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Inverter Generators VS Conventional Generators – What’s the Difference?

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Installing a generator in your home or office can help you deal with a variety of situations that range from outages to blackouts. Over the years, many companies have launched new models for the convenience of their customers.

However, these advancements in technology have given birth to a new debate, i.e., inverter vs. conventional generators.

If you are looking for the same answer, then we are going to help in the best possible manner. Our team has a lot of experience with both types of generators, so we can help you make the best decision.

Contents

What are conventional generators?

A conventional generator is a basic version of a generator that produces electricity using a fuel-powered engine. The major types of fuels commonly used in a standard generator are diesel and propane. Additionally, there are lots of models that are hybrid and can work with both gasoline and propane.

They are used in homes as well as businesses today. The motor of these generators usually operates at a constant engine speed of 3,600 rpm for producing the required electrical energy.

However, there are strong chances of fluctuations in voltage and hertz that are considered major disadvantages in a conventional generator. This is known as a harmonic distortion in the electric world.

The reason these generators cannot offer clean electricity is because of the consistent changes in high harmonic distortion. Nowadays, it is strongly suggested to use a clean form of energy for sensitive equipment like DSLR cameras, laptops, smartphones, etc.

Advantages of Conventional Generators

On the fence about conventional generators? Take a look at some of its advantages:

Cheap Price

The main reason people opt to buy a traditional generator is its low price. It doesn’t hit the pocket too hard in terms of buying price and maintenance costs. They have a very simple operation that helps in keeping the overall costs low and manageable.

Simplicity

The number of working components in a conventional generator is very few, which allows it to maintain simplicity. The major components are the engine and alternator, and these help to ensure very fewer failure points. The construction of these generators is quite easy to understand, and anyone can operate it quite efficiently and easily.

What are inverter generators?

Inverter generators have become a pretty popular option in recent times due to their impressive technology. They are capable of transforming a direct current into an alternating current quite easily. There is a pretty amazing and harmonious voltage created after the conversion process has finished.

The voltage fluctuations are prevented to a greater extent, with the availability of inverter technology. The electricity produced is clean and considered perfect for sensitive equipment. It makes sure the users can connect their electronic equipment without too much hesitation.

The majority of inverter generators are crafted to have a more compact design that boosts mobility and flexibility. This design results in wonderful sound insulation properties in the area. It is the main reason that these versions of inverters are quieter in operation.

That is not all; you can easily find models that come with an eco-friendly mode that makes sure the speed of the motor can adapt as per the required output power in an optimized manner.

Advantages of Inverter Generators

Now, let’s get a closer look at the advantages of running an inverter generator in the home:

Low Fuel Consumption

Again, a conventional generator works at a consistent speed for providing the needed frequency. It makes sure that the generator operates at 3,600 rpm, which keeps the consumption of fuel on the higher side. However, inverter generators can adjust their load and can result in minimizing fuel consumption.

Extremely Quiet Operation

The inverter generators create a little bit of zero noise during the operation. They come with eco-throttle that helps in minimizing the noise levels to a greater extent. The engine of such generators runs according to the requirement of load that let it work quietly for most of the time. Additionally, the majority of models come with special sound dampening materials and fully silent engines that also play a greater factor in reducing the noise.

Portability

The level of portability offered by an inverter generator is something that a traditional generator can never match. They are lightweight in construction and normally equipped with carrying handles and even wheels in many models. The reason behind the small size of an inverter generator is its small fuel tank. Carrying it from one place to another other is an almost effortless task.

Clean Electricity

Another thing that goes in favor of an inverter generator is its ability to produce super-clean electricity. There are small chances of minimum fluctuations as the frequency stays steady during the complete run.

If you understand electricity graphs, then you can see an inverter generator can develop a perfect sine wave without too many visible scratches. All these things make it completely safe for connecting with sensitive devices like medical equipment, mobile phones, and computer systems.

Parallel Capabilities

A basic inverter generator normally holds between 2,000 & 4,000 watts of power. Although, this can be almost doubled using the parallel ability technique.

For those who don’t know, a parallel inverter generator can be made a connection with another inverter generator to boost the power ability without any requirement of the transfer switch system. The presence of such an enormous power source makes them a perfect option for home backup power.

Why are inverter generators quieter?

Inverter generators are quiet because of the new technology that is used so that they can produce clean electricity. The engines of these generators are also smaller, have a lower power output, and all of this also lends to its overall noise levels.

Can an inverter generator run a refrigerator?

This kind of generator converts DC power into 120 volt AC power, which allows it to run appliances in the home, including a refrigerator. You can purchase an inverter generator in different power capacities, with some being powerful enough to do this.

What are the Major Differences Between Conventional Generators and Inverter Generators?

Let’s talk about what really differentiates the conventional and inverter generators. We have created a table that will surely help you in gaining valuable knowledge about this perspective.

