If the power goes out in your home, you’ll be in trouble. We rely on electricity for everything — whether it’s to keep food from going bad, work from home, power heating and cooling, and everything in between — if the power goes out, you won’t be doing any of that.
Therefore, you might want to look into getting a backup generator just in case.
In this article, we will be reviewing five of the best generators for home use, providing you with a useful buyer’s guide, and then answering some frequently asked questions to help get you started on your quest to find the best generator for your needs.
- Provides instant whole-home backup power within seconds of any mains power grid interruption.
- Equip with a handy wifi application that allows monitoring the generator's status & functionality remotely.
- Reliable and durable Generac G-Force engine is built to last and requires minimal maintenance.
- Can be sized and installed to cover just your essentials and or capable enough to power your entire home.
Best Generator for Home Reviews
1. Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator | Best Home Standby Generator
Generac is a major brand name when it comes to generators, particularly standby or whole house generators, and they have not failed to deliver a high-quality unit that can power your house for days in this Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator.
The Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator is a powerful unit that uses a purpose-built Generac G-Force engine, producing up to 22 kW of energy. This should be more than enough to power your whole home in the event of a power outage.
Whether it’s your fridge or freezer, the TV and the computer, the AC or the heat, or anything in between, this generator has enough juice to power them all. What’s also convenient is that the Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator comes with a 200 amp transfer switch, so it should easily be able to integrate with the rest of your home.
Moreover, another convenient aspect of the Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator is that
you can connect it to the existing natural gas fuel lines from your home. If need be, you can also use liquid propane as a fuel source. Keep in mind that this is a standby generator, which means that it will sense when the utility power goes out and automatically turns on to power your home.
One of the coolest features of the Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator is that it is a Wi-Fi smart generator, which means that you can connect it to your smartphone to receive constant updates and stats about energy usage, runtime, and more.
To ensure that this generator stays in one piece, it comes with a so-called Rhino Coat, a tough and durable all-aluminum enclosure that is totally weatherproof and can withstand a lot of punishment. Even if something does go wrong with it, you should be covered by the 5-year limited warranty.
What's to like about the Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator
What’s really good about the Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator is that it’s the kind of generator that you can use to power your whole home. It produces so much power that it should be abler to power even large homes from top to bottom.
Of course, the fact that this is a standby generator is really great too, because it means that your home won’t lose power even if you aren’t home.
What's not to like about the Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator
What’s not so great about the Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator is that it will in all likelihood require professional installation. This is not something that your average person can install by themselves. It’s going to require a concrete pad to be built as a base.
2. Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator | Best Portable Gasoline Generator
If you are looking for a portable generator that can produce a whole lot of juice to power virtually anything you might have — one that runs on gasoline and is easy to use — the Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator might be right up your alley.
This generator features a heavy-duty 457cc Westinghouse 4 stroke OHV engine, which can put out 9,500 watts of power. This is more than enough to power various appliances and electronics at once, including refrigerators, AC units, freezers, and more. It may be a portable generator, but it has a lot of power despite this.
Moreover, in terms of portability, the Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator comes with a pull handle as well as large, solid wheels, so you can easily maneuver it around a job site or your home. Speaking of your home, what is really cool about this unit is that it is transfer switch ready so you can hook it right into your home’s power grid for ease of use.
The Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator has several convenience features. For one, you can start this generator remotely from over 100 yards away using the
electronic key fob. Moreover, it also comes with a low oil indicator and a low oil auto shut off feature to keep it from running without oil.
This is a gasoline-powered generator, and it has a 6.6-gallon fuel tank. On a full tank of gas, it can run for nearly 18 hours. To power all of your electronics and appliances, this generator comes with various outlets, including two Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R) outlets, one 120/240V 30A (L14-30R) outlet, one 120/240V 50A (14-50R) outlet, and two 5V USB ports.
What's to like about the Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator
We really like this generator because it is transfer switch ready, meaning that it can be integrated right into your home’s electrical panel.
