The Difference Between Generator and Inverter: All You Need to Know

difference between generator and inverter

In this article from Linquip, we want to explain the difference between generator and inverter. We will get into the details about how a generator and an inverter work and what the key differences are between them. So, join us to get to know them better.

There’s an obvious difference between these two: generators produce electrical power and on the other hand, inverters have been designed to convert different types of electrical currents into each other. There exist two electrical current types: AC and DC. The AC is alternating current and the DC is direct current. We use inverters to convert AC to DC (E.g., machines that only work with DC power.) Now, let’s first see what the difference between AC and DC is to fully understand this difference.

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The Difference Between AC and DC

The difference between these two is that in the alternating current, the electrons flow freely in both directions while in the direct current, they only flow in one direction. AC tolerates higher voltages and works for longer distances. As opposed to this approach, direct flow is used for personal computers (or PCs). Now that you know the difference between these two, let’s talk about another difference between generator and inverter.

difference between generator and inverter

The Basic Difference Between Generator and Inverter (and other parameters)

We have reviewed one of their main differences above, now let’s see other differences between these two.

There are various parameters such as pollution, capacities, voltage, etc. that play a role in separating the function of these two devices. Let’s review these differences:

  1. Voltage

One of the main parameters that differ among the two is the voltage. Generators usually produce 120 volts at 60 hertz supply frequency while the inverter is responsible for converting 12 volts of power into 120 volts of AC power.

  1. Noise and Pollution

Another parameter is the noise. While the inverter doesn’t make sounds and noises and are considered to be among pollution-free devices, the generator makes sounds and noises and it also produces smoke which pollutes the air.

  1. Capacities

The difference between generator and inverter when it comes to capacity is that you can find generators with high capacities but inverters are produced with lower capacities due to their internal structure.

  1. Starting Time Period

Generators usually take time to start in the cases where there’s a power outage. On the other hand, inverters instantly restore the power supply and quickly start to operate when there’s a power outage.

difference between generator and inverter

  1. Power Source

Another thing you should consider while counting the differences between the two is the source of power.  Inverters charge their battery with electricity and they work on their battery. This is while the generator needs a power source such as petroleum, kerosene, natural gases, or diesel to run. That is why they are considered to be less environmental-friendly compared to inverters.

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  1. Installation

Like many other devices, inverters need a wiring system and installation but when it comes to generators, the system is up and running and the setup is already installed. So, generators are easier to use.

  1. Maintenance

Another difference between generator and inverter is in their maintenance. The generator’s engine needs regular maintenance as opposed to the inverter which almost requires no maintenance resulting in no maintenance cost.

  1. Backup Power

Since inverters work on their battery, when the power outage is for a long duration, inverters will eventually run out of the battery and will need a backup of generators. The generators, in contrast, require no backup power.

  1. Cost

Inverters are higher in cost when it comes to generators vs. inverters. You can find generators with lower prices on the market.

  1. Space

Inverters are more compact than generators. That is why space is among the parameters we need to mention when talking about the difference between generator and inverter. You should keep generators outside while inverters can be kept indoors since they take less room.

  1. Starting Process

Inverters are easier to start since they start on their own. Generators, on the contrary, require effort to start.

  1. Weight and Size

Another parameter you should consider while thinking about the difference between generator and inverter is their size and weight. As we mentioned above, generators take more room and are larger than invertors. Due to their design and structure, they are also heavier in weight than inverters. This is while inverters are lighter in weight and compact in size.

  1. Power Outage Duration

Since inverters work on battery, they are better for applications where there’s a short power outage. Generators, on the other hand, work best for long power outages.

  1. Parallel Operation

Inverters have one huge advantage compared to generators! They can be linked to an identical device. As a result of this process, the power capacity of the inverter doubles up. Generators don’t have this option.

difference between generator and inverter

  1. Fuel Storage

As mentioned above, generators run on fuels and need storage of fuels. And since inverters run on their battery, they don’t require fuel storage.

  1. Maximum Power Output

Last but not least in the comparison between generator and inverter is the maximum power output. Inverters with diverse maximum power output can be found on the market. This amount for the inverters is somewhere between 1000 to 4000W. Generators have more diverse designs regarding this parameter and are available from 500 to 50000W and more.

These were the main parameters you should take into consideration while comparing the difference between generator and inverter. All in all, while both are great, you need to understand the process that needs to be done to choose the right one for your desired application.


Now you know the difference between generator and inverter in detail. What do you think about these differences? Comment below and let us know your opinion. Don’t forget to sign up on Linquip for more amazing articles and talking to our experts to find the answer to all your questions.

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