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Inverter generator comparison and advice

The inverter generator market offers such a bewildering array of brands and features that it is very difficult to decide which make and model is best for your needs.

Most inverter generators are sold for leisure activities, such as camping, caravanning and motorhomes, boating and hobbies. This is because they need to be portable, and able to power sensitive equipment such as laptops and TVs safely. It's the inverter technology that produces the smooth power required.

We sell over 30 different models of inverter generator which can be confusing, so we've created this page to help explain more about the important factors you need to consider when purchasing, and we'll also compare some of the leading inverter generators on the market today.

calculating how much power you need from your generator

For this section we'll assume that you're looking to buy an inverter generator for leisure activities or light duties around the home. Calculating the power you need is fairly simple if you know where to look.

Every appliance has a Rated Wattage and also a Starting or Max Wattage written or stamped on it. Some appliances use more power to start up than they do to run and this is something you need to keep in mind. Typically, only household appliances like fridges, washing machines and dish washers have significant starting requirements.

Looking at the chart opposite, you can see the huge variation in wattage required by different appliances that you might take with you on a camping trip. Using these values you can see that a 1000W generator might be enough to power a radio, computer  or TV (even all three!), but not enough for a hair dryer. If you wanted to put the kettle on without turning off the TV, you'd need at least 3000W, which is a huge leap in terms of cost, weight and noise.

 

Games Console - 50W

LCD TV - 75W

Radio - 200W

Computer/Laptop - 400W

Hair Dryer - 1000W

600W Microwave - 1500W

Kettle - 2500W

Fan Heater - 3000W


If you'd like us to do your power calculation for you, just give us a call for free on 01296 871047 and we'll be happy to talk you through everything.

 

Comparing 12 of the leading portable inverter generators

Loncin
LC2000i

loncin lc2000i 2kva/1.6kw petrol inverter suitcase generator
£492.00
2kVA/1.6kW
1 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 21kG
Noise: 61dB(A)
Engine: Loncin LC148F
View Full Details

Champion
72301i-e

Champion 72001i-e 2.5kva/2.0kw inverter petrol generator
£544.99
2.5kVA/2.3kW
3 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 25kG
Noise: 53dB(A)
Engine: Champion
View Full Details

Hyundai
HY2000Si

hyundai hy2000si 2.75kva/2.2kw inverter suitcase petrol generator
N/A
2.75kVA/2.2kW
2 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 27kG
Noise: 58dB(A)
Engine: Hyundai-HX125
View Full Details

Kipor
IG2600P

kipor ig2600p 2.3 kva digital suitcase generator
£563.00
2.3kVA/2kW
3 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 29.5kG
Noise: 65dB(A)
Engine: OHV KG166
View Full Details

Pramac
P2000i

pramac p2000i 2.5kva/2kw inverter suitcase petrol generator
£635.00
2.5kVA/2kW
1 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 22kG
Noise: 59dB(A)
Engine: Yamaha MZ80
View Full Details

Stephill
SHX1000

stephill shx1000 1kva/900w honda powered suitcase generator
£540.00
1kVA/0.9kW
1 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 14kG
Noise: 64dB(A)
Engine: Honda GHX50
View Full Details

Champion
73001I-E

champion 73001i-e 3.8kva/3.1kw inverter petrol generator
£708.00
3.8kVA/3.1kW
3 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 38kG
Noise: 58dB(A)
Engine: Champion OHV
View Full Details

Loncin
LC3500i

loncin lc3500i 3.3kva/3.0kw inverter suitcase generator
£825.00
3.3kVA/3kW
1 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 45kG
Noise: 52dB(A)
Engine: Lon. LC170FD
View Full Details

SDMO
iPro 2000

sdmo ipro 2000 2.0kva/1.6kw yamaha powered inverter generator
£889.99
2kVA/1.6kW
2 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 21kG
Noise: 60dB(A)
Engine: Yamaha MZ175
View Full Details

