What is an Inverter Generator?

With any new technology, it’s common for people to become easily confused with the terminology and applications associated with them.

If you have been looking to purchase the best generator, for instance, you have probably come across the term inverter generator.

An inverter generator is a relatively new technology and has not been around for long. Understandably, you would be forgiven for not knowing about this unit.

For this reason, we have dedicated this article, solely to help you understand more about inverter generators. Here, we shall answer all questions surrounding this new technology, look at how it works, as well as its benefits and drawbacks.

What is an Inverter Generator

An inverter generator, like the name, suggests 2-in-1 electrical device that combines both a generator and an inverter is a single unit.

An inverter generator is an electrical device that generates AC output from the electrical energy.

At the bare minimum, an inverter generator is similar to the conventional generator, and thus, plays the role of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy through electromagnetic induction.

But beyond the basic principles of energy conversion, there is a huge disparity between these two devices.

How Does an Inverter Generator Work?

Like the conventional generator, an inverter generator produces an AC output, but this energy is converted to DC power, and then "Inverted" back to clean AC voltage, thus its name.

The inverted AC output as opposed to the raw, high voltage multiphase AC power you get from the conventional generator.

Inverter Generator Output Vs. Conventional Generator Output

Sure, both of these electrical devices will provide you with an AC output, and why should I care about the inverted output?

See, an inverter generator comes with a built-in microprocessor engineered for completing the conversion process. The inverter is specially designed to generate a smooth, stable, clean, and consistent power that is even comparable to what you get from your wall output.

The essence of a Clean Output

When a conventional generator is producing power, it creates a square-shaped wave when the two sides of the switch are joined.

Though the square wave is not comparable to the true sine wave generated by an inverter generator, it will allow almost all AC equipment to function normally. However, their operation is not with the efficiency you would see in a true sine wave.

Again, with an increasing number of devices using a sensitive electronic circuitry, having a square wave, which is commonly associated with fluctuating voltage can result in their damage.

an inverter generator

Characteristics of an Inverter Generator

Now that we have defined an inverter generator let us see at the distinctive characteristics of these models.

However, understand that the characteristics of an inverter generator might overlap with those of a standard generator, depending on many factors, including the brand.


Generally, inverter generators are lightweight and are available with a compact design.

This is to mean they are easy to lift, to carry, and to store.

So, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, who is always on the move, and inverter generator will provide you with the needed maneuverability.

Cleaner Power

A major highlight of the inverter generator is that they produce clean and stable power.

 We have already mentioned that these generators have an advanced electronic circuitry that will convert mechanical energy into AC power, then to DC and later invert it into AC.

When energy goes through the entire process, it comes out when it’s clean, smooth, and devoid of any fluctuations or surges.

The benefit of such a stable power is that it makes it ideal for use on your sensitive appliances. With an inverter generator, you can virtually power all your appliances without worrying about the destruction at their structural integrity.


Another major benefit of the inverter generator is they run on variable speed, thus providing energy only when it's needed.

This is opposed to the conventional generator which always runs at a constant speed, regardless of the load.

An inverter generator can adjust its speed to meet the demands of a specific load. For instance, if you are drawing small amounts of power, or rather you are not powering a power-hungry appliance, an inverter generator will slow its speed, and adjust its performance for optimal results.

Aside from efficiency in performance, you'll also love the fact that efficiency is tied to fuel efficiency and thus, you'll save a lot of fuel with an inverter generator.

Reduced Noise

If you are in an urban setting or tailgating, where serenity and quietness are of the essence, an inverter generator can be quite handy.

Unlike a conventional generator which consistently operates at a constant speed, an inverter generator will throttle back when the power load is not high, and this helps to reduce the noise produced.

Since the inverter generator will power up and down, depending on demand, so does its noise, and if you are not asking it to do too much, it will make less noise. In any case, users attest to the fact that an inverter generator will produce noise levels similar to that of a normal conversation.


You probably knew there was a “but” coming. Yes, inverter generators are not the too perfect electronics we have seen.


A major drawback of these models boils down to the cost.

Expectedly, with all the awesome features and benefits of the inverter generator, you will have to dig deeper into your pockets.

The good thing is, or at least what I think is that the cost is called for as you’ll surely get value or your money.

So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself an inverter generator.

David Hughes

Hey, I’m David Hughes - a free spirit with a passion for power tools blogging. With more than a decade in the construction field, my mission is to help the everyday workers realize their dream by sharing on creative ideas, tips, and reviewing products.

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