Differences between Generator, Inverter & UPS

Today electricity has become a necessity. All most all of our day to day works requires electricity. We need electricity for laptops, washing machines, electric cookers, Mobile phones, Coolers, etc. If this electricity gets shut down it will cause great mayhem. To smoothly run these devices even after the blackout of electricity and get uninterrupted electrical power systems are invented. Generator, Inverter and UPS are an example of such inventions. As all of these devices work for the same aim, where do they differ? What makes them different? Before looking into there differences lets know more about there working.

Differences between Generator, Inverter, and UPS

The Differences between Generator, Inverter, and UPS mainly includes what is a generator, inverter, and UPS. Differences between them are discussed below.


Generators are electromechanical devices that can generate electricity by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. They apply the principles of electricity and magnetism to generate electricity.


The source of power for these systems are Wind turbines, Water turbines, etc. The electricity generated by these systems is used for main AC power supplies in power stations, industrial applications, etc.


Inverters are power electronic devices. The main purpose of these devices is to convert DC to AC. In inverters, AC power supply is taken from AC mains and converted into DC by a rectifier.


This converted DC charges a battery. As the industrial and household systems work on AC power, the DC from the battery is converted into AC by the inverter. These systems are used in the household to get the power supply after the blackout of electricity. For working of Inverters, no external power supply is needed.


UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply)

UPS stands for uninterrupted power supply. As the name indicates, it is used to stop the interruption caused to devices during the blackout of electricity. This system is mainly used with computers where it provides the computer sufficient amount of power to save the data and safely shut down when sudden power blackout occurs.

Uninterrupted Power Supply
Uninterrupted Power Supply

UPS consists of a rectifier to convert AC into DC and charge the battery. This battery is connected to the inverter which converts the DC into AC. A controller is provided to control the functioning of the system.

UPS can provide power supply only up to 10 to 15 minutes. So, this is mainly intended for IT systems and electronic devices that can get damaged with sudden power out conditions.

Key Differences between Generator, Inverter, and UPS

Generator Inverter


Generates electricity


Generates electric power.


Generates electric power.


Can supply electricity to power lines.


Can supply power to 3 to 4 home appliances.


Can supply power to the computer and electronic systems.
Power sources are Water turbines, Wind turbines, etc…


The power supply is from AC mains.


The power supply is from AC mains.


Create lots of noise.


Does not create noise.


Does not create noise.


The main function is to convert mechanical energy into electricity.



The main function is to convert DC to AC.



The main function is to stop sudden interruption of power.


Needs a Chord to start the generator.


Switch and sensor are provided, which turns on inverter after the main supply is OFF.


Automatically turns ON when an interruption is detected in the main power supply.


Can generate electricity as long as the power source is applied.


The amount of power supplied by inverter depends on the amount of charge present in the battery.


Depends on the charge on the battery.


Does not turns ON until the chord is pulled.


Turns ON when main AC power turns OFF but not immediately.


Turns ON immediately when an interruption is detected.


Amount of electricity generated can power up 10 to 12 homes. Can supply power to some selected appliances of the home only for 4 to 6 hours. Can supply power to electronic systems like computer, only for 10 to 15 minutes.

Though designed with the same aim to substitute electricity, generators, inverters, and UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) differ in their working principle, type of application and power sources. UPS have complex wiring and are expensive. Whereas generators and inverters are less expensive.

UPS contains built-in batteries whereas for inverters batteries are external. While UPS is directly plugged into appliances, inverters are connected to the main power line of the household to send power to appliances. Though the working of inverter and UPS are similar the main difference is time taken by them to switch ON.

After detecting an interruption in power UPS is switched ON immediately whereas inverter uses some delay to switch ON. Thus UPS is used for sensitive systems such as a computer which cannot afford the sudden power loss. What type of challenges did you face while working with either of these systems?