Your Guide To Choose The Best Generator For You

In choosing the best generator for your use, there are countless options. This is one reason most people may be confused when choosing one. Each model has its unique features, price range, strength, pros, and cons.

Most people ask - Can I ever get the right generator? This is a challenge for most users. Here, you’ll understand everything necessary. Also, you’ll overcome the fear of choosing the perfect type. Please continue reading to widen your knowledge in this regard. Enjoy!

What Is a Generator?

Before knowing how to choose the right generator, let us know more about them. When we are off the grid, we may need to generate power. A generator serves multiple functions. It is a device or machine that helps in converting mechanical to electrical energy. With the latter, power is generated for diverse uses.

Generators can convert their electrical energy. They can do this even without connecting to any power grid. It mostly depends on gas just like the way cars do. It can transform chemical energy into electrical energy. They achieve this by capturing the power of motion.

How Do I Choose the Right Generator?

Before choosing a Generator, understand how they work and know the different types. Also, there are some features to consider before making your choice. This helps you know the best to go for. 

How Do Generators Work?

A generator does not generate electricity. They only convert mechanical or chemical energy to electrical energy. This is known as electromagnetic induction, established by Michael Faraday. The first process of converting energy is that the engine creates motion. This energy then ensures the production of electric charges. Then, they are forced through a magnetic field’s conductor. The final result is a current that powers all appliances or gadgets.

Moving an electrical conductor could cause electric charge flow. This could be a wire possessing charges. The result is that this causes a difference in voltage between the conductor’s two ends. This triggers the passage of electric charges thereby generating current.

The generator has some specific features that enable the device to work. These could be regarded as their major components. Without them, it is incomplete and can never function. Let’s consider them.

Engine

This could be taken as the "backbone" or "powerhouse" of the generator. Its engine’s size differs in various models. It influences the highest power output that can be supplied by any generator.

Different generator engines function using various kinds of fuel. These include gasoline, diesel, natural gas, or propane. The smaller ones mostly run on gasoline. The larger ones usually operate on liquid propane, diesel, natural gas, or propane gas. However, some run on dual fuel.

Alternator

This is also regarded as the "gearhead". This produces the electrical output from the mechanical input released by the engine. It features a gathering of stationary and moving parts built-in housing. These components connect to cause relative moments between the magnetic and electric fields. In the end, this generates electricity.

Voltage Regulator

The voltage regulator regulates the output voltage. It has some features that play a role in the cyclical process of voltage control. This component ensures the conversion of alternating current to direct current. It then feeds the DC to the exciter windings. This converts the direct current to alternating current. It works in line with the primary stator winding and produces a little AC. These windings are intertwined to units called the rotating rectifiers.

The Rotating Rectifiers

The rotating rectifiers help to refine the AC produced and rectify it to the DC. Afterward, the latter is fed to the rotor to generate an electromagnetic field. This adds to the rotating magnetic field of the rotor.

Rotor

The rotor then produces a bigger AC voltage across the windings of the stator. The generator then induces more output AC voltage. This continues till the generator produces a voltage equal to its highest capacity. Once the generator’s output increases, the voltage regulator generates little DC.

The moment it runs at full capacity, the voltage regulator reaches a state of equilibrium. As such, it generates sufficient DC to sustain the generator's output.

Cooling and Exhaust System

Cooling System

When one runs the generator continuously without a break, its components begin to heat up. It is, therefore, crucial to have a cooling system to extract the heat produced.

Check the coolant levels of the generator each day. Flush the cooling system and raw water pump at least every 600 hours of operation. Also, wipe its heat exchanger at least after working continuously for 2,400 hours.

Keep your generator in an open and ventilated location. Users must allow at least 3 feet at every side of their generator. This is to give way for the free flow of cooling air.

Exhaust System

Generators emit fumes, which are injurious to our health. It is however important to install an appropriate exhaust system that can dispose of it.

