How to Choose the Right Generator

If you own a generator, I’m guessing you’re glad you made the decision to acquire one. Especially because our power grid becomes less reliable every year.

Your generator has probably already come in handy. And even if you’ve been fortunate enough to not need it yet, you have peace of mind.

That’s because you know if your power does goes out – whether for a few hours, several days or even a week or more – you’re ready for it.

You are prepared to keep the lights on and critical electronic devices running. Even if the rest of your neighborhood goes dark.

Peace of mind on the way

If you don’t yet own a generator, I’m hoping this will be your wake-up call. You too can put yourself in a position where you don’t have to worry about your power going out during a storm.

You can experience the same peace of mind other generator owners have. Why? Because you and your family will be protected.

As with most products in America, there are many choices when it comes to generators. Determining which features are most important to you will make this process much easier.

It will allow you to eliminate generators that are undesirable or unrealistic for your situation. And narrow down the possibilities to a manageable number.

Considering the options

Today I’m going to tell you what I believe are the most important features of a generator.

These comments are not based on my personal opinions. But rather on the extensive research I’ve done. And, just as important, on what Americans such as you have told me.

You’ve probably already considered some of these features as you’ve thought about which generator you want to purchase.

But perhaps you haven’t considered all of them. After reading this communication, you may end up asking, “Why didn’t I do this before?”

Is it in my price range?

First let’s look at affordability. After all, if something is out of my price range, I don’t want to waste time considering it.

You can spend a ton of money on a full home standby generator. Not to mention the cost of installation. Most of them work well, but you can’t take them anywhere.

For much less – in the $2,000 to $3,000 range – you can get a generator that will give you what you need to get through a lights-out situation.

And if you can get a payment plan for that generator, that might be even better for those of us on a tight budget.

What’s the best power source?

Next let’s examine how to provide power for your generator. Many generators use gasoline. The disadvantage here is that you have to keep the generator outside.

But we’ve all heard the horror stories. People have died from carbon monoxide because they ran a gas-powered generator in their home or garage.

To me, the best generators are solar-powered. Capturing the free power of the sun is the best way to power a generator. Especially if your power is temporarily out.

But prior to a blackout, even if the sun isn’t shining, you can power up a solar-powered generator using an ordinary outlet if you want to.

What will I need to power?

Before you make a decision about which generator you want to buy, take a home inventory. 

That’s where you’ll decide which are the most important things you’ll want to power up during an outage. And how much wattage each requires.

Among them will probably be lights, small appliances, cellphones and laptops. Plus a fridge, microwave oven, space heater, electric blanket and other items.

It’s not crucial to be able to power all these items at once. You don’t need the family room TV on when preparing food in the kitchen. But you do want to make sure your generator can power a variety of things. 

Can I take it with me?

OK, how about portability? I mentioned this a moment ago. Large home systems stay put. There’s no moving them.

Portable gas-powered generators can be taken with you. But many are heavy and there’s the fire hazard to consider. And you’ll have to carry gasoline wherever you go. 

The ideal solar-powered generator is light enough to grab and go at a moment’s notice.

If you have a solar-powered, portable generator weighing less than 50 pounds, you can move it easily from room to room. And take it camping, boating and tailgating.

Will the noise or smell rat me out?

Noise is another consideration when deciding which generator to purchase.

There are loud ones out there. In addition to being annoying to you and those around you, a loud generator will draw attention to you.

If you’re in a survival situation, that’s the last thing you want. A lengthy blackout will lead to civil unrest. And a loud or smelly generator will bring looters to your home or wherever you’ve bugged out.

The ideal portable, solar-powered generator is so quiet, you can sleep near it. It won’t keep you awake or draw others toward you. And it’s safe because it’s fume-free.

See more on solar generators vs. gas generators, right here.

Patriot Power Generator 1800 checks all the boxes

The Patriot Power Generator 1800 is designed to provide electricity for important devices and equipment during a power outage or disaster situation. From your phone to a space heater. From your fridge to a CPAP machine.

This generator has two outlets and four USB ports. And can power almost any device that would typically plug in.

It also comes with a 25-foot long extension cord. That way you can easily place the solar panel outside while keeping the generator inside.

It weighs only 40 pounds. So, it’s small enough to take anywhere and store discreetly. And you can daisy-chain additional solar panels for even more power and faster charging. It operates quietly and produces no emissions.

Imagine how much peace of mind you'll have right away when you get your own generator. Because if a crisis hits and your family asks, "When will the power come back on?" you'll calmly reassure them that they're safe and they will have plenty of electricity to power the critical items.

See more on our solar generator here


  • Frank Davis - January 30, 2020

    Without the solar panels connected and charging while using any solar generator and in this case the 1800 a portable heater average watts required 600-1200 watts the 1800 will only power the heater for 30 minutes to around an hour….maybe…

    That’s the battery rating of 768Wh/600W=1.28 hours of runtime and 768Wh/1200W=38.4 minutes but you have to add in inefficiencies of the generator, etc. which is too technical to discuss here but generally around 15-20% inefficiency which has to be added to total wattage used so the actual run time is less than the calculated times above.

    Also the greater the power requirements of an appliance the faster the generator will deplete the battery without any solar input….

    With that said I believe the 1800 is the best portable solar generator available for what it is intended to do….

    The specs of maximum power output and surge output are specs of the inverter which takes the DC current from the batteries and changes it to usable AC….but really isn’t a direct measurement of how long the battery will last….

    So, do your homework about solar generators and know what they will power for x amount of time…

    The best case scenario is to power a device and have the same amount of watts coming in from the solar panels to offset power being used from the battery…that way you “could” indefinitely power a device with proper power management with all operating variables being close to “perfect”…i.e. bright sunshine and maximum solar hours everyday (which is not gonna happen) .

    But with proper power management the 1800 is a winner in my book, just understand what it is intended for and hoe to employ proper power management to keep all the devices running and charging and you’ll be set in any scenario!

    Frank Davis
    OTG Guy

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