best portable generators buying guide

Portable Generator Buying Guide

Generators have evolved a great deal with the advancements of solar and lithium batteries over the past decade. Along with new technology there has been a change in user behavior. What used to be a sophisticated tools for job sites or for emergency backup power, generators are now also used for parties and other forms of recreation. With so many uses and new features there is an overwhelming number of choices and factors to consider when purchasing a new generator.

How to Pick the Correct Generator?

A suitable generator should offer you the amount of power that you need for abrupt outages. You can find two forms of generators – Permanent Home Generators and Portable Generators. Whole Home Generator systems can offer power for more than one home appliance or medical equipment installed at home.

Portable Generators are not only designed to offer power to home appliances at the time of blackouts but can also be used to power on the go in an RV or at a worksite. Below we list out the buying factors you should consider before purchasing your generator.

Let’s find out how to choose the right generator for your needs.

Powering requirements

Before choosing an appropriate generator, you have to think about the devices that you need to power. Do you need to run only lights and appliances or even home electronics and computers?

It is a priority in some families with medical equipment installed in homes, whereas others have to make sure that there is sufficient power for keeping refrigerator, freezer etc running to keep food stocks fresh. You need a generator that exactly matches your powering requirements, and neither too high-powered nor low-powered for your requirements. Buying too big of a generator will cost more to fuel and more to purchase.

Amount of starting power

You have to decide the amount of power that you need for starting each device. The “starting wattage” happens to be the wattage that is necessary for kickstarting electrical appliances with the help of a motor. It can be 2 – 3 times the amount of wattage that is necessary for operating appliances.

You can check the owner’s manuals to look at the start-up watts against the rated wattage or the running wattage. You can use an online wattage calculator, in the absence of an owner’s manual, to determine your own power requirements.


You should also consider whether the generator can easily be transported. Most of the portable generators are quite light to transport. Those that are not light usually come equipped with wheels. If you want portability, it is a good idea to consider puncture-proof wheels that never go flat and allow generators to be transported easily over construction sites and other rugged terrains.

Operational time

It is important to get a generator that can run for a long duration, preferably for a minimum of 10 hours. This can help you to go through an entire day of operations and be assured that you do not have to refuel your generator for the entire night.

Power outlets

It is essential to count the number of outlets that are necessary for the generator that you are looking to buy. This will depend on the number of appliances that you have to power immediately. Look at your appliances and check the kind of outlets that you require.

Different Portable Generators – Fuel Types and Benefits

Portable generators are equipment that are able to power anything, whether it comes to a smartphone, a freezer or a pump. A power outage can make you lose precious time and even money in case you are running a business.

With a back-up power system such as a portable generator, you can keep important appliances running, based on the size of the generator that you are using. Know about the various types of generators and the advantages of each type.

Gas generators

These are powered by gasoline, and are the most cost-effective type in form. You can find these perfect for fast home renovation projects or short camping trips. As these are low cost, you can acquire them easily. Gasoline is easily available, which makes these units easy to operate.

Diesel generators

This is the most ideal generator for backup power in disaster-hit areas, and can be used over long term. Diesel lasts for more time than gasoline and can be stored in big tanks. These equipment also have more efficiency, due to the ability to operate for more time on less fuel.

Solar generators

These are highly expensive and dependant on the amount of sunlight that is available, but run on the cleanest fuel to offer the most eco-friendly power. With constant sunlight, you can keep on running this equipment without the need to invest in fuel. Solar power is an alternative source of power, which is a greener option compared to power that is derived from the combustion of fossil fuels.

Biodiesel generators

As the name indicates, these operate with the help of biodiesel as fuel. Biodiesel comes from a combination of diesel and a mix of vegetable oil, animal fat and various other biological resources. It makes use of fossil fuel and other non-renewable energy.

When compared to gasoline and diesel, biodiesel is very eco-friendly. Although biodiesel is recognized in the energy industry, it can be tough to get this fuel. You cannot find it in regular gas stations, unlike gas, propane or diesel. However, biodiesel is the top choice for running consumer generators.

