Are you shopping for an emergency generator or looking to upgrade? Whichever side you fall on, an emergency generator will prepare you for power outages caused by storms, summer thunderstorms, ice, hurricanes, fires, and any other reason that can cut or knock power out. However, choosing the best generator for your home from the many available on the market can be a daunting task. So, what makes the best emergency generator for your home?
The best emergency generator should keep the lights on, the heater and air conditioning powered, and all essential appliances in the house running in case of a blackout. They are available in portable, inverter, and whole house options. Each type has features for different emergency power needs. An emergency generator gives you home backup power to ensure that you are not without electricity for a day or for the time that there is no electricity.
Types Of Home Generators
There are four types of house generators designed for different home needs. To select the best generator for your home, consider each type’s features, pros, and cons, and settle for the one that suits your power needs.
Home Standby Generator
A Standby generator is permanently installed and designed to turn on once they detect a power outage instantly. They can power the whole house or select circuits depending on their connection. In addition to the automatic turn-on, a standby generator is designed to run tests and self-diagnose from time to time to ensure that they are always in good working condition.
Most home standby generators are powerful enough to cater to the power needs of the entire home. What’s more, most of them are run by natural gas or propane, which is safer to store than diesel.
The major downside of standby generators is that they are costly and must be installed by professionals. You will need a certified electrician to make the electrical connections and a plumber to connect the natural gas or propane line. If you need certified plumbers and electricians, check Emergency Plumbing Squad and they will connect you with certified professionals in your area.
As the name suggests, portable generators can be moved from one place to another depending on where power is needed. They come in various sizes; some are more portable than others. For easy mobility, most of them come with wheels and a handle so that you can quickly push them from point A to point B. Moreover, they have different power outputs. Some small portable generator models can power selected appliances, while larger units can supply power to the entire house.
Smaller units are easy to carry around but provide less power, while larger units are least portable but more powerful. The choice between the two depends on your power needs. Portable generators can be powered by gas, propane, or gasoline. Unlike gas-powered portable generators, gasoline-powered generators should never be set indoors or near ventilators to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
An inverter generator is similar to a portable generator but differs in several ways. Firstly, inverter generators do not provide the same output but throttle up and down to provide current power demands. Also, they are quieter because the exhaust system is designed to reduce the noise.
In addition, inverter generators are more energy efficient, and as a result, they have smaller fuel tanks, making them easily portable. All these features come at a higher cost compared to traditional generators, but the features make them a popular choice among many homeowners.
Portable Power Stations
Portable power stations are batteries that store power for use in times of emergency. Unlike the types of generators above, they are charged in electrical outlets or solar panels and are not powered by natural gas, gasoline, or propane. They are compact and lightweight and can be used inside the house because they do not release harmful emissions.
The major downside of portable power stations is that they have lower power output and cannot power a whole house. In addition, they cannot be relied on for extensive power outages because they must be charged via standard electrical outlets. They are also more expensive than portable generators.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Emergency Generator for Home
A generator is a huge investment, and you must take your time to research a type that matches your home power needs. Here are essential factors to consider when buying a home generator:
The main reason why you are buying a generator is to get a power supply when the electricity cuts out. Therefore, you must purchase a generator that meets your home’s power requirements.
To determine the power requirements of your home, you should look at the power required to run all your essential electrical appliances like refrigerators, water heaters, sump pumps, medical devices, air conditioners, ventilators, and well pumps, among others. Sum up the wattages of each appliance, and the total is the power you need from a generator.
Most generator manufacturers have wattage calculators to help determine the best generator for your power needs. If it is challenging to calculate your power requirements or use the provided online calculators, you can seek help from certified electricians. They will come to your house and calculate the power required to run all your essential electrical appliances and help you choose the best emergency generator.
The size of a generator is compared to its power output. Large generators can give up to 50,000 watts or more power, while small generators have low outputs of 800 watts. When looking at the power output of generators, you will notice that they are rated in both “starting watts” and “running watts.”
To decide on the power output of a generator, you must differentiate between starting watts and running watts. Starting watts refers to the initial power produced by a generator to cater to extra power needed to start motor appliances like refrigerators. On the other hand, running watts determines the number of appliances the generator can run at the same time and for how long.
For most generators, the starting watts are usually more than the running watts by more than 1000 watts. Therefore, you should rely on the running watts to choose a generator that meets your home power needs.
The amount of storage space you have influences the size of the generator you take home. The size of small generators is approximately 24 inches by 24 inches by 36 inches, while large sizes are sized 30 inches by 30 inches by 48 inches.
You must have enough space inside and outside the house to store the generator. Moreover, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), generators should be set five feet away from windows and doors because they emit harmful gases.
