What Is an Inverter Generator & How Does It Work

Are you tired of conventional generators’ noise, inefficiency, and unstable power output?

Fortunately, there’s something called an inverter generator. But what exactly is an inverter generator, and how does it work?

In this article, we’ll explore how inverter generators work differently than traditional generators, their technology, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Additionally, we’ll provide a comprehensive review of five top inverter generators, ensuring that your sensitive electronic devices stay safe and sound while you enjoy the peace and quiet of your inverter generator.

So, What Is an Inverter Generator and How Does It Work?

An inverter generator is a type of portable generator that produces clean and stable power. People may use an inverter generator for activities like tailgating or camping or as a backup power source for their homes in case of a power outage.

Keep reading to understand how inverter generators produce power and why they’re fantastic for various needs.

AC and DC Power

Part of understanding the fuel efficiency of an inverter generator is understanding AC and DC power.

AC, or “Alternating Current,” is an electrical power where the direction of the electrical current periodically reverses.

This means that the voltage and current levels in an AC circuit fluctuate in a sinusoidal pattern, with the direction of current reversing between 50 and 60 times per second.

On the other hand, DC, or “Direct Current,” is a type of electrical power where the current flows in only one direction. In a DC circuit, the voltage and current levels remain constant.

What Makes an Inverter Generator Efficient

Unlike conventional generators that use a fixed-speed motor to generate electricity, inverter generators use a variable-speed engine connected to an alternator that produces AC power.

The AC power is then converted to DC power by a rectifier and then back to AC power by an inverter, which produces a high-quality, stable sine wave output.

Benefits of Inverter Generators

Now that you understand the technology behind inverter generators, here are the key benefits of using them to generate electricity over traditional portable generators.

Fuel Efficiency

Inverter generators are renowned for their high fuel efficiency, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to save on fuel costs.

This fuel efficiency is due to the advanced technology used in inverter generators, which allows them to adjust their engine’s speed based on the power demand.

Conventional generators run at constant speeds, regardless of the required power. This constant speed results in wasted fuel, as the generator usually consumes more fuel than necessary at any given moment.

In contrast, inverter generators use electronic circuitry (re: the AC to DC explanation above) to adjust the engine speed in real time, ensuring that the engine is running only as fast as it needs to meet the power demand.

This means an inverter generator will use less fuel when running at lower loads, such as when powering a single appliance or device.

Clean Output for Sensitive Devices

Inverter generators are also known for their clean, stable power output, which is ideal for reducing potential negative impacts on sensitive electronic devices such as laptops, smartphones, and TVs, as well as reducing environmental impact.

Traditional generators often produce power riddled with voltage spikes and other irregularities, which can cause appliances to consume more power than necessary, leading to long-term damage.

In contrast, inverter generators produce power with minimal Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), resulting in a clean, stable power output that reduces the energy consumption of connected appliances.

Lightweight, Portable Generator

Unlike traditional generators, which can be bulky and difficult to transport, inverter generators are designed with portability in mind. They’re typically smaller and lighter, making them easy to move around.

In addition to their compact size and lightweight design, inverter generators also have a built-in inverter. This eliminates the need for external inverters or voltage regulators, which can be cumbersome to lug around and add to the weight of the generator.

The lightweight portability of inverter generators makes them an ideal choice for various applications, from outdoor recreational activities to emergency backup power in the home.

People can easily take them on camping trips, use them to power RVs or boats or store them in a small space when not in use.

Disadvantages of Inverter Generators

While inverter generators offer many benefits over traditional generators, there are some disadvantages to consider before purchasing.

Higher Cost

One of the primary disadvantages is the higher cost. Because inverter generators use advanced technology to produce stable, clean power, they reasonably tend to be more expensive than traditional generators.

However, it’s helpful to remember that the cost can be offset by their increased efficiency and fuel savings over time.

Lower Power Output

Another potential disadvantage of inverter generators is their lower overall power output than traditional generators. Inverter generators are designed to produce power on demand, meaning they adjust their engine speed based on the power required.

As a result, they have a lower maximum power output than traditional generators, making them less suitable for powering larger appliances or tools.

However, for most recreational or home backup power needs, the lower power output of an inverter generator is more than sufficient.

More Sensitive to Overload Conditions

It’s also critical to note that inverter generators are more sensitive to overload conditions than traditional generators.

This means they must always be used within their rated power output range, as going over this range may result in irreversible damage to the generator.

