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Best Home Generators For Power Outages For 2023

Gretchen Rubin
  Jan 27, 2023 11:54 PM

Certainly, there is the possibility of a blackout, especially if lightning strikes and zaps a transformer in your neighborhood. Does this compel you to remain in the shadows, though? Or turn off the machines in your home.

However, there are a variety of options for keeping your electronics operational in the event of a blackout. And one method is to invest in a backup generator in case of a blackout.

Having a backup power source in the home is essential, and home generators make this possible. With today's technology, you may use a variety of fuels to run a home generator.

There are numerous varieties. So, you have several options when it comes to house generators: portable, standby, and inverter. They vary in both size and power output. The decision should be based on how much power you need, how you plan to utilize the generator, and what fuels are available to you. While portable generators are convenient for trips, the cost of a permanent installation is prohibitive for most households.

In the absence of extensive knowledge, selecting the most suitable home generator may prove challenging. Find the best house generator for power outage here, along with answers to all your queries!


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Last update on 2023-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API


Buying Guide

Types

While we've narrowed in on home standby generators for this rundown, there are actually four distinct types of generators on the market, each serving a unique purpose and created to address a unique set of homeowner concerns.

Home Standby Generators

A home standby generator, as described above, is a permanent fixture that activates itself in the event of a power outage. These generators are high-tech, with features like automatic startup in the event of a power outage and continuous testing and self-diagnostics to ensure they are always ready for use. Safer than regular gasoline, propane fuels home standby generators.

Natural gas from your gas line can be used to power these appliances indefinitely. Depending on the model, these generators can produce anywhere from 5,000 to 520,000 watts and cost anywhere from $6,000 to $11,000, not including installation.

Portable Generators

The term "portable" describes exactly what these generators are meant to do: be transported easily. Portable generators range in power output and size. Depending on their size and production, these generators will cost an average of $2,500.

Carbon monoxide from portable generators can be fatal indoors, so they shouldn't be used there or near any open windows or air conditioners. Most portable generators use regular gasoline, which is cheap and widely available but difficult to store for extended periods of time.

Inverter Generators

Portable inverter generators produce the same amount of power as their conventional counterparts, but use a fraction of the fuel. Both their noise level and their amount of emissions are reduced. These extras don't come cheap, though, with the typical cost of a model sitting somewhere between $1,400 and $4,000. Since inverter generators can automatically adjust their output to meet the load, rather than maintaining a constant output level, they are typically much quieter than portable generators.

Additionally, these units' exhaust systems are smarter and less noisy because of this.

Portable Power Stations

The declining cost of high-capacity batteries has allowed for the introduction of portable power stations to the market. These generators don't use traditional fuels like propane or gas, but rather your regular household AC current and/or solar panels. The amazing thing about portable power stations is that they may be used safely inside of your house or apartment because they don't release any harmful emissions.

The main disadvantage of portable power stations is their per-watt price, which is often much more than that of standard portable generators. In addition, it may be challenging to utilize these power stations for an extended period of time during a power loss, as they must be charged by plug-in or solar. Powering essential electronics and appliances during a temporary blackout is no problem at all with the help of a portable power station, which is also a wonderful alternative for tailgating.

Fuel/Energy Type 

Gasoline

Gasoline, which can be found almost anywhere, is a frequent fuel source for portable generators. Gasoline is more expensive and less efficient than other fuel sources, and gasoline-powered engines often produce the highest levels of CO emissions. Gasoline poses a serious fire risk if stored improperly and must be stabilized with a fuel additive if it is to be kept for an extended period of time.

Diesel

Diesel generators may not be as ubiquitous as gasoline generators, but diesel offers several advantages over gasoline, including lower cost, higher efficiency, and longer storage duration without the need for a stabilizer. When compared to gasoline, the fire risk associated with storing diesel is far lower.

Propane

If you're looking for an inexpensive and environmentally friendly fuel option, propane is a great choice. Standby generators often use propane gas as their fuel source; this tank can be connected to the house's main propane gas supply, or it can be a separate unit entirely. While propane isn't typically used as a major fuel source, some portable generators can use it as a secondary fuel source because they are dual or tri fuel capable. Propane isn't as energy efficient as other fuel sources, thus a generator that runs on it will often have a shorter run duration and output less power than one that runs on gasoline or diesel. Incorrectly stored propane also poses a fire risk.

Natural Gas

Standby generators operate solely on natural gas. When a generator is connected to a home's natural gas line, the homeowner no longer has to worry about running out of propane, gas, or diesel fuel. In comparison to propane and especially diesel and gasoline, natural gas is not as efficient a fuel source.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is an economical, clean, and silent option for powering portable battery banks. Plus, it doesn't cost a dime. One drawback is that the power output is proportional to the area of the solar panels and the size of the battery they are charging. The efficiency with which a solar panel charges a battery is also dependent on the amount of sunlight available; this makes solar energy a less stable fuel source than others.

Size

There is a wide variety of generator sizes, each producing anything from 800 to more than 50,000 watts of power. In terms of power, generators are measured in two ways: their "starting watts" and their "running watts." The latter indicates the constant power the generator can provide to the connected devices. The term "starting watts" describes the peak power output of a generator during the brief period of time necessary to kick on motor-driven appliances like refrigerators.

