CLARKE IS A big name in power tools and workshop equipment and in recent years, has made a name for itself among caravanners with its compact IG1000 generator.
That small, inverter-equipped unit is perfect for providing portable, good quality mains power at a price that undercuts rivals significantly.
The company’s latest model is the IG2200 and the clue as to what is different is in the name. It is a 2.2kW generator, whereas the IG1000 is a 1kW unit. In practical terms, it means you can power more electrical equipment, even when you are away from a mains hook-up.
Opening the box
The Clarke is thoughtfully packaged up. It’s always tempting to skimp on the maintenance of a generator but Clarke makes it easy, supplying a spark plug spanner in the kit, along with a reversible screwdriver for removing the service panels from the exterior. Despite a suitable box spanner being supplied to remove the spark plug however, access through the top panel to this is tight.
In terms of controls and outputs, it is a simple unit to understand. There are two standard domestic-style three-pin sockets as well as the two-pin 12v socket for the direct battery charging. The charging cable for this is supplied which is not the case for all rivals. Other than that, the two weatherproof rocker switches control the eco mode and the main cut-off switch.
In use, the Clarke has an ‘eco’ running function which means it tailors the engine speed depending on the amount of power it needs to output. This is good both for fuel economy and noise. If your previous generator experience centres around two-stroke units, you will find the Clarke very civilised indeed. The four-stroke engine is reasonably hushed although if you make more demands of it, it gets noisier in eco mode. Running flat out, like all generators, the noise is quickly tiring. The other positives of four-stroke operation are present too, meaning you don’t have to mix the petrol and oil to fuel it and it is not smokey in use.
In terms of the quality of power it outputs, it is a modern unit based around an inverter. That means the power it pushes out is of a high ‘quality’, making it suitable to plug in sensitive electronic equipment without fear of damage. Cheaper models without an inverter are only suitable for more basic lighting or for hooking straight up to your caravan hook-up and letting the caravan on-board electrics cope with the spikes in the supply.
If the unit detects a problem such as being overloaded or running low on engine oil, it simply shuts down, giving owners a chance to investigate. Warning lights on the main control panel indicate why it is has stopped working.
Undoubtedly, the downside of the IG2200 is weight. At a fraction over 26kg, it is a big lump to lug about. Its little sister is far lighter and unless you need that extra power, we’d probably settle for 1kW and the IG1000. This is a solid piece of kit however, offering very good value for money if you need the extra umph.