Okay, so right now there’s a debate going on between my wife and I . Our age puts us both right in the era of old-fashioned string Christmas lights, but not quite into the whole laser projection lights that seem to growing more and more popular as the years go on.

Reader, meet Whitney.

Whitney, meet reader.

Great introduction there!

Anyway, I feel that the lights kind of make your house look as if it has been diagnosed with the chicken pox.

It does depend on the specific laser Christmas light you’re using, but in general, it seems that’s the effect they put off.

Since we already have similar lights like these there’s no reason at this point to consider buying new ones, or a new outdoor laser light system for that matter. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t look!

See, I’m not sure how I feel about them yet. Are they unattractive? Do they make life easier? Are we in a new generation of Christmas lights where there will be less ladder falling injuries and more holiday celebrations?

It’s a great question to ponder, but it doesn’t answer whether or not it’s time to make the switch from the good ole fashioned Christmas bulbs that take out half of the strand after quitting.

In order to answer that question, let’s take a look at some of the available projector lights on the market.

First Question: What Do Laser and Projector Christmas Lights Do?

Although sometimes the terms are used synonymously, they do actually have different uses and may have a better application depending on what you want to use them for.

Laser
These shine laser lights onto your home in a similar fashion to traditional Christmas lights.

They look more like tiny light bulbs and fill the front of your home (or whatever side they’re placed on) to give a Christmas light effect. Some of the 1byone lights offer red stars and green Christmas tree patterns to create that holiday and festive atmosphere.

You can set them up on any interior or exterior surface, so it helps if you want to bring the lights inside instead of only using them on the outside of your home.

Projector
The projector lights are LED and are made to give more of an image like a snowflake, snowman, or Christmas tree.

Having a projector light alleviates the concern of the possibilities of a laser light potentially damaging eyes.

You can even use presets like Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, and Birthdays. Here are some of the different options for projected images:

  • Snowflakes
  • Snowman
  • Pumpkin
  • Moon
  • Heart
  • Gifts (Birthday)
  • Wineglass
  • Animals (Kid’s Parties)
  • Ghost/Skull (for Halloween)

Are Outdoor Laser Lights Safe?

One main concern for laser lights is the fact that they can pose a safety risk for airline pilots at night. Some lights actually project hundreds of red and green “speckles” that could potentially hurt a pilot’s night vision, making it much harder to see in the sky.

Of course it helps to live farther away from an airport, but if you do live close and something happens with your lights and an airplane, you possibly be fined. That’s a little something to keep in mind, right?

Other than blinding a pilot, the majority (if not all) of the lights available on the market are FDA approved and consumer-ready.

Can They Only Be Used For Christmas?

Nope! I was reading through some reviews on Amazon and a lady named Laura said that she bought these for her wedding. They were used to put colored lights around the walls and the ceiling.

The cool thing is that she used them in the daytime with light coming in windows; so, they’re not like a traditional projector with low visibility during the day.

Most of the products like these Mabor Christmas lights even advertise as being used for weddings, holidays, parties, and garden decorations. More and more of the lights are being used as a complete replacement of Christmas light sets instead of other purposes, but I think it’s quite possible to start seeing the lights used for more occasions. Especially if they are offered with different color light options.

I’ve Also Seen Star Shower Lights. What Are Those?

Whitney has a shirt on with thousands of these little things on it called sequins. They are highly reflective and when she stands next to a window on a sunny day, the light will “refract” or “bend” into hundreds of little spots all over the ceilings and walls. That’s exactly how these star shower lights work.

There are lasers inside the housing that are send out of the glass (or plastic) depending on the model and the light gets showered all over your home in thousands of particle lights.

Typically, you’re going to find that they come with an auto timer and are waterproof (I hope!) to prevent damage when it rains or I guess when you’re sprinkler is on. Not sure why you’d be running your sprinkler at night though.

Do Projector Lights Work The Same As Lasers?

The two technologies are different and it depends on what your preference is regarding safety and the style or look you’re trying to achieve. Many of the laser lights will give you green and red colors, whereas the projector lights are going to have the option of any color since they’re LED lights.

The only mention about safety is because of the possibility of the lasers becoming exposed or having children that might be inclined to look directly into the lights at night.

When it comes to using them for Christmas, the laser lights will give more of the “Christmas light feel”, but keep in mind that other traditional light sets are multi-color, not just green and red.

Looking For a Specific Brand or Recommendation?

If you’re looking for more brand specific lights, here are some that I found with great features and that would be worth your time according to a mass amount of reviews.

ecolighting firefly laser projector light
Aluminum Housing Firefly Projector Light on Amazon

Ecolighting Firefly Lights (with Aluminum Housing)

What I like about the Ecolighting Firefly light is their ability for high temperatures. You can operate them with a wide range of -15 degrees to about 90 degrees (fahrenheit). They also come with a remote that has an extendable antenna to allow control of the lights for up to 10 meters. This is basically somewhere between 10-33 feet.

