Inverters vs. Generators: What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?
If you are looking for electrical power that extends beyond the wall on the work site, then there are two main choices: generators and inverters. What is the difference between the two? What are the best applications for each?
Below, we compare inverters and generators and weigh their pros and cons. Which one is best for you? Let’s take a closer look.
There is really nothing new or mysterious about generators. You can find gas-powered generators on just about any work site or in many homes in the U.S. Generators utilize diesel, propane, or gasoline to produce electrical energy.
The more powerful a generator is, the higher its capacity to provide electricity to larger appliances or machinery. 4-cycle, high-performance generators supply electrical power to work site machinery and tools in areas where power is not available. They also allow companies to keep operating during a power outage.
Modern generators come with the following features:
- Emission Control System that is EPA approved
- Output receptacles including 12V, 8.3A DC, 120V 20A GFCI and,120/240V AC 30A
- Twist locks
- Rugged rubber wheels that can handle rough terrain
- Low oil shut-off switch
- Circuit breaker
- Fuel level gauge
Inverter generators are a fairly new concept. They have become more popular as an alternative to standard fuel-power generators. Gas-powered Inverters are also portable and can be used on work sites in which base power is not available.
Inverters function as 3-phase power sources:
- Phase 1: Output AC current
- Phase 2: Convert the current to DC
- Phase 3: Convert it back to clean AC power at the required voltage and frequency
Modern inverters come with the following features:
- Light and compact
- Quiet operation
- Clean and stable power
- GFCI-protected connections
- Smart speed regulation system that saves fuel when a reduced load is required
- Low-oil indicator light with an automatic shut-off
- USB port connections
- Overload/fault indicator
Comparing Generators and Inverters
What distinguishes a standard gas-generator from an inverter generator? On the outset, you will quickly notice a difference in their size, weight, noise production, price range, portability, and how much clean power they generate. Let’s dig a little deeper:
Size & Portability
Inverter generators are more compact and portable. The average inverter weighs between 30 and 50 pounds. Conventional generators can weigh up to four times more than an inverter. Although they have tough, rubber wheels and a pull handle, your work crew may be in situations that do not allow them to tow a standard generator around on the work site easily.
Fuel Capacity & Efficiency
There’s a reason why conventional generators are larger and heavier. They have a higher fuel capacity. With more fuel, you can operate a standard generator for more extended periods without running out of fuel. Inverters are small and compact but have a lesser fuel capacity, thus, a shorter run time. You’ll have to fill them up at shorter intervals.
The trade-off is that inverters are traditionally more fuel-efficient than generators. Conventional generators generally run at 3600 rpm regardless of the power load. No matter what you plug into the generator, you’re going to receive the same high-level output. Inverters can adjust their engine speed. They can produce less power when needed, and make better use of the fuel by up to 40% more than a standard generator.
Low-sound production is a marquee feature of inverters. Quieter engines, specialized mufflers, and sound-dampening technology reduce inverter noise significantly, making them much more subdued than generators.
Since the engine speed of traditional generators never changes, neither does the noise level. Therefore, they remain loud at all times. Since inverters change engine speed due to the power demand, they can run more quietly at lower levels. For a more precise comparison consider this: Inverters produce an average of 50 to 60 decibels. Generators produce an average of 65 to 75 decibels.
There is a stark contrast between the power output of a generator and an inverter. If you are operating heavier equipment and need a considerable amount of power, then you can count on a generator to produce 500 watts up to 50,000 watts. Inverters produce 1,000 to 4,000 watts. So, if your job requires a lot of power, you may not find what you are looking for in an inverter. A generator is a better solution.
Purchase Your Generator or Inverter from BN Products
Regardless of what type of inverter or generator you prefer, BN products have the right model for you. We offer industry-leading, sturdy generators & inverters that can handle any work environment.