Power outages are an unfortunate reality of our modern world. Our growing reliance on a robust electrical network is becoming our Achilles heel, where even minor outages can be devastating. Therefore, having an indoor generator is becoming more critical than ever. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, it is crucial to have a dependable, safe source of energy during frustrating and extended outages to maintain living standards. As the market is filled with a multitude of options, it has become difficult to interpret their differences and make the most appropriate choice. Continue reading and equip yourself with a more comprehensive understanding of how to make the best possible choice.
Why do We Need Emergency Power?
Over the last decade, there has been a surge in power outages globally. National grid systems are beginning to show their vulnerabilities due to the speed at which cities and infrastructure have grown, combined with an insatiable need for electrical consumer goods. Effectively, it has rendered national grid components obsolete and in desperate need of updating.
These problems are not exclusive to rural communities or developing countries. Internationally, blackouts are becoming more prevalent. Extreme and unpredictable weather conditions are the primary culprit. However, they are simply highlighting weak points in an already fragile system.
Societies are increasingly demanding a seamless supply of electrical energy. Therefore, people in houses or apartments should now begin to consider owning an indoor generator seriously. An emergency electrical supply can provide all of the necessities to endure long-term outages and provide life-preserving resources in a devastating situation.
What to Consider When Buying Best Indoor generator
Contemporary innovations have provided an alternative to fossil fuel-powered generators. Portable power stations, or indoor generators, are a popular alternative that has taken the market by storm. Their popularity has been fueled by their endless practicality, which is safe to use in any environment.
Indoor generators are effectively battery-operated portable, dependable, and safe generators. They omit no toxic fumes and work silently, providing mains power for more extended periods uninterrupted. Moreover, they can be stored easily and can safely be used indoors as a versatile power source that can charge quickly and power several devices easily.
Other than their initial price, they are superior to traditional generators in every way. Indoor generators are contemporary appliances that have to build a robust market niche. Their popularity has encouraged several leading electronics brands to enter, producing a variety of features and capacities. However, endless options can feel restrictive, making it difficult to understand precisely what to look for. Accordingly, here is a list of crucial points to consider when purchasing.
Endless Source of Energy
A portable power station is an incredibly functional element of any home. However, during an outage, they are essentially portable power banks that will inevitably run dry. What transforms them into indoor generators is their integration with solar panels.
Contemporary power station manufacturers typically provide purpose-built, which can be integrated perfectly to produce a versatile, innovative solution to indoor power generation. It is always recommended that the two components are bought in tandem with the same manufacturer to guarantee a perfect setup.
Most often, these solar panels are lightweight and easily transported to guarantee an effortless setup. In addition, contemporary panels are incredibly efficient at harvesting energy, producing power even through heavy clouds.
There is more than first meets the eye, however. Solar panels are reasonable rudimentary components that simply turn solar energy into an electrical current. It requires a regulator to create an even and continuous electrical input to ensure a safe charging rate for the battery.
This is where charge controllers come into play. Ideally, the optimal indoor generator will incorporate an integrated solar charge controller, which is rated at the appropriate amperage for maximum solar capacity.
There are two types of controllers, MPPT(multi-point power tracking) and PWM (pulse width modulation). MPPT is the preferred controller as it is considered the most comprehensive and intelligent charging method. Specifically, the MPPT is excellent at protecting the delicate internal lithium battery. Volatile charging rates can easily compromise the battery's internal chemistry, significantly shortening its life. Therefore, integrated MPPT is the best option for a conscientious buyer.
How do I Work Out Storage Capacity?
The length of charge the indoor generator can hold is one of the most significant specifications and considerations. Indoor generators can seamlessly transform solar energy for extended periods. However, when the sun goes down, you rely on the power stored in your battery until the sun rises. Therefore, it is crucial to understand precisely how long you will power your devices under these circumstances.
Several metrics indicate the volume of power held in a generator. Most often, it is rated through Wh or Watt Hours. Essentially it is an indication of the volume of watts used per hour. This may sound like a complex measurement, but it is relatively simple to understand and figure out.
Suppose you have a battery that has a 1000Wh capacity. It means that the battery can use 1 watt per hour for 1000 hours or 10 watts per hour for 100 hours, or 100 watts for 10 hours. To understand how much Wh storage is required, you can assume you will have around 8 hours without sunlight. Then you must work out exactly what you need to power in those 8 hours.
The most simple method of calculating watt usage is to asses the electrical devices' plugs and manual, which will indicate the watts required to power it typically for 1 hour. For instance, if your phone's fast charger indicates it uses 20 watts. If you wish to charge it overnight for 8 hours, then calculate 20 watts X 8 hours = 160Wh. If you compare this to the capacity of the batter at 1000Wh, then you can see that by morning the battery will have 840Wh remaining. If you have multiple devices that will charge simultaneously, add all of the Wh together and compare it to the battery capacity. It is the most straightforward approach to understanding the optimal battery capacity that will be required.
