Skip to comments.Are inverter generators worth the higher price?
Posted on 07/03/2014 5:39:13 AM PDT by TurboZamboni
Theres nothing like the approach of a possible hurricane, such as this season's first named storm, Tropical Storm Arthur, to get everyone in its expected path thinking about generators. But for some prospective buyers, the noise and the quality of power that a portable generator supplies is a turn-off. Thats where an inverter model comes in. Using new technology, inverter generators deliver cleaner power and are typically quieter, lighter, and more energy efficient. But as Consumer Reports is learning in its ongoing generator tests, not every inverter generator is worth the 100-to-200-percent premium youll pay over the usual cost of a conventional portable.
We havent yet completed testing of the Honda EU7000is, Kipor Sinemaster IG6000h, and Yamaha EF6300iSDE. But limited testing has shown us that sometimes its features other than wattage and connection options that make a generator worth having.
Honda EU7000is. At $4,000, this is the most expensive of the three inverter generators were testing. But for usability, so far this one comes out on top.
(Excerpt) Read more at homes.yahoo.com ...
(bump & bookmark for reference)
If you can afford it, they are worth it. The generators in this class, like the Honda noted, are widely viewed as bullet proof. Really quiet, reliable and clean power.
Thanks for the reminder — I have been meaning to look into a PTO generator. The price has come *way* down. This one is probably Chinese, but it’s getting decent reviews.
Those people can sit in the dark then and watch their food go bad in their freezers.
If your home has natural gas, then convert your generator to NG. Also buy an 1800 rpm generator if possible. They last longer when used continuously and are quieter.
I have a friend that uses generators regularly to power some electronic equipment (laptops, radios, and the like) in remote locations. He swears by inverter generators - won’t plug his gear into anything else. (ie. no “construction” generators) He does tend to favor Honda generators. My experience with them and his gear is the Honda’s are amazingly quiet and work even above treeline. (where thin air can make some hard to start)
If you HAVE to have power that PTO generator is a nice HAVEPOWERANYWHERE tool. Not very fuel efficient, but weighed against losing 1500 hens in the heat or a year’s meat/veggies in a freezer, it’s a no-brainer.
Optionally a clever person CAN readily muffle/suppress the exhaust-side noise from a typical gas-powered generator either for convenience/sanity or OPSEC. Attic fibreglass insulation and a few left-over drop ceiling panels make a fine acoustic baffle box. You just have to be mindful of heat dissipation.
ALSO the quality of the power coming out of a generator from ANY provider in the consumer category can be pretty dirty and variable. The easy dual-purpose fix is to plug in a couple UPSs (uninterruptible power supplies) that would normally protect a PC/server or home entertainment in your home on a day to day basis. Plugging these in in-between your Home Depot generator and your fridge and freezer WILL save them from what generators just naturally do. Be sure to have UPSs with sufficient Wattage/current throughput.
Lastly have a couple of the 2500 watt inverters that attach to your vehicles’ 12 volt batteries (one per vehicle). They produce *pretty good* power (generally square wave but steadier than a gas generator) so you don’t need the in-line UPS’s line conditioner a gas generator REQUIRES, and they can also go anywhere. A car or diesel truck burns fewer gallons per hour than an idling or set-throttle PTO generator, but will of course provide less power.
And from an OPSEC standpoint, and idling car driving 2500 steady watts of power to your freezer and fridge can’t be heard 50 feet away.
Here’s the deal on inverter generators...
On a regular generator, the frequency (60hz) is determined by the RPM of the engine. That RPM is either 1800 RPM for a 4 pole generator, or 3600 RPM for a 2 pole generator.
This speed must be maintained regardless of the load, and those speeds are not necessarily the speeds that give you the most fuel economy.
An inverter generator usually has a three phase AC alternator (similar to the one in your car or truck) which is rectified to produce a high DC voltage. This DC voltage feeds an inverter (like the ones you can by at Harbor Freight) and the inverter synthesizes the 60 HZ sine wave on the output.
This not only frees the engine to run at a speed that matches the horsepower to the load, but it also fixes power factor issues you have with generators.
The article doesn’t mention this, but some of the most expensive generators are inverter generators, but also some of the cheapest ones are inverter generators.
All of the (cheap) small, light 2 stroke generators are inverter generators. This is because 2 stroke engines are terribly inefficient at 3600 RPM.
Just curious - I had always thought the store-bought inverters produced ‘AC’ that was more square wave and less-so smooth sine wave.
referencing your remark “the inverter synthesizes the 60 HZ sine wave on the output”
Be nice if they did produce smooth sine wave. I don’t know; what say you?
>> Not very fuel efficient, but weighed against losing 1500 hens in the heat or a years meat/veggies in a freezer, its a no-brainer.
That’s what I was thinking. Its normal use would be occasional, when I need power out in the field; and then I have it in case of a serious power outage.
You’re right, fuel efficiency is a minus with a PTO setup. An offsetting plus is the fact that a dedicated generator engine is yet another piece of equipment to maintain (and test and run once in awhile and store and etc.) whereas there’s always a couple tractors around — that I already have to maintain. I KNOW they will start, and fuel for them is kept on hand naturally.
Another plus is that stockpiling diesel is safer, more efficient, and all-around easier. Plus I use enough to keep the stock fresh.
You have good points re: the car-operated small inverter for that “special” kind of emergency. ;-) Thanks for pointing that out.
>> I had always thought the store-bought inverters produced AC that was more square wave and less-so smooth sine wave.
Indeed, that used to be true. Technology marches on; newer inverter technology produces quite clean sine wave power.
That said, I’m sure you can still find cheap crappy square-wave inverters from *some* Chinese vendor. :-)
hmmm. Will check the specs on what I have. No longer have a scope to actually LOOK at the output. Last scope I connected was over 25 years ago ;-)
“Be nice if they did produce smooth sine wave. I dont know; what say you?”
Modern inverters do produce a sine wave. You just need more mosfets on the output.
Older inverters used power transistors and we didn’t have the digital circuitry to do the syntheses anyway.
inverter generator ping
I started my technical career using Tectronix 555 scopes. Used to turn them on first thing in the morning to warm up the lab.
I thought it was. I own a Honda Inverter. I paid about $3500 for a 6500 watt. You are not just paying for the inverter technology, but Honda’s engines are much better quality and they are much quieter. They always start. They do not burn oil. Their small power equipment is better than pretty much anything else made. The only product that was not that great was their riding lawn tractors(good engines, cheap everything else). Stihl is the only other small equipment worth buying.
The other difference is if you want to be able to run your big screen TV, especially a plasma.
IF you do not care about any of the above. Buy a Generac for about 1/3 the price.
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