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Last Updated on February 7, 2024
If you have ever been in a home during a blackout, at an outdoor concert, or perhaps a farmer’s market, you may recognize the loud disturbing humming of a conventional generator. An inverter generator is not only quieter but also an overall more fuel-efficient, portable alternative to your typical conventional generator.
Functions of a Generator
A generator is a machine that generates electricity by converting rotating mechanical energy. Many generators are built to be portable which is an excellent backup plan to your city’s power supply in case of an emergency since they are still able to supply electricity without being connected to your main power source.
The main reason people and businesses own generators is to have a backup plan in case the power ever goes out, which can happen quite often in windy areas. Every single infrastructure that you can think of that is open and running 24/7, such as a hospital, will need to have backup generators to prevent disasters in the case of a blackout.
Another reason people or businesses will have generators is as a temporary solution for an event or until they can hook up to the city’s mainline power supply. For example, a temporary use may be a music festival or wedding out in nature somewhere and an example of a temporary solution could be for a construction site until the infrastructure being built can be hooked up to electricity.
In some cases, if people live off the grid or too far from the city’s power lines, they may even choose to run 100% permanently off of a generator.
Benefits of an Inverter Generator
If you have been in a home running on a conventional generator when the power goes out, you’ll know how loud one of these machines can be. Especially in small homes, it can be almost impossible to hear a conversion in the same room.
The quieter volume is one of the places where the inverter generator model really shines since they only operate at a volume of around 50 to 60 decibels which is about on par with the volume level of a typical conversation.
This is possible due to the smaller engine but increased efficiency of the inverter generator, which means that the engine does not have to work as hard and therefore make as much noise. Since the engine is smaller, it is also able to be insulated more easily within the generator, without the generator becoming too heavy or large.
One of the most impressive benefits to using an inverter generator over a conventional generator is that most portable inverter generators have a “parallel mode.” What this essentially means is that you can double your power by connecting a second identical generator to the first.
This is a great option if you have limited space since you can either stack the generators or place them next to each other, so long as they are connected by the parallel inverter cables, you can harness double the power.
What this means is that you can have two individual, portable inverter generators that you bring with you for when you need less power and in the situations where you need additional power you can attach the second identical inverter generator.
This way, you don’t have to lug around a large generator everywhere you need power, and you can have the versatility of connecting the light portable generator to a second one to hardness the double power that the parallel mode offers.
Since the engine is more compact, the inverter generators tend to be more compact. This factor combined with the fact that you can double on power through parallel inverters makes the inverter generator overall more portable than the conventional ones.
Many new inverter generators can be easily carried without any need for a wagon or cart which might have been necessary with the older conventional models. On top of this, the smaller size makes fitting your generator in a car, rather than a van possible for transport and it makes storage possible even with limited space.
In older conventional generators, the engine could only spin, to create power, at a single speed, what this means is, when it is on it is always creating the same amount of electricity. This can be extremely inefficient since not all actions take the same amount of electricity and power, and if you only draw a small amount of power, the other remaining created energy will be wasted.
The benefit of an inverter generator is that the power is regulated and the speed that the engine spins at to create power will adjust as necessary. This will ensure that your generator is only creating the power you actually need, with no additional power being wasted. As your energy draw goes up and down, the engine will react accordingly, which will not only be more fuel efficient and better for the environment but also more money efficient.
If you are running on a generator, there is a very good chance you are running everything on your home, even if just temporarily, on that generator. With the increase of technology, we have far more products that need to be plugged in than we used to, which means that many older conventional generators are just not equipped to handle so many outputs at once.
The inverter generators can offer overall cleaner power, cleaner sine wave signals, and few pulses to ensure there are no potentially harmful spikes in power which could harm the devices, the generator, or worst case scenario somebody.
Inverter Generator vs Conventional
All generators are not made equal, but when you’re searching around for a generator, you might have some questions about all the types of generators out there. There are a couple of different types, like the inverter generator and the conventional generator.
The Inverter Generator
If you pick out an inverter generator, you might notice that the machine has to work a little bit harder to power your items, but in contrast to your conventional option, they are much quieter. They also have a lower fuel consumption since the engine will run slower when you’re not drawing any power.
The more power you need, the more quickly your generator will work. The inverter generator is often the more efficient option, if only because it uses just as much fuel as it needs, meaning that it’s only as loud as it needs to be.
Type of Electricity
You’ll have two different types of energy depending on your generator type. The inverter generator produces electricity in three phases, from high-frequency AC to DC and back to a more stable AC current. We will talk more about clean energy when we talk about how the inverter generator works, but this is what makes the electricity “clean”: the fact that it converts so smoothly to be used on all devices.
One thing that sets the inverter generator apart is the fact that it is designed to be much more quiet than other options. This generator option uses special mufflers and sound-dampening technology to reduce the overall noise—which means that the inverter option will be much quieter, and therefore will be more comfortable to have a general conversation around.
If you’re looking to save some fuel, whether you’re using gasoline or propane, you can do so with the inverter generator. That’s because this type works by adjusting its engine to match your output, so it can save up to 40 percent of your fuel. The engine will relax when it’s only being used to power a couple of things, ultimately saving you fuel and reducing your overall noise pollution.
