Zoom on the Lifan ESI 860i-CA
In a nutshell, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA is a quiet, compact and lightweight portable inverter generator mostly geared towards:
- Camping and tailgating buffs looking to enhance their experience
- DIYers who wish to improve their efficiency with tools
In the sections ahead, the power characteristics, availability of various outlets, the portability, and any additional features of the device shall be discussed, including its emission compliance information.
Power & Run Time
The Lifan ESI 860i-CA houses a 40 cc (1.25 hp) Lifan OHV 4-stroke engine, which provides 120V, consumes gasoline and delivers a running wattage of 600W along with a peak wattage of 700W.
The inverter generator features a conventional pull-start mechanism. It is rated for a noise of 58 dBA (less noisy than a conversation at home).
The ESI 860i-CA can operate for around 3 hours at 50% load with a full tank (fuel consumption around 0.13 GPH), due to its fuel capacity of 0.4 gallon.
Sensitive electronics can be safely plugged in the AC outlet, as the ESI 860i-CA produces a clean sine wave, with a <2% Total Harmonic Disruption (THD).
The control panel includes the following AC outlet:
It also sports 1 DC outlet: there's a 12V 8A receptacle allowing you to easily charge your batteries.
Since the Lifan ESI 860i-CA is an inverter generator, its closed design (L14 x W9 x H13 in) has an esthetical advantage over conventional, open frame devices. The featured design follows the latest trends and is ideal for easy and recreational use.
Weighing just 23 lbs, the ESI 860i-CA can be considered a lightweight portable generator. The device can be easily moved by just one person and thus, its power may be enjoyed on-the-go. It can also be carried without effort with a featured handle (molded in the case), further improving its convenience.
Good to know: This unit ranks 1st in our list of the 10 smallest portable generators.
The light indicators show you if the oil level is too low, the generator is ready and the generator is overloaded.
As far as security is concerned, the generator can be used with a peace of mind, as it features an overload protection (circuit breaker) and an automatic low oil shut-off.
Apart from the typical documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab), which lets you start it right away, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA also is packed along with the following accessories: tool kit and battery charging cables.
The Lifan ESI 860i-CA is CARB-compliant. Thus, selling and purchasing this generator is allowed in each of the 50 states, including California.
Moreover, it features a spark arrestor, so it is adequate for use in forested areas.
The Lifan ESI 860i-CA versus other generators
The following charts are provided to give you an idea of how some of the key specs of the Lifan ESI 860i-CA compare to generators of similar power (between 500 and 1500 W).
- In terms of its dry weight, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA stands at only 23 lbs, meaning that is one of the lighter devices of the 500-1500 rated wattage category In terms of weight, one of the champions in their power range is the Sportsman GEN1000i, standing at just 20.3 lbs.
- With a lowest noise rating of 58 dBA, the inverter generator is one of the more quiet of the generators of similar power. If noise emissions are one of your priorities, you may be interested in the Honda EU1000i, one of the least noisy generators similarly powerful as this one, rated for 42 dBA.
- As far as autonomy is concerned, providing around 3 hours of runtime with a full tank at a 50% load, the ESI 860i-CA falls into the low end in comparison with other devices of a comparable power output. If autonomy is your priority, one of the devices of a similar power output with the highest run time is the Pulsar PG2000, reaching around 12 hours.
- Run times are important, yet thanks to their dependence on the fuel capacity, they should be judged along with the fuel consumption of the device. Standing at an estimated 0.13 GPH (gallon per hour) at a 50% load, this inverter generator is somewhat average in this area compared to other devices, within the aforementioned wattage range. If you wish to acquire one of the most gasoline efficient products of this power range, the Ryobi RYi1000, with a fuel consumption of 0.08 GPH could be in your good books.
As you can see from this interactive chart, when compared to other 500-1500W generators, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA is on the cheap side of the price range.
It can therefore be a really good buy if you're looking to acquire a budget generator.
The bottom line
- Several accessories included
- Lightweight (23 lbs)
- Quiet for its power (58 dBA)
- Decent fuel efficiency
- No data center
- Only 1 AC outlet
- No electric start
- No parallel ports
- Relatively low run time
Features and Specifications
|Engine||40 cc Lifan OHV 4-stroke|
|Voltage||AC: 120V 60 Hz, DC: 12V|
|Running watts||600 W|
|Starting watts||700 W|
|Running amps||5 amps|
|Peaks amps||5.8 amps|
|Run time @50% load||3 h|
|Run time @25% load||Unknown|
|Automatic Voltage Regulation||Inverter|
|AC outlets||1x 120V 20A (5-20R)|
|DC outlets||1x 12V 8A receptacle|
|Indicators||Low oil, overload and output ready|
|Fuel tank||0.4 gal|
|Approx. dimensions (L x W x H)||14 x 9 x 13 in|
|Noise (lower limit)||58 dBA|
|Security||Low oil and overload protection|
|Accessories included||Tool kit and battery charging cables|
Unlike many websites, we did our best to research each of the specs above. That being said, we are not immune to making the occasional mistake or omission. Should you notice any missing or incorrect values, don't hesitate to suggest improvements so we can address the issue.
LIFAN, or rather LIFAN Power USA, is a rather small and new company, based in Arizona. LIFAN’s range is comprised of engines and related products, such as pressure washers, water pumps and of course, generators – of which there is a surprising variety, including inverters, portable generators, but also high output, standby home generators. The company admirably admits that their primary (and most likely only) manufacturing facilities are located in China and their goal is to provide affordable products above all.
The Lifan ESI 860i-CA is covered under a warranty for up to 3 years. This warranty may be limited and may not cover all parts of the generator.
For more information about the warranty of Lifan generators, please consult Lifan's warranty policies (opens in a new tab). Alternatively, you can also contact their Customer Support: 1-866-471-7464.
Questions & Answers
What can it power?
|Item||Running Watts||Starting Watts|
|At home||DVD player||350||350|
|Cell phone charger||20||20|
|Total||470 W||470 W|
|For camping||RV refrigerator||180||600|
|Total||260 W||680 W|
|For work||Drain cleaner||250||250|
|Total||330 W||330 W|
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