Should I Buy a Portable Generator?

Overview

A portable generator is a terrific alternative for protecting your house and family, powering a job site, or powering your camping. These generators are a dependable source of energy that is both compact and easy to operate, providing steady power and performance regardless of the task at hand.

They create electricity by using a gas-powered motor that generates electricity through an onboard alternator. In addition, you can plug electric-powered equipment, appliances, and extension cords into the unit’s electrical outlets—generally, the more potent the generator, the greater the number of outlet options.

The quickest method to get back into activity would be with an emergency generator. A portable generator, as opposed to a big, permanently placed standby generator, costs less money up front. You may find one from the internet, a local lawn equipment shop, or a big department store.

Top 3 Best Portable Generators

Should I Buy a Portable Generator?

The first thing to remember is that there are two categories of generators: permanently installed standby generators and portable generators.

A permanently installed automatic standby generator offers backup power safety and peacefulness to the members of your family or business. A standby generator is connected to your natural gas line or runs on liquid propane, operates when needed, and turns off when you don’t (The automatic transfer switches does the work for you).

As a result, you won’t have to activate or fuel a backup generator manually. In addition, the standby unit ensures you won’t require the extension cords that portable generators do.

For temporary electricity, a portable emergency generator is a wonderful solution. Portable units can supply power for general household demands in a crisis and camping, recreation, and power tools.

Most portable generators run on natural gas, while others rely on solar power. When using a fuel-powered version, your generator will produce carbon monoxide; thus, do not use it inside or near doors and windows.

The primary advantage of a portable generator versus a standby generator is cost savings.  The price varies depending on where you get it and which manufacturer you select.

Portable generators are an excellent investment for anyone looking for a lightweight power source. This type of backup power source is critical for emergencies as well as regular power usage. Many portable generator reviews emphasize how versatile these machines are and how handy they may be in a wide range of situations.

Generators of this type allow you to charge your phone, PC, or tablet, as well as vital plug-in appliances like refrigerators, lamps, and even medical equipment. They’re also great for cabin and RV use. They’re also ideal for out-of-door applications beyond the RV or cabin, and finding a dependable generator that’s both portable and fits your power requirements is crucial.

How Much Power Does My Portable Generator Need to Provide?

Portable generators for residential use range in power from 3kW to 24kW. That should be enough to power several essential household appliances. With a power output of 5kW to 8kW, you should be able to run a tankless heater, a hydraulic system, some lamps, medical devices, and your air conditioners. You could go much more prominent, but running a full power portable unit can be challenging and dangerous.

What is the Recommended Fuel Capacity for My Portable Generator?

Your generator’s gas tank (even if it is 10 degrees centigrade and freezing) will contain 3 to 6 gallons, which means you’ll have to run outdoors to replace it. An average-sized portable could operate for two days on 34 gallons of petrol.

Since gasoline may “gum up” if left sitting for too long, your portable generator, like another particular piece of gas-powered machinery, the lawnmower, may fail to start. Thankfully, there’s no such thing as a lawn-mowing crisis. Still, you’ll require testing your generator by firing it up a few times per year to ensure that it will work when you need it.

What Size of Generator Do You Need?

The right size generator is determined by what you wish to operate. Making a list of essential equipment that must remain operational during an outage is an excellent place to start. Attempt to strike a balance between comfort and necessity.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering how strong your generator should be:

[table id=4 /]
[table id=3 /]
[table id=2 /]
[table id=8 /]


Do I Need a Generator? Reasons Every Household Should Consider

Fuel Economy

A portable generator is more cost-effective than a whole-house generator. However, if your community experiences frequent power outages, you’ll probably spend more on large standby generators than portable ones. As a result, if you want to save money on gasoline, acquire a little machine now.

Power Outage

One of the most common reasons for purchasing an emergency generator is to plan for a power outage. Such incidents may occur only once per year in some nations, but they frequently happen in others. A power outage can happen anywhere and at any time, especially if the weather is terrible. You can’t remain in the shadows because many things might go wrong. So, to offer light in the home and minimize accidents, purchase a modest emergency generator.

  • Powers Small Devices and Appliances

Portable generators provide light and can run some of your tiny electronics. One of the ones we use has space for a television, computers, and other electronics. Based on the circumstances, we even utilize some overhead lights on it. Don’t underestimate the value of these devices, particularly when everything is dark and monotonous.

Ease of Use

Portable generators are among the most basic lighting options. The noisy and large standby generators of the past were not simple to operate. When it relates to portable units, though, all you require is a simple connection to turn on the light. Unlike what we had previously, you don’t need an extra pair of hands to begin or set it up.

