Difference Between Inverter & Conventional Generators 

INVERTER Generator

Quality of Power Output

The inverter alternator produces three-phase AC power that converts to DC power and then inverts the DC power back to AC power again. This alternating process often has less than 3% total harmonic distortion (THD). The level of THD in the inverter generator is safer to use to power up sensitive electronics such as:

    • Laptop computer
    • Smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry)
    • Big screen TV

The sensitive electronics that use a microprocessor will go up in smoke if THD is greater than 6%.

Inverter generators have an idle or low power feature that lets the generator adjust the power level when the demand for power is lower. Therefore, inverter generators have four speeds to generate power:

    • Full
    • One-half
    • One-quarter
    • None

Inverter generators can adjust the amount of gas required as needed – which saves fuel. This generator maintains a constant flow of current to your appliances.

Power Output

The benefits of Inverter Generators are convenience, quiet operation and portability. However, this means that their maximum power output is less – 1000 to 4000 watts.


The Inverter Generator’s numerous benefits:

    • Convenience
    • Much quieter operation
    • Fuel efficiency
    • Design
    • Controlled power output

all come at a cost. You personally have to decide how important each of these factors are in your buying decision and your budget.


Conventional Generator

Quality of Power Output

Conventional generators have been around for years. These generators have a gas or propane powered motor attached to an alternator that generates AC power. The frequency of the power differentiates together with the RPM. The fluctuation of power is a disadvantage because the spikes in power could damage sensitive electronics.

Traditional generators have two speeds to generate power:

    • Full power
    • No power at all.

Power Output

Conventional generators range in size from 500 watts to 50,000 watts and higher. The biggest difference between the Inverter Generator and a Conventional Generator is the Conventional Generator’s capacity for very high power output.


The second greatest advantage for the Conventional Generator is the price. The simple, functional design of this generator makes it cheaper and also less costly to repair.


How to Use Your Generator

How you use your generator will be determined by the power output you require.

Inverter generators produce 1000 to 4000 watts whereas Conventional Generators produce 500 to 50,000 watts. Consumer Reports suggest you make a list of your power priorities. The amount of power your generator delivers determines how many conveniences you can run at once. How well they run is determined by the quality and consistency of that power. Calculate about 5,000 watts to cover your basic needs.

List the things you absolutely must have. Then add up the number of watts. Here are some rough calculations:

    • Refrigerator 600 watts
    • Portable heater – 1.500 watts
    • Window AC unit – 1,000 watts
    • Sump pump 750 – 1,500 watts
    • Lights 60 – 600 watts
    • Computers 60 – 300 watts