What is an Inverter Generator? Answers & Best Models

What is an Inverter Generator

An inverter generator is perfect if you want cleaner and safer power for your electronic appliances. 

How does the inverter generator differ from your conventional generator?

A conventional generator uses a mechanical alternator to offer alternating current (AC) power. The power is ready to use on your appliances. On the other hand, An inverter generator uses an inverter to convert direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). The main advantages of using an inverter generator are that it is more efficient than a conventional generator and produces cleaner power. Inverter generators are often used to power sensitive electronic equipment such as computers and TVs.

Additionally, instead of running constantly, an inverter generator throttles its engine depending on the demand. 

The result?

  • Enhanced efficiency due to lower fuel consumption
  • Less noise
  • Reduced emissions

Do you want to find out more about inverter generators? 

Let’s get to business. We’ll also give you the best options in the market to make it easier for you to choose.

Related: Best Solar Generator For Home Backup – Top 6 Options in 2022

Best Inverter Generator Summary

  1. Best Overall: Generac GP3500iO
  2. Best Budget: WEN 56203i Super Quiet
  3. Best for Camping: Honda EU2200i
  4. Best for RV: Champion Power 200986
  5. Best 2000W: WEN 2000-Watt
  6. Best Dual Fuel: DuroMax XP13000HX Dual Fuel

What is an Inverter Generator?

It’s a generator that inverts raw power to match the power you’d get through power lines. 

It electronically adjusts the engine’s speed to meet the demand. Instead of keeping the engine operating at maximum power all the time, the generator adjusts to power demands. 

Its improved performance ensures you can go longer between fill-ups. These generators also decrease the amount of noise pollution.

Inverter generators have recently gained popularity because they can reliably produce clean, constant AC power without requiring a soundproof enclosure. 

They can alternate between producing 120 V and 240 V and are much quieter than their counterparts. 

Related: Learn How To Hook Up A Generator To Your House

How Does An Inverter Generator Work?

An inverter significantly modifies the operations of a generator. The rectifier converts the alternating current (AC) from the alternator to the direct current (DC). 

The microprocessor inside the generator converts the DC power back into AC before sending it to the control panel. An inverter is a term derived from changing the current type continuously. 

The Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is drastically reduced in inverter generators compared to conventional ones due to the computerized regulation of electricity to the panel. 

When thinking about how to power sensitive electronics like smartphones, tablets, PCs, and TVs, THD should be a top consideration. Clean power or power with a low THD is essential for these devices. 

These gadgets are vulnerable to high-THD power. Since they all use pure-sine-wave inverters, inverter generators can reliably maintain THD at or below 1%. 

Conventional generators’ THD can reach 25% in extreme instances.

Regardless of whether the electricity has passed through a voltage regulator or other safety devices. THD indicates how clean the energy is.

.What Is An Inverter Generator Used For?

The inverter generator includes a battery, an alternator, and an inverter, in addition to the fuel tank. 

The alternator converts the high-frequency AC power produced by the engine into the lower-frequency DC power used in the generator. Once the inverter receives these DC currents, it converts them into AC currents. 

Similar to standard portable generators, inverter generators output 120 volts at 60 hertz. An inverter generator produces more consistent electricity due to the additional processes involved.

Inverted generators are typically used in applications where weight and size are critical. They can be used in various applications, including powering portable electronics, providing backup power for homes and businesses, and even charging electric vehicles.

What Are The Advantages Of An Inverter Generator?

Why should you go for an inverter generator instead of a conventional one?

Reduces fuel consumption

Inverter generators are designed to reduce fuel consumption while providing the necessary power. Traditional generators can waste fuel and produce harmful emissions, but inverter generators are up to 80% more efficient. This means that they use less fuel and produce cleaner power that is safer for the environment. 

A standard generator has only “on” or “off” as a command. But an inverter can automatically adjust its output in response to the power needs of your connected gadgets. 

Therefore, the inverter generator saves money on gas. This feature makes it the greenest option available.

The Inverter Generator Will Protect Your Sensitive Electronic Equipment.

Inverter generators run cooler than traditional generators. This is because inverter generators convert DC power to AC power, producing less heat, so they don’t overheat and damage sensitive electronic equipment. 

Easily Portable

Inverter generators are an excellent choice for those who need a portable and lightweight option. These generators are typically smaller and quieter than traditional generators, making them ideal for camping, off-grid living, tailgating, and other recreational activities.  When choosing an inverter generator, consider the wattage you need to power your desired appliances or devices. Most models have various wattage options to select to find the perfect size for your needs.

Cleaner Electricity

Inverter generators produce cleaner electricity than traditional generators. This is because inverter generators have a higher frequency than traditional generators, which results in less electrical noise. In addition, inverter generators are more efficient than traditional generators, meaning they use less fuel and produce fewer emissions. 

Quieter

One of the most significant advantages of inverter generators is that they are much quieter than traditional generators. This is because inverter generators use a different type of engine that runs at a lower RPM. 

