Inverter Generators: the power behind all the fun

Behind every great outdoor event is power generator technology. Generators have long been the power option of choice for market stalls, festivals, and school fetes. Now their popularity has reached an all-time high thanks to the growing trends of pop-up bars and food vans. In fact, portable electric generators provide power to almost all events and festivals in Australia today.

But with so many generators to choose from, how to you know which is the best generator for your mobile business or event?

In the majority of cases, the best generator option for smaller festivals, events and food vans/coffee carts is an Inverter Generator. Inverter generators not only produce a pure stable energy, they also come in more portable and lightweight designs that are perfect for events and businesses on the move. Such is their versatility, inverter generators are also the chosen portable power solution for many campers, caravan and 4wd enthusiasts.

Inverter Generators are the go-to power source for mobile food vans and stalls at many festivals

How do Inverter Generators work?

The Inverter is a lightweight microprocessor that replaces the heavy alternator in conventional-style generators. Inverter generators produce a "pure stable sine wave" output that is as clean (or cleaner) than a normal power outlet from your home or office. This means they are perfect for directly running your personal electrical devices, kitchen equipment, home appliances etc. Here's a quick vid that looks at what an inverter provides:

Yamaha EF2800i - The Versatile, Powerful & Lightweight Inverter Generator

More benefits for users:

Easy to Move

Inverter technology allows manufacturers to design ultra light and compact generators that are perfect for portable businesses or events where you need to move the generator from your van or to the other side of a field for example. Trust us, we've been there! You can pretty much guarantee that they'll come with nice neat comfy handles too, and some are complete with built-in wheels for easy maneuverability.

Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator Review

Nice and Compact

The improved efficiency of Inverter Generators compared to conventional generators means they can be up to half the size! That means they won't take up much room in your food van, market stall etc, and will be easy to pack away and transport. Inverter generators range from 1000 to 6500 watts in power output to suit different recreational, domestic and small/medium business uses - to make sure you get the right sized generator to run the appliances you need, refer to our simple step by step buyer's guide.

Good Quality, Stable Power

But don't be fooled by their size. Inverter Generators give out higher quality power than conventional generators. In fact, by far the best feature of Inverter Generators is their ability to produce clean power that won't surge or spike. This means you won't risk damage to more sensitive electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones, microwaves, blenders etc. Phew!

The Yamaha EF6300iSE: the most popular generator for coffee carts, food trucks and mobile businesses

No Fuel Guzzling

With an Inverter Generator, you get more power for less money. Because the engine speed automatically adjusts in direct proportion to the load applied, the generator maximises the fuel efficiency while maintaining 240V (50 cycles) supply. This means you can enjoy a longer continuous running time without needing to refuel. Handy when you're managing an event or driving your food van from one spot to another without time to refuel.

Whisper Quiet

Unlike their noisier counterparts, Inverter Generators don't give out annoyingly loud humming and vibrations. If you really want your customers to enjoy themselves in peace, then inverter generators are the go, with with sound-proofed casing, insulators and mufflers. Bliss! Refer to the below noise level table showing how quiet Yamaha Inverter Generators are:

Larger Events?

It's worth noting that inverter generators are not designed for heavy, inductive loads such as running heavy power equipment. So whilst they are typically quieter, lighter, more fuel efficient and provide cleaner power, if you intent to run larger power tools or heavier machinery, then you may need to consider a Tradesman Generator or AVR Generator. These generators are still portable, but designed to run bigger equipment; pumps, compressors, welders, brick saws etc etc.

Even larger again are Stationary Generators, which would be appropriate for running entire festivals and significant sized events. These are large diesel units which typically provide Three Phase Power for requirements of 15kVA and above. Often these units also require certain outlet and accessory configuration which can be discussed with an expert by calling 1300 400 122.

But when it comes to choosing a generator for your small event or business on the go, take a look at what an inverter generator has to offer: they are a great piece of equipment that will likely serve your needs very well!

More Info?

As mentioned above the best place to start when selecting a generator is working out what size you need for your application - this video here takes you through the steps:

What size generator do I need?

For more information, visit or call us on 1300 400 122.

DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

5 thoughts on Inverter Generators: the power behind all the fun

18 January 2019
Hi first time to this site i need to know what size generator would run a pan fried ice cream machine on my food truck or at farmers markets?

