Reviews

DuroMax XP12000EH Generator Review: Power at an Affordable Price

I tested the DuroMax XP12000EH generator to see if it’s all it’s touted to be at such an affordable price. You might be surprised to find out the answer.
Tom Scalisi Avatar
The DuroMax XP12000EH Generator on a gravel pad and hooked up to a propane tank with a truck in the background.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

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I’ve been in the emergency power world for the past few years, somewhat obsessing over it. While most of my journeys have led to solar power inverters and energy storage, the ability to create power whenever I need it rather than during the 9 or so hours of daylight during cold Northeast winters is appealing. The DuroMax XP12000EH had the potential to generate that power, but as a model that’s perpetually on sale and riddled with fake reviews, I had my doubts about whether it could do the job.

The DuroMax XP12000EH supposedly retails around $1,500, but it can often be found for much less. And the reviews on YouTube are essentially the same script with a different computer voiceover, which made me think it’s more of a scam than a deal. But this hybrid generator’s specs were still hard to ignore. A power output of 12,000 watts (W), the ability to run on gasoline or propane, a 50-volt (V) output, and an electric start should at least earn it a test. So, that’s what I did, and you might be surprised to find out what I learned. Keep reading this DuroMax XP12000EH generator review to learn more.

DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator: At a Glance

A person standing next to the DuroMax XP12000EH Generator, showing its durable build.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Rating: 7.5/10

SPECS

  • Output: 12,000 watts
  • Fuel source: Gasoline or propane
  • Noise output: Around 90 decibels

PROS

  • The flexibility to run the generator on propane or gasoline fuel sources
  • Keyed electric start that is easier on the back and shoulders than pull starts
  • More affordable than most other 12,000W generators
  • Built-in carbon monoxide detector to protect users from dangerous conditions

CONS

  • Lacks an hour meter or any way to track runtime, requiring users keep track
  • Does not come with dust covers to protect the multiple outlets when they’re not in use
  • A relatively limited number of outlets available for users to plug in 120V devices

Get the DuroMax XP12000EH generator at:

What is the DuroMax XP12000EH?

The DuroMax XP12000EH is a portable home backup generator that’s designed to power most of the devices within a home during a power outage. This generator has a maximum output of 12,000W with a constant output of 9,500 running watts. This allows it to run devices such as refrigerators, entertainment devices, heaters, and even small air conditioners when there is no other power supplied to the home.

The DuroMax XP12000EH can run on two fuel sources: liquid propane and gasoline. It has a runtime of 8 hours on a full tank of gasoline (8.3 gallons) and longer on a suggested 40-pound propane tank. This allows folks who already have propane tanks at their homes to make the most of them while also offering users the option to run it on gasoline, which might be less expensive.

The DuroMax XP12000EH has several power output options. It has a standard 120V twist-lock 3-prong 30-amp (A) outlet; a 120/240V twist-lock 4-prong 30A outlet; two 120V 20A outlets (for standard power cords); and one 120/240V 50A outlet. This allows users to power devices in the home with extension cords, or power an RV, power tools on a jobsite, or an entire home (when connected correctly). The final output is a 12V DC output for operating devices designed for vehicle current. In total, there are five output options with six outlets (the 120V power outlet is a duplex, like a standard home outlet).

Other features that the XP12000EH has include an electric starter, a built-on carbon monoxide detector that shuts the generator down if triggered, an idle control switch, built-in collapsible handles, and large pneumatic tires.

Multistep Setup

Setting up the DuroMax XP12000EH is relatively easy, but there are a few things to consider. Mine came attached to a pallet, so it had to be cut loose first. Then, rather than a liftoff two-piece box that most large tools come in, the XP12000EH is fully enclosed. I had the box off of mine, as I didn’t have help to lift the 238-pound generator. A thick foam insert is included inside the box. Save this foam pad—you’ll need it.