They are designed more for your home and can used for wall or Christmas holiday decoration. You’ll also get the benefit of more green lights (vs. red) to show a more natural light similar to a Firefly. The Ecolighting brand lasers that come on the lights are FDA approved so you don’t have to worry about damaging eyesight.

More features of the Firefly laser lights:

  • Come with a 3 year warranty
  • Indoor or Outdoor models available
  • Wireless remote (w/extendable antenna!) included

A big brand I’ve seen all over the web (and heard only good things about) is 1byone. They are in the best seller category for their laser lights.

Designed for both indoor use or for your lawn. They’re energy efficient and offer star and Christmas tree patterns. Another cool thing you can do is set them to motion, flashing, or a stationary setting. This gives you good flexibility if you’re not happy with the default settings.

More features of the 1byone laser lights:

  • Covers up to 2,100 square feet
  • Built-in Ambient Light Sensor
  • Weather Resistant (IP65 Rated)

Now if you're really looking for large images to put on your home, these motion landscape projection lights are right up your alley.

You're going to get snowflakes the size of your front door! Or, maybe you'd like a life size Santa?

More features of the 1byone laser lights:

  • 12 Different Slides to Show
  • Operate in Weather -30℉ to 122℉
  • 5 Modes of Motion & Waterproof (IP65 Rated)

Summary & Thoughts

I think it's still too early to tell whether or not these lights are really going to take off. They've been around just long enough to get noticed and it's definitely going to be interesting to see how the future of holidays (or weddings) will progress.​

In the meantime, since these lights are weather-resistant, you might want to make sure your snow is cleared off in order to place them in your yard!​

Take care guys!​

lawnaholic signature

--Nick

1

The First Question: What is a Generator?

In the chance that the power in your home would go out or not be available for use (as in non-existent), there would need to be some other type of power source. This is where a generator comes in. The generator (depending on which type used) will supply the correct amount of wattage, amperage, and portable electricity to power the necessities of your home – things like major appliances, heaters, or even air conditioners.

​There may be different questions about what type of generator a family needs, the amount of power it will provide, and even what size to get. Don't worry, we'll cover all of those questions in this guide.


2

What Needs Power and What Doesn't?

It's important to know what your power needs are. Will you need a refrigerator? How about your stove? Or, more importantly, heat or air conditioning. These factors must be considered when you're deciding the type of generator you'll need and how many watts to use.

You can use this portable generator wattage calculator for backup, recreational, or job site portable generators. There's also a home backup calculator if you're thinking about getting a standy generator model.

Here are some important items to consider:

  • Refrigerator (average 600 watts)
  • Window Air Conditioner (1,000 watts)
  • Sump Pump (750 - 1000 watts)
  • Lights around the house (100-200 watts depending if you're with the LED crowd)
  • Computers or Laptops (if you're going to use a charger)

Make your own list and decide what's most important. Each household will be different and it's up to you to prepare. Don't forget to add in additional watts since your needs are different and there's also the possibility of forgetting something.


Looking for your next generator? Have a look at the best selling generators on Amazon or best sellers at Walmart.


3

Main Types of Generators

Although it can seem overwhelming, you might find it easier than you think to pick out the type of generator you're looking to buy. Many generators have a specific purpose and are designed for a certain application such as running an entire home, supplying electricity for appliances, or just using recreationally for an RV or camping.

If you can think about how you will be using your generator at home, this will definitely push you in the right direction for the right equipment.​ Let's go ahead and cover the different kinds available.

briggs-and-stratton-20000-watt-standby-generator
Briggs & Stratton 20,000 Watt Home Standby Generator System (Amazon)

Stationary/Standby Generators

  • Start and stop automatically when power is out
  • Inform you of any maintenance needed (even with a text!)
  • Use natural gas or propane
  • Sometimes requires a permit (an electrician can help)
  • Can cost between $4,000 - $10,000
  • Typically cost more because they're automatic

champion-3500-watt-portable-generator
Champion 3500 Watt Portable Generator on Amazon

Portable Generators

  • The average portable model costs less
  • Costs are about $300 - $1,000
  • Offer electric starting (less pull starting)
  • Require stabilizer periodically for stored gas
  • Typically cost more because they're automatic
  • Batteries for electric start may not be included

A Breed of Their Own: Inverter Generators

wen-brand-portable-inverter-generator
WEN 56200i: 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator from Amazon

Inverter Generators have a specific job. They are used for recreational events and activities such as camping, tailgating, sports events, or for boats & RVs. They are portable and use less power which usually means you will not be able to run them as hard.

Another advantage to an inverter generator is that they run quietly. They are designed this way to ensure limited noise in an environment such as a campground.​ You also get the added benefit of not frying your sensitive electronics. It's important to remember these little things because that's what's going to set the inverter generator apart from a typical, cheaper portable alternative.


4

Other Features / Benefits

Although this may (or may not) seem like a laundry list, there are some options to consider when looking into your next (or first) generator.

