In our increasingly technological world, we’re used to having everything we want precisely when we need it. Need information? Jump online on your smartphone, type in a few key words into a search engine and voila! Here are some Portable Generators for Sale.
Thanks to portable generators, we can also get power almost any place and time you need it. But when faced with a vast choice of portable generators for sale, how can you be sure that you’re buying a dependable machine that can provide the required power for your application?
Here, we shed some light on some of the technical jargon and what to look for in a portable generators for sale:
- Determine your peak-wattage needs: Before you start looking, you need to work out how much power you need. To do this, check the owner’s manual of appliances you want to power and determine the peak wattage. This is how much power it takes to run at its highest level of power consumption, usually at startup. Next, add the peak wattages of all the appliances you want to run. You need to look for a portable generator for sale that has a peak output higher than this number. This is the trickiest part of buying a generator. If you undersize, the generator will strain to meet demand. Take your time and get this right – as a quick guide, you can refer to our wattage appliance table guide at the bottom of this page, or check out our Generator Buyers Guide with a helpful power calculator.
- What’s an AVR? This stands for Automatic Voltage Regulator. Many generators contain an automatic voltage regulator to help the machine maintain consistent voltage output under varying loads. An AVR is designed to prevent voltage spikes and surges that can damage your appliances.
- How long should the runtime be? Again, this depends on where you will be using the portable generator. The runtime tells you how long the unit will run on a tank of fuel. The number of hours is typically based on a generator running at half capacity, and will depend on both the size of the fuel tank and how hard you run the machine.
- How many is enough outlets? If you’re looking for a portable generator for your home, we recommend you look for at least two electrical outlets. This will be enough to power essential appliances.
- Do I need economy mode or an electric throttle? While not a ‘must-have’, these are features are a good way to increase the efficiency of your generator and get more power for longer. They work by adjusting the engine speed to meet the electrical load, reducing emissions and fuel use when you don’t need the generator’s full power. Most inverter generators these days are fitted with an eco throttle.
- What are the basic safety features? These days manufacturers add all manner of safety features, but at the very least your portable generator should have a low-oil shutoff to protect your generator’s engine from damage if it runs too low on oil, and outlet covers protect plug-ins from the elements.
- What are some ‘nice to have’ features? Where do we start?! It really depends what you’re after, but some good features include a fuel gauge and hour meter. A fuel gauge will save you from guessing how much fuel is left in the tank so you can be fully prepared, and an hour meter makes it easy to schedule oil changes at the appropriate intervals.
- How to get value for money: As a rule of thumb, portable generators last longer if operated at about 75-80% of their rated wattage, rather than running continuously at peak output.
- Is There Much Maintenance Involved? Generators are pretty durable machines and there usually aren’t many complications as long as you use good quality fuel and keep the oil levels topped up. Each genset comes with a product manual which details manufacturer’s recommendations around servicing and things like oil change…the below video is a good demonstration of a customer undertaking a simple oil change on his inverter generator. We’ve also included a video on the top 5 maintenance tips for your portable generator: