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Single-Phase Vs. Three-Phase Generators – The Basics

When you begin looking for a used generator, it’s important to understand the different types of products available so that you can determine which generator will best meet your needs. Often times, we hear the question, “What is the difference between single-phase vs three-phase generators?” As part of our efforts to always keep our customers informed about all of our products and services, we decided to give you the basics.

Buying a Single-Phase Vs. Three-Phase Generator with Woodstock Power

When considering whether to purchase a single-phase vs. three-phase generator, it comes down to one main difference:

They Provide Power in Different Ways

While the type of power they provide is the same, the way that they do so varies. Single-phase generators produce one single voltage that alternates continuously. Because the power is generated in one single wave, the level varies throughout its cycle. These varying waves cause the power level to drop throughout the process, however, these drops generally go undetected to the eye and ear in normal, residential and smaller operations.

Three-phase generators work by producing three separate waves of AC power that operate in a sequence, ensuring that there is always a continuous flow of energy and that the power level never dips as it does with single-phase generators. Because of this uninterrupted reliability, three-phase generators are much more powerful.

When Should You Choose A Single-Phase Vs. Three-Phase Generator?

The decision of choosing a single-phase vs. three-phase generator comes down to one simple question: What will the generator be used to power?

For smaller operations, more rural or residential areas, and small equipment or tools that don’t require constant, high-voltage power, single-phase used generators provide an efficient source at a lower cost. Most single-phase generators operate anywhere from 120 to 240 volts.

If you are looking for a used generator to power larger, commercial businesses, you’ll likely want to invest in a three-phase generator, which have a typical voltage of 480. Many large pieces of equipment and electric motors, as well as data centers and industrial areas, will require the power that you can get out of a three-phase generator. While these generators generally cost a bit more than single-phase generators and can require more maintenance, their reliability and unbeatable efficiency can keep larger operations functioning in tip-top shape, at all times.

Regardless of your power needs, at Woodstock Power we can help you determine the right used generator for your business. We have a wide selection of both single-phase and three-phase generators for you to choose from and we’re always here to answer your questions.

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