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Types of Generators

Portable Generator

Portable generators are small to medium sized machines that can power up necessary appliances, such as TVs, lights, or the refrigerator, in case of a planned or unexpected power outage. These generators run on gasoline, although some have diesel engines. They operate with a typical combustion engine, are easy to maintain, and the most cost-effective of all types of generators. The peace of mind from having a portable generator ready to go in case of an emergency could be significant.

At a construction site, generators are indispensable because they power up all your tools, small equipment, and lights. Tools and other devices can be plugged directly into these generators. Since they are small, they are easier to move around on a jobsite. Many larger gas-fueled models are wheeled, for easier mobility. Typically, smaller diesel-fueled generators are not as easy to move around because the diesel engine is heavier.

Portable generators can be noisy. This is typically not an issue around the jobsite, but for regular home use, the noise factor may be a consideration. They can be harder to start in colder weather and produce high emissions. They should never be run indoors, and proper ventilation is always required. Nevertheless, having a portable generator is a game changer in a natural disaster or other type of power outage and a helpful tool on the jobsite. If noise is a factor, it may be important to find a quiet generator. A quiet generator should have a decibel rating between 50dB to 65dB.

Battery Power

One solution to noise issues is to use equipment that runs on a battery rather than gasoline. Using battery-powered equipment reduces or eliminates emissions, vibration, and noise. Gas-powered equipment can cause vibration issues and a “gas headache” from longtime use. You won’t face these issues with batteries; they are quiet and cordless. Tools running on batteries can also remove physical hazards posed by cords and voltage drops. Battery-powered tools have the same durability as gas-powered tools and long run times. For anyone looking for quieter equipment and less fuel cost, using battery-powered equipment is a great option.

Inverter Generator

Unlike conventional generators, inverter generators produce a stable sine wave of energy. Conventional generators produce only AC energy, while inverter generators produce a high frequency AC to DC, and back to stable AC current. The result is a clean, quiet, and more efficient energy source.

Inverter generators produce the cleanest outputs since the engine does not run at full speed on a consistent basis. Regular generators normally operate at full speed. Since inverter generators do not run at full speed all the time, they electronically throttle up and down according to demand. This technology reduces engine fatigue and also lessens long-term fuel consumption.

They are also quieter than other generators making them a good choice for home use or if there are noise restrictions at the jobsite. Inverter engines are often more compact and lighter than conventional generators, which results in a quieter operation mode.

Inverter generators also offer a reliable, more stable source of energy, close to what you would experience from a home outlet. Since these engines are constantly adjusting their speed to accommodate only the power needs of the moment, the resulting emissions are much lower. Their steady stream of energy makes them a good choice when powering up sensitive electronic equipment because the current does not surge.

Industrial Generator

Industrial generators function much like any generator you would use on the jobsite, however, they have an industrial application. They are typically found at large industrial plants or pipelines. They are rugged and dependable and are used to power up commercial or industrial operations. They are normally larger units and built to perform under harsh conditions. They also provide a sustained source of power or act as a standby power source in the event of a power failure.

An industrial generator should be capable of producing 5,000W to 2MW of power and is fueled by diesel or natural gas. Natural gas is pumped directly into an industrial generator to power it up. Diesel generators work well for remote situations when there is no natural gas line or electricity. Within this industrial class, there are a couple options depending on your usage.


A portable industrial generator is a reliable source of backup power on the jobsite. They can run on diesel, gas, propane, or natural gas. Towable generators are mounted on trailers that hook up to vehicles to move around the jobsite as needs arise, or from job to job. Common applications are for powering up tools, lights, heaters, or computers on commercial and industrial sites. Like all industrial generators, they are rugged and meant to withstand harsh outdoor conditions. Towable units are especially beneficial for roadside jobs and when working at night. A portable industrial generator can serve as the main source of mobile jobsite power or used a backup in case of a main power outage.


Containerized industrial generators are high-powered units that have a large footprint and large fuel areas. They offer the same benefits as all generators just on a larger scale. They can be used at manufacturing plants and large-scale construction jobs. While they may come on a trailer, they are meant to be stationary for longer periods of time. They provide a prime or backup power source for the job at hand.

Standby Generator

A standby generator is basically a backup system for commercial or industrial use. They typically have an automatic transfer switch and turn on when the power is lost. They run on gasoline or diesel and can run for up to 48 hours. Standby generators provide a safe, seamless energy transmission in the event of a power loss; however, they are very costly and need regular maintenance. Typical applications include providing emergency power for elevators, fire protection systems, or hospitals and medical centers.
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