirement of the warranty and to prevent being shocked when using the generator. See above for more details on starting and then using your devices.

Care and Maintenance

Periodic maintenance is a must with any generator that gets use. Here are the guidelines promoted by DuroStar for good practice.

Pre-operation – check fuel, oil level, and air cleaner. Generally look over your unit to make sure everything looks good.

Every month or 20 hours use it suggests changing oil and cleaning gas tank. This seems an extreme amount to us. Changing oil at 50 hours is more typical after an initial run of 5 to 10 hours. Cleaning the gas tank is not a typical every month, and basically they are saying after every two to three tanks full. What’s up with that? I’m thinking its meant to be for the first use then at 300 hours.

Cleaning the air filter every 50 hours or 3 months makes sense and for heavy or dirty areas your checks may indicate that you’ll be doing it more often.

At 100 hours or 6 months they suggest cleaning the fuel filter cup and spark plug.

They do suggest cleaning the overall generator when it appears dirty and this is good practice. A damp cloth, soft brush, vacuum should be adequate. Although they call for pressurized air, this can cause a hazard if used improperly. A leaf blower might be better for generally blowing dust and miscellaneous debris away.

The owners manual is relatively good at letting you know how to do your maintenance.

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Warranty and Repairs

The DuroStar warranty is for a 1 year factory warranty which is about half as long as most other brands. It’s a parts only warranty, if you have to troubleshoot it by a shop they do not pay the labor.

The Warranty: All DuroStar generators have a 30 day replacement warranty and carry a full 1 year parts warranty. Parts are not charged during the warranty period and freight charges are the responsibility of the customer. Return shipping is the responsibility of the buyer.

Published information is very light on the conditions of warranty. Since it’s only parts, expect to be paying any and all shipping charges and labor charges. If you are a good handy man be sure to contact them prior to preforming any fixes to ensure you can get the full benefit of the warranty.

Extended warranties are available, but not always made available by dealers. You can contact customer service to place an extended warranty. The price of a warranty at this writing will add 33% to your retail sale price for an extra year and 100% for a five year.

Because these are only parts coverage and given the initial cost these are expensive and you’d be better off just buying a new one given the economics of the costs. Really the company should reconsider the marketing behind a 2 year warranty and a more reasonable extended costs. It just looks as if they don’t want to have to deal with warranty and repair issues.

This has been the biggest frustration with those that have had problems, in that with such a low price you can easily start paying just as much in shipping/repair costs as in the initial purchase.

Consumer Comments

This unit is 4.4 star rating in a five star scale for portable generator on Amazon. 84.4% were giving it a 4 star or better rating.

The biggest overall comment is related to the low cost and good experiences in using this generator. Lots of good comments on running what was needed and very little issues with performance of the generator.

Start up seemed to go easily for most everyone and only a couple of pull on the recoil rope were needed to be up and running.

Complaints

Angle Oil fill

Angle Oil fill

Biggest complaints even for good ratings was the oil fill and drain. Oil fill was difficult without a angled or long funnel. The oil drain plug was right over the frame making it difficult to change the oil.

DuroStar DS4000S Oil Fill

Oil Fill

The concern with having DC or 240V AC power was not a consideration as most were looking to be able to run a few appliances during emergency or power outage situations. Others were looking for the RV setup and were pleased except that not all RV setups had the correct receptacle and needed an adapter.

One customer noted he thought that the grounding post and nuts were to small for the recommended wire size to ground. Not sure it it was the attachment method that was causing this concern.

A theme with this generator’s engine is that it uses up oil quickly, especially in the initial use phase. Some recommended synthetic oil as a viable alternative in these types of engines for long duration usability. This raises a concern about long term durability of the units. One specific user reported that the overall longevity of the unit is only a few hundred hours although using synthetic oil would extend that.

