Buying a petrol generator – what you need to know

petrol generator

So, you found yourself at a crossroads. You know you need a petrol generator but you don’t know enough about them to be able to buy one confidently. That’s OK, a  little research can go a long way. So here is our handy guide to the six main things you need to know about petrol generators before buying one.

The engine

If you are going to be using the portable generator regularly or for work you need to know that it can run for hours without packing up before you’ve finished. You should consider the build quality of your engine. Investing a little more to buy a good quality engine will save you money in the long run.

The power output

Still talking about the engine, you should make sure you buy one that will have enough power output for your needs. Before buying the generator, you can calculate the power output you will need by collecting together all the equipment you will be using with the generator. Make sure to calculate only viable combinations of your equipment as you won’t plug all ten or 15 pieces at once. 

After you have made a rough calculation of the power you need it is advisable to add another 500w-1000w, which will give you some leeway if you later buy new equipment to use with the generator. If you plan to use your petrol generator with household electrics you will need an AVR alternator. This mimics the type of power produced by the mains supply and makes it safe to use at home.

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Maximum running time

The fuel tank size does not determine the running time of your generator – but the power output does. It is a misconception that a bigger tank will run longer than a smaller one. If you think about it logically, the power output on a big tank is the highest power output you can find while a smaller or medium size tank has a smaller output as well, they may just run the same time or the smaller tank can outrun the bigger one. 

Compare the maximum running times of the generators you are considering and not their tank sizes.

The sockets

Generators come with a number of sockets and combinations of different kinds. This makes it easy to find the right one. It is always best to buy one with an extra socket or two as you never know when this will come in handy.

Another thing to consider is how much voltage you will be working with, as not all sockets may be suitable for the voltage you will use.

The frame

As a rule of thumb, the larger the frame’s diameter, the better. It may not seem as important as some of the other things we’ve talked about so far, but the frame of the generator is not to be ignored. It will protect your generator from knocks and bumps when in transport to or on site. It also reduces the vibration and noise from the generator.

The weight

The weight of the generator can be easily overlooked and, if you are going to have your generator stationary, then it isn’t usually very important. But if you need to move it around you may want to look for one that is lighter, or one that has handles or wheels on its frame for easier movement.

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