Have you ever experienced blackouts or brownouts, and you didn’t have any backup power source? Unexpected power outages, especially during natural calamities, are inevitable. It causes inconvenience, sleepless nights, and even business fiascos.
What more, you cannot use appliances to keep you warm during the cold night. The worst thing that could happen is when an outage comes during critical medical procedures. Nobody wants any of these things to occur one time or the other.
Since nobody can predict or control unexpected power outages, it is best if you are prepared in times of emergencies. To keep you safe and well-protected from heat or coldness is having an electric generator handy.
In fact, your electric generator is generally a lifesaver. It is the primary source of electricity when everything else fails. But do not get just any generator.
You need to look for the most suitable one that will ably respond to your power needs. How do you do this? You must consider a lot of factors before purchasing a generator.
Table of Contents:
- What to Consider
- Let’s Compare
What to Consider
Even the slightest differences between generator units can make a significant impact on the performance and efficiency of the device. Therefore, it is crucial that you specifically know what you are looking for in a generator to ensure that you get what you need for your home or business.
Although the price plays a vital role in your decision, there are still other considerations you need to take into account. Let’s look at these things a little bit closer.
When searching for an alternative power source, you might be looking for any of the following three generator types. Even if these devices vary, remember that all of them still need the same proper maintenance to ensure top performance.
- Standby Generator
If you want a device that provides permanent power protection, then go for a standby generator. It works on a transfer switch device that automatically turns on when there is a power outage. You will only feel the power outage briefly since it only takes a few seconds for the machine to switch electrical power.
You can run a standby generator using natural gas or liquid propane. If you have enough money for fuel, then you might want to choose a propane liquid that doesn’t deteriorate quickly. However, for economic reasons, you can also opt for gasoline, which is more affordable than propane.
One of the best features of a standby generator is that it can perform self-tests every week to ensure that it will act accordingly during a power loss. This generator type is ideal for elevators, lighting systems, life support, and medical equipment.
- Portable Generator
Portable generators are powered either by diesel or gasoline fuel. The best thing about this type of generator is that they are portable; hence, they can be used in remote areas where electricity is not available.
Additionally, you can plug your home appliances into the builtin sockets of the generator or wire it into the subpanel of any facility. Portable generators can run a television, lights, tools, refrigerator, and even an airconditioning unit. The number of equipment you can use will depend on the capacity of the generator.
- Inverter Generator
Unlike other generators, an inverter uses a rectifier to convert the AC power into DC. It uses advanced electronics and a high-level of technology, hence more fuel-efficient. Moreover, it is a reliable source of energy since it adjusts the speed according to how much power you need.
Users like its lightweight and less-noise features compared to other types of generators. You can easily fit into your car, your boat, and use it in an RV.
Turning on a generator can sometimes be challenging. It will be more convenient if you get a model with an automatic start that will instantly turn on when there is a power outage. You can also choose a unit with an electric start. It will save you the trouble of pulling a cord to start one up.
Monitoring and Control Panels
It will help a lot if your generator has a control panel where you can monitor the fuel, oil, and power levels. These gauges will save you from the hassle of power interruptions due to the low level of gasoline. With this control panel, you will instantly know when it is time to refuel or if you are going beyond the required power output of the machine.
When the power goes out, it is nice to have a reliable generator that will ensure you get the needed light or illumination you need throughout the day and night. Aside from this, getting the warm or coolness you need and being able to use your appliances will make your day a lot more comfortable.
Not all generators are built the same. Some offer more power but tend to be noisier. In comparison, some are compact and very portable but give less runtime. Let’s look at two of the most popular generator brands and identify which one works best for you.
Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator
The Westinghouse brand is known for its series of top-quality portable generators. It has been delivering reliable products for more than 130 years and is famous for innovation and user-focused features.
One of its best portable generators is the WGen7500 for power and durability. Whatever outdoor activity you may have, whether partying, camping, or fishing, this machine can deliver your much-needed power.
Power and Efficiency
The WGen7500 generator has a powerful 420cc OHV engine that is dependable for years to come. The machine is equipped with overhead valve technology that makes the engine consume less amount of fuel. This feature also allows the generator to run at a lower temperature than traditional generators with side valves.
With its 6.6-gallon or 25-liter gas tank, you can generate 7500 running watts and peak watts of up to 9500. You can rely on this device to give you backup electricity for a maximum of 16 hours. You are also guaranteed to prevent overload with its built-in automatic shutdown feature that turns the generator off when it is low in fuel.
It is also good to know that the WGen7500 is EPA, CARB, and CSA compliant.
Durable and Easy to Maintain
This generator is very convenient to use and maintain. It has the L14-30R outlet, which is Transfer Switch Ready. You can directly connect this generator straight to your home; hence no need for any power strips and extension cords.
Users love its VFT Data Center that shows real-time updates on maintenance information. You will never have to wonder when is the right time for your generator’s checkup and maintenance schedule.
This machine comes with a three-year warranty for service, labor, and parts. You will never have a hard time finding a Westinghouse customer service for their lifetime technical support since they are available nationwide.
