Portable generators are useful and manufactured for a variety of purposes. Let's take a look at each of these purposes and why a generator is important for each one.
Portable Home Generators are designed as back up for home use. In some parts of the country, this may seem totally irrelevant because power loss is so extremely rare. But in other parts of the country, power loss is not unusual. We live in the country, and we have had years where there have been severe winters and power loss is expected. I remember one winter where power outages occurred often, and usually for multiple days at a time. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent without power. We did not have a portable generator, but were lucky because we did have a wood burning stove. This allowed us to at least have heat, and it could be used to heat water. Another problem when you lose power in the country is that since you are on a well, your pump stops working and you lose your water as well. You always want to keep drinking water on hand for emergencies. But if you suspect a possible power outage, it is common to fill the bathtub with water so that you can flush the toilet or have some on hand for other non-potable uses. What we ended up doing that severe winter, if we forgot to fill the tub, was to melt snow on our stove. And cooking, well that's a whole different story. Though you can heat some things up on a wood stove, our neighbor cooked their turkey on the BBQ that year! Keeping stuff cold is a trick also, your freezer you keep closed to preserve the temperature.
But all of this is a lot of extra work, having a portable generator would be a lot easier. When power goes out, you just fire it up and you have heat, lights, water, appliances that work and everything else you take for granted that uses power. Some of my in-laws have portable generators for their homes, and are always very glad when the power goes out, and so are the rest of us because now we have somewhere we can go for dinner!
Contractor generators are a necessity on a job site, power tools simply cannot be run without them. Depending upon the size of the job will determine how large or powerful of a generator that is needed. These portable generators are usually a bit larger and transported in the back of a truck. Many have wheels to make it easier to move them around the work site.
RV generators are obviously portable generators because people take them along with them in their recreational vehicles. When at an RV campsite, you can plug in many things to save on generator use. But if you are dry camping, a generator is needed. The minimum size generator needed for a small RV is 1500 to 2000 watts, if you run an air conditioner, then at least 3000 watts is needed. A larger RV with multiple air conditioners will need at least a 6000 watt generator.
Towable generators are probably the largest class of portable generators. These are generators that come on their own small trailer to be towed behind a vehicle. This allows use of a larger generator to be used commercially at remote locations or jobsites.
Portable generators come in a variety of sizes, and are designed to be used for a variety of reasons. So before purchasing one, first decide how your generator will be used: at home, at the job or in an RV, to help determine which will work best for you.
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