An electric generator is a device that converts energy into electricity. Most of us know it as a piece of motor-like equipment that runs during a power outage. It allows electronics to keep working even if their main power source shuts off.

Electric generators are used in different settings, including homes and offices. But not all generators are created equal. Some types have limited functions and capabilities. Others can supply uninterrupted power to heavy equipment and machinery for hours. If you’re a professional in construction, you’d definitely know some types.

But whatever your industry or field is, you need to know about the types of generators below. They might help with your projects or personal needs:

1. Portable Generator

This is the most basic type of electric generator. It’s typically fueled by gasoline, propane, or solar energy. However, its portability sacrifices its power production. As such, this is not recommended for homes or commercial settings. Instead, it’s most suitable for campsites, where campers might seek lighting after sundown.

The best thing about a portable generator is its convenience and easy maintenance. If it’s gas- or propane-powered, you can refill it in any gas station. Solar, on the other hand, comes directly from the sun.

2. Inverter Generator

An inverter generator can also be a portable one. But you’d get the most of it if you buy the whole-home type. Unlike a standard generator, which produces energy in a single phase, the inverter type produces electricity in three phases. This creates an AC/DC connection. As a result, an inverter generator can produce cleaner and more stable energy. It can supply power to laptops and other mobile devices. In addition, it doesn’t make much noise, allowing you to work without distraction.

4. Standby Generator

If a power outage is a constant risk in your neighborhood or workplace, you’d need a standby generator. As its name suggests, it’s a semi-permanent feature in a home or commercial property. It’s also large and bulky, taking up more space than a typical A/C compressor. It has a commercial-grade engine with high fuel efficiency.

You can also equip a standard generator with Wi-Fi so that you can monitor its status from your phone. That said, a standby generator also works best in powering small cabins or as its backup power source.


5. Natural Gas Generator

Consider a natural gas generator if you’re a green shopper or business. It has lower emission rates compared to gasoline and diesel generators. You can also use it as a whole-house or whole-office backup power source.

The only catch to this generator is its vulnerability to freezing temperatures. So if you’re from Alaska or Canada, stick to a standby generator.

6. Solar Generator

Another great buy for eco-friendly shoppers or businesses, a solar generator draws renewable energy from none other than the sun. You can use it for your entire home or workplace, but portable types (for campsites, e.g.) are also available.

Solar generators are typically made with built-in solar panels. If you need a more custom-type installation, choose one with detachable panels. It will allow you to set up or angle them in any way. However, solar generators don’t work in the dark, which is a let-down because they’re expensive. But they can help you if you want a renewable power source during the day.

7. High-powered or Heavy-duty Generator

This type of generator is not for homes but for big construction sites. Thus, you won’t find them in hardware stores, only from trustworthy suppliers like and other online sources. A high-powered generator can provide enough electricity for earth moving equipment, material handling equipment, road building equipment, and concrete equipment. Look for a power output of 200 kW to 2,500 kW to identify a heavy-duty generator.

8. Medium-powered Generator

Last but not least, a medium-powered generator is another commonly used equipment in construction sites. But because of its lesser power output, which ranges from 5 kW to 200 kW, it can only be used for smaller construction projects. These include single-family homes, low-rise apartments, temporary structures, and repair jobs. On the other hand, a high-powered generator can aid in building high-rise buildings and bridges.

A medium-powered generator can power up circular saws, concrete mixers, tile cutters, temporary lifts and/or elevators, and compressors. As such, if you’re into DIY projects as a hobby, you can get one of these.

Construction sites also use standby generators and portable generators. The portable ones come in handy when they need to power a single handheld tool, like drills. But generally speaking, construction sites require bigger types.

Homes, meanwhile, don’t often require a generator. It’s only useful if you frequently deal with power outages, especially in the middle of summer or winter. Generators aren’t cheap, so only buy one when it’s necessary.