Shopping for a generator may look challenging because of the numerous options available. Most consumers get confused and end up making the wrong choice of a generator based on their needs. Hence, it is critical to consider all the essential factors first before making a purchase to ensure you’ll get the perfect fit. So Portable Generator vs Inverter? What’s right for you?
The most confusing category is choosing between an inverter generator and a conventional one. If you don’t know too much about generators, then it is easy to think these two terms refer to the same thing.
However, there are huge differences between these two types, as explained here below.
Once you know the differences, you’ll be able to know the best backup power unit for your home or office.
Conventional Generator Overview
The conventional generator has been used for a long time, and its core principles have largely stayed the same. This type of generator features a source of energy, which is typically fossil fuel like diesel, gasoline or propane. That energy source powers a motor that is fixed to an alternator that produces electricity.
We can also consider a portable generator as a conventional generator, based on how it works.
You can use conventional and portable generators during a power outage to keep your lights on and keep your fridge running. The advantage of a portable generator is that you can also take it with you when going off the grid for camping and you need to power your cooking equipment and radio in your cabin or RV.
A notable feature of a conventional generator is that it requires constant speeds of roughly 3,000 RPM to generate a stable electrical current that is fit for most households. However, if the engine speed changes during operation, then the total power output also fluctuates. This fluctuation feature is one of the reasons many people prefer inverter generators in the discussion of inverter vs generator.
Inverter Generator Overview
The main disadvantage of conventional generators is their regular power surges during usage. These fluctuations in power output can harm the connected electronic devices. That is why more portable generators are coming with integrated inverters that convert the DC current into AC current.
A portable generator with an inverter can deliver constant electrical supply without any surges. The power that an inverter generator produces is stable and adequate to power all your household appliances, from your delicate flat-screen television and fridge to your computer and other devices.
Portable Generator vs Inverter: Comparison Of Key Features
Here are some factors you should consider when choosing a generator:
The run time of your generator will depend on the size of its fuel tank. Here, someone can fix any size of a fuel tank to generators, regardless of whether it is a conventional or inverter generator.
If you want more run time and greater fuel efficiency, choose a unit with a larger fuel tank.
Most of the new inverter generators are incredibly portable, light and small. You can find one between the 30 and 50 pounds with a size of two or three cubic feet. Also, inverter generators typically run quietly compared to conventional ones, which is a clear advantage when you don’t want to annoy your neighbors.
Total Power Output
Inverter generators primarily focus on providing comfort, convenience, and portability, along with quiet operation. That means that they typically have a lower power output as compared to conventional generators. Meanwhile, you can get conventional generators in any power output you would want, ranging from 500W to 50,000W and more.
Noise During Operation
An important consideration when comparing inverter vs generator is the amount of noise that the generator produces during operation. Conventional generators are significantly louder compared to inverter generators, producing up to 85 decibels as compared to a maximum of 75 decibels for inverters.
Mode Of Operation
Conventional generators have a straightforward design. As mentioned above, they come with an engine that is connected to an alternator. The AC frequency depends on the engine’s RPM rather than the load. In contrast, inverters are unique in that they use a rectifier for transforming the AC current to DC current.
An equally critical consideration when comparing inverter vs generator is the total costs, including the purchase price and maintenance costs. Conventional generators are simple, cheap and also much more affordable to maintain. Meanwhile, an inverter generator offers other notable benefits like fuel-efficiency, quieter operation and a more controlled, consisted power output.
Design And Construction Simplicity
When considering the overall design and construction of inverter vs generator, conventional units have the clear edge. Since conventional generators have fewer primary parts, the engine and the alternator it means fewer failure points. That said, inverter generators may not have the most straightforward design, but they are still durable and don’t have high failure rates.
You can connect two inverter generators together in parallel to get double the power output. That versatility means you can deploy two smaller and lighter generators to deliver similar wattage and amperage of one huge conventional generator. So, in the battle of inverter vs generator, the conventional generator loses out as it can’t offer this parallel use feature.
The Best Portable Generator
Champion 3100W Portable Generator
The lightweight Champion 75537i generator is one of the best portable generators you can get today. Despite being affordable, this generator weighs 96 pounds and offers two power output options 2,800W and 3,100W. The single cylinder OHV 171cc motor also works efficiently, and the included economy mode helps to improve fuel efficiency.
This generator comes with wheels that connect easily and stay in position when carrying the unit around to your preferred site.
Expect a respectable four-hour run-time if you run it at 50% load. Also, it is remarkably silent and produces 58 decibels.
Usability is greatly increased by the wireless remote and push to start button. Because of the use of a spark arrestor, the unit won’t start up if you don’t have the required fuel and oil levels.
This Champion power generator is well reviewed by many consumers and it is amongst the best-selling units.
- The unit can deliver a long 9.5-hour run time under 25% load
- It comes with safety features, including overload protection
- It operates quietly and generates 53 decibels at around 23 feet away
- It has a streamlined design for easy stacking
- It is made with tubular steel frames that increase its overall safety and durability
The Best Inverter Generator
The Honda EU2000I is an impressive 2,000W portable generator that features an inverter.
It is a straightforward and highly dependable power generator. It is fuel efficient, super quiet and can power your TV, fridge, satellite, coffee pot, laptop and more.
The 98.5cc engine here is one of the best in this category. The reliable power output it produces allows it to efficiently handle large and inductive loads without tripping its safety overload circuitry.
Since Honda also has a wide network of service centers, you can be certain that any issues will be resolved quickly. Overall, it is one of the best inverter generators you can purchase today with overwhelmingly positive ratings by its users.
- The unit runs on a robust 98cc Honda OHV engine
- It features two 120V and 20A outlets
- It automatically shuts down once oil drops below the required limit
- It’s quieter than conventional generators with a maximum noise level of 59 decibels
- It’s also fuel efficient and can run for 8 hours on a single gas refill
Portable Generator vs Inverter: Which Type Should You Buy?
These two types of generators are ideal for medium and lightweight to heavy duty daily tasks. The 2,000W Honda EU2000I is the best choice for general home use while the 3,100W Champion 75537i is perfect for commercial applications. However, both generators are equipped with convenient features and provide great power backups wherever you use them.
You should now be confident regarding comparing the inverter vs generator topic. That information will help you decide which type is the best fit for your situation.