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Single Phase vs Three Phase Generator: What’s the Difference?

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When you’re looking for a generator for your home or business, chances are you’re going to bump into one major question.

Are you looking for a single-phase generator or a three-phase generator?

Now, we understand if you get a little thrown by this question. The differences between these two generator models aren’t exactly common knowledge.

That’s why the experts here at CS Diesel Generators are here to answer the question for you. We’re going to go into what exactly each of these generators is, and what differences there are between them.

Then, we’ll help you decide the best generator option for you, whatever your needs.

What Is a Single-Phase Generator and a Three-Phase Generator?

The trick to understanding what these particular generators actually are lies in their names.

A single-phase generator is a generator that’s powered by a single alternating current. This means that when operational, the voltage created by the generator will always be conducted in the same single way.

The secret behind a three-phase generator is very similar. These are generators that are powered by three conductors. Their set-up relies on three conductors and a fourth neutral wire.

Both generators can be used to create power for either a residential property, a commercial property, or a number of different purposes. Sometimes, they’ll be named after their purpose, which is important if you’re looking for a commercial generator.

Now that you know what each of these generators is, let’s go into some of the key differences between the two of them.

Single vs Three-Phase Generator: Size and Output

As you might imagine, a three-phase generator will typically be much larger than a single-phase generator. This is because the three-phase model must account for the extra conductors.

That additional size does mean that you’ll need to dedicate more space to a three-phase generator. This is something to bear in mind when you’re conceptualizing where to place your generator on your property.

But that extra size does come with notable benefits of a three-phase generator.

The three-phase generator’s additional conductors mean that its voltage output is usually larger than a single-phase model.

This is because a single-phase conductor solely relies on its single conductor. That can cause occasional dips in power which, though they aren’t often noticeable, mean there are times when no power is being outputted at all.

With a three-phase generator, one of the three conductors will always ensure that power is being outputted. It also means that the conductors can overlap each other, which allows for even more power to be outputted by the conductor itself.

This of course means that a three-phase generator is suitable for large-scale power needs when compared with a single-phase model.

Maintenance and Emergency Reliance

Another important difference between these two models lies in how easy they are to maintain.

The trouble that can often be found with single-phase generators is once again in their singular output. If this output fails, then the entire generator will stop working.

This could cause an emergency outage for anything being powered by a single-phase conductor.

Another benefit of the three-phase model is that if one conductor has some issues, it can continue to rely on the two other conductors until the faulty one is fixed.

This can help ensure that a three-phase generator lasts longer than a single-phase generator. It also means you can typically rely on a three-phase generator more than its singular counterpart.

Not only that, but three-phase generators usually come equipped with a standby power supply option in case of outages. This can ensure a minimal amount of power is still supplied in emergency situations.

Which Generator Is Best for You?

It’s important to factor in the size, output, maintenance, and emergency reliance of each generator when making your decision.

A final factor that may impact your decision which we haven’t yet mentioned is the price. A single-phase generator will typically be cheaper to buy and install when compared with a three-phase generator.

The best option for you will usually depend on what you are using the generator for.

For small residential power, it may be unnecessary for you to invest in a larger three-phase model. This may be the case if you only need extra power for a single appliance or room in a home.

But if you’re looking to power a considerably larger space like business premises or a medical facility, you’ll likely need a three-phase generator.

You also need to consider how important the items you’re powering are. If you’re powering something with a whole database of information that needs to always remain online, you’ll want to invest in a three-phase generator.

The last thing you want to happen is for a single-phase generator to break and to lose all of your data to an emergency problem.

If the price is an issue for you, you should also think about whether you want to buy a new or used generator. Most reliable suppliers will provide new and used options, with used generators often being the cheaper option.

Overall, there are many more 3 phase generator benefits than there are for the single model.

But your decision should almost always return to size, output, and the need for emergency backup. If you figure out how much power you really need, you’ll know which of these generators is best for you.

Where Can I Purchase a Single-Phase or Three-Phase Generator?

You should now understand the crucial difference between single-phase and three-phase generators. You should also know the benefits of each, and which option is the right one for you.

Now that you know this, you’ll need to know where to buy one. Here at CS Diesel Generators we sell new and used generators for any purpose.

We list all our generators based on their output and provide larger generators for commercial purposes as well as residential needs.

To find out more about generators, or to make an inquiry, make sure to contact us directly.

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