Conventional Generator Inverter Generators
A conventional generator is an equipment that generates electricity with the help of external sources like diesel, gasoline, etc. An inverter generator is a device that works by transferring the direct current from resources like fuel cells, batteries, etc. for creating altering current.
There is only AC current produced by a conventional generator. That is why the mechanism of this generators type is considered very simple. An inverter generator produces a current in three different phases that start from high-frequency AC and moves to DC back, followed by stable AC current in the end.
The chances of fluctuations are pretty high in a conventional generator. This harmonic distortion is the main reason that they aren’t considered as the right option for sensitive devices like laptops or smartphones. An inverter generator is considered as the perfect source of clean electricity due to its ability to create stable sine waves with a minimum level of harmonic distortion.
A conventional generator asks for lots of time and works to get started during the power failure. An inverter generator does not need any kind of effort as it begins automatically without any gap in power onset during the power failure.
These generators are available in pretty high capacities and capable of running a large system. They are generally considered low capacity equipment. However, its ability can be improved by connecting another inverter generator.
A conventional generator is a perfect option to choose for areas that often have long electricity cuts or blackouts due to storms. An inverter generator is the right device for common residential areas that experience small power cuts or power outages.
A conventional generator has to run at a constant speed of 3,500 rpm, which causes it to produce a higher level of noise. On the other hand, inverter generators are designed in such a way that they can work according to the load requirement, which allows them to work at a pretty low noise level.

In Summary

We have definitely given you a ton of information regarding inverter generators vs. conventional generators and their differences. So, to help further break down those differences, we have broken down these generators by their current, power and fuel efficiency, portability, noise level, parallel connections, emissions, and price.

  • Current: When comparing inverters to generators, you need to look at what kind of electricity is produced by each. A conventional generator can only produce AC electricity. Inverter generators produce high-frequency AC to DC and then go back to a stable AC current.
  • Power and Fuel Efficiency: Conventional generators are much more powerful and less fuel efficient than inverter generators because the size of the tank is much larger and because of the difference in the production of electricity. However, a portable inverter is going to be more “fuel efficient” because it is much smaller and runs on clean electricity. Some inverter generators, on the other hand, also run on fossil fuels. They draw power from the fuel tank and also have a battery, alternator, and inverter.
  • Portability: If you need something portable, then you will probably want to opt for an inverter generator because of their much smaller size when compared to a standard generator. For a conventional generator to be more portable, it should have wheels and handles so it can be pulled. However, you still need to consider the weight as well.
  • Noise Level: A regular generator makes a lot of noise because of the mechanics involved to make the generator run. Inverter generators are much quieter because they run at 3600 rpm, which takes away a good amount of the noise level. Inverter generators also only produce between 54 and 58 decibels of noise, while conventional generators can produce at much as 64 decibels or more.
  • Parallel Connections: These are installed on inverter generators to make up for some of the lower power output. This means that you can easily connect two inverter generators for double the power.
  • Emissions: Any portable generator you use needs to be EPA compliant. You will find that inverter generators produce less greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional generators.
  • Price: Finally, the price is a motivating factor for any big purchase, and generators are no exception. Conventional portable generators are often cheaper than inverter generators and can prove to be the more affordable option if you will need a lot of power. Inverter generators are more expensive because of the new technology they runoff that allows their quiet operation and greater fuel efficiency.

When is investing in a conventional generator, the right thing to do?

We have already told you about the advantages of both conventional and inverter generators in detail, along with sharing the differences between the two. However, our team believes that many of you might still be confused about which one to choose.

If your area does not have longer outages or blackouts due to storms, then it will not be a wise option to invest in a conventional generator. There is no need for this kind of immense power for occasional power cuts. However, you definitely need a great source of power if storms and blackouts are common in your area.

There is no doubt that they have a bulky construction and create much more noise, but conventional generators are capable of bearing a solid level of noise. The people living in areas that are prone to natural events usually spend money in a conventional generator.

Nowadays, many models in the market come with track wheels for adding convenience while moving the generator from one place to another. You should buy a conventional generator if high-level energy is needed for an extended time.

When to choose an inverter generator?

The main thing that makes an inverter generator a better option is their low noise and ability to produce clean power. Also, you need to keep one thing in mind that it cannot produce too much power. If your area normally has casual power cuts, then going for an inverter generator is the perfectly right option.

In addition to home use, they are also an incredible option to choose for outdoor activities like trekking, beach camping, etc. The reason behind that is their lightweight construction and better fuel efficiency. That is not all; you can also think about choosing an inverter generator if there is usually a need to charge sensitive devices like laptops, medical equipment, etc.

Conclusion

Which one of these options are you going to shop? We believe that this post about inverter generators vs. conventional generators has solved your problems. Conventional generators come with a couple of benefits out which major one is solid power output.

On the other hand, there is an array of advantages possessed by an inverter generator, but with certain limitations. So, it is all up to you which one perfectly suits your needs.

Eric Arnow