WEN 3500 Watt Portable Generator Review

WEN 3500 Watt Port. Gen.

WEN 3500 Watt Port. Gen.

The WEN 3500-Watt Portable Generator with Wheel Kit (Model WEN 56352) is an intermediate weight, long running, mid range workhorse at the 3000 watt size range (3500W Starting). It’s a top seller for portable generators in this range on Amazon.

This a great generator for emergency backup and can handle 3000W running power, which will power the majority of your home appliances to keep your fridge and freezer working during a long power outage.

It’s also a good wattage size for powering tools and other appliances at job sites or in RV parks. It’s a little on the heavy side, but at 104 pounds is movable with a couple of strong folks doing the lifting. The wheel kit and leverage handles make it easy for a single person to pull it around your house, site or park.

Power Output and Generation

The WEN 56352 is powered by a 208cc 7-HP OHV Gas-Powered engine which is NOT CARB compliant. It runs at 3600 rpm which is an easy generator speed, but can have a tendency to be a bit nosier, but in this case not too bad.

It generates 3000 watts of rated/running power, It has a 3500 watts as surge capacity. The engine ignition system is a non-contact transistor setup for minimal wear on parts. (Often called electronic ignition)

It has two 120V duplex plugs (NEMA 5-20, one 240V/120V twist lock 4 prong plug (NEMA L14-30R) as well as one DC 12V (8.3 amp max) car style receptacle and is protected against overloads by an in-line fuse located behind the control panel. Note that the voltage level on this DC output can be over 18V, so make sure you’re not working with any ultra sensitive devices.

WEN Generator 7HP engine

7HP Engine

For AC, with a maximum of 3000 running watts provides 25 amps at each 120V plug (in the 120V switch position). The switch and plugs are setup such that if you switched into the 240V position and use the 120V plugs you will have 12.5 amps at each outlet. Effectively you may think of it as half as much power at each plug.

Additionally the output is US based 60 HZ and single phase which is typical of all household appliances. Construction and commercial users take note. You won’t be able to run the larger horsepower 3 phase motors with this unit.

Fuel Type and Noise Levels:

WEN 4 Gallon Gas Tank

4 Gallon Gas Tank – 11 hrs @ 1/2 Load

The WEN 3500 watt generator uses standard (engine type) Unleaded Gas and has a capacity of 4 gallons. and 87 octane rating is required at typical lower elevations, but can be lowered a point or two for higher elevations, but you may prefer to use the higher octane for running smoothness..

There is no oil mix requirements for the gas and oil is handled by the fill at the crankcase using the common 10W-30 although 5W-30 will work. WEN indicates that starting temperature will affect oil consumption and for working in above 40 deg F you should check your oil more often. .

One tank of fuel can run this generator for over 11 overs at half load. That’s enough to keep your essential appliances up and running. Customers have indicated that they’ve gotten over 15 hours overnight on very light duty and had more than a quarter of a tank left.

Noise levels are given for a 22 foot radius and rated at 67dB when idling and 74dB fully loaded. That’s a tight range and generally around a noise level of a nearby highway. Current customers are indicating that it’s quieter than expected, but still present when in use. You won’t want it near your patio when you’re trying to have a conversation.

(Back to Top)

Dimensions and Weight

The WEN 3500 Watt Portable Generator is compact for the size at under 2 feet long and about 1-1/2 feet wide and tall. (Shipping dimensions (L x D x H): 24.4″ x 17.7″ x 18.5″. This makes it a nice fit for tucking the garage or storage shed.

The generator weights 104 lbs. (111lbs shipping) and with full tank of gas add 24 lbs. With handles giving a nice amount of leverage picking up the front and pulling it is easy enough. You’ll likely encounter some resistance on rough terrain, but customers have indicated that it’s been easy enough to get through most obstacles.

Typical Uses and Needs

This WEN 3500 Watt Portable Generator is good for general emergency situations where you’ll need to power the essential appliances. Based on general use and power management you should be able to keep the majority of your needs meet.

Generally it makes a good job site unit where you can run a few power tools at half to three quarter load and get a good days work out of a tank.

Display & Control Panel, Start-up

WEN 3000W Control Panel

WEN 3000W Control Panel

The control panel has laid out with DC 12V and 120V recepticals on the left thrid, the hour meter, on/off swithc, circuit resets, and volage selector in the middle. Power indicator lights and 240V/120V twist lock receptical on the right. The grounding wing nut terminal is lower right.

The power indciator lights will eliminate to indicate the output of power to each recptacle. This may be a little confusing as both lights have to be light in order to use the 240V plug. If no lights are light you will need to press the circuit reset.

