Power Inverter Vs Generator – What’s The Difference 2023?

When it comes to surviving a blackout or camping with all the power you need, getting a generator is the best chance. If you’ve ever been to a store for a generator, you know how confusing it can get to choose the right one. You’ll have many considerations while choosing a power backup machine; the first and the most important consideration’s its type. There are two options you can go with: the power inverter vs generator.

Power inverters are incredibly popular today because of their size and efficiency to some extent. However, the traditional portable generators are not too behind, even better sometimes at power delivery. What should you pick as your daily driver and rely on when you need backup power? To answer that question, I’ll get you through the differences between them and help you choose the best hope for a black night.

Power Inverter Vs Generator: Main Differences

There are too many things to consider if you’re planning to get the best power backup that can serve you the most. Here are the main differences between power inverter vs generator that can help you decide which one to go with:


Size And Portability

The size defines how portable the machine will be, which might be the most important consideration, especially if you’re a camper.

Power inverter

The power inverters usually come in use most for portability; you will find inverter generators you can carry with one hand. The size of the power inverter makes it light, and the inner components make it even compact.


The main purpose of the generators is to deliver longer support and a better power supply. You’ll get 10-12 hours of continuous electric support from a generator, no matter the type of device.

Fuel Capacity & Efficiency

Fuel Capacity & Efficiency

The fuel capacity is important in a backup device because you may not get back on the grid for days after a hurricane!

Power inverter

The fuel capacity of the inverters is limited because of the compact design and smaller fuel tanks. However, you will get much better fuel efficiency in an inverter compared to a generator. Inverters can save you up to 40% of the fuel burning and give you about 10 hours of running time.


The generators are not size-centric devices; instead, they come with better fuel capacities and a little bigger. You will get much larger fuel tanks with generators because they come with a larger engine with a bigger tank on that. However, be sure that you’re okay with the generator’s weight making a good match for the application.

Power Source & Quality Output

The power source of a backup device and the quality of the output determines how good the service and the result will be from it.

Power inverter

A power inverter converts the AC into DC, and then digitally converts it back to a cleaner AC. The proper sine wave electricity in the inverter generator process makes it much efficient for better power output. However, you have a much less option in inverter generators if you need higher power because they come only between 1000 to 4000 watts of power output.


The traditional portable generator runs on a combustible fuel; it’s usually gasoline or propane. It generates current using a mechanical alternator and produces AC out of the outlet. They work with a modified sine wave and are less power efficient, especially when you’re running sensitive electronics. Despite the shortcoming, the traditional generator can produce a higher output wattage anywhere between 500 to 50000 watts.

Noise Levels And Exhaust

The exhaust system in a generator and its noise can make a huge difference, especially if you’re camping with others or need a quiet operation.

Power inverter

The power inverters are significantly quieter and more efficient at delivering power with less noise. If you have to be close to the generator while running it and need a quiet place as well, a power inverter is the one you want to go with. It can stay on idle mode or eco mode and make less noise; even the highest power would make about 50-60 dB of noise.


A generator, on the other hand, will produce a much higher noise than a power inverter. It won’t be a good choice to go with a portable generator if you need a quiet operation. If you’re planning to use it while you’re camping or use it in a dene neighborhood, think again. You might have to get a long extension cable and give it soundproofing to use it in a crowded area.

Where To Use

Another consideration before you get a generator is the place you’re going to use it as it’s going to put a lot more perspective on the application.

Power inverter

You can carry the inverter generator easier than the traditional one. They come with a small, handheld design and fit in a very small area. You can easily run it inside your home as they make far less toxic emissions and noise.


The generators are great if you’re planning to use it in an open area and need a bigger power source. However, if you have a small space in your RV or boat, the generator won’t fit inside a narrow space easily. Plus, you have to use a long extension cable if you have to stay out of the noise while camping

Pros & Cons

The overall advantages and disadvantages of the inverters and generators will drive you to the right choice.

Power inverter

The power inverters are hands down, the best option if you not in need of very high power and need higher efficiency. The main advantages of the inverter are fewer noise levels, clean current, and less emission. However, they are far expensive than generators and have less wattage output.


The main advantage of using a generator is higher wattage output, and they are less expensive. If you don’t need a quite operation or don’t use any sensitive electric devices, a generator will be just fine.

Power Inverter Vs Generator – Which One Is Right For You?

To decide which one you’re going with, you must decide the type of objective you have or the generator. If you’re going to use your generator on RV, boat, or need it for camping, the best choice is to go with an inverter. Especially, it will be the best option if you need less noise while using it.

If you have a small budget to invest in the machine and don’t need a quiet operation, go for a generator. Generators come in cheaper than the inverters, and they can deliver you almost any level of output you want from 500 to 5000 watts.

Final Thought

Using a generator can keep you on the go while you’re out, with the need for power to keep the light up. It can help you get your house the power it needs when you have a blackout or while camping out. When it comes to choosing between power inverter vs generator, a traditional generator is fine, especially if you have to save money.

If you have no problem with the budget, you can get multiple identical inverter generators and pair them up for any amount of current output. You can easily run sensitive electric devices like stereo and audio equipment with an inverter while a generator will help you run bigger electric devices easier.

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