Generator Selector Guide

What Is An Inverter Generator Vs Generator

As it is now becoming the norm for many people to work remotely from home, and this trend is expected to continue, having reliable electric power is now more important than it has ever been. Whether you only want to back up a few key office necessities with a small generator, or you want to also back up some additional key household appliances, or you want to back up your entire house, there are many good options to select from.

Small generators to back up office devices or other small generator loads

There are many options to pick from in this category. Small generators such as small inverter generators may be a good fit, or possibly a portable power station if you are looking for a greener approach. These inverter type generators produce a very clean sine wave with little distortion, which is considered a much better fit for electronic devices, which are more susceptible to power quality deviations.

Here are some examples of small and mid-sized inverter generators.


Honda generators have been known for their quality and reliability for a long time. They are also well known for their quiet operation.

The Honda 2200i models are all good choices. The 2200 is the surge watt rating for these small generators and the rated running watts is 1800 watts. This is essentially equal to a standard 15 amp outlet.

The Honda EB2200ITAG 2200 Watt Super Quiet GFCI Gas Inverter Generator W/ CO Minder model is a good choice for a small generator that may be a good fit for your application. This unit has high ratings from many customers and technical reviewers.


Champion inverter generators are also recommended by many customers and technical reviewers.

The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start is a good

choice for a generator with a 3400 surge watt rating and a 3100 running watt rating. This unit is quiet, can run on either gasoline or propane and has an electric start.

Goal Zero Yeti Series

Portable Power Stations are considered a greener option than a typical engine powered generator and are virtually silent, produce no fumes and require little to no maintenance. These are essentially portable lithium ion batteries that can be charged either from portable solar panel(s), from a 12V car charger, or simply from a standard household outlet.

Goal Zero are leading innovators in this category and have been developing the technology for more than 10 years. The Goal Zero Yeti 3000 is high rated and is rated for 3500 watts surge and 2000 watts running. It has the storage capacity to hold 2982 Wh of portable power.

Portable Generators for Larger Household Loads

If you are planning to back up a larger household load and need more power, here are some of our Best Recommendations.


The Generac 7680 GP6500 Portable Generator is a great choice. It is rated for 6500 watts, has a surge rating of 8125 watts. This unit is rated high by many customers and technical reviewers.

  • Features co-sense technology
  • Features POWERRUSH advanced technology – delivers > 40% more starting capacity allowing you to do more with less. Disclaimer: increases electrical current upon demand above rated output when starting electric motors
  • OHV engine with splash lubrication provides a long engine life
  • Utilizes a low-oil level shutdown which automatically safeguards engine from damage


DEWALT PM0167000.02 DXGNR7000 7,000-Watt Portable Generator 50-ST/CARB is also recommended. It is rated for 7000 watts, has a surge rating of 8750 watts and is also recommended by many customers and technical reviewers.

  • Electric start battery included provides hassle free start-up
  • Idle control function conserves fuel and reduces noise
  • Runtime meter shows fuel level and estimated time remaining
  • Wattage meter gives instant feedback on how much power is being used
  • Never flat, durable wheels with for maximum portability and durability
  • Has a low-oil level shutdown which automatically safeguards the engine from damage
  • All circuits are GFCI protected offers neutral bond and full generator GFCI (ground fault circuit protection) on all outlets


As we have previously stated in the small generator category, Honda generators have been known for their quality and reliability for a long time and that reputation is not limited to small generators or their small inverter generators. Honda also has a solid reputation for larger portable generators and we have rightly included them in our recommendation for larger portable generators.

The Honda 663600 EB6500 120V/240V 6500-Watt 389cc Portable Industrial Generator with Co-Minder is rated for 6500 watts, has a surge rating of 7000 watts.

  • Consistent power provided with Honda’s iAVR (Intelligent Automatic Voltage Regulation) technology
  • Provides 7000 Watts for 10 seconds to start larger equipment
  • Utilizes a powerful Honda iGX commercial engine
  • Has a 120V/240V Selector switch
  • Estimated run time of approximately 10.4 hours @ 50% load (6.2 Gal.)

Whole House or Standby Generators

Standby generators are permanently installed to your home and can automatically start when needed. While this option does involve a larger investment, it does offer more convenience, can back up your entire house and does add value to your property. These devices need to be installed by a qualified licensed electrician and must be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions and be in compliance with any applicable codes.


Generac has a good reputation in this category and there is a broad network of qualified installation and maintenance support available.

The Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Wi-Fi and Transfer Switch is our recommended choice for a 200 amp service.

  • 5-Year limited Warranty
  • Up to whole house protection with the 200 Amp, NEMA 3R (aluminum outdoor enclosure) smart switch
  • User-friendly control system. Generac’s controller features an LCD display that allows you to Monitor Battery status and track maintenance intervals in order to ensure your generator is always in top operating condition. This unit can be monitored remotely with your smart devices.

Generator Size

Whether you are looking for a small generator or a whole house standby generator, it is important that you purchase an adequately sized generator as it is generally accepted that it is better to have some excess capacity than it is to not have enough. Many experts recommend that the running and surge wattage ratings of the generator should be at least high enough to start the largest device (the device with the highest surge or starting wattage requirement), while all the other supported devices are running. In other words, the generator’s running/surge watt rating should be able to power all of the devices, which you intend to run simultaneously, plus be able to handle the single highest surge/starting watt requirement for those devices.

Generator Operation

Always follow all guidelines and procedures as directed by the manufacturer, as well as any applicable federal, state and local codes. This includes, but is not limited to: set-up, grounding, operations, maintenance, as well as any and all safety procedures. We assume no liabilities for the proper operation, sizing or maintenance of these devices.


Generator safety is very important! Always read the manual and follow all procedures as directed by the manufacturer as well as any applicable state and local codes.

Any engine driven generators or other engine driven devices must never be operated inside or in any enclosed space, including but not limited to: homes, garages, barns, sheds, etc. Exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide (CO) which is an odorless, colorless gas, which can be deadly. Also, do not run a generator in or near a garage, shed or other enclosed spaces, even if the door is open. Carbon monoxide can still build up inside the garage, shed or other enclosed spaces and also slowly make its way into the house or other nearby enclosed spaces. Any engine driven generator shall always be run outside, at least 20 feet away from the house, garage, barn, shed, etc., and away from any doors, windows, vents, etc. with the exhaust discharging away from the house, shed or other enclosures. We assume no liabilities for the proper safe operation, sizing or maintenance of these devices.  

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