Reader Question: Gas Generator vs. Electric?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Glenn asks: I watched a Wranglerstar episode on a comparison between a gas generator (Honda), and the new power pack battery, (Ecoflow Delta). I included the website for the Ecoflow and a video evaluation on Wranglerstar.

https://ecoflow.com/?sscid=71k5_kb5pw&

I know this is a little out of your wheelhouse, but I value your opinion and technical knowledge. I have been thinking about a purchase of a power backup for my home and camper since things are getting a little crazy in our country.  If only for peace of mind it would be worth the investment.

My reply: I agree with the narrator of the video you sent that the EcoFlow – which isn’t a generator but rather a battery pack – has a number of very attractive features, such as silent operation, a higher peak watt rating and more outlets, including the 30 amp/three prong outlet.

But it also has some important detractions – most especially that when it runs out of charge, you run out of power – unless you have a way to recharge it as it discharges (a neat feature it admittedly has but which only works if you have a solar array or some such to connect it to, which is another cost/possible hassle ) whereas the gas-burning generator generates electricity and so long as you have gas, it will keep on generating it.

A five gallon jug will keep my 8,000 watt generator running for 10-12 hours at a time. Now, of course, if there’s no more gas, it generates nothing – and that is a definite detraction. Plus the noise. Plus the having to store it outside (because of the gas). I think which to get depends on what you’re wanting the device to do. The EcoFlow seems to me to be a neat rig but only for short-term (four hours or less) use, unless you have some way to recharge it. If you could keep it topped off using solar (or wind) then it makes a lot of sense. But if getting gas is no problem, I think the Honda (or any gas) generator makes more sense as they will generally provide electricity for longer and for indefinitely, if you can refill their tank.

PS: Neither of these have the wattage to run a whole house or multiple heavy-draw appliances (e.g., a well pump and AC and a ‘Fridge at the same time). If you need that kind of power, you may want to look into a whole house unit that runs on CNG or propane.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Why not both? Get a battery, inverter/charger and solar panels that’ll handle your day to day needs. Buy a generator for bouts of bad weather to recharge batteries when the solar falls short. Just do some research to size your components to consumption and say goodbye to the monthly electric bill.

    Homepower magazine on archive.org is severely dated but it’s got lots of free info on offgrid power.
    https://archive.org/details/homepowermagazine

    Will prowse on youtube is also good resource.
    https://m.youtube.com/c/WillProwse/videos

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