What Is The Difference Between A Generator And An Inverter Generator?

Inverter generator vs conventional generator

Generators are a very important tool in modern times. During a power outage, an emergency generator can keep your food from spoiling, keep your entertainment system running, and do a lot more. 

Generators can also be used for remote businesses, such as food trucks, construction sites, and for recreational activities, such as RV camping, outdoor sports, and musical concerts. 

Generators are classified as portable generators and standby generators. 

A standby generator is installed for a house or a business, such as a bank or restaurant. Portable generators can be used for a variety of purposes, and they can easily be moved from one place to another.

There are two types of portable generators: regular generators and inverter generators. Here we are trying to distinguish inverter generators from regular generators.

Difference In Working Principle 

how does inverter generator works

Regular generators run on a simple principle of burning fuel to rotate a shaft to produce alternating current. This current can be directly used to power appliances from a control panel. 

In inverter generators, however, the current produced by the generator does not directly power the devices. This current is first converted to dc using a built-in inverter and then converted back into alternating current. 

This conversion is used to generate pure sine wave current that is used to power sensitive equipment that is susceptible to distorted current. 

The current from inverter generators has many advantages, including better efficiency, no degradation of equipment’s life span, and others.

Difference In Cost

cost of generator
Photo by Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash

Generators have three types of costs: upfront costs, fuel costs, and repair costs when they malfunction. 

Upfront Cost: Regular generators are less expensive upfront due to the relatively simple parts involved, while inverter generators are more expensive because of the expensive electronic components. 

Fuel Cost: During their operation, regular generators consume a lot of fuel, while inverter generators consume less fuel. The cost of fuel for regular generators is high. 

Repairing Cost: In the event of a malfunction, a regular generator is simple to repair, but an inverter generator is more difficult and costly to fix. 

Difference In Output Current Wave 


Both generators produce alternating current (AC), but the inverter generator’s current is more stable and clean than a regular generator. 

Difference In Size

A regular generator is larger and produces more power than an inverter generator. On the other hand, inverter generators are compact and have a lower power rating than regular generators. 

Because of this, regular generators are mostly used as backup power for homes during power outages or for job site work. 

Difference In Fuel Efficiency

The engine of a regular generator works continuously whether a load is attached to it or not, consuming a lot of fuel even if it is idle. 

The inverter generators engines are capable of varying their speed according to the connected load; this is one reason they provide better fuel efficiency than regular generators.  

Difference In Operating Sound 

sound-level



Regular generators operate at constant speed and produce very high sound waves, while inverter generators vary the engine’s speed according to the connected equipment, resulting in quieter operation. 

Difference In Output Receptacles

outlet-xp4500ih
Outlets of Duromax xp4500ih

Since inverter generators provide very stable current, they are equipped with USB ports, which are capable of charging sensitive devices such as laptops, phones, and cpaps. 

Regular generators produce distorted current, which is why they cannot be used with sensitive equipment and do not come with USB ports.

The only difference is on USB-A and USB-C outlets, while almost all other kinds of respectable outlets have the same in both generators. 

Parallel Capability Difference 

parallel capability


The parallel capability of inverter generators allows them to connect with other inverter generators in parallel to raise more power if needed, unlike regular generators that lack this feature.

Final Thoughts

Traditional generators work on simple principles, while inverter generators are more advanced. Inverter generators may be expensive upfront, but they are cheap when it comes to fuel. 

An inverter generator generates pure sine waves, is more efficient and quieter than a conventional generator. 

Regular generators are available in large sizes and high wattage ratings. Inverter generators are compact, but many of them can be used in parallel to produce more power. 

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