Does Automatic Start & Stop Appeal to You?
With standby generators, you'll get the comfort of knowing that in the case of an outage, your power will continue to run and it should be seamless (given the generator is ocassionally tested). Otherwise, you'll be the one to start the generator, hook it up for power and monitor the status.

Will You Need an Electric Start?​
Without an electric start, you are required to pull start the engine (similar to a push mower). If this is no problem, then you don't have to worry. But, you may regret it in the future without it! As previously mentioned, you'll need to purchase a battery for the electric start and make sure it's kept up to date.

Are You Rolling With Wheels?​
I doubt you'll find a standby/stationary generator with wheels, but they are often found on portable models. And, sometimes, they're not included at all. How about those accessories! You're looking at about 100-200 pounds for some models, so take that into consideration.

Gauge for Checking Fuel Levels​
For an extended period of time (like a blackout) it is critical that you keep informed with how much fuel available in your generator. Without knowing, you'll have to worry about restarting and losing power. You can relate it to driving your car without a gas gauge -- it's possible, but not fun.

Having Multiple Outlets Ready
Instead of running 1,000 watts directly from one outlet, it helps to spread the load across more than one outlet. This also prevents possibly using an extension cord in a pinch with a 3-way on it. Definitely not safe.

Interested in a Quick Video? Here's a Less Than One Minute Short from Amazon 


5

The Correct Size: Is There a Right or Wrong?


When speaking in terms of size for a generator, we're not talking about wattage, but physical size. Depending on what you will need running once your power goes out will also determine how you'll move it around.

If you remember, in the features and benefits section, wheels were listed as a feature. This is where size comes into play. Moving a 100-200 pound generator around isn't going to be easy for some, although many of you out there might be up to the challenge 😉

​There really isn't a right or wrong size, but more importantly, what is the correct size for your situation?

Remember to think about the following when you need to know what size to use:

  • Does the generator come with wheels?
  • If I need more wattage, will I be moving it frequently?
  • Do I Need a Larger Fuel Tank?

Quick Tip:
Portable generators are usually underrated for running a whole house, they are for a limited number of items.

6

Finding The Perfect Wattage

It's hard to think about all of the factors when considering size, weight, features, and everything else that comes with the decision of getting a generator. This section about wattage is the most important because without the right power being distributed, you can end up with electronics that fry or are seriously damaged by too much electricity.

You may come across the terms rated wattage and maximum wattage​. These determine whether the generator is running at a continuous (rated) or maximum power. When running something like a desktop computer, this requires a continuous load because the electricity is consistent the entire time the computer is on.

On the other hand, if you're running something like a television, the wattage will only be used while the TV is on. The wattage might peak over the continuous, but not the maximum. Keep in mind: the television example is not typical -- I don't think a newer television would consume upwards of 1,000 watts!


7

Generator Runtime: A Feature Not To Overlook

There was a brief mention about having a larger fuel tank for a longer runtime. This is just one benefit of having a generator that will last long enough for your needs. 

The importance of runtime is that of safety. When a family is in a blackout and trying to make due of everything around them, they shouldn't have to worry about how long the generator is going to last when there's food, light, and possibly weather to worry about.

Having the longest runtime also means being proactive with taking care of your gasoline. Make sure to add stabilizer if necessary and find a generator that is genuinely good (or great) for your needs. Being on the more affordable side of the scale may not get you the additional 1-2 hours of extra runtime.​


Be prepared for your next blackout. Go buy a generator. @Lawnaholic

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8

The Transfer Switch (or a budget friendly alternative)

Reliance Controls 31410CRK on Amazon


Connecting your generator to the breaker panel in your home is no easy feat. Once you get the generator going, you have to bring all of that nice juicy power into the house for the juicy fruit in the fridge. Especially after a storm when you may consider bypassing the most important steps, you want to be safe.

Consumer Reports in this transfer switch article talks about why a generator needs one and a more in-depth look at what it does. Without regurgitating the great information there, I'll summarize.

Basically, when the power goes out, you need to connect your generator to the power source to provide the correct watts and needs for the electrical items in your home. Residential transfer switches can range from $250 - $300 (plus $200-$400 in labor) according to Popular Mechanics. These costs are typically associated with a six-circuit switch which is a more common circuit.

Using a transfer switch is no joke and should be taken seriously!​ Installation is critical and no matter the wattage of your generator (typically 5,000 watts plus), the setup will significantly matter. Read about using a professional and where to find one in the next section.

If you're looking to cover your home with a generator and simply cannot work the additional $700+ ​into your project costs, then you can think about using an interlock kit. This should also be installed by a professional and avoided if possible. Basically this is added protection for your service panel to prevent backfeeding of power and also making sure the generator doesn't get destroyed. Backfeeding is both dangerous and illegal. Take the necessary precautions to prevent this!


