Portable generators are the most common type of generator on the market. This is because they offer the widest application and flexibility in use. However, choosing one can be difficult.
There are a lot of differences between portable generators. The list of features of fuel powered generators is long. For example, there are three types of starts, three types of fuel, several options for fuel control and the list goes on.
Buying a generator should be an educated choice. There are a number of design features, electrical features and mechanics to think about before purchasing a portable generator.
Below are tips on how to choose the right portable generator for you. This is a detailed guide on portable generators.
In most cases, a portable generator refers to a moveable generator that is powered by either liquid propane, gasoline or an oil/gas mixture. However, a few other types of generators are also sometimes labeled as portable generators. These are the small inverter generator and the lightweight solar power generator. These are given the label of portable generator because they are so easy to carry.
The size of generators is measured by their power, not their dimensions. Portable generators running on fuel can be categorized into 3 brackets. These are less than 2000 watts, 2000 – 7000 watts and 7000 watts or more.
Portable generators with a power of less than 2000 watts are the lightest and are usually hand-carried with a handle. Most of these models are less than 70 pounds.
The dimensions of a portable generator between 2000 watts and 7000 watts vary greatly. These models can be a hand-carry design or built like a cart with wheels.
The more power, the bigger the generator dimensions. The most powerful portable generators are heavy, anywhere from 200 pounds to 300 pounds. These are considered heavy-duty models. They often have a protective design with never flat tires.
Once you have found how much power the generator requires, you can start to think about the design of the portable generator. As mentioned, most designs are closely related to the generator’s power. Meaning, the more power the bigger the generator.
The smaller portable generators are good options for occasional use like camping trips. These designs are easier to carry around and fit easily into a car. If you only need to charge a few personal electrical devices like mobile phones and flashlights then these smaller generators are enough.
An even better alternative for outdoor trips is a solar power portable generator. Thanks to the solar power and rechargeable batteries these generators don’t require any extensive wiring and cords. This saves you even more space and weight.
When you need more power but don’t expect to run an entire building, a mid-size portable generator is the best choice. Portable generators designed like an easily wheeled cart are useful for outdoor work sites or for an RV. These generators have enough power for electrical tools and appliances like a TV or fridge.
If you are expecting to haul around the portable generator frequently, pay close attention to how mobile the design is. Look for sturdy wheels and a comfortable grip on the handle.
The biggest portable generators are somewhat misleading. Yes, the designs have wheels but because of their weight they are not easy pull around. Some designs are over 250 pounds which should not be pulled by alone.
However, their power is sometimes necessary for example during extreme weather conditions. Looking for a portable generator that can act as a backup home generator? Since the generator is to be used for only one place, choose a safe spot for the generator. This way, the generator can stay stationary and the weight is no longer an issue.
Generators mention two levels of power; the running power and surge power. Both are measured in watts.
Running power is also called the rated watts. This is the capacity of the generator over a continuous amount of time.
Surge power is also called starting power or starting watts. Electrical devices and appliances consume more power when they are turning on. To accommodate this increased need of power, generators also have a surge power. However, this can only be held for a few seconds.
Note: Not all devices and appliances mention the surge power. To prevent electrical damage and overloading, add a few hundred watts to the total required running power.