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Ask the Experts - Beware of Generator Importers Who Overstate kVA Ratings

by Nick Coulson

Stop! Don’t buy that generator just yet… We don’t want you to waste your hard earned money! The importer may have over stated the kVA Rating.

While the generator you are looking at may be cheap, that doesn't mean it is good value. Recently there have been examples of unscrupulous importers saying a generator produces more kVA or kW than it really does. Don't be fooled.

Before you invest in your petrol or diesel generator, take the time to read the tips below.


Firstly... Why do you need to be careful when buying a generator online?


Not all generators are created equal. While there are companies like us who only provide the highest quality generators that meet all standards and required performance - there are fly by nighters who have different standards.

Many importers source cheap products and sell these to the Australian market. Some don’t know generators and think they are offering good deals. Others purposely try and cheat people out of good money. Either way it’s not good for you, the customer.

There is nothing wrong with cheaper Chinese products mind you. The Chinese can produce great generators to the standard requested. If the standard requested is poor however - then you will end up with inferior products.

Make an informed decision, follow the check list below.


Generator buying check list:


  1. Undertake research

Research the specific type of generator you need based on power requirements. Then compare price and models as well as photos of stock - this will help you identify inferior models.

Calculating power usage requirements for household appliances is easy and involves finding out each appliance’s input power in watts (usually found on a label on the appliance).

You can find a list of common household appliances and their input power needs here. Cross check these with your own appliances.

Converting Watts to kW is as simple as dividing by 1000. E.g. 2000 Watts / 1000 = 2kW.

Now you have a kW figure your generator needs to produce to power your equipment.


  1. Do the maths

Both diesel and petrol generators are sold with specific kW rankings. The kVA is also displayed. The kW tells you the total kilowatts the generator outputs. The kVA tells you the total power the machine can generate and kW is the real power of the generator, kVA is the apparent power - usually 20 percent more. Remember, it is impossible for a machine to run at actual power all the time.

Try this kW to kVA calculator to help you.


Generator output is generally proportional to the engine output. If in doubt, contact us and we can advise you on what generator output can be acheived from an engine and what is exagerrated marketing.


  1. Why the math’s is important

If you have done your research in tip one, then you will know how many kW you need the generator to produce. If it appears the machine doesn't deliver this based on your calculations then don’t waste your money.


  1. Re-badging does occur

Most of the major sellers do rebadge their generators. However, because of quality assurance and sourcing this is not an issue - it is simply a branding exercise. However, problems occur when unscrupulous importers buy the cheapest of the cheap and rebadge them to make them look like a quality brand.


  1. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions

You want to make sure the seller is an expert and fully understands the products that they are selling you. The follow key questions will help you find this out:

  • Do they have a showroom you can visit?
  • Are they machinery specialists?
  • How long have they really been in the industry? ( Are their claims true) 
  • What warranty do their products have? ( Limitations of the warranty)
  • Ask questions on kW or kVA to see if they can answer them


  1. Compliance

Buying online generators is cheaper; however it may result in a range of compliance issues. Developed countries like Australia have very strict rules regarding standards. If you don’t meet them you will either be required to update your generator or get a new one. If you continue using it and face a problem – there is a very real chance any damage caused won’t be covered by insurance.


  1. Operating standards

Again we can’t reiterate enough that cheap doesn't mean good value. Australia is a harsh environment. Not every generator can withstand the harsh conditions. Only choose generators which are proven to operate well in your region. Read online reviews too and ask questions in forums and to experts to help make an informed decision.


  1. eBay

While a great buying site, a lot of the more unscrupulous importers sell via this site. Be especially careful of extremely low prices, or high bids in rapid succession. Chances are it is the seller trying to up the price. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Our view is that it’s better to go to an importer who specialises in generators and is located off platform.

We hope the above tips help you to buy a quality generator that fits your needs and budget. We also hope that they help you to avoid cons and scams from unscrupulous importers who are trying to part you and your cash.

Want to learn more? Then visit one of our show rooms in Brisbane or Perth or call us on 1300 793 001 today. You can also browse our range of petrol and diesel generators, too.



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