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Generator Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Electric Generator

By Jim H.  |  Portable Generator Expert

Generators are actually very simple machines.

In fact, they are very similar to your local electric power plant; just on a much smaller scale.

Instead of burning coal to turn turbines, generators use engines to convert gasoline, natural gas, propane or diesel fuel into useful electricity.

Your first step is to simply pick one of the four styles:


Portable Generators

Portable generators are all about mobility. They deliver electricity in remote areas unplugged from the electrical grid.

Small, handheld generators are commonly used while camping or tailgating.

Larger portable generators, surrounded by a protective steel frame, are commonly seen in the back of pickup trucks headed to the next construction site or outdoor event.

In addition, portable generators are becoming extremely popular with homeowners tired of power outages. They can generate enough juice to help you weather the storm.

How to Pick the Perfect PORTABLE Generator

Standby Generators

Instead of waiting for the utility company to restore power, people are taking matters into their own hands to ensure their investments from financial disaster caused by prolonged power outages.

Standby generators are basically mini emergency power plants.

These permanently mounted generators are commonly fueled by reliable natural gas or propane. The electricity is then routed into the home or business through an automatic transfer switch, which also automatically starts and stops the generator.

How to Pick the Perfect STANDBY Generator

Recreational Vehicle (RV) Generators

Recreational vehicles give you the freedom to tour the countryside without actually "roughing it."

Sometimes, however, you'll be parked in remote areas without electrical hookup - like outside your favorite stadium.

While small recreational generators are great at blending margaritas, RV generators energize entire motorhomes including air conditioners.

RV generators are conveniently housed inside a compartment outside of the vehicle and may even run off your existing gas or propane tanks.

How to Pick the Perfect RV Generator

Power Take Off (PTO) Generators

Generators are basically an engine and an alternator.

Most farmers already own a massive engine on their tractor. So, instead of buying and maintaining a second engine, they simply attach an alternator to their tractor.

Power Take Off (PTO) generators are really just fancy alternators. The tractor engine simply turns a shaft connected to the PTO to create electricity.

How to Pick the Perfect PTO Generator