9

Safety Concerns


Can a portable generator run indoors?
There is never a safe time to use a generator in an enclosed area. When a generator is running with a gas engine, carbon monoxide is emitted and can (and will be) fatal. Carbon monoxide is a very poisonous gas that a human cannot tell they are inhaling. Please don't assume that you might be an exception. The exhaust will cause death in ONLY MINUTES. Not something anyone should play around with.

Should I Leave a Generator Running While Fuel is Added?
The engine on the generator should be completely cooled before adding new fuel. You'll need to coordinate use of your electronics, appliances, and other items being run by the generator. Depending on the model, it can take anywhere from ten minutes or more before the engine is cooled enough.

How Far Should a [Portable] Generator Be Placed From a Home?
A very good distance is at least 15-20 feet. With this as a safe distance, there will be proper ventilation and, as an added benefit, it will be more quiet from inside the house! But, maybe a little louder for your neighbors...

Does Fuel Stay in the Tank When Storing My Generator?
The gas tank should be empty when storing. However, if the gas remains in the tank, make sure to add fuel stabilizer to keep the gas fresh. 

Quick Tip:
Fuel stabilizer prevents things like rust and corrosion from getting into the gas tank.


10

Find & Hire a Contractor (Here's Why)

electrician for generator installation


In the previous section, we talked about backfeeding. This can be extremely dangerous and even fatal in the worst cases.

Here's the deal: when a generator starts, it is actually generating electricity. If the generator is incorrectly hooked up to your breaker panel, the electricity will go back up the neighborhood electric lines and will try to power your surrounding neighbors homes!

If there is a utility worker or someone working on a line near you, they will have a surge of electricity that they aren't expecting. When something happens to them while working, the person with the generator could face legal consequences for the harm of that utility worker.

In short, take the best practices on this type of project and don't try to do the DIY approach unless you really know what you are doing. It's not worth the risk.

Head over to porch.com for a general contractor to set you up with an installation of your new generator. Specifically, you will need an electrician to do the work. They can help you decided on the best features for a transfer switch and the correct setup.


Wrapping It Up

Deciding to purchase a generator is a big deal. This is your safety net for when the unexpected happens. A situation we don't have any control over and have to deal with. From a personal standpoint, I feel that the extra money and features should be thoughtfully considered.

I know that if everyone had the financial capability, we would all go for the standby generator, right? But, since all of us aren't millionaires, let's think about what we really need. Kind of like insurance -- pay the higher premium monthly or have a higher deductible at the time it's due?

Think about it.

lawnaholic signature

--Nick

What the Heck is an Inverter Generator?what is an inverter generator

Lighter, more portable, and much cleaner with the electricity they produce,Inverter generators are a breed of their own. These generators typically provide lower wattage, but give the option to “invert” the electricity back into more constant flow and stable power.

What Are Benefits of Choosing an Inverter Generator?

In short, not only will you be receiving a higher quality output, but according to Honda that power will be just as reliable as one of the outlets in your home. They mentioned other features like higher fuel efficiency and also another cool feature called parallel capability. This allows two generators to be paired together allowing for double the power capacity.

One of the difficulties of running a portable generator is trying to maintain the same voltage if the engine varies in RPM (revolutions per minute) speeds. This is the beauty of an inverter generator. The power doesn’t fluctuate, but instead becomes more of a stable and constant power source.

yellow inverter generatorBack in the time around the late 90s, Honda saw the benefits of the portable generators, but knew they could be better. So what did they do? Began the pursuit of inverter technology which really no one else at the time was successful with.

As mentioned in our buying guide, inverter generators are typically used for recreational purposes. Taking them camping, finding a place to store it for an RV, or just for tailgating parties. On average, they’re usually smaller and more reliable without the hassle of wondering about the burden.

The way they work is similar to a car — a fossil fuel is used to power the engine on the generator. The engine in turn powers an alternator and that alternator “generates” your electricity. Pretty cool concept, huh? I think that was the thought about the car too — cool concept 🙂

Honda was actually the first to be successful in integrating what was then known (before 1998) as the “sine-wave inverter” control system. Believe it or not, in 1965 Honda actually had the first commercially released generator!

The big struggle in the beginning was trying to maintain the heat and sound created by the older generators. They seemed to do well when the size was larger, but trying to contain the newer components was not working out well. So, Honda took the approach to run some trial and error tests (in stages) until the power was consistent and stable enough to be used for things like electric appliances and other technology coming into society.

Okay, enough with the history lesson.

What’s The Difference Between a Conventional Generator and an Inverter Generator?

Conventional generators are the most well-known. They have been around for the longest time with the best track record. You can use a variety of gases (like diesel, regular gasoline, or propane) and simply power a motor to create electricity.

Inverter generators are still considered newer technology (within the last 20 years) and are made specifically for recreational activities like camping, outdoor fun, and similar get-together occasions. Although they may not put out the highest wattage, they tend to run cleaner and provide that stable power system.

