Who wouldn’t love a portable generator? It is a dependable machine that is convenient, affordable, easy to bring anywhere, and store.
The device can either be diesel or gas-powered that can create certain levels of wattage for usable electricity.
It may sound too technical, but to simply say it, generators are a convenient alternative power source for home and work use.
There are many uses of portable generators that make our lives a lot easier, especially when there is a power outage.
However, aside from being a back-up power source, here are other common uses of portable generators:
- Home and garden tools
- Office and construction places
- Camping and various outdoor events
- For boats
- Auto repair and DIY projects
- Pop-up tent shops
- Natural disasters
You can plug extension cords, power tools, and other appliances or devices into the generator. The higher the wattage and power a generator has, the more outlets you can use for several machines and tools.
What to Consider
When choosing the perfect portable generator, you always need to take some critical considerations. Whether you will use the machine for your home, your RV, or DIY projects, you need to get a generator with the right wattage to run your appliances or power tools.
But what should be on the top of your list when it comes to a generator? Some may look for lightweight units to bring along when traveling, while others might prefer wattage capacity more than size and weight. Meanwhile, some users would like to have the quietest and most fuel-efficient machine in the market.
Whatever consideration you might have in mind, always remember to select a generator that you need, which will be enough to run your equipment. It ensures that you can fully use the machine when you need a backup power supply or finish a vital job.
Here are some of the essential factors you need to think about when purchasing a portable generator.
Generator Type and Purpose
There is a variety of generator types available that you can use on various occasions and in settings. Below are some of the popular portable types preferred by users depending on their requirements.
- Quiet Generators
Portable generators are generally quiet devices. Noise levels of generators have dramatically improved over the years. If you ask for the most silent unit, you should keep in mind the following to affect portable generators’ noise levels.
- Engine size
- Quality and build of the engine
- Quality of muffler or exhaust system
- Cooling system
- Frame and housing design
- Place where the generator is placed (enclosed or open area)
- For Home Use
Home portable generators are generally available in the market. These machines typically have wheels to pull it out from the storage room easily. Generators for home use have a lower power level that can run one to three necessary appliances, like refrigerators, lights, television, or radio.
To get the most appropriate home generator, add the household appliances’ average power that you will connect to the device. Your generator must meet all these appliances’ total energy, adding a little bit of headroom for safety.
- For Camping
Buying a generator for camping follows the same rule for home units. Determine the total power of all devices and appliances you need to run. Then, choose the smallest generator that will meet all your energy requirements, with a little bit of extra power.
Additionally, it is prudent to know the rules and regulations in the campsite to ensure that the device you will use follows the provision.
- For Boats
Large boats typically have installed electricity generators. However, for smaller ones, owners might need a lightweight, portable generator. But remember, generators must never be used on board or near the boat. It is to avoid risks of electrocution, fume buildup, and fire.
Size and Wattage
There will be a couple of things you need to know when it comes to generator wattage. These are the running and the starting watts. Air Conditioning units, refrigerators, and microwaves require a startup load and push up the generator watts to run. But once these appliances are running, the generator load will return to its regular operating wattage capacity.
If you are to run an RV, a generator with a 3800W capacity will be enough. For home use, it is very seldom that you will use all appliances at the same time. If you need to run a massive device, you might need to turn off other instruments. If you need more energy, go for the more giant-sized generators with higher wattage.
More expensive models of generators are quieter. You can have cheaper units, but it might be as quiet as the inverter type that is priced higher than conventional ones. The portable inverter generators also have a more efficient engine that saves on fuel.
Additionally, inverter generators usually have enclosures that dampen noise, are more compact, and can easily be transported from one place to another. It will also help if you look for the ones with an automatic smart throttle, which you cannot find in baseline or budget units.
Getting a portable inverter generator has many advantages that you can look beyond its price. You will appreciate the long-term benefits you will get from this type of generator than the traditional models.
At the end of this article, we hope that you can decide which one suits your needs better. Let us first take a closer look at two of the most popular brands in the market today.
Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750 / 3800 Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator
Champion is a market leader in power equipment and has been the go-to brand of workers, homeowners, and DIY enthusiasts. It boasts of its number of years of experience in delivering durable equipment to customers worldwide.
Furthermore, you can always depend on Champion’s professional technicians who will consistently provide excellent service.
Dual Fuel with Electric Start
This generator from Champion runs on either gasoline or propane. You can get as many as 4750 starting watts and 3800 running watts when using gasoline, while it has 4275 starting watts and 3420 running watts with propane. The generator comes with a switch fuel selector that will allow you to switch between propane and gas sources.
It has an easy Touch Start that you push for a quick electric start. This feature is beneficial, especially during the cold season. The unit also has a battery that automatically charges while the generator is running.
A Variety of Power Outlets
The Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750 is an ideal generator during power outages and as a machine for your RV. It is ready for a standard 30A RV (TT-30R) outlet to run your vehicle’s air conditioner. The device also comes with two 120V 20A (5-20R) household outlets.
All of these outlets have circuit breakers and an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) for added protection. Its digital display is a big help to know the current running voltage, runtime, and frequency. You will also love that the generator has a low-oil shutoff sensor and is EPA and CARB-certified.
This Champion generator is an ideal solution for emergency power outages to run lights, refrigerators, modem or router, fan, TV and DVD, computer, smartphone, gadget charger, etc.
