Champion vs Honda Generators: Which is Better for You?

Champion vs Honda Generators

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If you are trying to decide between a Champion generator and a Honda generator you are in a very good position, because you’ve arrived at two of the best generators money can buy, and two of the best companies out there. For overall quality and dependability, and really for loads of reasons, both Honda and Champion are so well known and loved – both in the industry and among customers.

So really either one would be a great choice, but which is better, Champion or Honda generators? Which one should you get?

To make it easier, let’s look into this subject in a bit more detail, in this direct comparison of Honda vs Champion generators in 2024.

If you’re in a hurry, and want to get to the key takeaways, here you go:

Honda vs Champion: Executive Summary

Champion generators are quickly becoming legendary for their extreme material and build quality and their reliability – both long term and day to day – and are significantly less expensive than any comparable Honda product.

Honda generators, on the other hand, are widely recognized as being better – than Champion or any other brand. They are the best of the best in regards to fit and finish, materials and build, and the most reliable generators on the market today.

We here at The Final Kit really love Champion, for their design and ease of use, their features and specs, and for their overall quality, and if money is a main factor we can’t think of any other brand on this more affordable level that we would prefer.

But a Honda is a Honda, and if money is not as big of a factor as supreme security, a Honda is your best choice. Yes, Champions are exceptionally reliable and dependable, but Honda generators are essentially industrial quality, and the real choice for emergency use, critical medical and other equipment, harsh climates and extreme weather and the safest and most secure home backup.

Directly comparing two generators with about the same power, we see that the Champion Power Equipment 201183 is less than half the price of the Honda EU2200I, retail to retail, and there is no doubt it is a fantastic value – in many ways it actually outperforms the Honda, and is a very, very well made generator that should last for decades.

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That said, the Honda EU2200I is absolutely top-tier in terms of quality, reliability and dependability, both on a daily use basis and over the long term. It has a couple of advantages over the Champion, including wifi capability and electric start, but the real reason to spend the extra money is for that supreme reliability – with the 2200I you are paying for, and getting, the best of the best, and a generator that will always work perfectly and almost certainly last a lifetime.

These are two of the companies’ most popular models, but if you compare roughly equivalent models from Honda and from Champion all the way up and down their product lines you tend to see the same thing – Champion generators are great, and may well represent the best choice and the best value at their respective levels, while Honda generators are always just that much better, and consistently offer the best quality period – not to mention, in their way, exceptional value.

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In my way of looking at things, there are many factors that go into choosing the right generator – power, noise level, design and usability, size and weight and more – but the most important factor of all, whether you are using the generator for emergencies or anything else, is dependability. 

And from that perspective either company is brilliant, and Champion is probably at the top of the list of affordable generators, but if I had to stake my life on it, or the safety and survival of my home and family, I would always choose Honda.

Honda Generators vs Champion Generators: How to Choose?

Honda Generators vs Champion Generators: How to Choose?

In the first section of this article I will take a look at Champion generators and  Honda generators overall, comparing the companies and their product lines in general terms.

Then, in the second section, I will look more closely at two of the most popular portable inverter generators for each company – the Honda EU2200I versus the Champion 201183 – in a direct comparison.

Even if you are looking for a different model, the direct comparison between these two models should prove interesting and helpful, as the points made there do tend to apply up and down both product lines, and by the end of the article you should have a good picture of which is best for you and your needs.

Honda vs Champion Generators – The Big Picture

Honda has been making high quality portable generators for almost sixty years, so they are definitely one of the oldest major manufacturers in the world today. Honda is also known – maybe above all else – for manufacturing incredibly well-made and reliable products, and in particular their engines are legendary in this regard.

Champion is a bit newer on the scene, having made generators for around 20 years now. In that relatively short time the company has earned a reputation for very affordable products that are very high quality – way higher, in fact, than you would expect for the money. Champion generators are well designed, well made, exceptionally stable and quiet and offer excellent long-term reliability.

In terms of features, Honda and Champion tend to be very similar, and you may not see enough one way or the other to make a clear choice. They have very similar layouts, with nice quality controls, switches and connectors and very useful display panels, and the general design and usability is typically quite high with both companies’ products.

