Is an Inverter Generator Better Than a Regular Generator?

Is an Inverter Generator Better Than a Regular Generator?

Going for the perfect electricity source is crucial. This is, especially true in a country like Canada with high electrical requirements between winter and summer. There are specific advantages to inverter and regular generators, so it depends on the application. If heavy-duty continuous power needs are required, then a regular generator would be more suitable. On the other hand, an inverter generator has options that are operationally quieter, more efficient, and environmentally cleaner. All the differences between these two are explained in the following guide, where we have added working principles, advantages, and disadvantages. By the end of this article, you should get a clear idea of which kind of generator would work just right for you, especially amidst the expansive Canadian climate.

What Is A Regular Generator?

It is a device/equipment that converts mechanical energy directly into electrical power. The device does this by utilizing the help of an internal combustion engine. Most of them run with gasoline, diesel, or propane. They are suited to provide continuous and constant electricity and, therefore can power houses, construction sites, or even outdoor events. They are regular generators, and as is expected, they are rugged—running high power. In most instances, this proves very useful for scenarios that require continuous operations at a high output. Their drawback is being noisier and less fuel-efficient compared to their inverter counterparts.

What Is An Inverter Generator?

It is a relatively new technology. Here, an engine, alternator, and inverter are all combined into one product to offer clean and stable electricity. The engine generates AC power, while the inverter converts it into DC electricity and reverts it into alternating current. All this ensures that high-quality electricity is made with less harmonic distortion. Inverter generators are usually more compact, fuel-efficient, and silent than traditional ones. They are particularly useful for sensitive electronics, such as laptops, smartphones, and medical devices, all of which require constant, clean power to operate safely yet effectively.

How Does A Regular Generator Work?

A conventional generator extracts mechanical energy from an internal combustion engine and converts it into electrical energy through electromagnetic induction. The engine runs on fuel to give off mechanical motion, which drives the rotor in the alternator. The rotor, usually a magnet, is rotated within a stationary set of windings called a stator. In its rotation, it develops an electromagnetic field that induces a flow of electrons in the stator windings to generate AC electricity. This electricity is further distributed in a connected load via outlets on the generator.

Most standard generators operate constantly within a fixed RPM, typically 3600 RPM, though sometimes the rpm can vary to approach the desired, stable frequency of 60 Hz, which most electrical equipment is developed for operation under everyday applications in Canada. This constant speed provides stable power but can increase fuel consumption and noise, mainly in variable loads.

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How Does An Inverter Generator Work?

An inverter generator works along the principle of any other generator in changing mechanical energy into electrical. Still, it provides more steps to make it efficient and render cleaner power. Generation of AC power by an internal combustion engine comes first. After that, a rectifier changes this power into a direct current. The DC power is then inverted back into AC power through an inverter. Comprising this process allows the inverter generator to produce a stable, clean sine wave of electricity with low THD.

The inverter module regulates the engine speed based on electrical demand, thereby improving fuel efficiency and helping keep noise levels down. Having such functions, the inverter generators are pretty suitable for sensitive electronics and changeable power requirements in a way that brings about safe operation with optimized performance.

Pros And Cons Of A Regular Generator


  • High power output: These ones can provide a considerable amount of power; thus, regular generators have been helpful in heavy-duty applications such as construction sites and significant events.
  • Cost-Effective: Generally, traditional generators have a lower price during purchase than their inverter generator counterpart with other power ratings.
  • Durability: These are robust generators designed to work continuously under heavy loads, making them suitable for lengthy failures or industrial uses.


  • Noise Levels: Regular generators tend to be way noisier, which is a significant handicap that cannot only be disturbing during the night time but can also be a cited nuisance within residential areas.
  • Fuel Efficiency: They usually consume more fuel because they run at a constant speed irrespective of the load, increasing the operation cost.
  • Power Quality: The generated electricity could contain more harmonic distortion that may not suit sensitive electronic gadgets.

Pros And Cons of An Inverter Generator


  • Fuel Efficiency: As the inverter generator can modify its speed with respect to power demand, it leads to better fuel efficiency and lower operational expenditures.
  • Quiet Operation: They produce less noise than standard generators, ensuing applicability in residential areas, campsites, and other outdoor activities.
  • Clean Power: This low harmonic distortion clean sine wave output is perfect for sensitive electronics, so it's safe and reliable.


  • Higher Cost: Inverter generators are expensive up front due to advanced technology and more components involved.
  • Limited Energy Output: The power outputs they usually provide are of lower values compared with conventional generators, thus making them less suitable for high-demand applications.
  • Complex Maintenance: The sophisticated electronics and inverter components may require more specialized service/repairs.

An Inverter Generator vs. A Regular Generator - Differences

The primary difference between an inverter generator and a regular one lies in how they produce electricity and handle power output. Traditional generators run at a constant speed, with the AC electricity being made directly from it, which is noisy and less fuel-efficient. On the other hand, inverter generators have their AC power changed first to DC and then back to AC. Thus, they can change the speed of their engine based on the required power, which makes them quieter and more fuel-efficient.

Moreover, the quality of electricity outlay produced from an inverter generator is higher; it also has less total harmonic distortion—hence, it is much safer for sensitive electronic devices. Some differences in this regard make inverter generators highly suitable for portable, residential, and sensitive applications. Traditional ones are more appropriate for heavy-duty and continuous applications in terms of their energy needs.

Inverter Generator and Solar Generators : What’s the Difference?

They are two different devices with different power sources and areas of applications. An inverter one uses an internal combustion engine to generate electricity, then converts it into clean AC using an inverter. It runs on fossil fuels like gasoline or liquid propane.

The solar generator, on the other hand, would produce energy drawn from the sun by the solar panels, store the energy in a battery, and then emit clean AC power using an inverter. The nature of solar generators is friendlier to the environment, as they produce no emissions and are almost silent. The dependency of solar generators on sunlight may make them less reliable in cases of low-light conditions or very extended power outages where sufficient solar exposure cannot be obtained.

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Final Thoughts - Which is Better?

The choice between an inverter generator and a regular generator would, therefore, have to be based on your specific needs and circumstances. Inverter generators give better fuel economy, less noise, and clean power output; hence, basically, they are perfect for residential applications and sensitive electronics. On the other hand, regular generators provide robust power output suitable for heavy-duty applications and extended uses. Solar generators are a great alternative if one needs a clean and silent power solution, though the effectiveness does depend on solar exposure. It is, therefore, relevant to be informed of these differences and evaluate power needs for an informed decision as it befits an individual in Canada's varying climate.

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