Is opting for cheaper generators false economy? Or are the 'lesser known' value for money generator as good as premium ones?
The truth is, in many cases, the value for money generator aren't massively different units than the premium ones (particularly when you look at their specs). So, it might appear like you're just paying for the name with the likes of Yamaha and Honda generators, but in both cases it's a name earned over years of making premium products. It all really depends what you expect from the unit and how often you'll use it. Let us explain...
By doing your homework and taking the time to consider the factors below, you can be confident you get the right generator for you:
Generators with a higher price tag are typically built to a higher standard. We're talking about Japanese brands like Yamaha - these guys are the market leaders for inverter generators. They are built for recreational uses, home backup and for small to medium mobile businesses and are the quietest, lightest and most fuel efficient generators on the market.
For trade generators, the premium options are the locally manufactured brands like Powerlite, Crommelins Machinery, and Gentech, which build generators powered by the likes of Honda, Subaru, Kohler and Vanguard engines. All names you know and trust. The selling point of these Australian manufactured products is that they are built and tested specifically for Australian conditions and have decades of use in the construction and hire industries. You know you can trust them to last the distance and provide power when it counts.
Now consider the value for money generator options. There was a time that all cheaper generators from China were poorly manufactured and prone to engine failures. Those days are long gone, thanks to improved quality control and strengthening manufacturing standards. Today, there are brands such as Cromtech, MaxWatt and Briggs and Stratton which are more reliable.
Chinese manufacturing has really picked up its game in many cases - in fact that even some premium brands are using parts manufactured in China and South-East Asia. In other words, just because you are cutting costs, doesn't mean you are compromising reliability. Additionally, while Yamaha and the like might be better on features such as noise, weight and fuel efficiency, it isn't by a massive margin...so, it depends on how important these things are to you, and if you're willing to pay for it. But before you make your choice, read on:
A great middle ground option is a Briggs and Stratton Inverter Generator. The brand offers three capacities: 2400w, 3400w and a massive 6500w - this is the generator you need if you're looking to run anything from a mobile food van, coffee cart, small business back-up and home back-up. All three models are aren't as pricey as Honda or Yamaha generators, but also not as cheap as no-name budget brands. This makes them a good option if you can't justify the spend for a premium Honda or Yamaha model, but don't want the risks of a budget 'no name' brand. These models are manufactured in China but you get a 3-year limited warranty (domestic), backed by a national service network. You may well be familiar with Briggs & Stratton as they are a global company with more than 100 years of experience producing small engines (especially famous for tough lawnmower engines) - you can check out our full Briggs & Stratton value for money Generators HERE.
A large part of the price difference comes down to the warranty. Japanese, European and Australian brands have been around for decades and have solid reputations for high quality products. When you buy a premium generator, you are rewarded with longer, more comprehensive warranties of two, three or four years, sometimes more.
Yamaha offer a 4 year warranty on all of their range, while trade/construction brands such as Powerlite, Gentech and Crommelins offer 2-4 year warranties on most of their generators also. The middle ground offering - a Briggs and Stratton Generator, comes with a 3-year limited warranty (domestic), backed by a national service network. At the budget end of the range, Cromtech offers a 1 year, which is on par with most other Chinese manufactured units on the market.
Premium brand generators are usually backed by a larger network of servicing outlets. So when you buy a Yamaha or Subaru generator, for example, you can rest easy that there is an Australia-wide service network ready to help out in times of trouble. Yamaha has over 200 accredited service agents nationally. Similarly for Australian assembled gensets like Powerlite or Gentech, they use engines like Honda, so you can get your engine checkout by any of the hundreds of Honda service agents around the country.
Even budget generator brand Cromtech has a national service network because it is backed by Australian manufacturer and distributor Crommelins. Cromtech products are supported by hundreds of approved service agents across Australia. Briggs and Stratton is also backed by a national service network; this is pretty unusual for a budget brand - in fact, Briggs and Stratton and Cromtech are some of the only budget brands made in China that offers this level of after sales support.
THE BOTTOM LINE???... if you're shopping for a generator on a tight budget, there are some good value for money generator options that can satisfy your portable power needs for certain circumstances - camping, caravanning, DIY, domestic back-up power...if you only intend to use the generator infrequently then these budget brands can be a good solution for the occasional portable power use when required or to have 'just in case'. We'd just recommend you opt for a budget option that have after sales service support to back you up, like Cromtech.
But if you are relying on your generator for more frequent use, then it's probably worth paying the higher price for a premium brand; they're built to handle more regular demands and come with exceptional after sales support and longer warranties. Here at My Generator, customers love Yamaha if they intend to go on long caravan/RV trips, live in storm prone areas where blackouts are frequent, or also those who own coffee carts/food vans or other mobile businesses and need an especially reliable generator to run their business daily/weekly for example. Similarly, customers such as tradies, builders or farmers that need the generator for industrial, commercial or more heavy applications will opt for something like Powerlite, Crommelins Machinery, Briggs and Stratton, MaxWatt and Gentech as mentioned.
In these premium cases, our customers like the fact they can count on the longer warranty and accredited service technician nearby if needed...so it's easy to justify the higher investment because they'll be using it more frequently.
Now you're worked out whether a premium or budget generator brand is right for you, check out our comprehensive range of generators at My Generator
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.