Power generator: Different variants with advantages and disadvantages explained

Power generator: Different variants with advantages and disadvantages explained

There are different types of power generators. While some are more suitable for private households, others are more powerful and are used in commercial or industrial applications. Which generator suits you? We bring light into the darkness and show the advantages and disadvantages of the individual models.

How does a power generator work?

A power generator is a machine that converts mechanical, chemical, thermal, or electromagnetic energy into electrical power. The most common type of generator is the internal combustion engine, which uses fuel to create a rotating magnetic field. The rotating field creates an electrical current in the generator coils that can be used to power electrical equipment.

gasoline generator


Loud and smelly, but also reliable and cheap: the gasoline generator. Image: © AdobeStock/Georgy Dzyura 2022

Gasoline generators are used in a variety of fields to generate electricity. They are ideal for use in rural areas. They are also used on construction sites, where the high noise level of the device is not a problem anyway. Gasoline generators can be used in emergency situations when public electricity is cut off, for example to keep critical equipment running in hospitals.

Portable power generators that run on gasoline are cheap to buy. Entry-level models are available from around 150 euros. Depending on the size of the tank, most models hold between 5 and 20 liters of fuel. An average device runs for between 7.5 and 12 hours, according to the outdoor guide Waldbereit .

Gasoline generators like the Iskra Generator 2600W are a portable and convenient power source. They are often used in emergency situations when the power goes out or when other power sources are unavailable. However, they can be noisy, smelly and expensive to run. Gasoline generators can also be dangerous if not used properly.

Per against
+ Inexpensive to buy – Inefficient
– According to
– High risk potential
– Stink

Diesel generator


A diesel generator costs a fair amount of money, but also lasts longer. Image: © AdobeStock/Lisa F. Young 2022

Diesel generators hardly differ optically from petrol generators. However, they run on diesel fuel instead of petrol. As a result, they are typically more efficient than gasoline generators and can run for longer periods without needing to be refueled. However, diesel generators are also more expensive, can be noisier and produce more emissions.

A good device costs at least 1,000 euros to buy, and a lot more if you like. The tank is usually slightly larger than in petrol generators and holds between 10 and 25 liters. According to Waldbereit , many models run for up to 24 hours, but there are also some that have a runtime of 48 or 72 hours.

Per against
+ More efficient – Volume up
+ Safer – More expensive to buy
– Higher emissions

solar generator


Generating electricity from sunlight: not the most efficient, but the most sustainable option. Image: © jozsitoeroe/AdobeStock 2022

A solar generator converts sunlight into electrical energy and can be a good addition to your camping gear or emergency supplies at home. It is relatively easy to set up and can serve as a reliable power source in an emergency. Solar generators are a great way to reduce your dependency on traditional forms of energy, and they're also very environmentally friendly.

Solar generators consist of a mobile power station and a solar panel. The following three parts are installed in the power station:

  • Battery: stores the electricity.
  • Charge controller: controls current flow from the solar panel to the battery.
  • Inverter: converts generated direct current into alternating current.

Solar generators are quite expensive, with most mobile models costing well over 1,000 euros. And they are less efficient. But they also have numerous advantages over conventional power generators: They are more environmentally friendly and cheaper to operate.

Per against
+ Very quiet – Less efficient
+ Inexpensive to operate – Expensive to buy
+ No emissions
+ Safe

Solar Generators Buy now from

gas generator


Power from the bottle: gas generators last quite a long time. Image: © AdobeStock/Rumkugel 2022

Gas generators generate the mechanical energy for the rotating magnetic field to generate electricity similar to diesel and gasoline generators. Instead of liquid fuel, however, gas is burned. This makes them more economical and cheaper to run. Another benefit is that gas generators have a longer lifespan than other types of power generators.

Good gas generators are available from around 800 euros. To operate, you connect a gas bottle, usually propane gas. The tank is theoretically as big as the largest bottle you can transport. Many appliances run for around 20 hours or more on an 11 kg bottle of gas. In addition, a gas generator can easily be operated for several days without interruption if empty gas cylinders are regularly exchanged for full ones.

However, there are also some disadvantages to using gas generators. One of them is that they can be very dangerous if not used properly. Then there is a risk of explosion. And gas generators also emit harmful emissions and are therefore not as environmentally friendly as, for example, a solar generator. In addition, these gas-powered power generators can still be noisy and annoying.

Per against
+ Very efficient – Emissions
+ Long service life – According to
+ Inexpensive to operate – High risk potential

Inverter power generator

The main benefit of an inverter generator is that it produces clean electricity that is safe for electrical equipment. This makes it ideal for the RV, camping and other outdoor activities. These devices tend to be more expensive than traditional generators, but they are gaining in popularity because they are suitable for home use.

Clean power, what is it?

High-quality electricity is also called clean electricity. This flows at a stable voltage. Most power generators have voltage fluctuations of +/-20 percent. For comparison: The power grid at home may have fluctuations of +/- 10 percent. With the inverter power generator, these are significantly lower.

The low voltage fluctuations are made possible by a converter (inverter) that regulates the power. This component makes the inverter power generator so special. How it generates the electricity, however, can vary depending on the model. There are diesel generators with inverters, as well as petrol generators. The power station of solar generators always has an integrated inverter.

Summary: The advantages and disadvantages of power generators at a glance

  • Gasoline generators are often used in industry and commerce. These are reliable and cheap to buy.
  • Diesel generators are more efficient but more expensive to buy.
  • Solar generators cost a lot once, but are practically free to operate.
  • Gas generators are very efficient, but not without their dangers.
  • For safe use with your electrical devices, you should definitely choose a power generator with an inverter.

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