As those of you on the TIA forum know, I have a mini-quad race team. We stepped up this season and began building a fully equipped trailer which will be the subject of some future articles. When we started building the trailer, I knew right off the bat I needed an extremely portable power generation solution. The PM0143250 from Powermate was just the solution I was looking for.

Owned by Pramac since 2008, Powermate specializes in quality, affordable, power generation solutions. I have some previous experiences with Powermate (all positive) so I had no reservations about using them again. I needed something big enough to run lights, a small compressor, battery chargers, a fan, heat/AC, and radios, in any combination. I also wanted to run strictly on 120V AC as I did not want to fool with running inverters or breaker boxes. I needed it to be extremely portable to make it easy to load/unload, and transport. After looking around, the PM0143250 had all the features I needed and none that I didn’t.

Powermate 1

 

Introducing The WX Series

This model is part of Powermate’s new WX Series of generators which offer a few improvements over previous models. These include:

Rubber Outlet Covers to keep debris out (a big plus in my application)

Digital Multi-Meter which displays runtime, voltage output, and frequency

Solid “Never Flat” Wheels

3 Prong RV style adaptor (Used to be extra $)

 

Unboxing & Set-Up

The box included the generator, wheel and handle kit, RV adaptor, tool kit, motor oil, and a funnel. Full set up time was about 10 minutes with the included tools, and was simple enough that I did it without instructions. Don’t forget to add the oil, as it is shipped dry. I added some gas, and it fired up on the 1st pull.

Powermate box best

 

Performance

Rated at 3,250 running watts (4,050 surge watts), the 6 HP, 208cc, 3250WX should provide ample power for my needs. For a home emergency generator it’s certainly on the smaller end, but is sufficient for running lights and essential appliances to get you through an outage. The all metal, 4.5 gallon fuel tank runs on regular gas (85 octane minimum) and boast a 12.2 hour runtime at 50% load. That’s impressive and means I can run the whole race (and then some) without needing to re-fuel. I also really like the illuminated digital multi-meter. It’s nice to be able to monitor my usage statistics, if for no reason other than my own personal amusement.

Powermate MM

While it does not feature a 220V output, it does offer 4 20A NEMA  5-20R outlets and 1 27A L5-30P twist lock style plug. As previously mentioned, it also includes a TT-30R style RV adapter, so if you’re buying it for an RV, you’ve got a turn key outfit.

Powermate outlets uncovered

The 3250WX is 49 State compliant. If you live in California, you’ll need a special spark arrestor or maybe some kind of power annihilating exhaust before you can legally fire it up.  If you feel like going for it anyway, I promise we won’t tell. High altitude operation (over 3,000′) will require a high altitude carb kit. Both items can be obtained through Powermate by calling the number in the owners manual.

I try to limit myself exclusively to items that are either known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects, or banned there entirely. That's how I know they work.

I try to limit myself exclusively to items that are either known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or birth defects, or banned there entirely. That’s how I know they work.

 

Mobility

For a generator this size, moving it around is about as easy as it can possibly be. At 20.6″ H, 25.5″ W, and 26.7″ L, it’s surprisingly compact. The included mobility kit includes fold up handles to make it easier not only to move, but also to store when not in use. I also like the fact the handles are long enough that I don’t bust my shins when pushing it, because lets face it, nothing (with the possible exception of smashing your finger with a hammer) will make you cuss faster than banging you shin on something. The 10″ “never flat” tires make moving over rough ground easy, and are one less thing I have to worry about maintaining. It rolls on and off the trailer with ease, but at 107 lbs., it can be easily lifted into the bed of a truck by 2 normal (or one large) sized people/person.

Powermate wheel

powermate handles

 

Noise Output

When talking about generators, one of the first questions that usually comes up is “how loud is it?”. Not being satisfied with the typical “not loud”, “not THAT loud”, or “mind numbingly loud”, I sprung for a sound level meter to give you a more precise answer. At 10″ we recorded an A weighted decibel reading of 70.2 db(a).

Powermate ST 1

Stepping out to around 25′, which is roughly the distance at which we will typically be sitting from it, the level dropped to a very livable 63.2 db(a).

Powermate ST 2

For comparison, as I sit here in my shop without a sound except for the ceiling fan and no other houses for 1/2 a mile, I’m getting a 45 db(a) reading, and driving down the road in my truck with the AC on reads around 73 db(a). So, at 25′, having a conversation with this thing on is easier than having one in my truck at highway speed. Is it whisper quiet? no, but it isn’t overly loud either.

 

Maintenance

Looking over the generator it’s clear it was thoughtfully designed from a maintenance perspective. All perspectively serviceable areas are open and easy to access. The air cleaner, carburetor, fuel line/filter, oil plug/filler, and spark plug, are all easily accessible without removing anything to get to them. Thats especially impressive for a smaller unit like this.

 That TIA sticker adds at least 1,000 watts!


That TIA sticker adds at least 1,000 watts!

 

Conclusions

All things considered, I really can’t beat the PM0143250 for my needs. It’s powerful enough for the essentials at home, sturdy enough for the job site, and portable enough for the race track or campground. For $399 @ Amazon with free shipping, it puts reliable, truly portable, power in your hands for an affordable price. If you’re looking for more or less power, Powermate offers generators from 3000W, all the way up to 12,500W portables. They also offer LP gas powered versions in both 3250W and 5500W models like the one Dan reviewed last week. If you want a generator, don’t be one of those morons that wait until the power has been out for 2 days before they run to the store and stand in line for hours trying to get one. A generator is one of the best precautionary investments you can make for your family, and Powermate is a great choice.