✔ Noise Levels
Conventional generators are known for being a little on the loud side when being used. Now, I’m assuming this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem with neighbors in the case that everyone is out of power, but you just never know people’s reactions.

Since inverter generators are designed from the beginning to be quieter, that’s what you can expect. This is a similar setup to website design (don’t ask about the comparison) where websites are now written with code from a mobile first perspective. That allows developers to focus on that aspect first and then move on to the remainder of the project.

✔ Wattage Output
With a conventional (or portable) generator, you can sometimes find them with outputs of up to 20,000 watts. Not only does this give you the power you’re looking for, but it can also be used in a situation when you lose power at home.

When using an inverter generator, you are most likely not going to see that 20,000 watt power output. Expect ranges of about 500 watts to 5,000 watts. In an average case where an individual may not be using many plugs, 5,000 watts might just be plenty; however, add additional wattage for a “cushion” of unexpected uses.

✔ Fuel Efficiency
In the scenario of a conventional generator, the engine will run an average of 3,600 RPM when giving a max output. That allows for a great amount of power, but it can also create a surge in power leading to damaged electronics or even fried circuit boards. This is the last thing you want to worry about when trying to have fun outdoors, right?

The technology in the inverter generator is a digital electronic alternator and adjusts depending on the user’s needs. With this smarter control, the engine is maintained more precisely above or below 3,600 RPM. With a more varied and maintained engine comes better fuel efficiency and better quality power.

✔ Powering Sensitive Electronic Equipment
Laptops, electric grills, and other equipment with fragile circuits will benefit from an inverter generator. The distortion of power is far less than a traditional generator and helps with the sensitivity of the electronics.

✔ Long-Lasting Runtime
A good feature of both traditional and inverters are that you’re going to get a nice runtime. The technology has come increasingly farther to get the longest runtime out of a single tank of gasoline. Some models will last for 8-12 hours on a full tank — perfect for events where you’ll be outside for a majority of the day.


This Champion comparison video does a great job of showing benefits of both traditional and inverter generators. It’s compacted into a brief 2-minute overview of some of the features listed here in this article.


Higher Quality Power

The cool feature of an inverter generator is the science and technology of the way it works. When you start the generator, it creates a current that goes through an alternator. That type of current is in the AC (alternating current) form. Generally speaking, AC will move rapidly in different directions and although it can be a strong source of power, it’s sporadic.

Once the generator grabs the AC that’s being created, that current is converted into DC (direct current) for a more stable and constant power. The advantage to having the DC is that the current is now flowing more consistently in the same direction.

That last phase is for the generator to take that DC and turn it back into AC (the same type as your home outlets) to be used for the outlets on the generator. This is a game changer because now you have a high quality power source that’s going to be more reliable for your needs. Not only is it more reliable, but less worry of electricity being erratic.


Can I Use One to Power My Home?

Since inverter generators are designed to be quieter and more efficient, they don’t allow for the excess power to distribute the proper load things like a high consuming electrical appliance or multiple outlets. Now, in a special case, where you live in an RV, it may be more typical to use an inverter generator’s capabilities. But one other thing to think about is that depending on what you are running in the RV is going to decide whether it’s a good type of generator for your needs.


[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=”Quick Safety Tip”] Running a generator causes a release of carbon monoxide which is a poisonous, odorless, and tasteless gas. There will be serious consequences if the right precautions are not followed when using an inverter generator.[/thrive_text_block]


Another exception to using one at home is if you have some guests over and you will be using electrical tools or items in the backyard. You’ll be able to benefit from the quiet noise of the generator and get a more stable wattage. Perfect for better fuel efficiency and saving money!

Are There Any Additional Items I Need To Run An Inverter Generator?

Typically the generator you purchase will come with the necessary components; however, you will need fuel and possibly batteries (for an electric start). If you choose to get a model that does not use an electric start, you won’t need batteries to power it, but be advised that you may have to pull-start the machine.

One accessory you may need to purchase is additional cables for using two identical models to run with parallel compatibility. With the two connected, you will be able to double the power capacity of your generators. A perfect case for having the smaller size and portability, but increasing your power output.

Is an Electric Start Option Included?

It depends on the model that you purchase. It’s an added option sometime as a convenience to skip the pull-start feature. If you’re really lazy (or like to be efficient) you can check out the Champion Power Equipment 75537i 3100 Watt that includes a wireless remote start function. Yep, that means you can lay in bed and start your generator.

The range for the remote start is about 80 feet — roughly the same distance as using your car door lock remote.

*Keep in mind that by having the remote start, you’ll need to periodically check the remote’s batteries to ensure they are working correctly.

All of These Features – What’s the Catch?

There’s not really a “catch” so-to-speak, but more of a question for you to consider. How much are convenience and features worth? This is not a question just for a generator purchase, but really any type of technology that saves us time or money.

