Why You Need An Inverter Generator!
I'm sure by now you're very familiar with a conventional open frame generator. They are widely used today to power up wherever electricity is nonexistent. How they mechanically work has not changed much throughout the years. Lately though, you may have noticed a trend in the generator industry. Inverter generators have been increasing in popularity. Almost all major manufacturers have at least one in their lineup. What exactly is an inverter generator? What are the advantages of having one? Are they powerful enough? Most importantly, do I need one? These are some of the questions I'm going to try to answer for you.
Theoretically (and I'll try my best not to bore you with this), generators need a source of fuel to burn. In most cases it's either gasoline, propane, or diesel. This will power an engine that is attached to an AC alternator. Voltage is rapidly created but regulated and controlled by a voltage regulator. The power is then fed to the electrical panel which distributes it amongst the various plugs. Inverter generators work roughly the same way. The only KEY difference is what happens right before the electricity enters the electrical panel. As soon as an inverter generator produces regulated power, it's then sent through an inverter block, which transforms/converts it into CLEAN true sine wave 120 volts AC power.
Now that some of the technical stuff is out of the way, lets talk about the advantages and what makes inverter generator unique like portability, fuel efficiency, noise level, and most importantly … CLEAN POWER!
The DuroMax XP2200EH 2,200-Watt Dual Fuel Digital Inverter Generator is a perfect example of a great inverter. The integrated handle makes it easy to move around. Just pick it up with one hand and get going. It only weighs 47 pounds and its compact, measuring at 20" L x 11.2" W x 18" H. This kind of portability is great for tailgating or any other recreational activity! The runtime and fuel consumption is excellent! Up to 8 hours of power on a tank of gas, and since this is a dual fuel generator, even MORE on propane. This is all possible due to the built-in idle control. This feature lowers the RPMs of the engine when not in use, saving fuel and reducing noise (61dB) along the way. This makes it perfect for RVing and camping. With all of that being said, what truly makes an inverter generator so appealing to consumers (myself included) is the ability to obtain clean sine wave AC power! This allows you to plug in sensitive equipment directly into the generator. For example, cell phones, tablets, laptops, TV's, and other electronics.
Power may be this generator’s only disadvantage. Most traditional generator produce more power for less money. However, If you're seeking to gain a little bit more power from an inverter there is a solution by using a parallel kit.
Essentially what a parallel kit allows you to do is connect two inverter generators together simultaneously, doubling up your total power output instantly, or in other words daisy chain. This is a very innovating idea and a great way to gain more power from these units. Be aware that not all inverter generators have this feature, so if this is something you are interested in, double check the unit before purchasing. The Honda EU2200I 2,200-Watt Inverter Generator with CO Minder is one of many that does offer “parallel operation outlets”. Honda parallel cables are model specific and should only be used with the generator they were designed for. In this case, you would need the Honda 08E93-HPK123HI Parallel Cables Kit. Installation is super easy! Position the two generators near each other so the parallel cable can reach both units, with both generators off, connect the parallel cables and ground cable to both generators. The cables are not polarity sensitive and can be connected to either parallel outlet. Start both generators using the normal starting procedure, make sure the eco throttle switches are in the same position and both green output indicator lights are on. That’s it! Double the power in just a few minutes.
So, should you get one? Absolutely! If you don't have a generator already, an inverter generator is a great entry level unit. Not only is it useful for fun and recreational purposes. It's also a lifesaver during emergency power outages. I’ve seen a Genrac GP2200I 2,200-Watt Inverter Generator power up a refrigerator, small heating system, a couple of lights and outlets. That’s enough to get you by during a winter blackout. For those who already have traditional generator, you know how much of a hassle it is to haul it around. Having a secondary compact generator isn't such a bad idea. Be honest with yourself, wouldn't you rather carry a 50-pound generator versus a 150 pounder to your next outdoor trip? Yeah, I would rather have an inverter generator too!