What is the Difference Between an Inverter and Conventional Generator?

Difference Between an Inverter Generator and a Conventional Generator
When you are out for generator shopping, the most important thing you should know is the amount of power you would need for your use.

When you are out for generator shopping, the most important thing you should know is the amount of power you would need for your use. Moreover, if you know the fundamental difference between an inverter generator and a conventional generator, the selection decision would become more straightforward. Before proceeding, let’s give you a slight difference between the two generators. An inverter generator is designed to support lower wattage, such as using an inverter generator for smaller electronics. In contrast, conventional generators are capable of supporting more wattage.


How Do Conventional And Inverter Generators Work?

How do an inverter generator and conventional generator work

Now let’s dive into the mechanism of an inverter and conventional generator. Inverter generators are the latest invention in the creation of generators. They are more advanced and use the latest technologies. The electricity produced from an inverter generator is equivalent to electricity produced from your primary source. Most of these generators operate on fossil fuels. These generators have batteries, alternators, and inverters to draw power from the fuel tank. The current produced from this generator is a lot stable and that’s why it makes clean electricity. Due to their stability, inverter generators are very much silent.

However, a conventional generator operates on diesel, gasoline, or propane, with an alternator having an electrical output. Conventional generators are engineered to be very powerful. They have the potential to run at 3600rpm and operate 120 volts at a frequency of 60 hertz. The wattage range of a conventional generator starts at 300 watts and ends at 10,000+ watts. The drawback of a conventional generator is that it fluctuates at a higher rpm. That’s why it can’t generate ‘clean electricity.’ This is also the cause of the louder noise.


Differences between an inverter generator and a conventional generator

Now that we know how an inverter generator and a conventional generator work. Let’s highlight some of the main differences between the two generators.

Differences between an inverter generator and a conventional generator



The first and foremost difference between an inverter and a conventional generator is how they produce current. An inverter generator gives currents in three different phases that are high-frequency AC to DC and back to a stable AC current. At the same time, a conventional generator provides only AC electricity.

The inverter generator produces clean electricity and is much stable. This makes it unique. Due to its stability, there is minimal harmonic distortion. Its stable sine wave quality makes it a perfect and safe option for sensitive electronics like laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. In contrast, conventional generators don’t produce clean electricity, due to which there are a lot of fluctuations in current. That’s why it causes a lot of harmonic distortion. Its unstable sine wave can damage sensitive devices.


Power and fuel efficiency

Conventional generators are capable of producing more power than inverter generators. This is due to the size of the fuel tank. It’s also because of the mechanical difference of the current production. Due to their larger fuel tank, these generators are not fuel-efficient. The larger fuel tanks only allow a greater power output. Conventional generators can reach 10,000 watts.

Inverter generators are energy efficient. It’s so efficient that the engine automatically controls the load. Due to its energy efficiency, it has a smaller fuel tank. Moreover, it needs less fuel for basic running. Inverter generators can produce 1200 watts to 4000 watts.



Conventional generators are known to produce more power, due to which they are challenging to carry around. As these generators have a larger fuel tank and have a bigger engine because of their size and weight, it becomes harder to transport them from one place to another. The weights of most conventional generators exceed 100 pounds, and you need wheels to transport them. Inverter generators are easily portable generators due to it’s the smaller size of the fuel tank. They also don’t have more significant engines as they are known to produce less power. All these factors make inverter generators less in weight. That’s why they can be easily hand-carried. The inverter generator’s maximum weight is 100 pounds. Some of the inverter generators’ only weight is 40-60 pounds.



Generator noise must be highly considered when selecting it. Conventional generators mechanism makes them extremely loud and noisy due to which they are infamous. Plus, the bigger the size of a generator, the more noise it would create. If you plan to get a conventional generator, then be prepared for the notorious noise it will be producing while running. Its noise reaches up to 80 dB; this was measured from 23 feet away.

When we look at the inverter generator while considering noise, it only produces 54 – 58db. That’s a lot lesser than conventional generators. Inverted generators are designed in such a way that they have minimal noise.

You can always check the noise a generator produces in the product description. Many manufacturers label such things.


Parallel Connections

As inverter generators produce lesser energy hence, the manufacturer has given parallel connection options. With these connections, one can connect two inverter generators of the same model to make more power. Sadly conventional generators don’t offer any such feature as they are already powerful and hard to transport.



Generators produce greenhouse gas. Every state has its own rules and regulations to follow regarding the emission of greenhouse gas. Some of these laws are very strict when the generators have to be used in the national parks. It’s best if the generator is at least EPA compliant. Generators should be CARB compliant in the state of California.

Inverter generators throw much lesser greenhouse gas as compared to conventional generators. One can easily find an environmentally friendly inverter generator.



Conventional generators are lower in price as compared to inverter generators. If you want a lot of power output, then conventional generators are the most affordable option.

The inverter generator comes with many new features like extra quiet, more fuel-efficient, less emission of greenhouse gas. Moreover, there is a minimal harmonic distortion that keeps your devices safe from getting damaged. All of these additional features make these generators a lot more expensive than conventional generators.


When should one pick an inverter generator?

How to Pick the Perfect Inverter Generator

There are many positive aspects of an inverter generator as compared to a conventional generator. Inverter generators are lightweight, which makes them highly portable. These generators are very silent, plus they are much more fuel-efficient. One of the most significant characters these generators possess is that they don’t cause harmonic distortion; hence they are safer for sensitive electrical devices. The drawback of an inverter generator is that they are expensive and yet produces lesser power.

Inverter generators are convenient for occasional use or in activities like camping. If you want less power but clean electricity, then these generators are a suitable option for you.


When should one pick a conventional generator?

The most significant advantage of a conventional generator is that it produces much more power than an inverter generator. But these generators have a huge fuel tank that makes them heavier and hard to transport. Moreover, it creates a lot of noise and emits dangerous greenhouse gas. Conventional generators are used as an alternate in the home where we have an outage of power.


Which one is a better option?

The answer to this question would be that it depends on where you need to use the generator. Or how much power do you want to use? We have made your work a lot easier by giving you plenty of knowledge regarding both the generators. You can easily decide which one is the best generator for you.

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