You do not always have to spend a lot of money to find the best generator for either your home backup or outdoors when camping.
That is what Westinghouse and Generac brands are about. They have some of the best generators in the market and they do not cost much.
Good examples include Westinghouse WGen3600 and Generac 7117 portable generators. These two inverter generators have the best power outputs for the money.
Anyone who is on a budget should find them being ideal to provide power to their appliances and electronics.
Before you can decide which one is the best, let us first look at what to consider when buying a portable inverter generator.
What to Consider
The Size of the Generator
The size in this case mean the amount of power that the generator can deliver rather than the physical size.
It is always easy to tell the power that the generator makes as it is the first feature a manufacturer will show off. It would even be in the generator’s name.
Once you have determined your electrical load, then focus on getting a generator that can handle it all. Always go for a generator that can deliver more power than what you need. The surplus means that you can add more electronics without changing the whole generator.
The Build Quality
The overall build quality is another top consideration someone should make too. Generators are supposed to last for decades if well maintained. No one wants to get a new generator a few months down the line.
Look at the materials used to make the generator to learn more about the build quality. Another thing is the workmanship. If the workmanship is good then you know the same is for the build quality too.
The product reviews are also a nice place to learn more about the product you are about to buy. The manufacturer might claim that the generator has the best build quality only for the users to claim otherwise.
It is good sometimes to decide based on the mistakes of other people.
Portability is something you should consider if you want to use the generator more than as a home backup.
There are those who might want to take it with them on trails, campsites, or host outdoor events where getting power might be an issue.
When looking at portability, the first thing to consider is the physical size of the unit. Many will want it to be compact so that carrying it in your vehicle is easy.
Still, you need a lightweight generator so that lifting it from one place to another is easy. Those that are heavy will often have wheels to help with moving them around.
So, look at the different portability features that can make the generator ideal for you.
Fuel Type and Efficiency
Another thing to keep in mind should be the fuel type and the overall generator fuel efficiency.
The common fuel types would be gas, diesel, and propane. It is easy to get gas and diesel generators compared to propane generators.
Gas and diesel generators are often preferred because they can deliver more power any given time compared to using propane generators.
The fuel efficiency is also important as the last thing you need is to keep refueling the generator. Depending on the engine technology, there are some models that will be more fuel efficient than others.
The fuel efficiency will affect the runtime too. A model with the best fuel efficiency can run for longer without necessarily requiring a refill of gas.
If you have used a generator before, then you know there is no way around a noisy model. It comes down to the muffler design mostly to keep the generator quiet.
A good muffler will minimize the noise in combination with other noise reduction methods.
New generators will have better muffler designs whose aim is to keep the noise to a minimum as possible. If you can get a model that does not make a lot of noise, then you will not disturb your neighbors with the generator running.
Look at the noise level rating to see if the generator is silent or not. For a silent generator, it would have a rating of lower than 70 dBA.
This is something that some people are likely to overlook, however, you should not.
Some generators are generally easy to start because the manufacturer includes an electric starter. This means that you can press a button or turn a key and then the generator starts easily.
An electric start option would need the unit to have a battery to start the generator each time.
The other option would be having the recoil start. This is the most common and still used even when the unit has an electric start.
In most cases, such a recoil start would be considered as a backup starting method.
Westinghouse WGen3600 Hybrid Frame Inverter Generator
Westinghouse as a brand has always been regarded as the best for affordability and reliability. It is uncommon for such qualities to go hand in hand. Now that you know there is so much to like about Westinghouse, let us see if the WGen3600 generator can live up to the brand’s name.
Here are the features that made the generator worth our time checking it out.
Good Power for Trailers and Homes
The overall power that you get from a generator will determine where best you can use it. It is worth reporting that this model comes with one of the best power performances.
It has a peak power output of 4650 watts and a running power of 3600 watts. We all know that running watts is the usable power you can get with the generator. So, this model should give you enough power to handle most of your household electronics.
The unit comes with a recoil start for getting the generator up and running. It might not be as desired as the electric start, but it is still good enough.
Even if it is a recoil start, you will find that it gives you an easy time starting the generator.
Another thing you are going to like about the generator should be its runtime. The manufacturer claims that it can run for 13.5 hours on its 4-gallon fuel tank.
This kind of runtime is good so that you can power the electronics without worrying about refueling all the time.
Think of a situation where you are in the wild camping with your RV and then you need to keep refueling the generator.
Such a runtime gives you enough power that you need to handle all your electrical needs for several hours.
The engine being an important component of the generator, we find it being worth the money you spend on the generator.
This is because the engine is constructed using a durable iron sleeve which is all about reliability too.
Whenever you buy a generator, you do not wish to keep replacing it more often. That is what you can expect to get with this Westinghouse generator engine. It will last for even a decade with regular maintenance.