Pros VS Cons

Overall, while inverter generators offer numerous advantages, they have drawbacks.

Higher costs and lower power output may make them less suitable for certain applications. Still, for those who prioritize fuel efficiency, clean power output, and portability, an inverter generator is a wise investment.

Best Inverter Generators to Produce Low THD Power

If you’re looking for an inverter generator that produces power with the lowest THD levels, here are a few top-rated models to consider:

1. PowerSmart Inverter Generator

The PowerSmart Inverter Generator is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a powerful, reliable generator that can handle various applications.

With 4400W of power and 120V output, this generator is RV ready and parallel capable, making it ideal for outdoor or emergency backup power.

One of the standout features of this PowerSmart generator is its quiet operation.

Unlike traditional generators, which can be disruptive, the PowerSmart Inverter Generator Gas Powered produces a minimal amount of noise, making it suitable for use in residential areas or camping sites.

Another feature of the PowerSmart Inverter is its digital display, which shows voltage, frequency, session run time, and total run time. Additionally, it offers clean output power with fewer than 3% THD, making it safe for use with sensitive electronics.

Finally, this generator is also highly portable, with a compact, lightweight design that makes it easy to move around if need be and store, but still boasts high fuel efficiency with a 2.54-gallon fuel tank that can provide up to 16 hours of operation in economy mode.

Whether you’re taking this generator on a camping trip or using it for emergency backup power, this generator is convenient and easy to use.

Overall, the PowerSmart Inverter Generator Gas Powered is an excellent choice for a reliable, high-performance generator. With its quiet operation, RV readiness, and parallel capability, it’s versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications.


  • High output power with parallel capability
  • Efficient fuel consumption for long operation time
  • Digital display for easy monitoring of power usage
  • Clean output power for sensitive electronics
  • Versatile with multiple outlet options


  • Limited warranty compared to other models
  • It may require maintenance and servicing for prolonged use.

2. Westinghouse Inverter Generator

The Westinghouse Inverter Generator is a powerful and reliable generator perfect for outdoor and home use.

With 4500 peak watts and 3700 rated watts, this generator can easily power all your essentials. It also features a telescoping handle, making it easy to transport and store.

The generator is extremely quiet, with a noise output as low as 52 dBA, and can run for up to 18 hours on a 3.4-gallon gas tank in economy mode, making it highly fuel-efficient.

Plus, the LED data center is another great feature, as it displays important information such as fuel level, remaining run time, power output, voltage output, and lifetime hours.


  • High power output
  • Quiet operation
  • Fuel-efficient


  • Some users have reported that the generator may be prone to stalling or shutting off unexpectedly.
  • Not as lightweight as other inverter generators

3. Yamaha EF2000iSv2

The Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator is a highly efficient yet quiet generator ideal for powering small to medium-sized appliances and electronics.

With a 2200-watt power output and a fuel-efficient Yamaha 79cc engine, this generator is capable of running for up to 10.5 hours on a single tank of gas.

One of the standout features of the Yamaha EF2200iS is its quiet operation. Thanks to Yamaha Quiet Technology and a sophisticated muffler, this generator operates at a noise level of just 57 decibels, making it ideal for use in residential areas or campsites.

In addition to its power and quiet operation, the Yamaha EF2200iS also includes several convenient features. It has a standard RV outlet for easy connection to RVs and trailers, as well as a DC outlet for charging and using devices.

The illuminated multi-function LED display allows users to easily monitor the generator’s status, and the smart dial knob and smart throttle make starting and adjusting the generator’s power output simple and easy.


  • Powerful 2200-watt output
  • Fuel-efficient Yamaha engine
  • Quiet operation
  • Standard RV outlet and DC outlet
  • Illuminated LED display
  • Smart dial knob and smart throttle for easy operation
  • Relatively easy loading, unloading, and moving at 55.2 pounds


  • Still slightly heavier than some other inverter generators at 55.2 pounds
  • Higher price point compared to some other options in the market

4. WEN 56235i Super Quiet Inverter Generator

The WEN 56235i Inverter Generator is an excellent option for those looking for an ultra-lightweight and portable generator that can provide clean power for charging sensitive electronics.

It weighs only 39 pounds, and it’s easy to transport and store, making it an ideal choice for camping or outdoor activities.

Additionally, it produces 2350 surge watts and 1900 rated watts of clean power, which can safely charge electronics such as phones, tablets, televisions, and computers.

