If you’re looking for the best way to generate backup power when there’s a power cut, or you don’t have access to the power grid, you may be considering getting a generator and wondering which is better; a fuel-powered generator or a battery power station.
There are pros and cons to both generators and power stations. Generators are typically more expensive to run as they require a constant fuel supply. On the other hand, power stations are usually cheaper to run but generally produce less power.
Throughout this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of generators and power stations to help you decide on the right one to provide the power supply you need.
Portable Generators vs Portable Power Stations – What is the Difference?
Portable generators and portable power stations are two devices that can provide power in an emergency, such as unexpectedly being left without power. They can also be handy off-grid when you need a power supply to charge devices such as phones, laptops, or power tools.
As with any generator, choosing the one that best suits your power needs is determined by what you need it to power, the amount of energy you need it to generate, where and when you will use it, and your access to the fuel source it needs.
There are some critical differences between portable generators and portable power stations, so before you commit to buying one, you need to think about what you need it for.
What Is a Portable Generator?
A portable generator is a self-contained unit that uses petrol, diesel, or gas to generate electricity. They generally offer a higher power output, and as long as you have enough fuel, they can run for extended periods.
Portable generators are typically used as backups to provide power during power outages. They can also be used to provide power for tools and equipment at construction sites or other locations where electrical power is not readily available.
The Pros and Cons of a Portable Generator
A portable generator can be a great asset in a power outage or other emergencies. They can also provide power for camping or other outdoor activities.
However, portable generators can also be dangerous if they are not used correctly and can be noisy and smelly. Here are some pros and cons of owning a portable generator.
- It can be a lifesaver in an emergency
- Can provide power for camping or other outdoor activities
- Relatively inexpensive to buy
- Powerful portable generators can power a house
- Produce harmful carbon monoxide fumes, which can be dangerous if not well ventilated
- Need to be regularly maintained
- Ongoing costs of fuel to run the generator
- Fuel can go bad if not used often enough
- They are pretty noisy when running
How long can a portable generator run continuously?
A portable generator can run continuously for as long as it has fuel. However, most portable generators are not designed to run for more than a few hours at a time.
You should consider a standby generator if you need a generator that can run for extended periods. For example, suppose you’re providing power to a home or building, and your generator usage is likely high. In that case, it’s worth considering a standby generator with a transfer switch installed to automatically turn on the generator in the event of lost power.
What is a Portable Power Station?
A portable power station is a unit that uses batteries to store energy that can be used to power electrical devices. Also known as battery-powered inverter generators, power stations use a battery pack to produce AC power.
Portable Power Stations also come with built-in power outlets and USB ports so you can plug devices such as phones and laptops straight into them. In addition, they are fully rechargeable and can be used as a backup power source in an emergency.
Pros and Cons of a Portable Power Station
A portable power station is a great way to have a backup power source. They are inexpensive to run and can be used to power small appliances or charge your electronic devices.
Portable power stations can be handy in a power outage, but there are also some drawbacks.
- They make far less noise than any other generator
- They do not produce harmful fumes
- You can plug devices straight into the built-in outlets
- Cheaper to run without added fuel costs
- Can use renewable energy via solar panels for charging
- The batteries need to be regularly charged and replaced
- Output is limited mainly due to the battery’s size and battery capacity
- They can take time to recharge
Portable power stations are an excellent option for backup power, but you need to work out if they produce enough energy to keep your appliances and devices running.
How long does a portable power station last?
In terms of lifespan, a portable power station can last for a long time if it is properly maintained. It can last for years if you regularly use and recharge your portable power station. However, if you only use it occasionally, it may only last for a few months or years.
How long it would run per use would depend on how much charge it has in the battery and what you are powering at the time.
Portable Solar Power Stations
Some power stations can use solar panels to charge the battery. This is a great way to use a free, renewable energy source to generate your power.
With the cost of fuel increasing, the sun is an entirely free power source. Of course, we don’t always have a lot of sunshine in the UK, but you’ll be surprised how little you need to charge your power station.
It’s exceptionally efficient when you’re off-grid and don’t have access to a power source to charge your power pack.
What are the pros and cons of a solar generator?
- Free renewable energy
- Quiet charging
- Environmentally friendly
- It can be expensive to purchase
- Output can be unreliable depending on the weather conditions
- You are limited by battery storage
Can generators and portable power stations be used indoors?
You should never use a generator indoors. Fuel-powered generators release harmful fumes and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, they must always be used outside and in well-ventilated areas.
However, portable power stations can be used indoors because they don’t produce harmful fumes. This can be a significant advantage when looking to power an appliance or device in homes and RVs / Motorhomes.
Buying a battery power station is excellent if you’re looking for a quiet solution to run a portable power supply, although portable generators are likely to be the preferred option if you need to generate large amounts of power for more extended periods.