In terms of build quality, fit and finish, hands-on experience makes a user slightly prefer Honda, whose generators are absolutely top notch – really, pure premium in terms of how they look and feel. But lest we feel we’re starting to see a clear difference, and already inching toward a winner, I have to say that Champion are – and especially for the money – also beautifully made and beautifully finished products – no, not quite on the level of Honda, but in their class pretty amazing.

In terms of long-term reliability, our experience (as well as industry and customer reports) pretty clearly favors Honda – and again not just versus Champion, but compared to any other brand of portable generator. And really you can just tell. When you start up and run a Honda generator it has a feeling of solidity to it – whisper-quiet, smooth running and ultra-stable – and you know this is a product made to last.

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Champion generators are no slouches in the long-term reliability game either, and in fact when you compare a Champion to other portable generators at the same price level it is also pretty clear – the Champion, even if it has the same rated noise level, often just sounds quieter, and their smooth and quiet engines, mounted in rock-solid frames, give a similar feeling of security that you get from a Honda.

And indeed, for both day to day dependability and long life, Champion generators are as good as it gets for the price, and should provide countless years of reliable service. But a Honda is a Honda, and if you need to count on your generator in emergencies – especially if your safety or survival is on the line – you will be fine with a Champion, but people buy Honda to be absolutely certain they will be fine. For them the extra money is a no-brainer, and they consistently count their Honda generator as one of the best investments they’ve ever made.

Champion and Honda are both wonderful companies with first-class customer support and service, and if anything Champion may have the slightest edge in this regard – they are pretty proud of the level of service they offer, and customers tend to rave about the company’s availability and friendliness and the quality of their support. But again the companies are both pretty amazing, and the machines are so easy to use, and so dependable, that this is actually a bit of a non-issue in most cases.

I should mention a very important point for at least some readers – Honda generators are not CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliant, and as far as I know every one of Champion’s portable generators are fully CARB compliant. 

This means that Champion generators fully meet the stricter standards of California’s environmental regulatory board, and so their products are fully legal to purchase and use in California, whereas Honda generators cannot, technically at least, be bought or used in the Golden State. This  also means that Champion generators are ever so slightly friendlier to the environment no matter where you use them.

So if you are in California, or may want to visit in your RV or mobile home, and you want to stay within the letter of the law, your choice is pretty clear – Honda is legal to use in 49 states, and is in fact well known as a clean-running generator, but Champion is fully legal in all 50 states.

With a Champion you are getting a generator that is not just probably the best in its lower price class, and an amazing value, but in fact pretty close to a comparably powered Honda in pretty much every way.

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But in my mind (and not just mine) if you are living elsewhere, and probably won’t ever use your generator in California, the Honda is simply a better product, and in fact I can say with real confidence that Honda generators are the best of the best – the easiest to start and use, the quietest and most stable, the best made and most reliability – both day to day and over the long term.

Of course, for some people a Champion might be a much better choice – to be clear, they are close to half the price of similar sized Honda generators, and so close in every important way that, if you are on a tight budget, you needn’t worry about getting a Champion instead.

Bottom Line: Champion or Honda Generator

In many ways, Honda and Champion generators are very similar, and both are very good quality, well designed and well made products.

If you live in or travel to California, you will want a Champion, which is fully CARB compliant and 50-state legal. And if you want or need to get the most affordable generator available you still will probably want to choose Champion, since they tend to really shine compared to similarly priced generators from pretty much any other company.

If you do get a Champion you will be getting a fantastic generator, and purchasing from a fantastic company, and will end up with a product that provides years and years of trouble-free service.

But if you want the best of the best, and are willing to pay the extra money, you will never, ever regret investing in a Honda generator. They are the best electric generators I’ve ever used, and widely recognized as the finest money can buy.

For emergency use, home backup, critical medical equipment or any other situation where you need to be absolutely certain your generator will work, and work perfectly, even if you haven’t used it for a long time, Honda is the answer. It is also the best choice if you simply want the quietest, most reliable, highest quality  generator for any and every type of use.

At the end of the day you are looking between two brilliant pieces of equipment. If budget dictates a much more affordable choice you will absolutely love your new Champion, and if money is no object, or at least less of an object, Honda is as good as it gets, and a true lifetime investment.

Champion 201183 vs Honda EU2200I: Head to Head Comparison

Champion 201183 vs Honda EU2200

The Champion 201183 is an enormously popular generator, and offers 1850 watts of running power, with surge/starting power rated at 2500 watts. It is a well made and well designed product, and known to be extremely reliable and trouble-free in operation.