Easy to Maintain

The only regular upkeep is a monthly check of the battery to ensure it’s still holding a charge.

What Are The Disadvantages Of An Inverter Generator?

Inverter generators are more expensive than standard portable generators. Although the unit’s up-front cost may be significant, its many advantages usually compensate for the original investment.

Inverter power generators are less potent than larger conventional generators, with outputs in the mid-to-low-thousands of watts. A simple inverter generator can power modest household appliances, RVs, and garden tools. If extra power is required, the inverter generator can run in tandem with a second generator.

Because of their limited output, inverter generators cannot supply conventional air conditioners or high-demand electrical loads. You’ll need a standard generator to power larger appliances or a whole household.

Inverter generator Vs. Standard Generator

Generator

Inverter

It is gasoline or diesel-powered  Powered by batteries and converts the stored power into standard current
It uses external sources to produce mechanical energy, converting it into electrical energy. It is a device that converts direct current from storage elements like batteries, fuel cells, or solar panels and turns it into alternating current.
It requires effort to start a generator in case of a power outage It starts automatically immediately after the power fails without any gap in between
Mostly come in high-watt capacities They are primarily low-capacity devices
They demand regular maintenance and checkups. They are very reliable and require little to no maintenance.
They are suitable for high-power needs. They are suitable to power small appliances and gadgets

Inverter or Generator, Which Is Best For Home Use?

There are a few key factors to consider when deciding whether an inverter or generator is best for home use. One crucial factor is the cost of each option. Inverters typically cost more than generators. Another critical factor is the amount of power that each option can provide. Regular generators can provide more power than inverter generators. Finally, the noise level is another critical consideration. Inverters tend to be much quieter than generators. Based on these factors, it is clear that inverters are the better option for home use.

Best Overall Inverter Generator

Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator

Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator - 3500 Starting Watts with PowerRush Technology

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The Generac GP3500iO is a powerful and efficient open-frame inverter generator that is perfect for RVs. It features a 3500-watt continuous output and a 4000-watt peak output, making it capable of powering most RV appliances and electronics. The GP3500iO has a built-in inverter that provides clean, stable power for sensitive electronics. It also features RV-ready outlets, so you can easily plug it into your RV’s electrical system. Finally, the GP3500iO is equipped with a wheel kit for easy portability.

Specifications

  • The 212cc engine is equipped with PowerRush Advanced Technology, allowing it to generate 3500 starting and 3000 running watts. The Generac GP3500iO is compatible with additional identical units.
  • At a load of 25%, this inverter generator has a 2.37-gallon fuel tank
  • It can run non-stop for around 11 hours of operation
  • It has one 120V 30A twist lock outlet and two 120V 20A outlets in the back
  • An additional bonus is the inclusion of two 5V USB connections. The design is functional and lightweight, making it convenient to bring anywhere
  • Generac provides a three-year warranty on the product, giving you the confidence to purchase.

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Power-efficient
  • Quiet operation
  • Easy maintenance

Cons

  • It can only be paralleled with another Generac GP3500iO unit

Check the Generac GP3500iO’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Budget Inverter Generator

WEN 56203i Super Quiet

WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator w:Fuel Shut Off, CARB Compliant, Ultra Lightweight & No-Spill 1405 2-1:2-Gallon Poly Gas Can

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WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is one of the market’s most popular portable inverter generators. It is quiet, efficient, and portable, making it perfect for camping, tailgating, RVing, and more. This generator produces clean energy with minimal emissions, making it environmentally safe. It also has a long run time and is very easy to use.

Specifications

  • Rated output: 1,700W
  • Peak output: 2,000W
  • Gas tank capacity: 1 gallon
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Runtime: 10.8 25 % rated load

Pros

  • Rock-bottom price
  • Quiet
  • Great runtime
  • Super portable

Cons

  • Relatively low power output

Check the WEN 56203i Super Quiet’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Inverter Generator for Camping

Honda EU2200i Inverter generator

Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator with CO-Minder

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This Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator is the perfect addition to your camping gear or emergency kit. This generator is super quiet, making it perfect for use when you need power but don’t want to disturb your surroundings. It’s also lightweight and portable, so you can take it wherever you go. With 2200 watts of power, this generator can handle all your needs, whether you’re looking to run a small appliance or charge your phone. If you’re looking for a reliable and convenient way to get power when you need it, the Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator is the perfect solution.

Specifications

  • EU2200i Accompanist is compatible with the Advanced Carbon Monoxide Detection System. Carbon monoxide is regularly monitored by CO-MINDER (CO). Automatically shuts off the generator when CO levels near the generator reach a certain threshold.
  • Compared to its predecessor, the EU2000i Companion, the EU2200i Companion is smaller, lighter, and 10% more powerful, allowing it to run more devices simultaneously.
  • It comes with Honda’s My Generator, a smartphone app that provides remote management and status checking for your generator.
  • The app’s functionality can be remotely monitored and controlled, allowing you to know the status of your generator even when away from home.
  • A Honda GXR120 engine from their Commercial Series provides thrust for the EU2200i Companion. Compared to other models, the GXR120 stands head and shoulders above the competition thanks to its 121cc displacement. Thus, the EU2200i is always guaranteed to have sufficient power.