Honda
EU10i

Honda EU10i inverter generator
£950.00
1kVA/1kW
5 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 13kG
Noise: 52dB(A)
Engine: Honda GXH50
View Full Details

Honda
EU22i

hHonda EU22i 2.2kva/2.2kw inverter petrol generator
£1058.99
2.2kVA/2.2kW
5 Year Warranty
Recoil Start
Weight: 21.1kG
Noise: 52dB(A)
Engine: Honda GXR120
View Full Details

SDMO
iPro 3000e

sdmo ipro 3000e 3.0kva/2.8kw yamaha powered inverter generator
£1,450.00
3kVA/2.8kW
2 Year Warranty
Electric Start
Weight: 68kG
Noise: 59dB(A)
Engine: Yamaha MZ175
View Full Details

 

How long can you expect an inverter generator to last?

There are many factors which will dictate how long your inverter generator will last, all of which you more or less have control over.

1. What you use your generator for. The less strain you put on your generator the longer it will last, so if you need 1900W and your generator produces 2000W, it won't last as long as a generator that produces 3000W and is under less strain.

2. How long your run your generator for. Inverter generators are not designed to run for long periods without a break, but with light-medium usage they should comfortably run for 1000+ hours. If you run your inverter generator for 8 hours non-stop every day, you can expect it to last a much shorter time.

 

3. Which brand you buy. Don't look at all inverter generators and think they are much the same, there are large differences in engines and build quality across the range. Honda engines are expensive but reliable and strong, Chinese engines tend to be the opposite. You always get what you pay for (with the odd exception) so look at our comparison tables. Our sales team have experience of dealing with happy and unhappy customers, so if you're unsure then a call to them is the best thing to do.

4. How you maintain your generator. Like all engines, generator engines need to be properly maintained and stored to ensure they last and run well. This factor can also affect your warranty so you should always follow the manufacturer's guidelines for maintenance.

Warranties are an important guideline when trying to work out how long a generator might last you for. If a manufacturer is willing to provide a long warranty then you can be sure they are confident the generator will last for that long.

 

Taking a closer look at inverter generator warranties

Not all generator warranties are the same, in fact there are some large differences which you should certainly be aware of before making your purchase. Here we've summarised some of the key facts you need to know so you can compare warranties across all of our inverter brands. For full warranty information you should visit the manufacturer's website.

Champion

Champion Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 3 Years (non-commercial)
Engine 3 Years
Parts 3 Years
Labour 1 Years
Return to Manufacturer Yes
Registration Required Yes

Hyundai

Hyundai Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 2 Years
Engine 2 Years
Parts 2 Years
Labour 1 Year
Return to Manufacturer Yes
Registration Required No

Pramac

Pramac Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 1 Year
Engine 1 Year
Parts 1 Year
Labour 1 Year
Return to Manufacturer Yes
Registration Required No

Briggs & Stratton

Briggs & Stratton Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 2 Years
Engine 2 Years
Parts 2 Years
Labour 2 Years
Return to Manufacturer Yes (authorised dealer)
Registration Required No

 

Loncin

Loncin Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 1 Year
Engine 1 Year
Parts 1 Year
Labour 1 Year
Return to Manufacturer Yes
Registration Required No

SDMO

SDMO Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 2 Years
Engine 2 Years
Parts 2 Years
Labour 2 Years
Return to Manufacturer Yes
Registration Required No

Kipor

Kipor Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 3 Year
Engine 3 Year
Parts 2 Year
Labour 1 Year
Return to Manufacturer Yes - or authorised repair centre
Registration Required Yes (within 2 months)

Stephill

Stephill Generator Warranty
Overall Warranty 1 Year
Engine 1 Year SHX1000 / 3 Years SHX2000
Parts 1 Year
Labour 1 Year
Return to Manufacturer Yes
Registration Required Yes

 

Manufacturers and engines - what you should know

The most important element of your generator is the engine, and this is also what influences the price more than anything else.