In other issues the generator would fail to generate electric current or would fail prematurely. Customer service statements were not good overall when dealing with the manufacture, those that were dealing directly with amazon purchases indicated much better response for replacement or return.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent value for a 3300W portable generator and 4000W surge
  • Optional Wheel kit available
  • Compact relatively light at 94 lbs.
  • Easy to operate and start
  • Fuel Gauge is convenient and easy to read – 4 gallon tank for long running time
  • Good quality construction
  • Provides adequate 120V AC power with 2 duplex plugs and twist lock receptacle

Cons:

  • No 240V or DC power
  • Published Fuel run time is less attractive than other brands. (note that customer usage indicates better than expected.
  • Oil fill is difficult and really requires a funnel to access it to avoid spillage.
  • Oil drain is behind frame and not a clean drain.
  • No watt or amp meter – volt meter is OK, but it’s 120V and you’re not switching voltages, not sure why they went this route.
  • Lack of accessories for oil fill and cheap tools kit.

It appears from a review of the users that the majority have good experiences in the short term usage needs. However, in the long term there appears to be a concern that the durability and longevity of the units is in question. At this price point this can be a significant concern for those using the units on a continuous basis.

Price

Street price for DuroStar DS 4000S Generator is below $300.

Shipping and packaging is not stellar and there is a potential for damaged during the shipping process. Purchasers have reported dented op panel, loose shipping boards, broken air cleaner housings, and miscellaneous plastic parts.

Accessories

Because this portable generator doesn’t come with the wheel kit, it’s not that portable. You’ll want to add the wheel kit to make sure you can move it around if you’re not permanently mounting it.

DuroStar DS4000S-WK Wheel Kit for DS4000S

DuroMax XPSGC Generator Cover For Models XP4400 and XP4400E

Leviton R41-00699-0OR Heavy Duty Triple Outlet Adapter 15-Amp 125-Volt, Orange

Master Electrician PS37UOGH Heavy Duty Triple Outlet Adapter 15-Amp 125-Volt, Orange

There are a number of accessories you you’ll may need or wish to have when picking up this generator: (click image to add to your amazon cart)

  1. Fuel Stabilizers:
    STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer – 32 Fl oz. or STA-BIL 22204 Fuel Stabilizer Blister Card – 4 Fl oz.
  2. 5 gallon CARB Compliant gas can – no spill design.
  3. Power cords – A must have to reach your tools and devices.
  4. Appliance Load Tester for finding out exactly your device power usage or need.
    Yamaha ACC-0SS58-40-44 Reliance Control Am/Watt Appliance Load Tester for EF1000iS Yamaha Inverter
  5. 30 amp Power Cords:
    Most recommended for commercial use for using full amps: Coleman Cable 01915 3-Feet Generator Power Cord Adapter, 10/3 Splitter Y Adapter, L5-30P to (2) Lighted 5-20R
    Conntek 20601-020 20-Feet, 30-Amp 125/250-Volt L14-30P/R , 4 Prong Transfer Switch Cord/Generator Extension Cord
    GenTran 25-Foot 10/3 30-Amp Generator RV Hook Up Power Extension Cord RJB10325RV

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Summary

DuroStar DS4000S Panel and Oil Fill

DuroStar DS4000S Panel and Oil Fill

Although the DuroStar DS4000S 4000 watt portable generator is a top seller and overall highly rated by the users, it appears a good majority of these purchasers have picked up the unit for emergency purchases during the storm seasons and haven’t used them long term.

It’ll provide 3300W of power at 120V for 20 amps in the two 3 prong plug and one L5 twist long 3 wire at 30 amps.

For those that provided long term use, many where positive, but the concerns raised by the poor warranty, long term durability, and high oil usage indicate that you may be getting a good price, but not necessarily a great bargain.

The maintenance schedule suggests that to maintain the unit in good working order takes more effort than others in this size range. When we visited the DuroPower site FAQ it was in broken English and enough users were having issues with the instructions manuals that it begs asking the question about overall quality of the product. If we look at percentages of those having problems it seems the quality is overall reasonable, but maybe not as good as it should be.

This unit would be a good pick up for those that need emergency power in the short term and are willing to make sure they keep up on maintenance. Also if repairs or service becomes an issue you’ll likely want to be a good handy man to avoid the labor and shipping charges associated with warranty issues.

Similar Generation Units:

The following DuroStar Generators are similar to the above but at different wattage sizes

10,000 watts:


DuroStar 10000 Watt Portable RV Gas Powered Generator Electric Start DS10000E 

4400 watts with electric start:


DuroStar 4400 Watt Portable RV Gas Powered Generator Electric Start DS4400E

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