The main pull of this generator is its exceptionally quiet operation, comparable to the sound of a regular conversation. This makes the Wen a great option for those who prefer a quieter camping or living experience.

The generator also includes multiple outlets, including two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and two 5V USB ports, providing plenty of options for charging devices.

However, the WEN 56235i Inverter Generator does have some drawbacks. While it’s a great option for charging sensitive electronics, it may not be powerful enough to run larger appliances such as air conditioners or refrigerators.

In addition, some users have reported that the fuel shut-off feature can be unreliable, causing the generator to stall unexpectedly.


  • Ultralight body for easy transport and storage
  • Extremely quiet operation for minimal disturbance
  • Clean power output for safe charging of sensitive electronics
  • Fuel shut-off maximizes generator lifespan
  • Multiple outlets for versatility
  • Two-year warranty for peace of mind


  • Lower wattage compared to some other models
  • Only runs on gasoline, limiting fuel options
  • Some users have reported reliability and shut-off issues over time

5. Champion Power Equipment Inverter Generator

The Champion Power Equipment Inverter Generator is a highly reliable generator that offers quiet operation and clean power – exactly what you want from an inverter converter but at a very reasonable price.

Its advanced design makes it 20% lighter and 50% quieter than traditional 4250-watt generators. Also, it has an Economy Mode feature that saves fuel and helps extend the engine life. With 4250 starting power and 3500 running power, it can provide power for 22 hours on gasoline.

The generator is also RV-ready. It contains a 120V 30A RV outlet, two household outlets of 120V 20A, and two USB ports for charging devices. Its clean power output is suitable for sensitive electronics, with below 3% THD.

At 75 pounds, it’s not the lightest weight you can find for an inverter generator. But if you’re looking to have a steady fixture as a backup power supply for your home or office while getting a good bang for your buck, the Champion is certainly a worthwhile option.


  • Quiet operation at 64 dBA
  • Clean power output suitable for sensitive electronics
  • RV-ready with multiple outlets and USB ports
  • Economy mode saves fuel and extends engine life
  • Limited 3-year warranty that comes with free technical support for life


  • Relatively heavy at 75 pounds
  • Parallel kit sold separately for increasing power output

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for answers to common questions about inverter generators? We’ve got you covered with our answers below.

What’s the main difference between an inverter generator and a traditional generator?

While a traditional generator uses AC power, an inverter generator uses AC and DC power. Because of this, an inverter generator produces far cleaner power with fewer fluctuations and lower total harmonic distortion (THD), making it safe to use for powering sensitive devices.

Inverter generators are also typically more efficient in how much power they use, as inverter generators tend to only use the appropriate amount of power necessary for the device being powered. This makes them more fuel efficient than traditional generators.

Is an inverter generator better than a traditional generator?

That depends on what you’re looking for in a generator. An inverter generator can offer many advantages, like cleaner power output and higher fuel efficiency, making them ideal for powering sensitive devices.

Inverter generators are usually quieter than traditional generators or other portable generators as well. However, an inverter generator likely won’t produce as much power as a traditional generator and are typically more expensive.

For these reasons, it depends on what you need the generator for. If you’re looking to power sensitive devices like computers or smartphones, an inverter generator may be the right choice for you.

But if you need a powerful and affordable backup power source, then a traditional generator might be best.

Do inverter generators need fuel?

Yes, all generators need some fuel source or power supply, and inverter generators are no exception. Inverter generators typically use gasoline as the primary fuel source and may also be compatible with propane or natural gas.

It’s important to ensure you’re using the right fuel source for your generator, as using the wrong fuel can cause damage to the generator and potentially void your warranty.

What are the best inverter generators?

The best inverter generator depends largely on what you need it for. For example, if you’re looking for a lightweight and portable solution, the Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Inverter Generator might be a great option.

For those looking for high-power output, the Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator is the way to go. It produces a whopping 7500 watts of power and has clean electrical output with low THD, making it ideal for powering sensitive devices.

And if you’re looking for a reliable and budget-friendly option, the WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is a great choice.


Inverter generator technology has revolutionized the way we think about portable power.

What is an inverter generator? They’re more efficient, quieter, and often easier to use safely than traditional generators. This makes them a fantastic choice for a wide range of applications, from camping and outdoor activities to backup power for homes and businesses.

We hope you can now grasp the advantages of inverter generators and can make a more informed choice on whether to get one for yourself.

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