Generator Buyer's Guide

Everything you need to know about choosing the right portable generator.

Generators are great tools to use when operating in remote locations without a readily available source of power. With a good portable generator and a bit of fuel, you can take your power anywhere you go.

There are a lot of portable generators to choose from, so how do you know which one is right for you? This guide will walk you through exactly what to look at when buying a portable generator.



What is a Portable Generator?

A portable generator is a small, compact means of generating power, for use with powering all means of devices when out camping, caravanning, off-roading, or for any situation where there is no source of mains power.

Small, portable generators can be used to power televisions, kitchen appliances, portable fridges, air conditioners, and a host of other equipment commonly found in the traveller’s kit.

A generator works by powering a small engine with fuel, which then generates usable electricity. There are two types of generator available; standard Generators and Inverter Generators.

Standard generators output direct AC (alternating current) –by simply outputting direct AC from the engine, the power can fluctuate – it’s not “clean”. This is good enough for powering tools and machinery, but not so great for powering more sensitive devices like computers, portable fridges and other electronic devices.

Inverter generators fix this problem by instead outputting DC (direct current), the same type of power used by smaller devices such as batteries and phones, and then using an Inverter to convert this into pure, clean AC, which can then be used by just about any small electrical appliance. A quality portable generator can even output “cleaner” AC power than the power points in your home.

Given the uses for portable generators as power sources for camping and caravanning equipment, most of them tend to be Inverter Generators, and it is these types that we will focus on in this guide.



What Size Do I Need?

Portable generators are measured in Watts (W), just like most electrical appliances, which makes getting an idea of what size you’ll need much easier. A 1000W generator will output 1000W of power, a 2000W generator will output 2000W, and so on. Easy, right?

They can also be referred to using kVa, where k=1000 and Va = Volt Amps (similar to Watts). So a 1000W generator can also be referred to as a 1kVa generator, a 2800W as a 2.8kVa etc.

This is all well and good when working out devices that use a consistent stream of power, like an oven or a light bulb, but working out power usage for devices that use varying amounts of power, like an air-conditioner or a portable fridge, can be more difficult.

An air conditioner may be rated at 3200W, but you won’t need a 3000W or 4000W generator to run it, because an air conditioner is not always on; it turns on and off as needed to cool the air. It’s the same case with portable fridges or freezers – they are not always drawing power.

As a general rule, a 1000W (or 1kVa) portable generator will easily be enough to charge a 120Ah fridge battery, as well as other small appliances like phones, laptops, televisions etc, where as a 2000W or 2800W would be better suited to heavy-power devices like air conditioners.

If using a variable power device, it’s always best to check with the manufacturer for their generator size recommendation.



Why We Recommend Yamaha

There are a lot of brands to choose from, and choosing the right manufacturer can be the difference between a great portable generator and a pretty lousy one.

Portable Fridges Online have done the research for you in this instance, going through the available brands to come up with what we believe is the best brand of portable generator available on the market, and that’s undoubtedly Yamaha.

Yamaha’s portable generator range offer great value for money; they’re quiet, efficient, cheap to service, long-lasting and have fantastic after-purchase support.

Some of our favourite features of the Yamaha portable generators are:

  • A handy fuel gauge; the only portable generator on the market with this feature.
  • The ability to run fuel out of the carburettor to stop old fuel gumming up when the generator is not in use for a period of time.
  • Incredibly quiet when running.
  • Highest rated EPA Emission Compliance Period on the market at 500 hours; double the nearest competitor, guaranteeing a long life for your generator.
  • Great after-market support, and much cheaper servicing costs when compared to top competitors.
  • Comprehensive 4 year warranty.




Yamaha vs The Competition


How Much Power Do You Need?




Hopefully that’s given you some insight on what to look for when looking to buy a portable generator. Be sure to view our range of Yamaha Portable Generators on Portable Fridges Online today.