Types of Generators: Choosing the Right Backup Power

November 13, 2023

Types Of Generators: How To Choose The Right Backup Power That Fits Your Needs

types of generators for home

A backup power source like a generator ensures continuity during emergencies. When the primary power grid fails due to storms, blackouts, or other unforeseen circumstances, a generator can provide electricity to keep essential appliances and systems running. Choosing the right generator is paramount for efficiency and reliability. 

Factors such as power consumption needs, fuel type, portability, and intended use must be considered. A generator should match your power requirements and suit your lifestyle or business demands. This article aims to guide readers in selecting an appropriate generator that fits their needs in emergencies, emphasizing the importance of making an informed decision. 

What Is A Generator?

A generator is an electromechanical device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. It operates on the principle of electromagnetic induction, where the movement of conductors through a magnetic field induces a voltage, producing an electrical current. Generators are vital in supplying power during power outages, providing electricity for homes, businesses, hospitals, and various industrial applications. 

They are used to run essential appliances, machines, and equipment, ensuring continued functionality in situations where the primary power source is unavailable or unreliable. Generators are vital for disaster preparedness, construction sites, outdoor events, and remote locations where electrical power is necessary for various operations.

Why Is A Generator Important?

Generators are paramount for ensuring uninterrupted power supply during emergencies. As of 2022, the U.S. generator sales market was valued at USD 5.71 billion, projected to grow to USD 8.96 billion by 2030.

These reliable machines prevent disruptions, safeguarding productivity, comfort, and sometimes even lives. In critical situations, having a generator is not just a convenience but an absolute necessity, ensuring stability and security when the primary power source falters.

Average Lifespan of A Generator

The average lifespan of a generator varies depending on factors like usage, maintenance, and quality. The U.S. portable generators market size surpassed USD 4 billion in 2022, and it is anticipated to expand at a 4% CAGR from 2023 to 2032.

Generally, well-maintained generators can last between 20 to 30 years. Regular servicing, proper fuel management, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines can extend a generator's life. Ultimately, the lifespan of a generator significantly impacts its overall cost-effectiveness and reliability, making proper maintenance a crucial aspect of ownership.

different types of generators

Generators By Application

Generators are pivotal in ensuring uninterrupted power supply, especially during critical times like hurricanes. These generators are permanently installed and automatically activated when a power outage occurs. Some types of power generators are:

1. Stationary or Standby Generator:

Stationary generators are permanently installed units that automatically activate during power outages, ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply to homes, businesses, and critical facilities.

types of power generators

They are crucial for maintaining essential operations in hospitals, data centers, businesses, and residences where continuous power is vital.

Stationary generators commonly use natural gas, propane, diesel, or gasoline.

Prices vary based on power capacity and features, ranging from $2,000 to over $6,000.

On average, it can run 140 to 200 hours with proper maintenance.

Automatic startHigher initial investment
Seamless powerRequires professional setup
ReliableRequires fuel storage
Continuous supplyRegular maintenance needed

Stationary generators are best suited for places where uninterrupted power is critical, such as hospitals and data centers.

2. Portable Generator:

Portable generators offer flexibility and mobility, providing a convenient power source on the go or in locations without a stable electrical supply. They are versatile and valuable during outdoor events, camping, construction sites, and as emergency backups at homes during power outages.

types of home generators

They are commonly powered by gasoline, propane, or diesel fuel.

Prices range for portable generators from approximately  $400 to $1,500 depending on power output and features, and last around 10,000 to 30,000 hours, subject to maintenance and usage.

Portability and mobilityLimited power capacity
Versatile usageRequires fuel storage and management
Emergency backup powerNot suitable for high-demand applications
Easy to start and operateRegular maintenance needed

It is used in Camping trips, outdoor events, construction sites, and as a temporary backup during power outages.

3. Inverter Generator:

An inverter generator is a compact power generator that produces clean and stable electricity by converting AC power to DC and then back to AC, ensuring a consistent power output.

Due to their stable power output, inverter generators are ideal for sensitive electronics and devices like laptops, smartphones, and medical equipment. They are commonly used for camping, tailgating, and outdoor recreational activities.

Inverter generators typically run on gasoline, though some models can use propane or natural gas.

Prices for inverter generators vary based on wattage and brand, ranging from around $400 to $4,000.

Clean and stable power outputHigher initial cost
Fuel-efficient and quieterLimited power for heavy loads
Compact and lightweightSlightly complex maintenance
Ideal for sensitive electronics 

Inverter generators are best suited for outdoor activities, camping, boating, and situations where a stable power supply for sensitive electronics is essential.

types of electric generators

Inverter generators provide a reliable and efficient power source, making them essential for modern outdoor activities. Their ability to produce clean power ensures the safety of delicate electronics, making them a popular choice for various recreational and portable power needs.

