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Lifan ESI 860i-CA Spec Review

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

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Lifan ESI 860i-CALifan ESI 860i-CALifan ESI 860i-CALifan ESI 860i-CA
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Description

Zoom on the Lifan ESI 860i-CA

In summary, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA is a quiet, compact and lightweight portable inverter generator especially useful for:

  • Tailgating and campground aficionados with the desire of enjoying power anywhere they go
  • 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 design includes a gasoline-fueled 40 cc (1.25 hp) Lifan OHV 4-stroke engine. With a 120V output, it gives a running wattage of 600W and also a peak wattage of 700W.

With a noise rating of 58 dBA (less noisy than rainfall), the inverter generator features a conventional pull-start mechanism.

Thanks to a fuel capacity of 0.4 gallon, the ESI 860i-CA can operate for around 3 hours at 50% load with a full tank (fuel consumption around 0.13 GPH).

The ESI 860i-CA produces a clean sine wave: thanks to a <2% Total Harmonic Disruption (THD), your sensitive electronics can be safely plugged in the AC outlet.

Outlets

The control panel provides the upcoming AC outlet:

120V 20A (5-20R) receptacle

It also sports 1 DC outlet: there's a 12V 8A receptacle allowing you to easily charge your batteries.

Portability

Thanks to its closed inverter generator design (L14 x W9 x H13 in), the Lifan ESI 860i-CA, is more esthetical than a typical, open frame generator. This modern design aims to provide an ideal power solution to recreational users.

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. This convenience is further enhanced thanks to its handle (molded in the case) that allows you to carry it with ease.

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

Some light indicators allow you to instantly see if the generator is on overload, its oil levels are insufficient and the generator is ready.

Security-wise, this product benefits from an overload protection (circuit breaker) and an automatic low oil shut-off, which gives you a complete peace of mind when using it.

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.

Emissions

The Lifan ESI 860i-CA is CARB-compliant. Therefore, its sale and purchase are permitted in all of the 50 states, including California.

Moreover, it features a spark arrestor and therefore, can be used in forested areas.

Product Videos

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).

  • Weight-wise, the Lifan ESI 860i-CA has only 23 lbs, which renders it one of the lighter generators which produce 500 to 1500 rated watts. Regarding dry weight, one of the champions in the same power range is the Sportsman GEN1000i, with a dry weight of only 20.3 lbs.
  • This inverter generator has a somewhat average expected noise for its power range, rated at 58 dBA. If noise emissions are important to you, one of the least noisy generators of this power range is the Honda EU1000i with only 42 dBA.
  • Regarding its autonomy, the autonomy of the ESI 860i-CA, reaching around 3 hours at a 50% load, can be considered as low end, compared to other products of a roughly equal output. If autonomy is your priority, one of the devices of a similar power output with the highest run time is the Sportsman GEN2000-SS, reaching around 11 hours.
  • Even though run times are undoubtedly important, they are dependent on the fuel capacity to a large extent. For a more wholesome picture, we must take into consideration the fuel consumption of the generator. This inverter generator reaches an estimated fuel consumption of 0.13 GPH (gallon per hour) at a 50% load, making it average, for the previously mentioned wattage range. If not satisfied with the afore-mentioned fuel consumption, you may wish to check out the Ryobi RYi1000. With a fuel consumption of as little as 0.08 GPH, it is one of the most efficient generators currently on the market.

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)
AVERAGE SPECS:
  • Acceptable noise (58 dBA)
  • Decent fuel efficiency
WEAKNESSES:
  • No data center
  • Only 1 AC outlet
  • No electric start
  • No parallel ports
  • 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
Peak amps5.8 amps
Run time @50% load3 h
Run time @25% loadUnknown
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.

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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 sizing calculator.
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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