How much power does a generator produce?
Generally, the generators for home use are able to produce 3000-6500 watts power to cover up small basic needs and for powering a larger furnace or well pump, 5000-6500 watts generator would do the job.
When you’re buying a generator, it’s important to understand your power needs. Whether it’s for camping, home back-up or job site use, it’s important to understand which generator is right for the job and which one is going to fulfill your needs in the most efficient way.
It’s also important to know the type of items that the generator is going to be powering. Power tools used on construction sites have different needs, wattage and amperage requirements than the stuff used in camping.
Generators that are geared towards construction also have GFCI outlets built into them, which means they don’t work well in home standby applications. That being said, understanding the types of generators that are on the market and what they’re capable of doing should be something that someone would take into consideration when looking to purchase a new generator.
Buying an off-brand generator
With hundreds of different brands out on the market, some good some bad; it’s easy to be fooled by cheaper, copy cat type products that seek to mimic name brand products. While copy cat type generators might be cheaper in the upfront purchase, these cheap off brands rarely have the longevity of the more expensive name brand products.
What you eventually run in to is, even though the initial purchase was cheaper, you will spend more time, money and energy keeping a cheaper generator running than the guy who simply bought the name brand product.
Sometimes the old saying, “you get what you pay for” really is true. It’s also important to consider how long the warranty is, service and parts availability. If a generator company is only willing to back their product for 6 months, or if you have to wait weeks, or even months to get parts, that should tell you something about the quality of the product they’re trying to sell.
Buying from the wrong store or retailer
Consider this scenario: You’re in the market for a super quiet camping generator. You check a dealer locator online and find that there is a big box store down the street from you that carries the model you’re looking for.
You also find a small power equipment shop with the same model however; the small power equipment shop has a slightly higher price. Your first instinct would be to go buy it from a retailer that has a cheaper price.
What you really need to think about is the fact that there is a very slim chance that you’re going to find an employee at the big retailer that has the knowledge to answer your questions intelligently. They’re also not going to have the parts and service available to you, should you need it.
So chances are if something goes wrong with the machine, they’re going to send you to the small power equipment shop for the required repairs anyway. Now, consider if you would have just bought from that small shop from the beginning.
You might have paid a little more upfront, but chances are you’re going to get the knowledge and service from the small shop that you need in order to buy the right generator for the job. Why? -Because they are specifically a power equipment shop.
This is what they do, what they specialize in, what they study on a daily basis. Their employees are trained and equipped with the knowledge you need to help you in any way; including service and parts.
The understanding of jetting and elevation issues
Most generators and small engines are built at sea level. This means that the generator is set up from the factory to run in the thicker air found at sea level. When a generator with stock jets is brought up to your average camping elevations of 5000-7000 feet; where the air is not as thick, they run into issues.
With stock jets at higher elevations, the generator is going to run rich, increasing your risk of fouling spark plugs. It also will not run as efficiently as it would if it was jetted properly, you’re not going to get the fuel efficiency or the advertised wattage because if this issue.
Of course, the issue can be corrected by re-jetting the generator. It’s relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take long. If you’re somewhat mechanically inclined you can actually do it yourself. The other issue to understand is the general power loss at increased elevations.
Regardless of jetting, all small engines lose a certain amount of power the higher you go in elevation. A good rule of thumb to use is generators lose 3.5% of their advertised wattage for every 1000 feet of elevation.
It’s always a good idea no matter where you buy from to ask about jetting.
If the company you’re buying from doesn’t have a service department then it’s a good idea to take it to a shop and have it jetted for you’re the altitude that you’re going to be using it at the most.
Misunderstanding the different models
Pretty much every reputable generator company out there carries a bunch of different models of generators, all designed to be used in specific ways. When looking to buy a new generator, no matter which brand you’ve settled on, it’s important to understand which models are designed for what.
You wouldn’t want to buy a super quiet inverter series generator if you’re planning on taking it out to a construction site, you could easily get a fine from whatever safety company regulates your area because most inverters don’t have GFCI outlets on them.
On the other hand, you wouldn’t take a construction site generator into a quiet campground, you would have your camping neighbors beating your door down to shut the thing off. Take care when selecting the right model for your application.
Do you need something like an inverter with clean power to be able to plug in sensitive electronic equipment? Is noise level an issue? Or are you out at a job site, where everything needs to be circuit protected per safety regulations but the noise doesn’t really matter? These are all things to take into consideration before making a purchase.
Just because some generators are equipped with wheels and handles does not necessarily make them portable. Most generators in the 3800-watt range and above are equipped with handles and wheels. Not for convenience, but because it’s necessary.
These machines are heavy, and usually require assistance from another person to move them around or lift them into trucks. All of this ties back into picking the machine that’s right for the job.
When you’re camping you don’t want to be constantly hounding your buddies to help you lift and lug around a 250-pound beast until you get it set where you want it. A nice little 50-pound portable generator would work well in that application, lift it, set it where you want, and get on with your camping trip.
Over-complicating the process
Of course, if you’ve read through this entire article, it would make buying a generator seem incredibly complicated; it’s really not. While there are a lot of things to take into consideration when buying one, if you simply remember some of the things from this article you can’t go wrong.
And if you’re buying from the right company you should have a knowledgeable sales staff at your disposal to answer any questions you might have. Also remember, you don’t need to become a master electrical engineer to buy one. Keep the process simple, don’t overthink it, and buy the generator that best suits your needs.
Stick with a trusted name brand, with a good warranty, buy from a reputable company, that has its own parts department, and you should get the service you expect at the back end of the purchase.
We can’t really give a fixed digit to say how much power does a generator produce because different generators produce different amount of power depending upon various factors. So, maybe the right question to ask yourself is how much power do I need?