Today, we are used to relying on electricity to power various devices and equipment like TV-sets, PCs, and fridges as well as lots of other appliances for domestic use. However, when power does not work or when we fall victims of lightning that might strike our homes at any moment, we would be cut off from the electricity supply right away and will be left sitting in the darkness being separated from the technological world. In order to maintain power supply even in emergency circumstances, a small-sized portable generator comes in very useful until the electricity recovers.
Basic Characteristics of Portable Generators
Such versions of portable generators are reasonably priced and may cost around $100-1000 depending on their parameters.
The major part of generators is running on gas and the use of power depends on the number of appliances for which you need an electricity supply, so it is a great idea to have an additional gas generator.
Possibility to use indoors. It is possible to use a portable generator for various indoor devices, but it would not be a nice idea to operate the generator inside the premises or in a closed area because it can produce fumes. If you are using the generator outside the house in stormy weather, it needs to be covered.
Portable generators are perfect for various activities outdoors such as sports, camping or traveling in an RV, as well as using on a boat or in a distant region.
Lightweight and small-sized
The major part of generators has big-sized wheels and a grip handle, so they can be easily transported using a vehicle.
Certain types of generators are added with electric wind-up, so they may already have a battery, or you might need to buy one.
Many plug receptacles. Some generators have four receptacles in total so that it is easy to plug in different devices.
10 Properties to Consider when Purchasing a portable Generator
Time of operation
Depending on the purposes for which you’ll be using a generator, you may need to consider the length of its operation. There are different generator models that can operate for up to 7.5 hours using only one tank of fuel, but there are a bit bigger-sized options that are powerful enough to keep running for 11 hours at 25% capacity. These include Westinghouse WH7500E portable Gas Generator.
Choosing the required power capacity
There are two major aspects to consider when it comes to buying a portable generator: wind-up capacity (also referred to as peak power) and operational capacity. A generator can usually provide the power ranging from 1000 to 9000 watts, which may vary depending on the type of wattage.
All domestic devices have their own power usage. Keep in mind that before you buy a generator, you need to make sure it has sufficient power capacity to guarantee effective wind-up (this amounts to around 2-3 times the values provided for each device or household lighting).
You may find out individual power capacity on each domestic appliance by checking energy.gov website.
As a rule, there are two major reasons why you need to consider the fuel-saving capacity of a generator. Fuel may be difficult to find in the event of a natural calamity. The other reason is that you will need to attach several devices to the machine. As such, it is better to look for a generator that will run for the maximum amount of time on a single fuel tank.
Size is important
portable generators are meant to be not heavy, but they are not all identical, and if they have greater power capacity, they might be heavier. Thus, if you intend to transport your generator on a regular basis, you might wish to consider its weight and the presence of grip handles and wheels.
Conventional or inverter generator
Conventional generators allow running at the fullest pace and highest power, which is perfect for big-sized devices, especially if you wish to attach several appliances. However, if you are going to use vulnerable electronic devices, it would be more effective to choose an inverter generator. This technology allows producing high voltage AC power, which will then be converted into DC power and then back to AC once again. Such a procedure will allow getting steady and secure power for all electronic devices.
We are all aware that dealing with electricity can be hazardous. Thus, many generators have extra security features such as surge protector that allows keeping your devices safe even in the event of unstable voltage. There is a special feature allowing you to learn whether the oil level is too low. Spark arrestors allow regulating the noise level of the machine, while circuit protection indicators defend users from electrocution.
Select the correct extension cord
If you need to use an extension cord, be sure you do not unite several extension cords with each other to get the machine plugged to the wall. Use a special extension cord for heavy machinery or the one that is advised by the manufacturer. Besides, you’ll have to plug the devices right into the machine or utilize a single cord and unite the generator with the power-transporting switch.
Install the transfer switch
The transfer switch represents an electric appliance that allows connecting the generator to domestic wiring. As a rule, it is a small-sized breaker box that is set up inside and outside your house right near the electric panel. This appliance is then wired to the major panel and united with the most important appliances, like water heater, fridge, stove or lighting system. Using the services of a certified electrician is the best way to set up the transfer switch inside your home.
Control panel properties
The regulatory panel on a generator generally has several regular household plugs that may include a 120/240V AC receptacle for big-sized devices and commercial extension cords. The best portable generator will only need pressing the button to wind up the machine. One more useful option to consider is a regulatory panel that has a voltage choosing switch and an odometer that allows identifying for how many hours the generator has been in use.
It is also important to read the user manual in order to find out all the security measures, but here are a few tips to take into account when running a generator.
- Ensure the generator is positioned on a steady surface;
- Do not overfill the fuel gauge or oil container, because this may cause leakage of fuel so that you’ll never be able to fill the generator when it is in full operation or hot;
- Set the generator at a distance from open fire or pilot lighting;
- Do not exceed the load limit. Plug only the most valuable devices and don’t forget that a generator can be used for a short term only.
Best portable Generators – Comparing Products
Westinghouse has been producing durable domestic devices of premium quality for more than 60 years, while their portable gas generator allows covering all possible power requirements. It is added with an easy-to-operate electric wind-up, huge peak power of 9000 watts and an operating capacity of 7500 watts, which is more than sufficient to keep big-sized appliances running to the fullest.
Even though the major part of ordinary generators is supposed to operate for around 8-10 hours at half load, this model can serve for 11 hours at 25% capacity. It has a 6.6-gallon fuel gauge and a mighty engine that is specially designed for noise-free running.
This model is easy to put together and the control panel is packed with four power receptacles apart from having never-flat wheel tires, handy grips and extra features such as a tool suite and one-liter bottle of oil.
Champion Power Equipment 42436 1500/1200 Watt
The Champion portable generator is added with 80cc single-cylinder engine coupled with a 1.5-gallon fuel tank, which is perfect for emergency power supply to be used for small-sized devices like lighting, small fridges, TV-sets or microwaves. The generator can produce 1500 wind-up watts and 1200 operation watts running for 10 hours at a maximum on a single fuel tank with a 50% load. The generator is added with Volt Guard, which is a surge protector that defends your devices from any random spikes in the voltage. It also has a Cold Wind-Up Innovation that allows starting the generator with ease under cold weather conditions.
This generator has been added with a sturdy steel-made framing, but it is still not very heavy weighing only 62 lb, which implies that you can use it for camping and recreational activities alike. The generator’s regulatory panel has a 120V 20A receptacle as well as a voltmeter so that you will be able to monitor the voltage that you are using for each device.
Honda EU2000I 2000/1600 Watt
Honda EU2000I Quiet Inverter-based Generator corresponds to its brand name being one of the quietest machines in this segment having a noise rate of 53-59 decibels while running. Even though it weighs only 46 pounds, it allows getting the necessary power capacity for all devices, such as microwave, fridge or hairdryer. The inverter technology allows users to safely power electronic devices.
The generator has a powerful Honda GX100T OHC engine as well as a 0.95-gallon gas tank, allowing it to run for 8 hours at a maximum, depending on the number of attached devices.
There is absolutely no need to be concerned about the oil running out because this generator has a special warning system as well as circuit protector, so you can be sure that you will not overload the machine during full operation. This model has a durable handle as well, so it is easy to fit it in your RV or vehicle, while you are driving to a sports event or traveling somewhere for camping.