What type of generator do I need?

What type of generator do I need?
4.91 | 11 votes

Inverter? AVR? conventional?…when searching for the right generator type, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the jargon. Luckily, working out which is the best generator for you is easier than it looks. What type of generator do i need?

Essentially it comes down to getting the right voltage control. Take a look at our cheat’s guide below and you’ll soon be powered up with the right generator:

1. Conventional (Condenser Type)

The conventional generator has a condenser type voltage control which is suitable for power tools and resistive loads such as a kettle, toaster, lights and other equipment not requiring a great accuracy of power supply. These low-maintenance brushless generators are generally very sturdy, making them a great choice for tradies, farmers and builders wanting to power tools and equipment such as drills, saws pumps etc. However, because they don’t regulate the voltage, they aren’t suitable for equipment that will be sensitive to power surges, spikes or “brownouts” (partial blackouts). In other words, they’re not recommended for charging laptops, mobile phones or tablets.

Also, no matter what load is connected, the conventional generator will run at one speed only, making them less fuel-efficient than other models…meaning if your conventional trade generator is rated at 5000 watts continuous, it will constantly be putting out 5000 watts no matter the draw. So even though they are typically cheaper to buy, they are not the most economical type of generator available.

Conventional generators may be fitted with optional safety extras to comply with Work Cover Approvals and can also come built for particular applications such as welding or mining specific jobs.

Conventional generators are the popular choice for tradesmen, farmers and mining sites

Conventional generators are the popular choice for tradesmen, farmers and mining sites

2. AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation)

As the name suggests, automatic voltage regulation (AVR) generators regulate the voltage output. This makes sure the power supply is consistent, without brownouts or spikes. As a result, AVR generators are best for use with more sensitive equipment and also to start electric motors. However, it’s worth remembering that even though they regulate the voltage, they don’t generate the purest of sine wave power that today’s high-tech equipment requires – for that you need an inverter generator (below).

AVR generators, on the other hand, put out a modified sine wave, and are able to run most appliances. They are typically medium to large sized generators and are popular for home or business back up purposes, coming in both portable and stationary formats. AVR can also be custom fitted to many conventional trade generators if you require the versatility of running both heavy equipment as well as more sensitive appliances. Auto-start generators which are popular for home solar back up and automatic mains back up are also fitted with AVR alternators.

Auto Start AVR Generators are great for home solar or mains back up

Auto Start AVR Generators are great for home solar or mains back up

3. Inverter (Electronic Voltage Control)

As a rule of thumb, the more advanced the technology, the higher the chance that it requires a pure sine wave. And that’s where the inverter generator comes in.

The inverter control system maintains a consistently high accuracy level of voltage and frequency fluctuations with very low wave distortion. The result is power that is as smooth as what you get from the grid – often smoother. Not only do inverter generators deliver the purest of power, their other huge advantage is that they automatically adjust their engine speed in direct proportion to the load applied so you get the maximum fuel efficiency.

Typically, you’ll find invertor generators are best for small domestic appliances and recreational use, such as camping, fishing/boating, caravanning and 4WD-touring. We also find these types of generators to be especially popular for mobile business such as; coffee carts, food vans/trucks and market stalls.

Yamaha Inverter Generators: great for recreation or mobile businesses

Yamaha Inverter Generators: great for recreation or mobile businesses

Inverter generators are designed to be very quiet, lightweight, and portable. On the flipside, they usually won’t put out as much power as conventional and AVR generators, so aren’t suited to heavy loads or industrial use. The My Generator inverter range includes units from 800 watts up to around 7000 watts, with the Yamaha 2000w inverter generator model being one of the most popular units:

 

Now you’re worked out which generator type is right for you, check out our range of generators at mygenerator.com.au, or call us on 1300 400 122 with any additional questions!

 

Sean Connolly

Sean Connolly

Managing Director at My Generator
Sean is the co-founder and Managing Director of My Generator (mygenerator.com.au)
Sean Connolly

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Comments

  • Adam Guerin September 29, 2016, 3:27 am

    Really great article – I had no idea what type I needed, after reading this definitive article now I do! I’ll be buying my inverter from you shortly for this upcoming wet season.

  • JDavis July 3, 2017, 3:11 pm

    Is an AVR generator ok for charging an iPad or would I need an inverter? If AVR is not sufficient, is there a way to use a separate device (maybe a UPS?) to provide clean power for charging the iPad?

    • L Adams July 4, 2017, 3:10 am

      Hi Joel, Hi, a quality AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) generator reduces the voltage fluctuation to +/- 2.5%, making it suitable to run all your domestic appliances, including small electronic items like iPads. Typically most people will run other household items at the same time as their small electronic devices, e.g. fridges, lights, pumps, air conditioners etc.
      If you only wanted to run small electronic devices and nothing else, then you would use a small suitcase style inverter generator, as they are typically smaller, lighter and quieter than AVR generators. Thank you.

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