Most people have heard of a generator. It’s an emergency power source that supplies electricity to your home or business during a major storm. A generator is used in places like hospitals and nursing homes where life-saving medical equipment is necessary. Some examples are heart monitors, oxygen tanks, and motorized wheelchairs, but generators are also used in some private homes as a backup source during a disaster.

The generator earned its moniker for a specific reason. It generates energy from combustibles like gas and diesel and converts them into electricity for your home or business. It operates based on the principle of electromagnetic induction, where it uses either an alternating current (AC) or a direct current (DC).

An inverter serves a similar function but works differently. It gets its power supply from an electricity source, usually a grid. Its primary function is to direct electricity from multiple sources. It can convert from a direct current to an alternating current. Unlike generators, inverters cannot convert energy from external sources. Instead, they have to connect to a power source to function, such as a battery or an electrical power supply. They also need water to work properly.

This should give you a general view of how generators and inverters work and what they do. However, knowing their distinctions requires further exploration. We’ve provided a basic guide that explains the differences between generators and inverters.


Because they don’t work as hard as generators, inverters are much easier to maintain. In fact, very little maintenance is required to keep an inverter running. Most inverters are smaller than generators and can last for more than 10 years. The only thing that needs care are the batteries, which you can replace once they’re worn. The only other issue is the water supply. The main thing is to make sure it’s at an adequate level for optimal performance. Plus, all you need to do is keep them clean. This helps inverters perform at an optimal level.

A generator is more complex and requires greater care to function. With generators, things are a little more complex. A generator relies on complex mechanisms to provide an alternate energy source. Most of the work within a generator includes a rotating motor that pumps fuel during active use. Constant motion facilitates eventual wear and tear, which leads to high maintenance costs. Like a motor vehicle, generators need oil changes and lubricant replacement. Small parts should be checked and replaced as necessary.


Because they use a motor to operate, generators can make a lot of noise. The sounds that come from the exhaust can be loud and disturbing at times. The engine is to blame because it emits sound from the exhaust and enhances its level. Inverters, on the other hand, have far less capacity for noise. The main reason for this is the microprocessor, which controls the bulk of the noise while the inverter is in full use. The only sound you might hear is at startup and is barely audible.


In spite of their high decibel output, generators have a greater capacity for amperage. This means that you can count on them to power up your home during an outage. In fact, they are capable of handling larger loads and may even be good for running most appliances like your refrigerator.

Inverters have less capacity for output due to their sizes. Low-voltage devices and appliances are a good match for an inverter, but an inverter can shut off your power supply if it detects the slightest surge. This is because it’s usually connected to an outside power source like a grid. Since inverters have only a moderate energy output, they’re ill-suited as a power source for your refrigerator and HVAC units. Inverters start immediately once your power is out, so turning them on requires very little effort.


Their capacity to burn fuel as an energy source makes generators a bit riskier compared to inverters. Due to fire safety risks, placing your generator away from your home is strongly advised. Plus, they produce more pollution by burning fossil fuels for energy use. Generators are not compatible with solar panels as an alternative power source. They use more turbine than inverters and don’t connect to a power grid.

Inverters put out less environmental toxins and are less of a fire risk compared to generators. They use a battery or another electricity source to provide power to your home. If you use solar energy, you’re in luck. Most inverters are an excellent match for solar-powered homes because they can connect to a grid much easier than a generator. Plus, inverters produce more power at a better frequency. Unlike generators, they don’t have to crank a motor, nor do they burn alternative fuel.


Most generators are huge, awkward, and take up a lot of space. You can move them around, but it requires a fair amount of muscle power. They are portable and are suitable for camping and other outdoor activities.

Inverters are small and compact and can fit almost anywhere. The bad news is that they’re not portable. You can’t move them around the house or take them outdoors, but you can have them installed in a single place as an extra power source.


Inverters cost more than power generators for several reasons. One is that they last longer and are safer for your appliances. Another is that they’re compact and can fit almost anywhere. Because they translate direct current into alternating current, they can provide a better power flow for your entire home, including your appliances. Generators are much cheaper and have greater capacity to provide more power during an outage. At first glance, a generator seems like a better investment than an inverter. But unlike inverters, generators require more maintenance and upkeep, and the costs add up. Although an inverter is more expensive, it might be a worthy investment in the long run.

The Bottom Line

Inverters and generators have their pros and cons. Generators have greater capacities and can power up most devices during an outage whereas inverters have a moderate capacity. Although generators make a lot of noise, the key aspect to bear in mind is that they can provide power to most major appliances like your refrigerator and stove. However, they can be a fire risk and require great care during installation. It’s best to put your generator in a safe place outside and at a distance from your home. An inverter is compact and can fit almost anywhere inside your home. Deciding which one is best for you requires more time and research.

At Potts Electric, we offer a variety of services. We provide electrical wiring for fans, light fixtures, and more. We offer electrical panel installation, maintenance, and repair. We even have financing options for electrical home repairs and installations. To learn more about our services, contact Potts Electric today.

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