An Inverter Generator is a portable generator that has an electronic, variable-speed controller. These generators are the most modern and preferred type of generators by consumers due to their high efficiency, low emissions, and reduced noise levels. The inverter technology provides for clean, quiet power anywhere it is needed. When you buy an inverter generator, you are getting a highly efficient portable power system that can provide for most of your power needs.
How does an inverter work?
The AC (Alternating Current) produced by the generator is connected to an electronic inverter circuit that produces DC (Direct Current). The Direct Current is then fed into a battery bank or other storage device. The controller, along with a laptop computer interface/programming cable (sold separately), allows the user to monitor the generator and its performance.
The power that is produced by an inverter generator can be heavily controlled according to the needs of the user. This means that you can size your battery bank or other equipment accordingly for only as much power as you need rather than having to buy a large generator and having the extra power that you don’t use. This is an example of load sharing. Load Sharing allows for more efficient fuel consumption and operation.
An inverter generator often provides both AC (sometimes known as “Line Power”) and DC power which can be fed into a system such as an off-grid solar power or electrical system.
Product Reviews. Top 10 Best Inverter Generators
The following is a list of the best inverter generators on today’s market based on what users have been saying about their experiences with them. These reviews are compiled based on user feedback, quality of components used in construction as well as overall value for your money. If you want to know which models will be most suitable for your specific needs, take some time to research these products further before making a final decision.
The features of inverter generators are what make them so desirable. Power output is controlled by the controller (inverter/motor control center) which allows for load sharing – where there is no need to have a generator with more power than you actually need. This reduces waste, fuel consumption and improves the overall environmental impact of your generator.
Inverter Generators VS Conventional Generators – What’s the Difference?
The biggest difference between an Inverter Generator and a Conventional Generator is that in the case of an inverter generator, there have been major improvements in emissions control which results in lower emissions. The major companies that produce inverter generators have made the technology their goal to refine it so that is produces the cleanest, quietest power possible. Inverter generators are also more efficient than conventional generators which means they require less fuel to run and can operate at a higher level of efficiency (fuel consumption for a given amount of power output). For example, a 4000W conventional generator might be 50% efficient, but a 4000W Inverter Generator could have an 80% or higher efficiency rating.
The noise level of a conventional (gas-powered) generator is around 85 decibels and can often be heard in the surrounding neighborhood even if it is run at night. While inverter generators are still machines that need to work with moving parts and other mechanisms to function, they are able to use quieter technology than their conventional counterparts which means they produce less noise pollution for your neighbors as well as less wear and tear on the equipment inside the unit.
Inverter generators tend to be quieter than conventional models since they use a more efficient, 3-phase induction motor to produce electricity rather than the traditional 2-pole permanent magnet motor. This technology allows for less vibration and noise as well as better power quality (frequency). In fact, most inverter generators are just as quiet or even quieter than the widely used portable air conditioners!
Size and Weight
In general, inverters tend to be smaller than their conventional counterparts because they eliminate all of the extra equipment which is required to power your home or business (including all of the additional controls and components). Because of this, an inverter generator will usually weigh less than its comparable 8000W-13000W counterpart. This is particularly true with portable units as well. Some larger generators may still be slightly larger but the difference is usually not enough to distinguish from one another based on size alone. Inverter generators are also more compact in terms of height and width, allowing for easier storage and transport than a conventional generator or even another inverter generator.
Manual Fuel Shutoff switch
Many inverter generators include a manual fuel shutoff switch which allows you to stop the flow of fuel to your generator by turning off the power supply to its electric pump. This is particularly useful if you plan on storing your generator for an extended period of time as it will prevent any leaks from forming in the line while preventing refueling until you’re ready to use it again. However, this type of device may simply make things easier for only some users and is not completely necessary.
Regardless of whether or not you have an automatic switch, it’s important to remember that generators must always be shut off when refueling in order to avoid any potential fires – something which can be quite dangerous if this simple (but often overlooked) guideline is not followed strictly.
Recoil vs. Electric Start
Electric start engines are equipped with an electric starter in order to make starting the engine easier without having to use a pull-cord as required for recoil engines. Many people prefer a generator with an electric start over one that requires manual cranking but it may simply come down to personal preference on your part. If you intend on using your generator occasionally for short periods of time, then an electric start generator is probably the better choice since it eliminates much of the need for manual cranking. On the other hand, if you plan on using your generator (either often or infrequently) for long periods of time, a recoil engine might be better suited to your needs in terms of fuel economy and ease of use.
However, many users report that when properly maintained, a good quality built-in pull starter can easily last for tens of thousands of cycles without any breakage issues – making this another simple choice that may simply come down to personal preference alone.
Referred to as “Watts”, this is how much power the generator produces at any given moment. This can be changed by changing the frequency of AC and DC voltage or current output. Load Sharing allows for you to only use a certain amount of power that you need while letting the rest go into storage devices such as batteries so it isn’t wasted. Inverter generators also produce less harmful emissions than their conventional counterparts due to better fuel control and combustion technology.
The amount of power that an inverter generator may produce depends on its model as well as other factors including:
- If AC operation or DC operation (only) is required
- What kind of batteries will be used, if any? The batteries must be compatible with the voltage and amp-hour rating of your chosen generator.
- The amount of power that you are trying to run with your generator
Fuel Type & Capacity
Inverter generators may use gasoline, propane or natural gas as fuel sources. Natural gas requires a conversion kit from the manufacturer and is not available for all models. Propane can be stored in an external tank while gasoline must be transferred into the generator’s internal fuel tank via a manual pump. Some inverter generators also have an option for using diesel or biodiesel. It is important to check the owner’s manual for any specific instructions or restrictions on fuel use.
Running wattage refers to the maximum wattage that your generator can produce continuously without exceeding thermal limits (overheating) which could cause damage. Load sharing allows you to adjust the maximum wattage that it will produce based on its load (the amount of power that it is trying to run). Running wattage may typically be 15-50% higher than the starting/rated wattage.
Running Wattage = Starting (Rated) Wattage + 15% – 50%
Example: An inverter generator with a rated output of 4000W and a running wattage of 5500W can produce up to 5000W for up to 5 minutes without overloading itself before dropping back down to its original 4,000W rating.
Avoid These Mistakes When Buying An Inverter Generator
Inverter generators are great at what they do, but like any electronic device, you should avoid certain mistakes if possible. You should:
- Make sure the inverter generator is compatible with your power needs (How to Choose a Generator for Your Home). Pay close attention to the wattage output when deciding which unit is right for you.
- Remember – many characteristics of an inverter generator can be changed in order to make the proper adjustments for a specific user (e.g., fuel capacity, noise level, etc.) – however, each model will have its own set limitations regarding how much power it can actually output as well as how long it can sustain that output in use.
- Check if there’s anything about the generator that you’re unsure about – read the reviews and make sure you understand how things work. Also, if you need to move it often for any reason at all – try to get a unit with wheels or handles!
When Price Is Not an Issue
Inverter generators can contain sophisticated electronics making them increasingly more expensive than conventional models. Although they are worth the investment for anyone looking to make a long-term purchase, those that need a generator only occasionally should probably keep their budget in mind before purchasing anything. No matter how good a product may be, if it is outside of your price range or simply unaffordable at the moment – it might not be what’s best for you right now.
Conventional generators are typically cheaper in terms of initial purchase, although users will usually end up spending more money and time overall on fuel costs as well as initial maintenance expenses incurred with an inverter unit than they ever would on a traditional model.