Pros

  • It’s easily portable
  • Considerable power capacity
  • Supports several appliances simultaneously
  • Carbon emission regulation

Cons

  • Low output in case of overuse

Check the Honda EU2200i’s latest prices on Amazon

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Best Inverter Generator for RV

Champion Power Equipment 200986 

Champion Power Equipment 200986 4500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator, RV Ready

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Champion Power Equipment 200986 4500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is an excellent choice for RVs, as it provides clean and quiet power. It has a 4500-watt maximum AC output and 3700 watts rated AC output. It also features an inverter system that produces clean power (safe for sensitive electronics), an RV Ready outlet (120V/TT-30R), and a built-in USB port. This generator also features an economy mode that conserves fuel and reduces noise. It runs up to 9 hours at 25% load with a 1.59-gallon fuel tank. The Champion Power Equipment 200986 4500-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is ETL certified and backed by a 3-year limited warranty.

Specifications

  • You can quickly and easily check your battery life, voltage, and frequency.
  • Start-up is simplified with the EZ Start Dial, and power consumption can be monitored in real-time via the Economy Mode.
  • It can run for up to 14 hours on just 2.3 gallons of gasoline and has a starting wattage of 4500 and a running wattage of 3500
  • Includes a free lifetime of technical support and a limited three-year warranty
  • This inverter’s output power can be doubled by connecting it to a second Champion inverter of 2800 watts or higher through the included parallel kit.
  • A 120V 30A RV outlet, two 120V 20A residential outlets providing clean electricity (less than 3% THD), a 12V outlet designed for vehicles, and a convenient USB converter with two ports are included in the generator.
  • Noise is the last thing you want while trying to relax and reconnect with nature. The 4500-watt inverter generator from Champion Power Equipment allows serene RVs, tailgating, and camping with quiet technology.
  • It’s a cost-effective option because it can go for 14 hours on just 2.3 gallons of gas.

Pros

  • Very quiet
  • Relative capacity
  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Cost-effective

Cons

  • Limited reliability

Check the Champion Power 200986’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Inverter Generator 2000W

WEN 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant

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The WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator is an excellent choice for those who need a reliable and portable power source. This generator is CARB compliant and features a powerful 2000-watt engine. It also has various safety features, making it an excellent choice for any consumer.

Specifications

  • It can operate at 1600 watts and has several different power settings.
  • You can get by with two 120-volt AC outlets, one 12-volt DC port, and one 5-volt DC port. Moreover, it can function in parallel.
  • It weighs 48 pounds which may be more than some competitors. However, its compact dimensions of 18 x 11 x 18 inches make it simple to stow away.
  • This generator has a very low constant decibel level. It has the lowest decibel rating at only 51.
  • It has a maximum operating time of 9.4 hours when only a quarter of the battery is in use. 
  • You must remove the gas tank and both sides of the carburetor to clean it. Consequently, servicing is a major hassle because of this.

Pros

  • Includes Eco-mode
  • Easily portable
  • Safe for small electronics
  • Very reliable
  • Cost-effective 

Cons

  • There is only one 12 V DC outlet.

Check the WEN 56200i 2000-Watt’s latest prices on Amazon

Best Dual Fuel Inverter Generator For a Power Outage

DuroMax XP13000HX

DuroMax XP13000HX Dual Fuel Portable Generator-13000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Electric Start w:CO Alert, 50 State Approved, Blue & Reliance Controls

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The DuroMax XP13000HX Dual Fuel Portable Generator is a powerful and versatile generator that can be used for various purposes. It has a 13,000-watt Honda GX390 gas engine and can run on gasoline or propane. This makes it ideal for use in emergencies where fuel may not be readily available. The generator also features a built-in fuel gauge and low oil shutdown to protect the engine from damage. Additionally, the generator includes a wheel kit and handles for easy portability.

Specifications

  • It can run on natural gas or propane, and its electricity output is sufficient to power an entire home.
  • If you run the generator on propane, it will be quieter and produce fewer emissions. 
  • It has a steady construction that makes it long-lasting
  • It weighs 238 pounds. It comes with wheels that make it portable.
  • Running output: 13,000W
  • Runtime: 13 hours at 25 % rated load
  • Gas capacity: 8.3 gallons
  • Output: 10,500W
  • Weight: 238 lbs

Pros

  • Massive power output
  • Dual-fuel versatility
  • Very reliable
  • Easily portable due to wheels

Cons

  • It may be heavier than its counterparts

Check the DuroMax XP13000HX Dual Fuel’s latest prices on Amazon

Conclusion

An inverter generator is an excellent choice if you want safe and clean energy for your electronic appliances. It features an alternator that converts AC power to DC before a microprocessor converts it back to clean AC power.  The generator also throttles its engine depending on the power needs. This makes it cost-effective. 

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