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Everything You Need to Know About Generators (And Why You Should Have One)

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 4/13/2020

generator in the driveway powering a house

In the U.S., an average of 500,000 people are affected daily by power outages. A loss of power can be triggered by a variety of different sources ranging from natural disasters and serious storms, to utility failures, car accidents and more. Fortunately, you can be prepared by investing in a generator. Generators provide a valuable backup in the case of an emergency, as well as a convenient power source for a variety of additional needs. Don’t be reactive, be proactive by setting up a generator before you need it.

Generators For Emergencies and Beyond

There are plenty of reasons to invest in a home generator. A backup generator allows you the safety of remaining in your home during a natural disaster or sudden storm by providing you with lights and the use of appliances. It powers the use of radios and TVs, which are important for staying informed during an emergency. Generators also keep refrigerators and freezers running, protecting food during times where it might be unsafe to leave your home.

While generators are most often thought of in terms of emergencies, they also serve a number of additional uses, including a wide range of business and leisure applications. Are you working on a construction site or on a DIY project at home? A portable generator is the perfect way to keep your power tools at optimum performance, while powering lights and larger equipment. Generators are also the perfect way to backup your business’ valuable equipment and computers.

Heading out on a trip in your RV? Bring an extra generator along to help power your appliances. They're also perfectly suited for camping and tailgating at outdoor events like baseball games and music festivals.

Portable Generators vs. Inverter Generators

Batteries Plus Bulbs offers a number of generators in two separate categories: portable generators and inverter generators.

Portable Generators

Portable generators run at full capacity the entire time they are in use. This makes them louder than inverter generators. On the plus side, they are more affordable than inverter generators, allowing you to back up important functions at a lower price point. Here are the models we currently offer:

Champion 3500-Watt Portable Generator (available in store only) – Provides 12 hours of running time at a 50% load with a loudness of 68 dBA (68 A-weighted decibels, or decibels above the threshold of hearing). It features a Volt Guard built-in surge protector and Cold Start Technology to ensure a quick start in cold weather. Its convenient size makes it a perfect match for your next camping trip or weekend project.

Champion 5000-Watt Portable Generator – This convenient 5000-watt generator provides 9 hours of running time at a 50% load with a loudness of 74 dBA. It also features a Volt Guard built-in surge protector and Cold Start Technology.

Champion 7500-Watt Portable Generator – This 7500-watt generator provides 8 hours of running time at 50% at 74 dBA. The 420cc engine features electric start and an included battery. Makes a perfect backup generator for your home, or your next outdoor project.

Inverter Generators

Inverter generators are constructed with sophisticated exhaust systems, which enable them to throttle up and down to match the wattage of their application. This helps them run more efficiently, producing fewer emissions and creating less noise than their portable counterparts. We currently feature the following two models.

Champion 2000-Watt Inverter Generator – This inverter model runs up to 9.5 hours at 25% load and 53 dBA. Its lightweight, stackable design makes it perfect for camping, tailgating and powering items in your RV. It also creates Clean Electricity free of spikes and drops, making it safe to use with sensitive electronics. Plus, it can also connect with a second Champion 2000-watt inverter using an optional ParaLINK Parallel Kit (sold separately) to double the wattage output.

Champion 3500-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – Features versatile Dual Fuel capabilities, allowing it to run on either gasoline or propane. It runs at a quiet 59 dBA for up to 7.5 hours at 25% load on gasoline or 14.5 hours at 25% load on propane. Plus, it can be combined with another 3500-watt inverter generator using the optional ParaLINK Parallel Kit. A perfect choice for your home, RV or outdoor project.

Important Safety Tips

As with all equipment, it’s important to read the owner’s manual and follow all manufacturer instructions when operating your generator. It’s also important to obey the following safety tips. Always provide a portable generator with plenty of ventilation. That means leaving 20 feet of space between the generator and your home, with the exhaust directed away from the house. Also, be sure to inspect your generator regularly, checking for visible cracks and leaks, and replacing any damaged materials immediately. Keep the generator dry at all times. In the event of rain, be sure that the generator is covered and only touch the generator with dry hands.

Also be sure that the correct fuel is being used and remember to only add fuel to a generator once it has cooled. It’s extremely important that you never plug a generator into a wall outlet. If you want to use a generator to power hardwired electronics through your home’s circuit panel, have a licensed electrician install a transfer switch or interlock device beforehand. This will allow the home’s wiring to disconnect from the utility system before using the generator.

As you can see, generators offer convenient backup power for emergencies, home projects and other applications. Shop our complete assortment of generators today. The associates at your local Batteries Plus Bulbs store will be happy to find the best generator for your needs. Or, enjoy the convenience of shopping at home when you Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store.