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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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bobkro
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 28 Mill Spring, NC
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2007-10-29          147498


This post is not about tractor-powered generators, but I hope this group can help.

I want to to provide back-up power to my home. I think I will need a 15-20 KW system. I want to use propane to power (I have a tank already installed).

Have looked at Onan and Briggs/Stratton products, and talked with local B/S installer, who services all makes.

Does this group have any experience with either brand in the 15-20 KW range, and can you provide helpful hints about what to look for?

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2007-11-01          147659


I have no experiance with Onan but have always associated them with high quality. I have a 10K honda, 4K Briggs generator. ....

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-11-01          147660


I think both Onan and Generac sell both entry level generators of lesser quality and better units as well. When it comes to generators you generally get what you pay for. It might be interesting to ask how many hours the unit is expected to last. Some cheaper equipment isn't expected to go more than 100 hours or so and is designed for very occasional homeowner use. We've got a Gillette 15kw LP unit with Kohler engine that has hundreds of hours on it and has never given us a lick of trouble. ....

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-11-02          147665


My perception is like the others: Onan is a high quality maker. They are or were used extensively in commerical equipment and motorhome generators. They're generally compact for their size. B&S, well, the letters speak for themselves.

And like was pointed out, I'm sure someone has done their math, market studies and ran-the-numbers that in order to be competitive and sell, sell, sell---they'd have to offer something not as durable knowing or hoping that the average user may not ever use it. By then the house has been sold, the warranty expired. For those who do use their unit and wear it out, they honor the warranty--my guess. Big woop though when you need it.

I would go commercial which will cost more, but will last if that's what you need.

And that 100 hours that was mentioned, which seems low, extrapolate that to a real situation where the power may be off for three or four days---that's 96 hours right there. So even if they say it'll last 1000 hours that one event cost nearly 10% of the life. ....

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6877 Waterville New York
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2007-11-02          147668



I'd worry more about the generator itself then the engine for the selection of engines given. There was only two manufacturers around the big turn of the century and one was good and the other, is on the other end of the spectrum. The engines you mentioned both have a history of life beyond 2500 hours with there overhead valve design.
We've had some extended times here and I know the weaker of the designs often was failing with less then 500 hours on them. I don't know who is who in the market now but many people saved a buck at purchase time only to be left in the dark when they needed it! ....

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-11-02          147669


Sorry, when I said some equipment wasn't expected to go more than 100 hours or so I should have added "within the warranty period" :) ....

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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bobkro
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 28 Mill Spring, NC
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2007-11-02          147683


Art--

Can you tell me who, based on your experience, the better manufacturer was/is?

I know that you in particular place a value on the quality of the dealerhip that stands behind the piece of equipment. I've done most of my research on line, but I'm trying to track down that part of the equation as well.

Any advice you could give me would be appreciated.

bob ....

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6877 Waterville New York
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2007-11-08          147999



Bob, at the time I had a fellow that was in that industry tell me about the two units and their life span. There maybe more now. He was looking at the Kubota,s as well as Mitshibitshi and the better grade honda for comparisions. He wouldn't consider any others in the economy lines and he told me of the story of basically two companies. At the time I had his card and we did communicate after although I didn't sell him a Kubota as he know long before us that they were not going to build them for long, he was looking for a good price and he did like it but not well enough for Dad! He had seen both manufacturers and knew of quality issues with consistance of the wiring. ....

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Onan vs Briggs Stratton

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wmgeorge
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 38 Central Iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2008-01-31          150994


I'd go with Onan or Honda if I was purchasing today. Briggs & Stratton has let the quality slip in the past few years. 25 years ago, I would say B&S is good as it gets, but not today. I have an Onan in my motorhome, it is a SOB to work on, not because of the design, but because of the location of where the manufactor decided to put it! Parts are higher than B&S but worth it. ....

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