With the rise of natural disasters and other incidents that cause power outages, having a generator to help power essentials is a good idea. A generator can help you save thousands of dollars by keeping the power to your refrigerator and keeping your food fresh. It can also power a heater or a dehumidifier to keep you comfortable and protect your home as well.
There are a lot of options and generator brands when it comes to buying a generator, and we are going to focus on the ins and outs of inverter generators. We’ll review the top rated inverter generators so you get an idea of what to look for when you shop. After that, we have an inverter generator buying guide that will cover all of the questions you have about them. Whether you need something small or something big as a suitable generator for RV, we can help you find the right generator for your needs.
Inverter Generator Reviews
- 1 Inverter Generator Reviews
- 2 Inverter Generator Buying Guide
- 2.1 What is a Inverter Generator and How Does it Work?
- 2.2 Power Inverters
- 2.3 What Makes Inverter Generators Special?
- 2.4 Inverter Generator VS Conventional Generators
- 2.5 Important Things to Consider
- 2.6 6 Advantages of Inverter Generator?
- 2.7 3 Disadvantages of Inverter Generators
- 2.8 What Can You Run on an Inverter Generator
- 2.9 Wattages of Common Household Items
- 2.10 Safety Tips for Inverter Generators
- 2.11 What Safety Features Do Inverter Generators Have?
- 2.12 Why is Carbon Monoxide so Dangerous?
- 2.13 Maintenance of Inverter Generators
- 2.14 Taking an Inverter Generator Out of Storage
- 2.15 Putting an Inverter Generator Away for Storage
- 2.16 Periodic Maintenance
- 3 Inverter Generator Comparison Chart
- 4 Conclusion
- Generac 7117 GP2200i
- Watts: 3700 Watts with 4500 Peak Watt
- Power Source: Gas Powered
- Dimension: 19 x 11 x 17 in
- Weight: 46 lbs
- Warranty: 2 years
- Westinghouse iGen4500DF
- Watts: 3700 Rated Watts & 4500 Peak Watts
- Power Source: Dual Fuel
- Dimension: 24.5 x 17.5 x 20 in
- Weight: 104.1 pounds
- Warranty: 3 Year
- A-iPower SUA2000iV
- Watts: 1700 Watts with 2200 Peak Watt
- Power Source: Gas Powered
- Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 20 in
- Weight: 50 lbs
- Warranty: 2 years
- Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000
- Watts: 2600 Watts with 3000 Peak Watt
- Power Source: Gas-Powered
- Dimensions: 26 x 14 x 21 in
- Weight: 96 lbs
- Warranty: 24-Months Consumer / 12-Months Commercial
Westinghouse iGen4500DF Dual Fuel Inverter Generator
This is an extremely powerful generator that provides power when you need it thanks to it being a dual-fuel generator and having a push button electric starter. With the turn of a dial, you can change your fuel type from a portable propane tank line to using the integrated 3.4 gallon fuel tank. You don’t even need to stop the generator to switch fuel sources.
This inverter generator provides 3700 watts while running and can provide up to 4500 watts for short periods if you need that much power for a short period of time. And despite this huge power output, it only produces about 52 decibels, so you can run it without worrying you’re going to make too much noise.
The included outlets make this a great option for an RV or for an emergency home generator. You can easily connect an RV with the TT-30R 120v/30a outlet to save wear and tear. With two standard outlets and 2 USB outlets, you know that your important appliances and devices will never run out of power.
As an example of real world use, this inverter generator can power a small air conditioning unit, lights, and the refrigerator of a small camper with zero issues. That means it’s got plenty of power for a whole house during a power outage. As far as run time goes, you can expect to get about 8 hours on one tank of gas at about 25% load. As you increase the load on the generator, run time will decrease of course.
