How to Choose the Best Portable Generator for Home Backup

How to Choose the Best Portable Generator for Home Backup

Australia is a large country that straddles the political frontier of south-east Asia and Oceania – called Asia-Pacific. In mainland Australia, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, and bush fires can bring devastation, which is always accompanied by power outages. During power blackouts, you won’t have access to telecommunication and the comfort of illuminated nighttime. If your livelihood relies on stable electricity, then this means a disruption in income flow.

The good news is that you can easily purchase a portable generator and that it is affordable. Aside from times of power outages, a portable generator can also come in handy when you go on camping trips, as it will allow you to still enjoy the conveniences that you get from having electricity at home even whilst you’re enjoying the outdoors. The bad news is that not all generators are created equal. Some are very loud whilst some are fuel-hungry machines that can drain your budget, and others are so costly to maintain that their maintenance eventually costs more than their purchase price. Here are some tips that will help you zero in on the best portable generator for home backup:

Portable generator buying tip #1:   Choose a portable generator based on your devices’ power consumption

If you always need to run low power devices such as a laptop, a flat screen TV or monitor, a stand fan, and a LED light, you will just need a low power generator – about 120V with a 1000-2000-Watt output. If you run power-demanding electronics such as a 15-26 cubic freezer (consumes 1100 Watts- 1240 Watts), then use a generator with an output of 1.2KW or 6.0 KW. Likewise, for a small house with few low-powered appliances, you will just need a portable generator with a 1 to 2.5-KW output. For a medium to large business, you will need a generator with a 7000 W or 7 KVA output. For reference, a Kilowatt is equivalent to 1000 Watts, which is a unit of power used to rate the output of household appliances. The wattage of each appliance is just an approximation and depends upon the model, type, and size.

High Powered Appliances/Devices    Watts    Low Powered Appliances /Devices Watts
Air Conditioner 3000-4000 Disc Player 10-20
Electric Heater 4000-5000 Laptop 50-60
Dehumidifier 404-667 LED bulb 13-18
Freezer 1100-1240 PC Monitor (Depends on model, size) 18-150
Iron 1100 Router/Modem (Various models) 6-20
Tankless Water Heater 15000-18500 Fan (Various Types) 30-60
Window type Air conditioner 500-1440 Smartphone 5

 

Portable generator buying tip #2: Choose a quiet generator

Who wants a noisy generator? Shopping for one without considering the noise level (decibel) might make you end up running a generator that sounds as if you are using a chainsaw or operating a carpentry shop. Not only will this cause you much disturbance; it will also attract your neighbours’ attention and possibly even the local authorities’. An ideal silent generator has 57 or 58 Decibels at seven meters, which is a sound quieter than a normal conversation (60 decibels). Note that the larger the generator and its power output, the higher its noise level in decibels.  

Device Decibel levels
Jet Engine 130
Rock concert stereo 135
Normal Conversation 59-64
Quiet Generator with 58dB rating 58
Freezer/Fridge hum 40
Whispering, library 20-30
Hearing threshold 0

 

Portable generator buying tip #3: Consider purchasing a rust-resistant generator

Rust resistance not only allows you to save energy; it can also prolong your generator’s service life. Portable generators with galvanised aluminum or steel, alloy, and polycarbonate plastic are corrosion- resistant. They are ideal for when you go for outdoor camping and need to power your outdoor devices.

Portable generator buying tip #4: Use generators encased in High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) material

HDPEs are lightweight and are a very strong type of plastic. They are resistant to fungi, rust, shock, and moisture. When you have a generator with HDPE casing, you get the advantages of portability and durability in an all-weather setting.

Portable generator buying tip #5: Consider the generator’s anti-vibration mounting or insulation

Generators without anti-vibration mountings tend to produce excessive vibrations that can shorten the lifespan of engine components such as the piston, bearings, and other moving parts. Anti-vibration mounts or vibration isolators may be rubber or metal mounts that look like a plate with slots on each side -- which are intended for screws -- and placed on the four sides of the generator. Some anti-vibration mountings are of a spring type placed in a cylindrical or square casing. They isolate and dampen the vibration energy before it reaches the flooring. ht2

Portable generator buying tip #6: Select a fuel-saving generator

Because petrol prices fluctuate, it is best for you to buy a fuel-economic generator that has an eco-mode – a feature that regulates or modulates the load (appliance) connected to the generator. In a standard mode, the generator’s motor runs at full speed (measured in rounds per minute) whilst in eco-mode, the generator matches the power need of the appliance by running at a lower RPM, which results in fuel efficiency.

Portable generator buying tip #7: Consider the generator’s fuel type

Some types of fuel might be expensive but easy to procure and vice versa. Most generators run on either gasoline or diesel, but other types run on propane, biogas, and natural gas. Gasoline is the ideal type of fuel for portable generators.

Portable generator buying tip #8:   Don’t base your choice only on price

Don’t be quick to purchase the portable generator with the lowest price. Consider these mitigating factors to save money in the long run -- features, quality, fuel consumption, fuel type used, portability, vibration output, and energy output. Also check the customers’ reviews and the vendor’s reputation before you make a purchase.

Portable generator buying tip #9: Choose an inverter generator with a True Sine Wave Power output

ht3 A sine wave is a periodic or frequent occurrence of troughs and crests (wave). True sine waves produce less harmonic distortion (distorted, non-smooth waveforms) versus other forms -- modified square wave, square, triangle, and sawtooth. Applied in generator power output, pure sine wave technology makes the equipment run efficiently. It reduces heating and runs devices with sensitive electronics such as laptops. Appliances that have AC motors run more efficiently when used with a True Sine Wave Generator.

DEVICES that runs efficiently with TRUE SINE WAVE INVERTER
Microwave Oven
Washing Machine with Clothes drier
Air conditioners
Freezers
Fans
Vacuum cleaners
Dehumidifiers
Blenders
Drill
Pumps

 

Conclusion

Choosing the best generator can give you more bang for your buck. Whenever there is a cyclone, bush fire, earthquake, flood, or emergency repairs that prolong a power outage, a portable generator can provide you with hours of continuous electricity. If you’re one who likes to go on camping trips, then a portable generator can make your trip more comfortable, as it will allow you to your electronic appliances and gadgets even when you’re far away from home. Learn more about portable and inverter generators at Outbax.



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