Generator Buying Guides

Generators provide convenience regardless whether you want to live off grid or just for a backup power, we know that finding the right generator for your power application is important. It will be helpful if you have the right information. From power quality and cost of maintenance, finding which generator is right for your application is not as hard as you think. Check out these helpful guides in buying generators by industry experts.

Here's the breakdown of questions that you must be asking before purchasing a generator

  1. What generator suits your application?

What do you need a generator for? You may need it for a household use, trade and farm use, knowing you what you need a generator, for will help narrow down your search.

Generator for Camping or RV

Generators for camping recreational needs caravanning Motor homes and boating definitely need to be portable and the size of the portable generator depends on whether it's just lighting for your tent or running air-conditioners fridges TVs and everything on your motorhome, when it comes to motorhomes and boating possibly best to stick to the fuel that your boat or motorhome users this can determine whether you choose diesel or petrol April sales has an enormous range of portable generators for both petrol and diesel fuel.

Generator for Home Use

A household backup or emergency generator generally does not need to be portable so it could be beneficial to opt for a stationary generator or water-cooled generator, water-cooled generators tend to have a longer life, easier to start and quieter running, you also have the ability to hardwire them into your ATS (automatic transfer switch) instead of using extension cords.

A cheap emergency option could be the 6-kVA air cooled diesel generator, it is fuel efficient and quiet, the better option would be the eighth kVA water-cooled diesel generator and comes with an AGS Control Panel which can connect directly to your house mains power supply and solar backup if required.

Generator for Trade or Farm Use

If your tradesperson working on construction sites using things are such as power tools your best bet hear is a portable generator. Portable generators are ideal for farm and agricultural industries as well as trade services allowing you to move the generator from job to job.

Generator for Industrial Use

For larger work such as construction sites large farms factory work and mining industry largely stationary water-cooled generators are the way to go but for very large industries or even hospitals load sharing generators is a definite advantage, for example in some industries Power demand double or treble over certain periods of time, in this particular case knowledge sharing generators would simply turn the next generator on you can have 10, 20 generators or waiting to be turned on automatically this also makes it extremely easy to service one generator at a time all replacing without turning off the power, the fuel savings of load sharing or synchronised generators is obvious.

2. How much power output (kVA / watts) do you need?

Each type of generator has a different performance characteristic but generally, to run a generator, it requires a start-up power or commonly termed “peak power” output and running power. This means that its motor outputs a rapid power in starting up and then slows down and settles at its consistent ‘running power’ output. This is important to keep in mind as you want your generator to run comfortably within its power (kVA) capacity. Therefore, it is essential to calculate how much kVA / watts do you need to run all your devices at home, farm or the entire mining site, whatever your generator application may be.

Let’s dig in deeper, what is the difference between kVa and kilowatts?

Kilovolt-ampere or kVA is the apparent power whereas kilowatts represent the unit of real power. These measurements represent the power capacity of the generator hence, vital to determine which generator is the right for you, corresponding to your power requirement.

3. Why should you consider the generator’s voltage control for its power quality?

The generator’s voltage control determines how the power system is distributed and run steadily which also affects the power quality of a generator. This is also an important factor in considering which generator is ideal. There are varied types of voltage control which includes:

Conventional Voltage Control - otherwise known as ‘condenser type’, it is ideal for powering tools such as lights, kettles, and toaster or any devices that are power fluctuation resistive. This voltage control type of generator is commonly used for trades and industrial application as it is easy to use and requires low maintenance.

AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) - is a voltage control type of generator that’s work ideally for sensitive equipment such as smartphones, TV, or GPS devices. Plus, it can be connected to the house mains and solar power set-ups. This type of generator works ideally for both domestic and commercial application.

Inverter (Electronic Voltage Control) - this is of voltage control is ideal for sensitive devices such as computers, smartphones, TV, or GPS devices. Inverter voltage control enables a consistent and accurate smooth power runs which makes an inverter generator a fuel efficient.

4. Why should you consider whether to buy a single phase or three phase power system?

You probably have come across by now the term single phase and three phase power system of a generator. This maybe sound new to you or probably you already have an idea, it’s certainly another factor worth considering in choosing the generator that will meet your needs. The power it produces could be the same but the powering system differs.

Single phase generator as the name implies, works by producing power in a one single voltage alternating continuously. The power generation is in one single wave, in which throughout its cycle, the wave level of AC power can vary. While three phase generator operates by providing three separate waves of AC power that operates in a sequence, ensuring that there is always a consistent flow of energy and that the power level never drops as it could with the single-phase generators.

5. Why should you consider the noise level of a generator?

While having a convenience of living off grid or the confidence of not having to put up with power outage, it’s also worth thinking of the noise that a generator might create. Does silence matter to you? perhaps it depends on where you are going to use the generator, at home, outback camping, or in a mining site, it’s beneficial to know the noise level of a generator. Noise level is calculated in decibels (dBA), typically ranging from 55dBA to 85dBA. A generator with a rating of 75dBA below is considered quiet.

6. What are key safe features of a generator?

Perhaps, if not, the most important features of a generator to look out for. Safety and reliability of a generator is the most concern of buyers. You should consult a generator expert for a full list of safety precautions but here’s a few basic safety-features a generator should have; Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCD, RCBO), Manual Fuel Shutoff Switch, Low Oil Shutoff with an Indicator, Automatic Voltage Regulator, and Ground Terminal or Neutral Bonded.

7. Should you opt to Diesel or Petrol Generator?

While both has their own advantages, choosing which one to choose, might boils down to your own personal preference. Which brings more value to you? Let’s unleash of each distinct benefit.

Petrol generator is easily obtained, generally designed small and portable. The downside is, it can be highly flammable and has a shorter life (approx. 12 months). Petrol can be pricy, it’s best to check the local prices of petrol to work out whether running a petrol generator is efficient to meet your needs.

Diesel generator on the other hand, is more fuel efficient. While it can be expensive initially but in the long run it is cost effective as it is engineered to work under load for a longer period of time which makes diesel generator an ideal for intensive applications.

8. What’s the difference between air-cooled generator and water-cooled generator?

This is another factor that you need to know before buying your first generator. Air-cooled or water-cooled engines, what’s the different?

Air-cooled generator uses fans to force air across the engine for cooling. Air-cooling system is typically used in portable generator sets and standby generators up to 9kVA.

Water-cooled generator uses oil or coolant to keep the temperature of the internal parts low. It uses a radiator and water pump to distribute the cooling liquid to the engine using the hose. This engine cooling system is used ideally for big size generators. Water cooled generator is expensive to produce but more powerful and durable than the air-cooled generator.

9. Does size and mobility matter to you?

When it comes to considering the size of generator, it should be helpful again to start from considering how would you use a generator for? Will it be for camping and requires mobility? Most of the time, wheels and handles are often included with generators. In some, wheels are mounted to one end whilst the peg stand that enables the tilting and moving. For the sake of mobility and physical strain, find a generator that has handles and wheels.

10. What you should you know to upkeep the generator?

Firstly, the length of warranty is a basic indication whether a product is built with high quality. Producers who offers long-term warranty are more confident that their product can stood in or after the specified period. Be wary for short-term warranties. Able Sales generators comes with reasonable 2-year-warranty and unmatched after-sales services.

Generator experts reveal that to keep your generator running smoothly, a regular oil change is important. It is recommended to give a generator its first oil change after 25 hours then refill every 50-60 hours.