What is the best portable generator

TheRambler

Feeling the Heat
Jul 29, 2014
478
CT
In 99% of situations a modified sine wave generator or inverter will run anything you would ever care to power. Almost every item out there isnt that sensitive as you think or converts the ac to dc anyway.

Unless your running high end servers, or sensitive lab equipment it dorsnt matter. Its all myth and urban legend. You can run any household computer, tv, washer, dryer, oven, radio, pellet stove, furnace, anything under the sun darn near with no ill effect. A modified sine wave cant actually damage anything, it just wouldnt be qualified as a good source and the sensitive item in question just wouldnt turn on.

This is what i do for a living, trust me, it doesnt matter for the average joe.
 
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Skinn

Member
Oct 8, 2008
82
NY
I have a Yamaha EF2400 inverter style, for me it fits the bill perfectly. My main concerns during an emergency are heat, refrigeration and a couple of lights at night. My small housing development has a generator backed water system so no need to worry about water, normally that is a pretty big draw on power. For me the fuel efficiency and next to no noise is worth having to go without use of the dryer or oven for a day or two. This little Yamaha will run a coffee maker or the microwave if we choose to, just need to manage the loads properly, the plus is it is light enough and quiet enough to use for the occasional camping trip if we decide to take a few comforts of home with us!

I was set on getting an 8000 watt Generac until I saw how much fuel one of my neighbors used during an outage, his wife loved that they could go about their lives as if nothing had changed...until they ran out of fuel and the local stations were all closed because they had no power either! I listed what I really needed in a true emergency outage situation and that is when I decided on the Yamaha, I was also nervous after hearing issues with the sensitive electronics in pellet stoves not always liking the power of some of the conventional/cheaper generators on the market.
 
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TheRambler

Feeling the Heat
Jul 29, 2014
478
CT
I have a Yamaha EF2400 inverter style, for me it fits the bill perfectly. My main concerns during an emergency are heat, refrigeration and a couple of lights at night. My small housing development has a generator backed water system so no need to worry about water, normally that is a pretty big draw on power. For me the fuel efficiency and next to no noise is worth having to go without use of the dryer or oven for a day or two. This little Yamaha will run a coffee maker or the microwave if we choose to, just need to manage the loads properly, the plus is it is light enough and quiet enough to use for the occasional camping trip if we decide to take a few comforts of home with us!

I was set on getting an 8000 watt Generac until I saw how much fuel one of my neighbors used during an outage, his wife loved that they could go about their lives as if nothing had changed...until they ran out of fuel and the local stations were all closed because they had no power either! I listed what I really needed in a true emergency outage situation and that is when I decided on the Yamaha, I was also nervous after hearing issues with the sensitive electronics in pellet stoves not always liking the power of some of the conventional/cheaper generators on the market.

If a pellet stove or anything has an issue running off of a portable gen the chances are its a frequency problem due to the load be very light or it just being a cheap pos. the fix in most cases is increase the load to stabilize the gen to stop it from hunting and oscillating the frequency.
 
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BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Almost every item out there isnt that sensitive as you think or converts the ac to dc anyway.
Running my stuff with a mod sine genny for the annual five to seven day outages finally ruined my fridge. After 28 years. ;lol
 
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Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Running my stuff with a mod sine genny for the annual five to seven day outages finally ruined my fridge. After 28 years. ;lol
You sure it wasn't the giant dust bunny trying to stay warm off of the compressor and just smothered it?
 

simple.serf

Feeling the Heat
Dec 7, 2011
336
Sherman, NY
I prefer my MEP002A (it's portable...well it's on a m116a2 trailer). The Honda is one of the best portable homeowner grade units out there. I know of one unit that is used every weekend in the summer that runs at 80% load Friday through Sunday. It now has almost 12k hours and is still going strong.

If you want a whole house unit, look for some of the old Onan gensets. They were commercial duty, and many are being scrapped out these days with low hours. Many are nat gas/propane fueled as well.
 
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TheRambler

Feeling the Heat
Jul 29, 2014
478
CT
Those giant dust bunnies are fiesty... And have big teeth.
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Don't know but glad it finally died. The 118 watts the new one uses is wonderful.
 

Skinn

Member
Oct 8, 2008
82
NY
If a pellet stove or anything has an issue running off of a portable gen the chances are its a frequency problem due to the load be very light or it just being a cheap pos. the fix in most cases is increase the load to stabilize the gen to stop it from hunting and oscillating the frequency.
That is good to know, like I said I had just heard that it could ruin something but didn't know much about that aspect, I had already decided on my needs and the Yamaha fit my needs.