 

The number and duration of electrical appliances that can be run at once is determined by the operating watts rating. A generator's starting watts are typically 1,000 to 2,000 watts larger than its running watts; keep this in mind when calculating your home's power needs.

Power Requirements

First, you need to add up how many watts your most important electrical appliances use. When there is a power outage, you may easily calculate how much energy you will need by adding the wattage ratings from each appliance you want to run.

From 60 to 600 watts is typical for lighting, while a refrigerator uses between 700 and 1,200 watts, an air conditioner uses around 1,000 watts, and a portable heater uses approximately 1,500 watts. About 5,000 watts of electricity is needed to run the bare minimum of appliances in a typical home.

Wattage

The watts a generator outputs are a measure of the device's ability to receive power from the generator. One of the most crucial pieces of information regarding any prospective generator is this.

Learn firsthand how much energy is required by each appliance in your house. If you want to keep your fridge cold and most of the lights on, you'll need about 2,000 watts; if you want to add a window air conditioner, you'll need about 3,500 watts; if you want to add a sump pump and furnace, you'll need about 7,500 watts; and if you want to power everything, you'll need about 20,000 watts. Add together the total wattage of all the devices you anticipate using at once to determine the minimum wattage need for your generator. In order to facilitate your computations, I have provided the following worksheet.

However, this is only the beginning, as wattage is made up of three parts: the power to start an appliance, the power to keep it operating, and the power to survive a power surge, which is when the regular electricity flows again and everything starts up. When first turned on, many home appliances actually use more energy than they do while running. When beginning appliances or other devices, it's important to consider the starting wattage so as not to overload the generator. In a similar vein, if the generator is unable to generate enough watts, it may fail due to an overload. So, know the total wattage of your generator, whether you're only powering a few things or the whole house.

In most cases, the price of a generator rises in direct proportion to its wattage. Most people would agree that having enough electricity is preferable than being without any at all, or to having to choose between using a fridge and a fan to stay cool.

Warranties

As with most major purchases, a generator will come with a guarantee to protect your investment. Most portable and inverter generators sold for home use include a 2- or 3-year guarantee that safeguards against mechanical and electrical failure. Larger investments like standby generators typically come with longer warranty periods of three to five years.

The cost of a service technician's trip to your location to fix the generator may be covered by the warranty, depending on the generator's brand and type. See what's actually included by reading the fine print.

FAQS

What kind of home generator do I need for power outages?

For household use, most people opt for a generator with an output of between 3,000 and 6,000 watts. When a power outage occurs, the type of generator you require will be determined by your home's power consumption. A generator producing 9,000 watts would be adequate for powering a typical home, which requires roughly 7,500 watts. You'll need a higher powerful generator to run things like air conditioning and refrigeration, which run on electricity. When shopping for a generator, keep in mind that power is measured in kilowatts (kW), so pick one with a kW rating that's high enough to meet your demands. Moreover, if you frequently encounter lengthy power outages, a generator with a longer running time is recommended.

Portable generators and standby generators are the most prevalent types of generators. Portable generators are compact and lightweight power sources that may be taken from one area to another with relative ease. Standby generators are more cumbersome and require professional installation, but they provide a constant supply of electricity in the event of a blackout. Your budget, the square footage of your home, and the frequency and duration of power outages in your area are all factors to think about while shopping for a generator. Since there are numerous variables to think about, it's smart to get the advice of an expert electrician while shopping for a generator.

What size generator do I need to power my house?

What you need to power will determine how big of a generator you need. If you hook up too many appliances to a small generator, it could cause harm to those appliances. The costs associated with installation and fueling will increase if you choose a generator that is too large, though.

Selecting a home generator that is adequately sized for your requirements is crucial. How much electricity the generator can produce is directly proportional to its size. Some essential home appliances may be powered by a smaller generator, while a larger one may power the entire house. Identifying the load that must be met by the generator is the first step in deciding on the appropriate generator size. The next step is to get the assistance of a trained expert in making your model choice. Doing some homework will help you select the best generator for your home, so that you can continue to live comfortably even if the power goes out.

How long can you run a whole house on a generator?

If there was an infinite supply of fuel and zero mechanical problems, a home generator might theoretically last indefinitely with only occasional maintenance. Maintenance on a generator's engine is comparable to that of a car's engine, including oil changes, belt replacements, and so on.

How far away from the house does a generator need to be?

You should verify your local codes since they may have more stringent restrictions than the National Fire Protection Association's minimum of 18 inches between the generator and an outside wall. Expert installers will be familiar with building codes in your area and will be able to assist you in determining the best location for your generator as well as obtaining any necessary permissions.

Do I need a permit for a home generator?

A permission is needed for the installation of a home generator in most cities and towns. On the other hand, this stipulation might not be universal. Find out if a permit is needed in your area and get one if necessary.

Conclusion

None of these generators is a bad choice. There's a generator out there for everyone, whether you're in the market for something that's great for backup power in an emergency, something you can carry with you on outdoor hiking trips, or something incredibly powerful for epic tailgates.

Are you interested in buying one of these portable generators? How did they impress you? What do you look for in portable generators, specifically?

What do you think? Tell me below! Help out your fellow shoppers by sharing what you've learned.

 


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