Single Phase Vs. Three Phase Generators: What Your Generator Installation Company Wants You To Know | Marion, SC

Single Phase Vs. Three Phase Generators: What Your Generator Installation Company Wants You To Know | Marion, SC

Did the last power outage disrupt your business, make you lose inventory, or waste your precious time? Over the past 10 years, power outages in the United States have increased by 78 percent. These disruptions cost businesses more than $150 billion yearly. This has led many companies in Marion, SC to hastily look for alternate power sources.

A good generator installation company will inform you that generators are a long-term investment. Many factors need to be considered, or you’ll end up wasting more money on a wrong purchase than on downtime during a blackout.

If you are running a large business, you might think an enormous generator might do the trick. But bigger is not always better. This is where you will need to know about single-phase and 3 phase generators. Read on to learn more about them and which is best suited for your needs.

Power Output

The main difference between single and three phase generators is how they generate electricity. Single phase generators work using one circuit. The power moves in and out in one single wave. Thus, the power output varies constantly as the current alternates between high and low. This works well with equipment and appliances that do not use much power.

Some equipment uses more power to startup and could cause a generator to overload. A single phase or circuit doesn’t handle fluctuations very well, causing a surge.

Three-phase generators use three circuits. While one wave is down, the other goes up. This continuous motion provides a more stable and constant output. Instead of one circuit doing all the work, the load is distributed over the three phases.

This makes three phase generators much more powerful and suitable for running over a longer time. It also prevents overloading and significantly reduces fluctuations.

RPM (Rotations Per Minute)

Unlike cars, a higher RPM doesn’t make a generator faster or better. Obviously, you can’t change gears on a generator. Three phase generators have fewer RPM than their single phase counterparts.

The high number of revolutions of single phase generators puts stress on the engine. If they run for many hours, internal parts will wear out faster, and the machine will break down sooner. On the other hand, the faster speed makes them an excellent portable option because their startup time is much shorter.

Three phase generators run with fewer RPMs, usually half the number of single phase models. This makes the generators less noisy, and they consume less fuel. Fewer rotations will also make the engine last longer, reducing the need for regular maintenance.

Depending on the type of equipment, you might need more RPM but still a robust generator. A generator installation company can help determine what will work best for you.

Type of Equipment

Large equipment usually runs on three phase power. Naturally, you will need a three phase generator to power those machines. A single-phase will work fine with smaller equipment but is more likely to overheat and be overburdened once you add to the load.

If you just want to power emergency lights and essential equipment during a power outage, a generator installation company may recommend a single phase standby generator.


Single phase generators usually have a voltage of 120 or 240. This is usually enough for residential and small business use. Three phase generators typically work at a voltage of 480 or more. That is necessary to power large equipment and motors.

Higher voltage poses a safety hazard. So be sure to always have a generator installation company install and service these units.

Running Time

Due to the different ways three phase generators work, they can run for much longer than single phase ones before they overheat and shut down.

A generator installation company will tell you how long a specific generator can be run safely. In addition, single phase generators need to be serviced after fewer running hours than three phase units.


Generally, three phase generators cost more than single models. Because they are usually used for large businesses, data centers, and industrial settings, the installation costs are much higher. They are typically large and bulky and must be installed and serviced regularly by a generator installation company.

Maintenance costs, on the other hand, are relatively low. Three phase generators are more robust, durable, and vibrate less; therefore, they last longer and require fewer repairs.

Single phase generators are usually much cheaper. Portable models do not always need to be installed by a generator installation company but will require more frequent service checks.

This makes single phase generators more expensive to maintain over their lifetime. Also, if the generator is run often and to maximum capacity, it will need to be repaired more often.

Which Generator Is Best for You?

In most cases, small businesses will do fine with a single-phase generator. These units will serve a small number of computers, other office equipment, and lighting systems. If you are looking for a portable option, the smaller one is better because it is more lightweight than three-phase units.

Large, sensitive equipment that needs a constant, steady power source and commercial heating systems will require a three-phase generator. The same goes for powering buildings and agricultural or industrial equipment.

Sometimes a generator installation company may recommend a three-phase generator even for small business owners, especially those planning to expand. This saves such business owners from replacing their generators.

Still Trying to Figure Out What You Need? Ask Mister Sparky Generators!

Mister Sparky Generators is your trusted generator installation company in Marion, SC. We have certified installers of reputable generator brands and will ensure you only get the best models and parts. We will not only help you choose a generator, but we will also install, service, and maintain it for you.

If your generator should fail in case of an emergency, we can provide you with an emergency generator while we work on repairing your unit. Don’t wait for a power outage to leave you in the dark. Call us at Mister Sparky Generators today, and we will help you find the best solution for your business in Marion, SC.

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