Generators have come a long way ever since Michael Faraday developed the first-ever electric generator in the 1830s.
Performance and safety are just two of the improved features anyone will find in modern generators.
Nowadays, consumers are consistently looking for inverter generators, which are known for their safety and efficiency.
Simply put, generators are machines that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. This energy transformation is made possible through the combustion of fuel.
Some argue that these engine-driven machines are environmental hazards. However, a lot of people also see and experience the advantages the generators offer.
Here are just some of the actual uses of a generator, making it a life-saver for some:
- As a backup power source
- The primary source of electricity when there are power outages
- The portable units can be easily transported from one place to another whenever necessary.
An engine generator set, also known as a Genset, is rated by its horsepower or torque and wattage. But what should you look for in a generator if you are to buy one today?
It might be challenging to summarize all of the factors you need to watch out for, but we have listed some important ones.
What to Consider
There are many things you need to consider when looking for the best engine-driven generator. It includes the engine, speed, voltage regulator, fuel, lubrication, and exhaust mechanisms.
But since it will be difficult to remember all of these things in one reading, we will present three considerations in this article.
The others we will reserve for future issues. So continue reading and learn what you need to know before investing a reasonable sum of money on this machine.
Generators typically use the following to fuel and run the engine:
- Natural gas
- Sewage gas
Small-sized generators normally run on petrol (gasoline) or diesel, while larger units may use diesel, natural, or propane gas. On the other hand, other generator engines operate on both diesel and gas at the same time.
Conventional or Inverter
Both standard and inverter portable generators use fossil fuels to keep its internal combustion engine running. These machines convert mechanical energy to electricity through electromagnetic induction.
Before we get too technical in our discussion, remember that the engine produces one block wave of AC power with a conventional generator. Hence, to successfully deliver 120-volt electricity, you must keep the engine running at a constant 3,600 RPM speed, no matter how much the load is.
However, some years back, Honda was able to produce an innovative inverter generator. This state-of-the-art device is relatively quieter, smaller, lighter, and delivers more efficiency than conventional generators. This raw electricity is transformed into DC power then turns it back into standard voltage power.
The upside with an inverter generator is, it generates super clean energy power that you can use even for sensitive electronic devices and medical equipment. It also adjusts speed depending on the electrical demand, thus reducing fuel consumption.
Weight and Size
We can categorise generators into three according to its weight and size. Let’s find out if a generator’s size has any effect on its performance.
Large inverter generators usually weigh about 250 pounds or more. It won’t be easy to move around this type of generator, even with its wheels. However, you can depend on this heavy-duty machine to power your house since it can typically generate about 5,000 watts and more at 220 volts.
You can directly connect this generator to an electrical panel using a transfer switch, which is a recommended safety device for this device.
These kinds of generators can weigh 80 pounds or more and can have wheels or not. It can generate around 2,500 to 4,500 watts, which can also be enough for enough home lights, microwave, or toaster. It is also the right size for recreational vehicles like an RV.
However, connecting it to an electrical panel with a transfer switch is not recommended. It would be best if you plug your devices or appliances directly into the generator instead.
- Small or Recreational
Small generators, weighing only about 50 to 60 pounds, can be carried around with a single hand. It is an ideal power source for camping or tailgating since it can provide max power of around 2,000 watts.
But it would help if you do not use it in enclosed spaces for too long due to its strong carbon monoxide emission.
Power and Outlet
Of course, you need to know how much power you need to determine the kind of generator you will get. Are you running all your kitchen appliances with a generator? When using power saw tools, the simple guide below might help you.
- Circular Saw: 1800 running watts, 3200 startup watts
- Miter Saw: 1,800 running watts, 3400 startup watts
- Table Saw: 1,800 running watts, 3500 startup watts
- Battery Charger of a Power Tool: 330 watts
Another vital consideration you have to take note of is the type of outlets you will use. Small generators typically have two 120V AC outlets and a couple of USB ports. For units with 4000 watts or more, you will find 240V plugs with the 120V outlets.
If you intend to use your inverter generator outside frequently, it would be wise to look for a unit with outlets that are GFCI protected.
Champion boasts of their years of experience when it comes to durable, powerful tools known worldwide. Their dependable tools are designed and engineered in the United States, offering a wide variety of devices for work, home, play, and hobbies.
On the other hand, Westinghouse is proud of its outdoor equipment, including the reliable and user-friendly generators. It is a trustworthy brand you can depend on if you want quality and robust tools to last a lifetime.
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator
If you want your jobs to be more comfortable, then go for Champion 3400-watt inverter generator. It is a portable, RV-ready, dual-fuel device with an electric start that you can depend on even in cold weather conditions.
This machine offers convenience and versatility that you will get enough power at home, in your vehicle, or when working on any project.
If you want your jobs to be more comfortable, then go for Champion 3400-watt inverter generator. It is a portable, RV-ready, dual fuel device with an electric start that you can depend on even in cold weather conditions. This machine offers convenience and versatility so that you will get enough power at home, in your vehicle, or when working on any project.
Champion has an Inverter Technology that includes a smart Economy Mode. With this feature, you can decrease the electrical load, thus providing extended product life, better fuel economy, and quiet operation. The kit includes the following:
- 120V 30A RV (TT-30R) outlet
- Two 120V 20A (5-20R) household outlets
- A 12V DC automotive-style outlet that has a dual USB adapter
- Standard 50-amp RV outlet
- Propane hose with a built-in regulator
You can use this Champion generator right out of the box using either gasoline or propane. You can comfortably switch between the two types of fuel with a quick turn of the fuel selector knob. This portable device can hold 0.6-quarts of oil and has a low oil shut-off sensor.
