Not everyone needs a generator but there are a few scenarios where a generator is essential.
I want to talk about just one of them because it is close to home. Literally.

I want to introduce you to my new best friend in dark days: Jenny.
And she lives in my shed.

Let’s see what she can do when the power goes out…

Okay. Portable generators are mainly used in caravans or on other camping trips.
If our electric mod cons can’t come camping with us, it would severely cramp our style and comfort.

Of course, “portable” is a spectrum word.
Liftable or transportable would be a better expression as these devices can weigh from 20 to 50 Kg…

The other scenario for their use centers around power outages in the home.
If you live 4 high in an apartment building, skip this section. It doesn’t apply to you.

In our neck of the woods in rural WA, power outages happen frequently.

If they last a couple of hours, fine, we can deal with that by doing nothing about it.

But if it’s gonna be much longer than that, I have 2 options: eat all the ice cream in the freezer before it melts and fire up the BBQ for all the meat – or trundle out my generator.


Meeting Jenny – Here She Comes!

Meet Jenny: svelte figure, pale-blue complexion, weighs just a tad under 42kg but with a robust build, and swings into action straightaway when needed.

She comes from a good family: Gentrax is a well-known and popular brand of inexpensive but very reliable and capable generators.

The GTX4200 PRO as the model number already indicates, has a maximum output of 4.2kW.
This helps to kickstart appliances that have a higher initial power demand to get running, such as water pumps or air conditioning units.
Normal continuous running power output is 3.5kW.

Voltage produced is 240V via the 2 AC outlets.
There’s 1 DC outlet to charge batteries. And of course you’ll find a pair of USB ports.
Yep, Jenny plays nice with all sorts of electronics thanks to her pure sine wave output.
No spikes, no brownouts, just a stream of electrons the way your computer likes them.


Unpacking Jenny – There She Is!

Jenny arrived in a well-packaged outfit that fully protected her from the rigours of her journey.

All the accessories (like a protective cover, funnel, screwdriver, sparkplug socket and cigarette lighter wiring harness PLUS a set of keys and remote control) were included as was the manual.
More on that later.

The GTX4200 PRO (also known as the GS-4000IE) is a rather hefty unit at just over 40 kg (sans oil and fuel) but lighter than most similarly capable brands.

It would have been handy – just like my other generator – to have included a handle for easy movement.
Oh, wait! It’s cleverly disguised on the front side of the unit: flip it up and moving the genny becomes a lot easier.

After standing back a few moments to admire Jenny’s looks and build, I noticed she was plastered with instructions for use.
Very practical.

Generators are normally not used daily but trundled out occasionally as needed. So, following the checklist makes for an easy start every time.

Next: just add oil and fuel. She needs .7ltr of SAE30 oil and can hold 8,8ltr of regular ULP.

Oil fill up can be a bit tricky as you need to take off a side panel before you can unscrew the oil cap. Now you see why they include a looong funnel…


When I was finished with that, I noticed that the battery terminals were not connected yet.
Sure enough, that step is also covered in the manual.
What’s not mentioned is that you need to use some small bolts to connect them. I did not see them in the plastic bag with accessories until I went looking for them again.

Last item to do before starting up is a bit surprising.
The Gentrax models like earthing. That means connecting a wire to the Ground Terminal and to a spike which goes into the ground.
The other generators we tested did not have that recommendation but, hey, safety first.


Starting Jenny – There She Goes!

There are 3 options to start this genny: the usual recoil pull-start, a key-start or by remote control.

Let’s see how easy the pull start is.
Wow, first time lucky! A small pull, no effort at all and there she goes, purring away…

Me and small petrol engines don’t get on well when it comes to firing up, so me and Jenny started off well.
I let her run for a few minutes to warm up.

Next, the key start. Quick response but it took a few seconds for her to find her rhythm.
That happened several times. See if that goes better down the track.

Now, we tried the luxury option: remote control starting.
You need to press the Unlock button on the fob twice.
Not too quickly though – give it two solid presses.
Great way to start! And very practical for intermittent use of the generator.

How far does the remote still work reliably?
All the way from my house to the shed, a good 25m.


Testing Jenny – There She Runs!