4. Induction Generator:

An induction generator is an alternating current (AC) electrical generator.

types of portable generators

Induction generators are commonly utilized in renewable energy systems such as wind turbines and hydroelectric plants. They convert mechanical energy from wind or water into electrical energy.

Unlike other generators, induction generators do not require fuel as they harness energy from natural sources.

Prices for induction generators vary based on their size and application, ranging from $3450 to $90000

The average lifespan of an induction generator is typically 20 to 25 years, with proper maintenance and care.

No fuel requirementInitial setup costs can be high
Low maintenanceVoltage and frequency regulation challenges
Efficient energy conversionDependent on external power source
Environmentally friendlyLimited suitability for specific applications

Induction generators are ideal for renewable energy systems, making them perfect for wind and hydropower projects. They're best suited for applications where sustainable and clean energy production is a priority.

Induction generators are crucial in the renewable energy sector, supporting sustainable energy production. They harness natural resources effectively, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.

Generators By Power Type

Here are different types of generators by power type.

Diesel Generator:

A diesel generator is a type of backup generator that uses a diesel engine to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. It is a reliable and efficient option for various applications.

Diesel generators provide backup power during outages for homes, businesses, hospitals, and industrial sites. They are known for their high power output and reliability.

Their prices vary based on power capacity, ranging from approximately $5,000 to $50,000.

It's typically available from a few kilowatts to several megawatts.

Diesel generators can last between 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance.


  • Efficient fuel consumption
  • longer lifespan
  •  high power output.


  • Higher initial cost
  • emissions
  • regular maintenance needs.

Diesel generators are best suited for long-term backup power in areas with frequent outages or where a consistent and high power supply is essential.

Gasoline Generator:

A gasoline generator is a power generator that operates using a gasoline-fueled engine to produce electricity. It is a versatile and commonly used generator type.

Gasoline generators are excellent for providing temporary power during outages, outdoor events, construction sites, and recreational activities due to their portability and ease of use.

Prices vary based on power capacity, ranging from around $200 to $5,000.

Typically available in the range of a few hundred watts to several kilowatts.

generator for power outage

Gasoline generators generally last between 1,000 to 2,000 hours of use.


  • Portability
  • Ease of refuelling
  • Cost-effective.


  • Shorter lifespan
  • Resilience on gasoline availability
  • Not suitable for high-demand applications.

Gasoline generators are ideal for short-term backup power during emergencies, outdoor activities, and where a portable power source is needed.

Biodiesel Generator:

A biodiesel generator is a type of power generator that runs on biodiesel, which is a renewable and cleaner-burning fuel derived from natural sources like vegetable oils or animal fats.

Biodiesel generators produce electricity and can serve as a backup power source. They are suitable for eco-conscious users due to their lower emissions than traditional diesel generators.

Prices vary based on power capacity, ranging from approximately $1,500 to $15,000.

backup generator

Typically available in a wide range from a few kilowatts to several megawatts.

Biodiesel generators generally have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance.


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Reduces reliance on fossil fuels
  • Lower emissions.


  • Slightly higher fuel cost
  • Potential availability issues in certain regions.

Biodiesel generators are ideal for those prioritizing eco-friendliness and seeking a renewable fuel source for their backup power needs.

Emulsified Diesel Generator:

An emulsified diesel generator utilizes an emulsion of water and diesel, creating a stable mixture for combustion. It enhances fuel efficiency and reduces emissions, making it an eco-friendly alternative.

It generates electricity efficiently and is suitable for various applications, including residential, commercial, and industrial.

Their prices vary based on power capacity, ranging from approximately $2,000 to $20,000.

They are available in a wide range from a few kilowatts to several megawatts.

Emulsified diesel generators generally have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance.


  • Improved fuel efficiency
  • Lower emissions
  • Potential cost savings.


  • Initial setup cost
  • Specialized maintenance.

Emulsified diesel generators are ideal for those seeking a balance between fuel efficiency and reduced environmental impact while providing reliable power.

Propane Generator:

A propane generator is a power generator that runs on propane gas, providing a reliable and efficient source of electricity.

It generates electricity for homes, businesses, and outdoor events. Propane generators are efficient and eco-friendly.

house generator

Prices vary based on power capacity, ranging from approximately $500 to $10,000.

Typically available in a wide range from a few kilowatts to several kilowatts.


