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What is an Inverter Generator? (The Ultimate Guide)

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To access electricity beyond the energy grid in the last decade, inverter generators have been increasing in both efficiency and popularity all over the world. Today, inverter generators can act as a great backup source of power for a variety of situations including grid blackouts, camping trips, events, disaster relief, and more.

Below, we will paint a detailed picture of what exactly inverter generators are, how they work, and if they are worth it for you as an alternative to traditional generator technologies.

what is a inverter generator - Growatt

What is an Inverter Generator?

Producing electricity on demand, An inverter generator is a type of portable generator that produces steady alternating current (AC) electricity by using less fuel. Generally powered by fuels like gasoline or propane, inverter generators are similar to traditional power generators, but are generally built to be more portable and more energy efficient.

Although there is also an internal inverter present in portable power stations, it is important not to confuse “inverter generators” with mobile battery power products. Today, a solar generator is a popular type of portable battery-backed system designed to that is incorporate solar energy resources as a non-gasoline alternative to both inverter generators and traditional generators.   

How Does an Inverter Generator Work?

An inverter generator typically consists of multiple components, including a fuel source, an engine, an alternator, a DC rectifier, an inverter, and a power board, and how it works: the alternator produces distorted (low quality) alternating current through the fuel (AC) is sent to the rectifier, which converts it into direct current (DC), and then sends these direct currents to the internal inverter module to convert it into clean and stable alternating current (AC), at this time the AC can power the device use.

Related: DC to AC Conversion: How does a Solar Generator do It?

How to Use an Inverter Generator?

An inverter generator’s operations are very similar to those of a traditional or “standard” generator. Inverter generators are designed to work outdoors and require users to fill a fuel tank with gasoline, diesel, or another substance as directed in order to produce electricity.

Once fueled, inverter generators can usually start up with the push of a button, turn of a dial, or pull of a recoil starter. Before starting up your inverter generator, be sure that the fuel cap has been completely closed and that there are currently no electronics plugged into the system. After the inverter germinator has started, you can then plug your devices directly into the hardware.

Inverter Generators vs. Standard Generators

When comparing inverter generators to traditional gas-powered generators head to head, the technologies differ in a handful of key ways.

Fuel efficiency

The key difference between an inverter generator and a standard generator is its fuel efficiency. Whereas standard generators always output large amounts of energy, inverter generators provide more control over internal fuel consumption with less power necessary overall and more efficient use of fuel.


In today’s market, there are both inverter generators and standard gas generators that can be permanently connected to your home's electrical panel to supply a backup source of power. However, inverter generators are typically designed for portability and life on the go.

Whereas inverter generators may provide less total power than traditional generators, they are usually much small in size, lighter in weight, and manufactured with handles, wheels, or other components that make them more convenient to move around.

Operating conditions

Due to loud noises, smells, and harmful emissions, most traditional and inverter generators must be placed outdoors while in use. With this in mind, however, inverter generators are generally built to emit fewer noises, smells, and gasses overall than bulkier traditional generators. As such, inverter generators are generally considered quieter and better for the environment.  


Upfront, inverter generators typically cost more than traditional generators. However, considering their energy efficiency, you may be able to keep the operating costs of an inverter generator lower throughout its lifetime with fewer ongoing fuel expenses required.

When looking at long term costs and maintenance, traditional generators may also require more work to maintain than inverter generators, which have more built-in features to protect against over-charging or to initiate automatic shutoffs. Comparatively, solar generators require significantly less ongoing costs and upkeep than both traditional and inverter generators.

inverter generators - Growatt

Pros and Cons of an Inverter Generator

Now that we have broken down its differences from traditional generators, let’s take a quick look at the positives and negatives of choosing an inverter generator for your life. If you decide to opt for an inverter generator, you may be able to experience the following pros and cons.

Inverter Generator Pros

Inverter Generator Cons

Less noise than traditional generators

More expensive upfront

More portable and compact

Can be limited in battery or output capacity

Increased energy efficiency

Not safe for indoor use

So although running your entire home with an energy-efficient generator may be expensive upfront, inverter generators are great for small loads of reliable and portable electricity. To secure access to relatively quiet, emergency power, inverter generators are very practical for homes, cabins, RVs, boats, and many other applications.

What's the Best Choice for You?

While still a relatively new product on the market, there are quite literally thousands of different generators that you can purchase today to add a bit of energy security to your life. To determine if an inverter generator is best for your intents and purposes, there are several product features that you should consider before making your purchase.

Running Times

Before purchasing a generator, think about exactly what you intend to power with your device. More often than not, both inverter generators and portable power stations are advertised with running times for things like refrigerators, cell phones, fans, and other simple essentials to make life with your equipment easy to imagine.

Inverter Capacity

The amount of power an inverter generator can output at any given time is going to be limited by its inverter capacity. Before you buy any type of generator, make sure its inverter capacity will be large enough to handle your necessary high-powered devices by double-checking the wattage ratings on power tools, microwaves, air conditioners, etc.

Size and Weight

Whether you want a great stay-home source of emission-free power or a chance to bring portable energy anywhere you go, the size and weight of your generator will strongly affect your experience once the equipment is in your hands. Although one of the best things about inverter generators is their portability, you will also want to make sure that you have enough space for your power station wherever you intend to use it.  

Fuel, Outputs, and Features

When evaluating possible generators, think about how you intend to fuel your system (i.e. gas, solar, etc.) in order to guide your purchase. When using your emergency power, a variety of outputs (such as AC plugs, DC inputs, and USB ports) are a great way to keep your phones, appliances, and other devices all running at once. Depending on your budget, you may also be able to access premium generator features like ultra-fast charging and high energy efficiency.     

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is an inverter generator worth it?

In case of an emergency, an inverter generator is worth it to secure a source of power that is portable and efficient. When weighed against the pros and cons of a traditional generator,  inverter generators are almost always worth it, and customers should also consider a solar-powered generator as a third option.  

  • Can an inverter generator run a refrigerator?

Yes, both inverter generators and portable power stations are very capable of running a refrigerator. To maximize the efficiency of your operation, consider using a lower-power-consumption chest fridge that will consume less energy over time.

  • Can an inverter generator run an air conditioner?

Yes and no. An inverter generator may be able to run an air conditioner, however, most portable devices will only be able to power your AC for a few hours at most. With this in mind, a full home backup inverter generator may be able to run efficient air conditioning devices like heat pumps for prolonged periods.  

portable inverter generators - Growatt


To summarize the technology in a few simple words, inverter generators are an easy, portable, and efficient way to access electrical power. Inverter generators can produce and supply large amounts of electricity the sun shines, making it possible to live with more energy security both on and off the grid.

While for those who are serious about adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle, there's no better choice than a solar generator. And when it comes to low-noise, pollution-free options, Growatt is at the forefront of innovation. Don't hesitate to explore our range of clean, renewable energy solutions today.

To learn more about the exciting capabilities of solar generators, visit Growatt official store:

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