Ryobi Generator Review: Are They Worth It?

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Ryobi may be headquartered in Japan, but the multifaceted company has worldwide reach and has recently even set up a production base in Shelbyville, Indiana, as well as a financial ops business in Chicago, Illinois.

Ryobi Generator Review Are They Worth It

Founded in 1943, they’re seasoned veterans of multiple industries at this point, specializing in power tools, construction hardware, automobile parts, telecommunications tech, and printing devices.

However, not content with their multiple fingers in multiple pies, they’ve also thrown their hat in the generator ring.

As a company that prides itself on quality and longevity, you can’t imagine them doing things by half, which is partly why their units have been turning so many heads recently, but I wanted to know if these generators were legitimate competitors in what has become a saturated market.

To find out, I took four of their popular models and put them to the test!

The Ryobi Contenders

Here are the Ryobi generators I chose:

My Approach

To draw a conclusive answer to our question, I’ll be giving each generator a score out of 5 in 5 categories.

These scores will then be tallied for an overall company score in each category, giving you the bigger picture when it comes to Ryobi generators.

  • Design & Build Quality
  • Compatibility
  • Portability
  • Running Volume
  • Value for Money

I’ll also include a general company category on warranties, meaning Ryobi can pick up a total of 130 points over the course of my review.

OUR TOP PICK

The Gist

The RYi2200GR is a digital inverter generator with an impressive 2200-watt starting output and 1700-watt continuous rate.

It’s a gasoline-only unit with a relatively modest form factor, seemingly designed to entice the avid campers out there or those looking for an essential backup power source.

Design & Build Quality

The strength of the thick plastic enclosure was immediately apparent right out of the box. I can imagine this thing can shrug off some significant impacts like they’re nothing.

Although I wasn’t willing to test this theory extensively, I did tip it about a bit and listened for the rattling of loose components — There was complete silence!

Featuring a simple LED system to indicate power, overload, and low oil, it couldn’t be easier to operate, especially as an auto-shut-off function protects it from damage when oil reserves run low.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the design is the auto-idle function that automatically triggers eco-mode when the load isn’t too intensive, thus making a tank of gas go a lot further, a definite boon in emergency situations when gasoline might be scarce or running a premium.

A second fuel option would be nice, especially for use in blackouts, but that’s asking rather a lot.

The pull-start is another highlight for me. Smooth and easy, it never took more than two pulls to fire the generator up, and thanks to the cold start choke option, it remains easy even when Jack Frost comes to town.

Rating: 5/5

Compatibility

What is indisputably a very fleshed-out physical design (we’ll get into that in the next category) is decidedly lackluster in the compatibility department.

There are no USB ports, no DC ports… all you get are two standard AC outlets.

Don’t get me wrong, this interface panel still offers tons of relief in the event of a blackout, but even lower-end inverter generators tend to arrive with USB ports these days.

Rating: 3/5

Portability

At 53 lbs, the RYi2200GR is remarkably light for its output, and as it measures only 22” x 12.5” x 19”, it doesn’t hog much space in storage and during transport.

It has some insanely sturdy wheels and a pull-out handle too, so you don’t ever even need to lift this thing, but if you did need to lug it into your trunk, you can use the top and lateral handles.

Rating: 5/5

Running Volume

As an inverter generator, I was expecting this unit to be relatively quiet, and sure enough, it’s very impressive in the noise department.

Is it the quietest generator in its class? Nope, but normal conversation is perfectly possible from a couple of yards away, and it’s basically whisper-quiet when in auto-idle mode.

Rating: 4/5

Value For Money

As you’ll see, all Ryobi generators inhabit a rather middling portion of the market, their price tags positioning them between premium names such as Honda, Yamaha, and Briggs and Stratton, and the budget names such as Champion and Jackery.

While the RYi2200GR may be outside many people’s price range, I think it offers relatively good value for money in its solid build, intuitive design, and reliable performance, although perhaps a few more bells and whistles would have been nice.

Rating: 3/5

Verdict: 20/25

EDITORS CHOICE

The Gist

The RYi1000 is another digital inverter generator, this time in a much smaller package, taking the portability factor to the next level. It has 1000 watts of startup power and offers a 900-watt continuous output.

