Considerations for choosing a generator
Generators are used to perform a wide variety of tasks, and manufacturers offer a broad range of models to suit almost all potential users. Generators provide a high-quality power source that is reliable and convenient for a myriad of applications:
- Camping / Recreation / Boating
- Home Backup
- Construction / Rental
How much power?
Generators produce the same AC voltage available in your home, but a portable generator is limited in power output based on the engine horsepower.
The amount of power that a generator can produce is rated in watts. Rated power is generally 90 percent of maximum power because certain components lose efficiency as they are heated from use.
To determine wattage requirements, select which devices need to be powered simultaneously and the starting requirement of each device. Remember that with simple power management techniques, a small generator can provide adequate power for home or recreational applications.
Rated power, or the power that a generator can produce for long periods of time, is a more reliable measure of generator power than maximum power. Typically, the rated power is 90 percent of the maximum power.
For example, a 2,800-watt generator produces a maximum 2,800 watts of power. This means at maximum power this generator could light up 28 100-watt light bulbs at the same time. The rated wattage of this generator would be 2,500 watts and should only be used to power 25 100-watt light bulbs.
When considering your power needs, first determine the highest power application required, such as an air conditioner. The power required to start the capacitor motor will determine the maximum power of the generator you should choose for your application.
Sound level—Some generators, such as those from Honda, are known for their quiet operation. Honda has engineered exceptionally quiet-running, portable models, and offers options that may meet your needs at a lower cost.
Electric or recoil start—Honda engines are renowned for the ease of starting, even when only equipped with a manual recoil starter. Regardless, choice abounds.
Transportable or not so much—Many models available include standard wheel kits for easy movement of the generator from storage to where the unit will be used.
Convenience features—There’s always room for convenience! Honda Power Equipment launched its exclusive Honda My Generator Bluetooth App during the exceptionally active 2020 hurricane season.
The app, available on a number of Honda generator models, operates within a 75-foot line of sight, allowing the user to start (electric start models only) and stop the generator; monitor a range of information, such as output power, engine operating hours, oil life, (fuel level EU7000iS only), estimated run times based on power usage; as well as receive warnings and routine maintenance reminders.
The app also allows the user to control multiple, compatible Honda generators from a single mobile device.