The good news is that you may easily start such generators while you are alone in the home or when some other member of the family is isolated. So there’s no need to wait for someone else to assist you when the time comes.

Simple Maintenance

Another advantage of purchasing a portable generator is the ease of maintenance. Cleaning the plug, checking the oil gauge, and adjusting the fuel pump are sometimes all that is required. When these minor concerns arise, many people tend to manage them on their own. However, if you go for the larger standby generators, you need a budget for the cost of hiring electricians to maintain them.

Fuel Type

It depends on the engine you purchase. By far, the most prevalent are gas generators. Even during the anxiety leading up to and after significant hurricane preparations, fuel is plentiful.

If you’re ready to spend the extra money, diesel generators offer superior fuel efficiency. You’ll also get rid of the carburetor, which always seems to block at the worst possible time. So if you’re searching for an entire-house machine, diesel is the way to go.

Bear in mind that diesel isn’t always as easy to come by as gasoline. A gas generator or a propane generator that can adapt to propane use is another alternative. It’s another option if you want to use a more eco-friendly fuel source and don’t care about the extra complexity.

Good Lifespan

Portable generators could continue with you for numerous years, possibly because of the little loads they transport. Some individuals even get rid of it by selling it or giving it away to others. As a result, don’t be afraid to invest in these devices because they can help you save much money.

Choose a portable emergency generator rather than going for the big bucks standby generators and spending extra money on upkeep and buyback.


Portable Generators Have a Wide Range of Applications

Camping Smallest Generators on Wheels

Finding the right portable generator system as backup power is sometimes tricky for novices and experts alike. What is essential to pin down going into the shopping phase are the reasons you wish to buy a portable generator in the first place. This will be crucial in filtering out the ones you don’t need and narrowing down the right one with the right power and intended applications that you do need.

Make sure you know if you will use a generator for short-term blackout emergencies, camping, outdoor events, or larger disaster preparedness such as a hurricane.

Finding the right portable electric generator can be a challenge for both beginners and specialists. The reasons you want to acquire a portable generator in the first place are crucial to nail down before you start shopping. That will be critical in weeding out the ones you don’t need and limiting the ideal ones for you in terms of power and planned applications.

Make sure you know whether you’ll be using a generator for short-term blackouts, camping, outdoor activities, or greater emergency planning like a hurricane.

Portable Generator Uses

High winds, lightning strikes, or ice buildup that forces power lines to collapse are common reasons for power failures. However, acquiring a portable generator depends on your demands, the task you are doing, or a specific situation. You can learn about the most important reasons to purchase a portable generator below.

Everyday Usage

Simple, common-sense reasons are a great argument to have a portable generator. However, when researching our portable generator evaluations, we discovered that these machines could be incredibly beneficial in various situations you may not have considered.

For example, a generator may easily do it if you’re outside and want to charge your hybrid or electric automobile. This will prevent you from becoming stranded if you own an electric vehicle.

Blackouts

In many sections of the country, blackouts, tiny power outages, and brownouts are widespread. A little power generator is ideal for getting you through several hours that might spoil your food, cause your cell phone battery to die, or put you in the dark.

This is crucial because while some blackouts are OK to endure for an hour or two. But those that stay longer without backup power might produce spoilage, prevent you from keeping yourself warm, and use your emergency phone.

 Extreme Emergencies

Hurricanes, regional blackouts, and grid power outages are all situations where portable generators come in handy.

For huge calamities, you’ll need a powerful generator that can keep your fridge operating, your lighting turned on, and recharge your mobile phones for emergency usage. Outlet connectors, USB plug-ins, and other connectors are available on these generators.

 Outdoor Events 

Portable generators are also frequently used in the home. For example, you could use these portable generators to light up a party or event in the yard, particularly if you have a huge amount of land and organize a small or large gathering. In addition, they provide essential electricity during blackouts

Food Preservation

If you have filled your refrigerator, losing power for more than a few hours might cost you hundreds of dollars in chilled and frozen goods. According to the USDA, you should throw out perishable items after four hours of a power outage. If you really can link the refrigerator to a portable emergency generator, you won’t have to worry about replenishing costs.

Water from a Well

Because municipal water lines are pressured, water will flow from the faucet even if the power is down. Unfortunately, that is not the case for rural residents who rely on power motors to pump water from their wells into their houses. However, if you have a diesel generator, you may connect the well pump to it and ensure it stays running even if the power goes out.

Working from Home

But if you have a machine of this type, a basic power outage can result in a total shutdown of your home company. Millions of people now work from home as the gig economy grows. Even in a major power loss, they must have a portable unit as backup power to maintain PC, Wi-Fi, printers, and internet going.