Very Low Noise
This portable generator operates at only 68 dBA from 23 feet. This low noise feature makes this machine perfect at campsites and will help keep your neighbors have a good sleep at night.
The generator can run up to nine hours on with one full tank of gasoline or more than ten hours using a 20-pound propane fuel with a 50% load. It is also portable and is made of a durable steel frame.
Additionally, users will find the folding handle and tires very convenient for easy maneuvering and transport.
Firman H03652 4550 / 3650 Watt Portable Generator Kit
Although Firman is quite a new company, it has established its reputation in the power equipment industry since its foundation in 1999. It offers a comprehensive range of products and tools, including automotive devices, workwear, storage equipment, and generators.
The Firman H03652 is the perfect power source for the following:
- RV vehicles
- Festivals, fairs, and other outdoor events
- Homes appliances and equipment
- Professionals who need backup powers in job sites
- People who love to work on DIY projects
If you want a portable generator for hosting BBQ parties or home get-togethers, this Firman machine will be more than enough. Let’s look at the other features this efficient generator offers.
Large Fuel Tank
This dual fuel generator has a five-gallon tank that offers up to 14 hours runtime. Thus, you will save time and energy from frequent refueling.
This powerful generator is surprisingly quiet, featuring a Whisper Series muffler that gives a noise rating of only 67 dBA. Its noise level is below the set standards of the National Parks Service. The generator’s spark arrester is also USDA Forest Service-approved; hence you are guaranteed that the device is safe in any camping site.
Automatic Voltage Regulator
The FIRMAN’s Volt Lock automatic voltage regulator will provide consistent and clean power, delivering 120V of usable energy. Its Max Pro Series 208cc engine delivers 4550 starting watts and 3650 running watts using gasoline. On the other hand, when powered by propane fuel, you can expect 3300 rated watts and 4100 peak watts.
Portable with Ergonomic Design
The H03652 comes with a wheel kit featuring eight never-flat wheels. The kit allows you to move and carry this machine around without any difficulty.
It also features a U-shaped padded handle that gives an ergonomic grip and lessens hand strain when pulling the device. You can also be sure that its compact tubular roll cage is built to last for years.
You won’t look for anything else with this kit. It comes with a spark plug wrench, user manual, oil, funnel, and two extra wrenches for removing the brackets.
Here are some more tips through questions and answers that you will find helpful when learning about portable generators.
Is it possible to hook two generators together?
Since most portable generators have limited power capacity, some consumers resort to paralleling generators to accommodate more equipment and devices. Connecting two generators, usually of the same brand and size, is called paralleling to provide double energy and power.
The connections increase the wattage supply going to your RV or home. You will usually need parallel generators when you have air conditioning units or heavy power equipment and appliances to run. Hence, it is wise to select a portable generator that is capable of running alongside another machine.
But then you will ask, why don’t just people buy large-sized generators? It is because a portable generator can provide the average energy consumption of a small household. However, when demand increases, it is only then that a homeowner would think about getting an additional unit.
Moreover, portable inverter generators are more fuel-efficient, mobile, and much quieter than the larger models. Additionally, having two portable generators will give you more flexibility, depending on the power level that you need.
If you are worried about running parallel generators, there is no need to worry. It is safe to hook two generators together as the two units can run parallel this way. Only use compatible generators for this purpose, which is often possible with the same brand.
How do I ground a generator?
For safety reasons, grounding your portable generator is necessary. Grounding displaces excess power and electricity and prevents possible electrocution and shock. To do this, you need a grounding rod, which is made of a copper pole measuring eight feet or longer.
However, not all generators need grounding. The following three cases must be present before deciding not to use a grounding rod for your backup power device:
- You plug your appliances directly into the generator using an extension cord.
- All the parts of the generator are attached to the frame. It includes the engine, fuel tank, housing, and power receptacles. In this case, the generator frame serves as the replacement for a grounding rod.
- Your generator must not be plugged directly into a circuit breaker via a manual transfer switch and not be connected to a building.
If you are still unsure if you need a generator grounding rod, it would be wise to consult with a licensed electrician. Seeking an electrician’s expertise is always better than being sorry in the end.
Can I run my generator even without a transfer switch?
It is common for most portable generators to get warm when used for an extended period or in hot weather conditions. However, when a generator overheats, it poses risks to users and the machine as well. You don’t want your generator to malfunction in the middle of a power outage.
To prevent overheating, always be on the lookout on the temperature gauge of the generator. It is also prudent to read the instruction manual to know the proper temperature of the machine. Further, avoid putting excessive power loads on the generator.
You can also check the following and ensure that they are working correctly to prevent your generator from overheating:
- Fan belt tension and rotation
- Levels of coolant
- Fuel and oil levels
- Air filters and vents
- Clean engine and housing
If you believe your generator overheats, immediately turn it off and call a professional to inspect the device and conduct proper maintenance.
We only appreciate the importance of electricity until there is a power outage, especially when there is a natural disaster. Portable backup generators are the most affordable and fastest power source we can have at home. These machines are handy and very convenient.
However, if not used properly, there is the risk of putting our and other people’s lives in danger. Hence, we must ensure that we are handling our generators appropriately. It is also best to seek the assistance and guidance of professional electricians when working with electrical generators.