What is an Inverter Generator – Pros and Cons

Are you wondering "what is an inverter generator?" If so, you have come to the right place. A generator is a piece of equipment that converts mechanical energy to electricity using a method called electromagnetic induction. Electromagnetic induction induces voltage by the movement of a conductor (coils of wire) inside a magnetic casing.

The conventional generator produces one block wave of AC power per each engine rotation. For the conventional generator to produce standard US electricity of 120-volt and 60-Hz, the engine should operate at a constant speed of 3,600 rpm.

Almost a decade ago, Honda introduced a new type of generator known as an inverter generator. It's compact, lightweight, quieter, and much more efficient than the conventional generator. The salient feature of an inverter generator is its ability to produce more alternate electricity per engine rotation. This current isn't in a form that could be used directly. In fact, the raw electricity produced by the inverter generator should be converted to DC power before using it. The inverter generator operates like this:

Step 1 - The raw or alternate current (AC) produced by the generator is converted to direct current (DC).

Step 2 - There is a built-in electronic inverter in the generator to convert it back to the AC power rated at the standard US 120V and 60Hz.

The current produced by an inverter generator is more stable than the current produced by a conventional generator. Inverter electricity is delivered in steady sine waves to create less harmonic distortion - which makes it safe to use in most of the power-sensitive devices such as medical equipment, laptops, refrigerators, and more.

The AC current produced by conventional generators is unsteady. The harmonic distortion is much more than the one created by inverter generators. The total harmonic distortion (THD) is the total amount of harmonic distortion occurring while the generator engine is on. In fact, THD plays a big part in the safety of your electrical equipment.

Here Is How Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) Affects The Safety Of Your Electrical Equipment!

Most of the old school electrical appliances could handle higher levels of total harmonic distortion extremely well. For example, electric saws and drills that were manufactured during the times when the electricity grids were less advanced than today can handle higher levels of THD pretty well. You can safely use these tools even with high total harmonic distortion levels.

"Clean energy" is a term used to describe the type of power that could be safely used with more sensitive and high-tech electrical appliances. Experts agree on "3% THD" as the maximum threshold for electricity to be termed "Clean." Modern electricity grids in the United States operate below this threshold most of the time. Microprocessor-powered electronics are safe when THD is less than 6%. An inverter generator can easily accomplish this task while a conventional generator run in 9% or more THD. The power from an inverter generator is ultra-clean and is ideal to power sensitive electrical equipment and medical devices.

Drawbacks Of Conventional Generators

A conventional generator produces much less stable power. The THD level of a conventional generator can be as high as 9% which makes it unsuitable for high-tech electronic appliances and medical devices. These generators were designed when technology was not that advanced like today. Hence, they require a steady stream of modern clean power to prevent any damage and prolong their lifespan. That's why you should avoid using a conventional generator to power your sensitive electrical equipment such as the latest TVs, laptops, modern computers, medical devices, and the latest gadgets.

Why Use An Inverter Generator?

An inverter generator is a great working solution to power your modern electrical appliances. Most of the modern inverter generators have less than 3% THD levels - some as low as 1%. You can safely use an inverter generator to power all kinds of electrical appliances without any problem. Other than the provision of clean power, an inverter generator has many other advantages. Here are some of the many advantages of using an inverter generator to power your sensitive electrical devices:

Fuel Saving Due To Longer Run Times

Both inverter and conventional generators need some kind of fuel to operate. In fact, they use either gas or propane for this purpose. Once you turn on a traditional generator, the engine starts continuously running at a speed of approx 3600RPM. This speed is required to generate 120V-60Hz electricity which is the US standards. Whether you plug in one or many electrical appliances, the engine will run at the same speed. It is a waste of fuel in case you need to power only one electrical device. Conventional generators burn more fuel, and you will immediately need to refuel the machine for continuous operations.

But the inverter generator is different. The inverter engine is designed so that it doesn't have to operate at the same speed at all times. Honda has patented the Eco-Throttle-Technology that lets the engine adjust its workload depending on the actual energy needs. These generators have a low fuel consumption as a result and will last longer than the conventional generators. That's why you need to invest in an inverter generator if you need an alternative power source to power your sensitive electrical devices.

Eco-Friendly Option

Inverter generators produce clean power with fewer exhaust fumes in the process. If you decide to camp with your loved ones and don't want to feel the smell of burning fuel when relaxing outdoors, the inverter generator is your best option. But inverter generators are still not recommended to be used indoors. If you want an inverter generator to use indoors, you should opt for a portable solar generator. They are 100% clean and safe to use indoors.


You may have already seen traditional large bulky generators that require so many people to move them around. Inverter generators are portable and lightweight. You can easily carry an inverter generator in one hand. They are ideal for situations where you need to change the location of the device. Camping is a great example where you will benefit from choosing an inverter generator. Although the larger inverter models are a bit heavy, you can still move them around without much effort on your part. That's why you need to invest in an inverter generator on the market.

Quiet Operation

Are you familiar with the noise of a 3000-watt traditional portable generator? Nobody likes the noise generated by such machines. It can be a major nuisance when used for camping or any other outdoor project. Fortunately, inverter generators are much quieter. Most of the high-quality inverter generators will operate in the 50dB range. You can easily have a conversation with a friend while standing right next to an inverter generator. Some of the latest inverter models are very quiet.


Portability and compact design are the other benefits of investing in an inverter generator. Most manufacturers would design this type of generator with portability in mind. Most models are lightweight and come with carrying handles for your convenience. The generator has a smaller fuel tank because it doesn't use much fuel similar to a traditional generator. That's why they are designed to be compact and portable.

Parallel Capability

The average inverter generator holds 2,000 to 4,000-watt power. But you can easily double that power due to the parallel capability of the device. Such an inverter generator can be connected to a second inverter generator of the same model. This will give you more power without an extra transfer switch connection. In fact, an inverter generator becomes an alternative for a home backup generator due to this feature. That's why you need to invest in the best inverter generator on the market.

Clean Electricity

An inverter generator delivers clean electricity. It has a minimal total harmonic distortion or THD. The generator will produce perfect sine waves without any visible scratches like the frequency of a traditional generator. That's why inverter generators are ideal for connecting sensitive electrical devices. This is one of the most important advantages of investing in a quality inverter generator without further delay.


If you are wondering what an inverter generator is, you are in the right place. Inverter generators were released by Honda about a decade ago. They convert mechanical energy to electricity using a method known as electromagnetic induction. Inverter generators produce clean electricity compared to traditional generators. That's why they are used to power sensitive electrical appliances like laptops, modern computers, modern televisions, medical equipment, and technologically advanced appliances.

When you are shopping for the best inverter generator on the market, you should do your homework first. There are numerous brands and models of inverter generators out there, but all of them are not the same. Here are some of the best inverter generators on the market today:

  1. WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
  2. Honda-2200-Watt-Portable-Inverter-Generator
  3. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 160, 167Wh Lithium Battery Solar Generator

The aforementioned article answers the question of - "What is an inverter generator?"

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