How to Pick the Right Generator for Your Business

Nothing kills the momentum of a company’s growth quite like the business having to come to an operational standstill. Whenever that happens, your costs still exist, but your revenues cease. You’re still paying for personnel, building leases, software expenditures, etc without operations continuing.

If that prospect scares you, then you need a generator. In this article, we’ll show you how to pick a generator that will ensure that your business’s revenue-producing activity never comes to a halt due to a power outage. Yes, generators may be expensive, but they’re worth the investment. Especially when you consider the alternative — zero revenue with all your costs — generators are the way to go.

However, there are tons of different generators on the market, each with different options. In this article, we’ll show you how to pick a generator. We’ll give you a list of all the features and options you’ll need to decide on to find the right unit to fit your business. 

Site Conditions

The most basic decision to make is extremely straightforward: what kind of site conditions are you dealing with? Do you need a massive generator to run a factory line, or do you need a lightweight portable machine to run only one piece of electrical equipment? Or, do you just need a home-type generator to keep the lights on at your office?

The answer to this question serves as the foundation for the rest of the this buying guide. It is imperative that you understand the application for the generator that you will be purchasing in order to ensure that you make the right selection.

Power Requirements

Another fundamental question to ask yourself to find what size generator you need regards the power the generator will need to output. And don’t worry—you don’t need any extensive background in electrical circuits in order to understand your power requirements. There are many different calculators on the internet that allow you to calculate the wattage you will require.

There exist two principal types of generators, single-phase and three-phase. A single-phase generator outputs less power and suits smaller, home-style applications. A three-phase generator outputs far more power and suits commercial generators better, and also boast higher efficiency and stronger reliability.

Fuel Type

Generators for commercial applications are typically powered either by diesel or natural gas. Diesel generators hold one very significant advantage over natural gas generators: ease of access to fuel. 

Depending on your location, the right natural gas for your generator may be hard to come by, which makes diesel a far superior and more convenient choice. To find the right diesel generator in the Sydney area, check out

Cooling Mechanism

Just like with fuel type and power requirements, there are two main categories when it comes to cooling mechanisms as well: air-cooled and liquid-cooled. Air-cooled generators are kept at operating temperatures by their surroundings. Thus, that means that their surroundings need to be generally favorable. This is a concern particularly if the generator will be housed outdoors. Running the unit on any days that are particularly scorching hot may cause problems down the line.

Liquid-cooled generators, on the other hand, are not limited in that fashion. Instead, much like a car engine, they use the passage of some fluid throughout key components of the generator in order to keep the unit cool. This self-cooling features naturally merits a higher price tag, but if your unit will be operating in harsh conditions, that makes it well worth the extra cost. 

Standby Options

A standard generator will need to be manually turned on every time the power goes out. However, a generator with a standby option has the capacity to automatically turn on whenever it senses a power outage.

This feature will set you back quite a few dollars, so it’s important to understand whether ROI exists in the business case for this feature. Does a brief power outage mean that an important process in building a product can be compromised? Could the break between when the power goes out and when the generator is manually switched on compromise the product quality? If so, then the investment in this feature may be worth it.

Noise Level

Noise level makes another very important consideration when picking the right generator for your business. Typically, the larger the generator the louder it will be. However, more higher-end machines come with sound-deadening equipment in order to lower the decibel level. Again, this comes with a higher price tag.

Thus, if your unit will be stored in a location where loud noise won’t impact the productivity of the business or annoy any neighbors, then it may not be worth it to spring for the more expensive, quieter option. 

Run Time

One crucial feature that will impact the longevity of your unit is its use case, how often will the generator be used, and how long will it be on each time. Most generators aren’t built to be run nonstop for long periods of time. Thus, the wear and tear from long runs will result in a breakdown of the unit faster.

Make sure to pick the right generator for your needs based on how heavy the usage will be. If your runtime will be higher than normal, make sure that you get the most reliable unit you can. 

Maintenance & Warranty

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to look at the maintenance schedule for your unit, as well as the warranty it comes with. Most generator stores will offer various levels of warranty. A more expensive unit justifies a longer warranty, but for low-scale applications, the minimum warranty period may work out more economical in the long run.

Another critical factor is the maintenance schedule. Any downtime that the generator will have could result in downtime for your business. Naturally, a generator with a history of reliability, coupled with an adequate but not overdone maintenance schedule, is the optimal pick.

Now You Know How to Pick a Generator!

Armed with this info on how to pick a generator for your business, you’re ready to find the perfect unit for you. 

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Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.