Generators are a great backup source for when the power goes out. Portable ones can serve as a handy power supply for camping, tailgating, worksites, and other outdoor activities. Larger ones can power your entire home.
There are so many products on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start when purchasing a generator. Fortunately, there are only a few considerations to make when making this choice. Keep reading about the four major factors that will help you narrow down your choices when buying new generators.
Generators come in small, compact 1,000-watt units to massive ones that can power an entire home. The first thing to consider is whether you need a generator you can use in different locations.
If you plan to use your generator to run a lot of major appliances in your home, then you are going to need a permanent generator or one that comes on wheels. While some of these are technically portable, you will need a truck or trailer to do so.
If you only need it for a few appliances, but would also like to take it with you to outdoor gatherings or events, a smaller one may be more suitable. These have the added advantage of being much quieter as well, which can come in handy at campsites or on the beach.
2. Power Output
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a generator is power output. Once you narrow down the general use, add up the wattage of all the appliances you need to run simultaneously. Factor in “startup wattage,” which is usually several times the amount of an appliance’s “running wattage.”
Some appliances, like lamps, have zero startup wattage. Others, like refrigerators, only need a few hundred watts to run but require upwards of 1,000 watts to start up. It is vital that you accurately calculate all of your power needs before making a purchase.
3. Source of Power
Next, consider the different fuel types used in generators. Common ones include gasoline, diesel, and natural gas. Almost all portable generators run on gasoline.
For whole-home units, there is a lot of competition between natural gas vs. diesel generators. One advantage of natural gas is that you can use a dedicated line, so you never have to refill them.
Natural gas generators also are quieter than gasoline or diesel ones. They are cleaner burning and better for the environment as well
Diesel generators need less maintenance and are more fuel-efficient than other generators, including gasoline ones. They also are quite durable–you can expect them to last for many years.
Finally, some generators use propane as a fuel source. It can much more expensive than natural gas, so they are more common in smaller generators.
There are a few factors to consider when comparing generator costs. Size and output are almost always proportional to the price tag. Also, even for smaller generators, the ability for them to run more quietly will impact the cost as well. In general, diesel and gasoline generators tend to cost much less than natural gas or propane ones.
Final Thoughts on Purchasing a Generator
Now that you have an idea of the sizes and types of generators available, you can decide which ones meet your power needs and fit within your budget. Be sure to weigh features like portability with the machine’s ability to power everything you need it to.
We hope you found this information on purchasing a generator helpful. If so, take a look at some of our other home improvement posts, as well as those on business, travel, sports, health, and many other topics.