Cast iron, steel, or wrought iron, are usually used in manufacturing exhaust pipes. They must be freestanding. This means they shouldn’t get assistance from the generator's engine.

These pipes are mostly joined to the generator’s engine. They make use of connectors to help reduce vibrations. It also stops any form of damage to the generator's exhaust system.

Control Panel

The control panel is the generator’s user interface. It features some provisions for controls and outlets. Let’s consider its components.

Electric auto-start & shutdown

The auto-start control panels are put on the generator automatically during a grid-off. This also controls it while running. It also shuts the unit down without manual intervention when it is no longer in use.

Engine gauge

Various gauges show essential parameters. These include battery voltage, oil pressure, operation duration, and more. Their regular measurements and supervision allow the shutdown of the generator. This will happen in case any of them cross their different threshold levels.

Generator gauges

Generators feature meters that measure the output voltage, current and frequency of operation. Other controls include phase selector, frequency, and engine control switches. The latter could be auto or manual mode.

What Are The Types of Generators?

There are different types of generators. Each of them fits in for different purposes.

Inverter Generator

This generator is mostly quieter and smaller in size compared to other types. It is also fuel-efficient. This type is very safe for powering sensitive electronics. It is quite expensive. If demands are low, it utilizes the fuel required to provide the necessary power.

Conventional Portable Generator

This portable generator is less expensive than a standby one. One great advantage of this type is that it is easy to transport. However, it has placement restrictions because it produces carbon monoxide. Therefore, it should be placed not less than 20 feet away from the building. Due to the emissions, it should never face a building. This is because its fumes are toxic. It needs coverage in the rain.

Portable Power Station

This is more of a giant battery pack than a generator. This power station operates on a battery or solar panel. This is why it requires charging. It does not need gas at any point. Hence, it is safe for indoor purposes. Also, it generates less power than other models. This device is not a smart long-term backup. It is affordable and easy to transport.

Standby Generator

This is different from a conventional portable generator that is not installed permanently. It is "ever-ready" to provide power anytime there is a grid-off. It requires an expert to handle the installation. This implies that it runs automatically. This means it instantly kicks on with no manual intervention when there is a power outage.

One advantage of this model is its capacity to power an entire facility. It is a large generator that can carry bigger appliances. Also, it is relatively affordable; though, some are sold at exorbitant prices. It can run for days without any refueling.

This generator starts by transmitting power to the circuits. It mostly runs on natural gas, diesel, or liquid propane gas. In today's world, standby generators are fast becoming an option for most people.

What Is The Best Generator For Power Outages?

The best generators will generate electricity for you when there is a grid-off. However, in a world where there are countless models, you may be confused about which to choose. To save you the stress, here are the best 10 generators.

Champion 2000 Watt Stackable Generator

It is no doubt that Champion is unarguably one of the best brands in the generator industry. This stackable generator is so easy to use and is made of quality materials.

This generator has many features that make it outstanding. It comes with a stackable design and has a runtime of 9.5 hours. Also, it has a smart economy mode which aids the stability of its electrical load. This helps economize its fuel usage. It comes with an 80cc OHV engine and weighs about 48.5lbs. Its fuel tank size is 1.0-gallon capacity. It is light; this aids easy transportation.

Generac 7117 GP2200i Generator

Generac is a brand that has built trust over the past decades. It is an American company founded in 1969. One of its top quality products is the Generac 7117 GP2200i. It is dependable and durable and weighs about 46 pounds.

This generator features a running watt of 2,200 with a surge wattage of 1,700. Its fuel tank capacity is 1.2 gallons. Also, it operates quietly and is simple to use. It has a compact design and can be transported easily. It comes with a knob ensuring that the startup is easy. It is a parallel-ready generator and is fuel-efficient.

Wen 56180 Generator

Unarguably, Wen manufactures quality and durable generators. The same goes for this model, which has become one of the most purchased recently.