Read Full Review: Westinghouse iGen4500DF Dual Fuel Inverter Generator
- 3700 Watts with 4500 Peak Watt Rating on gasoline
- 3330 watts with 4050 watt peak on propane
- Outlets included:
- 2 Standard Household 120 volt/20 amp
- 1 120 volt/30 amp
- 2 USB 5 volt/2.1 amp
- LCD status screen with LED lamp indicators
- Parallel ports for connecting multiple units for increased output
- Dual fuel – can run off of propane or gasoline
- 104.1 pound weight
- 24.5” (L) x 13” (W) x 20” (H)
- Push button start with remote starting capability
A-iPower SUA2000iV Gas Powered Inverter Generator
This is a top rated inverter generator perfect for those times when you need power for one or two things in your camper or your home. It runs off of regular unleaded gasoline which is stored in the onboard 1.1 gallon gas tank. This generator also uses 10w30 oil as well.
This generator puts out 1600 watts with a 2000 watt peak rating, so while you can run small appliances, it really isn’t suitable as a home backup generator. This generator would best serve you as a backup for your RV or for an afternoon or evening outing. The noise level for the generator peaks at 58 decibels.
That means you can run this nearby when you’re sleeping because it is such a low noise generator.
There are three outlets, one of which is a TT -30R designed to connect to your camper or RV. There’s also a cigarette lighter style plug to give you other options when charging or powering devices. If you need more power or more outlets, you can attach another generator in parallel with the included cables, which will nearly double the wattage output.
For run time, this inverter generator provides about 7 hours running at a 50% load. You can also use an extension kit to attach a larger gas tank to the generator, which will allow you to keep the power flowing for longer.
Read Full Review: A-iPower SUA2000iV Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 1600 Watts with 2000 Peak Watt Rating
- Outlets included:
- 1 Standard Household 120 volt/20 amp
- 1 120 volt/30 amp
- DC 12 volt/8.3 amp
- LED status lights
- Parallel connector for attaching two generators to increase power output
- 50 pound weight
- 22” (L) x 13” (W) x 20” (H)
- Pull start
Generac 7117 GP2200i Inverter Generator
This gas powered inverter generator provides enough power for you to make sure that your outdoor event isn’t shut down because of no electricity. It has more than enough juice to run your nighttime movies or an impromptu gaming session in the middle of the woods. Just fill the 1.2 gallon tank and you’re off to an adventure.
This Generac inverter generates 1700 watts with a 2200 starting watt peak. That means that you can comfortably plug in a few electronics and not worry about the power. Your average LCD television only pulls about 100 watts and your laptop with all the movies needs 200 watts with zero starting watts. You could even plug in a microwave or electric griddle to whip up food.
Because the starting peak is 2200 watts, you might be able to use this to power your refrigerator and a few other items during an emergency. However, if you really want to be sure, running two of them in parallel will give you more than enough juice.
This unit has 2 standard plugs and one RV plug. It also has a single cigarette lighter adaptor and a single USB so you can charge multiple devices at once. Run time for this generator averages out at about 10 to 11 hours at 25% load.
Read Full Review: Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 1700 Watts with 2200 Peak Watt Rating
- Outlets included:
- 2 Standard Household 120 volt/20 amp
- 1 120 volt/30 amp
- DC 12 volt/5 amp
- LED status lights
- Parallel connector allows two units to be connected to increase power output
- 46 pound weight
- 19” (L) x 11” (W) x 17” (H)
- Pull start
Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Inverter Generator
As a gas powered inverter generator, this Briggs & Stratton model is one of the best 2000 watt inverter generators that straddles the line between emergency backup generator and RV generator. Truth is, it would do equally well as both. It comes with a 1.5 gallon integrated tank which is good for about ten hours at 25% load.
The power output has 2600 running watts with a peak starting rating of 3000 watts. That means it can easily handle your household refrigerator, a small space heater, and recharge your personal electronics as well. If you need more power to run an air conditioner, this unit is easily set in parallel with another Briggs & Stratton to give you nearly twice the output.
There are a bevy of plugs for you to use. Four standard outlets and a single RV TT-30R give you plenty of options when it comes to running things. A 12 volt DC plug and a USB port also enable you to charge your personal electronics.
