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Before You Buy a Portable Generator: Read This

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 27, 2017 10:39:23 AM / by Jaron Henkel

Purchasing a portable generator has been a priority for many residents of Florida. There are so many options out there, and determining which generator is most suitable for your needs can be confusing and overwhelming.

Today we want to talk about 5 things to consider to help you choose the perfect portable power for your home.

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Consideration #1: Just How Portable Do You Need It To Be?

Think about how you plan on using your generator in terms of portability. Will this be a backup for your home needs, stored in the garage or shed and used only as needed, or will you be taking it with you on camping trips or to a work site?

The general category of “portable” covers basically any generator not permanently installed in place, so they can vary greatly in terms of true portability, ranging from unwieldy and difficult to move around to lightweight or wheeled for true portability. The lighter, more portable options can be more expensive. However, some of the larger portable models have kits available that allow you to add wheels and handles for easier portability— in fact, this is standard for some models.

Consideration #2: Do You Want an Easy to Start Model or a Less Expensive “Lawnmower” Style?

Some more basic portable generators use a starter rope pull design, much like a lawnmower. This requires some upper body strength and just the right pull to get it going. Other mid range models have a much easier to operate push button or turn-key style start.

As with the lightweight portables vs the larger models, added convenience comes with a heftier price tag, so this is something to consider when making your portable generator selection.

Consideration #3: How Often Will the Generator Need to Be Serviced?

There’s no getting around it. A machine like a portable generator is going to need some level of maintenance and upkeep to keep it performance-ready for when you need it most. Some models require more extensive and constant maintenance than others— for example, a brushless motor will need less attention than one with brushes. You’ll want to do some research on how often each model you are interested in needs service before making a final decision.

Consideration #4: How Much Power Do You Need?

During a power outage, it’s unlikely that a portable generator is going to be able to keep your whole house humming as if the power is on. Most will be able to power several appliances, but a whole home is out of their league. Take time to evaluate what appliances and devices you would want to power and how much power each one needs to be sure you invest in a properly sized generator.

Consideration #5: How Long do You Want the Generator to be Able to Run Before Refueling? 

There are a few factors that determine a generator’s runtime before needing more fuel. One of the biggest considerations is the fuel tank capacity. On average, a fairly simple portable generator will have about a 5 gallon fuel tank, giving you approximately seven hours of running time.

Higher end, more fuel efficient models can run for hours on a single gallon of fuel, but these are going to be more expensive. Most portable generators use gasoline, while some can utilize liquid propane or natural gas. Each option has it’s benefits and drawbacks, which will vary with your individual needs.

Making a portable generator decision doesn’t need to be super complicated. Southwest Florida Electric is here to help. We can help determine how much power you’ll need, offering advice on the best models for your portable power needs. Don’t get left in the dark!  Contact us today to talk about the portable generators we offer.

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Topics: Generators

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