Best Forms of Portable Electricity

People depend on electricity in their everyday life to power almost everything. Homes have electricity for lights, cooking, washing and drying laundry, washing dishes, hot water, food preservation, communication, entertainment, heating, cooling, and many other things. Saying that losing electrical power would be an inconvenience is an understatement. Whereas electricity was a novel thing way back then, nowadays we cannot function properly without it. It can even be life-threatening without electricity.

If something were to occur that causes a lack of electricity for an extended period, you would need a generator. Depending on the cause of the power outage, a portable option may be required. When evacuating one’s home or building is necessary, people will need a backup source of electricity to maintain communication with family, friends, colleagues, etc., at the very least.

There are several ways to generate electricity in these situations. They include a fossil fuel-powered generator, a battery-powered generator, and a solar generator. Some things to be considered when choosing a generator include what it will be used for and how many people will need it. For the homeowners in particular, check out the following different portable electricity options below.

Emergency Generator and Gas Can

Gasoline generator

A gasoline-powered generator is the most common type of generator. It is an excellent option for lower-powered home appliances, tools, and devices. It is not as noisy as the other generators and tends to be the least expensive and easiest generator to find. However, owning one may cost you in the long run as the price of gas is more expensive than the other fuels. A gas generator also tends to produce high emissions. As gas is highly flammable, you should exercise extra caution when operating this type of generator.

Gasoline generators used to be of standard size and built, but now portable types are available.

While gas is readily available under normal circumstances, it may not be when catastrophe strikes. The only possible solution is to store gasoline in an airtight container, safely away from the flames and fire sources and out of children’s and pets’ reach. However, stored gasoline will last for three to six months. In that case, you may need a fuel stabilizer that will keep your stored gas safe for up to three years.

A close-up of a portable diesel generator working during a power blackout, outage. A mobile petrol or diesel generator, as a good power source on a construction site

Diesel generator

Diesel generators are dependable in challenging conditions, such as freezing temperatures. They are more durable since the low-burning temperature of the diesel puts less strain on the engine. These generators are more fuel-efficient than their gasoline counterparts, so that they will cost you less on maintenance and operations over time.

But there are some flipsides. Diesel generators tend to be heavier, even portable ones. They also produce harmful emissions that can be toxic when inhaled; thus, they cannot be used indoors.

Propane generator

A propane generator produces electricity by converting motorized power from the propane’s combustion into electrical energy. Portable propane generators are available in the market, in aside from the standard ones.

The chief function of this generator’s fuel system is to atomize the fuel inside the tank so that it may be pushed into the generator’s engine. In addition, it separates foreign particles to keep the engine clean as possible.

Some households prefer propane generators over gas generators or have switched from gas to propane. While nothing can beat the efficiency of gas generators, propane generators are more environmentally friendly. They produce less carbon monoxide than gas generators, releasing about half of it.

However, operating a propane generator can be slightly inconvenient as it requires a bulk tank. A barbecue cylinder should be sufficient if you’re camping or planning an evacuation. Otherwise, it is too small to power an entire home, so you might need a bigger tank.

Natural gas generator

Although generators running on natural gas tend to fall into the standard generator category, now there are some portable generators that run on this fuel as well. Natural gas generators produce significantly lower emissions than gasoline or diesel. 

The initial set-up and installation may cost you a lot. But in the long run, it can be cost-effective as it doesn’t require storage since natural gas is delivered through natural gas pipelines. But since it is also reliant on gas, if the supply is cut off or interrupted during an emergency, the generator will not work.

Solar generator

If you are preparing for any eventuality, but at the same time, want a safe and “green” power backup, a solar generator will be your best option. 

Solar generators produce clean and renewable energy from the sun. They’re the only generators that you can safely use indoors as they have no emissions. They’re also low-maintenance; however, they can be expensive to purchase.

Portable solar generators produce a lower power output compared to the other portable generators on this list. Since they depend on the sun for power, they can’t work when it’s dark outside. If you need more power, you have to add a bigger or more number of solar panels to increase the power output. It may be troublesome to bring that big or that many solar panels, though.

Charging mobile phone from portable tourist solar panel in winter, in cold conditions

The other (and perhaps better) option is to have individual solar chargers and power banks to “juice” your phones, tablets, and other mobile electronic devices. In addition, solar flashlights and radios will come in handy when disaster strikes.

USB charger plugged in to smart phone

Power banks

Power banks are the most common type of portable electricity. They charge your mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, etc. while you’re on the move. They range in size from pocket-sized and slim to larger and higher-capacity. 

The output capacity of power banks varies as well, and you can find units with battery capacities of up to 5000 milliampere-hours (mAh) for handheld mobile devices and up to 400,000 mAh (yes, you read it right – it’s that massive!) for laptops. 

There are also solar power banks (mentioned earlier) which can serve as excellent back-up charging devices in case you’re out in the woods and your standard power bank has run out of battery.

Hand starts a portable electric generator in front of a summer house in summer

Make an informed choice

When considering any of the generators mentioned above, it helps to seek advice from a professional who can guide you throughout the process. There’s a power backup for every need and budget, so it’s better to be prepared and find a stable and reliable generator that can operate and serve your household for years to come.