A Discussion about Portable Generators

Generators are used to create electrical supplies when traditional services are unavailable. Weather conditions, emergency situations, or just a remote location may make it necessary to use a generator of some kind or another. In many situations, it is not possible to have a generator in precisely the perfect spot for use, and so there are many types of portable generators available.

Understanding the Differences

In addition to portable generators there are also standby or stationary units and some meant specifically for the systems contained inside of an RV or recreational vehicle. There are a lot of reasons for the availability of the three main types of generators, and for this discussion we are going to focus mostly on portable generators.

The fundamental reason behind the use of a portable unit is its convenience. You need power while out in the middle of a field, while on a camping trip in the mountains, or during your annual cookout at the lake, and a portable generator may be your best solution. You can put it securely into the back of a truck and drive it where it needs to go. If you have purchased the heavy duty wheels for the unit, you can then push it wherever it needs to be for use.

Standby generators cannot be toted here and there, and RV units tend to be smaller than many of the heavier duty portables, and this is a main reason for home and property owners to choose them. Naturally, with the convenience of portability comes a few "downsides".

The Pros and Cons of a Portable Generator

If we were to do a side by side comparison of the essential differences between standby and portable generators, it would usually be the standby that would "win". This, however, does not mean that it isn't wise to invest in a portable unit if you need to take it to different locations.

Just note that most portables need protection from the weather and yet cannot be operated inside a home or garage. They often can create around 1500 to 8500 watts (though some may create more). They are found as gas and diesel units (with some propane units now entering the market), and they tend to need attention from an operator in order to remain fully functional for extended periods of time.

For example, a portable often requires re-fueling roughly every eight hours. Most will take less than five gallons at a time, and pouring this much fuel can be a cumbersome task. This means that someone who needs to run a generator in blizzard conditions or in foul weather will have to head out into that weather if the machine has been running for any great length of time. If the device is operating at max capacity, the time between refills can be cut almost in half as well.

In addition to the hassles of filling by hand, these units tend to also require a manual switch or transfer of power. This is what must happen when power is restored, and it is one of the biggest glitches with the use of portable generators. This is because it can harm the generator and the appliances when the power surges or is restored while the generator is in use.

Because they are portable, the generators are also considered relatively easy to steal unless they are secured in some way to the property.

When to Invest in a Portable Generator

Now, none of this is meant to indicate that a portable generator is not a savvy investment. It may be the one thing that helps your home to remain safe and functional during an emergency. If you select the appropriate size unit, a portable generator can easily serve as a "survival" unit that operates all of the essentials for many days without fail.

There are options for the installation of transfer switches that allow the system to be used without any extension cords because the unit is wired into the power panel in the home. These automatically shut down when power is restored. There are also many portable units with smart gear that helps to keep the system running in an even and stable manner as well.

Just consider the true amount of energy that you need and how much maintenance and attention you want to give a generator. You will be surprised to discover that portable generators are a good solution to most needs.