This inverter generator is a little heavy, weighing in at 96 pounds, but it has a pair of solid wheels as well as a telescoping handle that make moving it around on the ground easy. And if you’re worried about how noisy it is, don’t be. This generator only makes 58 decibels at 25% operating load, so it won’t drown out the party.
Read Full Review: Briggs & Stratton P3000 Inverter Generator
- 2600 Watts with 3000 Peak Watt Rating
- Outlets included:
- 4 Standard Household 120 volt/20 amp
- 1 120 volt/30 amp
- DC 12 volt/5 amp
- USB port
- LCD status panel indicates power output and maintenance reminders
- Parallel connector allows two units to be used to increase power output
- 96 pound weight
- 26″ (L) x 13.9″ (W) x 20.4″ (H)
- Pull start
Inverter Generator Buying Guide
What is a Inverter Generator and How Does it Work?
Inverter generators are a newer type of generator that was invented by Honda a little over a decade ago. It would be easy to get into complicated mechanical theory and try to explain the differences between block wave and sine wave AC electricity, but suffice it to say, your inverter generator produces neat and clean AC power.
Older generators are known for producing DC power, and to get AC current, you had to use a power inverter of some sort. Before we get into power inverters, we need to cover the basics of AC vs DC power.
- DC stands for direct current, and is when electricity travels from negative to positive in one direction only. It is most commonly associated with batteries, from car batteries to the little AAAs you use in your remotes.
- AC stands for Alternating Current, and when it is on, energy travels first one direction, then the other. It does this in constant cycles. These changes in direction as the power cycles cause distortion in the power, and too much distortion can fry microprocessors, especially if the change between cycles is abrupt.
Inverter generators smooth out the flow, so it isn’t so jarring, making the energy output smoother and cleaner. It does this by taking the DC electricity that the generator produces and pushing it through a power inverter.
A power inverter takes that direct current coming in and uses a series of capacitors and inductors to mimic AC power. Older inverter technology used a simple switch to make the electricity flow one way then the other. That abrupt square cycle caused a lot of distortion. Like we talked about earlier, that distortion is terrible for modern day electronics.
By using the capacitors and inductors, modern power inverters can gradually release power as the switch over happens. This ensures that rather than a block and abrupt fall, the change is much more gradual.
What Makes Inverter Generators Special?
In a nutshell, inverter generators changed the game because of their ability to create smoother and less bumpy AC current. That current is great for modern day sensitive electronics. And modern day inverter generators also are designed to produce electricity as you need it.
Older DC generators only had two modes: 100 percent on and 100 percent off. Modern inverter generators can run slower to produce a smaller amount of energy and cycle up as demand increases. This makes them a great source for portable power.
Inverter Generator VS Conventional Generators
So, you might be wondering when you should choose a traditional conventional generator and when you should choose an inverter generator. In general, there are five reasons to choose an inverter generator over a conventional one. Let’s list them right here all at once and then go over each one separately.
- When You Don´t Need a Lot of Power
- When You Need a Quiet Generator
- When You Need Portability
- Inverter Generators Cost More
- When You Need Something Light
When you don’t need a lot of power – Inverter generators don’t produce a huge amount of electricity. If you’re looking for a generator to supplement your RV, or you need something to power the television at your tailgating party, then an inverter generator is a great choice. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a generator to work as a whole-house backup, then you probably want the raw power of a traditional unit.
When you need a quiet generator – Let’s face it; if there’s one thing about traditional generators, it’s that they are super noisy. Because they only turn on or off, when they’re on, they’re running full throttle and making the noise to match. An inverter generator, on the other hand, can be whisper quiet, because it spools up and down as demand changes. For a lot of inverter generators, you’re going to find they’re quieter than normal conversation levels. So you can have one at your next party and not worry about having to shout to your significant other about where they left the bratwurst.
