When your consistent power supply is suddenly cut, sitting and hoping it’s restored soon could be a costly choice. This is true especially when the power outage is not the result of an ordinary fluctuation in power supply or a minor car accident that ruins the power supply cable and can easily be repaired. If the power outage is a consequence of natural disasters, waiting for days or weeks could feel like an eternity.
Whether the blackout lasts for minutes, hours, days, weeks or even a month, having a standby power supply is an investment you should make now. Finding the best generators for your situation is crucial, but before that, you need to understand the different options available and what their pros and cons are.
One way of thinking generators is by their mode of functioning. The inverter or conventional generators have different ways of generating electricity.
Key differences between inverter and regular generators
Both the inverter and the regular generator use gasoline, propane or diesel to propel an alternator that produces alternating current (AC). The main difference between the two is determined by nature of the process that generates the AC delivered to your home or business.
The alternator in conventional generators directly produces AC power while the one in inverter generators converts the initial AC power to Direct Current (DC) power and back to AC power. This variation in the alternator’s function majorly defines the other differences between the two types of generators:
- The AC from inverter generators is cleaner, considering the 3-phase process of the alternator, and is therefore more stable compared to the direct AC delivery by the regular generator. For the same reason, AC from conventional generators is prone to fluctuations and, hence, unreliable for use with delicate electrical appliances.
- Inverter generators are a more recent innovation and are thus constructed with lighter material, making them easily portable in contrast to their counterpart conventional generators.
- Inverter generators need not run full capacity to produce direct AC. Instead, they run partial volumes to produce AC power through the 3-phase cycle. As a result, they are less noisy than regular generators that invest their full capacity to producing direct AC.
- The fuel tanks in a conventional generator are larger than those of their newer counterparts which allows them to run for longer hours before needing a refill. Having to refill the fuel tank of an inverter generator two or three times a day may be cumbersome.
- Conventional generators have higher capacity that can go to tens of thousands of watts while inverter generators rarely produce beyond 5000 watts of energy. This means you will meet more power needs with a regular generator. Generating more power from inverter generators may mean pairing more than one similar units.
- Despite their reduced capacity, inverter generators require you to dig deeper into your pocket as compared to traditional generators.
- Some conventional generators can switch between fuels. In other words, they can use now gasoline, now diesel and now blended forms of diesel such as bio-diesel. On the contrary, most inverter generators use a single form of fuel. The few that can alternate fuels are super expensive.
If You are Making a Choice…
Consider your buying capacity, the safety in the AC power delivered by the generator, the amount of noise you can withstand, the extent of your power needs, and the amount of money you want to invest to run your generator when power outage strikes.