My Generator Response
Hi Devette, thanks for your question :) Ideally you would know the maximum (or peak) power draw of your particular pan fried ice cream machine. You can usually do this via 3 different ways: 1. the product manual or data plate may indicate the power draw (in watts, kw or amps). Be aware that often this is not the peak power though, often just the running power draw of the appliance. 2. Contact the manufacturer of your machine, speak to their tech department and ask for the max power draw. 3. Use a small wattage meter (usually about $15-20 from a hardware or electrical store) to get a reading on the max power draw of your appliance. This customer and fellow food truck owner demonstrates the use of a wattage meter here: Once you have that maximum power draw requirement (including the additional power requirements of any other appliances as well), you can then size your generator accordingly. In our experience, most food van operators will require around 5,000 to 7,000 watts of max power (especially coffee cart operators and mobile kitchen set ups with multiple appliances) and they will opt for either of these generators: - Briggs & Stratton 6500w Inverter Generator - Yamaha 6300w Inverter Generator Both are excellent options. There are also examples of smaller food truck set ups that use less power and will use generator models in the 2000w to 3000w size. Many of these options can also be 'paired' via parallel cables to almost double the output - this is sometimes a good option for food truck owners wanting flexibility. In any case, once you know your appliance(s) power, you'll know which generator size you'll need. Cheers

21 April 2016
Hello this is my first time even trying to get a generator, I need one for my catering event. I have a steam table, and a grill, I normally cater for about 5 hrs a day, I do the event about 3-4 times a week, do you have an idea which generator I need?

My Generator Response
Hi Martha - the type of generator you need is an Inverter Generator - these are quiet, fuel efficient and produce clean power for your appliances. It is the type of generator that people with food vans, mobile catering businesses, coffee carts, market stalls etc. use. The next thing to work out is what size generator. For this, you'll need to know how much power (in Watts) your steam table and grill will draw - both their start-up power and running power. You can either find this out by contacting the manufacturer of your appliances, or use a wattage meter to measure the power draw, like this food van operator does in this video HERE. Once you know how much power your appliances draw, you can choose the right size generator. As a reference point, the most popular models for your type of application are listed below (the choice depends on how much power your appliances draw): Yamaha EF2000is (two can be paired together) Yamaha EF2800i Yamaha EF6300iSE Dunlite 7kVA Kohler Generator (not silenced)

27 March 2016
Hi! Would you please advise me as to what size generator. I need to run a coffee machine using 3600w and also a 600w grinder plus fridge. Would be very grateful for your help.

My Generator Response
Hi Susanne, thanks for your question. You need to find out the starting wattages of your coffee machine, grinder and fridge. Those numbers you have have quoted look to be the running (or rated) watts. Any appliances with a motor (such as your appliances) will require more power to start up at first (often the starting watts will be around 3-5 times the amount of the running watts). To find out the starting wattages, you can contact the manufacturer of your appliances and speak to their technical department, or use a wattage meter to take a reading, like this fellow food van operator does in this video HERE. Knowing exactly how much power your appliances draw (including start up power amounts) is essential information to have when selecting a generator. Find out the specific wattage information for your appliances first - however to give you some guidance; I suspect that you will require a generator such as the Yamaha EF6300iSE Inverter Generator - this is the most popular model for coffee vans and food trucks. It provides 6300 watts at peak, and 5500 watts continuous running power. Hope that helps, cheers - Steve

27 September 2015
Hi Team Great website. I need to know what inverter would i need for the following 4 CFL bulbs / 1 Table fan / 1 Microwave / 2 induction cook tops / 1 refrigerator / 1 freezer Thankyou Nitin

My Generator Response
Hi Nitin, in order to get the right sized inverter generator, you need to find out the wattage draw of your particular appliances. Especially for the microwave, cook tops and fridge/freezers - these appliances will have a higher starting wattage than their required running wattage. To find this information out, you need to either check the product manuals (although often the important starting wattage is not included), contact the manufacturer of the product, or you can use a wattage meter like one of our customers did in this video here: Once you know how much your appliances will draw, then you can size your generator correctly. Feel free to give us a call on 1300 400 122 if you need anymore help. Thanks, Steve.

5 January 2015
Hi, how much does lectron 2000w inverter cost to run per hour? The example would be for a small mobile food van the size of a ford transit van. Thank you.

My Generator Response
Hi David - the Lectron 2000w generator has a fuel tank capacity of 4.5 litres and can run for around 9 hours on 50% power load. Hope that helps, for more advice on generators and running food vans, you can check out this helpful article here: Cheers - Steve @ My Generator.

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