When you need portability – Inverter generators have a much smaller form factor and mass than traditional generators. That’s great if you’re going to be on the go with your generator and picking it up and putting it back down again. Whether you’re tailgating or you’re powering up your kid’s birthday party, being able to move your generator is a plus.
Inverter generators do cost more – There is one significant drawback to inverter generators. They do cost more. But if you’re going to be using personal electronics, it’s probably better to account for the increased cost of an inverter generator.
When you need something light – Most of the best inverter generators are less than 100 pounds in weight, and the larger ones usually have some sort of telescoping handle and wheels to help move it around. So when you need something light, you should go with an inverter generator.
Important Things to Consider
Now that you’ve determined that you should be getting an inverter generator, you might be wondering about what sort of features you should be looking for. Here are seven things that you should take a look at and how they can impact what sort of generator you should be getting.
• Where Will You Use the Generator?
Location is important when it comes to choosing the type of inverter generator that you’ll need. Some locations demand a larger generator simply because you’re going to need more power. Here are four locations you might want an inverter generator and the power that they supply.
- Around the House – A generator for around the house is a great way to provide power for those times when you need extra juice. Whether it’s a party that’s not near any power outlets, or running an extra few fans or heaters for something special, an inverter generator will provide what power you need and cycle up or down to meet that need.
- As backup Power – If you want an inverter generator for your home, remember that it isn’t going to be large enough to run everything. An inverter generator, and the clean power it provides, is designed to power your personal electronics and other devices like that. Look for something that can handle the wattage load of all the devices you want to run. We’ll provide a chart that has a list of common wattages at the end of this section.
- RVs and cabins – RVs traditionally run on a propane fueled generator, but if it has been a while since your last fill up or you don’t want to use it, an inverter generator can plug directly in and serve as your power source. With just a couple of gallons of gas, you can provide all the power you and your loved ones will need.
- Camping – A small inverter generator can be the difference between camping and roughing it. Having a generator to power a small refrigerator or to fuel a couple of lights can help. A small 1500 watt generator can make a camping trip extra special with a movie under the stars.
• Fuel Type
In general, most inverter generators run on regular unleaded gasoline. However, dual fuel generators can use LP tanks that you can pick up at nearly any gas station or Walt-Mart. While propane does provide a lower wattage output than gasoline, having the choice between the two is a great option. If you’re in an area where you might not be able to get to the gas station, having a couple of tanks of propane stored safely can help you survive a winter storm power outage.
• Fuel Tank Capacity, Run Time, and Fuel Efficiency
Most inverter generators are going to run for about 8 to 10 hours at 25 to 50% load. That means that you need to consider what you plan on running off of your generator and planning accordingly. Fuel tank size is usually no more than 1 to 1.5 gallons. If you want a larger tank, you can get adjust your existing tank to take a larger one with some modifications.
The number and type of outlets is a huge factor in making one generator stand out from the others. Don’t count on power strips or extension cords to provide you with extra outlets. With some appliances like space heaters, you should never use an extension cord with multiple outlets. Plan accordingly, and in the case of outlets, more is usually better.
There are some quality of life features that can help you keep your inverter generator running for longer. These are usually maintenance related and let you not have to worry when you’re concerned about the snow or hurricane beating at your windows and doors. Here are a few things you might look for.
- Low oil shut off – Every inverter generator uses oil for lubrication. If the oil supply goes low, the generator can seize and break, making for a costly repair. A low oil automatic shut-off means that you don’t have to worry about that.
- Low gas shut off – As gas drops, you start to get misfires in your generator, and that will affect the quality and cleanliness of the power coming out. In most cases it’s better for your generator if it just shuts itself off rather than try to keep running with insufficient fuel.
- gas meter – This handy feature will let you see at a glance how much gas is left in the tank so you can plan accordingly. Keep in mind that if you’ve modified your inverter generator’s fuel tank, then the gauge might not be properly calibrated.
• Noise levels
It’s rare that an inverter generator is extremely loud. But it has been known to happen. If you’re curious about what the actual noise level of a generator is, look on YouTube for video reviews. You’ll be able to see them being used and tell how loud they are under various load conditions.
