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Different types of generators

Types of generators

The different types of generators - an overview of the pros and cons

There are many different generators available on the market, some of which differ considerably in their build. In this guide, we will briefly and precisely reveal the specific characteristics of each type of generator.

The different types of generators and their characteristics

Nowadays, virtually nothing works without electricity, which is why mobile power generatorshave an almost infinite number of possible uses. Whenever fixed mains sockets are unavailable or fail, these generators come into their own. They can be used as an emergency generator during a major power outage, in a mobile home, in the garden at home, on construction sites, at a festival, on boats or as a power source at open-air events - the list of possible applications can be continued at will.

There is a whole range of different power generators available on the market. Based on the question of where and for what purpose you want to secure the power supply, each type has its very specific advantages and disadvantages. In the following paragraphs, we present the most common types of power generators, so that a novice in this profession can get a pretty good overview of the various features of the devices.

Converter generator

The so-called converters have been available on the market in this form for several decades without any major further developments during this period. These generators are the familiar frame devices, which have a comparatively quite loud working volume due to the lack of a casing. Converter generators are available as petrol and diesel models. As a major drawback, both variants have in common that they can not prevent significant voltage fluctuations. This is why converters are not suitable for operating voltage-sensitive consumers (e.g. laptop, PC, TV set or music system), as they can damage or destroy them in the worst case.

Petrol generator (converter)

Petrol powered generators are (still) the most widespread type on the market. They usually have lower fuel consumption than diesel generators and achieve good performance values - although not as high as diesel-based power generators in the same class. On the other hand, petrol generators are usually quieter and smoother than diesel generators of the same performance. The purchase price of petrol-powered generators tends to be moderate. However, care should be taken when it comes to maintenance costs: due to the higher fuel price, frequent use quickly adds up.

Diesel generator (converter)

Compared to petrol models, diesel power generators are more robust and have better performance values. That is why they are particularly common on construction sites where power cables have not yet been installed. Especially if frequent use is planned, diesel units can be interesting due to the comparatively favorable fuel price. On the other hand, there are significant compromises in terms of noise levels and running performance, and the purchase price can be quite steep.

Converter generator

LPG generator

Gas-powered generators or LPG generators account for a fairly small share of the market. The basic mode of operation remains the same, except that the fuel is gas (mostly propane gas). Especially in the camping sector, cost-conscious and environmentally conscious people rely on gas power generators. Due to the very favorable gas price a gas generator belongs to the devices with the smallest maintenance costs at all. However, in order to recoup the high purchase costs, a very high frequency of use is required. Therefore, an LPG generator is primarily interesting for people who already have a variety of gas-powered devices (e.g. gas grill).

Hybrid generator (Dual Fuel)

Hybrid generators, also known as dual-fuel generators, run on a combination of two fuels, usually diesel and natural gas. The use of two fuel types ensures that the generator can continue to run even if one of the two sources is not available. Depending on the demand for electricity, it is possible to switch between the two fuel sources. For example, if electricity demand is low, the generator can run on natural gas, which is cheaper and cleaner than diesel. If power demand increases, switch to diesel, which provides more power and thus can cover more operating hours. However, hybrid generators are also much more expensive to purchase and also require more maintenance. Due to the complexity of the two drive types, they can also be more prone to malfunctions.

PTO generator

Probably few people will come into contact with a power take-off or PTO generator, but nevertheless it should be mentioned in this overview. Unlike all other types of generators, a PTO generator does not have its own engine. It is driven by the PTO of a tractor. No wonder that the PTO generator is often found in agriculture and forestry. This is where it is best suited due to its very manageable maintenance requirements, its robustness and its great reliability.

Sensitive electronic consumers

Inverter generator

In the field of mobile power supply, the term inverter technology is encountered more and more frequently. The best way to translate "inverter" is converter, because it reliably converts direct current into alternating current. At the end of this conversion process, a perfect and harmonic sinusoidal voltage is delivered. It is also said that the current is "clean".

The inverter technology effectively prevents voltage fluctuations as they occur with conventional power generators. Therefore, even highly sensitive electronic consumers can be connected without concern. Because of the innovative technology, the acquisition costs are relatively higher. On the other hand, many inverter power generators come in a very compact size, so they are very mobile and flexible in use. The encapsulated design also ensures good sound insulation properties. This is why inverter generators are very quiet.

If the inverter power generator has an additional ECO mode feature, the engine speed is optimally adapted to the required output power. This significantly reduces fuel consumption and improves running characteristics at the touch of a button. With this revolutionary technology, which has been perfected over the years, inverter generators have established themselves on the generator market and have subsequently prevailed.


Diesel or petrol based converters, gas or hybrid generators, PTO or inverter generators - the list of solutions available on the market for mobile power supply is long and confusing. With this DENQBAR guide, however, we hope to have thinned out the jungle somewhat.

All in all, converters are often found on construction sites. There, they supply larger hand tools (e.g. hammer drills) with power when there is no fixed electrical system yet. Diesel converters are cheaper to maintain, more robust and somewhat more powerful than their petrol counterparts, but they are also considerably louder and run more unsteadily. Power take-off (PTO) generators are used almost exclusively in agriculture. Gas-powered generators tend to live in the shadows and are of interest at most to people who own a lot of gas-powered equipment anyway.

Inverter power generators are considered the most innovative products on the market. They provide power on the road with the same quality as from a domestic socket, so that even voltage-sensitive consumers can be operated reliably. Power generators without inverter technology, on the other hand, are likely to severely damage devices such as laptops, music systems or televisions.