Start-up

WEN is very adimt about preparing the generator properly before starting. The manual gives the procedures and is the normal, add oil, gas, check it out things. Besure you read and follow the directions.

The generator uses a recoil rope (pull rope) starting method and does not include an electric start.

Below are the steps to starting and starting the WEN 3000/3500W generator.

  1. Disconnect all electrical devices
  2. Make sure generator is properly grounded.
  3. Check fluid levels
  4. Turn fuel valve on
  5. Move choke lever to closed
  6. Set engine switch to on position (pushed in)
  7. Pull recoil starter
  8. As engine starts and begins warm up slowly slide choke lever back to open.
  9. Allow generator to run for several minutes before adding devices

Shut Down:

  1. Turn off all electric devices and unplug them
  2. Turn fuel cock off (let engine run dry if going to storage)
  3. Turn engine switch to off position (extended)

(Back to Top)

Additional Features

This unit is a basic and doesn’t come with any fancy features, but does have some good featrues.

  1. The hour meter is nice for monitoring your usage and maintenance.
  2. Voltage regulator for maintaning consistent voltage to the appliances. One user indicated that it may not be as stable as expected but within acceptable limits with a 6V voltage spike.
  3. NEMA compliant 240V outlet
  4. Fuel Gauge for easy checking of gas level
  5. Wheel Kit (about a 10 to 15 minute assemble process)
  6. Automatic low oil shutdown to protect engine

In does include a couple of tools for the spark plug and a flathead screwdriver.

Care and Maintenance and Use

Using

WEN’s manual has a section on using the generator which details do’s and don’ts such as making sure that if you’re wiring a transfer switch to the house you have it done professionally. The section on figuring watts and wire sizes is sufficient to allow most people to understand the basics of what it will power and how to connect devices.

There is an interpretation that the unit should only be used at 2400 watts based on normal wire sizes. However, if you get 10 gauge wire you can get the full benefit of the 3000 watts. Here is an example of a splitter in that category. (this is only an example and you must follow the manufactures guidelines)

Coleman Cable 01915 3-Feet Generator Power Cord Adapter, 10/3 Splitter Y Adapter, L5-30P to (2) Lighted 5-20R

Care and Maintenance

Recommend periodic maintenance is provided in a table form which details each use, first 20 hrs, 3 month/50 hrs, 6 month/1000 hrs and yearly/300 hrs.

  • Each use is as expected with – check fuel, air cleaner, as well as the engine oil.
  • After 20 hrs, only changing the engine oil is given, which is good practice on getting the initial clean on the engine.
  • For every 50 hours its change oil and clean the air filter.
  • Every 100 hours is also clean fuel filter cip and spark plug
  • and at 300 hours clean the fuel tank.

Detailed instructions are provide in the owners manual.

(Back to Top)

Warranty and Repairs

The WEN 56352 Generator has a 2-year limited warranty (see below for exclusions), and is warranted to only the original purchaser (non-transferable). Note that there is only a 90 day warranty for commercial or rental use.

You must fill out the warranty card at purchase in order for the warranty to be valid. Warranty is completed via contacting customer service to arrange for service and not from the original retailer.

Generally it’s a materials and workmanship warranty under normal use and does have the discretion of manufacture to decide. They will provide fixes under warranty without charge for parts or labor. These fixes will then be considered to be original product and will be good to the end of the original period from purchase.

Recoil Starting

Recoil Starting

The WEN website has a direct look up for parts and accessories. and makes easy to order your parts. They are laid out with picture and name and part number.

WARRANTY EXCLUSIONS:

The warranty does not include normal wear and tear and maintenance parts:

  1. air filter replacements
  2. spark plug replacements
  3. brush and recoil starter rope

As well typical misuse, accidents, and other items that are within the users control are excluded. See the manual for complete details..

Consumer Comments

This generator gets a superb rating as a portable generator at Amazon.com. As of this writing it was getting a 4.7 out of 5 starts with 68 reviews. 95% were giving it a 4 star and up rating.

Customers generally comment on the ease of use, the right size and price point for their needs. Most agreed that they were able to power everything they needed, but didn’t expect it to be the whole house forever needs. Those doing research found this to be a winner for overall needs and economy.

In everyday use the users are indicating running tools and equipment without any issues. It starts in 1 or 2 pulls and is easy to move around. A construction crew bought several of these and has had excellent luck with them. Because of the heavy use there was a bit of a problem with bolts and wheels coming loose, but could be easily cured with some Loctite.

