Portable generators are a great way to have power when you need it, whether you’re camping, working in the yard, or dealing with a power outage. But with so many different types and features, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right one.
This guide will help you understand the different types of portable generators and what to look for when you’re ready to buy. By the end, you’ll know exactly what type of generator you need to power your home, campsite, or work site.
A portable generator is an engine-driven machine that generates electricity and can be moved from one location to another. Portable generators vary in size, power output, and fuel type, making them suitable for a range of applications, from powering a few appliances in the case of a power outage to providing power to an entire home, job site, or campground. Portable generators generally produce electricity at a lower voltage than a fixed-output generator, so they need to be connected to a transfer switch or outlet box to safely provide power to the circuits in your home
A portable generator works by converting fuel, such as gasoline, propane, or diesel, into electrical power. The generator's internal combustion engine drives a generator, which is a set of coiled copper wires surrounded by magnets. When the engine spins the magnets, it causes a current to be induced in the copper wires, which in turn produces electric power. This electric power is regulated using a voltage regulator and then passed through an outlet of the generator to be used by appliances.
A portable generator can be incredibly useful in various situations. Here are some of the most common times when you might need to invest in one:
- During a power outage – A portable generator can provide power to essential appliances during a power outage. It will keep you comfortable, and it's especially useful if you live in an area where power outages are common.
- When camping or using an RV – Portable generators are great for powering things such as a CPAP machine, phones, laptops, lighting, and even a mini fridge when camping or in an RV.
- Working or construction sites – Portable generators are incredibly useful when working in remote locations or construction sites where there is no access to an electric grid. In these cases, it’s essential to have a reliable source of energy.
- For emergency purposes – In the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster, a portable generator can become a lifeline to maintain essential services in hospitals, shelters, or other places.
Portable generators have many benefits that make them an essential tool for many industries and applications. Here are the advantages of owning a portable generator:
- Versatility – Portable generators can provide power to multiple appliances and devices. You can run multiple devices simultaneously on one generator, offering you more control, flexibility, and convenience.
- Wide range of power output options – Portable generators come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and power outputs. You can find one that works best for your specific needs and budgets.
- Portability – Portable generators are designed to be easy to use and transport. This is ideal if you need to move your generator from one location to another.
- Low cost – Portable generators come in different price ranges, making them an affordable option for many individuals. They are also great for using in remote and off-grid areas where power is not easily available.
- Durability – Portable generators are designed to be more durable and long-lasting than their stationary counterparts. This makes them ideal for tight spots and long stretches of operation.
- Quiet operation – Most portable generators are designed for quieter operation, eliminating any potential noise pollution or distractions.
Before purchasing a portable generator, there are some important factors to consider to ensure that you are making the best purchasing decision. Here are a few things to consider before buying a portable generator:
- Size – Portable generators come in a wide range of sizes. Determine the size of the generator that will be best suited to your needs.
- Noise level – Portable generators can be quite noisy. Make sure to select a model with a quiet operation to avoid noise pollution.
- Fuel type – Portable generators run on different types of fuel. Consider the fuel type that you will need to use before buying a generator.
- Price – Portable generators come in different price ranges. Consider your budget and the features you need before purchasing a generator.
- Durability – Portable generators can be very durable, but they can be susceptible to weather damage. Make sure to choose a generator that is designed to withstand different weather conditions.
- Warranty – Portable generators usually come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Make sure to read the specifics of the warranty and choose a generator that offers the features you need.
A transfer switch is an essential piece of equipment when using a portable generator. It allows you to easily and safely transfer power from the generator to the main power supply. Transfer switches are designed to prevent backfeeding, which is when the generator’s power is mistakenly fed back through the utility power grid, which can be dangerous.
Transfer switches come in both manual and automatic versions. Manual transfer switches require manual operation, while automatic transfer switches are operated automatically. Both have their pros and cons, and it is important to select a transfer switch that is compatible with your generator and meets your needs.
Transfer switches are essential when using a portable generator. They are designed to prevent dangerous backfeeding, which is when the generator’s power is mistakenly fed back through the utility power grid. In addition to preventing backfeeding, transfer switches also provide a safe and reliable path for electricity to flow from the generator to the building it is powering.
It is important to consider the type of transfer switch that is right for your needs. This will depend on the size of generator and the amount of power you need to supply. Manual transfer switches require manual operation, while automatic versions are operated automatically, making them more convenient.
If you are using a generator with more than one piece of equipment or appliance plugged in it, you need a transfer switch. Without a transfer switch, you would need to manually plug and unplug the cords from the generator, which can become hazardous. A transfer switch makes it easier and safer to use portable generators, and should always be considered when looking for the best way to set up a generator
Installing a transfer switch is not a difficult process but it requires some specific tools and knowledge. When installing the transfer switch, make sure that it is correctly connected to both the generator and the building’s power supply. This will help ensure the switch will function correctly and that it can safely provide both a generator and utility power supply.
Before installation, it is important to consult with an experienced electrician to ensure the safety of all of the wiring involved. The electrician will be able to advise on the best place to mount the transfer switch and on any necessary safety precautions.
In situations of power outage, a transfer switch is necessary for safe connection to your home electrical system. Connecting a portable generator without proper installation can be extremely hazardous and could lead to serious damage. Our licensed electricians have the expertise to install your transfer switch properly so you don’t have to worry about any unexpected incidents during power outages. Contact Toth Electric LLC for more information on generators and transfer switches today!
Please view our Free Online Electrical Estimate
Portable generators can be incredibly useful for those who need a reliable power source. They can be used in all sorts of emergencies, from blackouts to camping trips to renovation projects. However, it is important to think carefully about the generator you choose and the safety precautions you take before you operate it.
Following the tips outlined in this guide will help you choose the right generator for your needs and properly install it, meaning you can get the most out of your portable generator. Whether you are using the generator to power your home, your office, or your RV, you can rest assured knowing that you have done the necessary research and safety checks to use it safely and correctly.