You’ll notice that your inverter generator is very small for how much power it has. You can pick it up and transport it easily, which means that it’s simple to use the inverter generator for hiking or camping—and they’re very easy to fit in your car.
Since this generator type is able to save fuel and only uses as much fuel as it needs to match your power levels, you will notice that this is a more environmentally friendly option. Especially if you’re using your generator a lot, you might like this option.
This is a smaller generator type, which means that it holds less fuel. Ultimately, that’s what makes it a great portable option, but that also means that it will not run for as long. You may not want to use an inverter generator when your power is out then, because you’ll have to run to the generator more often to refuel it, and will also notice that the fuel runs out more quickly when it’s powering more of your heavy items in your home.
In the end, the inverter generator is often best for long-term outdoor activities like camping and tailgating. They work more silently and can run for a maximum of eight hours (depending on the generator you choose) with just one gallon of fuel. This means that you won’t need to worry about bothering your neighbors or about using more fuel than you need.
In the end, you are paying for an inverter within your generator, which means that you’re paying a higher price for your generator. You may want the compact size, fuel efficiency, and power of the inverter generator, and it may end up saving you money on fuel in the long run, but you will need to spend more money on it right away.
The Conventional Generator
Your conventional generator works by maintaining its speed to produce electricity. Some of these generators have an idle mode that will save your fuel when there’s nothing that’s drawing electricity, but ultimately, these generators run on fuel. They will use more fuel to power more devices, and will increase in noise level because they’re working harder.
The main difference here between these two types is that the conventional generator always operates at one speed. This means that it does not adjust its speed depending on your workload, using up potentially more power, causing more noise, and leading to more exhaust. On the other hand, though, there’s a reason why many people like the conventional generator: they’re very reliable and can work like a horse.
Type of Electricity
The conventional generator works with only one type of electricity—basically, it works by producing AC electricity and just going along as that one level. It does not convert it to DC electricity, and will not have as stable of an AC current as the inverter option then. This doesn’t mean that the conventional type isn’t a good option, but this is what keeps it using so much power.
Often, people say that the main difference between these two generators is the noise level. The inverter generator is made to work more quickly since it adjusts its power as it works, while the conventional generator will continue to work at the same level no matter how much you’re powering. This means that your generator will continue to operate at the same noise level regardless of the load.
Size and Weight
When you think of a generator, you probably think of the conventional generator option: big, bulky, difficult to move around. These are great options to have in an emergency, but you wouldn’t want to lug around a conventional generator to a campsite or tailgate event with their big tires and large size. It would be much more difficult to fit one of these generators in your car.
The conventional generator is larger, which means that it holds more fuel. More fuel means that you don’t need to struggle with constant refills—although you will still be using a lot of power to run your home. The fuel capacity is what makes the conventional option good for your home though.
Less Environmentally Friendly
Since this generator is running at a constant capacity, you can guess that it’s using up more energy than your inverter, which adjusts to your power usage. It’s certainly not the more energy-efficient or environmentally friendly option then.
The conventional generator is best for your home usage—like if you’re planning to use a lot of energy to run your appliances. You can rest assured that this reliable generator continues to work for hours, and since it will use a similar amount of energy regardless of how much you’re powering, you can power many devices in your home without worrying about using too much power. Conventional generators are ideal off-grid generators as well.
It’s true that your conventional generator is much less expensive than an inverter generator. They’re also less costly to repair since it’s simple to find spare parts at fair prices. This is because they’re more basic than your inverter generator. You’ll need to think about whether the lower price point for this generator makes it worth it, and what you plan on using your generator for.
How an Inverter Generator Works
At its core, any generator produces electricity. Basically, it works by converting the mechanical energy to electrical power—so you only need to pour in gasoline, diesel, or propane to get the generator to produce alternating electrical currents.
In essence, with the right fuel, your generator will be able to produce power by then filtering power from the direct current. As a result, you gain power from the currents, which will help you run household devices during an emergency or when you’re outdoors.
It’s true that the inverter generator works differently than the conventional generator though. The inverter generator has an actual inverter built-in, which means that it can draw power from your DC source, like a solar panel or car battery, and convert this power into AC power automatically. As it converts electricity, this power can be produced in different voltages and frequencies depending on what equipment you want to use it to power.
This is why the inverter generator is able to produce more consistent power that does not rely on the speed of the engine, making it cleaner and allowing you to use the same generator to power tons of different objects—which is why you won’t need to use the same amount of energy to power smaller items.
Thanks to the inversion process and the quality of electricity being produced, people often say that the inverter generator produces cleaner energy. It’s cleaner because there are fewer changes in changes in the output of the energy as it adjusts for your power usage needs.
Basically, this means that you’re sure to power your devices with energy that won’t make them malfunction, and that will respond well to the quality of energy you’re using. If you’re thinking of using your generator for sensitive devices like laptops, cameras, and phones, this might be your best bet.
Overall, whether you should be looking to invest in an inverter or conventional generator really comes down to your own personal requirements. Both work well and both will power your home or devices. Consider what you will be using your generator for and what you anticipate needing it for as you make your choice between these two types.
If you plan on using the generator often, for example, if you live in an area that blacks out a lot, you may want to consider an inverter generator which will not only be quieter for everyday use but also more fuel-efficient and money efficient overall. If power outage is your main concern, we recommend getting a 3000-watt inverter generator.