6 Best Generators in 2022
Generators are a handy piece of equipment to invest in. They provide backup power to keep your home a safe and secure place to ride out a storm or electrical outage, powering your fridge, furnace, and security system. Portable generators can provide power to your RV or electrical connections for a job site when you’re not close to an electrical hookup. Having a stand-alone power source is a luxury many homes, campers, and businesses could benefit from – but it doesn’t come cheap.
A generator is an appliance used to provide electricity in areas or times with no other electricity source. Using motors and cranks, they force electric charges into their internal components through external electric circuits. They don’t technically produce electricity but instead move electrical charges to output an electrical current. In theory, this is similar to how a water pump doesn’t create water but moves it from one place to another, creating a current.
Generator buyer’s guide
There are many factors to take into account when shopping for the best generator. Factors such as wattage, fuel type, and noise level can all affect your decision. These are just a few of the considerations you should keep in mind before making a purchase. This guide offers advice on how to find the right generator for you so that you can shop with confidence.
What to look for when buying the best generator
Generators are beneficial, powerful appliances that serve a multitude of purposes. They can be used as a backup power source to keep you safe, secure, and connected in your home during an emergency, natural disaster, or power cut. Portable generators can be used for RV vacations to keep your camper supplied with electricity when you’re staying in locations without hookups. You can also use them on job sites to power air compressors, nail guns, and saws.
While generators offer much versatility and provide an invaluable service, these small devices often come with a hefty price tag. This expense is justified, but this means it’s more essential that you look at all the different features on various generators to find the one best suited to your needs.
Standby or portable
Home standby generators are meant to automatically provide power to your entire house within seconds of a power outage. They are permanently installed and typically tap into an existing fuel source such as natural gas or propane. While very convenient and powerful, standby generators are costly.
Portable generators don’t have as much power and don’t turn on automatically like standby generators. They may not power the entire home and cannot run for an extended period, but they are much less expensive and can be moved to different locations. When looking at portable generators to power your entire home, make sure they are transfer switch-ready.
Conventional or inverter
The main technical difference between the two different types of generators is the type and amount of power each produces.
Conventional generators only produce AC, or alternating current, power. Inverter generators produce power in three phases. High-frequency AC is first produced. It is then converted to DC (direct current) and then transformed to a stable AC power. The stable sine wave produced is unique to inverter generators and considered a “clean” energy source, safe for electronics such as laptops, cell phones, and tablets.
In regards to output, conventional generators can produce upwards of 10,000 watts. Inverter generators have a much smaller output, producing 1000 to 4000 watts.
Inverter generators can also automatically adjust the engine speed to the load, making them more fuel-efficient. The engine of a conventional generator runs at a constant speed.
When shopping for a generator to provide backup or alternative power, consider what you will power with it and how long you need these items to run. Smaller generators with shorter run times are sufficient to recharge electronic devices or charge the batteries in your RV.
If you need something to power your important appliances, such as your fridge or furnace, during emergency power outages, or you’re using equipment on a construction site for eight to ten hours a day, then you should consider one with a long run-time. This will allow you to run the generator all day without a break.
As mentioned above, generators run on a variety of different sources. Some generators are dual-fuel, meaning they can operate on more than one source. They typically use gasoline or diesel and natural gas or propane, giving you more options in the event of a natural disaster or emergency when fuel may be hard to get. Each type has advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed when looking to purchase one.
Gasoline-powered generators are the most common for personal use. They are affordable, easy to use, and gasoline is the most readily available fuel source. Their output is lower than some other power sources; the engines are also loud and emit fumes. Gasoline can also be hard to work with when temperatures are low.
Diesel-powered generators are the least expensive to maintain and some of the most durable options available. They work much better in frigid conditions but don’t do well when it’s wet. Like gasoline generators, they are loud and give off exhaust fumes.