Can You Add An Inverter To A Generator?

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Yes, you can add an inverter to a generator if you find an inverter with enough capacity and follow the safety guidelines.

However, in practice, it will be hard to find a compatible inverter that can make the most of all the power that portable generators offer.

In turn, you generally want to invest in an inverter generator if you plan to power any sensitive electronics.

One potential exception if these sensitive electronics do not need that much power.

In that case, you could get a small inverter and use the rest of the available power to run your other devices that can deal with higher THD levels.

Can you use an inverter with a generator?

Yes, you can use an inverter with a generator if the inverter has the right specifications for the particular generator.

However, in practice, many of the inverters on the market need DC power input.

And even if your generator has an outlet with this type of power, you may need an adapter to connect it to the inverter.

After all this work, you will likely still find the capacity of the small DC outlet of your generator lacking.

On top of these setup challenges, the inverter requires an extra investment too.

So while there are a few inverter kits for generators, they are not always convenient and/or budget-friendly to set up.

At least compared to investing in a good inverter generator in the first place.

Why you could want an inverter on a generator

You could want an inverter on or in a generator for these two reasons:

  1. Regular portable generators tend to produce power with high THD levels
  2. Power with high THD levels increases risk of damage or early wear and tear.

High-THD power involves a risk of damaging sensitive electronics like your phone, TV, microwave, and certain refrigerators.

And even if you don’t make your devices completely unusable the first time, high THD power tends to come with faster wear and tear.

In short, if you plan to run any electronics like the ones mentioned with your generator, you generally want an inverter (if this is not yet built-in).

Do you need an inverter if I have a generator?

Yes, you need an inverter if you have a regular generator and want to safely power sensitive electronic.

Even just a small one could help you power a few weaker electronics.

You can then still use the rest of the high THD power to run devices like a sump pump or well pump that can typically deal with this non-inverter electricity.

However, if you already have an inverter generator, you don’t need a separate inverter too.

Additionally, there are devices that don’t require low THD levels to run.

Downsides of using an external pure sine wave inverter on your generator

The main downsides of using an external pure sine wave inverter on your generator are:

  • Finding the right inverter for your generator is challenging
  • Connecting the inverter to your generator and using it is challenging
  • External pure sine wave inverters typically have low power limits
  • Inverters cost extra money
  • External pure sine wave inverters make your power generation setup less portable
  • Regular generators with a separate inverter are still loud
  • External pure sine wave inverters involve a risk of coming into contact with moist ground

Getting an external pure sine wave inverter on your regular generator may sound good at first but comes with downsides too.

As mentioned, the first challenge is actually finding an inverter that connects to your specific generator in a reasonably convenient way.

And even if it “fits” through something like the DC outlet, you may only have a limited amount of power available.

You don’t want to forget about the extra investment either.

Besides these things, carrying around the extra separate inverter makes your portable generator just a bit less portable.

Additionally, you miss out on some of the pros of inverter generators like quieter operation.

Lastly, there is a small extra safety risk if the inverter can come in contact with moist ground or something similar.

Is a generator with an inverter better than one without?

A generator with an inverter is typically better than one without in terms of performance and noise levels.

At the same time, you may find a generator without an inverter good enough for your needs. This alternative is generally more budget-friendly.

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Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.