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Is an inverter generator better than a regular generator?

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There are pros and cons to any generator, and choosing the right generator can depend on how much electrical power you need, the type of electrical devices you have, and how many electrical appliances you have power requirements for.

Inverter generators are a newer form of generator designed to run for longer, run quieter, and be much more energy and fuel efficient.

There are many advantages to using inverter generator vs traditional generators. Some of the biggest being their ability to produce cleaner power, and although all generators produce noise, inverter generators are much quieter.

What’s the biggest difference between an inverter generator vs a conventional generator?

The biggest difference between an inverter generator vs a conventional generator, is how they produce AC power. Conventional generators use a mechanical alternator to create an alternating current which gives you AC electricity.

An inverter generator will produce power the same way a conventional generator does, but converts it to DC power before its microprocessor will convert DC power back to cleaner AC power.

This process produces a much higher power quality and is a more reliable power source, similar to that of grid electricity.

To understand whether an inverter generator is the right choice for you, we need to go a bit deeper.

What is the difference between a portable generator and an inverter generator?

Let’s start by looking at the differences between a portable generator vs an inverter generator.

Both types of generator are smaller and more light weight making them easily portable. They can be good for powering items such as power tools or to supply power for camping.

Conventional portable generators will only produce AC power, unlike the the inverter generators that convert from AC power to DC power, and back to AC as mentioned above. This means conventional portable generators may fluctuate when they supply power.

Another big difference is portable generators can produce a large amount of toxic fumes, risking carbon monoxide poisoning if not positioned in a well ventilated area.


Because inverter generators fluctuate their power output as required, unlike a conventional generator which will run at constant speed, inverter generators run quieter and produce electricity more efficiently.

By drawing power from a DC source and varying their speed, they are a a lot more environmentally friendly compared with other types of generator.

They are also a lot more compact and lightweight compared to conventional generators, making them easy to transport.


The initial outlay for an inverter generator vs conventional generators is likely to be higher. Because they are innovative an inverter generator will cost more.

However, you will recoup some of that cost as you won’t need as much fuel to run the generator as their fuel consumption is lower.

Inverter generators produce less power than conventional generators. Depending on how much power you need, you may need a larger generator to meet your power demand and produce power suitable for your electronic devices.

At a glance: Regular generators

A regular conventional generator uses fossil fuels as its energy source. The fuel powers a motor attached to an alternator which is what produces the electrical power.

Unless you specifically want portable generators, you’re likely to buy a generator for staying on one place, usually for back up to a building or home during a power outage.

Generators needs to be kept in well ventilated areas and are usually stored away from a property, this is best suited to avoid the smell and noise they produce.


Conventional generators run at a constant engine speeds, the higher engine speed results in consistent power.

They are cheaper than inverter generators so can be a more affordable option, although keep in mind you will have fuel costs to consider.

You can get different sized generators with larger fuel tanks, meaning you can supply consistent power to larger power needs such as offices.


Conventional generators can be noisy. Because they are consistently running at high speed there will be constant noise generated.

They produce harmful emissions. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real risk if the generator isn’t stored correctly.

You’ll need a constant fuel source. It’s dangerous to let a generator run out of fuel, not to mention it won’t generate power! Make sure you always have access to the fuel required for your specific generator.

Which is best for me?

There are some things to consider when choosing a generator, before you buy think about:

  • The activity you need power for
  • The access you have to a fuel supply
  • The amount of power you need
  • If the noise level is a factor
  • If you need it to be portable
  • How much are you willing to pay

Once you know the answers to the above, you should have a clear idea of which generator is right for you.


How long do inverter generators last?

They typical lifespan of an inverter generator is 1,000-2,000 hours. If running continuously an inverter generator can run on average for 8-12 hours. This is usually sufficient for the type of activity you would be requiring the generator for.

If you need the generator to run for longer, you may need to consider a conventional generator with a larger fuel tank.

Is an inverter generator good for home use?

If you are looking to power the whole house or want a backup in case of a power outage, an inverter generator may not be suitable.

However, if you’re looking to power specific items around the home then inverter generators offer a far more energy efficient solution, are quieter, and better for the environment.


If you’re looking for an efficient power solution that’s better for the environment, produces less noise, less emissions, and is easily portable, an inverter generator could be a better solution for you than a regular generator.

If you’re looking to power an entire building, want power for long periods, and are looking to spend less on the initial costs of a generator, then inverter generators may not be right for you.

If you need help deciding on the right sort of generator for your needs, our team at Solent Power will be happy to help you make the best decision.

Solent Power supply quality diesel generators from leading brands such as Hyundai, Teksan and Pramac.

Contact us to discuss your needs today.

Paul Phelps Solar Power Owner
Paul Phelps
Paul is the MD of Solent Power and specialises in emergency power solutions, helping to protect your facilities from power loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss the different power brands that we can offer and how they can suit your needs.
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