Differences Between an Inverter and Generator

The increase in energy prices, irregularities and consumption has been on the rise for decades.  With power disruptions and irregularities two of the most sought upon equipment are generators and inverters.

A generator is used to produce electricity using an external power source while an inverter uses a DC source and converts it into alternating current to be used for residential and industrial purposes. Both of these devices have their pros and cons. Below is a quick summary of the two types and the pros and cons which might help you pick the ideal one for you.

What Exactly Is a Generator?

In basic terms a generator is a gear that uses an external source and converts mechanical energy into electric energy. It technically doesn’t produce electrical energy, but it leverages the electromagnetic induction principle.

Generators are considered one of the most useful devices when you experience a power outage. It can generate electricity using sources such as gas turbines, steam turbines, water turbines and internal combustion engines.

What Exactly Is an Inverter?

An Inverter is a piece of equipment that produces alternating current using a direct current feed. Inside an inverter you’ll find many little electronic circuits that help with the load management and battery charging.

You can even use it as a power adaptor to operate low powered home appliances that depend on batteries. Usually an inverter produces a similar power output to the main grid and can be either connected to the grid or work as a standalone device.

An inverter can easily be used to run appliances like a refrigerator, water purifier and other low powered appliances.

Generator vs Inverter

1. Basics

A generator is basically an external power supply used during power shutdowns while an inverter is used to convert direct current to alternating current.

An inverter uses power sources like batteries, fuel cells or solar panels. A generator uses forms of mechanical energy.

2. Power Source

A generator uses mechanical energy and converts this to electrical energy. The mechanical energy is operated by either propane or gasoline in small applications and for larger industrial applications it uses propane, diesel or natural gas.

An inverter typically produces current using stored energy sources. You can also use renewable sources like solar panels with a grid connected inverter.

3. Capacity

Generators are quite heavy when compared to inverters. They have high loads and capacities and is ideal for areas that experience frequent power cuts and power spikes. A generator usually doesn’t start immediate and takes some effort to kickstart it.

Inverters on the other hand are low capacity and is ideal for small households. They have auto power on and off features.

4. Maintenance

Since generators use machinal energy sources they will require frequent maintenance while inverter require less maintenance and sometimes none at all.

To reduce the amount of maintenance required always opt for high-quality renowned devices. Aggreko power generators are well known for this.  For inverters opt for a brand like SMA.

Even though both these devices generally accomplish the same task, the way they accomplish it is quite different. They also vary in terms of price and capacity. Consult a professional and tell them your needs before you decide to invest in either an inverter or generator.

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