To support your statement I will say a few years back that I ran my Pellet stove on an ancient Coleman 2200 watt beater that was basically junk that I kept going with some constant tinkering. It was an old one I had from our hunting camp. Even though it took forever to get it running every time I needed it, it did do the job of keeping us warm by running our stove! It was essentially a job site model that was loud and cranky so I moved on to something more reliable ect.
 

oliveone

Burning Hunk
Dec 23, 2010
182
Hudson Valley NY
Stove is run through a small UPS. This is for small power losses less then 2-5 min. I have a small inverter with a battery for short power loss or until I get the generator fired up. For longer I have a 5 KW an a 10 Kw diesel generator. Either can run whole house. 5 Kw will do everything if I am careful. The 10 KW will do everything and don't have to worry about it. Just got the 5 KW last week have to run a few more test before it gets hooked to the housed. These are pure shine wave an are the same a utility power. They cost a lot but are long term items 15-25 years.
 

chken

Minister of Fire
Dec 7, 2013
1,136
Maine
In power outages, I have a standby whole house GE 12k propane generator. It has run my pellet stove numerous times without any issues.

Having said that, my tank holds about 5 days of propane, but the fuel company doesn't like to come fill it up unless it's low, so more often than not, I have 3 to 4 days worth of propane. I suppose I can buy another tank, but I also thought about connecting a pure sine inverter to my hybrid and running just my stove off that at night. It would give me a little cushion on my propane for those longer outages. The hybrid presumably would turn on and off automatically as needed to keep the battery charged. It'd be just about the quietest generator around.
 

metalsped

Feeling the Heat
I always tell folks to go diesel! When we lose power (or you are looking at a greater grid disruption)... gasonline will be VERY hard to come by. Diesel is what keeps this nation moving, fed, and protected. It is diesel reserves and refineries that will be the first to come back on, or be secured. It is of particular national importance that we have an undisrupted diesel supply. Plus it is a superior fuel in my not so humble opinion.

Want something bulletproof that will do way more than you ever need? Buy this, and fashion it onto a rolling cart (for lack of a better term) http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Slow-Turning-Yanmar-5kW-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=yanmar_4kw

Portable, with crazy good efficiency, and lower noise than any gas unit on the market.
 
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metalsped

Feeling the Heat
I mean... it uses only a third of a gallon of fuel @ full load. How great is that? My father laughed at me when I was talking to him about power backup. He has some large Kohler whole-home propane unit. Propane is a proor backup method because it absolutely chews through fuel (ie... efficiency is poor compared to other fuel sources) and it requires much higher overall maintenance to keep right. Guess whose generator currently needs to be serviced??
 

lagger

Feeling the Heat
Apr 2, 2014
326
Bloomingburg NY
I find it hard to believe that a permanently installed standby generator wouldn't be able to power a pellet boiler.
the issue is not the [power of the generator but the requirement of the control board (and other digital electronics in the home) to get a pure sine wave at 60hz .. standby gens don't produce a pure sine wave, expensive inverter gens like the little eu2000i Honda do..
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
I always tell folks to go diesel! When we lose power (or you are looking at a greater grid disruption)... gasonline will be VERY hard to come by. Diesel is what keeps this nation moving, fed, and protected. It is diesel reserves and refineries that will be the first to come back on, or be secured. It is of particular national importance that we have an undisrupted diesel supply. Plus it is a superior fuel in my not so humble opinion.

Want something bulletproof that will do way more than you ever need? Buy this, and fashion it onto a rolling cart (for lack of a better term) http://www.generatorsales.com/order/Slow-Turning-Yanmar-5kW-Diesel-Generator.asp?page=yanmar_4kw

Portable, with crazy good efficiency, and lower noise than any gas unit on the market.
I picked up a Chinese copy that's totally enclosed. Several paint jobs of the same engine genny combo with analog and digital control panels the first part of October and used camping for a week. Ran the old Profile Whit and several other items without issue. Once you go past 100lbs the definition of portable wanes in my opinion. I am used to diesels. Probably would not recommend one to most. I usually try to get everything up and running and tested a day or so before a storm is predicted. Have a small freestanding propain direct vent stove that can supply needed heat without electricity. 3 days without ability to leave home in winter in my area is not unheard of.
 

rbart46

New Member
Sep 8, 2014
24
Peacham, Vermont
In 99% of situations a modified sine wave generator or inverter will run anything you would ever care to power. Almost every item out there isnt that sensitive as you think or converts the ac to dc anyway.

