How to Choose the Right Backup Generator for Your Home

A home backup generator will ensure your family has the power needed when faced with unexpected outages. There are two types of generators ideal for home use: portable generators and permanently installed home generators, or standby generators. Portable generators can power home appliances like an air conditioning unit or a fridge during blackouts. Depending on its portability, it can also be used on camping or outdoor trips. Standby generators can power crucial medical equipment, multiple home appliances and can start automatically during power outages.

Before purchasing the best home standby generator, or the best portable generator, it’s important to consider a few factors that’ll help homeowners choose the right generator that fits their power need. Things to consider are types, portability, price, number of outlets, run time, power output.

Gasoline powered portable generator at home.

Portable or Standby

Generators typically come in two types: portable and standby. Portable generators are the simplest way of supplying backup power to a home. Because of its portability, it can be moved from one location to another. It is usually advised to run these outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. The downside to portable generators is you have to run extension cords around the house to power the appliances. Portable generators are also limited on the number of electronics that can be plugged in at once. The homeowner must also refuel the generator with gasoline every few hours to keep it running. A portable generator will usually cost around $500 to $1500. The top rated portable generators are very quiet, produce enough power output to run home appliances and provide light, and also fuel efficient.

If you are interested in portable generator types, read more here

A standby generator is permanently installed outside the home and runs on natural gas or propane and hooks up to existing gas lines. Standby generators automatically turn on when the power goes out so it saves homeowners from having to go out and turning it on during outages. The best home standby generators can usually provide power to the entire house, allowing full operation of all appliances and electronics. This is an ideal option if the house is located in a place where power outages are frequent. One advantage standby generators have over portable ones is it is quieter. You also don’t need to store gasoline for power.

Power need


Before purchasing a generator, it’s crucial to know the home’s power consumption. Make a list of the appliances that need to be powered during an outage and how much power they need to start and continually run. For outdoor use, select which equipment needs power and how much wattage is needed to keep them running. In an emergency, it’s important to give priority to crucial home appliances like a radio and lights, and for recharging phones and laptops.


Most portable generators can be stored in small spaces and taken out when needed. These are usually lightweight; a few come with wheels, so it’s fairly easy to move them wherever they’re needed. In contrast, a standby generator is heavy and usually installed permanently in one area of the house by trained technicians.


How long a generator can run and keep things operational is crucial. A portable generator, dependent on external source, will need to be refueled every couple hours. A portable generator that can run at least 8 hours at half-load will ensure homeowners can get through a full night’s sleep without having to get up to refuel. Standby generators wouldn’t need much attention. Since they are installed permanently and connected to the gas line, they start automatically when outages happen and can run for as long as it has power.

Ultimately, the decision to buy a generator depends solely on the power consumption needs of the home during a power outage. Before purchasing a generator, whether it’s a portable one or a standby generator, research should be done to know which one is ideal for home use. Purchasing the best portable generator or the best home standby generator can be a waste of money if it doesn’t provide the necessary power one needs.

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