In most cases when it comes to inverter generators, you get what you pay for. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra for some upgraded features. Any of the things we’ve discussed here can be worth its weight in gold in the right situations.
6 Advantages of Inverter Generator?
There are definite advantages of inverter generators over your standard generator. In case you were still wondering what they could be, here are six of them.
1. Size and Weight
Standard generators are not meant to be portable. They’re large and noisy and meant to stay in one spot and provide power for one area. You can get smaller generators that will fit in the back of your truck, but once you get it up there, you don’t want to get it back down.
Your best portable inverter generator is smaller than a box of paper and usually weighs less than a hundred pounds. That means it’s easier to move, pick up and put down.
2. Noise Levels
If you turn on a standard generator, everyone for miles knows about it. That’s because standard generators use all of their power all of the time. Inverter generators scale up or down depending on how much you’re asking of it. This determines how much noise the generator will make. So, if you’re only asking 25 or 50 percent of the generator’s capability, you aren’t going to get a lot of noise. Nearly everyone who owns an inverter generator can barely tell it’s on when it’s running.
3. Emission Less Power
Keep in mind this isn’t emission free. It’s less emissions. Because the generator cycles down as you ask less of it, it burns less fuel. Less fuel burning means fewer emissions produced. That doesn’t mean you can run an inverter generator indoors. Far from it. You still need to run it outdoors or in a well ventilated space.
4. Efficient Power
Inverter generators burn less fuel because they aren’t running at full power all of the time. That means your gallon of gas is going to last for eight or nine hours in an inverter generator compared to only lasting for an hour in a standard generator.
5. Better Run Time
Better efficiency means longer running time. That comes in handy when you only need to make sure your phone is charged and your freezer is keeping things cold. It also means you don’t have to fill up the fuel tank as much either.
6. Parallel Operation
One of the greatest benefits is being able to put inverter generators in parallel. In electricity, when you put your generators in parallel, that ensures a smooth amount of power no matter what. That’s because each generator provides power to everything. Let’s say you have two things plugged into generator A and three things into generator B. If generator B runs out of fuel, those three things will still be powered, because generator A will increase its output.
When you add another generator in parallel, keep in mind that you don’t quite get the wattage of A + B as your total output, but it’s very close.
3 Disadvantages of Inverter Generators
Now that we’ve talked about how great inverter generators are, you need to know that they do have some drawbacks. Keep these in mind as you look at inverter versus standard generators.
1. Run time Disadvantages of Portable Generators
Inverter generators are much smaller, so they have a significant disadvantage when it comes to how long they will stay running. With a gas tank capacity that usually maxes out at 1.5 to 2 gallons, you can see why. A standard generator can have a fuel tank that runs up to 100 gallons or more. Some are even directly fed from underground storage tanks.
2. Power Output
Inverter generators provide smooth power without a lot of distortion, but that comes at the price of raw output. And let’s face it, a lot of appliances don’t care how rough the power is, they just want it. So inverter generators have two disadvantages here. One is that their smaller size means they have a smaller generator overall. Two, they adjust to the power demand, so they will try to produce as little power as possible.
Inverter generators are much more expensive than their standard counterparts. This is because it is more complicated to build an inverter generator. But the higher price tag is often worth it.
Although these three disadvantages are very real and can provide a block when it comes to choosing the right inverter generator for your RV or as an emergency backup for your electronics, we think that the advantages far outweigh these. However, again, it is all according to how you plan on using your new generator.
What Can You Run on an Inverter Generator
When it comes to getting an inverter generator, you might be wondering what you can run on it. The short answer is, if you can plug it into your wall at home, you can plug it into an inverter generator.
A more complicated answer is that there are certain things you can’t plug into one. Anything that requires a 220v line, for example, such as a clothes drier. Some air conditioners are out of the running as well. An electric stove that has a 220 plug cannot plug into an inverter generator.
