Inverter Vs. Conventional Generators

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Buying a generator, especially a large one, can be a daunting proposition even for many in the know, so you should be informed on the newest and best ones on the market.

In the last decade, a large amount of research has been diverted to more eco-friendly and efficient generators in order to reduce the amount of wasted fuel. Initiatives like Google’s Little Box Challenge have made motors using inverters a common occurrence. So, the current generator market has never been more competitive.

With the incredible amount of options today, it’s hard to decide which is better— inverter or conventional generator? We simplified the choice for you. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about buying one or the other.

Read this guide on the best camping generators.

Power quality 

If you plan on using your generator to power sensitive machines that are susceptible to damage, or if the charge fluctuates frequently, you should consider inverter generators. Conventional power generators produce electricity with a large coefficient of total harmonic distortion

THD, or THDi, sometimes uses even up to 25% of the power. This can negatively affect the battery of the device and may even overload some devices. With increasing loads the THD may even exceed this and damage your appliances.

On the other hand, inverter engines considerably lower the THD. Even to as low as 3%. This, in turn, means that the quality of power you will get from inverters is significantly better. And if you want to look at the specific THD, look up the true sine wave output of a generator.

Noise and Eco-friendliness

Conventional diesel and petrol generators are widely known for the incredible amount of noise they produce. Even when compared to the most eco-friendly conventional generator, inverter technology is far superior both in an eco-friendly and noise-pollution sense. 

The modern inverter generator can produce as little as 55DbA(as much as a fridge). Meanwhile, newer diesel models still produce at least 70DbA(as much as a leaf blower) when working. 

Before buying a generator, check the RPM at which it runs. Most modern inverter engines run at 3600RPM, which significantly reduces the noise. Others might consider 5000 watt generators or 4000 watt generators.


Conventional motors use a constant rate of rotation to produce a predictable amount of electricity. This has a good and bad side. On the one hand, it reduces the amount of machinery and simplifies the design, making it cheaper to fix when it eventually breaks.

You should consider that a good generator should also be the best emergency generator.

On the other hand, inverter motors have an edge in that they can generate only the amount of power that is needed at the moment, so less fuel is wasted. Inverter generators also start with lower fuel consumption, making them way more efficient.


However, there’s a catch with inverter engines. With all that technology and complex design, they come at a hefty price. If you’re looking for a lot of power quickly, buying a conventional generator is still undoubtedly cheaper. 

The reason inverter engines are more expensive comes down to their newer technology and that engineering an efficient machine takes a lot more time than a conventional, simple piston motor. Regular generators have been around for ages, and how they work is well understood, making them a lot cheaper to produce quickly en masse.