8 Pros & Cons Of Inverter Generators

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The main pros of inverter generators are clean power suited for sensitive electronics, generally lower noise levels, better fuel efficiency, easier parallel, and fewer emissions.

On the other side, the main cons of inverter generators are generally higher prices, more challenging troubleshooting sessions, and lower power capacity ceilings.

With the appliances and tools people often want to power, inverter generators tend to be worth the extra investment.

That being said, it can still be worth weighing all the pros and cons in this article against each other.

5 Advantages of an inverter generator

Looking at the pros of inverter generators is the first step to figuring out whether this is the right type for you.

  1. Clean low THD power
  2. Lower noise levels
  3. Generally more fuel-efficient
  4. Easier to parallel
  5. Fewer emissions

1. Clean low THD power

More technical inverter specifications aside, the main useful pro of this type of generator to keep in mind is that they offer clean low THD power.

This is relevant because “dirty” high THD power can damage sensitive electronics like phones, laptops, and TVs.

Even if you only plan to run somewhat less sensitive devices, inverter generators can offer better longevity for these.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning that there are ways to clean up the power yourself.

You could prefer these over inverter generators because of the disadvantages later in the article.

2. Lower noise levels

Because they are able to run at lower speeds and typically come with an enclosed design and sound-absorbing materials, inverter generators tend to be quieter than regular models.

It is worth mentioning that other details still influence noise levels too.

The quietest generators at higher power levels can still be louder than smaller non-inverter models.

3. Generally more fuel-efficient

Another consequence of not having to run at full speed all the time is that inverter generators are generally more fuel-efficient.

Especially in situations where you only use a small percentage of the total load available.

A more straightforward consequence of this fuel efficiency is that a kWh from your inverter generator can be cheaper than from a regular model.

Additionally, there are certain situations like off-grid living where refueling is less convenient. In turn, getting more power from your fuel becomes more valuable.

Keep in mind that there are still big differences in fuel efficiency within the inverter generator category.

If this specification is valuable to you, you likely want to calculate this detail yourself with run times, fuel tank capacities, and continuous watts.

4. Easier to parallel

Inverter generators are typically easier to put in parallel.

This concept comes down to combining the power of multiple generators to increase how many appliances and tools you can run at once or the size of devices you can run.

Being able to put two inverter generators in parallel has its advantages and disadvantages over just getting one bigger model.

5. Fewer emissions

This pro of inverter generators is a consequence of the fuel efficiency already mentioned but is worth quickly noting anyway.

Inverter generators tend to emit fewer emissions, again especially at lower percentages of loads, than regular machines.

This can be a benefit in terms of environmental concerns and potentially even generator safety to some extent.

3 Disadvantages of an inverter generator

The positive points above can be valuable but there are also cons of inverter generators.

You want to know about these too to figure out whether this type of generator would be good for your situation.

  1. Generally higher cost
  2. Can be more challenging to troubleshoot
  3. Lower power capacity ceiling

1. Generally higher cost

It is true that these generators often vary in terms of other specifications too.

However, it is fair to say that inverters are generally more expensive than regular models.

Having a generator that actually does what you need it to do is important.

At the same time, this higher cost can sometimes influence your generator type too.

2. Can be more challenging to troubleshoot

Inverter generators tend to be more challenging to troubleshoot due to the increase in moving parts and (often) enclosed designs.

Ideally, your generator just does what it needs to do.

On the other, even in quality models technical issues do happen from time to time.

This con of inverter generators is not only relevant to people who prefer doing the repairs themselves.

The extra complexity could also lead to slightly pricier reparation services.

3. Lower power capacity ceiling

With how big the largest inverter generators are, their lower power capacity ceiling will often not be an issue.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning that inverter generators typically “only” offer up to around 9500 to 10000 starting watts.

People with really big houses and/or really big devices may need the extra power potential of larger regular generators.

On the other hand, it is also worth noting that putting two large inverter generators in parallel is an option for big power needs too.

Is an inverter generator better than a regular generator?

Many people will find an inverter generator better than a regular generator due to the clean power, lower decibel levels, and fuel efficiency.

On the flip side, regular generators can be good enough or preferred in certain situations and save you a lot of money.

Inverter or regular generator, which is best for home use?

Inverter generators are often best for home use unless you have your own mechanisms to “clean up” your power.

At the same time, it is possible that you only plan to run appliances and tools where the higher THD power from regular generators works fine for home use too.

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Author:

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.