All About Generators

Power tools need, well, electric power to get them running and help you in doing your building and carpentry tasks. But what if you experience power outage and you’re in the middle of assembling your furniture or of a big house remodeling project? Nothing can be more annoying and perplexing than that.

If you think a generator is not necessary, think again – you won’t know what will happen next! For emergencies such as an unexpected power outage, a reliable generator is a must-have addition to your power toolkit.

Not all generators are created equal, of course. Depending on your budget, need for convenience and standby power needs, you may buy a decent generator for as little as $900 or cough up as much as $8,000 for a superior model. With a wide range of sizes, models, features and pricing, it’s absolutely necessary to choose a generator that will exactly cater to your situation.

What to look for in a generator?

In selecting a generator, you will have to work out on how much power do you actually need. This is an important first step in buying a generator. You will have to find out the amount of power needed to run the power tools and appliances you use.

List down the appliances you cannot live without such as lights, refrigerators, television, Wi-Fi router, desktop computer, microwave, television and radio, etc. Calculate on how much electricity they need by looking at their faceplate or user’s manual. Then determine the total wattage of each of the appliances that you consider as essential. The generator you are about to purchase must be able to produce at least that total wattage you’ve just estimated (and preferably a little more wattage). Appliances with motors (such as refrigerators and furnace) may require additional wattage to start.

As for generators for smaller power tools (such jigsaws and circular saws), smaller portable generators will be a better bet. Portable generators are also ideal for outdoor equipment such as chainsaws, lawnmowers and hedge trimmers, and these tools usually need less than 3000 watts to run.

In contrast, inverter generators (another kind) boast parallel capacity, which enables users to pair them with units of similar nature to increase their power output. For example, two inverter generators can be paired up to deliver the same wattage and amperage as a larger generator without the quietness, efficiency and portability of both units. Traditional generators, on the other hand, can’t be paired with similar units.

If you’ve encountered a generator before, most of the time you remember about it was its noise. If noise is of particular concern, take note of the generator’s decibels as the basis of its noise level. A generator with 50 to 60 decibels is considered the least noisy, but if it roars at 80 decibels, then you will need to raise your voice in order to be heard. Fortunately, more recent generators come with encased motors and anti-vibration features but they carry a hefty price tag.

Working with power tools and other related appliances would cause you to tend to move a lot. So if your concern is mobility, then you should get a generator that comes with wheels and handles so that it can be easily carried around. It’s also important to check the weight of the model to make sure that lugging it around won’t feel cumbersome and awkward.

Gas tank should also be a big factor. Generally, the more powerful the generator is, obviously the more fuel it consumes. Several models last from 2 to 10 hours. The tank capacity and a size guide should also be taken into consideration – usually, the bigger the capacity, the less frequent your need to refill the tank. However, the bigger the tank capacity also means a bigger and heavier generator.

You may also like to include convenience and ease of use as additional factors in buying a generator. There are many inexpensive generators out there that feature the good ol’ recoil method which requires a couple of pulls to start, just like starting a lawn mower. But there are newer generators with an electronic starter which requires only a switch, although they are a lot pricier.

Another thing to consider is the number of outlets a generator has. Three or more outlets mean you can easily spread the load and make the best use of the generator’s power, though it’s recommended that you use them in extreme pinches like when you’re away for camping, or when there’s a big power outage at home.

Best Generators to Buy

Where to Buy
WEN 56352
Briggs & Stratton 30663
Westinghouse iGen2500
Generac 5735 GP17500E

WEN 56352

This generator comes with 120V receptacles (in double quality), a single 8.3A DC car-charger-style connector (12V 100W), and a NEMA receptacle (120/240V, L14-30). It provides its users with almost 4 hours of runtime at half load, and its 3,000 running watts and 3,500 surge watts can power appliances like a big refrigerator for up to 14 hours. At half load, you can go up to 11 hours with a full four-gallon tank. The right area of this generator has wheels attached, and there’s also a DC cigarette style plug that enables you to charge batteries on the go. The package includes foldable handles and wheel kit for convenient transport.

What makes it stand out?

The overload protection and low-oil shutdown function protects the generator from damage.

Briggs & Stratton 30663

Coming with an engine of 7,000-starting watt, this generator offers one of the highest power backups in the market. With a surge wattage capacity or more than 25 percent, the generator allows users to run both power tools and electronic appliances together. This particular model can function for up to 90 hours at just half a load, and continuously. Its remote stroke serves as a backup and the electric start button makes turning the Briggs & Stratton 30663 on a breeze. You also get the benefit of flat, 12-inch wheels to move the thing around. Moreover, the vendor uses one of the best engines of the world in this generator, which is protected by rubber outlet covers and circuit breaker security.

What makes it stand out?

The generator features 120V outlets (four), and a 30-amp 120/2140v outlet, implying that there’s a lot of room for connecting multiple items.

Westinghouse iGen2500

With a 52db noise output and a versatile design, the generator is one of the less noisy options out there. Its peak watts span to 2,500 while its output watts go up to 2,200, meaning it’s more than capable of providing that much-needed power to your appliances. Whether it’s after a storm or in a simple case of power failure, the generator can handle all your needs. Westinghouse iGen2500 also has two 120V AC ports and five DC USB ports that offer ample space for a range of devices. There’s also a one-gallon tank that, when loaded at 25 percent, can provide a power of up to 10 hours. The battery life goes down at 50 percent load but the generator still remains less noisy. Another top feature is the LED data center that has a digital display showing voltage output, remaining run time, fuel level, and power output.

What makes it stand out?

The generator has a Woodland TrueTimber Kanati rugged camouflage finish, which makes it a great choice for modern and traditional homes. The design also indicates that it is powerful enough to run all your home essentials.

Generac 5735 GP17500E

If you’re on the lookout for a reliable machine, this is the generator for you. The powerful 16-circuit generator can make a variety of devices (120V preferable) active including lights, sump pumps, fridges, ACs, heaters, and more. The unit, offering 17500-watt and a 16-gallon fuel tank- can run up to 10 hours continuously at just half load, or it can be used at full capacity of 26250-wattt. While that may cost a bit, it’s quite useful if you place in a place where it’s common to experience power outages. The OHVI proprietary engine of the Generac also features an oil filter that is spin-on and replaceable. Also, though the generator is highly portable, it’s still one of the most powerful generators around.

What makes it stand out?

The design of the Generac has a hardened steel frame that features handles, and a battery of 12VDC (365-CCA). Buyers also get a maintenance and wheel kit to keep the power tool in top-notch shape should they require to move it.

In Conclusion

Those living in cold areas require generators for furnaces and other heat-giving machines when there is a power failure. Likewise, those residing in warmer regions need the power tool to keep fans and air conditioners running. Generators are also handy for residents of hurricane prone areas as they often need a power backup for outages caused by winds and tornadoes. Overall, a generator is a proactive investment that’ll charge up not only your devices and machines, but also keep your life running.