Ryobi 6500-Watt Portable Generator Includes CO Detection and Auto-Shutdown
As we’re writing this review of our Ryobi 6500-watt portable generator, we’re into the peak of hurricane season and the Atlantic Ocean is cooking. Here in Florida, we start watching storms as soon as they roll off of Africa. Even as the season slows down, winter storm season rolls in for the rest of the country.
Every season is generator season somewhere and there’s no time like the present to see how well this Ryobi generator fills those needs.
- Carbon monoxide detector automatically shuts down the generator when levels get too high
- 4 x 120V GFCI outlets and 1 x 120/240V outlet
- Solid frame build with easy handle folding
- Good value at this power level with CO detection for $799
- Positioning the generator with the sensor downwind of the exhaust can trip a false positive (common to all CO sensors)
- Fuel valve doesn’t let you run the fuel line and carburetor out of gas
- Not recommended for sensitive electronics
Ryobi 6500-Watt Portable Generator with CO Detect
CO Detect: Carbon Monoxide Detection
New to this Ryobi 6500-watt portable generator is CO Detect technology. This is a sensor that measures carbon monoxide levels and shuts the engine off automatically when they get too high.
One of the benefits of CO detection on the generator is that they react to levels faster than the ones you might have in your home or garage. The automatic shutdown kicks in with less CO accumulation, reducing your risk.
If the engine shuts down due to CO levels, the sensor has a red blinking light to let you know dangerous conditions may be present. Be sure to give the area time to dissipate pooling CO before entering.
Pro Tip: Position your generator so the wind blows exhaust away from the sensor to avoid false shutdown readings.
We hear stories every year of people who mistakenly thought they gave their generator enough room, only to have carbon monoxide pool up and cause sickness or death. Carbon monoxide detection helps reduce that risk and it’s something we like to see on our generators.
Starting Made Easy
The easiest starting generators have an electric start. While this model doesn’t include that feature, Ryobi still makes it pretty easy.
There are three settings in the Easy Start system: Off, Cold Start, and Run. As you move from Off to Cold Start, the electrical circuit completes and the fuel value partially opens. At Run, the fuel valve is fully open.
The downside is that you can’t shut off the fuel valve and let the engine run the gas out of the carburetor. There is a screw you can remove to let the carb drain if you’re going to store it for a while, though. If you’re handy, you can also add a valve to the line with very little trouble.
Over by the CO sensor, there’s an on/off switch. At first glance, it looks like it could be a sensor bypass or maybe even a switch that the sensor trips when CO levels get too high. It’s just your standard generator on/off switch in a different location, though. If you are having trouble starting the engine, take a quick peek and make sure it’s in the “on” position.
Running Watts and Starting Watts
This Ryobi generator offers 6500 continuous running watts and handles up to 8125 watts of inrush current.
From a construction perspective, that’s a lot of power. Many residential jobsites run using a 4000-watt generator, so you can power a lot using this one.
On the emergency or remote power side of things, it all depends on what you want to do. Need to run a full-size fridge, a few lights, and fans? No problem. Ryobi gives you enough power for that and much more.
Anything that runs on a standard 120V outlet is fair game. A pair of GFCI-protected duplex outlets (4 total outlets) can each handle 20 amps of current.
There’s also a twist lock 120V/240V outlet with 30-amp capacity.
To get some ideas of what you can run with 6500 watts, check out the infographic at the bottom of this page or read this article for ideas on what size generator you need.
The total harmonic discharge (THD) is over 5 and less than 20. Consequently, it’s not “clean” enough power to run sensitive electronics, so there are no USB charging ports on board.
Pro Tip: The extension cord you use makes a difference! Check out this article to help select the right ones for your generator.
Running, Running, Running
Generators rate their runtimes at 50% load and that’s a pretty fair way to look at it. On its 6-gallon tank, you can expect to run for 10 hours.
For construction sites, that number is likely to be higher because most of the tool use is in short bursts rather than continuous loads.
Depending on what you’re running from your home, you may end up on either side. If you stick to a refrigerator and a handful of necessities, you’ll get more. If you want to wire up and run your central AC and other luxuries, plan on shorter runtime.
For basic emergency planning, expect to use about 16 gallons of fuel per day that you expect to be without power.
Pro Tip: Avoid ethanol issues by using a stabilizer mixed with your fuel or use ethanol-free gas.
There’s no standard method for testing generator noise levels that we’re aware of in the US. With any gas generator, there’s a large difference between the noise the engine produces at idle and at full throttle.
We came up with our own test to look at what kind of noise level you may have to deal with when you’re at a safe working distance of 21 feet.
Transportation and Storage
Ryobi goes with a hand truck style for their frame (as opposed to wheelbarrow style). The main handle sticks straight up and you push the wheel forward to roll.
Our team is split on their preference between this and wheelbarrow styles, but we’re in agreement that both get the job done just fine.
The wheels are 10 inches in diameter and work great for rolling across hard surfaces. They could stand to be wider for rolling across the grass and soil. That’s a pretty common complaint against most all portable generators, though.
We do like that the tires are more of a supple semi-pneumatic design instead of hard plastic.
When it’s time to put your Ryobi 6500-watt portable generator away, just pull the spring-loaded pins on the sides and rotate it forward. Even with the handle tucked away, you can still access the fuel tank and all of your outlets.
- Hour meter display screen next to the outlets helps you track maintenance intervals
- Outlet covers help protect against moisture and dust
- Low oil shutdown prevents major engine damage
There are some luxury features you can pick up with higher-priced models such as auto-choke, electric start, and electronic fuel injection. Those aren’t things we expect to find where Ryobi priced this model, so we’re not disappointed by their absence.
We looked around for other models in the same power range with carbon monoxide detection:
- Champion 100593 with CO Shield (6250 running watts): $749
- Generac GP6500 with COsense 7680: $799
- Ryobi RY906500S with CO Shutdown: $899
- DeWalt DXGNR6500 with CO Protect: $899
As you can see, Ryobi is priced in the middle and not too far ahead of the lower-powered Champion unit. Overall, Ryobi’s value proposition is solid considering the power and features you get for the price.
The Bottom Line
We really like the versatility of this Ryobi 6500-watt portable generator. We get a genuinely useful boost in available power over a 5000-watt unit and the CO Detect sensor is quickly becoming a must-have feature. Best of all, Ryobi scores a solid value, putting its portable power within reach of budget-minded contractors and forward-thinking homeowners.
Ryobi Portable Generator Specs
- Model: Ryobi RY906500S
- Running Watts: 6500
- Starting Watts: 8125
- Engine Size: 420cc
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 6 Gallons
- Run Time at 50% Load: Up to 10 Hours
- Outlets: (4) 120V AC 20 Amp GFCI and (1) 120/240V 30A
- Wheel Size: 10 in.
- Weight: 205 lbs.
- Warranty: 3-Year Limited
- Price: $899