What Is An Inverter Generator?

Inverter generators are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to conventional portable generators. They have many benefits and can be used in a variety of ways. They can be used at home to power a few appliances during a power outage. Remember the last time the power went out? Well with an inverter generator you and your core appliances are protected. Or maybe you need a power source for your RV? Do you want to keep a sound system and television running next time you go tailgating? An inverter generator is the perfect solution. But what is an inverter generator? What makes it different from a conventional portable generator? 

How inverter generators produce power

What makes an inverter generator different to a conventional generator is the way it produces electricity. A conventional generator uses a motor to generate an alternating current (AC) which can be connected directly to your appliances. The problem with this is that the quality of the electrical current is not entirely clean. This may have an effect on any sensitive appliances you connect. For example a computer, laptop, television or DVD player has sensitive electrical components which may be negatively affected by the quality of the current.

An inverter generator produces its electricity in a different way. Its alternator produces high voltage alternating current (AC) which is converted to direct current (DC). This DC power is then converted back to AC power using the inverter. This has a massive impact on the quality of the current. The process of inverting the direct current to alternating current creates what’s known as a true sine wave. Essentially what this means, is that the current produced is nice and smooth. It is clean and does not have undesirable fluctuations. This means that all those sensitive electronics that you may want to connect will be protected. Nice, right?

Other benefits of owning an inverter generator

Inverter generators enjoy some additional benefits over their portable generator competitors. The process they use to generate electricity allows for much more efficient use. Instead of the engine running at full speed the whole time to create a strong enough current, an inverter generator’s engine will run at various speeds. It does this to control the amount of electricity it produces based on your demands. So if you only have one appliance plugged in, the motor will run at the speed necessary to generate power for that one appliance. This reduces fuel consumption saving you money!

One of the best things about inverter generators is that they are the quietest generators (excluding solar generators). While conventional portable generators generally produce sound levels exceeding 65 decibels, most inverter generators produce fewer than 60 decibels. This is definitely desirable if you want to use your generator recreationally. Imagine going RVing or camping with the constant drone of a generator in the background. What’s a decibel? This page offers a great description. If noise levels matter to you, please see our quietest generators page.

Not only are inverter generators also quite compact and lightweight offering huge convenience and flexibility, but many models can be operated in parallel. This means that if you own two of the same model, you can connect them together and create double the power. In fact many models are designed in a stackable way so that you can do just that. Perfect.

So what’s the downside? Well, unfortunately the main drawback is price. All the amazing features they have tend to make them more expensive than their conventional counterparts. A sound entry level 2000W model will cost you around $1000. While this may seem like a lot, you have to remember that with their more efficient fuel saving engines, you will save in the long run.

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