What Are Inverter Generators

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A technological revolution has quietly been taking place in the world of portable generators. A new class of generators, known as inverter generators, convert the AC power produced by the engine to DC power, then back to AC power.

The result is clean, low-distortion power that can be used for charging sensitive electronics, as well as excellent fuel efficiency, low engine noise levels, and less maintenance compared to traditional generators.

In order to help you find the best inverter generator, we considered a number of features of these machines. First, we looked at the continuous and surge power ratings of different inverter generators, since just as for traditional generators this determines what you can power.

We also looked at whether different generators run on gasoline, propane, or either, and how long generators can run on a single tank of gas or propane.

Clean Electricity

Finally, we considered how loud different inverter generators are, since low noise is a major selling point of this class of generators.

Parallel Capability

We spent tens of hours researching inverter generators, poring over customer reviews and technical specifications. The result is our list of the ten best inverter generators, highlighted in the table below.

Continue reading for detailed reviews of each generator, complete with pros and cons. Our buying guide covers everything you need to know in order to choose the right inverter generator for your needs.

Finally, we sum up our three overall favorite inverter generators on the market today. Are you wondering "what is an inverter generator?" If so, you have come to the right place.

Eco-Friendly Option

A generator is a piece of equipment that converts mechanical energy to electricity using a method called electromagnetic induction. Electromagnetic induction induces voltage by the movement of a conductor (coils of wire) inside a magnetic casing.

Almost a decade ago, Honda introduced a new type of generator known as an inverter generator.

It's compact, lightweight, quieter, and much more efficient than the conventional generator. The salient feature of an inverter generator is its ability to produce more alternate electricity per engine rotation.

This current isn't in a form that could be used directly.

In fact, the raw electricity produced by the inverter generator should be converted to DC power before using it. The inverter generator operates like this:.

Step 1 - The raw or alternate current (AC) produced by the generator is converted to direct current (DC). Step 2 - There is a built-in electronic inverter in the generator to convert it back to the AC power rated at the standard US 120V and 60Hz.

The current produced by an inverter generator is more stable than the current produced by a conventional generator.

Fuel Saving Due To Longer Run Times

Inverter electricity is delivered in steady sine waves to create less harmonic distortion - which makes it safe to use in most of the power-sensitive devices such as medical equipment, laptops, refrigerators, and more.

The AC current produced by conventional generators is unsteady. The harmonic distortion is much more than the one created by inverter generators. The total harmonic distortion (THD) is the total amount of harmonic distortion occurring while the generator engine is on. In fact, THD plays a big part in the safety of your electrical equipment.

Most of the old school electrical appliances could handle higher levels of total harmonic distortion extremely well. For example, electric saws and drills that were manufactured during the times when the electricity grids were less advanced than today can handle higher levels of THD pretty well.

You can safely use these tools even with high total harmonic distortion levels. "Clean energy" is a term used to describe the type of power that could be safely used with more sensitive and high-tech electrical appliances.

Experts agree on "3% THD" as the maximum threshold for electricity to be termed "Clean." Modern electricity grids in the United States operate below this threshold most of the time. Microprocessor-powered electronics are safe when THD is less than 6%.

An inverter generator can easily accomplish this task while a conventional generator run in 9% or more THD. The power from an inverter generator is ultra-clean and is ideal to power sensitive electrical equipment and medical devices.

A conventional generator produces much less stable power. The THD level of a conventional generator can be as high as 9% which makes it unsuitable for high-tech electronic appliances and medical devices.

These generators were designed when technology was not that advanced like today. Hence, they require a steady stream of modern clean power to prevent any damage and prolong their lifespan.


That's why you should avoid using a conventional generator to power your sensitive electrical equipment such as the latest TVs, laptops, modern computers, medical devices, and the latest gadgets.

An inverter generator is a great working solution to power your modern electrical appliances. Most of the modern inverter generators have less than 3% THD levels - some as low as 1%.

You can safely use an inverter generator to power all kinds of electrical appliances without any problem.

Other than the provision of clean power, an inverter generator has many other advantages. Here are some of the many advantages of using an inverter generator to power your sensitive electrical devices:.

Both inverter and conventional generators need some kind of fuel to operate. In fact, they use either gas or propane for this purpose.

Once you turn on a traditional generator, the engine starts continuously running at a speed of approx 3600RPM.

This speed is required to generate 120V-60Hz electricity which is the US standards. Whether you plug in one or many electrical appliances, the engine will run at the same speed.

Why Use An Inverter Generator?

It is a waste of fuel in case you need to power only one electrical device. Conventional generators burn more fuel, and you will immediately need to refuel the machine for continuous operations.

But the inverter generator is different. The inverter engine is designed so that it doesn't have to operate at the same speed at all times. Honda has patented the Eco-Throttle-Technology that lets the engine adjust its workload depending on the actual energy needs.

These generators have a low fuel consumption as a result and will last longer than the conventional generators. That's why you need to invest in an inverter generator if you need an alternative power source to power your sensitive electrical devices.

Inverter generators produce clean power with fewer exhaust fumes in the process. If you decide to camp with your loved ones and don't want to feel the smell of burning fuel when relaxing outdoors, the inverter generator is your best option. But inverter generators are still not recommended to be used indoors.

If you want an inverter generator to use indoors, you should opt for a portable solar generator. They are 100% clean and safe to use indoors. You may have already seen traditional large bulky generators that require so many people to move them around.