If you're buying a petrol generator for the first time, knowing what to look for can be confusing. If you do know what to look for, however, buying a petrol generator becomes a much less daunting task. It's for this reason that we've picked the 6 most important aspects of a generator which should make your purchasing decision much easier.
1. The Power Output
We'll start with the most obvious aspect of choosing a petrol generator which is the amount of power it can produce. Your first step should always be determining a realistic requirement for daily use of the generator, which you can do by taking the equipment you will be using the most and adding them together. Remember, you won't have 10 different pieces of equipment plugged in at once, so determine your figure by coming up with a realistic combination of items.
Once you've determined what your power requirements are, we suggest adding 500w-1000w to the figure, just to be safe. Not only does this give you headroom should you get a new piece of equipment, it also means you can confidently use equipment which have higher start up requirements, such as angle grinders, without overloading it.
You also have the choice of single and three phase energy. Most petrol generators will be single phase, but some larger generators are built with three phase energy for use on industrial or construction sites. If in doubt about which type of energy is right for your equipment, get in touch and we'll advise you.
Finally, will you be powering sensitive electronics such as laptops, PCs or TVs? These can be damaged by unstable power supplies, which is why having an AVR alternator is so important. Put simply, an AVR alternator mimics the type of power produced by the mains supply, making it perfectly safe to use with any electronic appliances.
2. The Engine
When buying a petrol generator, you have to consider not only the overall power output of the engine, but also the build quality. If you'll be using it regularly, and especially if you'll be using it daily for professional work, you need to know that the engine is up the task of working day in, day out.
Because the build quality of the engine within a petrol generator is so important, we pride ourselves on stocking only the very best available. You'll find our petrol generators are powered by Honda, Hyundai, Ford, Yanmar, Evopower and Lombardini engines, who are all tried and tested engine manufacturers.
You'll always be able to finder cheaper engines on the market, but the motto "Pay cheap, pay twice" is definitely true in the petrol generator market. We've heard countless horror stories from customers of engines packing up after a few dozen hours of use - sometimes even less!
3. Maximum Running Time - Not Fuel Tank Size!
Another deciding factor for many people is the size of the fuel tank, which they think determines the overall run time of a petrol generator. This is actually not a good method to use because you're making the assumption that a generator with a larger fuel tank will always run for longer than a generator with a smaller fuel tank, which is simply not true if the power output is higher.
You have to keep in mind that if the generator with the larger fuel tank has a higher energy output, the engine will be working harder, and thus likely to be using more fuel than a generator which is less powerful with a smaller fuel tank. In many instances, the most powerful generators will have lower running times.
For this reason, always compare the maximum running times, not the fuel tank sizes, to get a realistic figure of how long a generator will run for.
There's no bigger inconvenience than having to constantly re-fuel your generator halfway through a job, so the longer your generator can run for interrupted, the more work you can get done. Depending on your requirements, however, you may have to strike a balance between power and run time.
4. The Sockets
It's all well and good having a generator with a powerful engine and long running time, but if it doesn't have the right number and type of sockets for your requirements, it doesn't mean much.
You'll find that petrol generators are available with a near infinite number and combination of sockets, so finding the right one for you shouldn't be too difficult.
First off, how many do you need? If you'll be using your generator infrequently and for casual DIY jobs, one might be enough for you. If you'll be doing more demanding work on site or in a commercial setting, then you'll probably always require more than piece of equipment plugged in at all times.
Secondly, what voltage will you be working with? Standard 230v sockets are fine for the home user, but if you'll be working on-site you'll need 110v sockets to conform to health and safety standards. Some petrol generators have a dual voltage switch, which allows you to switch between 230v and 110v as and when is needed.
Our advice? It's better to have too much rather than not enough. Always go for a generator with one more socket than you think you'll need because you never know when it will come in handy.
5. The Frame
It might not appear to be an important factor, but the frame in which a petrol generator is housed in can make a big difference. Not only will a well built frame reduce vibration and noise, it will also protect the generator from the various knocks and bumps that are to be expected on professional work sites.
Simply put, the larger the diameter the better, and if you want the best you should go for a generator that has a powder coated frame.
6. The Weight
The weight of a petrol generator is also something that's overlooked by many, who then have the unpleasant surprise of realising they've bought a generator which is extremely hard to move around.
If your generator will be stationary then having one which is on the heavier side isn't too much of an issue, however if you'll be transporting it regularly you'll want one which is either lightweight, or fitted with a wheel kit.
This is where the type of frame comes in handy again, as the bars of an open frame generator will often act as convenient carry handles for you.
Find The Right Petrol Generator For You
Now that you know what to look for, you should find it easy to find the right petrol generator for you.
If you have any questions or would like advice on purchasing a generator, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 01437 700 123, email us at email@example.com or use the live chat in the bottom right hand corner.