The Wen 56180 generator is very easy to use. Transporting it also comes easy. It lasts long and can run for 7.5 hours with 50% load capacity. Also, it has a 1.1-gallon capacity fuel tank. It possesses 2 AC 120V three-prong wall outlets and is CARB compliant.

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series Generator

Briggs & Stratton has become a giant in the field of technology. This brand has existed for more than a century. It is known for a variety of residential equipment asides from generators.

This generator has many amazing features. It is one of the most purchased across the globe. It has a 1.5-gallon fuel tank capacity and weighs 85 lbs. Its runtime is up to 10 hours at 25% load capacity. Also, it has a permanent magnet alternator. It has starting and running watts of 3,000 and 2,600 respectively. This is a quiet power technology and is RV-ready.

Winco Portable Dual Fuel HPS6000HE

The Winco Portable Dual Fuel HPS6000HE is another top-quality generator. This is because it is made from high-quality materials. It can power different electronics with less than 5% THD. One interesting thing here is its dual-fuel nature. This provides you with the option of choosing either gasoline or natural gas.

This generator weighs 212 pounds. It generates stable and clean power to run your sensitive electronics. It features an electric start and with full load capacity, its runtime is about 4.5 hours. Also, it has rubber isolation mounts with brushless 100% copper windings.

DuroStar DS4000S Generator

DuroStar is known to produce affordable and durable generators. The same goes for this product. It comes with an air-cooled engine. Aside from this, it has run and surge watts of 3,300 and 4,000 respectively. This generator can handle heavy loads and is EPA and CARB compliant. It is portable and weather-friendly and offers great value for your money.

Atima AY2000i Generator

The Atima AY2000i is another reliable generator. It is powered by a strong Yamaha engine. It is parallel capable and features a 1-gallon tank size. Its runtime is about 10.3 hours at 25% load capacity. It has running and surge watts of 1,600 and 2,000 respectively. It is fuel-efficient and it runs quietly.

This Atima Inverter Generator is good for camping, emergency backup, tailgating, & home use. It has a compact design and is lightweight. This makes transportation easier. It generates stable, high-quality, and clean power.

Yamaha Ef2000iSv2 Generator

The Yamaha Ef2000iSv2 generator is easy to use and is eco-friendly. It comes with running and starting watts of 1600 and 2000 respectively.

This generator has a 79cc OHV engine with a 44.1-gallon tank size. It generates clean power and can supply electricity without the need to plug up. Also, it includes a modern muffler and a single cylinder. At just a glance, users can easily see its fuel level.

Sportsman GEN4000DF Dual Fuel Generator

Sportsman is a highly sought-after brand. They offer users a wide variety of models that operate on gasoline, LPG, and natural gas. This brand even boasts a tri-fuel generator that uses three fuel types.

Its runtime is about 10 hours. It weighs about 94 pounds and its noise level is 69 dB. Also, it has a 3.6-gallon tank capacity and it is EPA approved. This is one of the easiest generators to use due to its simple features. It is easy to maintain and it offers great value for the money. Also, it is very durable and affordable.

Firman W03082 Generator

Firman is a notable brand known for customer satisfaction and a good support system. This brand never disappoints customers when it comes to quality generators.

The Firman W03082 features simple and amazing components. These include easy to access ports, switches, and power choke. It is gas-powered and has the capacity to run for more than 8 hours. The generator doesn’t weigh more than 96.8 lbs. It features a built tuff-stuff handle and does not emit carbon monoxide. It is safe to use, and you’ll surely enjoy these great benefits.

Things to Consider When Choosing The Right Generator

Many users are usually bothered when it comes to choosing the right generator. You don’t have to "nurture" fear. This section will help you choose the right generator for your convenience.

Determine What Appliances to Power

In choosing the right generator for your use, decide on the gadgets you want to power. This will determine what model, size, or capacity to go for. Each device has its capacity. Some of them consume high voltage. The running and starting watts depend solely on what you are powering.