Design & Build Quality

Much like the RYi2200GR, this little sibling is built like an absolute tank, so there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s suitable for a life on the road, making it a great option for RVs and camping/fishing expeditions.

It even has rubberized feet to enhance stability on loose or uneven terrain and to provide extra grip when you pull the cord.

You get the very same triplet of LED indicators that cover power, overload, and low oil, and if the RYi1000 detects either of the latter, it automatically cuts the power to whatever appliance you’re trying to run, thereby protecting the internal wiring and motor.

This kind of safety feature is perfect for those who perhaps don’t have too much experience with generators, as it permits you to make mistakes without damaging your expensive gear.

The auto-idle switch also makes an appearance here, so you can save gas on light loads and keep the essentials running for longer, all while minimizing your carbon footprint.

Moving on to the internal components, I haven’t done a full breakdown of this unit, but judging by the performance, all the innards are of the highest quality. The voltage and frequency are just so dang consistent.

Even when using extension cords, I only ever dropped 2 V during my proximity tests, and being that I managed to run some notoriously sensitive LED lights with it, the sine wave modeling technology must be next-level too.

Rating: 5/5

Compatibility

When it comes to compatibility, the RYi1000 serves up one standard AC output (complete with dust cap), and one DC output regulated at a very stable 14.5 watts, which is ideal for super safe charging, but it has a dedicated circuit breaker, just in case. Still no USB, though.

Rating: 4/5

Portability

Weighing in at 35 lbs and measuring 19.8” x 12” x 19.4”, this generator is about as portable as they come.

The single top handle is robust and comfortable, something me and my delicate hand joints really appreciated.

Rating: 5/5

Running Volume

As a relatively small inverter generator, the RYi1000 is definitely a quiet machine.

In fact, whatever you’re using it to power is likely going to be louder than the generator itself, especially when auto-idle mode is activated.

Rating: 5/5

Value For Money

This Ryobi generator sits in the bottom third of the middle of the market in terms of price — You’ll pay far more for a big-name equivalent, but you could save a pretty penny by investigating the lower portion of the market too.

That said, I think it really comes out swinging, offering a strong performance, so, in my opinion, the small premium is definitely worth it.

Rating: 4/5

Verdict: 23/25

BEST VALUE

The Gist

The RYi2000GRA is also a digital inverter generator, this time rated for a running wattage of 1600 watts and a starting output of 2000 watts.

It’s quiet, it’s compact, and it’s super easy to use!

Design & Build Quality

I saw the exact same quality in the enclosure of the RYi2000GRA as I did in the previous two generators.

It’s incredibly tough, and everything inside is set firmly in place — No rattling!

Thanks to some quality rubberized feet, despite being a surprisingly lightweight unit, it holds steady when you give the pull-start a yank, which itself is very well designed.

You won’t spend hours trying to fire this thing up like that 20-year-old lawn mower in your shed. Two light tugs are all it takes.

And once it’s up and running, you’ll get some serious longevity out of that efficient inverter technology and the auto-idle function.

Mine tapped out after about 10.5 hours of constant use, so I’d recommend it as a short-term blackout backup for sure. 

After running some output tests, it was clear that a pattern was emerging among the Ryobi competitors… they are all immaculately stable in terms of voltage and frequency.

What’s more, the inversion technology is so proficient that you can run most sensitive electronics with this thing.

With Ryobi choosing to omit the triple LED indicator sequence, the RYi2000GRA had the most simplistic interface yet, settling for a single overload emergency light, yet the same auto-shutoff protections are intact, so there’s no need to worry about incurring damage via accidental misuse.

The only real caveat I can present to you is the absence of a cap shutoff, which every other generator reviewed here has.

Now, that’s not to say it’s going to leak everywhere, but it is slightly less secure than its Ryobi catalog companions.

Rating: 4/5

Compatibility

Disappointingly, this generator only brings dual 20 A AC outlets to the table, but seeing as its slightly bigger sibling, the RYi2200GR had the same spread, I don’t know why I was expecting any different.

While dual AC outputs will certainly suffice, I’d have liked to see Ryobi putting a little more thought into the compatibility of this machine, as I’d consider what you get to be the bare minimum, especially at this price point.

