portable generating equipment

The World and Portable Generators

Since they first appeared in the 1830s portable generators have grown steadily both in availability and affordability. And that journey has been fueled by all kinds of buyers who either have been unable for whatever reason to depend all the time on grid power or who have just made the choice to live off-grid. They have also been a favorite for anyone who likes or needs independent power sources, be it professionally in, say, the construction industry, or campers out and about in their RV.

The one fact that we don't seem to avoid is that the vast majority of this type of equipment and associated parts are produced in the Far East, particularly China, however hard some manufacturers may advertently or inadvertently try to obscure it. But, as we attempt to explain in our article on where portable generators are made, this is not necessarily a bad thing, though we understand perfectly well the strong views held by some people about the need to produce and buy home grown products to support local communities and the economy in general. 

This sentiment is bound to grow stronger as we go forward following Russia's unprovoked and horrific attack on the people of Ukraine and their country, which is causing a further impact on supply chains already severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the most serious problems with equipment made in China and elsewhere for that matter is access to spare parts as well as new supplies, with potentially sky rocketing price rises on the horizon.

But that's not all.

Though the hypothetical danger has been acknowledged by the Department of Homeland Security for years, we must all now be much more alert to the greatly increased threat of a cyber attack from Russia, North Korea or even China on 16 areas identified as critical infrastructure in the US, including the energy sector, which could realistically knock out access to the grid's supply of electricity in large parts of the country. Such actions would provoke a proportionate and deserving response.

These factors on their own, supply chain issues, enemy actions and the response, make it now so much more important for people to update heir plans to mitigate events that would seriously affect their daily lives in ways never seen in recent times.

For more information on this we recommend a read of Politico's article published on 25 February 2022.

Choosing a Portable Generator

Against all of this sombre backdrop we have seen that it's not always such an easy task for people to decide on the type and size of portable generator they actually need. Whether to play safe and take the plunge for one that is big, powerful but expensive, or choose a smaller and more affordable one, is a personal decision based on some good prior research. This is why we have written an article on some of the factors we think you might want to take into account when looking to buy a portable generator. And we have added a piece on the considerable effects altitude can have on power outputs, as well as choosing a gas powered model or one that operates with dual fuel (gas and LPG) with an additional explanation about their differences.

We' have supplemented all of this with the collation of in-depth research, trawling the internet, to bring you consolidated and clear information on various models, from the smaller, lighter, and quieter inverter generators to some of the larger and most powerful traditional portable generators you can buy.

The Dangers of Owning a Portable Generator

We must never forget that portable generators can be dangerous pieces of equipment if not handled carefully and correctly, and we have written more about this and what to watch out for, including the ever-present dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. We also touch up the need for proper maintenance as a means to ensure all is working well and help lengthen the life of what is quite an expensive product that until recently you hopefully only have to use occasionally (bear in mind that no portable generator is designed to run 24/7 all year). Many owners say that the use of a fuel stabilizer is essential to protect the fuel in a generator from going bad when it is in storage, so we have written an explainer about this to provide you with some more useful information.

In view of the fire risks associated with portable generators, and besides mentioning a number of fire suppression accessories (see below), we have also taken the liberty to write an article about the kind of fire suppression devices that are available, how fire is classified, and which ones may be the best option for you as a home owners to keep on hand.

We have taken a look at noise levels too as this is a subject we have noted that is of much interest to many buyers who may, for example, be concerned about the impact on neighbors of operating the generator outside (always remember, portable generators should ALWAYS be operated outside).

Portable Generator Warranties

Not all of the products arrive to buyers in fully working order and we have seen that some develop problems and do fail fairly early on. Though buyer views may be subjective, we have noted that in some instances customer service has not been as good as it should have been. Nevertheless, it is important to understand how much a warranty will cover you for if and when trouble arises, so we've had a look into this aspect with our article on warranties in the USA so you can be more aware of what to expect.

Portable Generator Accessories

Prospective buyers of portable generators should be reminded that in addition to the cost of the product itself they should also budget for some essential accessories. We hope to have helped in this regard by adding some information on such accessories as protective covers, fuel containers, transfer switches, replacement wheel kits, fuel stabilizers, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, electrical extensions and adapters, fire suppression, and line conditioners.

While perhaps not essential at the beginning of ownership, many buyers have found that the wheel kits supplied with a lot of the heavier and more powerful generators are made of either plastic or other types of material that can break easily or develop flat spots if left standing for some time. We raise this issue in this article, as well as offering some of the alternatives mentioned in the above paragraph.

The Future of Portable Generator Accessories

In the very recent past at least one state, California, has put a particular focus on how much damage to the environment the gasoline engine is causing. Although there has been some opposition to the moves, among the products that have come under the spotlight are lawn mowers and portable generators, often sharing similar engines. Wherever you stand on this issue it does look increasingly likely that in the coming years the use of this kind of equipment may become more restricted than it is now.

So it is for this reason that we have also added some options for people who might need nothing more than a portable power station rather than opting for a portable generator. We have also added information in a blog post explaining some more about these models and their relationship to and with portable generators.

Battery technology is advancing all the time and one day in the future batteries may be a standard source of reserve and backup power for homes and cities. We hope you will find this subject to be as interesting as we do, and you can read a bit more about it in our article on the future of energy capture and battery technology.

But for now, power stations cannot compete overall with portable generators though there are various reasons why this sort of power solution may be preferable or the only option. These include their greater portability in general, lack of any significant noise, and safe use indoors as they do not emit the toxic gas carbon monoxide. They may also be particularly suitable as the only alternative for people living in apartments, especially for those people who just have to have a power source available at all times for health reasons.

So, if you are more interested in these devices, have a look at our sister site powerstationjungle where we go into greater detail about many of these models and their specifications as well as the kind of essential accessories, such as solar panels, that go a long way to increase their usefulness.
Last updated on: 1 December 2022
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