From USB to Mains Power Outlets
Typically, portable batteries come in 12V or 24V direct current (DC) setups. This voltage is ideally suited for specialized low-voltage appliances, generally found in RVs and small electrical devices.
Low voltage power works well-charging cell phones and mini electronics. For power outages that last for more than a few hours, most people will require mains power. Devices such as AC units, induction stoves, laptops, televisions, etc., require much higher voltage alternating currents (AC) to function. Fortunately, portable power stations are often equipped with integrated inverters that allow the internal batteries to produce the appropriate power. Most often, the units have built-in main sockets and can be used easily.
When purchasing an indoor generator, be mindful of the devices that you will be charging. Any sensitive electronics like computers or medical equipment will require a pure sine wave inverter to guarantee safe charging.
Maximum Wattage For Powerful Electronics
Although some technical specifications can seem intimidating, some numbers should be noted more carefully. For example, the maximum output wattage identifies the maximum electrical supply the generator can supply for an extended period. The specification should also indicate a surge limit that can be as high as double the long-term limit, which is designed to protect against unanticipated short-term electrical spikes.
Identifying the wattage of the appliance, you will likely use is essential. Appliances such as induction stoves, microwaves, and heaters use huge wattage at around 1500/2000W. Therefore, the indoor generator must be rated appropriately to prevent damage to its internal battery.
If you do not have electrical equipment requiring considerable energy outputs, you should still accommodate an emergency. To be safe, you should purchase an indoor generator with an output capacity of less than 2000W. Optimally, the indoor generator will have an emergency power surge protector, which will trip if too much power is drawn from the battery to guarantee the internal battery is not compromised.
Most Versatile Power Storage
There are two main styles of battery used for indoor generators, Lithium-ion and AGM (Absorbant Glass Matt). However, Lithium batteries have come out on top due to their unparallel capacity and reliability.
Most significantly, they are highly efficient at charging. Lithium-ion batteries can store energy at a greater rate and density than AGMs, making them ideal for solar charging the generator.
Lithium-ion batteries are renowned for their durability. They are exceptionally low maintenance with an impressive lifespan. Unlike their alternatives, they require essentially no servicing and can last up to 3,000 charge cycles, which is about 3x more than an AGM.
Although they are typically the most expensive feature of the indoor generator, they are the heart of the appliance. The larger and more refined the generator's power source, the more suitable and functional it will be during an outage.
How Many Devices Can I Charge at Once?
Planning the essential uses for your emergency power supply is critical for making the optimal purchase. It may seem like a minor detail but ensuring the indoor generator provides the necessary power outlets is an essential factor.
Most provide a combination of main outlets and some USB variants. This is generally suitable for most electrical appliances, but you should consider exactly how many devices may need to be powered simultaneously in your household. Solo occupants should have no problem. However, families should be more particular. Imagine a panic situation during the initial outage where several people need to power their devices to contact emergency services or loved ones. It is not the time to regret your decision on your only backup power source.
Is Lighter Better?
Portability is one of the key benefits of utilizing an indoor generator. Maneuverability is crucial in a crisis, whether it be from room to room or house to house. Therefore, weight is a considerable factor before purchasing.
Indoor generators rely on large internal batteries, renowned for their weight. Typically, there is a correlation between features and storage capacity with the weight of the overall unit. If you have several nearby dependents or family, you should consider how far you will have to travel with a cumbersome generator.
Typically the range is anywhere from 30lb - 60lb, which is substantiation even for short journeys. Unfortunately, even the most advanced units are burdened with this issue. Therefore, if you struggle with maneuvering heavyweight, purchasing a smaller unit or even two generators that can be combined may be preferable.
How To Pick The Best Indoor Generator
Addressing all of the above considerations, it is clear that there are several significant points to evaluate to optimize your purchase. Every person and, by extension, situation is different and therefore requires a bespoke approach to finding the perfect indoor generator.
At a minimum, an indoor generator should be highly adaptable and provide the necessary storage to power your electrical devices, such as phones and laptops. Additionally, it is imperative that it is operated in conjunction with suitable and ideally purpose-built lightweight solar panels through an integrated MPPT charge controller system. This will ensure the optimal power necessary to change safely and accommodate powerful electronics.
There are a variety of indoor generators available which will perfectly fulfill the above criteria. As long as you follow the advice above, you will provide yourself with the opportunity to purchase the ideal generator for your house or apartment. An indoor generator is a significant investment, but the right one will ensure that you breeze through the next power outage.