Buyers Guides

Generator Buyers Guide

Question 1 - What type of generator do i need..?
 
1. Recreational Range Of Generators  
 
  • Camping, Camper Trailers, Caravans, Motor Homes, Boating, Fishing, 4WD
  • Small Domestic Use, Small Mobile Businesses, Small Events & Festivals
About this range:  All units in this range are Inverter Generators; the inverter technology produces ultra clean voltage so you can power sensitive electronics like phones, laptops, TV’s etc. Lightweight, quiet, compact and economical. Popular for charging your camping battery packs, running caravans and your favourite home and camping appliances. Also used for small portable backup requirements during blackouts, small events and for food vans, mobile businesses. Click here to view our recommended models for this range
 
 
2. Emergency Backup Range of Generators  
 
  • Running appliances during mains power blackouts, Direct Backup to house mains, Direct Backup for small businesses
  • Backup to off-grid solar power, Auto-Start backup power, Remote power requirements
About this range:  Includes smaller inverter generators right up to larger AVR (automatic voltage regulation) generators, all suitable to run your domestic and small business appliances; your choice just depends on how many appliances and how big they are. There are petrol, diesel generators in this range. Auto-start models for automatic operation are also available. Popular with people living in storm prone areas, as well as remote properties and people living off-grid with solar power. Click here to view our recommended models for this range
 
 
3. Portable Trade Range of Generators  
 
  • Construction Sites, Building, Tradesmen Work, Mining, Farming, Agribusiness, Rural Properties, Tools, Welding 
  • Factory & Plant Maintenance, Hire Industries 
About this range:  Petrol and Diesel Generators in both Single and Three Phase power, suited for all trade applications. Built tough, typically with steel rollover frames and fitted with condenser style alternators making them suitable for resistive and heavy loads. Work Cover Approved models available which include the necessary worksite safety features. Other specialised trade genset types include; Welder Generators, Workstation Generators and Mine Specification Generators. Click here to view our recommended models for this range
 

4. Stationary Range of Generators 

  • Standby generators for commercial applications , Mine Sites, Agriculture, Events, Council & Government Buildings

About this range : This range is mostly diesel gensets, to be installed permanently to run businesses , mine sites, events etc. Click here to view our recommended models for this range

 

Question 2 - What size generator do i need for my application..?

Depending on how you will use your generator, there are different categories to meet your needs. This can include recreation, home standby and construction. The right generator size is the one that is correctly matched to power all the tools / appliances you want to run at the same time. If you purchase a generator that is to big it will not only be more expensive, but will not run as efficiently as the a correct size generator would. On the other hand if the generator is too small, some of your equipment may not give it maximim output, and therefore its lifespan is reduced.   

The most common question that everyone looking to buy a generator asks is 'What size generator do i need..? We have put together useful and much needed information that you can use to size the correct generator needed so you don’t waste your time and money.

You have to work the amount of watts that the tools / appliances you’ll be running use, and remember that with some appliances or tools the number wattage that is listed on the appliance is not an exact representation of the amount that it takes to run it. For instance, a 900w microwave simply means that’s how much power the microwave itself puts out. The key point to remember is that a appliance will always require more power to run than the amount of power it puts out.

You need to figure exactly how much wattage your appliances require, look at the data tag by the manufacturer. This is the tag on the unit that lists volts, amps, horsepower, cycles, phase, etc. Most often, appliances list their power consumption in amps rather than in watts. In order to get the watts the device requires to run you simply multiply the number of amps by the number of volts it lists.

Another factor you will need to calculate is the starting wattage. What this means is that some appliances, such as those that contain an electric motor, require more watts to start up than to actually run. These include refrigerators, air conditioners, power tools, air compressors, bore pumps to name a few. To calculate the starting watt requirement, with most appliances it is generally 2 to 3 times more than the running watt requirement.

Make a list of all the appliances / tools you wish to run at the one time, and once you have compiled an accurate list of what you will be operating, you can calculate the maximum power requirements. 

So for example, if you’re planning to run a bar fridge (180W) with toaster (500W), TV (200W) and a portable fan (40W) at the same time, you’re looking at 920W.

Then work out which of these appliances has the highest starting power, and add that amount to the total. So if the bar fridge has the highest starting power of 600W, the total is 920 + 600 = 1520W.

If your list does not include any devices that use electric motors, simply add the power (running) requirements of all the items on your list to obtain the maximum power needed.

With this total calculated , you would need a generator with at least 1520 watts of continious power to run these appliances all together. But we always advise people to get a generator with slightly more than you need, as you don’t want to risk overloading it… Selecting a generator that doesnt have a continious output of this total means you won’t be able to start or run your required appliances when you need them most. 

Also, most generators can sustain only 80% of their maximum power for the long haul. So if you continuously push your generator to over 80% of its maximum power, you will shorten its life and risk damaging the appliances connected to it.  While you don’t want to go too big, make sure you get something slightly more powerful than you need.