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Power Generator Buying Guide: How To Choose

Shopping for a generator can be a difficult and confusing task. Let's walkthrough the different types of generators available on the market, and help equip you with the info to make an informed decision.

Power generators are extremely useful and versatile tools that can help improve efficiency in your outdoor work, enable new adventures in the great outdoors, and even save lives in dire circumstances.

READ: Top Reasons to Purchase a Portable Power Generator

But shopping for a generator can be a difficult and confusing task, especially in a market that is flooded with numerous options and varieties. Let's walkthrough the different types of generators available on the market, and help equip you with enough information to make an informed decision.

power generator being used for outdoor work

WHAT IS A POWER GENERATOR?

A generator is a device that can provide power to your house, office, or tools and equipment when you're on the go. Generators, contrary to what their name implies, do not generate electricity. Instead, they transform a different type of energy into electricity.

When there is an outage due to inclement weather, downed power lines, or other risks, generators can be utilized to provide backup power to your home or workspace. A generator is great for running a heating system, powering up the fridge, or keeping the shop running. When you're camping or traveling in an RV, you may also utilize them to provide power on the fly.

TYPES OF GENERATORS

1. PORTABLE GENERATOR

A gas-powered engine is used to power a portable generator, which is then turned on by an on-board alternator. Extension cords, electric-powered equipment, and appliances can all be plugged into the unit's power outlets. In most cases, the higher the wattage, the more items you can power up.

Pros: The main benefit of having a portable commercial generator is that it may be used in a variety of situations. Portable generators are designed to be easily transported because they are smaller than standard generators. Portable generators are less expensive than standby generators and don’t require significant effort to set up.

Cons: Portable generators can often create noisy sounds, and unlike standby generators, they do not automatically turn on when the power goes out. Some require starting by hand, though automatic start options are available. Some models (though not all) run exclusively on gas, requiring regular refilling.

 2. INVERTER GENERATOR

To produce AC electricity, an inverter generator connects an engine to an alternator. Unlike other generators, it also converts AC electricity into DC power via a rectifier.

Pros: It is more environmentally friendly to choose an inverter generator over a normal generator, as these require less gasoline. Generators with inverters are genuinely portable. Because they're smaller and handy than normal generators, you can easily toss them into your car and take them with you wherever you go. Inverter generators are also very silent.

Cons: Amidst the advantages we get with an inverter, there are also drawbacks. Inverter generators are typically significantly more expensive, and also provide limited amounts of power. Depending on your needs, it may not be powerful enough to power home appliances or heavy-duty machinery and tools.

3. STANDBY GENERATOR

Standby generators, also known as whole-house generators, automatically supply power to your home. Within 20 to 30 seconds of detecting a brownout or blackout, the whole-house generator can start providing electricity automatically.

Pros: It works on its own. Provides long-term power protection. It will use the same sort of fuel that is already in use in the institution or at home. It detects a power outage and turns on the power, causing the outage to be felt only briefly. It can give enough power supply for the entire house.

Cons: Standby generators can be expensive, especially if they're big enough to power a whole house. Because they rely on a source of fuel, it's critical to ensure sure you have enough propane or that the generator is connected to your natural gas line. They require constant upkeep. 

CALCULATE YOUR POWER NEEDS

Calculate what size generator you need in 3 simple steps

Step 1: Make a list of all the appliances you want to run.

Step 2: Calculate the starting and running wattages for each item on your list. You can use this wattage estimation guide as a reference (see below), if you can't locate these values on the appliance label.

Step 3: Add the wattage together. Then, use this number to guide what size generator you need.

graph with power consumption information for appliances and tools

BEST FIRMAN GENERATORS BY ACTIVITY

1. BACKUP POWER (For Home) – If you live in an area that is prone to unfortunate natural disasters, you understand how much of an inconvenience it is to lose power. You might be unable to charge your phone, cook your food, heat your home or access any essential information on your computer. Power outages lead to significant stress in your life!

Check out our 3650/3300 watts & 4550/3650 watts collection

P03606             H05751           W03383               

P08003             P08004            H08051     

2. CAMPING - Using a camping generator may help you with everything from outdoor lighting to temperature control and heating systems in your tent or RV, to even generating the ideal soundtrack for your weekend in the country. In fact, if you're thinking about moving to a mobile home, camping generators will become your new best buddy.

Check out our 1300/1050 watts & 2100/1700 watts collection

W01784               W03383                W01781

W01782               P03605                  P03617

3. FARM /RANCH WORK - A farm is a significant commitment in terms of time, money, and effort! It stands to sense that you would want to do everything you can to keep your achievements safe. One of the most effective methods to do this is to use a portable generator. A generator can literally save your productivity in the event of a power loss caused by a storm or something similar.

Check out our 10000/8000 watts collection

P08003              P08004                H08051

4. TAILGATING / RECREATIONAL - It's tailgating season, and you know what that means. You get to have a giant party in your parking lot, or on a football field, or wherever it is you like to gather with the people that you love. And what makes the gathering even better? Grilling out! More food means more people and more fun, but do you really want to waste your time lugging around huge propane tanks? Or do you want to carry around a generator for all of the electricity that you need?

Check out our 1300/1050 watts & 2100/1700 watts collection

W01784             W01781         

W01782              P01001

You can also check our entire Power Generator Collection and choose what's best for your needs! 

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