Generator Buying Guide
If you’re about to invest in a new generator, it’s important to do a little bit of research before you hand your hard-earned money over. After all, there are a wide variety of options available, which differ by price, features, make, model, quality, and fuel source. With so many to choose from, how should you determine which is right for you? Instead of getting overwhelmed, use the generator buying guide below to help. It will simplify the different options so you can more easily determine which generator is most suitable for you.
The Different Types
These tend to be smaller than traditional generators so you can more easily take them camping or keep them in your car for emergencies. While this makes them more convenient, it’s important to note that these do not supply as much power as their larger counterparts. The wattage they offer ranges from 1,000 all the way up to 10,000, which also impacts price.
These are larger generators that are designed to power your home in situations when the power is out. These are different from portable generators in their size but also because they must be professionally installed in order to connect to gas or propane lines. These vary in wattage and can range anywhere from 7,000 to 20,000 or sometimes more.
If you tailgate a lot or even go camping and boating, this is a generator you’ll enjoy having around. It’s small and compact, making it easy to take around. However, they can only supply anywhere from 800 to a few thousand watts, so they are ideal for small electronics or an electric stove/cooler.
What Are Your Needs?
While it’s important to understand the differences between each type of generator, your needs should also be kept in mind. This will ensure you select a generator that you get use out of rather than one that is a waste of money. Below are a few considerations to make.
What are you going to use your generator for most often? Here are a few situations and the wattage you’d need to accommodate:
200 – 1200 watts (a laptop would take around 200, a phone charger would take around 10, an RV a/c would take around 1600, and a griddle would take 1200)
Emergency and Storm Situations
100-1500 watts (a lamp would take 50, a microwave would take 1,000, a fridge would take 600, a TV would take 240, and a curling iron would take 1500).
300 – 1400 watts (a work light would take 300, a drill would take 300, a saw would take 1200, a pressure washer would take 1200, and a lawn mower would take 1400).
Do you need a generator with unique features or one that’s basic? Some features you might want to think about looking for include:
- Remote start
- Push button start
- Wheels with handle
- Stackable casing
- Duel fuel options
- Safety turn-off
With so many different types of generators, prices differ greatly. Before you shop around, set your maximum budget. Keep in mind that quality units with decent power tend to be priced over $300.
Do you want a generator that runs on propane, gas, or both? While price can impact your decision, it’s important to think about which fuel source is easiest for you to have on-hand as well.
If you need a generator only for storms, then one that’s wired into your home will likely be the best option. However, if you want something portable, weight is an important detail. While some generators are lightweight, others can weigh a hundred pounds or more.
What to Look at While Shopping
So you’re ready to shop, where do you begin? It’s best to search for the type of generator you want to see all of the options available to you. From there, you can narrow it down based on the price. Once you have a few different generators you’re considering, it will be time to look at the features as well as the weight. These are the details that you might not have looked at before but make all the difference with the unit you end up with.
Before you buy, ask yourself the following questions:
Does this come with a warranty?
The investment in one of these units can be large, which is why looking for a warranty is important. While many come with a standard 30-day warranty, more and more have been offering 3-year warranties as their standard.
How loud is the unit?
Most generators make noise and some can be incredibly loud. If you’re going to use this in a quiet neighborhood or in an area where noise is to be kept at a minimum, it’s important to find information about the noise level before making your purchase. Fortunately, most products state their decibel levels so you won’t have trouble finding this!
How are the reviews?
One of the biggest advantages of shopping online is being able to read reviews about the items you buy, including generators. While no product has 5-stars for every reviewer, some have more than others. It’s important to consider both what people liked and what they didn’t like in order to make your decision. Something that bothered someone else may not be a big deal to you, such as the amount of noise the unit makes.
Will I use this?
While you might like a generator because it looks nice or has a lot of unique features, will you actually use it? Don’t forget what you actually need the unit for when it comes to making your purchase. If you need something portable, then stick with that. If you need something heavy-duty, then don’t be tempted by lightweight models. With so many options you will certainly be able to find what you want and need.
While there’s a lot to consider when you buy a generator, the thought is well worth it. By researching and considering your needs as well as options, you’re much more likely to buy something you’ll actually get use out of. Not to mention, you’ll be more likely to actually enjoy the unit you bought as well. Which is right for you? If you’re ready to buy, then get started now!
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