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As our planet sees increasingly frequent natural disasters –like the freeze in Texas or increased hurricanes – the need for portable and reliable backup power is more important than ever. While portable power generators by makers like Yamaha and Honda have been around for a minute, a pile of advancements makes these new inverter generators more efficient and much safer. Here are three reasons why you should spend the extra cash to get the best generator on the market. 

Stock image of a Honda inverter generator in Honda Red is the best generator according to Consumer Reports
Honda inverter | Honda

What is an inverter generator? 

The mobile powerplant game has come a long way in only the past few years. The results are much quieter and more efficient powerplants that require less maintenance and upkeep. This new batch is changing the way portable power is viewed. At the same time, these contraptions used to be noisy, annoying, and required a lot of attention to the fuel levels and carbon monoxide (CO). 

According to Consumer Reports, these new inverter models electronically throttles the engine up and down to meet the power demand instead of running full bore all the time. This is not only more efficient and safe but also way less annoying. These are clearly the best generators on the market today.

There are also three different classes of inverter generators these days. These classes are meant to help customers decide which one they need to get to avoid overspending. The classes break down as “Large,” “Midsized,” and “recreational.” These categories represent the power output as well as the physical size and weight. 

The inverter is the best generator

One of the biggest reasons to go with a new inverter generator is to measure and regulate CO emissions. Not only is this better for the planet, but it is also much safer for the user. Every year people die from CO asphyxiation from running these little engines in enclosed spaces. 

These inverter generators reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by offering new models that feature a built-in sensor that triggers an automatic shutoff if CO builds up to dangerous levels in an enclosed space. And some also have engines that emit less CO in the first place. This is a net positive from every angle. Better for the planet and us as individuals. 

Consumer Reports takes this CO shut-off function so seriously that the publication will not recommend any generator that doesn’t have it. 

How much more efficient are the new versions? 

Inverter powerplants with this CO shut-off are safer, but they are also much friendlier to your wallet. Because of their ability to electronically regulate the amount of power output based on how much is needed, they burn far less fuel than older gennies. 

Even if fuel cost isn’t the main concern, the amount of time spent filling it up and watching the fuel gauge might be worth it alone. Whether you are using one in your RV or tailgating at the game, not having to refuel all the time can be a major plus. These electronically variable inverter generators can stay running for so much longer than other generators because of their ability to throttle down when less power is needed. 

How loud are inverter generators?

Maybe the best part of these new inverter generators is that generators are finally not the most annoying sound on Earth. “You can carry on a conversation next to an inverter generator,” says Dave Trezza, who oversees CR’s generator testing. 

Old generators make such a loud, grating noise that the subtlety of inverter generators might be worth the added cost. Whether you are trying to run your AC at night after a summer storm or trying to hang with friends at a tailgate, generator noise can easily drive most people up the wall. Inverter generators are so much friendlier than others. 

Spending money on this kind of gear sucks 

Buying this kind of gear always sucks. It’s something that most of us never want to use, but when the time comes, it’s sure nice to have. Inverter generators are more expensive than traditional portable gennies, but the advantages are clear. Next time you go shopping for one, pick the safer, more efficient, and quieter unit–you’ll be glad you did.