Last updated: August 6, 2021

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For decades, we in Europe have been used to a continuously functioning power supply and even depend on it. So what do we do if it fails? Even though an evening by candlelight can be very romantic, you are better equipped with an external power supply for your home.

Power generators and emergency generators are not everyday purchases, but in most cases they are extremely useful. Whether for a family home, the next camping trip or a boat trip. So that you are best equipped for every situation, we have selected and summarised the best power generators for you here.




Summary

  • Electricity generators are powered by an engine inside. This in turn is powered by various fuels such as: Diesel, petrol or gas. Which fuel is used usually depends on the size of the generator.
  • A distinction can be made between an inverter generator and an emergency generator. A conventional generator has more capacity than an inverter, which is more suitable for sensitive devices such as smartphones or laptops: Smartphones or laptops.
  • With generators, it is particularly important to pay attention to the correct voltages and frequencies. Therefore, there is a standard here which is DIN 6280, please pay attention to this when making your purchase, so you are on the safe side.

The Best Power generator: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for power generators

So that you are not overwhelmed when buying power generators, we have selected and listed the most important buying criteria for you, which are as follows:

For each criterion you will find a short summary and we hope to give you a better understanding of power generators.

Types

We have a wide range of different types of inverter and emergency generators, which makes the purchase decision all the more difficult. Emergency generators or emergency power systems can be divided into different types such as: Converter Generators, Petrol Generators, Diesel Generators, Gas Generators, PTO Generators, Inverter Generators. Each product has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is all the more important to know what the device will be used for in the future.

Engine

The engine of a power generator can be either a two-stroke or a four-stroke engine. The fuel also plays an important role. If you need a lighter generator with not too much power, you should choose a two-stroke engine. With a four-stroke engine, you can expect more power and less fuel wear. As mentioned above, the PTO generator is the only generator that does not have an engine.

Fuel

Fuel is the essence of the generator, without it there is no electricity. There are options from hybrids that run on two different fuels to conventional ones that run on only one. Petrol and diesel are the most common fuels for an emergency power source, but natural gas or propane are also used for propulsion and offer a cost-effective alternative.

Volume

An emergency generator is usually heard before it is seen, at least this was the case for a very long time, but new innovations will soon make this a thing of the past. Nowadays, the sound level of a power generation machine plays a significant role in a purchase, especially when it comes to one's own home. The noise level of a power generation unit can range from 61db (very quiet) to 91db (very loud).

If you are looking for a rather silent aggregator, you should stick to inverter technology, which currently offers the quietest products. But what can you do if you already have an emergency power generation machine that deafens your ears? With bitumen mats you can build a soundproof box around the generator or silencers are an option to minimise the noise.

Weight

The weight of a power generator, like the noise level, varies from product to product. High mobility is especially important if you want to use your generator in different places for different purposes, so the unit should be particularly light.

The weight is an important criterion for transporting gensets, e.g. in a car. However, units with a higher mass often suffer when it comes to their functionality. In principle, the more power a unit can generate, the bigger it is. Here you have to decide whether more power or more mobility is more important to you.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about power generators answered in detail

We have answered the most frequently asked questions on the internet regarding power generators for you to give you a better insight into the topic of external power supply.

What does a power generator do?

One question that comes up at the latest when buying a power generator is "What does this device actually do? First of all, it is important to understand that power generator, generator, genset, power generator or emergency power generator refer to the same machine. This electrical machine converts kinetic energy into electrical energy. For this purpose, the combustion engine is used and this transformed energy is converted into electricity.

What types of power generators are there?

Here we have summarised the most common generators for you. Converter power generators have been on the market for a long time and are mostly known, they can be used for everything where a significant voltage fluctuation does not matter, such as: Construction sites.

Stromgenerator

There are different types of power generators. (Image source: Ryan Tauss / Unsplash)

Petrol generators are the most common and have lower fuel consumption than diesel generators, which in turn score points for their greater robustness and better performance. Gas generators usually have a higher purchase price, but the low fuel costs, mostly propane gas, can compensate for the price difference.

PTO generators differ from the others in that they do not have their own engine and are powered by a PTO or traction engine, they are known for their robustness. Finally, we come to inverter generators, known for their mobile and clean power generation, they will soon dominate the generator market.

How much does a generator cost?

The price of a power generator depends on the power required. The type of fuel used also affects the purchase cost as well as the maintenance cost. Size and weight, as well as the working volume, can also play a significant role in terms of price.

Price range Available products
Low-priced 100 - 299 €) Weak performance, no high-class products and small tank volume
Medium-priced 300 - 600 €) Brand-name products with inverter technology and higher capacities
High-priced 600 - 1800 €) Quality products with easier operation and highest capacity

Even within the same performance classes, there can be sometimes enormous price differences. These are influenced by various factors such as size and weight, brand and manufacturer as well as innovative technology and accessories. Power generators range in price from around 100 euros, whereas top-class power generators can cost as much as 1800 euros.

What alternatives are there to power generators?

Solar batteries are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to conventional generators. The uses of a solar battery are extremely versatile. There are batteries with 280 Ah or other capacities depending on your needs. They are often installed as a second battery in motor homes as well as in caravans and boats where there is enough sunlight during the day. Solar batteries can also be used to supply the household with electricity, but these are of a different size.

Conclusion

Whether your budget is small or large, for a camping trip or for a family home, there is a suitable product on the power generation market for every demand. It is always important to observe the correct voltages and frequencies. Your device should comply with the DIN 6280 standard, so it's best to stick to renowned brand products. Whichever generator you choose, before you buy it, you should know what you will use it for in the future, only then can you be sure to find your ideal power supply unit.

(Cover photo: 123rf / Henadzi Pechan)

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