Moreover, it’s a really convenient generator overall, thanks to the remote start capability, its low maintenance needs, the low oil auto-shutoff, and the fact that it has a long runtime on a single tank of gas. Moreover, for a portable generator, it produces a lot of power.
What's not to like about the Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator
What is not so great about the Westinghouse WGen9500 Heavy Duty Portable Generator is that it is very heavy. Yes, it is labeled as being portable, but it weighs 220 pounds, plus there’s the fact that it is super noisy.
3. Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator | Best Portable Dual Fuel Generator
If you need a small generator at home that can produce a good amount of power, is highly portable, and can use two different fuels, all for a reasonable price. The Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator is a great option.
This generator features a four-stroke single-cylinder 224c Champion engine, which can produce up to 3,800 watts of electricity to power your appliances. This is more than enough juice to power various appliances and electronics at once, not to mention that it can be used on the job site, and it’s RV-ready so that you can use it to power the appliances in your RV.
This is a dual fuel generator, which means that it can run on both gasoline and propane, and it comes with a safety fuel selector switch so you can choose which fuel to use and seamlessly switch to the other. The gas capacity on this unit is 3.4 gallons, and on a full tank, it should be able to run continuously for up to 9 hours.
The Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator is designed to be highly portable. It is quite heavy, but when compared to other generators, it’s comparably lightweight. It also comes with a folding handle for pulling and never-flat tires to ensure that it can easily roll over most terrains.
What’s also pretty cool about the Champion generator is that it comes with a so-called “intelligauge,” which tracks various factors such as voltage, hertz, and runtime hours.
This unit has an electric start feature, so you don’t have to spend forever pulling on a ripcord, and in case it runs out of oil, it has a low oil shutoff feature to ensure that it doesn’t suffer from any damage. The cast iron sleeve should keep it from getting damaged, and in case it does, it comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
In terms of outlets, this generator comes with 1 x 120V 30A RV outlet (TT-30R), 1 x 120V 30A locking outlet (L5-30R) and dual 120V 20A household outlets (5-20R).
What's to like about the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator
What’s good about the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Generator is that it’s just a small, convenient, and portable option that happens to be quite affordable and still produces enough power for your basic needs.
What's not to like about the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator
The negative aspect of the Champion 3800-Watt Generator is that it’s not a whole home generator, so if the power goes out, you’ll have to choose which appliances are the most important to power and which ones need to be left off. It’s also quite loud.
4. DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator | Best Portable Budget Generator
If you’re looking for a small and portable generator that won’t cost you an arm and a leg yet can still produce a decent amount of power to keep some things around the home running, the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator might just be the way to go.
One of the things we want to mention right off the bat is that the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator is EPA and CARB compliant. Those of you who don’t know what this is means that this generator is fairly eco-friendly and doesn’t produce too many emissions.
Of course, it is a gas generator, so it’s not totally clean and without emissions, but when compared to other gas generators, it’s much more eco-friendly.
Moreover, the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator is powered by a DuroStar 7 HP 208cc OHV engine that can pump out around 3,300 watts of energy. This should be enough to run various compressor tools, appliances, and electronics. It’s not the most powerful generator in the world, but it will do just fine for fairly basic use.
When it comes to portability, the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator is one of the lightest gas generators on the market, and it’s quite compact. It is designed for portability, especially if you get the optional wheel kit.
In terms of the fuel tank, it comes with a 4-gallon tank, which is alright, but not huge. On this 4 gallon tank of gas, you can expect it to run for about 10 to 15 hours, depending on what you are trying to power. In terms of what you can power, the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator comes with a variety of outlets, including two 120V 20A household outlets, as well as a single 120/240V 30A twist-lock outlet.
Something that we like about the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator is that it features an all-metal construction with all copper windings and surge arrest tech; this is a very durable unit with the ability to protect itself and your appliances from electrical surges.
What's to like about the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator
Something that we really like about the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator is how eco-friendly it is. Being both EPA and CARB compliant makes this one of the most eco-conscious gas generators on the market.
