Power outages, natural disasters, long maintenance – these are bad situations. A BBQ with your friends or an outdoor dance party are quite good. What they have in common is that, in both cases, you’ll need a middle-capacity generator. And this is one of the items you better think of buying well before you actually need it.
It’s not enough to decide that you want a 7,500-watt generator (though for most households, this capacity is quite right). Before buying, you need to answer some questions; they will help you understand better which model will suit your situation the best.
Standby or Standalone?
This is the first question you need to answer before you start choosing the model. These types of generators are designed for different purposes.
- A standby generator keeps your household functioning normally. It’s connected to your grid to power your home appliances like you regularly do (maybe wound down a bit). Usually, standby home generator is installed in the basement and connected to your propane pipe, so you rarely need to use other types of fuel. Also, it’s set up to start automatically as soon as the power supply goes off.
- A standalone generator can be moved and used everywhere outside your house. The generators of this capacity can use gasoline (most often) and propane or diesel fuel. They can also be connected to your home electric system as well as work on their own. They should be handled manually; still, for most, it only takes some basic learning.
As you see, standalone portable generators are a more versatile solution. And unless you know for sure you need a standby generator for your home; a portable one is a better option. So, let’s proceed to portable generators.
Most Important Parameters
A generator consumes fuel and produces electric power; that’s what everybody knows. There is more to this sort of device. First, let’s answer some questions.
- How large is your household, and how much power does it consume? The answer to this defines the capacity you need. If you plan to supply your entire household, consider generators starting at 5,000 W and higher. These are strong enough to keep your lights on, as well as your fridge, electric oven or stove, washing machine, TV, and a PC. You will also be able to charge your phones and laptops. Smaller homes with fewer appliances may be good even with a 3,000 W generator, especially if you can keep from using some of these for a while.
- Are you going to use it in any weather or in a party-friendly one only? It depends on the purpose: a party generator goes out when it’s fun to, and a backup generator – when it has to. For recreational use, protection is not as important, but a backup generator should be coldproof, well-sealed, and it’s better if it has a protective canopy.
- Fuel. Gas generators are the most common and versatile, as the fuel is easy to find and deliver. Propane and diesel generators also have their pros. There are also dual-fuel models, which are the most versatile, though there are some tricks about them.
- Inverter. It’s always a good thing unless you power heavy-duty equipment with its own protective systems. Not only does an inverter save fuel and the resource of the generator, but it also improves the quality of the current. With an inverter generator, your home appliances are less likely to be damaged.
- Run time. If you plan to keep it running for a long time, choose the most capable model among those with acceptable prices and other parameters.
- Price. It’s too important an item to save on. But, given how prices differ, you shouldn’t go for the first model you like until you scroll through the alternatives.
- Ease of use. Choose the most comprehensive model.
Knowledge Is Power!
After the purchase, run the generator several times until you know its controls inside out. Don’t neglect reading the manual: it usually has everything you have to know. So, when it’s time you need your generator, it will be easy to start and run it. We hope these tips turn out helpful when you get to make this important purchase!