In terms of the power produced there are significant differences between the two types.
Conventional generators are very basic in design. Essentially an engine hooked up to an alternator, the speed at which the engine runs determines the AC (alternating current) frequency. This is totally independent of the load. While in use, any increase in load will cause a subsequent increase in throttle to ensure that the speed of the engine (3600RPM) remains consistent.
The output from the alternator passes directly to the attached equipment with no regulation or processing.
Inverter generators are an entirely different beast.
While conventional generators pass electricity directly to the load, inverters utilize a rectifier to convert the alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). To help smooth out any fluctuations in this power capacitors are used.
The next step involves “inverting” the DC back to clean AC power at the desired frequency and voltage. (typically 120VAC @ 60Hz). This produces a much more consistent and clean power that is completely independent of the speed of the engine.
The result is power that is comparable to the electricity generated by your utility company. This is very important when powering devices that are sensitive to power quality including TV’s, cell phones, gaming systems, computers, and even some appliances.
So if you’re planning on running these types of devices you’re much better off with clean, regulated power.
Winner: Inverter Generators