If you own a mini camper, then you know you don’t have as many options for a generator as an RV owner would. Big, bulky units are out of the question, as they will weigh down your camper. Not only that, but they’ll take up precious space that you don’t really have.
Instead, you need a lightweight, portable generator that’s quiet yet can power all sorts of items, from your smartphone to even your refrigerator. That’s why I so strongly recommend the Briggs & Stratton 30651 PowerSmart Series portable inverter generator. It’s the perfect addition to your mini camper, as it can do all of the above and more.
This is an inverter generator, which means it’s more beneficial than the average generator. An inverter generator produces what is known as clean power. That gives you more options in terms of what you can power, which is great if you bring your tech-obsessed family along on a lot of your road trips.
In this review, I’m going to go in-depth about why I love the Briggs & Stratton 30651 so much and why you will, too.
First, let’s talk specs, shall we? Here are some of the most notable features and specs in list format. I’ll be expanding on a lot of these features throughout this review:
- There’s 14.16 running amps and 18.33 surge amps included with this inverter generator
- Its running wattage is 1,700 watts while its starting wattage is 2,200 watts
- The 30651 has an OHV engine and a one-gallon fuel tank
- A permanent magnet alternator is included
- The low oil shutdown feature prevents the inverter generator from running when the oils levels are too low. Instead, the unit will automatically shut off, preventing damage to the 30651
- The Super Lo-Tone muffler controls noise
- The inverter generator is 17.35 inches high and 12.5 inches long
- It includes automatic idle control, a fuel gauge for measuring fuel levels, and a spark arrestor
What Can It Power?
As mentioned, the Briggs & Stratton 30651 PowerSmart Series portable inverter generator includes a OHV engine that uses 2,200 watts to start and 1,700 watts as it runs. That engine is 111 ccs as well.
There’s also an included one-gallon fuel tank that runs at just a 25% load. That allows it to power your necessities for up to eight consecutive hours. You can definitely use the Briggs & Stratton to keep your smartphones and tablets running as well as the chargers for these. Some reviewers have gotten more than 12 hours of use out of the generator when it was powering just these devices.
With its reduced harmonic distortion (under three percent), you should be able to use this generator for video game consoles, TVs, computers, and laptops as well without damaging these electronics.
There’s also a single 12V-20A DC outlet as well as dual 120V-20A household outlets for easily switching between power sources without having to worry about accidentally blowing out your electronics. The USB adapter that comes with these outlets is also a handy addition.
You can even use the 30651 to power your trailer’s washing machine if you have one! That said, it’s recommended you unplug your refrigerator before doing so. If you do want to run to your fridge on this generator, do be aware that doing so will suck up a lot of power quickly.
The Briggs & Stratton 30651 is made to be much quieter than the average trailer generator. The peak operating volume is 59 decibels (dB), which was tested near the control side panel at ¼ load. According to the manufacturer, this volume is “quieter than a normal conversation.” That said, Briggs & Stratton do say the sound levels can fluctuate depending on your location and proximity to the inverter generator.
The 30651 is about as quiet as the Champion 755371i, another portable generator (this one for RVs) reviewed on Camper Report.
I also must mention Briggs & Stratton’s remarkable Quiet Power Technology (QPT). This is an adjustable feature on the 30651. With QPT, you can alter the engine speed. This will allow the generator to improve fuel efficiency and run more quietly.
Last but certainly not least is the inclusion of the Super Lo-Tone muffler. This, in addition to the features I outlined above, cuts noise levels.
Performance and Gas “Usage”
Whether you want to call it gas usage or gas mileage, how does the Briggs & Stratton 30651 stack up? As I mentioned, it includes a fuel tank with a one-gallon capacity. That fuel tank has a 25% load and may provide up to eight hours of power.
Now, you might not quite get the full eight hours before you need to refill the fuel tank. That will depend on what you’re powering with the generator and how much power such an item requires. If you get about six or seven hours, that will fit in with what most reviewers have experienced.