If you take a quick look at our comparison table, the Stephill and SDMO inverter generators initially stand out as being very expensive based on specification, kVA etc. But a closer look reveals that they use Honda and Yamaha engines respectively, and these engines are far superior to any other available on the market today.

There is no denying that cheap generators are flooding the market, and these are generally powered by engines which are mass produced in China. We hear plenty of stories of these cheap generators not lasting 3 months, never mind 3 years.

If you buy a Honda or Yamaha powered generator you can be sure that you are buying quality. If you look after the engine, it should last you way beyond any warranty period and be totally reliable. If you decide that you don't want to pay the premium, what are the other options available across our range?

Champion - Take a look at the video about Champion generators which is available when viewing any Champion product on this website. They are a company who care about their products and customers - as such they have produced an excellent engine of their own at an incredible price.

Loncin - This manufacturer's parent company is Barrus, one of the world's leading engine manufacturers for industry, marine and domestic products. Not quite as good as Honda or Yamaha, but almost.

Hyundai - They make good cars, but their generator division is a completely separate company so don't think that you're buying into that reputation. These engines are made in China and don't compare to the Honda or Yamaha engines. They do offer fairly good value for money though.

Briggs & Stratton - A well respected manufacturer with a proven and technically advanced and highly efficient engine. Not an industry leader but solid enough.

Kipor - If you read the online reviews it seems that Kipor generators split opinion, but they are very popular in the boating and caravanning community. They are 1/3 of the price of an equivalent Honda, so don't expect the same quality, but they do offer value for money.

 

lpg and dual fuel generators - worth the extra money?

LPG or dual fuel is a relatively recent option on inverter generators, but is it worth it and would you save money over the lifetime of your purchase?

We only currently offer Hyundai LPG or Dual Fuel inverter generators on this site, but that's enough to be able to tell a story. In short, this option is very expensive at the point of purchase, but are there benefits other than savings on fuel over 2-3 years?

Looking at the chart opposite, you can see the huge variation in premium you pay for an LPG version of a generator. On the smallest Hyundai there is little chance you would recoup your investment, so why else buy an LPG generator?

The benefits, especially for caravanners, are two-fold. Firstly, you can run the generator for a lot longer before needing to refuel (first the petrol, then the LPG), and secondly LPG is a common fuel on campsites, so replenishing your fuel is (theoretically) easier.

 

Hyundai 1000Si | LPG version costs 76% more

Hyundai 2000Si | LPG version costs 52% more

Hyundai 3000Si | LPG version costs 47% more

Hyundai 3600SEi | LPG version costs 26% more


As you can see from the figures above, LPG generators become more affordable as you increase the power. More kVA or Watts = better value.
 
LPG generators offer convenience as well as cheaper fuel costs - consider both before making your choice.

 

additional generator features that you might consider

There are some very useful features available on these small inverter generators.  Let's take a closer look at what's on offer.

Low Oil Shut-Off Sensor - These small inverter generators don't hold much oil and need to be regularly topped up. Without this sensor you run the risk of seriously damaging the engine if you forget.

Parallel Connections - Some of these generators can be linked up to double or even treble the power. This is a great option and gives you access to more power when you need it.

Economy (fuel save) Mode - With this feature, the generator automatically adjusts the engine speed according to the load. This saves fuel, cuts emissions and reduces noise. 

 

Electric / Key or Remote Start - Nice features to have for convenience, and the remote start option could allow you to store your generator outside and operate it from inside.

Trolley / Wheel Kit - At anywhere between 15-45kG in weight, you need to consider whether you can comfortably move your generator around by lifting it.

Digital Overload Protection - This feature protects your generator if there is a spike in power, which can damage the engine and shorten the life of your generator.

12v DC battery charging outlet - A necessity for caravanners.

USB Sockets - Remove the necessity to travel with extra cables and plugs - this is a modern feature that will surely be on all generators in the future.