Both are inverter generators, meaning they offer much more pure, clean and stable AC power than standard generators, making them suitable for use with even the most sensitive electronic gadgets and gear, like computers and laptops, smartphones, tablets, televisions and gaming systems, smart appliances, CPAP machines and medical equipment and more.

And, given their size and power output, both are great for many different uses, including basic home power backup, tailgating and parties, worksites and workshops, and any kind of emergencies. While neither comes equipped with an RV-ready 30 amp plug, they are both very popular for camping, recreational vehicles and mobile homes.

When you look at the features and specifications of the two, there are not many differences, but it is notable that the Champion, for less than half the money, does offer some important advantages – including dual fuel capacity, increased running time and a bit more power.

Honda EU2200IChampion 201183
Peak Wattage2,2002,500
Noise Level57 DBa53 DBa
Run Time – Quarter Load8 Hours11.5 Hours
Weight47 Pounds39 Pounds
Electric StartYes, with RemoteNo
FuelGasolineGasoline / Propane
Low Level Alert?YesYes
Parallel Capable?YesYes
Power Saving Mode?YesYes
Overload Protection?YesYes
Carbon Monoxide Monitor?YesYes
Bluetooth WirelessYesNo

Again, there aren’t any huge differences between the two, but there are a few things to point out:

Champion 201183 vs Honda EU2200I: Key Differences

  • Both are true inverters, meaning they are safe for even sensitive electronics, and both have excellent safety and automatic shutdown circuitries.
  • The Champion has more power, only 50 watts more running power, but a full 300 watt more starting power – not a huge increase, but this can make quite a difference, especially when certain high draw appliances, power tools and the like are first starting up.
  • The Champion is quieter, though I am almost tempted to say that the Honda, with its ultra-smooth engine and superbly solid frame, is a bit more quiet in actual usage.
  • The Champion 201183 runs longer, having a full 11.5 hours run time versus the Honda’s 8 hours – a significant difference.
  • The Champion 201183 is dual-fuel, allowing you to use both unleaded gasoline and propane, while the Honda is gas-only.
  • While the Champion has cold start technology, the Honda has electric start, and if anything is even easier to start at any temperature – they are both especially good in this regard, though.
  • The Honda EU2200I is wifi ready, and its nice app allows for remote operation and monitoring and remote start.

When you look at all of this, the Champion might almost seem like a better generator. To be sure, for many people the longer running time, the dual-fuel capability and the slightly higher power will make it the ideal choice, and the 201183.really stands out as an outstanding value.

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That said, the Honda EU2200I’s electric start, wifi readiness and a great app will be key to other people. The real draw of the Honda, though, is its extreme reliability and dependability – the Champion is fantastic in this regard, especially for the price, but the essentially industrial-grade Honda is the real champion in this crucial factor, and easily the best built and most dependable generator available in this power range.

Honda EU2200I vs Champion 201183: Bottom Line

Considering the Honda EU2200I is more than twice the price of the Champion 201183, this ends up being a lot closer of a race than we might have expected.

After all, the Champion actually outperforms and out-features the Honda in a few important ways, though the Honda also has a couple of  key advantages.

I think the final choice between a Honda EU2200I and a Champion 201183 will come down to one of two determining factors:

Price: while the Honda is clearly a great value at its premium price level, and a truly brilliant inverter generator, the Champion is much less expensive, and it should be clearly stated that at its more affordable level the Champion Power Equipment 201183 is quite probably the best generator I’ve ever used, and the best value going.

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Quality: inversely, while the Champion is clearly a very, very high quality product, the industrial grade Honda EU2200I is easily the best quality inverter generator you can get at this power level, and in this regard alone is clearly worth the increase in price, especially for home backup, emergency usage, medical and other critical equipment.

But I can close by stating that without question they are both fantastic generators and great choices – in fact, if you spend less and go for the Champion, you will get the best quality at its level, and if you spend more for the Honda you will still get superb value. Either way you will end up with a generator you will love and use for a long, long time.

This is the case not just with the Champion 201183 compared to the Honda EU2200I, but holds true all the way up and down their product lines – I strongly believe that any Champion generator can be considered the best value at its price level, and any Honda generator can be considered the best period.