The wattage, which I covered at the beginning of this review, is decent.
I do want to reiterate the tip that was brought up in the Champion 75531i generator review. When running the 30651, be sure to keep your thermostat set between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Why?
This is because the air conditioner is already sucking up a good portion of available power, especially if it’s running at 70 degrees or lower. Turning on the generator when the thermostat is set to this temperature could blow out the generator. These units aren’t exactly cheap (more on this later), so you definitely don’t want to do that.
Of course, 75 to 80 degrees isn’t very comfortable in warm weather, but don’t worry. You can gradually push the temperature back down once the generator is on and running without any spotty power fluctuations.
Starting It Up
This inverter generator has a recoil start type. This manual start is often used for portable generators that have small outbound motors and internal combustion engines. You may also find recoil start on chainsaws, lawnmowers, and sometimes even ATVs!
Your Briggs & Stratton will include a spring, molded rope reels, a gripper, and another rope. That rope connects to the molded rope reels via the outer reel’s spring tension. Once you physically rotate the crankshaft gripper, the rope will move, thanks to the spring-operated reel within. This will trigger the clutch, thus starting the generator.
Some other portable RV and travel trailer generators have multiple start modes, which is especially useful just in case one doesn’t work. That’s a feature you will not find with the 30651, which is somewhat problematic. If the recoil start fails, you’ll just have to keep at it until you can get the generator running.
Weight and Portability
The Briggs & Stratton 30651 inverter generator is the smaller of two generators in the line. The 30651 is also known as the P2200 PowerSmart Series inverter generator. There’s also the P3000 PowerSmart Series inverter generator, which is bigger and bulkier.
Back to the 30651, it weighs just 54.6 pounds out of the box. For comparison’s sake, the P3000 weighs 85 pounds, so there’s a pretty significant difference.
The 30651 comes with an H-handle for handy transport. While you can carry the device yourself, two people can also easily transport this inverter generator, as shown in some product images. That said, this probably isn’t necessary for the 30651, considering it weighs under 100 pounds.
There are no wheels included. That means you will have to pick up and carry the generator from Point A to Point B rather than drag it.
While the lack of wheels is a shame, it could be because of the lighter weight of the 30651 that led to Briggs & Stratton opting to forego the wheels for this model. After all, the slightly heavier P3000 does include wheels, and it’s almost 90 pounds.
That said, you do get four little plastic feet that are covered in rubber stoppers for the 30651. This doesn’t help with portability, but it will keep the 30651 secure once you place it where you want it.
Price/Where to Buy
You can find a Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series portable inverter generator on Amazon for $568.90 for Prime members and $729 for non-Prime members. This inverter generator will be brand new. You can opt for a three-year protection plan for $16.11 or a four-year protection plan for $18.76. If you buy the 36051 from Amazon, you will get a 24-month limited consumer warranty as well.
Here are some other retailers which sell the 30651 as of this writing:
- The Home Depot for $569 with a three-year Home Depot Protection Plan priced at $130 (do note, Home Depot will not ship this inverter generator to Virginia, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, California, or Alaska)
- Walmart for $571.90 with a three-year protection for $69 or a four-year protection plan for $105
- Jet.com for $625.99 with no protection plans offered
- Inverter Service Center for $599.99 with no protection plans offered
Setup, Unboxing, and What’s Included
The 30651 is incredibly lightweight out of the box. That’s the first impression you’ll get from it, as many reviewers have said the same thing. You shouldn’t expect the inverter generator to be ready to go right away, though. Instead, it will likely be about half full or slightly less, so you’ll have to top off the fuel levels. You will have to buy the fuel, too, but regular unleaded works just fine for this generator.
All other components, such as the USB adapter, outlets, and parallel connector port are included. The parallel connector port is another cool feature that hasn’t come up before now. It lets you to link two inverter generators that are part of Briggs & Stratton’s PowerSmart Series. Instead of risking blowing a household outlet, you can securely source power this way.
