Q: What options should I consider when buying a portable generator?
A: Consider the following options when buying a portable generator:
Home Use: To run essential items in your home when the power goes out and for occasional use around your yard to run electrical tools, choose a Portable Residential Generator.
Recreational Use: For use with your RV, or for camping, tailgating, and boating, choose a quiet RV/Recreational Generator.
Industrial Use: For regular use on the construction site or other industrial applications, choose a Portable Construction/Industrial Generator.
Amount of Power Needed
After determining how you will use your generator, the next thing you need to determine is how much power (watts) you need. Important questions include:
Power Output Quality
Another important issue is the quality of power coming from the generator. This is less of an issue if you want to use your generator to power electrical tools, pumps, lights, or appliances. But if you want to power sensitive electrical equipment, consistent power quality is key. Fluctuations in power can cause sensitive equipment to shut down or even damage the equipment. For use with sensitive electronics, consider purchasing a generator with AVR or getting an inverter generator:
Of course you want to make sure the generator you buy has the receptacles you want to use. Common house receptacles are 5-15 (15A). If you are using a transfer switch to power items in your house, you will want a locking receptacle of 20A, 30A or 50A - depending on how much power you need. Locking receptacles start with an “L” – L5-20 (20A 120V), L14-20 (20A 120/240V), L5-30 (30A 120V), L14-30 (30A 120/240V), etc. Receptacle information is found in the Specs for each generator.
Most residential portable generators use gasoline, but some run on L.P., Natural Gas, or all three. Industrial/construction generators run on gasoline or diesel.
Fuel Efficiency & Run time
If you plan to use your generator a lot, you will want to look for a generator that is both fuel efficient and has a long run time. Some generators adjust the engine speed (RPM) based on the load for greater fuel efficiency. Both fuel efficiency and fuel tank size will effect the run time. You can find the run time under the Specs for most generators.
Smaller and less expensive models tend to have a recoil starting system. Larger and more expensive models often have an electric start. See the Specs for the generator to determine the starting system on each model.
Weight and Transportability
Smaller generators (up to 2000W) tend to be light enough to carry. Many larger portable generators have available wheel kits. Many models also have a lifting eye kit either installed or available. Really large wattage generators usually have available trailers for transportability.
Warranties vary by manufacturer. The warranty information is provided for most models toward the bottom of the Specs.
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Different manufacturers offer various accessories to go with their generators – from covers to wheel kits to remote starts to lights and more. You can find many of the available accessories for each generator in the upper right side bar.
Each option comes with a price tag. Higher wattage, smoother power, less noise, electric start, inverter technology – all of these will increase the cost of your generator.
Once you have decided on the options that are best for you, go to the type of generator you have chosen:
Generators are listed by wattage, so you can easily compare the different options by clicking into each generator with your desired wattage. For a faster comparison, you can check “Compare” on up to four generators in the category page, and click “Compare Selected” in the bottom right corner of the page. You can then compare receptacles, noise level, run time, starting system, cost, and more.
If you would like further help in choosing a generator, please call us at 1-888-331-5344. We would be happy to assist you.
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