Portable generators are one of the best alternatives when you lose power. If you face power outages regularly, want to run a job site, or need to be prepared to use emergency power, then you should consider having a portable generator. Don’t worry if you’re not exactly sure how a portable generator works, as we’ll go over everything you need to know.
They’re simple and easy to use, and they offer a variety of options to power everything from your power tools to your refrigerator. However, before choosing a portable generator, you’ll need to consider many important factors and be aware of the relevant safety considerations. These include making sure to place it in a well-ventilated area, only adding fuel when the generator is turned off and cooled down, and making sure the generator is protected from excessive moisture.
We have put together this guide to help you make a decision. So let’s get started with what you need to know about generators.
Types of Generators
You will find three basic types of generators available in the market. In spite of their differences, these generators all require very similar maintenance work to prolong their life span and use similar fuel sources. These three types are:
A portable generator is one that runs on gas or diesel and is able to be moved from place to place, such as from one job site to another. It usually provides temporary electrical power. Due to its portability, this type of generator is one of the best to use in remote locations. By using a combustion engine, it conducts electric power. Using a portable generator, you can run your refrigerator, freezer, TV, etc.
An inverter generator is one that produces safer AC energy and uses fossil fuels to run. This type of generator has been developed with the latest technology so that it creates less noise and consumes less fuel. An inverter generator is one of the best options if you want to connect your appliances to a generator that offers safe and stable electric power. As an added bonus, these generators also tend to be quite portable.
A standby generator is the one that operates automatically to provide an instant backup power supply. This type of generator can deliver you permanent power protection. They’re widely used in sectors where emergency power backup is needed, such as within hospitals. The generator uses liquid propane or natural gas to produce electricity. A standby generator is costly compared to other types of generators, both in terms of purchase price and installation.
Choosing the Right Generator for Your Home
Finding out what size generator is right for your home is very important. There are some important considerations that you must take into account to find out which size is right for you. The first thing you should consider is under what conditions and circumstances you typically experience a power outage at home. So, determine which of the following scenarios most closely matches yours to choose the right generator:
Frequent Power Outages
If there are frequent power outages in your home or region, then you should consider any of the types of generators shown below. This is also applicable to those who live in an area where there are severe weather conditions such as blizzards, hurricanes, or ice storms.
- Home Standby
- Large Inverter
Any of the generators listed above will be a great solution for you because all these generator models can power your entire house, just be sure to get one with a high enough output. These can also connect directly to the circuit breaker panel of your home. These generators are also safe for your home and electrical appliances.
Occasional Power Outages
If you live in an area where power outages occur occasionally, then you should consider any of the types of generators listed below. We’ve already mentioned that these generators provide safe electric power, so you won’t have to worry if you connect your appliances to these.
- Large Inverter
Since you don’t face a lot of power outages, you don’t need to spend more on buying a standby generator. Thus, any of the generators listed above will give you plenty of backup power.
Rarely Lose Power
If you rarely experience power outages, then you can consider any of the generators listed below. These generators will be quite useful in the event that you do have a power outage.
- Mid Sized inverter
- Recreational inverter
You can either choose a mid-size generator or go for the recreational generator because both of these models are capable of offering you the backup power you’ll need.
Another way to find out what size generator you need is to consider the wattage you need to run your home and electrical appliances.
Calculating Home Generator Wattage Needs
You’ve frequently asked us how to calculate home generator wattage. In this section, we are going to provide the easiest way to calculate your generator wattage. Although we’ve already covered a lot of information in the previous section, let’s focus on some other factors here so that you will be completely certain about your home wattage requirement and generator wattage.
The first step when calculating your home generator wattage is to check the starting and running wattage capacity of your home generator. After that, you’ll have to calculate the required wattage of your home appliances by following the steps we have mentioned above. Now, you have to match the generator wattage capacity with your required wattage capacity in terms of both the required starting power and running power.
You can easily calculate the wattage of your appliances and home generator here: Generator Sizing Charts PDF
Inverter vs. Generators – Feature Comparisons
Though the job of an inverter and a generator is to provide you with a power supply, there are some differences between the two. Here, we will go over these differences:
Inverter generators have been developed with all the latest technology so that they are more efficient, safer, and perform great. But typical generators are not produced using these technologies. That’s why the power supply a generator provides is less safe than that of an inverter.
Type of Current Produced
One of the main differences between an inverter and a generator is the type of current they produce. An inverter goes through 3 stages: high-frequency AC, then DC, and finally, it converts back to a constant and safe AC electricity supply. But a typical generator only produces and provides AC all the time.
An inverter generator produces a pure sine wave that is a great source of safe and clean electricity. But a conventional generator delivers a messier sine wave which is not quite as safe as that provided by an inverter generator.
Power and Fuel Efficiency
In terms of producing more power, the generator stands ahead of the inverter. But in terms of fuel efficiency, the inverter stands ahead of the generator. That means the inverter is more fuel-efficient than the generator and thus the inverter consumes less fuel.
Inverter generators are comparatively smaller in size than traditional generators, and that’s why inverter generators are more portable than traditional ones. You will find that inverter generators are compact and lightweight, thus you have the benefit of greater portability when using an inverter generator.
The size of the fuel tank on an inverter generator is smaller than that of a conventional generator. Conventional generators come with bigger fuel tanks because they produce more power at lower fuel efficiency compared to the inverter generators. It should be noted that the better fuel efficiency of inverter generators partially makes up for the smaller fuel tank size.
If you compare the noise level between these two, you will see that an inverter generator produces less noise compared to a conventional generator. Conventional generators normally create more sound and produce more power, while inverter generators produce less of both.
It is possible to connect inverter generators in parallel. However, traditional generators cannot be connected in this way. Thus, if you’re interested in connecting generators in parallel, the inverter generator is the clear winner.
An inverter produces fewer greenhouse emissions than a traditional generator. This means that an inverter is more environmentally friendly and explains why many people prefer to use an inverter rather than a traditional generator.
Hopefully, we were able to provide you with all the information you need to find the right generator for you. We’ve explained every aspect of your portable generator so that you will have a better experience while running your generator. We recommend that you read more articles on our blog and hope they help you find the perfect generator for your home.