As far as what you can plug into an inverter generator, here is a long list of common household items and their specific wattages. To figure out if you can plug an item in, follow this math:
Add the running wattages of all items together.
If that number is less than the running wattage rating of the generator move to the next step.
Look at the starting wattage of the items you want to plug in.
Is the starting wattage less than the inverter generator’s starting wattage?
If so, you’re good to go and you can proceed accordingly.
Here is a list of common things to run on an inverter generator.
Wattages of Common Household Items
|Category||Item||Running Wattage||Starting Wattage (if any)|
|Tailgating||42-inch LCD TV||50||0|
|RV AC (13,500 BTU)||1600||2300|
|Sump Pump 1/2 HP||1050||2200|
|Electric Water Heater||4000||0|
|1/2 HP Furnace Fan||800||2350|
|Window AC 10k BTU||1200||3600|
|Window AC 12k BTU||3250||3950|
|Central AC 10k BTU||1500||3000|
|Central AC 24k BTU||3800||4950|
|Microwave 625 Watts||625||0|
|Microwave 1000 Watts||1000||0|
Safety Tips for Inverter Generators
Inverter generators still burn fuel to produce electricity. And that combustion still produces noxious waste products like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. For that reason, there are some definite safety tips you should be aware of when it comes to inverter generators:
• Start it Up Safely
Every generator has its own particular set of startup steps. Some require you to unplug everything from the generator. Whatever they are, follow them. They aren’t there because the manufacturer felt like being funny. The startup procedures are in place to protect you and your equipment.
• Turn Things on in Turn
After your generator has started, don’t turn on everything you’ve plugged in at once. Some items will have a startup wattage associated with them and you don’t want to stack those on top of each other. If you do, you might end up blowing the inverter generator’s circuit breaker. Turn the items on one at a time and let them power up if they need to before moving on to the next item.
• Operate Generators Outdoors or in Well-Ventilated Areas
Generators produce carbon monoxide. And the last thing you want is for you or your loved ones to succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning. This odorless and colorless gas can overwhelm you with little notice, resulting in death in the worst cases.
• Electrical and Fuel Risks
Generators are unique in that they have hazards associated with them for both fuel and electricity.
- Gasoline – Never shake up a container that has gasoline in it. Gas is most dangerous when it’s in the form of an aerosol. And shaking up the generator or the gas can will cause easily flammable fumes to come out. Never overfill the gas tank. Overfilling can lead to spillage. Gasoline is highly flammable and spills onto a hot generator can cause fire or explosion. Never add gasoline to the generator while it is running. Turn off the generator and let it cool down completely before adding fuel. Never smoke near a gasoline powered inverter generator.
- Propane – LP tanks must be taken care of. Make sure that the nozzles and regulator are in good repair. The tank itself should also be in good shape with no rusting or pitting. Those can cause the tank to rupture, which can cause major injuries or even death.
- Electricity – as with most electrical items, make sure that you don’t handle the generator with wet hands. Likewise, don’t handle the plugs or sockets when you are damp or standing in water. If the inverter generator doesn’t have socket covers, consider investing in them.
• Generators run hot. Be careful with small children and pets while the generator is in operation. Ensure that kids are not left unsupervised while the generator is running.
• Never connect a generator to your home’s electrical lines or to a standard household outlet. While there are generators designed to supplement your home’s electrical grid, they are specially designed and installed.
• Do not overload the generator. Calculate the wattage load that you have on the generator and ensure that you never exceed the standard running wattage rating.
• Properly ground your generator at all times. If you don’t you or anyone who uses the generator can be lethally shocked.
• Maintain at least five feet of clearance on all sides of the generator at all times while it is in operation.
This may seem like quite a few safety tips, but when it comes to something that creates electricity and can injure you in nineteen different ways, it pays to be careful.
What Safety Features Do Inverter Generators Have?
One of the best new safety features to come out of research and development with inverter generators has to be the carbon monoxide safety switch. This safety cutoff will stop the generator from running if it detects excessive levels of carbon monoxide. Any unit with this design is going to be among the best inverter generators for the money.