Rating: 3/5

Portability

Weighing 52 lbs dry, and measuring 18.5” x 12.5” x 19”, it couldn’t be easier getting the RYi2000GRA from A to B, even if you’re carrying it by hand over a long distance, as the ergonomic handle is comfortable and provides plenty of grip.

Yet… it could be lighter.

The average weight for a generator of this size is actually about 48 lbs, but the excess does make it feel a little more solid, which is perhaps just as big a part of portability, as anything that’s going to be on the move needs to be able to roll with the punches.

Rating: 4/5

Running Volume

The lowest volume I measured during my tests was 57 dBA, which is about the same as an older refrigerator. It’s certainly a liveable noise, but it’s a few decibels above the quieter Honda models out there.

In fact, it’s a little louder than the average inverter generator of this capacity, which is something to keep in mind if you plan on being near the RYi2000GRA for extended periods of time.

Rating: 3/5

Value For Money

Sitting closer to the budget models than the top-shelf models, I wouldn’t say that this generator is unfairly priced, and with above-average efficiency when compared to other similar inverter generators, you stand to save a few bucks over time.

Rating: 4/5

Verdict: 18/25

RUNNER UP

The Gist

With impressive 2300-watt startup and 1800-watt running capacities, the RYi2300BTA is something of a flex for Ryobi, especially as it’s one of the few portable generators in their lineup with integrated Bluetooth facilities.

Design & Build Quality

Unsurprisingly, the build quality of the RYi2300BTA is impeccable, just like the previously discussed Ryobi generators, but the star of the show in terms of design this time around is the LCD that replaces the basic LED indicators.

Displaying everything from runtime remaining to errors, this little screen keeps you in the know at all times.

Even better, the integrated Bluetooth facilities allow you to see everything displayed on the LCD remotely on your phone via the Ryobi companion app, something I’d imagine is pretty handy in professional environments where you may have duties elsewhere.

As far as security measures go, this generator has the standard overload and low oil protections in place, but it also arrives with a carbon monoxide sensor that automatically kills operation the minute a dangerous amount of toxins has accumulated in the air.

I tested this simply by smothering it with the box it arrived in, and after 16 seconds, the generator went down, after which, I reset it remotely using the app — Pretty cool, right?

Rating: 5/5

Compatibility

Rejoice!!! The RYi2300BTA has two USB ports for the easy charging of small electronics — Hooray! On top of that, you get the standard dual AC outputs that take care of all the heavy lifting.

Rating: 4/5

Portability

With a pair of sturdy wheels and a luggage-style pull-out handle, even though this generator weighs 53 lbs, it’s very easy to get about, and as it only measures 22” x 18” x 12”, it’ll fit in those tight spots in an RV or a busy trunk.

Rating: 5/5

Running Volume

On a power-to-noise basis, this was by far the quietest Ryobi generator of the lot. You can stand right next to it and converse without having to raise your voice at all.

Rating: 5/5

Value For Money

Is it the most affordable generator in its class? No, but it finally adds some of the nifty extras that are so prevalent among competitors.

Combine these nice-to-haves with the flawless operation so common in Ryobi generators, and you’ve got some excellent bang for your buck!

Rating: 4/5

Verdict: 23/25

Ryobi Warranty

All Ryobi generators come with a 3-year limited warranty, which is definitely substandard and really left me questioning the longevity of the units I tested, but as far as I can tell, if you look after these generators, they’ll stand the test of time.

Ryobi Generators: The Final Verdict

Ryobi generators are by no means perfect devices. All but the RYi2300BTA lacked USB ports and data centers, and none of them were fitted with electric starts, yet I still fell in love with this brand of generator.

Ultimately, Ryobi gets all the basics and essentials right. These machines are some of the most reliable I’ve ever tested in their respective price ranges, and the stability of each generator’s output is nothing short of miraculous.

Would I have liked to see a few more bells and whistles or an extra DC output here and there?

Most definitely, but if you’re more of an essentialist who’d rather know the money you’re spending goes towards core performance, then you’ll love these generators!

  • Design & Build Quality: 19/20
  • Compatibility: 14/20
  • Portability: 19/20
  • Running Volume: 17/20
  • Value for Money: 15/20
  • Warranty: 1/5

Ryobi generators score a total of 85 out of a possible 130 points.