  • Cleaner burning fuel
  • Longer shelf life
  • Lower emissions.


  • Slightly higher fuel cost
  • Dependence on propane availability.

Propane generators are ideal for users seeking a cleaner-burning and readily available fuel source for backup power needs.

Natural Gas Generator:

A natural gas generator is a power generator that runs on natural gas, a clean-burning fossil fuel.

It provides reliable electricity for homes, businesses, and industrial use. Natural gas generators are efficient and have a consistent fuel supply.

Prices vary based on power capacity, ranging from approximately $1,000 to $30,000.

Typically available from a few kilowatts to several kilowatts.

Natural gas generators generally last between 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance.


  • Clean-burning fuel
  • Cost-effective
  • Readily available.


  • Dependence on gas supply
  • Initial setup costs.

Natural gas generators are ideal for those seeking a reliable and cost-effective power solution with a cleaner environmental footprint.

Solar Generator:

A solar generator is a power generator that harnesses solar energy, converting it into electricity through photovoltaic panels or solar panels.

It generates electricity for homes, businesses, and outdoor activities. Solar generators are clean, renewable, and sustainable.

Prices vary based on capacity and brand, ranging from approximately $500 to $5,000.

types of backup generators

Typically available from a few hundred watts to several kilowatts.

Solar generators generally last 25 to 30 years, with solar panels lasting even longer.


  • Renewable energy source
  • Low operating costs
  • Eco-friendly.


  • Weather-dependent
  • Initial setup costs.

Solar generators are ideal for eco-conscious users looking for sustainable and off-grid power solutions.

Hydrogen Generator:

A hydrogen generator is a device that produces hydrogen gas through a chemical process or electrolysis, utilizing it as a fuel source for power generation.

It generates electricity for various applications, including vehicle fuel cells and backup power systems. Hydrogen generators are efficient and produce clean energy.

Their prices vary based on size and technology, ranging from approximately $1,000 to $10,000.

types of generator

Typically available from a few kilowatts to several megawatts.

Hydrogen generators generally last between 20 to 30 years with regular maintenance.


  • Clean fuel
  • High energy density
  • Low emissions.


  • Hydrogen storage challenges
  • Infrastructure development.

Hydrogen generators are ideal for users aiming for clean and efficient power solutions, especially in applications where reducing carbon emissions is crucial.

Safety Tips and Generator Maintenance:

For safe operation and longevity, follow proper generator maintenance and safety guidelines. Learn more about generator fuel maintenance at Fuel Logic - Diesel Generator Fuel Maintenance

What Is The Best Type Of Generator?

The best type of generator depends on the person's needs and the specific use case they have in mind.

Usage Scenarios:

  • For Home or Residential Power Needs, a generator suited for intermittent and backup power is essential, providing reliable electricity during outages and ensuring the smooth running of household appliances
  • In Industrial Power Solutions, generators cater to the substantial power demands of large-scale operations, offering a reliable power source crucial for various industrial applications.
  • During Emergency Backup situations, having a generator is crucial, providing a lifeline by ensuring continued power supply in unexpected outages or natural disasters.
  • Portable Use generators are ideal for outdoor activities like camping, RV trips, or other off-grid adventures, delivering convenient power.

Cost Implications:

Understanding the cost implications of generators is crucial in making an informed decision:

  • Initial Investment Breakdown: Different generators come with varying upfront costs. Diesel generators, known for efficiency and durability, have a higher initial investment. On the other hand, gasoline and propane generators are generally more affordable initially.
  • Long-Term Value and ROI: When evaluating long-term value and return on investment (ROI), factors such as fuel costs, maintenance, and lifespan come into play. Diesel generators, despite their higher upfront cost, often offer superior ROI due to fuel efficiency and a longer operational life.
  • Operational Expenses: Ongoing operational costs encompass fuel, maintenance, and repairs. While diesel and natural gas generators often have lower fuel costs, maintenance expenses may vary depending on the type and size of the generator.
  • Hidden Costs and Considerations: Unforeseen costs like replacement parts, extended warranties, or energy inefficiencies can impact the overall cost of ownership. These hidden expenses should be carefully considered to budget effectively and ensure a cost-efficient generator choice.

Where To Buy Generator Fuel?

For convenient and reliable generator fuel solutions, Fuel Logic offers generator refueling services and fuel delivery. Whether you need fuel for your generators in specific service areas or additional locations, Fuel Logic provides a seamless fueling experience. Explore our services and order fuel online through our sites. Stay powered up with Fuel Logic!

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suite 100, Midlothian, Texas, 76065
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