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Lifewire / Nick Jaynes
Smart, clean design
Built-in cigarette lighter outlet for versatile accessory connections
Relatively quiet at 64 decibels
Easy to carry with H-style handle
On/off switch also activates fuel shutoff
No built-in USB port
Not quite as powerful as some competitors
Louder than advertised
The Briggs & Stratton P2200 has an unassuming design, smart and easy-to-use features, a respectable power output, and a slew of versatile power outlet ports. With 8 hours of run time at 25% load and 64 decibels, it’s both efficient and relatively quiet.
The 2000- to 2800-watt portable generator market is a competitive one. Each manufacturer puts their own spin on the segment. Some build in USB ports and smart gauges; others go for a more traditional design but include thoughtful, ease-of-use features.
Briggs and Stratton is no different. Its P2200 sits somewhere in the middle of the pack, with 2200 watts of peak power output but 1700 watts of reliable and sustainable power at 64 decibels of noise. At 25% power output, it can run for 8 hours on a single, one-gallon tank of gasoline. These are all pretty impressive specs, given its $495 price.
The Briggs and Stratton P2200 has attracted positive attention from reviewers and buyers alike, so we put it to the test under 18 hours of break-in and testing to see if it justified the hype.
Two things immediately struck us pulling the Briggs and Stratton P2200 out of the box for the first time: first, how easy it is to grab ahold of, and second, how unassuming the chassis is.
The grey plastic exterior is a welcome departure from the traditional color schemes of the portable generator market. Hondas are bright red, Champions bright yellow, and Westinghouses are royal blue or camouflage. But the P2200 is 1990s computer grey. It’s not flashy, but that’s a good thing in our eyes.
Once its fully out of the box, you’ll notice that the top handle is H-shaped which makes it super easy to grab and carry, no matter your angle or position. Plus, its well weighted, so the load isn’t too awkward to lug around.
It’s clever but unassuming touches like those that make the Briggs and Stratton P2200 a real pleasure to own and use.
Study it further, and you’ll notice some other smart design features. The start/stop switch next to the pull cord also actuates the fuel shutoff switch so you won’t ever forget to turn off the fuel, and you’ll never overflow the carburetor and spill gas everywhere.
It’s clever but unassuming touches like those that make the Briggs and Stratton P2200 a real pleasure to own and use. That’s why we gave it the ‘best design’ nod in our portable generators roundup.
Thanks to the provided screwdriver, bottle of 30-weight oil, and angled funnel, getting the Briggs and Stratton P2200 up and running for the first time is relatively easy. Unscrew the two bolts on the side that secure the access panel and it comes right off. There, you can easily access the oil filler as well as the airbox and cleaner.
The oil filler hole has a tapered bottom cup that funnels excess oil out of the casing. The funneled taper of the metal ensures excess oil drips out and away from the body of the unit, and guarantees oil changes will be less messy than with other similarly-sized portable generators.
Firing up the Briggs and Stratton P2200 for the first time takes several pulls of the starter cord. You may need to play with the choke a bit, as we did, to get it to fire for the first time. However, after it’s broken in, even under cold conditions, the P2200 was fairly easy to start every time.
Some manufacturers give the best-case-scenario power output and noise specs. We’ll discuss noise in a moment. But in terms of performance, Briggs and Stratton actually undersold the P2200.
Briggs and Stratton rate the P2200 at 2200 watts of peak surge power output and at 1700 watts of peak normal running power output. We ran it right near its peak, just above 1600 watts, for more than two hours under our most strenuous testing cycle, and we found it performed admirably.
In terms of performance, Briggs and Stratton actually undersold the P2200.
At 450 to 800 watts of continuous load, it outperformed even the company’s own ratings. Under those load conditions, we squeezed out six hours of run time on a single tank of gas.
Do note that we tested ours with non-ethanol gasoline as recommended by Briggs and Stratton. If you can’t find it locally, the company sells cans of it online.
On the front of the Briggs and Stratton P2200 users will find a duplex three-pronged outlet, a cigarette lighter-style port, and a proprietary three-pronged parallel port. No, your two-pronged Honda parallel cables will not work with this generator.
What’s nice about the round 12-volt cigarette lighter-style port is its versatility. You can use any accessories or gadgets designed to be plugged into the dash of a vehicle. For example, we plugged in a power inverter, which offered us even more three-pronged outlets. If you’re not trying to get too fancy, you can also just plug the provided dual-USB-port adapter.
We’ve never seen a portable generator include a USB adapter in the box before. We tip our hats to Briggs and Stratton for that thoughtful addition.
Briggs and Stratton rate the P2200 at 59 decibels at seven meters of distance. To put that into perspective, that’s quieter than an average lawnmower by around 20 dB.
Our iPhone app-based decibel meter found it slightly louder than that at 64 decibels. This isn’t horrendously loud, as some other portable generators can climb into the 70s on the decibel meter. Still, for a relatively small 111 cubic-centimeter engine and 2200 watts of peak surge power, it was definitely on the loud side.
The MSRP for the P2200 is $729, but as of this writing it’s available for $495 on Amazon. It was competitive at the suggested retail price, and if you indeed purchase it anywhere below the $650 mark, it’s a very good value.
In and around its price point are the Wen 56200i and the Westinghouse iGen2500. The Wen puts out 1600 watts and a peak of 2000 watts and retails on Amazon for $430. The Westinghouse peaks at 2500 watts, with a reliable 2200 watts of output, and goes for $679 on Amazon.
If we were to compare its MSRP to these, the Briggs and Stratton might be a generator worth overlooking, but discounted it’s a compelling option.
While we’re considering prices, let’s put the Briggs and Stratton P2200 up directly against the Westinghouse iGen2500, which, by our approximation, is one of its chief competitors—in both price, design, and performance.
In terms of size, they’re comparable, but the iGen2500 is significantly lighter at 48 pounds (compared to the P2200’s 56). The iGen2500 also stands out in terms of performance. It churns out 2200 watts with a peak surge of 2500 watts, while the P2200 peaks at 2200 watts with a standard running output of 1700 watts.
The blows just keep coming from the Westinghouse iGen2500. Its noise levels are rated by the manufacturer at 52 decibels. By comparison, Briggs and Stratton clock its P2200 at 59 decibels, and in reality it generates closer to 64 decibels.
The P2200 does have an edge in outlets, with a duplex, cigarette lighter port, and a parallel port, while the iGen2500 only has a duplex and a USB port. While Westinghouse skimped on outlets, it did add a smart gauge so users can easily monitor fuel level and wattage. The Westinghouse is a slightly superior generator, but that difference is also reflected in the price. Right now, the Briggs and Stratton P2200 can be purchased for significantly less than the Westinghouse iGen2500 ($677 for the Westinghouse to the P2200’s $595), so it comes down to budget and taste.
Decidedly average.The Briggs and Stratton P2200 looks exactly how it performs—middle of the road. It’s not the most powerful, quietest, or most feature-rich. However, it’s a reliable and accessible contender in the portable generator space. If you want a generator that performs well at a reasonable price, look no further than the Briggs and Stratton P2200.
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