The downside — and I’m not sure I would call it a downside — is that you will have to spend a bit more money to get the inverter generator you’re looking for. One of the best sellers on Amazon, the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00T7VT450″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”lawnaholic-20″ cloak=”n”]WEN 56180 model[/easyazon_link] is less than $200 as of December 2016. Not a bad price for having a consistent backup power source!

Let’s just reiterate some of the advantages that you’ll be getting should you decide to go with an inverter generator for your next camping trip (that’s an example, sorry if you aren’t a happy camper):

✔ Convenience: Getting the advantage of a quick start and long runtime.

✔ Size & Portability: You won’t have to worry about lugging some excessive weighted machine.

✔ Double Power Capacity: Carry two lightweight generators and get the same power as a conventional model.

The above is not an all-inclusive list, but may remind you of the significant advantages versus using a traditional generator. From a personal standpoint, I think the advantages are far worth it especially given the fact that once you own it, you can see the difference.


Don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide all about generators, their features, and options to consider when trying to find a generator.


Summary and Thoughts

More and more people are rooting for the better features of products. The usefulness, design, and overall options available. For an inverter generator some of these features include convenience, portability, and stable power. Having a quieter generator is certainly a plus.

One other thought about the traditional generators is that if you really attempted to get two birds with one stone, an example use of a conventional generator would be to use it outdoors at places like a campground and also have it as an alternative for backup home use. This would definitely be helpful if you needed to fire up the generator in a blackout and you wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about the limitations of an inverter model.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you’ve found value in this post. It’s important to think about backup equipment for unexpected circumstances. Being proactive can make a disheartening situation much less stressful to help yourself know that you’re prepared for the future.

Take care, and we’ll discuss more in the next one!

lawnaholic signature

 

 

 

–Nick the Lawnaholic

If you’ve been on the hunt for a mega snow moving machine like a snow thrower or snow blower, some people use the terms interchangeably. But, there is actually a difference. The main difference lies in the ways they blow the snow. Before you get started, here’s a list of five items for the cold in your endeavors.

There’s not much difference when it comes down to the comparison between electric snow blower models because they typically work in single stages only. Once the gas blowers start coming out, you’ll notice that many more options become available.

If you’re just in a rush and want to read ahead, use the quick links:

What are the Types of Snow Blowers Available?

In addition to the single-stage electric motors, you will also see some of the other types available:

  • single-stage electric
  • single-stage gas
  • two-stage gas
  • three-stage gas

The important thing to remember is that you’ll need to think about what you’ll be using the snow blower (or thrower) for. Are you going to be clearing a driveway, a sidewalk, or a back patio? Also, is the snow that you’re working with 2-6″ or something like 10-14″? These are important to think about because you’ll need to know the right type to purchase when it’s time.

Single Stage Snow Blowers

These are best for clearing smaller to mid size areas with around 8″ of snow or less. The reason they are called a single-stage is because they only work with one motion — the snow goes through the front by the auger and out the shoot. It’s one motion and nothing happens before the snow gets thrown to one side of the area.

An advantage for the single stage snow throwers is that they are designed to be easy to move and more portable. They are generally more lightweight and provide the opportunity to move the equipment around.

To get the best out of a single stage, make sure the area that you are trying to clear is paved and the equipment is not likely to pick up any gravel, rocks, or debris. Sometimes they don’t have as much power as say a gas snow thrower or blower, but will move lighter snowfall.

To break down the single stage equipment even more, you can find them in both electric and gas. For the electric types, there are corded and even cordless! Yep, that means that you can push a snow thrower around without having to worry about tripping over the cord.

Corded Electric Single Stage

These are started with the push of the button and require a heavy-duty extension cable that can handle the cold weather. The cable needs to be flexible and able to manuever correctly with colder temperatures.

Cordless Electric

Even more compact than the typical electric snow blower are the cordless models. Manufacturers like Greenworks have an 80V cordless blower that will control how much power you can expect.

Gas Single Stage

For the most part, with a gas model, you can expect to get a more capable machine that will clear stubborn snow. Since gas motors provide more power, it can force the snow out of the chute quicker to allow better movement.

Two-Stage Snow Blowers and Throwers Benefits and Features

green snow blower clearing drivewayIf you recall, the single stage systems simply pull the snow into the blower and right through the chute into one motion. There’s nothing involved on the way there, just straight out of that hatch. Well, this is where the two-stage snow blowers are different.green snow blower clearing driveway

Note: it is more common to find a two-stage gas blower than electric. Although most of the gas models have an electric start, they are powered by a gas motor.

You’ll be able to handle more snow with the a two-stage (over 8 inches) and the wheels are powered by an engine to help with uneven pavement or other terrain. This also moves you into a new category — mid to large areas.

The snow moves its way into the blower via an auger and fan. It is then propelled through the chute and out of your way. With the dual stage process, snow is moved faster and allows for a cleaner area. If you’re lucky, your model will even have a special type of snow shoe to give the blower a slight lift off of the ground. That helps with going over bumpy areas.

