Generator vs. Inverter: How do they stack up?

Posted on 7/11/2017 by Justin G. (Consumer Marketing)

Consumers often buy generators because they do not know that there is a better solution available to them: the power inverter.

Wagan Tech - SlimLine Power Inverter - 500W

What is a power inverter?

Simply put, a Power Inverter converts DC (battery) power into AC (wall outlet) power.

What are AC and DC power?

AC (Alternating Current) power is what you find in the wall outlets of your house. DC (Direct Current) power is commonly found in battery powered electronics and your car accessory (cigarette lighter) sockets.

Which device is better, a Generator or Inverter?

There is only one reason that a generator can be better than a power inverter; there is no DC or battery power source around. Smaller, lighter, less expensive, fume-free, can be used indoors, no maintenance, are all things that Inverters offer over Generators.

Do Inverters output the same power as a generator?

Yes, if not more! Our Inverters range from 80 watts all the way up to 10,000 watts; this is the same as generator offerings, BUT our Inverters have peak surges that are usually double (100%) the inverter’s printed wattage. Generators usually have peak surge capabilities around 20% of their printed wattage.

I’m looking at buying a Generator or Inverter to supply power away from home, what do I need?

The first thing you need to find out is: what your power (wattage) needs are. See the “Simple Questions to Answer” section at the top of this Blog. After you know how much power you need, you must ask yourself how you want to power these appliances; via gas or DC power.

Which is more expensive?

Dollar for Dollar, the power Inverter is less expensive. Once you buy the Inverter, there is no oil, gas, or maintenance needed. Generators need constant attention to ensure gas does not run out, you must “winterize” them for storage, and you must periodically service them too. The inverter is virtually maintenance free!

Are Inverters noisy?

Inverters are very quiet. During normal operation, the inverter's internal fan will run to keep the inverter cool; the fan makes the same amount of noise that a standard desktop computer's fan does... unlike a generator which creates an excess amount of noise.

How do you power an Inverter?

Inverters can be powered by any DC power source: batteries (direct), vehicle DC Accessory Socket, even Solar Panels and Wind Turbines!

How to Use a Power Inverter (3 Steps):
• Connect Inverter to DC Power Source (Battery)
• Turn Inverter Power Switch “On”
• Plug in Your AC Appliance
• Done!

 

How to Use a Generator (10 Steps):
• Move Generator Outdoors
• Check Oil Level
• Fill with Fuel
• Turn Fuel Valve “On”
• Prime Fuel System
• Turn Power Switch “On”
• Turn Choke “On”
• Pull on Recoil Starter Until Engine Starts
• Slowly Turn Choke Off until in “Run” Position
• Plug in Your AC Appliance
• Done.

 

Are generators useless?

Generators still have their place in certain industries. As a building back-up power source, trailer-mounted generators are ideal. For smaller systems such as portable, vehicle, or a house, a power inverter is best.

 

Conclusion:

As you can clearly see, Inverters are ideal for 99% of your power needs. Whether it’s camping, tail-gating, fishing, commuting, sporting events, job sites, road-trips, or off-grid living, a power inverter is the best solution for your power needs.

 

More Information:
Blog: Understanding Inverters and How-to Select the one that is right for you
Blog: How to Connect a Large or Small Inverter to a Battery
Blog: Battery Basics: Cranking Amps (CA) vs. Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
Blog: Powering Household Appliances in your Car

 

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