Generators can come in small packages, but there are caveats to every size available. Remember that the size of the generator will affect how much power the unit will provide. The smallest class of generator is usually only rated for one appliance at a time. In addition to having smaller engines, generators that can be carried with one hand will need to be refueled more often than bigger ones. Medium-sized portable generators will last longer, but full size units will have more fuel and power options. Larger portable machines may come with a wheels attached to the frame, but they are hardly as easy to move as the tiny introductory models. The portable units that provide the most power are so big that they are mounted on their own trailer.
Since there is a wide margin between the biggest and smallest portable generators, find a balance between the amount of power needed and the amount of space available. For instance, the ability to run many different appliances may sound appealing, but the largest generator models will require a truck for transportation, more storage, and more space in order to run and vent safely.
There are several options available for fueling portable generators. Smaller models are more likely to use gasoline or propane for energy. Larger units are almost exclusively diesel. Since all generators produce energy through combustions, they cannot be run in an enclosed space. Make sure they are outside and cleared of debris so that the heat and carbon monoxide can dissipate.
Gasoline and diesel are often the most popular choices for fuel because it is easy to keep these liquids on hand. However, propane is a very efficient way to provide power and is available at most gas stations. As the cost of oil rises, propane is becoming a cheaper option than the others. Also, these generators can be hooked directly into a line for a steady stream of fuel.
Obviously, smaller units will not be able to provide as much power as their larger counterparts. Many generators have their power rating incorporated into their name. This is usually the output of the generator in watts. All appliances require a certain amount of wattage to run. If that number is smaller than the rating of the generator, the unit will power it. However, many devices require a surge of power to get started. The generator needs to be rated above the starting wattage of the appliance or else it will not provide enough power to turn the device on. Not all appliances use more energy on startup, but it is wise to check in order to avoid overloading the generator.
Top Portable Generators
Since generators are used in many different capacities, finding the right one is not a difficult process. Companies that manufacture vehicles, like Honda and Yamaha, are known for their reliable engines; this allows them to provide high quality generators as well. There are a number of quality manufacturers that deal strictly in generators. The top product in each category is mainly a matter of personal opinion.
Generators with automatic start options are available for those who dislike starting a generator by hand. Others may be concerned with noise, longevity, or fuel efficiency. The large generator market ensures that any consumer can find just the perfect unit.
The best way to go about picking the perfect generator is by doing some research. Product reviews and consumer reports should reveal the best generator for a chosen job. Thorough research helps the buyer choose which product works best for their situation, but the research should not stop after the purchase is made. Always read the operations manual before using the equipment for the first time, and make sure to follow all safety rules.
In order to get the most out of the new generator, refuel carefully, and don't overload the unit. If handled properly, a quality generator will be able to grace camping trips, improve cookouts, and save the day during emergencies for many years to come.