A Three-Stage Snow Blower (for Beast Mode)

The three-stage equipment works very similar to a two-stage model, but it comes with a fancy term part called an accelerator. This allows the snow to be rapidly moved through the auger and out of the chute. You’ll be clearing snow out of the way in no time!

Comparing a Snow Blower vs. a Snow Thrower

For the most part, you can assume that a snow thrower is a more lightweight machine that’s going to give you good results for an average or normal job. Let’s say it snows about 6 to 8 inches on the ground and you need to clear your driveway. You’ll be able to get by with a snow thrower. If, however, there’s more heavier snow involved or you may have to clear your snow area more than a couple times a day, a snow blower is going to be a better choice.

Keep in mind that by using a two-stage snow blower or above, you’ll be able to clear your area faster with less paths. This could definitely be helpful if you need to go back outside multiple times a day and be sure to follow these outside safety tips. Just a thought to consider.

What Type of Snow Blower or Thrower Should I Buy?

I should probably mention that I’m a big advocate to using electric equipment when it comes to your home needs. I think there’s a big movement with electric tools coming in our future. If you’re trying to decide on certain models of snow blowers, take a peek at this article about the best electric snow blowers in 2016 (the time of this article).

A lot of the features previously mentioned will help you consider your next option. Remember to think about how big the area is where you’ll be using it, if you get a relative amount or a ton of snow in your area, and also what type of snow will it be? Is it a light and fluffy snow or more of a wet, dense, and solid snow?

Lastly, consider how much maintenance you plan to put into it. Would you rather have a low maintenance piece of equipment, but something with less power? Or, are you okay doing things like changing the oil and gas in a snow blower?

All the best!

Nick_Signature_Lawnaholic

–Nick the Lawnaholic

As we approach the cooler winter months, there are many people in the United States not looking forward to the cold. The mix of frozen rain, cold temperatures and the dreaded snow fall might be enough for some to worry about whether they will make it through the day. But, with the snowfall comes one thing that can’t be avoided.

Shoveling the driveway.

Yes, some people are very old fashioned and still like to use the good ol’ snow shovel. But, you’re not one of those types of people if you’re reading this article. You’re the type of person that likes to get things done, not mess around, and go on about your day.

We’re going to cover what the market says is the best electric snow blower from the specifications to the brands and beyond. From all of the snow blowers, you’re sure to find one that fits your needs!

Want to jump right to the product reviews?

First off, moving to electric equipment has been a huge jump for more than just me! This year we switched over to the Greenworks 40V Electric Mower and we aren’t not looking back. It has been a great benefit to the family and to actually get more done outside without worrying about worrying about gas, oil, and all the other maintenance has been wonderful.

What’s The Benefit of an Electric Snow Blower vs. Gas?

Using an electric snow blower is much more lightweight and requires a lot less maintenance than a traditional gas blower. You don’t have to worry about running the engine dry, changing the oil, or swapping the spark plug.

They are typically less costly to operate and don’t require things like fuel stabilizer or someone to service the engine on a regular basis. There’s also no cord to pull for starting — just use a button to start it and let go when you’re finished.

Some users claim that the electric snow blower (in general) doesn’t quite match up to the gas counterpart. But, manufacturers like Greenworks now have the 80V batteries which are an industry first in using electric technology of the future.

How to Determine the Best Electric Snow Blower?

There are a variety of factors that some talk about in order to see which snow blower is the best for your money. But, most electric blowers out there have the same type of factors that come into play. What are they?

  • How many volts are the battery?
  • What is the runtime on a single battery charge?
  • Is it a one-stage or two-stage system?
  • How many amps is the motor?

The above are only some of the questions when trying to determine the best electric snow blower. We’ll also take a look at the pound capacity of snow it can move. Also, for these items, it’s more about the features and less about if the blower has a cord or not.


Considering moving to an electric snow blower? Start the #electriclawn movement.

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Worx WG650: Adjustable Height Electric Snow Blower/Thrower

PROS

  • 30-feet Throw Distance
  • Quick Clams Handlebar Adjustment
  • Collapsible Handlebars
  • 180-degree Adjustable Chute

CONS

  • Corded
  • Cord Sold Separate

[thrive_split_button left_color=”orange” right_color=”blue” left_text=”Shop Amazon” right_text=”Find on Walmart” left_link=”http://amzn.to/2fTlQmx” right_link=”http://linksynergy.walmart.com/fs-bin/click?id=zAuzLnCh5pQ&offerid=223073.7502&type=4&subid=0&tmpid=1082&RD_PARM1=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FWORX-18-13-Amp-Electric-Snow-Blower%2F17155627″]

The Worx WG650 Electric Snow Blower is a great choice if you’re looking for a lightweight and affordable snow blower. You’ll be able to adjust the handles with three different height settings to help you make the best of your time in the snow.

If you’re in need of clearing walkways, sidewalks, or driveways, then this is going to be perfect. You’ll have the opportunity to get all the way down to the pavement and move snow up to 30 feet! It seems like this is a bit more fun than shoveling snow.

