3 Things to Consider Before Buying your next Generator

Whether your power requirements are great or small, you have to consider when, where, and how you’ll use a generator to make sure it fits your needs

Whether you're camping off the grid or waiting for the power to come back on after a storm, a generator can provide electricity for several hours on a tank full of gas.WEN

For some people, a generator is one of those tools they never think they’ll use, but are dang sure glad they have one when they need it. Whether you stash one in your storage shed for emergency situations like when the power goes out after a storm, or you slide one into the back of your truck to help power up and recharge your camp-trailer batteries, a good generator is worth its weight in gold, and every year, manufacturers continue to make them quieter, more efficient, and easy to use. If you’re ready to buy your first generator or make an upgrade, here are a few things to consider.

Westinghouse iGen1200 Portable Inverter Generator 1000 Rated 1200 Peak Watts, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant


A super-quiet option can supply the electricity you need without the loud noise of a running gasoline motor.Westinghouse

If there had to be one turn-off about generators, it would likely be noise. Because units run on gas-powered engines to produce electricity, it’s hard to avoid the commotion that comes from something running at a high rpm. However, some manufacturers have figured out a way to tackle the problem and are producing units that can run so quiet, you might not even know they’re on. These units are typically more expensive, but it’s worth the cost, and if you plan to use a generator in a campground or area with noise ordinances, it’s a necessity.

WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant


Check the regulations wherever you go camping because there are some locations that only allow the use of clean-running, fuel-efficient options.WEN

Second to the noise, you’ll want to consider a generator’s exhaust system—especially if you plan to use it in an area with strict emissions regulations. Even if you’re not bound by law to use a unit that is kind to the environment, a model that doesn’t produce a high-volume of foul-smelling exhaust is much more pleasant to have in camp or on a job site than a generator that kicks out dark smoke and strong fumes.

Westinghouse WGen12000 Ultra Duty Portable Generator - 12000 Rated Watts & 15000 Peak Watts - Gas Powered - Electric Start - Transfer Switch & RV Ready - CARB Compliant


If you plan to run several high-power tools off your device, be sure to make sure the wattage rating is high enough to support everything you need to operate.Westinghouse

Lastly, but likely most importantly, you’ll need to determine how much power you’ll need at any given time. Some generators can punch out as little as a few hundred watts, while others produce several thousand. A few lights won’t require much, but things like camper air conditioners, microwaves, and portable hair dryers suck a lot of juice. High-watt units are often more expensive, heavier, and bulkier than low-watt generators, but if you think your power needs might require a substantial amount of electricity, you’ll want to spring for the highest-producing model you can afford.