Power Inverter vs. Generator: Main Pros and Cons of Power Inverters Over Generators
When considering converting power to be used by electronic devices and household appliances, the options generally narrow down to the two obvious choices: A gas-powered generator or a DC to AC power inverter. While there are some circumstances that lean toward gas-powered generators being the wise choice, most pros-and-cons lists will end up with power inverters winning the argument. Let’s look at why.
The circumstances surrounding where you’ll be using your power source always help decide your best options. For this article, we’re considering both backup power from your home (saved for power outages) and power away from home (in an RV, a semi-truck, or a hunting cabin). In both situations, you want reliable power that allows you to run your electronic devices. The main differences when deciding Power Inverter vs. Generator include efficiency, fuel and noise.
You can purchase gas-powered generators and power inverters that will supply you with plenty of power to run your devices. However, most gas-powered generators will not be able to supply you with efficient power that’s identical to the power supplied to your home by the power company; neither will cheaper power inverters, called Modified Sine Wave Inverters. Large gas-powered generators can get pretty close to consistent, clean Pure Sine Wave power and there’s a type of power inverter—appropriately called Pure Sine Wave Power Inverters—that gives you power which is identical to that supplied by the power company. Most appliances and devices are designed to run from Pure Sine Wave power. Most of them can run on Modified Sine Wave power, but they may run hotter than usual and may not run as efficiently.
If efficiency is a big deal for your situation, a Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter is right for you.
Generators convert power from gasoline. A power inverter converts battery power and therefore eliminates the need for gasoline. Using gasoline as your power supply comes down to storing it and having enough of it. Gasoline can only be stored for about one month without any additives. Therefore, if you’re planning on having a generator for backup power in your home, you’ll have to keep fresh gasoline on-hand, as you likely won’t want to be running to the gas station in the event of a weather-related power outage. The next issue is having enough of it while you use the generator. A 5000-watt generator can run through about one gallon every hour.
If storing enough fresh gasoline is difficult for your situation, a power inverter is your best bet.
This one is easy. Generators produce noise. Cheap generators produce a lot of noise. Power inverters are silent.
If you are using your power supply in an apartment or campsite, noisy generators are a nuisance; a power inverter is your best bet.
In these three main areas power inverters come out on top. Of course, power inverters do have some factors to consider as well, such as how large of a battery will you need to run your desired devices and how much a capable power inverter will cost? Hopefully, you can now compare the advantages and disadvantages between gas-powered generators and power inverters based on your situation and narrow your search down to one that best serves your purposes.