The size of the generator determines the amount of noise it produces, with large generators producing more noise. To enjoy the power supply without deafening noise, purchase generators that produce 60 to 70 dB. This noise level is manageable because it does not overpower human conversations or other talking appliances in the house, like radios and televisions.
Home generators can be run on gasoline, natural gas, solar power, or propane. Each type of fuel has its pros and cons, as discussed below;
Gasoline is majorly used to fuel portable generators. The major downsides of using gasoline are that it is expensive, releases large amounts of carbon monoxide, should not be stored for long without stabilizers, and is more costly and less efficient than other sources of fuel.
There are fewer generators fueled by diesel on the market today, but when compared to gasoline, it is cheaper, offers more fuel efficiency, and you can store it for a long time without needing a stabilizer.
Propane is mainly used to fuel standby generators and is an affordable, clean source of fuel. The generator can be fueled from the primary propane tank, or you can decide to have a separate tank for the generator. On the downside, propane-powered generators produce less power, run for a shorter time, and propane gas can cause a fire if not stored correctly.
Natural gas is another clean fuel source and is used to power standby generators. Gas generators assure a constant power supply because the fuel source cannot run it. The major disadvantage of natural gas is that it is less energy efficient than all other sources of generator fuel.
Solar energy is a power source for portable battery ba
It features an electric start for easy start-up, four 120V electrical outlets, two 30-amp outlets, a low oil shutoff, solid tires for portability, and a digital gauge to monitor engine run time and the generator’s power output.
· 10 hours power supply
· Electrical start for convenience
· Low oil shutoff to prevent engine damage
· A digital gauge that monitors its fuel consumption
· It does not have a fuel gaugenks. It is a free, clean, and silent source of power. However, it comes with its downside too. The power output depends on the panels’ size and the battery size. It is unreliable because it is affected by weather changes. If the sun is not out, there is no power for you.
Generators also come with features that make them easy to operate and use. These include:
- Electric start– modern generators no longer use the pull cord to start. Instead, they have a switch, a push-button, and some are remote-controlled.
- Low oil shutoff– generators designed with a low oil shutoff automatically shut off when the oil level reaches a certain point. This prevents engine damage that occurs when an engine runs on low oil.
- Fuel gauge- this feature is available in gasoline and diesel-fueled generators to help you monitor the fuel levels. This allows you to refuel when needed to avoid power cuts.
Top 4 Home Generators
Champion Power Equipment 100891 9375/7500-Watt Dual
Champion Power Equipment is a powerful standby generator fueled by gasoline or propane. On a 7.7 gasoline tank, it generates 7500 watts for 10 hours, depending on usage. On the other hand, it produces 6750 watts when powered by a 20-gallon propane tank for about five and a half hours.
Honda 2200-Watt Companion Generator EU2200i
The Honda 2200-Watt Companion Generator is a small inverter that produces 1800 running watts. It features a powerful engine that can run for more than 8 hours using a gallon of gas only.
It comes with features that make it easy to use, for instance, Bluetooth connectivity to my Honda My Generator app. Moreover, it is rated at 57 decibels. Therefore, you will never have to worry about noise.
· Small hence easily portable
· Fuel efficient
· Friendly to sensitive electronics
· Cannot power the entire house
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000, 1002Wh
Jackery Portable is a 1000-watt power station that can be powered by solar energy, an electrical outlet, a car charger, or a portable generator. Its power capacity cannot power an entire house, but it features three standard AC outlets and four USB outlets. Moreover, it can be safely used indoors because it does not emit harmful emissions.
It can power several electrical appliances like phones, blenders, air conditioners, and pressure cookers, but the battery life depends on usage. It has a digital display to monitor the battery life.
· Easily portable
· Multiple power outlets
· Digital battery life display
· Cannot power an entire house
DuroMax XP8500E Gas Powered Portable Generator-8500 Watt
DuroMax XP8500E is a portable generator that produces 7000 running watts. It has a large capacity 7.9-gallon tank for more prolonged operation. For easy portability, it has solid tires and a collapsible handle. It also features an electric start for easy start-up.
DuroMax also has tools to help you with regular maintenance, including an oil funnel, tool set, and spark plug wrench. However, it is not designed with a digital display to monitor scheduled maintenance.
· Comes with maintenance tools
· Electric start
· Solid wheels and handle for easy portability
· Compact design for easy storage
· It has no digital display
The Best Emergency Generator For Your Home
To purchase the best emergency generator for your home, you must consider your power needs, fueling options, and special features of the generator. Once the generator is finally home, contact a certified electrician to carry out the electrical connections and a plumber from the Emergency Plumbing Squad to ensure that it is safely connected to a propane or natural gas line if that is its source of fuel.