Now, this particular unit is primarily marketed to the camping community because it’s quiet, portable with enough power to fire up whatever you can bring along for the trip.

But you know that we always test our review units to the max here at DRN.

So, what we wanna see is: can this relatively small unit handle some of the most essential appliances around our home when mains power goes down?
In my case the essential items are my large fridge/freezer, medium freezer and water pump.

If that works, I’ll be a happy camper… (maybe that’s the wrong expression as I’m not addressing those needs).

Test 1 – Water pump drawing about 730W. No problems.

Test 2 – Add large fridge/freezer and medium freezer. Together about 170W. No problems.

Test 3 – Add a hot water kettle @ 2200W. Again, no sweat.

Total draw: 3100W. And about 400W left over in running capacity.
With that reserve we could also keep warm with an electric blanket…

Conclusion: Jenny is well and truly up to the task of supplying the essential electrons when mains power is out.

Most appliances don’t need to run constantly, so you can probably run a washing machine as well for a short wash.
In fact, why don’t we test that right now?

We switched on our Bosch for a 40° wash.
Once the heating starts, Jenny shows 2100W being produced. This, plus what the water pump needs, brings the total well within her limits.
Wife happy.

Don’t expect business as usual.
You’ll be glamping instead of camping.
And if you still have a woodstove or cook on gas, you’re in better shape than most people who are unprepared for these eventualities.

Noise level is quite good. The GTX4200 specs say 58dB at the standard 7m distance.
Is that when idling or under load? Let’s find out.

At 7m away from the unit we register 60dB under load from the water pump.
And with the heavier load from the washing machine, it is around the 64dB mark.
That is pretty quiet for a generator of this capacity.

Generally, you can run about 7 hrs on a typical, average 50% load.
If you stress Jenny to the max under a 100% load, she will exhaust her fuel supply after 4.5 hrs.


Today we had our iStore Hot Water heat pump installed.

The power was turned off for about 3 hours, but we needed to fill the tank with 270 litres of water while the electrician was still busy getting the power connection to the unit sorted.
The perfect opportunity for Jenny to show off her prowess!
And for me to show off her remote controllability to the tradies…


Critiquing Jenny – There She Blows!

We know that no manmade product is ever perfect.
And most consumer products are built to a price.

I’m pleasantly surprised at how well-built this 4.2 kW generator is.

Can it be improved?

Three 240V outlets would be nice. And a USB-C port perhaps?
Maybe also some inbuilt LED lights? I know, I’m getting fanciful here…

How about making the digital display meter more readable?
You have to get on your knees to see the wattage produced, hours run, and about 18 other indications.

Can’t think of anything major that need to be addressed for a follow-up model.

Sometimes I wish companies would employ the services of an editor to look over the manuals and instruction stickers.
Chinglish is not always easy to interpret. However, most of the Gentrax manual is fairly decent to comprehend.

Praising Jenny – Here She Wins!

A generator is a significant investment with many models costing multiple thousands of dollars.

Gentrax makes affordable generators for the Aussie market.
Like most everything else, they are made in China, which brings the price down considerably.

Gentrax’s track record of producing award winning generators here in Australia since 2012, should give us confidence about their products.
They’ve sold over 80.000 units already.

The unit we reviewed, the GTX4200 PRO, costs $1399 all up with free delivery in Oz.

What we particularly like about this GTX4200 inverter: a great-looking unit, plenty capacity for camping and power-out situations, pure sine wave for running electronics, sweet price point and 3 easy start options.

And we have not even mentioned how this generator is parallel compatible, by hooking up another GTX4200 with a special cable for when you need additional power output.

With all the certifications that this unit and its siblings have achieved, the thousands of 5-star reviews from happy campers and a generous 36 month warranty, this Gentrax is a safe and great investment.

DigitalReviews can highly recommend the Gentrax GTX4200 Pro.

We thank Outbax for providing the unit for us.

Have a look at the product page for the GTX4200 PRO or check out their many other models that might suit your needs and budget better.

UPDATED 6 July 2024: We have a DISCOUNT Code that will give you 12 % OFF anything and everything on the site! 

It’s valid till 31 Dec 2024. Use DRN12 at the checkout.

And for a very short video of Jenny in her natural environment, click below.