Inverter Generator vs Conventional Generator – Which is the Best?

Inverter generators vs. Conventional generators what are differences

In this article, we will discuss Inverter Generator vs Conventional Generator and the major differences between Conventional Generators and Inverter Generators.

With the invention of generators, life as we know it changed totally. Work wasn’t disturbed by power shutdowns and remote areas got the chance to reap the benefits of power and electricity. You could even power appliances in the wild and in the mountains.

Inverter Generator vs Conventional Generator – Which is the Best?

Inverter generator v. Conventional generator

However, as time went on, we began to realize that conventional generators were wasting a lot of fuel and making too much noise. That’s when inverter generators came into being, solving the issues posed by conventional generators. They war far more efficient, eco-friendlier, and made less noise.

Let me explain to you how these two types of generators are different and what are their advantages and disadvantages.

Conventional Generator:

Even though the generator has been around for a long time, most of its core principles are almost the same to this day. Conventional generators feature an energy source, which is usually either gasoline, propane, or diesel. This energy source is used to power a motor that is attached to an alternator which then produces electricity.

Conventional generators with heavy-duty power outputs are usually quite heavy. However, there are some portable generators, which have the operation of a conventional generator but are much lighter and hence more portable.

Conventional generators require constant speeds of around 3000 RPM for stable power generation. If this constant speed is not maintained, total power output fluctuates. This could be a potential hazard to appliances being powered by the generator.

Inverter Generator:

Inverter generators work on the principle of converting DC electricity to AC electricity with high frequency. This helps eliminate fluctuations, a common issue with conventional generators. Inverter technology in inverter generators takes the raw power produced by inverter generators and then uses microprocessors in order to condition it with a process that consists of several steps.

Initially, the alternator of the inverter generator produces high voltage multi-phase power which is then converted to DC. The inverter then converts the DC power to AC. This helps in cleaning the power signal and making it smoother for high-quality stable power output. This power output can safely power all household appliances without damaging them.

Key Differences:

Following is a list of the key differences between inverter generators and conventional generators. Notice that there are secondary differences and mechanical differences that result from mechanical differences.

1. Current:

The kind of electricity produced is one of the major differences between the two types of generators. Conventional generators produce AC power in one step only whereas inverter generators produce AC power in a 3-phase process.

This 3-phase process makes the sine wave smoother and more stable. Minimal harmonic distortion means that the electricity is safe to power sensitive devices such as laptops, mobile phones, or tablets.

The sine wave of a conventional generator has greater harmonic distortion which causes fluctuation and surges in the power output. This power output can be used with most electrical appliances but not with sensitive gadgets and electronics.

2. Fuel Efficiency and Power:

Conventional generators usually have a greater magnitude of power production as compared to inverter generators. This is due to various reasons including fuel tank capacity and the mechanical difference in the production of electricity.

The efficiency of power production is greater in inverter generators mainly due to the process through which the current is produced. In addition, the inverter generator’s engine adjusts fuel usage in accordance with the load which is a feature that conventional generator doesn’t have.

Due to the greater fuel efficiency, similar run times can be provided using less fuel which allows for smaller fuel tanks.

3. Portability:

Due to smaller and lighter fuel tanks as well as some other factors, inverter generators are usually more portable as compared to conventional generators. However, most conventional generators now feature wheels and handle them in order to make them more portable. It is still difficult to pull a 200-pound generator even if it has wheels.

Greater fuel efficiency in addition to smaller power outputs allow inverter generators to have smaller engines and fuel tanks which makes the unit lighter overall. For this reason, most inverter generators weigh around 40 to 60 pounds.

4. Noise levels:

Loud noise levels are among the major cons of conventional inverter generators. This is mainly due to the mechanics of the unit; therefore, even noise-minimizing efforts go in vain. Inverter generators, on the other hand, run at a steady speed of 3600 RPM which helps reduce noise levels.

Noise levels are usually mentioned in decibels in the product description. Most inverter generators are rated at 50 to 60 dba whereas conventional generators can go as high as 65 dba and more.

5. Parallel Capability:

In order to cover up for the low power output, most inverter generators are parallel capable which means you can parallel connect two units to produce double the power output. This feature is rare in conventional generators. However, considering they already produce a lot of power, it is also not necessary.

6. Eco-friendly Nature:

Different states and countries have varying air regulations. Nature reserves and national parks usually have strict air control laws. For instance, the state of California requires your generator to be both EPA as well as CARB compliant.

Inverter generators produce much less greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to conventional generators. Therefore, it is better to use an inverter generator in areas with strict air control laws.

7. Cost:

Conventional generators are more affordable as compared to inverter generators as they provide a much greater power output at a smaller price tag. Inverter generators are comparatively more expansive due to features such as low noise levels, greater efficiency, and safer power output.

Inverter Generator vs Conventional Generator Final Verdict:

We cannot simply state that either of these generators is generally better as the choice mainly depends on your requirements. Conventional generators are the better choice for powering a work site or home whereas it is better to choose an inverter generator for use as a home backup or for camping or road trips. We hope this article proved to be helpful to you.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why are inverter generators so quiet?

Inverter technology makes them quiet.

Do you need an inverter generator for an RV?

Inverter technology makes them quiet.

How many watts do you need to run a house?

You need at least 5k to 7k watts to power an entire house.

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