Everything You Need to Know About Generator Features

Are you ready to buy your first generator? Maybe you have an older generator but now realise that the market is far different than it was five or ten years ago. At Maxwatt we want to help you select the right generator for your unique needs, so we’ve put together a quick guide filled with everything you need to know about generator features.

Whether you’re searching for one of the quiet generators that won’t disturb the neighbours, or you need a portable generator for your worksite, we have the information you need to select wisely. Let’s get started.

Types of Generators – A Quick Overview
Do you need a generator to remain in place at your home or at a large event or are you looking for something lightweight and portable? Before you select a type of generator, you need to know how you intend to use it and which generator features you’ll need. This simple list of generator types will help you match your needs to the options:

  • Inverter Generators – Often lightweight and highly portable, inverter generators meet the incoming demand for power rather than running full tilt regardless of demand. They minimise fuel usage and are extremely quiet generators. They work well for on-the-go scenarios like powering a food truck or running your computer at the campground. If you want clean, stable power, inverter generators are the way to go.
  • Tradesman Generators – Generators designed to power larger pieces of equipment that need more power. They’re still lighter and more portable than stationary generators but are open in design. If you need a mobile generator that offers more power, tradesmen generators are a great pick.
  • Stationary Generators – Larger generators are designed to remain in place rather than working on the go like portable generators. They’re perfect for keeping larger homes fully powered after a natural disaster or powering large events with more applications demanding power.

Petrol Generators vs. Diesel Generators
There are a wide variety of generator features, but one of the most important to consider is the fuel it will use. Petrol generators are more popular with most consumers because petrol is more cost-effective than diesel. When selecting between these types of generators, think about the availability of petrol and diesel fuels in your local area or wherever you may travel with your generator.

How Much Power Do You Really Need?
One of the biggest differences between generators at different price points is the amount of power they can deliver. The more power a generator delivers, the more appliances, lights, and other electronics you can run at one time. To determine how much wattage you may need, try to determine how many watts are required to operate each item that you want to power from a single generator.

Try to buy a generator with at least 20% more wattage than you think you’ll need. That allows you to account for temporary power spikes and increased power needed to get an appliance started. Also, the runtime listed for most generators is based on running at half capacity. In general, you can expect to get more out of your generator if you don’t run it at peak wattage regularly.

The following discussion of running watts, peak watts, and starting watts will ensure you look at the right numbers when comparing portable or petrol generators.

Running Watts vs. Peak Watts vs. Starting Watts
Running wattage refers to the maximum power load a generator can sustain continuously. It’s important that this wattage covers all appliances, lights, and other electronics that you want to power simultaneously from one generator. If the wattage is too low, then you will have to shut off some items or cycle to remain within your maximum continuous power load.

Peak wattage is the maximum power load your generator can hold for a short period of time. Think about power spikes where an appliance may suddenly require a larger burst of energy that is sustained for just a minute or two.

You may also see the term “starting watts” during your search for a portable generator. This refers to the maximum wattage your generator can sustain while starting appliances up. Most appliances require a more extensive power supply for just a few seconds when they first power up.

A high peak wattage may make some generators look more powerful than they are in real life. It’s important to look at that maximum running wattage to ensure your chosen generator will meet your needs.

Generator Features to Consider
There are a lot of added features that you will see when shopping for portable petrol generators. Some are just what you need while others aren’t worth paying more for. Your needs are unique, so those features are all valuable to someone. The following list will introduce you to some of the key features available.

  • Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) Reduces the risk of damage to the engine due to power spikes or surges by maintaining one consistent voltage output regardless of shifting loads.
  • Electric Throttle or Economy Mode Automatically adjusts the engine speed in response to the demand for power. You use as little fuel as possible at any moment. The MaxWatt 2500W Pure Sine Wave Digital Inverter Generator is a great example. It has an economy-low idle setting and is one of the quieter generators.
  • Electric Start Are generators that start quickly with the push of a button. Batteries power the electric start button, so you don’t have to pull a recoil cord to start the machine. A good example is the MaxWatt Electric Start 7kV Petrol Generator.
  • Low-Oil Shutoff Turns your generator off when the oil reaches a certain level.
  • Fuel Gauge Tells you how much fuel is left in the generator’s tank.
  • Long-Range Fuel Tank Larger fuel tank allows you to turn the generator continuously for up to 12 hours between fill-ups. Standard generators may run for less than five hours before running out of fuel.

How to Care for Your Generator
High-quality generators will run effortlessly if you follow a few basic maintenance tips:

  • Change the oil on a routine basis. Check the owner’s manual to determine the right frequency for your generator.
  • Don’t allow the oil to run low. Check it regularly and top it up before it gets below half empty. Use the type of oil recommended in the owner’s manual.
  • Gently brush the filter clean if it starts to look dirty. Check it regularly along with the spark plugs.

Read your owner’s manual and follow any additional maintenance guidelines provided. The more you care for your generator, the longer you can expect it to deliver peak performance for you. If you don’t use your generator often, make sure to fire it up and make sure everything is in good working order before a big storm or trip.

If you’d like some more advice about buying your first generator or more on generator features, then call the friendly team at Maxwatt today. We’re here to help!

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