Uncle Bobs Tips: Generator Guide

Generator Features Feature

2008/2009 hottest generator features

2008 gave us a lot of commotion (don't worry, I'm not getting into politics here). But it also gave us some great new specs and fringes to the generator industry. Let's go through some of the best generator features upgrade, so you can know what's out there, and, if you're lucky, what to look forward to in your next generator.


- Inverter technology gives clean sinusoidal output (pure energy). This means you can run delicate electronics (like computers) without fear, and it also means smoother energy flow with less chance of interrupted feed or distortion.

- Smart throttle/idle mode to gauge loads accordingly. These little generator features are not only smart, but will save you loads of money gas/fuel and general maintenance of your machine.

- Low-oil shut down protects your engine. Again, this will keep your generator in good condition longer; always a plus for the average owner.

- Lubrication w/ a spin-on oil filter extends the life of your generator significantly. Needs no explanation.

- Approved spark arrester especially when camping or being used around the home. Forest and house fires are not a pretty picture.

- Four-cycle means you no longer have to mix oil into the gas. This is a not vital or particularly advantageous, but it sure is nice and convenient.

- OHV translates to fuel efficiency=$$$=:)

- Weather protection for outlets. This provides not only longevity for your machine, but also safety for you and your family, something that should never be compromised.

- Electronic governors to regulate voltage are convenient, dollar-friendly, and just darn cool.

- Improved carb emissions levels. Scientists are proposing a tax to be placed on carbon dioxide emissions. What this means for us is that companies have been investing more money and time into researching alternative technology to solve the cm problem. Carbon dioxide emissions that are released by generators are a serious issue, one that has claimed many lives already.

Things to keep in mind when purchasing a generator:

Noise level- Some generators can be real monsters in the noise department. While this may not bother you, you have to take others into consideration. For example, neighbors may not enjoy the loud mechanism of a standard generator, nor will fellow campers looking for a night out in nature.

Fuel burning- One consideration that must be factored in is the availability of fuel in your area. Having a machine that you are unable to fuel is of no help to you. Also keep in mind that certain energy sources become less available during widespread power outages and emergencies.

Weight and size- This really becomes an issue when camping because you don't want to lug around such a bulky piece of equipment all over your campsite. Many models now come with service wheels and a carrying handle.

Ease of use- including maintenance availability (how easy is it to get to that darn spark plug), transportation (wheels, carrying handles) etc.

Standard Vs. inverter generators- A standard generator is noisier and burns fuel unnecessarily. It also produces a more sullied electricity and shouldn't be used to power sensitive equipment. Inverters are cleaner, quieter and more flexible to your running load. They're even lighter than the standard model. So what's the question? The weight is inversely proportionate with the price tag. This new technology will run you double the standard version.

Housing- Aluminum housing is better than steel as it won't rust. Constant contact with water (areas near the seaside or very wet climates) will erode your housing after a short time, leaving the expensive generator vulnerable to weather elements, small animals and damage.

$$- Is the price tag a big variable in your equation? You have to remember that most often, you get what you pay for. So you can buy a 3000W portable gasoline set for a few hundred dollars, but this won't last you very long. The run time and load capacity are limited as are the situations during which you can actually use them (for instance, long term use is out of the question for a model like this one). Economy mode is one of the main generator features that can help ease the continual cost of running a generator.

Other considerations- time of need, convenience of use (getting to/storing it or leaving permanently), safety, wattage, OHV engine, electric start (in addition to manual recoil), 30 or 50 A twist-lock receptacles, GFCI for additional safety

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