Generator Guide: What Szie Generator Should You Buy?
Are you a keen DIYer regularly taking on household projects? Or a professional tradesman completing large-scale jobs? Either way, a high-quality generator is often an essential piece of kit. Yet, with a huge range of models designed for different tasks, from powering workshops to computer equipment, it’s important to choose one that’s right for you. That’s why we’ve put together this handy generator guide, so you can find one that perfectly suits the task at hand.
What to look for when buying a generator
We understand that figuring out which generator to buy is no mean feat. There’s a huge range of options to explore, from 2 kW diesel generators to small petrol models, big generators for the home to those for sensitive equipment. Whether you’re looking for a model that can keep up on the jobsite, or the best generator for home use, we’re here to help. We’ve spent some time putting together a simple checklist of considerations, so you know what to look for when buying a generator.
- Wattage – It’s important to consider wattage before you buy. You need to determine exactly how much power you’ll require for the items you wish to run.
- Domestic or professional – Some generators are designed specifically for hobbyists and leisure use; others are perfect for workshops and commercial use.
- Equipment – Do you want to run sensitive equipment such as computers or televisions straight from your generator? We have a range of inverter generators for sensitive electronics.
- Gasoline or diesel – You need to consider the total cost of ownership when investing in a new generator. With a comprehensive range of the best diesel generators and petrol models on the market, you’ll be able to pick the most cost-efficient fuel source for your power requirements.
- Outdoor Use – You may want to use your generator outside for activities such as camping. Find out how you can tell if a generator is weatherproof and whether it’s appropriate to use in wet conditions.
Standby & Specialist Generators – Do you want a back up power supply for your home? Or perhaps you need a specialist generator for industrial projects? Find out more about specialist and standby generators for home use.
Total Required wattage
Many people ask us “what size generator do I need?” The answer to this question depends on what it will be used for. All our models are rated to run at a certain wattage, so you must consider the amount of wattage you need your generator to produce. Regardless of whether you’ll be running camping equipment or a whole construction site, this is a vital step in the buying process – otherwise you might end up with a generator that isn’t fit for purpose.
Here are four key things to consider when it comes to wattage:
- You can find the individual wattages of an item on the equipment itself, in the user manual, on a manufacturer’s website, or by contacting the manufacturer by phone.
- What items do you want to run together? For example, if you want to run a slow cooker and a fan at the same time, you need the combined wattage of the equipment. If you’ll only ever run each item independently, then you just need to worry about the item with the highest wattage.
- Do the items have a starting wattage? Any piece of equipment with an induction motor will have a starting wattage, and therefore a higher wattage requirement. This includes chop saws, air compressors, vacuum cleaners, pressure washers, and freezers – anything with a motor in it. Simply multiply the item’s wattage by three to find its starting wattage.
- Give yourself some headroom. Just because your car can go 120 miles an hour, doesn’t mean that it’s suitable to drive at the maximum all the time. Your generator will be very much the same; a 4200W generator shouldn’t be used to power 4200 watts worth of equipment. Give yourself at least 20% head room.
So, what capacity generator do I need, exactly? Here’s how to work out what your final required wattage is:
All the individual equipment wattages for the items you wish to run together (x 3 if the item has an induction motor), + 20% head room = minimum wattage generator you require.
For example, to run a 250W slow cooker with a 650W hand drill the maths is:650W (drill) x 3 (starting wattage) = 1950W1950W (drill total) + 250W (slow cooker) = 2200W2200W + 20% = 2640W total required watts requiredGenerators are often listed in kVA (kilo-volt-amps) or kW (kilowatts). These are both measurements of power, just in slightly different formats. – To convert Watts (W) to KiloWatts (kW) divide by 1000 – Eg. 1000W = 1kW
– To convert KiloWatts (kW) to Kilo-volt-amps (kVA) divide by 0.8 – Eg. 1000W = 1kW = 1.25kVA
Do You Need A Generator Set for Home Use or Professional use?
To make it easier for you to work out which generator to buy, we’ve split our range into two categories: generators for domestic use and generators for professional use. Each comes with its own warranty specific to its intended purpose.
If you’re searching for a high-quality diesel or petrol generator for home use, then an BISON generator will be ideal. Designed to be run occasionally, they are perfect for doing household jobs requiring power tools, as a short back-up generator for outages, or for working in the garden. Each of our BISON domestic generators are fantastic value for money and perfect for home and hobbyist use.
If you’re planning to use the generator every day or commercially, we have a wide range of exceptional models that are up to the task. Renowned as some of the best generators made in the UK, each is designed to the highest of standards with energy efficiency and performance in mind.
Do You Need A Generator for Sensitive Electronics?
If you need to power anything with a microprocessor, you’ll need to buy a generator for sensitive electronics. This is because these types of equipment are considered sensitive to electrical power and shouldn’t be run directly from a conventional generator. For instance, items such as computers, phones, TVs, games consoles, printers, DVD players and even some kitchen appliances and power tools will require a generator for sensitive electronics. One simple solution is to run them from an inverter generator to prevent damaging them. These generators “invert” DC power back into AC power, resulting in a much “cleaner” power (pure sine waves).
Diesel VS Gasoline Generator : Which is right for you?
If you’re looking at both petrol and diesel models, you may be wondering which generator to buy in line with your needs. We know that choosing between a diesel or petrol generator for home use or work may seem arbitrary, but in reality there are key differences that you need to know, so you can work out which will be best for you.
Firstly, you need to think about the upfront and long-term costs of each option, as they vary significantly. Diesel generators tend to cost more out of the box than petrol alternatives. However, over the long term, diesel will give you a considerable saving on fuel, especially if you have access to red diesel. Plus, diesel generators will generally stand up to regular use.
As a rule of thumb, it you’re looking for a generator under 10 kva then you would purchase a petrol model. Over 10 kva you would look at diesel generators.