One customer remarked, during the aftermath of huricane Sandy they had nearly 300 consecitive running hours except for shutting down for fuel and maintenace. It was powering up the house and burned about 6 gallons of gas every 24 hours. Compared to the published run time of 4 gallons in about 11 to 12, it’s running well on about 1/3 power level.

Customer service responses have been excellent. As with any mass produced product there are going to be problems and broken parts from the start. For the few having these problems, service has been excellent. What was a surprise is that WEN was willing to send parts for your own installation without having to go to a service center. For most of us that are handy enough to work on these machines that’s a great benefit.

(Back to Top)

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Wheel kit for a Medium wieght at 104lbs (128lbs with gas) making it easily movable and can be loaded with a couple of people doing the heavy lifting.
  • Good economy on fuel consumption verified by customers at around a 2 to 3 hours per gallon at half load.
  • Easy pull start.
  • Up to 3000 watts of power can power most emergency needs and construction setups.
  • Can be used with transfer swtich set up to house, however, may not the best setup because of the limits on amps, but it is workable if needed.
  • Size makes it easily stored and transportable.
  • Voltage switch is nice as it is not often found on other generators.
  • Relatively low noise.
  • Great pricing for this size generator.
  • Getting parts and service is excellent

Cons:

On the negative side there are a few issues.

  • Several instances of factor quality control on broken parts not related to shipping. However, majority of customer service experiences have been very good.
  • For the 240V switch position the two 1500 watt windings are connected in series meaning you can only get 12.5 amps from any of the 120V plugs. (note that in the 120V position allows the winding to be in parallel and you can get a full 25 amps from the 120V plugs. This means you’ll need to be sure not to overload any one plug and if you’re not using 240V your generator will be better off not working as hard in the 120V position.
  • May need to add some thread compound to take care of loose mounting bolts or wheel kits.
  • No grounding wire or rod
  • Oil fill is poorly placed a flexible funnel is needed to get to it easily

Price

WEN 56352 - 3000 Running Watts

WEN 56352 – 3000 Running Watts

Street price for WEN 56352 3500-Watt Portable Generator is just over $300 and is considered one of the best values in this power range.

This is all around good for the price, power, and economy in portable generators. It’s durability based on user reviews makes it a top seller for commercial use even with the limited warranty.

Accessories

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. Covermates Generator Cover – Small : 26 x 18 x 20 Black
  2. 5 gallon CARB Compliant gas can – This is just a good idea to have a CARB compliant storage for your gas. Consider 3 or 4 if you anticipate several days of use.
  3. 30 amp Power Cords – and Inlet Box:
    Reliance Controls PC3010 10-Feet 30-Amp L14-30 Generator Power Cord for up to 7500-Watt Generators
    Inlet Box – Reliance Controls PB30 L14-30, 30 Amp For Up To 7,500 Watt Generators
  4. Transfer Switch: For connecting to house or sheds:
    Reliance Controls 31410CRK Pro/Tran 10-Circuit 30 Amp Generator Transfer Switch Kit With Transfer Switch, 10-Foot Power Cord, And Power Inlet Box For Up To 7,500-Watt Generators
  5. 30 amp Power Cords:
    Most recommended for commerical 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
  6. Appliance Load Tester for finding out exactly your device power usage or need.
    – Reliance Controls THP103 AmWatt Generator Appliance Wattage/Amps Load Tester
    – GSI Quality Load Tester For Appliances And Plug-In Electronics

(Back to Top)

Summary

The WEN 3500 Watt Portable Generator is a top seller and highly rated by the users. It provides 3000 watts of rated power and 3500 for starting watts.It will power a good number of appliances and power tools.

One Carpenter recommended it for typical job applications for both the power available and the economy of operation. The value proposition for this unit at the $300+ range is exceptional. Don’t expect frills and added features, this is a simple solution as a basic work horse and emergency generator.

It’s relatively quite compared to larger generators, but still produces enough noise that you’ll want to give yourself some distance as far as working around it or keep it away from your main living area’s.

Similar Generation Units:

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

5500 Watts: WEN 56551 5500-Watt Portable Generator

7000 watts:  WEN 7000-Watt Portable Generator with Electric Start

9000 watts: WEN 9000-Watt Portable Generator with Electric Start

(Back to Top of WEN 3500 Portable Generator Review)

Photo’s from: Amazon.com

  1. Joann McCraw says:

    Great reviews! Me and my husband has been looking for portable generator and I think this is a perfect brand. It is also good to know that it is quiter than other generators. Will try to see this personally.

    • PowerupGen says:

      Thanks Joann, we’re trying to put together good value here for you.
      WEN is a great brand to consider. It’s economically good and gets good marks for other features.

line
footer

Pin It on Pinterest