According to Consumer Reports, over 900 people have died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators from 2005 to 2017. In 93 percent of those deaths, the generator was inside of the deceased person’s living space. A single generator can emit hundreds of times more carbon monoxide than an idling car and carbon monoxide is deadly.
Not only are some inverter generators designed with cutoff switches for higher levels of carbon monoxide, there are some that have engines designed to emit less carbon monoxide in the first place.
Why is Carbon Monoxide so Dangerous?
Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because it is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that acts as an oxygen replacer. What this means is that when you breathe it in, your body tries to treat it just like normal oxygen.
Normal oxygen is made up of two oxygen atoms, while carbon monoxide is a single carbon atom and a single oxygen atom. That carbon atom means your body’s cells can’t use it as oxygen. So you think you’re breathing just fine, but in reality, your brain and your entire body are being oxygen starved.
Large concentrations of carbon monoxide can overcome a fully grown healthy adult in minutes, causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate and if not rescued, die. Thankfully, most carbon monoxide poisoning is reversible if you are rescued in time or you make it to fresh air. But acute carbon monoxide poisoning can have lasting effects, such as permanent brain damage.
Here are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning that you should be aware of:
- Sudden headaches, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness or nausea
- Sudden tightness across the chest
- More acute exposure can cause vomiting, confusion and collapse from muscle weakness
If you or anyone experiences these symptoms, get outdoors to fresh air immediately and call 911 or emergency services. Do not go back inside to rescue anyone; you can be overwhelmed again in moments. Children and the elderly and pregnant women are especially at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Maintenance of Inverter Generators
When you purchase a piece of equipment as valuable and as hard working as an inverter generator, you want to make sure that you take the best care of it that is possible. When it comes to performing maintenance on an inverter generator, there are two times when it’s important: When you’re taking it out of storage for use and when you’re putting it back into storage.
Taking an Inverter Generator Out of Storage
When you’re taking an inverter generator out of storage for the first time, there are some checks you should be doing right away. Here is a short list that will help you walk through this important time.
• Check the outlets – If it’s been a while since you’ve run your generator, you’ll be surprised at where enterprising insects will set up shop. Make sure that there is nothing in the plugs so that you don’t get any nasty shorts or shocks when you plug something in.
• Change the oil – You should have changed the oil before you put it away into storage. You might wonder why you need to change it again when it hasn’t been run, and that’s precisely the reason. Oil left to its own devices will start to break down and not lubricate as well as it should.
• Inspect the gas tank – The same thing is true with the gas tank. It should have been emptied before it was put away or stabilizers added. If it wasn’t, you’re going to have to take some time to clean the old gas out to avoid damaging the generator.
• Check the spark plug – The spark plug in your inverter generator is what’s going to give you a nice clean start. Take the old one out and head to your local auto shop to have it checked. Check the gap clearance as well. If it looks old or it’s been a while since you’ve replaced it, spend the five bucks to get a new plug. The A-iPower 3800 series takes an NGK BPR6HS plug, for example. If you aren’t sure, take the old plug in to find a replacement. Replace the spark plug wire if necessary.
• Look at the pull starter cord – Pull out the starter cord slowly and take a look at it. You want to be sure that the exterior isn’t worn or frayed. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to start your generator and having the starter cord snap off in your hands.
When taking your generator out of storage, if you’ve made sure to put it away correctly, then you’ll only have a few things to check. But it you’ve bought a generator used or inherited one, then going through every step can save you a few headaches down the road.
Putting an Inverter Generator Away for Storage
There are a number of reasons why you might be putting your generator into long term storage. You might be moving. You might have your generator at your winter home in Florida and be heading back north for the spring. Whatever the reason, when you put it away, follow these steps to make taking it out of storage next season as painless as possible.
