An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) to alternate current (AC). The inverter is a non-electricity producing component; it only converts the alternate current into direct current. Inverters are being used in many appliances to supply them with a steady source of direct current. The use of inverters in generators is a recent development. A generator that inverts current is known as an inverter generator.
In this article, we are going to discuss what an inverter generator is, and what are its pros and cons. We will also explore what the main differences between an inverter generator and a conventional generator are. Moreover, we will look at whether an inverter generator is worth such a high price.
Let’s look at the working of an inverter generator!
What is an Inverter Generator?
An inverter generator is a more complex machine than a conventional generator. It has more technical and sensitive parts. The electricity generation process is the same as in a traditional generator. When AC current is produced by the generator, the inverter converts it to direct current and then again to alternate current. This extra process is done by an inverter which is aided by a battery and alternator to achieve this. As a result, the current produced is more stable and does not disturb the working of your machines. You can understand this with the help of the concept of working of stabilizers. Just like a stabilizer provides your appliances with a steady source of current, inverters make sure that the current produced by your generator is steady and stable.
The output of an inverter generator and a conventional generator is the same; 120 Volts at 60 Hertz. What happens is that inverter generators produce current with less harmonic distortions; the electricity is clean and stable and is similar to your main electrical supply. When the DC current is converted back to AC current, this process gives the inverter more control over the produced current, making it more stable and less-disturbing. The greater control, stable current, and smooth operation of an inverter generator give you more benefits as compared to a conventional generator. We have listed all the benefits of inverter generators below.
Inverter Generator vs Conventional Generator
In order to decide that you need an inverter generator or a conventional portable generator, it is important to know the main differences between the two.
Current – Though the output is the same from both generators, what matters is the way it is produced. Conventional generators produce direct AC current while inverter generators convert AC current to DC and then again into AC current. It makes the process more efficient, and the current produced is more stable. The current produced from a simple generator has distortions that impact the working of your machines. Some devices with sensitive sensors can start to malfunction if they are not supplied with a stable source of current.
Efficiency – Another major difference is the fuel and power efficiency. Inverter generators can adjust to the load being applied and produce less power, whereas a conventional generator will only work to its capacity and will not adjust the power generation. For example, if only a water pump is running on a conventional generator, it will produce electricity to its full capacity. On the other hand, if the same water ump is running on an inverter generator, it will only produce the current needed to run the water pump and not run to its full capacity. It will result in maximum fuel saving and efficiency.
Power Capacity – One difference that is often the deciding factor for purchasing an inverter or conventional generator is the power capacity. Most inverters have a maximum power capacity of 4000-5000 watts; conventional portable generators can go up to 10000 watts of power.
Portability – Inverter generators are more portable than conventional portable generators. The main reason is they are small in size and less heavy. While you can easily pick an inverter generator in your hand, you would need a trolley to carry a heavy portable generator with you. Inverter generators are the best when it comes to travel in an RV or camping.
Price – Price is the most important factor when making the final decision for buying an inverter generator. Inverter generators have more complex technology and are more fuel-efficient, and you also get a lot of other benefits. All these factors account for the price hike for inverter generators.
Pros and Cons of Inverter Generators
Everything has some pros and cons. We have listed some of the advantages and drawbacks of using an inverter generator.
Portability: We have already explained portability as one of the biggest advantages of using an inverter generator. The inverter generators are lightweight, come with a carry handle, and a storage cover. Inverter generators have a small fuel tank, and it makes them easily portable.
Fuel Efficiency: Inverter generators are highly fuel-efficient and power saving.
Low Running Noise: An inverter generator has a low noise level as compared to conventional generators. Most inverter generators produce noise of fewer than 60 decibels. It is tolerable; a conventional portable generator runs like a lawnmower. It is always disturbing and creates noise pollution as well. An inverter generator lets you enjoy your camping moments to the maximum without disturbing you. As the inverter generator is costly, it also has a more effective sound control system. Its design, muffler, casing are all built with the aim to reduce sound.
Clean and Stable Current: Inverter generators produce clean and stable current as compared to a conventional portable generator. We have already explained this point above briefly.
Paralleling Capacity: You can attach more than one inverter generators to increase the total power output. One limitation is that you can only attach generators of the same model. When more than one generator are attached, the backup is increased, and you can overcome the limitation of a limited power of inverter generators.
Less Frequent Maintenance: As inverter generators come with the costly latest technology, they need less frequent maintenance to supply you with the stable alternate current. Conventional generators need more frequent maintenance and repairs to work efficiently. Inverter generators need an inspection of batteries after a couple of months.
Power: One of the obvious drawbacks of using an inverter generator is limited power. The maximum power is around 4-5 thousand watts, whereas portable generators can provide you with as much as 10,000 watts. Inverter generators are best for outdoor activities like camping, traveling, music concerts or powering water heaters and other applications in your RVs. You cannot use an inverter as a home backup generator because of its limited power.
High Price: An Inverter generator comes at a high price. Despite all of its benefits, you have to pay the price in one go, which can disturb your budget and expenses.
Should I Buy an Inverter Generator or a conventional Generator?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors. First of all, you have to consider your usage. If you are buying a generator for outdoor use like camping, RV tours or music concerts, and such things, the inverter generator is the best option for you. Secondly, you have to consider the appliances you are going to run on the generator. If the appliances are sensitive and contain sensors that can malfunction with current variations, you should avoid using conventional generators. Inverter generators are the best in this regard as they provide you with a stable and clean current. If you are looking for a cheap alternate source of current to run your water pump, refrigerator, or a few lights, a simple portable generator is the best option. If you cannot afford to spend a lot of money on an inverter generator, then the conventional one will be your go-to option.
Final Word: Is the Inverter Generator Worth the High Price?