Uncle Bobs Tips: Generator Guide

5 Ways Manufactures Get You

Top 5 ways retailers get you when selling a generator

They say it's a dog eat dog world out there. I'm not that pessimistic, and I've never actually been had by the system, but I do know that manufactures and retailers often like to pull the wool over unsuspecting consumers (read: you and me). That is why it is our responsibility as careful consumers to educate ourselves against the guile of the industry world. Thus said, here are the top five ways retailers try to get us when selling a generator.

Way #5: Continuous rating (the figure you want to be looking for) vs. Maximum output (the big advertised number)- This is a big one. People see a big number printed on the side of a machine and they think "Wow! That's a lot of juice. What a deal." That is just what the advertisers want you to think, which is why they will put the maximum output in big bold numbers for you to drool over. What's the problem here? While maximum output is an accurate reading for what the highest level this machine can run at, it is not what you are looking for. this is because you don't want a generator running for twelve seconds. Rather, you need your generator for several hours at a time. For this figure, you'll need to look at the continuous rating. That is the number that tells you at what power level this machine can run consistently, not just for a quick jump start. When buying a generator, be careful not to be taken in by the bright attractive numbers printed all over. Instead, look for the continuous rating, and make sure that covers your wattage needs.

Way #4: Foreign parts and assembly equals poor quality- Some companies have head quarters here in the good ol' US of A, but, in fact, all their products are being produced by small countries out in the middle of Asia somewhere. Other manufacturers get their parts made outside and bring them in to assemble the products here. Then they are able to boast "Made in the USA". This is a sham and false advertising if I've ever seen it. Remember that you are paying for quality control, something that sweat shops and minimum wage workers are not famous for.

Way #3: Overseas suppliers or manufacturers- These same companies will also get their parts from overseas suppliers or ship their malfunctions out to be repaired. What this means to you is that your faulty generator, busted part or warranty-covered repair is being received from or sent overseas. By the time you get your generator/part back, if at all, you won't be young enough to enjoy using it! Knowing this, many stores will use this to their advantage and just recommend you buy something new at full price. you are then stuck with the dilemma of waiting who knows how long for the part or generator to return or shelling out the cash for a new piece, even though your old one is still well covered by a warranty. Just goes to show, even a good warranty has to be questioned.

Way #2: Changing parts or casing for better named brands- This is by far one of the shiftiest methods of deception, and is completely illegal. Knowing that you are more likely to buy a brand name product than the "Oiu Zan" replica, some companies will furbish their equipment with inferior quality works internally, slap on a superior quality brand name casing, and voila, they have us all fooled! Be scrupulous with your inspections. Be sure to check that all parts are securely in place (no rattling etc.), all necessary stickers, labels, pamphlets and additions are including and in top condition.

Way #1: Buying a used generator. This is really referring to online deals and small local stores than the larger chain stores and manufacturers. The general rule about used generators is to buy but beware. This means that you can often get perfectly good pieces for less using this method, but more often you will get nothing but a headache. Here's the general run down on used generators:

  • Cost efficient way to get a generator
  • Look it over well with your eyes, look for worn out or corroding parts, general wear and tear
  • Odometer, get a proper reading of how many hours this generator has been run for, how it was treated, other details of its history
  • Maintenance history- If you can find this, out it is important to know how it was cared for

  • Manufacturer- make sure it's a trusted company you're dealing with here

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