Zoom on the Powermate PM3800
In a nutshell, the Powermate PM3800 is a compact portable generator mostly geared towards:
- RV travellers looking for even more independence
- Occasional participants of outdoor events, competitions, concerts and festivals
- Amateur DIY lovers
- Homeowners who want to be able to use the most necessary devices in their household, even during a blackout
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 Powermate PM3800's design includes a gasoline-fueled 212 cc OHV 4-stroke engine. With a 120V output, it gives a running wattage of 3,000W and also a peak wattage of 3,800W.
Its starting mechanism is based on a simple traditional pull-start mechanism. It features Powermate's PowerDial™, an easy-to-use dial with three operation settings.
The fuel capacity of 5 gallons allows the PM3800 to operate for up to 21 hours with a full tank (fuel consumption around 0.24 GPH).
The control panel provides the upcoming 4 AC outlets:
The dimensions of the Powermate PM3800, which are L23.8 x W18.1 x H19.1 in, and its typical, open frame design provides stability and enables the generator to be raised above ground level. The design is ideal for rough environments and demanding outdoor use.
As the PM3800's weight is only 96 lbs, it can follow you and your power needs anywhere. In addition, it is even easier to grab and move the generator around thanks to its open frame design.
The control panel of the PM3800 includes a digital data center, which assists you in monitoring its status and activity, as it provides information on the lifetime run hours.
The fuel level of the generator can be determined quickly, easily, and conveniently with the help of its built-in fuel gauge.
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.
Besides the usual set of documentation and owner's manual (opens in a new tab) to get you promptly started, Powermate also included some oil in the PM3800's packaging.
The Powermate PM3800 is EPA approved, but NOT CARB-compliant. Thus, it cannot be purchased or sold in California.
However, it features a spark arrestor, making it usable in forested areas.
The Powermate PM3800 versus other generators
The following charts are provided to give you an idea of how some of the key specs of the Powermate PM3800 compare to generators of similar power (between 2500 and 3500 W).
- With a dry weight of 96 pounds, the Powermate PM3800 finds itself in the expected weight range for generators able to produce between 2500 and 3500 rated watts. In terms of weight, one of the champions in their power range is the Pulsar PGD40iSCO, standing at just 46 lbs.
- Since the PM3800 boasts with a run time of up to 21 hours at 25% load, it can be safely judged as a device of a higher run time than most generators of a comparable 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 DuroStar DS4000S, with up to 26 hours.
- The run time is important, but also hugely depends on the capacity of the fuel tank and doesn't mean much if we don't talk about fuel consumption as well. This generator is not fuel efficient compared to devices of similar output: its estimated fuel consumption stands at 0.24 GPH at a 25% load. If fuel consumption is your top priority, we suggest to check out the Energizer eZV3500P, which has a fuel consumption of only 0.13 GPH and thus, is one of the most efficient devices in our database.
As you can see from this interactive chart, when compared to other 2500-3500W generators, the Powermate PM3800 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
- High run time
- Decent weight (96 lbs)
- No electric start
- Not CARB-compliant
- Low fuel efficiency
Features and Specifications
|Engine||212 cc OHV 4-stroke|
|Voltage||AC: 120V 60 Hz|
|Running watts||3,000 W|
|Starting watts||3,800 W|
|Running amps||25 amps|
|Peak amps||31.7 amps|
|Run time @50% load||14 h|
|Run time @25% load||21 h|
|Automatic Voltage Regulation||No|
|AC outlets||2x Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R)|
|Data center||Lifetime run hours|
|Fuel tank||Steel, 5 gal|
|Approx. dimensions (L x W x H)||23.8 x 18.1 x 19.1 in|
|Noise (lower limit)||Unknown|
|Security||Low oil and overload protection|
|Other model numbers||P0081100|
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.
Powermate’s history is somewhat enigmatic, but they claim to have been on the market for over 40 years, selling portable generators and various outdoor power equipment. In 2009, they have signed under what they call “partnership” (more accurately ownership) with the Italian PRAMAC. In 2014, Generac acquired Powermate from PRAMAC.
The Powermate PM3800 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 Powermate generators, please consult Powermate's warranty policies (opens in a new tab). Alternatively, you can also contact their Customer Support: 1-800-445-1805.
Questions & Answers
What can it power?
|Item||Running Watts||Starting Watts|
|At home||Refrigerator (energy star)||192||1192|
|Total||2392 W||3392 W|
|For camping||Radiant heater||1300||1300|
|Total||2380 W||2800 W|
|Total||2380 W||3480 W|
What is the noise rating of the PM3800?
Due to the lack of standardization in noise emission measurement, Powermate (Generac) does not provide their units' noise levels.
Can this power an air compressor? (Asked June 22, 2022)
It is unfortunately not feasible to answer this question without more specifics. A 1/2 HP air compressor may be powered, but a 1HP compressor may require more than the 3800 starting watts provided by this unit. Wattage requirements also vary depending on brands and models. We recommend reading our guide on how to calculate the running and starting watts of your appliances.
Couldn't find the right answer for you? Ask your own question.