Standard generator vs inverter generator

What is clean “Clean” power

Before understanding the benefits of an inverter generator we must first discuss the concept of “clean” power. The power from a standard generator is not as stable as the power that comes from your mains at home. The electricity is generated from an alternator powered by a mechanical engine and so is vulnerable to fluctuations. Adding or removing appliances to the generator will increase and decrease the load and thus engine speed. The engine can also be affected by other external factors such as temperature and humidity.

These variations may be minimal but they are important. The exact voltage of the currents will vary as the motor speed changes. Most standard generators will operate within 230V +/- 10% from no load all the way up to 100% of the quoted wattage. The same range can be typically expected from you main at home.

However, the electrical frequency of the power output has a much wider range. Standard generators can expect a frequency variation from 52Hz with no load and 48Hz when running 100% quoted wattage. Your mains power should never vary by more than 0.2Hz.

This stability in electrical Voltage and Frequency is what we call “Clean” power.

Most electrical equipment will be able to handle these fluctuations with no problems, however other appliances are more sensitive. Computers, phones, printers, and even some kitchen appliances such as microwaves can be damaged by using unstable power. Advances in technology has resulted in many more of our home appliances using microprocessors making then vulnerable to surges. If you are are planning to power any of these surge sensitive appliances you need to take into account that a standard generator on it’s own will not be enough.

Why choose an inverter generator

Inverter generators use inbuilt technology ensure a consistent frequency as clean or cleaner than the electricity from your mains. A built in microprocessor regulates the power so that you can be confident in running any appliance directly from your generator without having to worry about damage caused by surges. The unique technology of an inverter generator initially produces a form of AC power unusable in it’s initial form. This power is then converted into DC power and then back to an extremely clean form of AC power. Typically 120 Volts at 60Hz.

This new generator technology also bring with it a host of other advantages. As the engine in a inverter generator can vary its speed depending on load it will be more fuel efficient in the fact that you will not be wasting fuel in the way that you would with a conventional generator. It is true that even with a conventional generator less load will result in less fuel burnt however the conventional generator needs to maintain a constant engine RPM whether powering a single lightbulb or a whole house. With the inverter generator you can hook it up with a very light load and leave your generator to correct the engine speed to be as efficient as possible.

This has the added benefit of making it extremely quiet and much more portable when compared to the conventional generator. This makes this type of generator perfect for leisure activities such as camping out or tailgating. The compact size of many inverter generators makes them very convenient to transport by can and pack away easily.

The trade off with the inverter generator is the initial cost. For the benefits of clean, quiet and compact power productions you will be paying significantly more for the same output wattage. For many this is a worthwhile investments as the overall convenience and efficiency will out weight the initial investment.