Sump Pump 

Basements with sump pumps are common in places where flooding is a problem, as they pump out undesired water before it can gather and cause harm. Sump pumps are most likely to fail during heavy rains, and power failures are sadly common during thunderstorms. When you connect the sump pump to a portable generator, your basement will remain dry even if the electricity goes out.

DIY Activities

Power tools can make residential projects go more quickly and easily. Instead of needing to swap out batteries on your wireless instruments or return home to charge them, a portable generator will allow you to connect with your power tools and finish your project swiftly.

Camping 

If your family likes camping under the stars, they’ll appreciate it more if they can recharge their smartphones, keep cold drinks in a mini-refrigerator, and read emails on their laptops while doing so. You can enjoy all of your contemporary amenities while camping outdoors with a portable generator.

Owning an Electric Car

During a power outage, electric car owners can become utterly stranded. So do you rely on an electric car? A portable generator will guarantee that you can get to work, pick up the babysitter, go to the shop, get to the emergency department if the power goes out for an extended period.

Living in a Fire-Risk Zone

If there is a significant risk of fire, utility companies have been able to turn off power to consumers in highly drought-stricken and wooded zones. Unfortunately, the shutoff is frequently timed to coincide with forecasted severe winds, which increase the chance of downed power lines, which are a significant cause of fires. However, keep a portable generator as backup power. Then, you’ll always have a supply of electricity when the power goes out.


Is it Safe to Use a Portable Generator?

Portable generators are beneficial when you need electricity for a short time or in a remote location, but they could also be dangerous. Carbon monoxide (CO) toxicity from the poisonous exhaust gasses, electrocution or electric shock, burns, and fire are the main dangers to prevent when operating a generator:

Carbon Monoxide Hazards

When utilized in a confined environment, generators may produce large quantities of CO in seconds or minutes. When using a portable generator, keep in mind that CO cannot be seen or smelled. Therefore, you could be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning even if you don’t smell exhaust fumes. Accordingly, all portable generators must be labeled with a warning label.

Safety tips to protect against CO poisoning:

  • To use your machine, follow the directions that came with it. Place the unit outside, away from any windows, doors, or vents that might allow CO to enter the house.
  • Never use a generator inside houses, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar places when utilizing fans or opening windows and doors for air circulation. Carbon monoxide concentrations can quickly rise in specific regions and last for hours, even after turning off the machine.
  • ACCORDING TO THE MANUFACTURER’S RECOMMENDATIONS, put CO alarms with power backup or battery-operated CO detectors on your property.

Fire Hazards 

Never keep your generator’s gasoline in the house. Petrol, propane, kerosene, and other flammables must be kept in properly labeled, non-glass safety receptacles outside of dwelling spaces. Also, keep kids away from any fuel-burning devices.

Also, please switch off the generator and let it cool down before replenishing it. Gasoline spilled on hot engine components has the potential to catch fire.

Electrical Hazards

Generators can cause electric shock and electrocution, mainly when used in rainy situations. Therefore, if you must use a machine when it is wet outdoors, protect it from water to prevent the shock/electrocution risk. However, you must avoid using it indoors or near entrances to any structure that could be occupied to prevent the CO hazard.

Run the generator beneath a canopy structure on a dry area where water can’t access it, puddle, or drain beneath it. If your hands are moist, dry them off before contacting the generator.

In the case of appliances, you should use massive electrical wires designed for outdoor to connect them to the machine. Ensure each cord’s wattage rating is higher than the total power of all devices it’s connected to.

Employ an extension cored that is sufficiently long to allow the generator to be put outside, distant from the home’s vents, doors, and windows, as well as any other structures that may be inhabited.

Never try to feed your home cabling by hooking the generator into a wall socket, which is referred to as “backfeeding.” That is exceedingly risky and puts utility workers and residents who share the same electrical transformer at risk of electrocution. It also disables some of the constructed circuit breakers found in most homes.


When Do I Not Need a Portable Generator?

A portable generator, unlike a standby generator, needs people to power as well. This is just another lump of metal in your steadily leaking garage if you’re not home to switch it on after a storm or hurricane. Despite the drawbacks, a portable generator provides just what many households require: affordable emergency backup energy.


Conclusion

To recap, the best portable generators are:

Consider that a portable generator not only improves your comfort but it also safeguards your family during the evenings when there is no electricity. There are numerous possibilities accessible, but you must select the best one. Understanding your power load is one method to make a good decision. Keep in mind that a portable generator will not be able to provide as much power to your entire home.

You’ll need a larger generator to run things like the heating system, central air conditioner, electric stoves, and deep freezers. Also, if you have frequent power outages, a portable generator might not be enough. Finally, if you want a power generator that can handle all your devices and run continuously, you need to have a lot of money.