The 212cc 4-stroke engine is also good in terms of fuel efficiency. Thanks to its impressive fuel efficiency we get to see such impressive runtimes from the generator.
Before you can get a generator, you would want to know the number of outlets so that you determine where best it can be used.
This model comes with three outlets to power almost anything from household items to the RV power system.
Always make sure that you connect to the correct outlet so that the generator can power with the right amperage.
Safety and Protection
Anyone would wish for a unit to have the best safety and protection. It seems the Westinghouse manufacturer thought of that because this one has several of them.
The most notable include automatic low oil shutdown, overload protection, and automatic voltage regulation.
Such are crucial to protect the generator from any damage as sometimes they can be costly to repair.
Before any Westinghouse generator can be released into the market, the manufacturer performs a comprehensive quality assurance process.
The process involves thorough testing of the generator to ensure it is working correctly. As such, you may notice that the new generator might have some oil or fuel residue. You should not worry so much about it as it was part of the testing process.
Generac 7117 Portable Inverter Generator
Those who are outdoor enthusiasts now have something to help them power their adventures. If you are looking to go on trails or camping, then this should be a nice consideration. That is not all, as it can still power your home too.
Here are more Generac 7117 generator features to get you even more interested in it.
Quiet and Easy to Use
The Generac 7117 generator is quiet when it comes to its operation. If you had problems with other generators that were too loud for your neighbors, then it might be time to switch to this one.
Some people claim that they can have a normal conversation around the generator as it is not too loud. Your camping neighbors are not likely to complain about it.
The model is also generally easy to use compared to some other units in the same price range. You will find that the panel is well-marked so that you know what each control can do.
To make it even better, the manual is also clearly written so that you can find anything about the generator in it.
Stable Power Output
The model is rated as 2200 starting watts and 1700 running watts. You should focus more on the running watts as they determine the electrical load you can add to the generator.
In addition to giving you such power, we find that the power is clean and stable. Such power is what you need for your sensitive electronics and appliances. You can be sure that the appliances can work great within their tolerances.
So, how about its runtime on such power output? This generator can run for 10.75 hours on its 1.2-gallon tank. For many people, this is truly an impressive runtime.
We must point out that the runtime is when the generator is running at 25% capacity.
Transportation is even easier since the generator comes with a built-in handle. Simply pick it up as you would a container and set it up where you want.
Since it weighs 46 pounds, you will not have to worry about the weight when transporting it. Thanks to being lightweight, portability is not an issue with this generator.
Another reason you might want to get this generator is its economy mode. This mode will provide you with the best fuel economy on overall.
This is where the generator will reduce its speed to match up the load requirements. It can do the vice versa too.
The reduction in speed will further reduce the noise that the generator produces. Who would not want a low noise generator?
Parallel Ready Generator
We also find that this unit is parallel ready. This simply means that you can connect two similar generators to double the power. This is for those who might have to deal with more electrical load.
Keep in mind that the parallel kit is sold separately. If you want it, make sure to choose it as an option when checking out.
What is the difference between running watts and maximum or starting watts?
The running watts or rated watts describe the power that the generator would produce when running continuously. The starting watts is the power that the generator would produce for short periods or when starting.
Can you use a portable generator as a backup for your home?
Yes. So long as the portable generator has enough rated power to support your electronics then you can use it as a backup power source.
Before you can connect the generator to your house, make sure that you consult a certified electrician. The last thing you need is to end up with a generator that fails because you did not connect it properly.
What is the work of a transfer switch?
Having a transfer switch is important so that you can connect the portable inverter generator to the electrical system of your home and then disconnect the home from the utility grid. This is important to eliminate any chances of back-feed.
Should you ground a portable generator?
Yes. Because of safety, it is recommended that you properly ground the portable inverter generator. Without proper grounding, you risk ending up with an electrocution.
If you are not sure how to proceed, engage an electrician to help with the grounding process. This will leave you with a safe generator to use in your home.
How often are you supposed to perform maintenance on a generator?
Different generators would have maintenance schedules to follow. We recommend that you follow the manual on when and how to maintain your generator.
Some might think because they do not use the generator more often, then they do not need to perform maintenance. That should not be the case.
Where can you purchase generator spare parts?
If you have to repair the generator, follow the recommendations given by the manufacturer on where to buy spare parts.
We recommend that you consider using an authorized dealer so that you can get genuine spare parts for your generator.
Looking at these two models, we find the Westinghouse WGen3600 model being the better option for the money. This is because it can provide the user with twice the power the Generac 7117 model can provide at a lower price.
We also find it to be an easy generator to use on overall. Once you get it out of the packaging, then you can start using it easily. It is why more people will go for it as it has more value for the price.