There may be some minor assembly required to set up the 30651 inverter generator. Of course, if you follow the instruction manual included with your product, setup shouldn’t take you longer than 10 or 15 minutes.
If you’re buying a new Briggs & Stratton 30651 inverter generator, then you shouldn’t have to worry about maintenance for at least the first six months or a year. It’s a good idea to keep the exterior of the generator free of dust. If you’re stashing it outside, look out for dirt and other debris.
Keep all outlets clean and all caps closed when the inverter generator is not in use. When you’re done using your RV for the year, you should strongly consider bringing the 30651 home with you and stashing it in your garage.
A lot of the exterior components are plastic, so be careful not to drop the unit. Otherwise, you could risk cracking its plastic shell, exposing the interior parts that are supposed to be covered.
Pros and Cons
Lastly, let’s go over some pros and cons for the Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series portable inverter generator.
- The parallel connector port is incredibly handy if you happen to have two generators from the Briggs & Stratton family. Your tiny trailer might not have the space for a single bulky generator, but you can still get comparable power.
- In fact, some 30651 owners have said they have even used their inverter generators to run air conditioning units or heaters up to 15,000 BTUs.
- The included Quiet Power Technology means this is one of the quietest generators on the market. If you spend a lot of time in the closed quarters of your small camper, you can appreciate how nice it is to go to sleep at night without the annoying hum of your generator in your ear.
- The moderate weight and compact size of the 30651 make this ideal for small camper or travel trailers. The H-handle is a convenient addition, too.
- You can fill this inverter generator with regular unleaded fuel, which is readily available at almost any gas station.
- The eight hours of use promised may be a little high, but you should get at least six or seven consecutive hours, which isn’t bad.
- With low harmonic distortion and the clean power produced from inverter generators, you can charge a variety of items, from smartphones to refrigerators and heavy air conditioning units.
- It does appear that you can get the 30651 wet without it failing or breaking. That said, you might not want to chance it too much. If it happens to get drizzled on during a rainstorm or it gets a dusting of snow, then that’s no big deal. I wouldn’t leave it outside deliberately exposed to the rain or snow, though. Try to keep it covered as much as you can.
- The 30651 inverter generator will not ship to California. This is because of the emissions requirements in that state. Although this Briggs & Stratton generator does make clean power, it’s not quite clean enough to pass emissions tests in California.
- This inverter generator lacks an electric start, as mentioned. You can only power it up via a recoil start. This is limiting, especially since other generators on the market of a similar size and weight do offer multiple starting options.
- Although I praised the parallel connector port feature, you do not get a parallel cable packaged with your inverter generator. You’ll have to buy that separately.
- While it may be easy to get the type of gas required for the 30651, filling the inverter generator isn’t exactly convenient. Since there’s no drain plug, you have to position the generator sideways to let the oil filter out that way. This is time-consuming.
- I said it before but it’s worth mentioning again: there are no wheels included with the 30651. This is the smaller of the two inverter generators in Briggs & Stratton’s PowerSmart Series and the only one without wheels. The P3000 does come with wheels. The 30561 only has tiny rubber feet.
The Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series portable inverter generator is a great little generator that proves you can have your cake (warmth and comfort) and eat it too in your tiny trailer.
Priced at less than $1,000 and weighing under 100 pounds, you should easily be able to find some space to nestle this inverter generator. Renowned for being quiet, charging lots of items, as well as including a slew of great features exclusive to the Briggs & Stratton brand, you get a lot of value for the price.
While this inverter generator isn’t perfect (just check out the cons section for some of its less-than-desirable features), I think you’ll find it works fine for many basic trailer needs. Whether you rely on it to keep you and the family entertained with TVs, computers, and mobile devices or you use it to stay warm or cool, I personally recommend the 30651 for your trailer.