Another cool feature about this electric snow blower is that you can hang it on a wall if you’re looking to save some space (or don’t have the space to spare) with it’s low weight.

Some of the more detailed specifications include a 13-amp electric motor, a steel auger that boasts rubber tips for durability, and the ability to clear a space of up to 18 inches wide/10 inches deep.

There’s an oversized chute that will rotate 180 degrees in case you need to shoot the snow in the opposite direction. This also makes it easier to move around when you’re using those [easyazon_link identifier=”B00Z8MGQI0″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”lawnaholic-20″]heavy winter gloves[/easyazon_link].

*Important to note: the Worx WG650 does not come with a power cable. It must be purchased separately.

[thrive_split_button left_color=”orange” right_color=”blue” left_text=”Worx Blower on Amazon” right_text=”Find it at Walmart” left_link=”http://amzn.to/2fTlQmx” right_link=”http://linksynergy.walmart.com/fs-bin/click?id=zAuzLnCh5pQ&offerid=223073.7502&type=4&subid=0&tmpid=1082&RD_PARM1=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FWORX-18-13-Amp-Electric-Snow-Blower%2F17155627″]


Snow Joe SJ623E: Ultra 18″ 15-Amp Electric Snow Blower with Light

Pros:

  • 15-amp (instead of 13-amp)
  • Comes with light kit
  • Included chute clean-out tool

Cons:

  • Corded
  • Does not come with cord

You don’t have to worry about power with this beast! You can make your job much easier and get even more done with the benefit of a more powerful motor. The Snow Joe SJ623E comes with a 15-amp motor versus a 13-amp motor giving you even more power to push the snow in front of you.

Another great benefit of this Snow Joe is that you’ll have the ability to see much better since it comes with a halogen light for those early morning snow drifts. The bulb itself is 20 watts.

It’s got a our blade rotor that is made of heavy-grade steel to force its way right through about 10 inches of snow. Near the bottom of the electric blower there’s a scraper blade that clears and scrapes the snow with no damage to your sidewalk or area you’re working in.

This model is perfect for using in mid-to-larger size areas including driveways, patio areas and sidewalks. You’ll be able to throw snow about 25 feet versus the Worx competition.

[walmart https://www.walmart.com/ip/Snow-Joe-18-15-Amp-Ultra-Electric-Snow-Blower-with-Light/21098142#about-item Snow Joe SJ623E at Walmart]

[thrive_link color=’orange’ link=’http://amzn.to/2f6iI7L’ target=’_blank’ size=’medium’ align=”]Find the Snow Joe on Amazon[/thrive_link]


Greenworks 2600502 Corded Snow Thrower (No Light Kit)

Pros:

  • Maintenance-Free
  • Compact Design
  • Quiet Electric Motor
  • 7-inch wheels
  • 20″ Clearing Width
  • 10″ Clearing Depth (vs. typical 8″)

Cons:

  • Corded
  • 20-feet Discharge
  • Does not come with cord

I’m a big fan of the Greenworks brand given that you can use all of their equipment with the use of their batteries that come with some of their tools. However, for this model — the Greenworks 2600502 snow thrower — it is corded.

This may provide to be a benefit in some way due to the fact that you will virtually never run out of juice! I’m assuming that you’ve paid your electric bill! But, in case you want to see the other options offered, have a look at some of the features.

You’ll still be getting a 13-amp motor which works very similar as a gas alternative. For many of the snow blowers, they have an 18″ clearing width, and for this you’ll be able to clear up to a 20″ path. Hey, two inches can make a long-term difference!

It’s a more compact design to help for storing when the thrower is not in use and also runs with a quieter motor. You’ll be happy if you decide to start throwing snow at 6am so you don’t have to worry about waking the neighbors.

This Greenworks model also offers the advantage of the 180 degree directional chute to allow rotating to throw snow in the opposite direction. There’s a 10″ clearing depth (again, a two inch difference) that is more than some of the other models.

Quick thoughts on the Greenworks Corded Snow Thrower
If you don’t care about the cord, you’ll benefit from this model and it can clear more of a path than the other competitors.

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[easyazon_link identifier=”B01M7VM6R0″ locale=”US” nf=”y” tag=”lawnaholic-20″ cart=”y”]Here’s same model with an extension cord.[/easyazon_link]


Summary & Thoughts About Snow Blowers

Moving to an electric society is really upon us. There are many pieces of equipment that now have the power of gas and are true alternatives to helping the earth. Snow blowers are no exception. There will continue to be even more electric tools for us to use and whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, hopefully we embrace the new age of technology.

If you’re really big about saving time and want a clean looking driveway, patio, or even sidewalk, an electric snow blower is going to be your best bet. You can save the strenuous back exercises and clear your drive. This is especially helpful if you get a lot of snow and have to return back to clear the area every hour or two.

I hope you found value in this review!
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— Nick the Lawnaholic