My Generator Buyer's Guide
Here at My Generator, we aim to empower our customers with the right information. Choosing the right generator for your portable power application is easy, so don’t get bogged down in the numbers…Just follow these three easy steps:
1. What type of generator do I need?
There are four main types of generator based on the required application;
Generators in the RECREATIONAL RANGE used for:
• Camping, Camper Trailers
• Caravans, Motor Homes
• Boating, Fishing, 4WD
• Small Domestic Use, Small Mobile Businesses, Small Events
About this range: All units in this range are Inverter Generators; the inverter technology produces ultra clean voltage so you can power sensitive electronics like phones, laptops, TV’s etc. Lightweight, quiet, compact and economical. Popular for charging your camping battery packs, running caravans and your favourite home and camping appliances. Also used for small portable backup requirements during blackouts, small events and for food vans, mobile businesses.
Generators in the PORTABLE TRADE range used for:
• Construction Sites, Building, Tradesmen Work, Mining
• Farming, Agribusiness, Rural Properties
• Power Equipment, Tools, Welding
• Factory & Plant Maintenance, Hire Industries
About this range: Petrol and Diesel Generators in both Single and Three Phase power, suited for all trade applications. Built tough, typically with steel rollover frames and fitted with condenser style alternators making them suitable for resistive and heavy loads. Work Cover Approved models available which include the necessary worksite safety features. Other specialised trade genset types include; Welder Generators, Workstation Generators and Mine Specification Generators.
Generators in the EMERGENCY BACKUP range used for:
• Running appliances during mains power blackouts
• Direct Backup to house mains, Direct Backup for small business
• Backup to off-grid solar power, Auto-Start backup power
• Remote power requirements, Small satellite offices
About this range: Includes smaller inverter generators right up to larger AVR (automatic voltage regulation) generators, all suitable to run your domestic and small business appliances; your choice just depends on how many appliances and how big they are. There are petrol, diesel and gas backup generators in this range. Auto-start models for automatic operation are also available. Popular with people living in storm prone areas, as well as remote properties and people living off-grid with solar power.
Generators in the STATIONARY range used for:
• Standby power solutions for larger commercial applications
• Prime Power for remote business and large contractors
• Mine Sites, Agriculture, Healthcare, Events
• Council/Government Buildings, Utility Companies, Data Centers
About this range: Larger gensets providing significant commercial power supply either for standby purposes or prime/continuous requirements. Mostly Diesel and Three Phase Generators that are moved via crane or forklift. Almost exclusively for commercial/business use and outlets can be configured to suit the required task.
2. What size generator do I need?
This is the most commonly asked portable generator question and can sometimes seem like quite a technical, challenging task. But for most applications, it’s actually pretty simple and straightforward – put simply, there are three basic steps;
- Get the power information for your appliances - both running and starting power (if appliacable)
- Make sure the power information is represented in Watts
- Work out how many appliances you'll be running at any one time
Its important you find the amount of power required to not only run the appliances you wish to use, but also the power required to start them. For many appliances, the starting output requirement can be up to 3-4 times (or more) greater than the continuous running power needed. This is the case for appliances with a motor or heating element, such as; fridges, air-conditioners, microwaves, electric deep fryers, coffee machines, hair dryers, pumps, drills, grinders, air compressors, saws etc.
3. What other factors should I consider?
Below are some additional important features you need to look out for when choosing your generator. These features vary in importance depending on the application.
Noise level; look for the dBA (decibel) rating on the generator. Important for recreational applications like camping/caravanning, for home backup generators or where quiet commercial operation is required.
Fuel tank capacity and litres per hour of usage; you want a generator that is fuel efficient and can see you through the required tasks without constant re-fueling.
Weight and portability; lightweight models for carrying and for larger models, additional features such as wheels & handle kits as well as lifting bars to make maneuverability easy.
Electric remote start; this capability helps in situations where you don’t want to walk all the way out to start your standby generator set.
Automatic start; this 'two-wire' feature enables your generator automatically start and stop when mains-power fails, or when your solar power battery setup needs automatic topping up. You can view the full range of Auto-Start Generators here.
Safety Features; can be an important consideration on some worksites that require WorkCover Approved generators. Features include; Earth Leakage Protection and Weatherproof Outlets.
Cheap or premium brand generator?; a premium brand generator can be used across all types of applications, from recreational through to commercial. For budget brand generators, they can be a good option for light, infrequent use, but it depends on the brand and the after sales support they offer - see why in this video here.
If you still need more info, feel free to contact us via email or phone on 1300 400 122 and we'd be happy to help. You can also download our free report here; Your Guide to Choosing the Right Generator!
Lachlan, Sean and the My Generator Team.