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What is the difference between inverter and generator ?

Inverters and generators are both devices used to generate electrical power, but they operate on different principles and serve distinct purposes. Here, we’ll explore in detail the differences between inverters and generators:


  1. Function:
    • An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC).
    • It is primarily used to power electronic devices and appliances that require AC power, such as laptops, refrigerators, and televisions.
  2. Power Source:
    • Inverters are commonly powered by DC sources, such as batteries or solar panels.
    • They can also be used in conjunction with other power sources like the electrical grid or generators.
  3. Output Characteristics:
    • Inverters produce a smooth and continuous AC output, providing a stable power supply suitable for sensitive electronic equipment.
    • They often have features like pure sine wave output, which mimics the quality of grid power and is preferred for delicate electronics.
  4. Portability:
    • Inverters are typically compact and lightweight, making them highly portable.
    • They are commonly used in camping, boating, and other outdoor activities where a portable power source is required.
  5. Applications:
    • Inverters find applications in a wide range of settings, from powering small electronic devices to providing backup power for homes during outages.
    • They are essential for solar power systems, where DC power generated by solar panels is converted into usable AC power.


  1. Function:
    • A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
    • It is designed to produce electricity by burning fuel (gasoline, diesel, natural gas, etc.) to turn a turbine or engine, which then drives an alternator to generate AC power.
  2. Power Source:
    • Generators typically rely on fossil fuels, although there are also biofuel and solar-powered generators.
    • They can be connected to the electrical grid or operate independently as standalone units.
  3. Output Characteristics:
    • Generators produce AC power, and the quality of the power can vary depending on the type of generator.
    • The output may not be as stable and clean as the power from inverters, making generators less suitable for sensitive electronics.
  4. Portability:
    • Generators come in various sizes, ranging from portable units for outdoor activities to larger stationary units for backup power in homes or industrial settings.
    • Portable generators are commonly used in construction sites, camping, and as emergency backup power.
  5. Applications:
    • Generators are widely used for various applications, including providing backup power during outages, supplying electricity in remote areas without access to the grid, and serving as a primary power source in construction and industrial sites.

Distinguishing Features:

  1. Type of Power Produced:
    • Inverters produce clean AC power suitable for sensitive electronic devices.
    • Generators produce AC power, but the quality may not be as consistent or clean as that from inverters.
  2. Power Source:
    • Inverters are often powered by DC sources, while generators use mechanical energy from engines fueled by various sources.
  3. Portability and Size:
    • Inverters are generally more compact and lightweight, suitable for portable applications.
    • Generators come in a range of sizes, with portable options for outdoor use and larger stationary units for more significant power needs.
  4. Use Cases:
    • Inverters are ideal for powering electronic devices and appliances in a clean and portable manner.
    • Generators are versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications, from backup power to providing electricity in remote areas.

In summary, while both inverters and generators generate electrical power, their mechanisms, output characteristics, and applications differ significantly, making them suitable for distinct use cases.

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