Unless your running high end servers, or sensitive lab equipment it dorsnt matter. Its all myth and urban legend. You can run any household computer, tv, washer, dryer, oven, radio, pellet stove, furnace, anything under the sun darn near with no ill effect. A modified sine wave cant actually damage anything, it just wouldnt be qualified as a good source and the sensitive item in question just wouldnt turn on.

This is what i do for a living, trust me, it doesnt matter for the average joe.
Thanks...needed to hear this....lots of "information" out there to get worked up about...Robert of Cow Hill, Vermont
 

moey

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2012
1,455
Southern Maine
I have a champion inverter generator I got it refurbished here for $375. The RV folks swear by them. They also have excellent customer service I have a larger champion generator that had a fuel leak after a couple months they were going to send me a new generator when I called their 1800 number. I could tell what part was bad and asked if they could just send me that next day I had the part no cost.

http://supergenproducts.com/shop/refurbished-2000w-inverter-yellow/

A lot depends on what you want. I just want to survive comfortably I can do without running my welder during a power outage. Although I wont have hot water but my wife does not know that.
 

yrock87

Member
Aug 26, 2014
165
Fairbanks, AK
I have a champion inverter generator I got it refurbished here for $375. The RV folks swear by them. They also have excellent customer service I have a larger champion generator that had a fuel leak after a couple months they were going to send me a new generator when I called their 1800 number. I could tell what part was bad and asked if they could just send me that next day I had the part no cost.

http://supergenproducts.com/shop/refurbished-2000w-inverter-yellow/

A lot depends on what you want. I just want to survive comfortably I can do without running my welder during a power outage. Although I wont have hot water but my wife does not know that.
Haha, you will hear all about it the first morning of a long outage when she steps into an ice cold shower! I am fortunate (kinda?) that my dhw is heated by my boiler. Rather than messing with my stove, the plan is to run the genny for lights, fridge and boiler. Providing full heat and hot water. I am tempted to get an inverter and deep cycle battery to run the boiler overnight. This using the car trick my be enough to sway me into purchasing an inexpensive 1k inverter. Can be used for camping or for powering the heat overnight!
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
It looks like my new pellet boiler uses around 1300 watts or so when starting up (igniting). Is that similar to a pellet stove? No option for me to start up without electric ignition, I believe. Not much required once lit though. I'll have to use the juice from the Honda 2000i carefully when the boiler is igniting.
 

yrock87

Member
Aug 26, 2014
165
Fairbanks, AK
It looks like my new pellet boiler uses around 1300 watts or so when starting up (igniting). Is that similar to a pellet stove? No option for me to start up without electric ignition, I believe. Not much required once lit though. I'll have to use the juice from the Honda 2000i carefully when the boiler is igniting.
Can you set your boiler to "manual" mode where it goes into maintenance burn between calls for heat? I have not checked my stove with a kill-a-watt yet, but word of mouth is that most stoves run on around 100 watts and have a 300(ish) Watt igniter. A far cry from your pellet boiler. Once u wore up my furnace with a plug, i will check the draw on that too. Will be interesting to see the difference between an oil boiler and a pellet boiler.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
My oil boiler takes a lot less. I used to run that, and maybe one other thing, with my Harbor Freight 900 watt 2 stroker. It makes motors make funny noises though, lol.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
Can you set your boiler to "manual" mode where it goes into maintenance burn between calls for heat?
I think it only can light off with electric ignition. It goes into modulation mode after the flame stabilizes and can go down to 30% output. If there is any kind of load, and along with the buffer tank, I think it'll go for a pretty long time before requiring another ignition cycle. It'd require a lot of watching, or actually turning it off, if I were to use the generator for other things. It'd be a learning thing.
 

mchasal

Burning Hunk
Jul 10, 2008
225
Hudson Valley, NY
It looks like my new pellet boiler uses around 1300 watts or so when starting up (igniting). Is that similar to a pellet stove? No option for me to start up without electric ignition, I believe. Not much required once lit though. I'll have to use the juice from the Honda 2000i carefully when the boiler is igniting.
I measured my stove with a Killawatt and it's about 300 watts at start-up with the ignitor running and about 100 watts running full tilt after start-up is complete. When you're measuring your boiler usage is that including all the circulators? Maybe you could manually keep those off until the ignitor is done?