Additionally, this generator has a hardened-steel frame with roll bars and a foamed handle for more comfortable grip. The never-flat wheels will let you transport this device anywhere and anytime. The WGen7500 is complete with a 3-Year limited service, labor, and parts coverage with Lifetime Technical Support backed by our nationwide customer service and support network.
Remote Electric Start
You can quickly start the WGen7500 with a simple push of a single button. Its remote start key fob allows you to conveniently turn on the engine even at a distance of up to 260 feet. If the key fob is not working, you still have a choice of turning on its power using the electric start button or the recoil start.
It has an onboard battery charger that helps the generator that extends the battery life for more prolonged use. Finally, the rubber cover protects the outlets from any harsh element and moisture.
WEN 56352 Gas Powered Portable Generator
You can have your much-needed peace of mind knowing that this RV-ready portable generator is CARB Compliant. The WEN 5632 is ideal for emergencies. It is an excellent backup power source for your home appliances to keep the refrigerator running even for a more extended period of a power outage.
Powerful 7HP Engine
This generator can offer a maximum of 3000 running watts while providing 25 amperes at each 120V plug. It has a 208cc 7-HP OHV gas-powered engine that can generate a surge capacity of 3500 watts. These are enough to provide uninterrupted power to essential household equipment and appliances.
Additionally, this machine can run up to 3600 RPM. It comes with two 120V duplex plugs, a four-prong plug, and one car style 12V DC receptacle.
Large Fuel Capacity
The WEN 56352 has a four-gallon gas tank that can provide up to 11 hours runtime at half a load. You can be sure to have enough backup power the whole night.
It uses unleaded gasoline with an 87 octane rating. You can use higher octane fuel for smoother running capability. The good thing about this generator is that you do not need to mix gas and oil since the oil has its own crankcase.
Compact and Easy to Move Around
This generator is compact with a size of just under two feet in length and with a width of 1.5 feet. This size makes this machine easy to store. Weighing only 104 lbs., a couple of able-bodied persons can easily carry it around.
The wheel kit makes transporting this machine quicker; hence it is an ideal power source for camping or any job site. It also has an hour meter that is beneficial in knowing when it is time for machine maintenance.
If you intend to use your generator more often, then it is wise to invest in durable and fuel-efficient inverter generators. Here is some more information that can help you in selecting the best generator available on the market today.
Is maintaining a conventional generator different from an inverter unit?
General maintenance of generators is the same on all types. The most important thing to remember is to follow the maintenance schedule of your generator. Just like any other machine with an engine, routinary checkups and inspections can keep your device running efficiently.
This service maintenance includes checking for possible leaks, liquid levels like oil and coolant. Additionally, you also need to know if there are loose hoses or belts and inspect the battery cables and terminals to ensure uninterrupted power.
A regular oil change, just like a car, can also help make this device run smoothly. It is recommended that you make an oil change after every 100 hours of operation. However, this may vary depending on the brand and model of your generator. Therefore, it is still best to check the user manual to ensure that you are doing it correctly.
Can I keep my inverter generator inside the house?
It would be best if you took note that inverter generators must be placed in a shaded spot. Never put it under direct sunlight because it will affect the machine’s lifespan. If you have a garage that does not get too hot, it will be the best storage place.
The safe place to install your inverter generator is somewhere that is out of reach of children. But never place it in an enclosed space since it needs air and proper ventilation when in use.
What can I run with my 2000-watt generator?
People purchase generators for the primary purpose of having a backup home power source during blackouts and brownouts. A 2000-watt generator has enough power to run most of your essential appliances and equipment. Below is the list of the common domestic appliances with their average wattage consumption.
- Ceiling fan – 150 watts
- Computer – 150 watts
- Microwave – 1000 watts
- Portable heater – 1200 watts
- Refrigerator – 750 watts
- Television – 250 watts
- Toaster – 1200 watts
- Washing machine – 500 watts
What does kVA mean on a generator?
Alternators and generators are rated in kVA instead of kW, not taking into account the power factor. A kVA stands for 1000 Volt-Ampere. It measures “apparent power” instead of “true power,” which is for kilowatt.
How long does a generator last?
First and foremost, generators are not designed to be used for days continuously. It is made to give you an alternate power source for a few hours each time. Therefore, do not overuse your generator thinking that it can provide your home a lifetime power supply.
How long the generator’s uninterrupted runtime is will depend on the type of fuel used and the fuel tank capacity of the machine. To determine the runtime of your generator, divide the gas tank capacity by its fuel consumption rate.
On average, generators can run from 7 to 15 hours. However, there are still other factors that can affect your generator’s runtime, including the power load you put into the machine.
You can easily find the estimated runtime in the user manual. It will give you the basic idea of how long you can use your device continuously. Just keep in mind that you should not let your portable generators run for 24 hours or longer non-stop.
Even though inverter generators are more expensive than the conventional ones, you will get more benefit from it for its efficiency and innovation. The convenience you will get from an inverter generator, like being lightweight, quieter, and more durable, are just some of the things that can influence you to choose an inverter.
But whatever type, size, or price the generator you get, always remind yourself that you should choose the one that will fit your needs. You don’t want to get something that is underpowered that you cannot use important devices.
On the other hand, it is also not advisable to get a generator that has more power than what you need, lest you want to waste energy and fuel.