Run Time

This is very crucial when choosing a generator. Choose one that has a long runtime at half load capacity. If it can operate for longer hours, then it reduces how often you refuel.

Outlets

These are important for the running of your generator. Ensure you opt for generators with the appropriate and sufficient outlets. Also, it must have the right type. For instance, some homes have an air conditioner. If you want to run a higher wattage device, then choose one with a 30-amp locking type outlet.

The Price

There are many quality generators buyers can choose from. However, there are varying prices for different models. Your budget determines if you can afford a particular type.

Maintenance

This is an integral part of owning a generator. You must consider the maintenance cost. A good generator should be easy to maintain. If otherwise, you would be spending so much. The question is: "How well can you do this?"

Durability

How long can the generator last? You must consider its lifespan. A good one should be durable because it is made from quality materials. It will also be powerful, strong, and efficient. When buying one, find out about its durability. Don't just choose one because of its design. High-quality generators are worth spending your penny on.

Environmental Friendliness

Many buyers ignore this. Remember that this is not just about you. It should be eco-friendly. This means choosing a generator that is not noisy. Consider selecting the one that does not emit fumes. These are hazardous to the environment.

Dependability

Choose a brand you can trust. The main purpose of buying a generator is to provide you with electricity during an outage. Select one that is reliable to satisfy your electrical needs.

Portability

You need generators you can easily transport from one place to another. You can get ones with wheels and handles.

Warranty

This is another thing to consider. Does the generator you intend to buy have a warranty? This guarantees that you are purchasing from a reliable source. It also certifies that the product is tested and trusted.

Comprehensive Manual

The user's guide is the manual. You need one you can easily understand. As a user of any generator, ensure that you go through it. This saves you a lot of stress.

Features

You should consider the components of the generator you are buying. Features such as the engine, cooling system, and voltage regulator are important. Check them thoroughly before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Generators Worth the Money?

Having a generator has its financial gain. It could be a form of investment for you. If you run a business, then you need one. For emergency backup, it’s also necessary. For medical reasons, you should get a standby type. This implies that having this equipment is a good deal for anyone.

How Long Can You Run a Generator Continuously?

Users are often bothered about how long their generators can run. The runtime of each generator differs. It depends on the tank capacity. The model and size play a role too. How much power your appliances draw from it also counts.

For gasoline-powered portable generators, you must stop them at intervals. Don’t run them continuously; if you must do this, consider a standby generator.

Standby generators have a powerful engine designed to run for longer periods. However, they have an approved time frame too. They can deliver a non-stop power supply for two weeks.

What Size of Generator Do I Need?

The size matters. If you are powering bigger appliances, choosing small generators will be wrong. You won't be able to run heavy-duty gadgets, tools, and items. This may lead to overloading of the generator and will eventually cause a breakdown. It also damages your appliances in the long run.

Choosing a bigger generator comes with its challenges too. You will spend on fuel, maintenance, repairs, installation, and other technical issues. The size you need depends on the number and type of appliances and devices you intend to run. Also, consider the start-up wattage of each appliance.

How Many Watts Does A Generator Need To Power A House?

This is one of the frequently asked questions by users. The watt needed to power a home varies. This is as a result of the different fixtures and appliances each home uses. Users must know about the starting and running watts.

Imagine a user intends to power some appliances with starting watts of 4,000. One option for you is a portable generator using the same power. For your average home, at least 5000 to 7000-watts will power your basic equipment.

Are Portable Generators Popular?

Portable generators are common among users. People use them because they can be used at different locations. Also, they can serve different reasons. They could be used for camping and tailgating. This is because they are easy to transport. You can choose the solar-type too. This ensures you enjoy an uninterrupted power supply.

Conclusion

It is possible to own the best generator out there. This will save you the stress of generating power when there is a grid-off. Having one is worth your time, resources, and money. They serve multiple functions, so you don’t need to be in a rush to choose one. Know the different types, and check for the best features before making your choice. By adhering to all these, you should make the best decision.