Buying a petrol generator – what you need to know

Buying a petrol generator – what you need to know

A power generator can be a daunting purchase. There are so many different types available, each with its own set of features that have been designed for various tasks.

So whether you’re powering workshops or computer equipment, keep reading our comprehensive guide to find out all you need to know about buying a petrol generator.

Power output

Determining a realistic daily wattage output is the first step you need to take when purchasing a petrol generator. When you come up with an estimated figure, it’s always best to give yourself a little headroom and add on an extra 20% of your wattage to your total – just to be sure your new piece of equipment is able to carry out all jobs effectively.

If you need your generator to power sensitive equipment such as laptops or TVs, it’s best to use an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR). Unstable power supplies can harm your fragile electronic goods and having an AVR allows you to mimic the type of power produced by the mains supply.

Maximum running time

A common misconception when it comes to petrol generators is that the fuel tank size is an accurate indicator of the total running time. This is a false statement as it’s assuming that a generator with a larger fuel tank will always run for longer than a generator with a smaller fuel tank, which is simply not true if the power output is higher.

To get an accurate estimate of the maximum running time, keep in mind that generators with larger fuel tanks may have a higher energy output. This means that the engine will be working harder and thus likely to be using more fuel in comparison to a generator that is less powerful with a smaller fuel tank.

Bearing this information in mind when choosing a petrol generator can save you from having to refuel your generator halfway through a job.

The engine

Whether you are planning to use your generator as an emergency failsafe or you just need power where you can’t easily get mains electricity you’ll want the generator to be capable of running consistently over sustained periods of time.

Some lesser quality models can overheat or simply stop working after a very short time, leaving you powerless. Look at generators with engines by well-known manufacturers – you should be able to rely on these.


You should think carefully about the sockets you need, in terms of both type and quantity.

Once you have decided on how many plug sockets you require, finding the right one for you shouldn’t be too difficult as there is a seemingly endless supply of both numbers and combination types. It’s always best to go for a generator with one more socket than you think you’ll need because you never know when it will come in handy.

However it is important to mention health and safety rules and regulations here as construction and some other industrial sites have to run from 110-volt sockets (as opposed to the standard 230 volts), so you’ll need a generator that can switch over as necessary. Look for petrol generators with a dual voltage switch. 

Build quality

The overall look of a petrol generator is probably that last thing to consider when purchasing one. However, the build and frame quality plays a surprisingly important role when it’s switched on.

A poorly designed and built generator can be loud and vibrate a lot, as well as being vulnerable to damage from impacts. Choose a model with vibration and sound dampening as the better the build quality, the more likely it is to stand up to the rigours of use.

Models with a larger, tubular frame can also protect the petrol generator from the inevitable bumps and knocks it’ll get on a busy site, and make it easier to carry.


And that brings us to one final, yet very important aspect to consider: the weight of the petrol generator.

If you are planning on transporting it from one place to another for various jobs, it can be very disappointing to find that the model you’ve chosen is extremely heavy and difficult to move.

To avoid this problem choose a model that is either lightweight for effortless lifting, or fitted with a wheel kit so it can easily be pulled along. 

Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge.

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