The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Yamaha inverter generator

Yamaha inverter generator

We lasted for one week with only a small solar panel for electricity. Then we fell back on the other option we'd researched before leaving copious internet access behind --- an inverter generator.

When we bought our last generator, inverter generators either didn't exist in our price range or we simply hadn't heard of them. Since then, though, they've come down into the consumer price range --- only a couple of hundred bucks for a small, off-brand model or up to a thousand plus dollars for hefty units that will likely go the distance.

The downside is --- you get less power for your buck with an inverter generator. So why did we decide to go that route anyway?

Carrying an inverter generatorSimple --- efficiency, fuel savings, and peace and quiet. Basically, inverter generators are able to run at different speeds depending on how many things you plug into them. So if you're just running a lamp and charging a laptop, they'll barely use much fuel at all (about a gallon for every ten hours of use at 1/4 load) while keeping the noise down to about the level of a window air conditioner. Plus, they're small and light enough to be carried by one strong person alone --- definitely a plus.

We'd originally opted for the 2000 starting watt/1600 running watt Honda, partly because of its good reviews and partly because it was supposed to be available at Home Depot (where Mark could use his veteran's discount). But when the time came to make the purchase, all of the Home Depots in the area had run out. (You were right, Joey!) So we instead tracked down a Yamaha with similar stats at a motorcyle store in town --- bonus that we'll have a repair shop nearby if it needs to be worked on. More on what we think of our little engine that could in another post.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We have a Honda 2000 watt for our off-grid camp where we spend our summers, and we love it. It will run everything we will ever need except an air conditioner, which at my age might be necessary to avoid heat exhaustion in the hottest weather, I am prone to heat related health issues. BUT we can purchase the piggy back unit at a later date and then have 4000 watts to run an air conditioner, if the situation arises. Electricity, although not really a necessity, in our domestic instance, makes a big difference in our quality of life.
Comment by Maggie Turner Thu Oct 12 10:24:02 2017

Honda's patent on the inverter generator ran out and now there are clones of the design, I purchased the "Ironhorse" brand at our local Northern Tool store, sort of like a higher-end Harbor Freight tools store with more of a market of tools and equipment aimed towards ag and industry.

I paid $600. After hurricane Mathew in 2016 we had no power for several days, running our 17 cu foot fridge and a 5 cu ft chest freezer it would go 7-8 hours on it's gallon tank.

I wanted a unit that my wife and daughter would be able to pick up and start if I was not around and this fits the bill just fine!

Comment by Eric Thu Oct 12 16:52:09 2017

Good choice, those inverter gens are so quiet and fuel efficeint.

We have a Powerhorse brand from Northern Tool, and will keep a small chest freezer and household fridge going.

Comment by Eric Sat Oct 14 08:13:40 2017

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