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Best Portable Inverter Generators 2014 Inverter Vs. Standard Generator

Updated on July 22, 2014
The Yamaha EF6300ISDE is perfect for those looking for a high capacity inverter generator.
The Yamaha EF6300ISDE is perfect for those looking for a high capacity inverter generator.

Though inverter generators are fairly new, they are gaining in popularity. One of the reasons is because they are so easy to use, and are very portable.

Many people use inverter generators for tailgate parties, or even camping. These little generators power small appliances like microwaves, crock pots, small televisions, or blenders, to name a few.

These are typically made with high tech electronic circuitry and high tech magnets. These generators have three phases that output AC current like other generators. However, the next step is that this current is then converted to DC. After that happens, it is then inverted back too clean AC Power.

The Hyundai HY2000si 2200-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is surprisingly good for around $500.
The Hyundai HY2000si 2200-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is surprisingly good for around $500.

Advantages of Inverter Generators Vs. Conventional Generators

There are many advantages to these types of generators. First, they have good quality power output, not to mention that they are typically more efficient than a standard home generator.

Lightweight:

They also have a much lighter weight, and smaller size than their traditional counterparts. This is because while a standard generator will use heavy copper coils, an inverter generator has a lightweight alternator. Many of these weigh around 30 to 50 pounds. This makes portability even that much easier.

Better Fuel Efficiency:

Another great benefit is that inverter generators adjust their engine speed to the load required. So although they have smaller fuel tanks which would typically mean fewer running hours, the way that they use the fuel more efficiently still means that you get around 8 to 10 hours of run time, depending on what you are using it with.

Many different inverter generators give you more quiet operation than traditional generators. This is one of the biggest differences between traditional generators and inverter generators.

Inverter Generators are the Quieter Option:

Inverter Generators feature quieter engines, special mufflers, and technology for sound dampening to help reduce overall noise. Conventional generators run a constant speed, while inverter generators will vary depending on the load.

Because inverter generators are built to be more quiet and portable, the maximum output you can find is often a bit limited. Typically you can find them available in 1000 to 4000 watt models.

Cleaner Power Allows you to Use it on Sensitive Electronics:

As was mentioned earlier, this cleaner power is better, and is basically the kind that you get from your electric company. This might not seem like a big deal; however more products today use some kind of microprocessor. These are found not only in computers, but telephones, televisions, printers, kitchen appliances, and power tools to name a few.

Microprocessors are actually quite sensitive to the quality of electricity that they use. Often you can cause your electronic devices to malfunction if you are using a power that is not quite so clean. So anything that you use that has sensitive electronics will do much better from the cleaner power provided by an inverter generator.

Not all can do this, but there are some brands that can be linked with other identical units to double your power capacity. This type of parallel capacity gives you the advantage of using two small generators to give you the same wattage and amperage of one bigger sized generator. Keep in mind that a special cable needs to be purchased to be able to hug each generator up to each other.

Very Few Cons

The only cons to speak of are the lack of a large maximum power output, and then price. Because these are made to be so much more convenient, and the way they gave you cleaner energy, they usually come with a higher price tag than a conventional generator of the same size.

5 stars for Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Inverter

2 Good Portable Invertor Generators Under $1,000

Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter, CARB Compliant
Yamaha EF2000iSv2, 1600 Running Watts/2000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter, CARB Compliant

If you want to link generators, this Yamaha EF2000iS Gas Powered Inverter Generator is one that can do that. This is a 2,000 watt 79cc OHV machine that can be run up to 12 hours before needing more fuel.

 

Features and Buying Tips for Portable Inverter Generators

Features Offered

Look for generators that have some kind of fuel economy switch. This will give you the opportunity to run your generator at variable speeds and will ensure maximum fuel efficiency. I also recommend finding some kind of overload feature which will put the generator into a neutral position while keeping the engine running if it experiences a sudden power overload.

Many also offer an automatic shut off feature which will keep your device from being damaged if the oil level gets too low. With that said, check to see if the generator you would like to purchase has a low oil indicator. This is typically a light that will go on to let you know that it is time to add more oil.

Look for an electric start that is engaged with either a push button, or a key. If you know you will be charging 12 volt batteries from your generator, you must make sure that you have a 12 volt DC output.

Many of these generators are quite lightweight around 50 pounds or so. However, keep in mind that are gas powered inverter generators are going to be 100 pounds or more. These typically, with wheels and handles, but they still are heftier.

Other Purchasing Tips

Since buying an inverter generator is quite an investment, I highly recommend finding a generator from a company who has a good reputation for reliable engines and one that offers a good warranty. Also, check to see how thick the steel is that it's been constructed from, and determine how durable the fuel tank is as well.

The control panel offered on an inverter generator can help indicate if it is a good quality machine. An hour meter will help you keep track of any maintenance checks that might need to be done, and a voltage meter will take the guesswork out of running your machine. Just for added security, I recommend finding one that is OSHA and EPA complaint.

Which do you prefer?

See results
Powerhouse PH3100Ri, 3000 Running Watts/3100 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter, CARB Compliant
Powerhouse PH3100Ri, 3000 Running Watts/3100 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter, CARB Compliant

This Powerhouse PH3100Ri Gas Inverter Generator has 3100 watts and a 4 stroke engine. This one comes with a remote start which is nice. This one is a bit heavier than some of the others, but it has a great handle and wheels for easier portability

 
Lifan Energy Storm ESI 3600iER, 3300 Running Watts/3500 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter
Lifan Energy Storm ESI 3600iER, 3300 Running Watts/3500 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter

Lastly, take a look at this Lifan ESI 36000iER Digital Inverter Generator. This gives you 2600 watts and also features a remote start. It can run 7 hours at a 50% load. It’s a little lighter than the one we mentioned just above, but it also has caster wheels and a handle.

 

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Do you think that a portable inverter generator is worth it?

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      Shelia 3 years ago

      I think that inverter generators are worth it because they save a ton of energy. They are very expensive but they will last a long time. They are also good with electronics, I have not had any problems with any of my electronics after using one.

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