If you are in the market for an inverter generator, you need to be aware of its characteristics, what it does, how it works, along with the types and models that are considered the best for the money spent. So, before you run out and buy one, take a look at some of the preliminary information and the reviews of the top 5 given here to get an idea which ones are currently top of the line. No matter the model, there is one that will likely meet your needs.
Page Quick Links
- Quick Overview: How an Inverter Generator Works
- Types of Output
- Characteristics of These Generators
- Top 5 Inverter Generators to Buy
Quick Overview: How an Inverter Generator Works
An inverter produces direct current (DC) power and then converts it to alternating current (AC) power using digital electronics. Digital electronics transmit information, which has been encoded digitally for the storage and processing of information. It generates AC power in phases at high frequency. Then it is converted to a direct current (DC),then back to alternating current (AC), which can be used with electronic equipment, power tools and appliances that require power.
Types of Output
Most inverters put out AC current in pure sine waves, others in square or block waves and still others in modified sine waves. They not only modify the signal but they can make it clearer and cleaner. Consumers need to be aware that pure sine wave AC power is the most reliable, steady and clean of the three.
A pure sine wave will deliver the same wave as what is delivered from a normal generator or a power company. There will not be fluctuations in voltage, which can occur with more traditional generators. They produce a purer energy output as opposed to square or block waves. The output from an inverter is often called clean power, which brings a stable and consistent current and a stable sine wave delivery.
Square wave inverters are not used as much as others, though they are good for powering motors in power tools. They are less expensive, but they are difficult to find.
Modified sine wave inverters create power with a wave form that is similar to a square wave. Larger items like pump motors, fans, refrigerators and other items will not operate as efficiently with this type.
Characteristics of These Generators
Most are usually compact, rectangular or streamlined in shape, considerably lighter than regular generators and are easily moved from one area to another because of their portability factor, which usually includes a built-in carrying handle. They are also safer, quieter, eliminate distortion and, depending on the model, can be started through a remote device or a pull start.
They are used for both restoring back-up power and for operating equipment such as small and large appliances, power tools, laptops, tablets, monitor screens, cellphones and other sensitive electronics. Restoring back-up power is a necessity, especially if you’re in a position to invest in a generator.
Most inverters are equipped with display panels, USB ports, 12V DC receptacle, and three-pronged 120V (Volt) receptacles. They are fuel-efficient and are usually fueled by gas, propane or natural gas, and have excellent run times.
Top 5 Inverter Generators to Buy
The Honda EU 2000i has a 2000 maximum wattage with a 1600 watt rated output. It contains one 20 amp 120V (Volt) outlet and one 30 amp 120V (Volt) outlet that can be linked with another Honda inverter to double the power of the GX100 OHC engine.
When two Honda EU2000i’s are linked this way, a recreational vehicle air conditioning unit is easily powered as well as more demanding power hungry equipment. This model is lightweight and quiet, particularly in the eco save mode; starts easily and runs clean and smoothly, for about 6 hours, though the gas tank could be slightly larger to accommodate a lengthier running time.
It is gasoline run and is CARB-compliant (California Air Resource Board compliance that ensures strict air quality measures in the state) for the 50 states, and it has a 3-year limited warranty.
With a 4400 Watt surge (3500 Watt Continuous), you’ll be able to relax knowing that the Duromax generator has you covered. With this model comes a four-gallon gas tank, an 8 hour runtime, and also an electric key start.
- 4400 Watt Surge/3500 Watt Continuous
- 4 Gallon Gas Tank/8 Hour Run Time
- Electric Key Start/Includes Battery
- EPA Approved
- Automatic Low Oil Shut Off
The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a pure sine wave inverter that is an upgrade from its previous EF2000is model. It is packed with power yet quiet, compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to transport and store. There is quick access to controls as well as a fuel gauge that is easy to view.
There are two 120V (Volt) AC outlets and one DC outlet-8A (amps) 12V (Volt) for charging batteries, which includes cables. It powers a number of items in various ranges and has a 1600 watt rated AC output with a 2000 watt maximum.
It also has a very quiet muffler with a spark arrestor. A Smart Throttle aids in varying the engine speed based on load, which improves fuel use and limits noise. Its system has a Pulse Width Modulation control (PWM) that provides voltage stability. This Yamaha, like the other models reviewed, is CARB compliant (California Air Resource Board), and it has a 3-year limited warranty.
The 3100 maximum watt Champions 100261 has a true sine wave output along with a remote wireless starter that contains an automatic choke design for easy start and stop- up to 80 feet in distance. There is a 12V (Volt) DC outlet as well as dual-port USB adapter and battery charger.
The inverter is fully enclosed with a durable housing that eliminates sound output and enables quiet operation, and it contains integrated wheels and stow away handles for moving and storing. Its clean power output can be utilized for just about any energy need such as campsites, recreational vehicles, cabins, electronics and appliances.
A Champion 192cc OHV engine powers with a low oil shut off provides protection and extends the life of the generator. There is even an economy mode with this model that allows it to run over seven hours as it adjusts engine speed to optimum levels. Fuel use is reduced as is engine wear. There is a 2-year limited warranty and it is EPA and CARB (California Air Resource Board) certified in 50 states.
The WH2400i gas powered inverter is a reasonably priced, lightweight, compact and quiet inverter that offers power at any time and any place. It can safely power sensitive electronics with its low THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) as well as provide clean power for refrigerators, power tools, smartphones, tablets and laptops with its 1800 running watts and 2200 starting watts.
There are two 120V (Volt) AC power outlets and one 12V (Volt) DC power outlet. This model has a 13 hour run time that allows for all night use and enhanced fuel efficiency along with an automatic low oil shutdown. Power can be enhanced with anchoring to another Westinghouse inverter to increase wattage and the power necessary to take on real energy eaters.
Inverters manufactured by Honda appear to be leaders in the industry, though their higher price-points can hold off a purchase, which comes down to where they are purchased. Yamaha, Champion and Westinghouse provide competition with somewhat lower prices and are still effective given the necessary features and fuel efficiency to get power going when electric power is limited, or is required for any number of devices that require power.
Whatever the choice, these five inverters are top of the line for most any use or need you might have.