I am always looking out for alternatives to generators and recently I ran into something called and inverter generator. With technological advancement happening all around us, the generator world is gradually evolving. The conventional portable gas generator we are acquainted with is being replaced by the inverter generator. If you are new to the generator market, it can be confusing to understand the incredible number of differences between these generators. However, this article will serve as a guide, explaining these differences. I have also highlighted the best inverter
WHAT IS AN INVERTER GENERATOR?
Inverter Generators outputs AC current just like most conventional generators would. However, the current is then converted to DC voltage and inverted back to clean AC voltage. The inverter smooths and improves the quality of the electricity generated. This process effectively irons out variations and spikes that might otherwise be harmful. Simply put, an inverter generator is capable of providing electricity of similar quality to “mains” electricity from a socket in your house. This means that you can run sensitive electronic equipment without fear of damage.
What is the difference between Conventional Generator, Inverter, & Inverter Generator?
A conventional generator, the one we are familiar with, consists of an engine driving an alternator to produce electricity. The engine has to run at a constant speed to provide the correct frequency of electricity. However, the frequency of the electricity will vary with fluctuations in engine revs. The power spikes make this type of generator risky to use for running your sensitive electronics.
The inverter converts the power produced that comes in the form of direct current and converts it to alternating current. This current is filtered and given a fixed frequency, producing cleaner power than conventional generators.
The inverter generator, on the other hand, incorporates both the technologies into one powerful equipment. It produces electricity just as a conventional generator does and converts the power produced just as an inverter would. The power supplied by the inverter is a pure sine wave and always the correct voltage and frequency. They are your best and safest bet when it comes to running sensitive electronics. Computers, TVs, and Microwaves are some examples of sensitive electronics.
Which is right for me?
Depending on a number of factors, any of these could prove to be a right choice for you. Let us look at the important features to look out for while purchasing one. We will also see how each of these generators fit the profile.
It is advised that you go for generators that are portable and lightweight. Most inverter generators fit this profile. Their portability makes them easy to transport as they fit easily into your car, boat or RV. Conventional generators on the other have are heavy and bulky. They lack the convenience that inverter generators have.
Maximum Power Output
Conventional generators come in just about any size you want. They usually range from 500 watts to 50,000 watts and higher. Inverter generators focus on convenience, quiet operation and portability, meaning that their maximum output possibilities are limited. They are mainly available in 1000 to 4000-watt models.
Quality of Power Produced
The conventional generator is connected to an alternator and runs at a speed that produces the desired AC frequency at a cost. The output of the alternator is connected directly to the load, without any processing. This means that the quality of power produced is not clean and can cause damage to sensitive electronics.
The inverter generator, however, has a slightly different mode of operation. This unit produces AC electricity just like a conventional generator but a rectifier is used to convert the AC power to DC. Capacitors are used to smooth it out to a certain degree and DC power is then “inverted” back into clean AC power at the desired frequency and voltage. The resulting electricity is much cleaner; essentially the same quality of electricity that you typically get from your electric company. This makes it a suitable power source for running sensitive electronics such as your printers, game consoles, computer and other appliances/electronics.
Fuel Efficiency / Run Time
The run time depends largely on the fuel tank size. Inverter generators are more fuel-efficient. Its engine speed adjusts according to the power load needed. Conventional generators instead normally run at an even 3600 rpm, regardless of the power load. Fuel savings can be significant.
Inverter generators are designed to be comparatively quiet. This type of generator adjusts the electrical characteristics of the power produced using microprocessors and special electronics. This means that the engine can throttle back when the load is light, saving fuel and substantially reducing noise.
The conventional generators are quite noisy. They run at a constant speed (typically 3600 rpm) in order to produce a stable flow of electricity. To give an idea, an inverter generator running low, could be the equivalent of people conversing. Instead, many conventional generators can have the same noise range (decibels) as a chain saw. A silenced generator has the same engine as a conventional generator, running at a constant 3600 rpm, but is much quieter due to the acoustic cabinet which significantly dampens the sound. The conventional generators, on the other hand, are quite noisy. They run at a constant speed (typically 3600 rpm) in order to produce a stable flow of electricity. This type of generator can have the same noise range (decibels) as a chain saw.
The conventional generator has a greater advantage than the inverter generator in terms of price. The former is very affordable and less costly to repair. All the amazing benefits of the inverter generation come at a quite expensive cost. Its convenience, quiet operation, fuel efficiency, portability and controlled power output makes it stand out.
Before making a choice, you can evaluate the importance of each of these factors. You can check what applications you intend to use your choice generator for and your scheduled budget.
Top 3 Inverter Generators in the Market
Inverter Generators are increasingly becoming popular due to their high efficiency, amongst other amaxing qualities already mentioned above. Aome of the rated best inverters for this year, 2017 in the generator market include:
Champion Power Equipment 75531i Inverter Generator
75531i is arguably the best inverter generator in the market this year. It has 3100W powered by a 171cc OHV engine which makes it capable of running for 8 hours on a full tank. Like most inverter generators, it provides clean energy and has low noise pollution. What makes it stand out from other inverter generator is its capability of powering a 15,000btu air conditioner. You can take this device while on a trip, remote areas or campsites. The device weighs 80lbs which includes 4 integrated wheels and a stowaway handle. Other features include an enclosed housing, 1-12V DC outlet w/cables, overload protection switch, 1-tt30 Receptacle and a low oil sensor. It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Westinghouse iGen2500 Portable Inverter Generator – 2200 Rated Watts & 2500 Peak Watts – Gas Powered
This is another one of the top ranking inverters available in the market. This generator produces enough power to light an average home including its electronic gadgets. It is very cost effective when compared to other similarly rated inverters. This unit is portable and produces power clean enough to run your sensitive equipments. It also has a 12V adapter where you can charge cell phones, laptops and other appliances. The iGen2500 has a high rating and loads of positive reviews due to its high quality features. Some of these features include:
- Double air circuit and muffler to maintain coolness as your unit runs.
- Power indicator light,
- Low oil shut down,
- Asymmetrical fans,and a sound output
- AC overload reset,
- High efficiency running mode, a tool kit and an oil fill measuring container.
Honda EU 2000ITIA3 Portable Inverter Generator
This generator runs on a 2000 Watts inverter that produces only about 53 decibels of noise. When on a full tank, the generator can run for up to 8 hours, producing continuously clean power while on. Its powerful Honda GX100 engine makes it produce a great chunk of energy capable of powering an average home’s lighting systems plus all its electric appliances and gadgets. Owing to its light weight, you can carry this generator around your home, on a trip, and wherever else you need it.
Like other inverter generators, Honda EU 2000ITI produces consistent clean power and is equipped with overload protection. It has an oil alert system which protects it from any damages that may occur should oil reduce in the engine. You can use this generators to power your refrigerator, microwaves and other sensitive equipment without worry. It also comes with a 3- year warranty, so you can rest assured that the generator is made to last for quite a long time.