A Beginners Guide to Generators

A generator in the back of a van

The power is in your hands! While the world of generators can feel complex and confusing, the benefit of owning one is nothing sort of empowerment. Giving you power wherever and whenever you need it, whether you’re protecting your own from power outages, keeping your electronics going on a camping trip or getting industrial work done – a generator keeps you going.

But knowing what generator to buy, what the different types of generators do and the ins and outs of fuel sources and standbys – that’s a different story.  Breaking down all the need-to-know information and the important generator basics, keep reading to see Bimson’s beginner's guide to generators.

What are Generators?

A generator is an external circuit that using a motor to give you power away from a mains connection. Featuring a motor, outlets and added smart features for safer and easier usage – you can pick the power rating and wattage to suit your needs.

Ideal for bringing power outside, they’re used for anything from industrial work, construction, catering or even caravans and camping adventures. Think about every outdoor event you’ve been to - each one was powered by a generator!

How Generators Work

The scientific explanation is that a generator converts motive or mechanical power into electrical power, allowing you to use it as an external circuit. But in plain English - generators are a form of alternative power that uses a motor to give you electricity. They don’t create electricity but convert one kind of power into a different kind, turning motor power into the same type of power that runs through your house.

The bigger the engine, the higher the wattage they’ll deliver as they’re able to convert more power - allowing you to pick the motor that suits your needs.

What Does kVA Mean on a Generator?

kVA is 1,000 volt amps, also known as Kilovolt-amps. It’s the result when you multiply the voltage by the amps, giving you the ‘apparent power’ of a generator. Unlike Kilowatts (kW) which measure the true power.

The higher the kVA rating, the more power a generator will produce.

Knowing the kVA rating is important for ensuring you’re getting the right generator for you. If your generator doesn’t produce enough power for the things you want to run, you can overload it – causing damage to the generator as well as your electricals. You can figure out the wattage you need but simply adding up the wattage of the equipment or electricals you plan to run, and ensuring there are plenty of watts to go round. 

Different Types of Generator

There are different types of generators to suit any use, power level and job. From super heavy-duty, high-power diesel generators for getting industrial work done, to small generators made for household use or blackout support, the trick is finding the right generator for you…

Portable Generators

If you’re on the go, you’ll need a portable generator. Ideal for camping or caravanning where you’ll be moving your generator from one place to the next, or for industrial use that requires you to change sites between jobs, an easily portable generator will make your life a lot easier.

For run of the mill campsite trips or times when you need to get your generator from place to place – look no further than our suitcase inverters. All contained in an easy to transport package, they’re perfect for portable power. Especially the Mighty Atom, which is the lightest 2kW inverter in the world!

But for situations where your generator might take a bit of bashing about, like going from place to place in a work van or if you’re a heading out in a food truck or take a long journey in a campervan to get to your destination – a frame-type generator is a good choice here. Protected by a heavy-duty, industrial frame, the bar design is easily lifted and moved. Many are also fitted with handles and wheels, allowing you to simply pull it from place to place. If the generator you have doesn’t come with those, Bimson also sell a generator wheel and handle kit to help you out.

Emergency Power Supply Generators

If you’re looking for a generator to support you during any possible blackouts or to protect your home appliances from any power cuts, we’ve got just the thing.

Protected against harsh, steeped power waves – inverter generators use True Sine Wave technology to ensure a smooth and steady power flow, which is exactly what you need in an emergency. Balancing out any rough dips or harmful surges of power, inverters are ideal for protecting your electronics and powering sensitive products like laptops and televisions, so basically, all the things that will keep the kids calm and quiet during a blackout.

Unlike classic square waves which are subject to harsh drops and spikes in power, True Sine Wave runs smoothly and is far less sensitive to external factors. While square and modified square waves can cause problems with certain electrical equipment, such as variable speed motors, drills, sensitive electronics, power supplies, transformers, battery chargers and dimmer switches – inverters with their True Sine Wave technology are reliable in emergency situations.