First, remove the generator from the box. Then, lay the foam pad down in front of the generator and flip it over onto the foam so that it is upside down. There is a flat box containing the handles and the wheels, and inside that box are the wrenches you’ll need to assemble the generator. I used two adjustable wrenches to save time.

Remove the shipping brace (the manual states there is one orange brace, but mine had two smaller red braces) from underneath the generator. Then, attach the legs to the bottom of the generator frame with the supplied locknuts. Next, slide the wheel axles into the brackets and secure them with another set of locknuts. Slide the wheels over the axles and secure them with the pins. You’ll then attach the handles to the frame, and the generator is mostly assembled. Flip it over.

I chose to kneel on the foam pad for the next few steps. Locate the battery and remove the panel that prevents access. Attach the negative wire to the battery and replace the cover. Finally, remove the yellow cap from the propane inlet and attach the propane hose to it with an adjustable wrench (there is no wrench in the kit that’s large enough).

Next, locate the oil cap. Unscrew it and add about 1.25 quarts of 30-weight oil (40 ounces altogether). Replace the cap. At this point, the generator is ready to use. All told, this took just slightly more than an hour, including the time it took to head to the local auto parts store for oil (it doesn’t come with its own).

The control panel of the DuroMax XP12000EH dual-fuel generator.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Easy to Use, Except for the Pull Start

Overall, the XP12000EH is very easy to use. I first shut off the gas valve and connected it to a propane tank. I expected the battery to be dead, so I didn’t have much hope for the electric start, but it cranked without issue. After playing with the choke a bit, the generator started right up, ran rough for about 5 or 6 seconds, and then began idling smoothly.

With the main breaker on the control panel flipped off, I started plugging in devices. Once everything was plugged in, I flipped the main breaker on. I was able to switch between 120V and 120V/240V on the fly, which allowed me to choose between splitting power between the 120V outlets and the 240V outlet, or directing it all to 120V for maximum output.

I then shut the breaker off but left the generator running. I flipped the idle control switch on, and at first wasn’t very happy with the results. The generator would start to slow down and almost shut off before firing right up again. I tried this several different ways with the same result before I realized that it was charging the onboard 12V battery. Once it was charged, idle control limited the revolutions per minute and noise until draw was applied.

Once I shut everything down, I wanted to test the pull-start feature, and I must admit, I didn’t love it. The motor is larger than a standard lawn mower or chainsaw, so it takes significant effort to pull. After about 20 pulls with a minute in the middle to let the propane dissipate, it finally started. I’d like to see it start easier since it is brand new, but the electric start is the intended starting method.

A Few Problems With the Design

The DuroMax XP12000EH loses some points for me in terms of its design. While these could be the symptoms of affordability, the following were disappointing factors.

The DuroMax XP12000EH features only one duplex-style 120V standard outlet for extension cords and other devices. Most 12,000W generators feature two duplex outlets, totaling four ports for 120V devices. While users can run several devices from a power strip at the end of the cord, devices like refrigerators should be on their own dedicated cord, which would take up half the outlets. Duromax, more outlets, please!

Also, the outlets on the power panel are completely exposed to the elements, and that’s not ideal. Most generators feature drop-down covers or plug-in covers that protect the outlets from dust and rain. Not having this relatively cheap insurance helped me understand why this generator is so affordable.

Finally, there isn’t a runtime or hour meter to track the XP12000EH’s runtime. While that might not matter to many folks, those who use their generators often (such as contractors and other professionals) use hour meters to gauge maintenance intervals. Anyone using their XP12000EH often will have to track their own hours.

Beyond these complaints, the XP12000EH is well designed. It rolls easily despite its weight, it’s easy to start with the electric ignition, and switching between gasoline and propane takes seconds. Overall, the design checks the most important boxes (other than the limited number of outlets—that’s a biggie).

