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cost of a generator

How Much Do Portable Generators Cost? ( Price & Cost Breakdown )

Do you need to go on a trip and worry that you won’t have electricity? Will you be away from home for several days and have to stay connected to civilization? What you need to correct these situations and any others where there is a power failure or difficulty in accessing the supply, is a portable generator.

Join us to discover all the different types; their prices, features, and functions of these devices that will change the way you do outdoor activities.

Types of Portable Generators and Cost

Talking about prices can be an uncomfortable topic for some, vital for others, but necessary for everyone, and more so when you go to buy new equipment to improve your quality of life. This is just what happens when we talk about the price of a portable generator. Before going into details about the price of this equipment, we must remember that the prices of electric generators vary according to their power and other characteristics.  

However, to better understand the price of portable generators, we can categorize them into 5 types.

1. Power banks

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Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

power bank
Charging mobile phone whilst hiking using a power bank

Power banks are the cheapest types of portable generators. Their prices range between around $15 to a few hundred dollars. They act as a portable electrical outlet, consisting primarily of a battery, charging control electronics, and one or two USB ports. When a smartphone or tablet is connected to it, automatic charging begins.

The vast majority of power banks are pocket-sized flashlights, while others look and size similar to a smartphone. The weight of these devices range from just 69 to 160 grams.

The price depends primarily on the capacity of the power bank, followed by its quality. Avoid products of unknown origin. Cheap devices, which are also very roomy, should raise our doubts immediately. Overpaying for the products of large, well-known companies is also not necessary. The most important parameter to pay attention to when choosing a power bank is expressed in milliampere-hours (mAh).

The smallest power banks have a capacity of 2000 – 2600 mAh. The largest – 10 times more. This capacity, unfortunately, cannot be taken literally. The fact that the power bank has a capacity of 6600 mAh, and the battery of our phone has 2200 mAh, does not mean that we can charge it exactly three times. Power losses from these devices are inevitable.

Depending on what you will use the power bank for, you should pay attention to its capacity. And so, for smartphones, the most suitable power banks will be those with a capacity of 4000 – 5000 mAh, while for tablets more powerful batteries with a capacity of at least 10,000 mAh are recommended, which will significantly increase their dimensions and weight. 

Read our review of the Best Power Banks here ↗️


2. Larger portable power stations

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Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Suaoki portable power station
Power Stations are similar to power banks just much larger and more powerful

The price of larger portable power stations goes hand in hand with the maximum power they can produce. Knowing this, you can find 1500W models for $199, while one reaching 5500W can cost $2500.

But that’s not the only factor influencing the price, if you want a silent portable generator of 2000W or 3000W, you’ll need to invest between $600 and $900.

Having this feature increases its value, but it is a price that will bring you comfort and more freedom when using it since it will not produce uncomfortable noises. 

These devices can charge more smaller appliance multiple times or for longer or can be used to power much large wattage items like heating and lights.

See our main review of the best ones here ↗️


3. Inverter portable generators

WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter...
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  • Includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, two 5V USB ports, and a two-year warranty

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

tailgate party
Perfect for any outdoor event or Party

In another price category, we find models that are Inverters, especially for use with low power equipment such as appliances. You can get these portable inverter generators as low as $400.

An inverter is an electrical device that converts the direct voltage into alternating voltage or direct current into alternating current.

The motor and the generator are separated from each other, i.e. both do not run at the same frequency. The generator connected supplies a perfect sine voltage in the desired frequency and voltage.

The frequency range may vary from +5% to – 10%. This is within the tolerance range of computers etc. However, power generators without inverters (also depending on the load) sometimes fluctuate by + 25%. This has a negative impact on sensitive electronics.

The use of normal power generators can lead to damage or total failure of sensitive electronic devices. With an inverter power generator, however, the frequency and voltage are formed into an optimal sine curve.

An inverter power generator is mainly used when you want to connect high-quality sensitive electrical devices, such as a freezer, refrigerator, microwave oven, computer, charger, hi-fi device, television, satellite receiver. It is important that the peak power of the inverter is adequately designed due to the starting current.

Read our complete review here ↗️


4. Dual Fuel Gasoline generators 

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Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Champion 3500watt Generator
Dual Fuel generators give you more options when away from home

The so-called “Dual Fuel” generators can be operated with gasoline as well as gas. This allows unprecedented flexibility and reliability in the supply since one is no longer dependent on only one energy source.

The cost of dual-fuel gasoline generators ranges from $800-3500. If one energy source is out of reach, you can still access the other. 

A generator is an ingenious piece of engineering that comprises a generator head, engine, fuel line, and power outlet. This is called an engine-generator set as it combines an electricity generator (similar to the wire and magnet setup of high school days) with an internal combustion engine.

Fueling the engine causes it to power the generator head using rotational force, much like a car engine. This mechanical energy is converted into electricity which is conducted out of the generator head to the outlet where it is ready for your use.

Dual fuel generators provide the option of powering your generator with the traditional choice of gasoline or Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and other alternatives, which can be a cheaper and cleaner option.

Read our review – Best Dual Fuel Generators ↗️


5. Whole house generators

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Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

whole house generator
Capable of running your entire home for many hours and even days

Whole house generators are those that can power all your devices at home. They start at around $3000 and can reach $8,000 for private use and up to $20,000 for professionals.

The single-phase generator set includes options such as 12 V outputs for connecting your small electrical devices and an inverter that will protect against any voltage overload.

With a power of 7kW to 16 kW, these groups of generators are, in general, equipped with an auto-reversing start for more security, an inverter, and reinforced safety.

And finally, for renovation or construction sites, it will be preferable to use a three-phase generator (although it is possible to use single-phase), with a power between 3 and 10 kW. 

Read a complete review- Whole-home gens ↗️


Misconceptions about the price of generators

Compared to large power generators, smaller portable models often cost more, despite their size. This is due to the technology needed to be packed into such a small device which costs more.

This makes it clear that in addition to price and wattage, other criteria such as size/weight, volume, fuel type, engine timing (2 or 4 stroke), inverter technology, or the starting system are also decisive when choosing the right power generator.

Conclusion: Price of Portable Generators

No matter what your budget is, there’s a suitable generator for all budgets and price points. I know of a few really top-class portable Generators under $500 which pack a punch and will run most home appliances for hours on end.

These make perfect backup generators in an emergency or blackout. We have even seen businesses be able to continue to run and trade through a power outage which means that the cost of purchasing one is offset from their earnings.

If you are unsure what size generator you’ll need, you could always check out our Wattage Calculator which will make purchasing the right one easier.

All the article on Oofgrid offer help and practical advice for using and purchasing a portable generator. However, We are enthusiasts and not qualified electricians. Always seek professional advice when working with electrical or Petrol appliances.