• Drain the gas tank – you can use a siphon or a hand pump to make this easy. And because it’s pure gas, you can just put it in a gas can and dump that into your car. If you don’t want to drain the gas tank, then add stabilizer like Stabil or Sea Foam. Those prevent gasoline from breaking down while you’re gone.
• Change the oil – Give your generator a complete oil change. You’re not going to be around for a while. You want the oil that’s going to be sitting there to be as fresh as possible.
• Clean the entire thing. You want to make sure it looks brand new. Wipe away any oil residue, dirt or other spots. Lightly oil any exposed rubber fittings to keep them from cracking, however. Check the linkage, spring, engine controls, cooling fins; these should all be clean and clear of debris.
• Take it to a lawn mower shop for service – This is optional, but something we like to do. By taking it in, you can make sure that when you take your generator out of storage, it should start up right away.
• Invest in a cover – When you put your inverter generator away, put it up off of the ground. A couple of old tires and a sheet of plywood will serve nicely. That keeps most mice and other vermin from being tempted to nest in it. Get a nice cover and wrap it to protect it as well.
• Disconnect the spark plug wire – Make sure that the wire is stowed where it cannot contact the plug accidentally. Use duct tape to fasten it securely.
That’s it. When you take the time to store your inverter generator properly, you have the peace of mind of knowing that it will be ready to go when you need it.
If you aren’t putting or taking your inverter out of storage, but instead use it frequently, then you should be performing periodic maintenance on it to ensure that it continues to run efficiently. Here are some steps you should be taking to keep it in the best shape.
• Keep it covered when not in use – The less exposed your inverter generator is to the elements, the better. While you should never run a generator in an enclosed space, keeping it in a storage shed or garage when not in use is ideal. Store it off the ground if possible. As we noted before, a pair of old tires with a sheet of 1/4 inch plywood over top will provide a great storage spot when your generator is not in use.
• Change the oil – Your generator’s manufacturer will make suggestions about when you should be changing the oil. But in general, look to change things up every 25 hours of run time. That might not seem like a lot, but keep in mind that generators aren’t meant to run continuously for long periods. If you are running it for that long uninterrupted, make sure to keep the oil topped up and change it as soon as you are able.
• Use ethanol-free gas – Not so much a maintenance tip as a general rule of thumb. Ethanol in gasoline is great for cars. But for small engines and generators, it can be pretty bad. The ethanol can bond with moisture in the air and wreak havoc on your inverter generator. Look for ethanol free gas at smaller non-chain gas stations. If you still don’t see it, ask the local lawn mower shop or a Tru-Value employee. They should know where you can get gas without any additives.
• Run the generator periodically – Even if you aren’t using it, you should run your inverter generator at regular intervals. Take it out every month and run it for a half-hour just to keep the electric starter (if there is one) fully charged. Plus, you’ll know that your inverter generator is running well so when you do need it, it’s ready to go.
• Keep it clean – Make sure that you keep it clean and dry and that the rubber parts are lubricated to keep them from cracking. You don’t want your generator to rust on you, and water is your enemy.
Inverter Generator Comparison Chart
|Generac 7117 GP2200i||3700 Watts with 4500 Peak Watt||Gas Powered||46 lbs||9|
|Westinghouse iGen4500DF||3700 Rated Watts & 4500 Peak Watts||Dual Fuel||104.1 pounds||9|
|A-iPower SUA2000iV||1700 Watts with 2200 Peak Watt||Gas Powered||50 lbs||9|
|Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000||2600 Watts with 3000 Peak Watt||Gas Powered||96 lbs||8|
Inverter generators are a great thing to have. Whether you’re getting one because you live in hurricane territory or because you think winter storms are going to be terrible, shopping for the right generator takes time and effort. Hopefully, with our help, you’ve got some tools in your belt to help you make the right choice when it comes to your new inverter generator.
If you still aren’t sure that an inverter generator is the best fit or you want to do some more research, we also have several inverter generator reviews that will help you choose the quietest or the most efficient units out there. Look at our inverter generator comparison chart here so you can rest easy knowing you have the tools to keep your family safe when they most need it.