Power through loadshedding with these top generator brands

Loadshedding has become a frequent occurrence in South Africa, leaving households without electricity for hours at a time. While inverters and batteries are great options for small households, those with higher energy demands require a reliable generator to power their appliances during load-shedding. The article below explores several generator brands available in South Africa, with capacities suitable for a range of energy demands.

South Africa’s top generator brands

By Hanno Labuschagne

South African households looking for a reliable generator to provide power during load-shedding will find several brands available with capacities suited for a wide range of energy demands.

While a modest inverter-and-battery system is a great option for small and medium households, running power-hungry appliances like washing machines, tumbledryers, and stoves can only be done on larger systems.

These are substantially more expensive than a petrol or diesel generator per kilowatt (kW) of output capacity.

For example, a 5.5kW generator like the Ryobi RG-6900K is priced at around R12,000.

While a quick online search will show it is possible to get a 5.5kW inverter at about R9,000, you will require batteries or solar panels to feed energy to that inverter during load-shedding.

When the sun isn’t shining, or there is inclement weather, batteries are your only option in such a system.

5.5kWh lithium-ion backup batteries in South Africa typically cost around R30,000 or more.

Of course, when using a generator rather than batteries, you will have to take the costs of the petrol and diesel you use to run the generator into account.

However, because you are able to pay-as-you-use, the immediate cost will be much lower than a battery system.

A petrol or diesel generator also gives you more control.

As long as you have fuel on hand, you can power it up. You are not at the mercy of the sun or stored battery power to have electricity during load-shedding.

There are three significant drawbacks with generators that are a non-issue with inverter-and-battery systems — high noise levels, emissions, and the need to conduct frequent maintenance.

If you are willing to deal with these two factors, here are five popular generator brands for homes in South Africa.

Gentech and Grip

Gentech Industries was founded in 2014 as an importer, wholesaler, and distributor of power products in South Africa.

The company expanded its footprint beyond the country’s borders and established a sister company called Maxwatt in Brisbane, Australia.

Gentech supplies both Gentech and Grip generators.

Gentech generators have capacities ranging from 2kVA to 11kVA, with both petrol and diesel options available.

At the time of publication, the only Grip generators available from prominent retailers were petrol models and had capacities of 3.6kVA, 5kVA, 5.5kVA, and 7.5kVA.

For those concerned about performance issues, Gentech offers a 2-year warranty against all manufacturer defects.

Among the prominent retailers offering Gentech or Grip generators were Builders, Leroy Merlin, Makro, and Takealot.

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Honda’s generators are very expensive when compared to the rival brands on this list, but they are generally more highly regarded for their build quality, reliability, and design.

Honda released its first commercially available portable generator — the E300 — back in 1965.

It also lays claim to making the world’s first microprocessor-controlled sine-wave inverter system, which provided a high-quality electricity output for powering more delicate electrical equipment.

The Honda EU10i is the company’s entry-level portable inverter generator for homes, capable of providing 1kVA of output.

At the time of publication, the cheapest unit we could find online was selling for R21,600.

If you are not too bothered about noise levels or have a solution for the problem, you can get a 5.5kVA EZ6500CXS starting from about R25,000.

Honda offers a three-year warranty on its generators for consumer or residential use.

Mac Afric

Mac Afric generators are sold by Adendorff Machinery Mart and are among the cheaper options on the market.

Mac Afric’s home-suited petrol and diesel generator capacities start at 1.25kVA and top out at 15kVA.

At the time of publication, a middle-of-the-range 5.6kVA model will cost you R8,495 at the Adendorff Machinery Mart online store.

It also has two inverter generators in its catalogue, with capacities of 1.8kW and 3.2kW.

As an illustration of its price edge, the 1.8kW model costs R7,450, while the lowest price we could find online for the Ryobi inverter generator with the same running capacity was R9,999.

Mac Afric generators come with a one-year “carry-in” conditional warranty covering manufacturer defects.

That warranty is null and void if the generator is not installed by a qualified electrician registered with the Department of Labour, and who has issued a Certificate of Compliance for the installation.

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Japanese company Ryobi has established a trusted reputation for manufacturing high-quality electronics components and building tools.

Ryobi is perhaps the best-represented generator brand across multiple stores in South Africa.

The list of stores from which we found its generators being sold included Builders, Chamberlain, Game, HiFi Corp, Incredible, Kloppers, Makro, Mica, and Takealot, to name a few.

The portable inverters on sale had capacities starting from as little as 950W and going up to 10kVA (11,000W), with prices between R2,500 and R49,999.

Turner Morris

Turner Morris was founded in 1936 and offers an extensive range of power equipment for the construction, agriculture, cleaning, and survey sectors.

That includes several portable and standby generators with capacities going as high as 40kVA.

For residential use, the Turner Morris portable portfolio includes many petrol and diesel models with prices starting at just over R13,400.

Many of these offer an electric start feature which makes it easier to get the generator up and running than when using a recoil system.

Prices appear to be similar to Ryobi, at least for models with recoil start.

6kVA and 7kVA models fitted with Honda Motors are also on offer at respective prices of R16,596 and R20,266.

Turner Morris generators were available from Generators SA and Leroy Merlin at the time of publication.

Read more: Eskom predicts bleak year ahead with generation capacity shortfall

This article is republished with permission from MyBroadBand

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