The fuel line and rugged tires on the sturdy frame of the DuroMax XP12000EH Generator.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Decent Performance Despite the Noise 

The DuroMax generator performed surprisingly well. I had no problem running multiple devices on the XP12000EH. I plugged in my refrigerator, most of the entertainment devices in the home, and even ran a window air conditioner off of it. I also switched the air conditioning out for a 1,500W space heater.

I found that starting these devices one at a time was best, and I made sure to plug electronic devices into a surge protector first. These devices, plus a couple of lighting devices, are the ones I would most likely use in a power outage, and the XP12000EH kept up quite well.

For those with a generator interlock installed in their electrical panel, there’s no reason why the XP12000EH couldn’t power most of the home if plugged into the panel. It was barely louder with all of the devices running (the air conditioner took the most draw and therefore caused it to rev up a bit).

Here’s what I’ll admit: I’m not sure what effect the draw of an electrical heating system with all of the zones set to comfortable levels would have on the XP12000EH. My home runs on natural gas. However, it will easily run a large space heater or two, so folks using the XP12000EH to make it through a cold winter storm should have no problem staying comfortable with smart usage.

It is important to know that even in propane mode, the XP12000EH is loud. This isn’t some quiet backyard standby generator that keeps the home running smoothly while making hardly a hum. I measured it at 90 decibels from a few feet away, and I could certainly hear it running from within the home. I don’t consider this a drawback because that’s a relatively normal noise level for this type of generator, but shoppers will want to note that it’s going to make a little noise.

Is the DuroMax XP12000EH worth the money?

The suggested retail price for the DuroMax XP12000EH is about $1,500, but it often sells for less. At the time of writing, it can be had for just under $1,399 at popular retailers, not just shady discount sites. We’ll use that as the baseline price.

Most 12,000W generators cost closer to the DuroMax’s suggested retail, with some being much more expensive. And of those, very few are dual-fuel models. In terms of raw power output, the DuroMax is an outstanding deal.

But, it’s not all about raw power. The relatively limited number of outlets, to me, is a problem. While the control panel is relatively small, it seems that some reconfiguration could easily fit a second duplex outlet, making this generator quite a bit more versatile. While those powering their homes will likely use the 50A circuit, those who lack a generator tie-in, or folks on a project site, will find the outlet shortage annoying.

But, all things considered, it’s really hard to argue with the value for this price. A generator that is potentially capable of powering a small home at a cost of around $1,399 is pretty exciting, and I think that points to this generator being worth the cost. Everything works as it should.

The control panel of the DuroMax XP12000EH with an AC cord plugged in.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Should you buy the DuroMax XP12000EH? 

I feel the DuroMax XP12000EH makes a strong case for itself, but it’s all based on the price point. There are better generators that are more powerful, have more outlets, and run more quietly, but few even come close to this amount of power for the money. Should you buy the DuroMax XP12000EH?

First, let me discuss who I think should skip the DuroMax: contractors and folks who need a plethora of outlets. Without an hour gauge to track maintenance and several plugs to tap into, it might just be more hassle than it’s worth. Sure, it will power almost anything you need it to at a campsite or job site, but not everything at the same time.

But there are many folks who fit the other category. In my opinion, if shoppers are looking for an affordable backup generator that they can hook to their home’s panel (with an interlock, of course), I think the XP12000EH is a good choice. It’s affordable, powerful, and easy to use. Buyers can build a shed to house it and cut down on running noise, and it has the power to handle a smaller home’s needs. The fact that it also offers flexibility between propane and gasoline as fuel sources only increases the attractiveness of this affordable model.

Where to Buy the DuroMax XP12000EH

Get the DuroMax XP12000EH generator at:

Meet the Tester

Tom Scalisi is a full-time DIY and construction writer for many of the largest websites in the industry, including BobVila.com, This Old House, Family Handyman, and Forbes. He’s become almost obsessed with emergency power options, testing generators, solar panels, and rechargeable power stations whenever he gets the chance.

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Tom Scalisi

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Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

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