Propane generators

The fuel has more or less the same efficiency as diesel, and shares numerous advantages of the latter. The fuel lasts for more time before it starts to degenerate. You can store it in big drums to get power for more time. These have higher efficiency than gas, and the cost is in between that of diesel and gas.

What are the Different Uses of a Generator?

Portable generators are backup power units that come in varied capacities and sizes, and even the most small-sized units of this type offer great benefits. With almost every appliance in homes – whether it comes to microwave, washing machine or refrigerator – run by electricity, the need for power is constant. Know about some of the varied uses of a portable generator.

Emergency Situations

A generator can be very useful if there is a power failure but you need electricity immediately. A portable generator is useful in case of a power outage, and can be used for powering items such as refrigerators. You can keep medical equipment and other emergency tools running continuously, so that there are no health complications.

Extra Power / Backup Power at Worksite

In a few cases, such as in remote areas, not enough electricity is available at job sites. An industrial-grade portable generator can be used for powering landscape and construction tools as well as other equipment that are necessary for industrial work. These backup units can keep machines running easily in rural areas where power comes and goes.

Power for RV

Many individuals driving semi trucks also make use of generators to offer power to rigs that are parked. It is a more efficient option than having your rig run throughout the night, given that less fuel is consumed by a generator for running as compared to a rig engine.

You can also use a generator during your trips to power your DVD player, TV or small refrigerator inside your RV, and make long nights more comfortable on the roads. With a quality portable generator, you can keep your appliances running with enough power even in outdoor areas.

Power for outdoor events

You can also use this device as a source of power for parties, events and concerts in backyards or local parks. Plenty of power is necessary for these events, and too much power from the main supply lines can overload the circuits and pose dangers for party-goers.

Natural disasters

In case natural disasters such as earthquakes or storms or in bad weather, when the supply lines are badly impacted, you need power for running a refrigerator, pump or radio, and charging important devices such as phone and tablet.

A portable generator can save you from inconveniences resulting from lack of electricity, and can allow you and your family members to stay as comfortable as possible even in disastrous situations.

What is an Inverter – Functionality and Benefits

When you are in search of backup power units to keep you protected against power outages while camping or tailgating, you can find two varied generator types. The conventional portable generator generates AC (alternating current) power whereas an inverter generator generates DC (direct current) power and transforms it to AC. Find out how inverter generators are more useful than conventional generators.

Safer power

Smoother electrical signal is possible when DC is converted to AC, which means more safety for computers and other sensitive devices. A portable inverter generator is capable of transforming electricity to AC from a straight power source, and making it reusable for powering AC appliances. This technique translates all the power merged in a single component, which is then securely and economically distributed.

Less fuel usage

Conventional portable generators run at a fast speed, which means more noise output and fuel consumption, although these can run for more time and can offer more output. On the other hand, inverter generators can offer on-demand electric power.

Thus, these can offer only the electric power that is required from it depending on the type of device that you connect to the inverter generator. The engine can operate slowly with less fuel usage and noise output, with reduced power requirements. This is due to smart power technology.

Light in weight

These generators are lightweight in size, and can easily be transported from one place to another to power basic appliances. These can be used in emergencies, as well as in RVs and camping sites. Despite being portable, these can offer a significant amount of power.

Just one individual can lift the equipment and move the same wherever possible. Many inverter generators are capable of offering power for as many as 12 hours, and there is no need to add more fuel to them.

Noiseless operations

When you go for a high quality inverter generator, you can run it noiselessly. The quiet operations are a pleasure when you need power for running basic appliances at the dead of night, in the very early hours of the morning or at odd hours. As conventional generators run at a fast speed, you can find them running with more noise output.

Powering complex appliances

These generators can be used for powering TVs, DVD players, laptops and more complex types of appliances. You can also use these to run outdoor kitchens, music systems or microphones at social or outdoor events. These can be used with motorcycle, RV and boat.








Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *