There are a lot of factors to consider before investing in a generator. The very first thing you need to think about is why are you going to buy a generator? Is your purpose recreational, or you are looking for emergency backup power to run a job site? The power outlet of the generator should also be considered before buying a generator. You must also know the backup power you need to not end up buying an oversized or undersized generator. In this article, we are preparing a buying guide so that you can understand the features of a generator and choose the best one that suits your purpose.
Purpose of Buying a Generator
If you buy a generator for occasional use, then you do not have to look for a warranty period. Any generator brought from a reputable brand will serve your purpose, but if you are buying a generator that you would have to use every day, like if you are working outdoors with your crew, you would need a generator that generally works on a warranty period. Some generators give you a warranty period ranging from 90 days to 6 months. If you are using a generator for outdoor pursuits, it will do you much good if you invest in buying a generator with a warranty period. But there is one downside of buying the generators with a warranty period, and that is they are generally more expensive.
Types of Generators in the Market
Based on the purpose of using the generator, you should know about the categories of generators available in the market. Here is a list of generators that are available in the market
Gas Generators: The most commonly purchased generators are gas generators. They use ethanol as their fuel. This type of fuel is readily available in the market. The downside of using these generators is the clogging of the carburetors. Be sure to use a stabilizer if you are using a gas generator because that will negate the effects of ethanol.
Diesel Generators: If you are willing for a little price upgrade, then you can purchase a diesel generator. The upside of using these types of generators is that you could do away with the carburetors. But on the downside, diesel as a fuel is not as available in the market as ethanol.
Propane Generators: Propane Generators are usually gas generators. It is an eco-friendly fuel, and the operation of the propane generators is the same as gas generators. Operating propane generators is a bit complex, but it is not a problem when you are used to operating them.
Battery-Operated Generators: These are the generators that are mostly used for camping and tailgating purposes. They can be recharged with the help of solar panels. They operate very silently and do not emit harmful fumes. On the downside, battery-operated generators can back up to 1800 watts, they are very expensive and take a long time to recharge.
What Is the Size of the Generator That You Need?
If you find yourself searching for an answer to the question, then you are preparing yourself to buy a new generator. Generators come in different sizes. There are generators with a power backup of 1800 watts to the generators, which can be the energy backup of an entire job site that is 20,000 watts or more. The price of the generator varies according to the power backup capacity.
What Is the Generator Outlet That Is Safe for Use?
The next feature of the generator is the outlet that you have in the generator. Generators you are using for standby at your home will generally have smaller 120V AC outlets and maybe a few USB ports. But if you are buying any generator over 40,000 watts, you will find 240 V plugs along with several outlets, many of which are 120V. These generators are mostly used for outdoor pursuits. You would need a professional electrician to wire these high-power generators in the electric panel. The electricians would need the 240 V plugs to complete the wiring of the generators in the panel. One of the common questions asked by the customers who are looking to buy generators is: What is the most preferred type of generator outlet? The answer is you should buy the GFCI protected generator outlets.
Total Harmonic Distortion and Clean Power
Most of us working from home cannot afford power disconnection at any point in time because that means a loss in productivity. Therefore, we think of buying generators that will serve as power backup for laptops and other gadgets. So, when customers are thinking of buying a laptop that will act as a backup to electronic devices such as laptops and computers, then they need to make sure that the waveform of the generator is uniform.
If the waveform is not significant, then there might be a possibility that the generator might damage the electric circuits. The generators with a total harmonic distortion of less than 6% are referred to as generators operating with clean power or a pure sine wave. They give a more stable and predictable range of voltage or backup power and are ideal for the running of laptops and other electronic devices. But these pure sine wave generators are on an expensive side when compared to battery-operated generators that are square wave and are not so safe for electrical devices.
Other Features Worth Considering
Fuel Tank: The size of the fuel tank matters enormously when you are buying a generator. The bigger the size of the fuel tank, the longer the interval would be for refuelling it again. Given a choice for a shorter or a larger fuel tank, always opt to buy the larger fuel tank because the larger fuel tank will give you a run time of at least 7-9 hours working at a load of 50%. The only downside of buying a generator with a larger fuel tank is that it becomes very heavy when the tank is filled with fuel.
Generator Starts: Pulling the coil on the generator to get it started is a back-dated fashion. The electric starts are the in-thing as the generator starts. The generators with the electric starts might be a little costly, but you can start these generators with little or no effort from your end. Most of the electric start generators use acid lead batteries, like those used on cars. You need to keep in mind that you should remember to get your batteries charged before you use these generators. However, most of the generators are designed so that they can be charged while in use.
Noise Level: The generator’s noise level greatly depends on its power backup capacity and the fuel you are using it for. If you are using generators for camping and outdoor parties, then you should opt to buy the battery operated generators, and the neighborhood is going to appreciate the soundless way it works, but if you are conducting an outdoor project and need more power backup, then the generators are bound to become noisy. If the fuel source of a generator is diesel and the power capacity is more than 1800 watts, then the generator would be loud.
Electronic Fuel Injection: When buying a generator, always ensure it comes with an Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI). This is an excellent feature that eliminates carburetors and saves you from the hassles of carburetor choking. These generators work even on low maintenance and can adjust to severe weather fluctuations. This means that you can use the generators in extremely cold weather without fearing the mechanism getting jammed or clogged.
Wheel-Kit: Generators are heavy, especially when you are buying them with a big fuel tank. Therefore, you would need a wheel kit to make it portable. Now, all generators do not come with a wheel kit pre-set. You need to buy the wheel kit gear separately. Therefore, ask the dealer whether you are paying for the wheel kit separately before you give your card for swiping. Setting up the wheel kit is pretty easy. You can call for professional help to set it up or do it as a DIY following the instruction manual.
Having a direct connection from a generator to your house is excellent because that means that you have a power backup 24 hours a day. After you have bought the generator after checkbox all the factors that we had discussed before, the generator would immediately start working as soon as there is a power disconnection in the house. Last but not least, as the generators are expensive gadgets, it’s better to call an electrician and get it connected with the power panel of the house or the project site.