Inverters vs. Generators: Difference and Comparison

The difference between an inverter and a generator is mostly based on how each of them operates.

A generator is known to produce electric power. It usually converts kinetic or thermal as well as the potential energy of water into electric energy for distribution and uses in homes, industries and other commercial businesses. It does the distribution through power transmission lines.

On the other hand, a power inverter will draw the needed power from a stable 12V direct current, DC power sources like solar panels and battery banks. Moreover, inverters often use microprocessors to invert 12V direct current, DC to 120V alternating current, AC that is needed for powering most modern electronic appliances.

As a result, an inverter generator is usually a marriage between these two ideas, that of a generator and an inverter.


An inverter is a machine that will make use of your home electricity and convert it into direct current, DC power to charge its battery. This battery customarily comes with the inverter and is its power source. The DC, direct current electricity stored in the battery is then converted to AC, alternating current before being supplied for domestic or commercial use, during a power outage.

An inverter usually works by itself and do not need any start. You just wire it and decide on the appliances that it will power during a power blackout. This can be limiting but inverters are often safe to use, especially with sensitive home appliances like smartphones, laptops, televisions, and computers among others.

Since an inverter uses electricity to keep it charging, it can only supply power that is stored. This makes it inoperable after the battery power runs out. Therefore, ensure you check on it power capacity before buying. This way you get to store as much energy for use during a power failure.


An electric generator is a powerful tool that converts mechanical energy provided by its engine into electrical energy that can be used to power up and run electronic devices. Its engine usually requires a fuel source like petroleum, kerosene, propane, or diesel among others.

Generators often come in different sizes as well as shapes. Moreover, their power capacities can range from 500 watts and above. This makes it ideal for running almost every electronic appliance, even air conditioners, and other power tools within your home or business.

However, maintaining it can be hard, given the rising economy, which makes fossil fuels hard to afford in the end. Besides, some require pulling a chord, which can be hard for some people who use it domestically as a backup generator.

Consequently, you should always have its fuel at standby be it a propane generator, a gasoline generator or a dual fuel generator. This is to enable it to do its job as a backup generator, especially during power outages.

Inverters vs. Generators: Differences

Here are some inverters vs. generators differences:

  • Inverters are usually soundless and favorable for use in any work environment. However, generators often make a lot of noise no matter how silent it is said to be. Therefore, it is up to you to determine the level of noise you can deal with when it comes to a backup generator, be it a dual fuel generator or a propane generator.
  • Generators are often available in very high power capacities. You can use them to run almost every electronic device in your home, depending on its power capacity. On the other hand, inverters are generally available in lower power capacities than generators. This makes their use limited to essential electronic appliances only.
  • There is never a time gap with inverters during a power outage. The power will just onset seamlessly as if it never went out, but a generator will take a few minutes or seconds, depending on its make and model, to power up during a blackout.
  • Inverters usually start on their own during power failure but generators might require some effort and workforce, depending on its make, model, and features.
  • Generators do not usually require any wiring. You can start it immediately you get it out of its box. However, you will need to do some wiring when it comes to installing an inverter in your home or business premises.
  • When it comes to power source, generators are known to make use of power sources like kerosene, propane, diesel, gasoline, and petroleum while an inverter will charge the battery with the electricity.
  • Inverters are generally versatile and lightweight. You can carry them anywhere. They can be of use during camps, boat or road trips but generators are bulky and require some energy to pull around, even those with wheels and pull handles.
  • If you live in a place prone to long power cuts then a generator might be more useful than an inverter. Inverters are only beneficial in places with short power outages, while generators are favorable for places that tend to experience long blackouts.

Consequently, you can always have a backup generator be it you are buying a portable inverter generator, a propane generator or a dual fuel generator. This way you avoid any inconveniences that might be caused by an inverter.

However, you can always dig deep into your pockets for an expensive inverter that can run for long and even supply power to your air conditioners when there is a blackout.

In relation, you should take note that an inverter generator is the best option for a generator. Since it can power up even sensitive electronic devices like laptops and television sets, but make sure you buy pure sine wave inverter type.

This is because a pure sine wave inverter has a gradual safe peak that works best for sensitive home or business appliances, no damages. These sensitive electronic devices often require high-quality waveform with minimal total harmonic distortion, less than 3% THD. Anything higher than 6% THD is bound to cause damages to your electronic power equipment.

Besides, most modern electronics are designed to work with a pure sine wave, which transforms electricity from diverse batteries and fuels cells to AC.

In addition, regular conventional generators like a propane generator tend to run at a constant speed, making them unsuitable and dangerous for operating sensitive appliances in case of power outage.

Therefore, when it comes to inverters vs. generators you can opt for both of them, but keep in mind that their operational capabilities are very different from each other.


There you have it inverters vs. generators, a very unique concept that can be hard for some to understand. Nevertheless, if you know their differences you can pick the best one for your usual needs.

Conversely, having them both is not a bad idea. You can always opt for an inverter generator. It is highly versatile when it comes to using and will not cause any damages to your appliances, even the sensitive ones. However, it has to be a pure sine wave inverter type.

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