By Christie Vanover | Published December 21, 2018 | Last Updated July 11, 2022
The Generac iQ3500 is a quiet generator that provides all the power I need for BBQ competitions and weekend trips in the RV.
Disclosure: Generac compensated me for this post. Opinions are my own.
When I travel around the country for BBQ competitions, I often find myself in a field or parking lot. As an RVer, I find myself in even more remote locations. Sometimes I have power. Most times, I don’t.
Because of my fun, remote lifestyle, I need a portable, quiet generator.
I had the pleasure of learning about Generac generators at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas in 2017 and 2018. At the latest show, the ladies at the booth introduced me to the new iQ3500 that was being released in 2018.
I was immediately impressed with the reduced noise levels, power capabilities and sleek design, so I couldn’t wait for its launch.
How much power do I need?
When shopping for a generator, this is probably the most important question. Don’t just think about what your needs are today. Think about what your power needs might be in the next couple of years.
You can go with the Generac iQ2000 or GP2200i if you’re just needing to run some pellet grills and lights, but if you start adding a trailer with air conditioning, microwaves or coffee makers, you’re going to want more juice.
When I tested the iQ3500, I ran the AC and microwave in the trailer, and it was using just over 2,000 watts. If I would have added a pellet grill, it would have spiked another couple hundred watts, which still leaves me 1,000 or so watts for the refrigerator.
I’ve found that the 3,500-watt size is perfect for all my needs. I can even plug in my curlers or blow dryer. Gotta look cute while grilling :)
The manual explains how many approximate watts standard devices use. It includes a breakdown for power tools, too. I appreciate the versatility. While I use this for camping and BBQing, we can also use it when we bring out the table saw, which uses 1,700-2,000 watts.
Another bonus with having the extra power, is that you can help out your brothers and sisters in barbecue, and let them plug in. You’re already a grilling powerhouse, if you’re a competitive BBQer, now you can literally be the powerhouse.
The iQ3500 retails for $1,299. If that’s out of your price range, and you don’t need this much power, the GP2200i retails for $599 and the iQ2000 for $799. But I recommend investing in the larger generator, if you can make it work with your budget. It really pays off to have the extra wattage.
Usually, more power comes with more sound, but Generac has done some third-party testing, comparing their iQ3500 to the Honda EU3000is, and found that it is 40% quieter. I did my own testing, comparing it with my Ryobi 2300, and the Generac was significantly quieter.
In fact, I had the Generac fired up on Fremont Street at the Downtown Throw Down BBQ Competition in Las Vegas, and people were walking by in awe. They saw the lights on, and they knew I had power, but they couldn’t hear the generator.
They were placing bets about whether it was on or not. Granted Fremont Street is a pretty noisy place, but it still is a testament to how discreet this generator is.
It uses an advanced inverter technology in an enclosed environment for ultra-quiet performance. It also has an economy mode option, which reduces noise and fuel consumption. You can switch it to this mode when your power demands aren’t as high.
I tested the sound levels at home without a power load, using a decibel app on my phone.