Its 192cc engine can produce 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts. You can expect this dependable device to run for 7.5 hours at 25% load with a single full gas tank.
On the other hand, you can get 3060 starting watts and 2790 running watts that can last for 14.5 hours at 25% load when you use a 20-pound propane tank.
This device is surprisingly very quiet, producing 59 dBA, which is just about the same average conversation level. Hence, it is ideal for any use, like tailgating, doing DIY projects, RV, or home-use. This generator is portable, weighing only 95.7 pounds.
With its featured wheel kit, you can smoothly bring this machine from home to any camp or job site. It also has a Quick Touch Panel that users will find very convenient since all controls are located in one area.
Finally, it has an optional Parallel Kit that will allow you to increase output by merely linking it up to two inverters with 2800 wattage or higher.
If you have sensitive electronic devices, then this Champion generator is safe for use. It provides clean electricity that is perfect for your delicate electronics. You can confidently plug-in any device with this generator that produces only clean power (˂ 3% THD).
Furthermore, you can feel at ease knowing that this generator is EPA certified, CARB-compliant, and backed up with a three-year limited warranty.
You will also find the maintenance for your Champion devices with their service centers conveniently located nationwide.
Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator
Are you going on a trip or camping in the woods? Then, the Westinghouse iGen4500 inverter generator will be your perfect partner for your energy needs on the go. For your instant and convenient energy backup source, you can rely on this machine to give you enough energy to last the whole night.
Further, it will also be nice to know that you can safely run any sensitive electronic device like plasma TV, tablets, and laptops using the iGen4500. It is CARB compliant and offers a clean and stable power that is ideal for delicate gadgets.
The iGen4500 gas powered inverter generator, just like other Westinghouse devices, is a portable machine that delivers reliable power whenever needed.
This company is a brand trusted by consumers worldwide for over 100 years. They are known for innovative and user-friendly solutions.
Power You Can Depend On
This inverter generator has 3,700 running watts and 4,500 starting watts at less than 3% THD. It has a modern design with a Push-Button Electric Start and wireless remote start. These features make starting the machine straightforward and comfortable. You use the fob key to start up the generator from up to 109 yards away.
The iGen4500 is a super quiet portable generator that also features the following:
- Five 20R 120V duplex household outlet
- One RV-ready Tt-30R 30 amp outlet
- Two USB outlets, which are perfect for trailers and home use to run all personal and family essentials
Rotating Digital Display
This generator has a LED display that shows you the remaining run time, fuel level, voltage, and power output. With this device feature, you do not have to wonder when you are running out of power and need to refuel. The digital display will also remind you when the machine is due for maintenance.
Therefore, whether you are using the iGen4500 to run your RV, power tools, or household appliances, you can depend on this device when there is a power outage.
This Westinghouse generator is designed to give maximum fuel efficiency with its variable engine speed feature. Therefore, the device will only produce just enough power that you need for each specific project.
This device can run for up to 18 hours with its 3.4-gallon fuel tank. With this amount of gasoline, you will never have to refuel the machine every so often.
The generator also produces a low noise output of 52 dBA. Hence, you can feel confident that your neighbors will not get disturbed even if your generator is running overnight. You will never find a lightweight yet powerful inverter generator as the iGen4500.
If you are still doubtful about what type of generator you wish to purchase, here are some more tips to help you make that final decision.
Can I plug a generator to a wall outlet?
Portable generators are dependable machines when you need immediate backup power during blackouts and brownouts. For safety reasons, never plug your generator into an outlet. It can cause overloading, overheating, and back feeding and put your home at risk of fire.
Improper connection of a portable generator into electric wiring can produce a hazardous current that can electrocute and injure you and other people. What you can do to prevent back-feeding is to install a double-pole transfer-switch gear.
It is also wise to read the generator’s instruction manual and consult with licensed electricians when using the device to avoid any damages on properties and lives.
Do I need to turn off the main breaker when using the generator?
Do not forget to turn off the circuit breaker before starting a generator. It ensures that the load does not draw current until such time that the generator is smoothly running. Moreover, you also need to turn off the breaker before stopping your generator.
Here are other safety tips you should remember when running a portable generator:
- Always read and follow the instructions of the user manual before operating a generator.
- Use an extension cord in good condition and rated for a higher load than the combined wattage of all the appliances you will use.
- Always keep your portable generator dry and away from any liquid substance. Remember that water and generators don’t come along together.
- Do not run the device in enclosed spaces since it can produce high carbon monoxide levels, which can be fatal.
- Never let children and pets get close to the generator when it is in operation.
Can I run my generator even without a transfer switch?
Portable generators designed for 5,000 watts and more will need a transfer switch. It automatically switches on the generator when the power goes off.
Directly connecting your generator to an electrical service without a power switch can damage your generator, and appliances, and endanger lives.
An alternative option you can use is an interlock device, a small connector that attaches a generator to the service panel without a transfer switch.
This alternate device costs less than transfer switches. However, it would be best if you let only a professional electrician install the interlock device.
Even if inverter generators are more expensive than conventional ones, they are less costly to operate and maintain. Therefore, if you expect to use this device more frequently, you can get more fuel savings if you have an inverter generator.
Additionally, purchasing this innovative machine means that you are getting less noise, more environment friendly, and portable.
Finally, you will also get more versatility since you can safely hook two generators for added power.