True Sine Wave diagram

Solar Generators

Bringing together the eco power of solar panels with the handy power of a generator, solar generators are new technology developing in real-time. Instead of using petrol or diesel, solar generators are powered by the sun, utilising solar panels to charge up the generator and convert rays into watts.

They’re a clean alternative, ideal for use on camping sites where there is plenty of natural light.        

Standby Generators

A standby generator is another great alternative if you’re after a power cut or blackout protection. Unlike an inverter generator that powers up and down to match the power level you need, a standby generator switches into action when mains power fails.

Using an automatic transfer switch, standby generators will click on within seconds of the power failing, ensuring there’s no downtime. Offered as an optional extra with our Diesel Generators, they’re typically permanent setups that are ready whenever you need them.

Features of Generators

With so many different features and qualities, finding your perfect generator is easy as you can pretty much customise it to your needs with all the different power levels offered by Bimson. And when we throw outlets, portability and fuel sources into the mix – there are so many features to consider!

Fuel Sources

Similar to a car engine, generators can run on different fuel sources including petrol, diesel and LPG. Our dual fuel generators mean you don’t even have to make that choice, running on either petrol or LPG (Propane) for whatever suits you best. To help you make the decision, here are some pros for each:

Diesel generators:

  • Low maintenance – Diesel is readily available and is long tried and tested as a reliable, low-maintenance fuel source.
  • Power Output – Diesel generators can generally offer high power outputs and longer run times.

Petrol generators:

  • Readily available – Petrol is reliable as a readily available fuel source we’re all familiar with.
  • Trusted – used to power your car, it can easily get the job, offering high power outputs and long run times for your generator.

LPG (Propane) generators:

  • Lower cost – LPG is generally 30-50% cheaper than petrol and other fuel sources.
  • Greater flexibility – Need a longer run time? Simply attach a bigger cylinder with no need to be stifled by an internal fuel capacity.
  • Cleaner – LPG puts out far cleaner emissions, making it more environmentally friendly and appropriate to use in a wider range of settings, including fuel-free campsites.
  • Easy storage – There are no longer the struggles of trying to store your fuel, with no smell and minimal leakage risk as it is not a loose fluid.
  • Lower maintenance cost – Unlike petrol and diesel, LPG doesn’t decay over time so causes no damage to the carburettor or blockages.
  • Easy refuel – Simply add a new cylinder and you’re good to go.


Portability is a major benefit to a lot of generators. Giving you power even when you’re far away from any mains outlets, portable generators can be transported to wherever you need them.

If you’re after a generator to help with power cuts it might not be the main priority, but for industrial work, catering, outdoor events or caravan getaways – take portability into account and take a look at our range of frame-type generators with handy wheels.


For something convenient, easy storage is key. You might not always have a need for your generator, so something that doesn’t take up too much space and can easily be put away is ideal. Something small like the Mighty Atom, with a low noise level and compact shape, is a super convenient pick, offering all the power without stealing too much space.

Benefits of Using Generators

  • Power where you need it – Generators allow you to run all your electricals or equipment, wherever you need it. Whether that be a construction site, a campsite or even your own back garden, you can be up and running anywhere.
  • Home protection – Generators can keep your house going. If your power falters, it can be scary to be left in the dark, causing food waste from fridges shutting off or general upset when the kids’ TV show is cut short. With a generator, your home is protected from blackouts and power cuts.
  • Full control – Giving you the power to monitor your power usage, fuel consumption and the wattage used by your work or household, generators put all the information and control back in your hands allowing you to control your own cost.

How to Buy a Generator

  1. Consider your needs - what do you want to use your generator for? Personal or industrial use? Emergency power or powering a purpose? On-site or in a field?
  2. Measure your power levels – figure out what wattage your electricals or equipment will require so you know you won’t overload your generator and can pick the right one.
  3. Find your features – decide on the fuel type you want to use, and any additional priorities like portability or outlet types and browse our full range.
  4. Pick and purchase – once you’ve found the right generator for you, confidently purchase with our extensive warranties and customer support.