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Lifan ESI 860i-CA Spec Review

The Lifan ESI 860i-CA is a quiet, compact and lightweight portable inverter generator with a rated wattage of 600 W and a starting wattage of 700 W.

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Description

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 hobbyists looking for a portable power source
  • Amateur DIY lovers

The following sections will present you in detail its power characteristics, the different outlets it offers, its overall portability, the extra features it benefits from, and any relevant emission compliance details.

Power & Run Time

The Lifan ESI 860i-CA's engine, 40 cc (1.25 hp) Lifan OHV 4-stroke, fueled by gasoline, can deliver 120V. It provides a running wattage of 600W and reaches 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 refrigerator).

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.

The ESI 860i-CA generates a clean sine wave: providing <2% Total Harmonic Disruption (THD), delicate electronics can be plugged in its AC outlet safely.

Outlets

The control panel includes the following AC outlet:

120V 20A (5-20R) receptacle

Furthermore, it has 1 DC outlet: there's a 12V 8A receptacle with which you may charge your batteries with ease.

Portability

The Lifan ESI 860i-CA's characteristic encased inverter generator design (L14 x W9 x H13 in), provides an esthetical advantage over any ordinary, open frame product. This type of design is the most modern and convenient way to recreationally generate power.

Labeled a lightweight portable generator, the ESI 860i-CA weighs just 23 lbs. The product’s power can be enjoyed on-the-go, as it can be moved by a single person without trouble. Its handle (molded in the case) allows you to carry it easily, further enhancing its convenience.

Good to know: This unit ranks 1st in our list of the 10 smallest portable generators.

Features

Panel of the Lifan ESI 860i-CA

The ESI 860i-CA's control panel

Several light indicators serve to show you when the generator is overloaded, its oil levels are insufficient and the generator is ready.

As far as security is concerned, the generator can be used with a peace of mind, as it features an automatic low oil shut-off and an overload protection (circuit breaker).

Besides the classic documentation and an owner's manual (opens in a new tab) to get you promptly started, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA also comes with some accessories: battery charging cables and tool kit are included.

Emissions

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, making it usable 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).

  • As for its weight, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA weighs only 23 pounds, making it one of the lighter generators in the 500-1500 rated wattage category. If you are concerned by weight, one of the champions in the above mentioned power range is the Sportsman GEN1000i, with a dry weight of just 20.3 pounds.
  • At a lowest noise rating of 58 dBA, this inverter generator is one of the quieter devices 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 you consider autonomy on a single full tank as one of the deciding factors, one of the generators in the same power range that offers the highest run time is the Pulsar PG2000, with around 12 hours.
  • While the run time is an important parameter, it is dependent on the fuel tank’s capacity and thus, doesn’t say much on its own unless we consider fuel consumption as well. As this inverter generator uses an estimated 0.13 GPH (gallon per hour) at a 50% load, it finds itself in the average gasoline consumption range of similar products. 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.

Price comparison

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

STRENGTHS:
  • Inexpensive
  • Several accessories included
  • Inverter
  • Lightweight (23 lbs)
  • Quiet for its power (58 dBA)
AVERAGE SPECS:
  • Decent fuel efficiency
WEAKNESSES:
  • No data center
  • Only 1 AC outlet
  • No electric start
  • Relatively low run time

Do you own the Lifan ESI 860i-CA and agree (or disagree) with these strengths and weaknesses?

Let us know and write your own review.

Features and Specifications

General
InverterYes
PortableYes
Parallel capableNo
RV readyNo
FuelGasoline
Engine40 cc Lifan OHV 4-stroke
Starting systemRecoil
Power
VoltageAC: 120V 60 Hz, DC: 12V
Running watts600 W
Starting watts700 W
Running amps5 amps
Peaks amps5.8 amps
Run time @50% load3 h
Run time @25% loadN/A
Features
GFCI outletsNo
Covered outletsNo
Automatic Voltage RegulationInverter
AC outlets1x 120V 20A (5-20R)
DC outlets1x 12V 8A receptacle
Data centerNo
IndicatorsLow oil, overload and output ready
Fuel tank0.4 gal
Fuel gaugeNo
Misc
Weight23 lbs
Approx. dimensions (L x W x H)14 x 9 x 13 in
Noise (lower limit)58 dBA
THD< 2%
EmissionsCARB
SecurityLow oil and overload protection
Spark arrestorYes
NeutralFloating
Accessories includedTool kit and battery charging cables
Warranty3 years
SeriesEnergy Storm

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.

About Lifan

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.

Warranty Information

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?
Examples of items that can be simultaneously powered.
The examples below are based on a maximum load of 80% and estimated wattages. For a more accurate estimation, use our generator sizer.
ItemRunning WattsStarting Watts
At homeDVD player350350
Radio100100
Cell phone charger2020
Total470 W470 W
For campingRV refrigerator180600
Bug zapper8080
Total260 W680 W
For workDrain cleaner250250
Bug zapper8080
Total330 W330 W

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