Moreover, the fact that it’s so lightweight and compact yet still has a decent amount of power is another bonus.
What's not to like about the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator
What’s not so great about the DuroStar DS4000S Portable Gas Generator is that while it is portable, if you want the wheels to roll it around, you will have to purchase them separately. Moreover, it could use a few more outlets to plug things into.
5. WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Portable Generator | Best Portable Inverter Generator
If you need a very small and highly portable generator that won’t cost you a fortune and is perfect for taking to the job site, using at the campground, or for powering relatively small appliances around the home, then the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Generator might be a good option for you to look into.
The best feature this WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Generator comes with is the inverter tech itself. This is something that helps make this generator much more fuel-efficient than anything we have looked at in our review.
Inverters can sense the power demand being put on the generator and match the power output to this; it only uses as much fuel and produces as much power as needed at any given time.
With that being said, the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Generator does not have all that much power behind it, as it can produce up to 1,600 watts, thus making it the weakest generator among our reviewed products.
However, if you need it to power RV appliances, small things around the home, or various power tools, it should work just fine. What is cool is that this generator is safe for small electronics such as smartphones and tablets.
This generator comes with dual three-prong 120V outlets, a 12V DC outlet, and a 5V USB port. Keep in mind that the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Generator has a 1-gallon fuel tank, which can last for just over 9 hours when running at quarter load. However, if it’s running at full capacity, it might only last for a couple of hours on a full tank of gas.
Something that you might appreciate about the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Generator is that it is EPA and CARB compliant, making it fairly eco-friendly. Moreover, this is by far the smallest, lightest, and most portable unit among our reviewed products. What’s also nice is that this is by far the least noisy generator on our list.
What's to like about the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Portable Generator
What really stands out about the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Generator is how portable it is. This is the kind of generator that you can pick up with a single hand and carry around to wherever you need it to be. Moreover, the fact that it is very eco-friendly is a pretty big deal.
What's not to like about the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Portable Generator
What’s not so great about the WEN 56200i Gas Inverter Generator is that it’s just not very powerful and can only power a limited number of things that don’t require too many watts. It’s just not designed for heavy or long-term use, which can also be seen by the small fuel tank.
Best Generator for Home Buyer's Guide
Before you buy a generator for your home, there are a few important considerations that you should keep in mind.
A generator or really anything that has a fuel-powered engine should never be operated inside a closed environment. For example, you should never run a generator inside a shed or garage.
The gasses from the exhaust contain carbon monoxide and can poison people, and can even prove fatal. Many models are now being made to automatically shut off when it detects the build-up of carbon monoxide. This helps prevent running a generator inside an enclosed space.
A generator should be run at least twenty feet away from the home and away from all doors and windows. The exhaust should also be blown away from the home.
How to Size Your Generator
When choosing the best generator for your home, you want to know how to size generator options, so you choose the appropriate model for your needs. To do this, look at starting watts and running watts.
The starting watt refers to what is needed to initially start the appliances or tools you wish to power. The running watt is needed to continuously provide these appliances and tools with the power they need, which is often less power than is required for startup.
You will find that several manufacturers have a chart that shows you the estimated power requirements for some of the more common appliances people power during an outage. Otherwise, you can figure this out yourself by calculating the power consumption of everything you want to power and then add them all together.
If you need to calculate the watts, multiple the voltage by the amps required to power the device. You will need to calculate the watts for each item.
Choosing the Best Generator Type
There are several generator types to choose from, and finding the best one for your home depends on your needs.
- Portable Generators: these are the most popular type of generator and relatively compact. This is a smaller generator that is usually mounted on wheels and is easy to transport. They often use gasoline or propane as the fuel source and can be used to power smaller appliances.
- Inverter: This is an alternative option for a home generator that is stationary and noisy. It has a quiet operation and uses gasoline as its power source. It adjusts the engine output to match the power needs, so you are not wasting any energy. It is a compact and fuel-efficient source of power during an outage.
- Home Standby: This home backup generator typically has a higher wattage and is large-capacity that can supply power for several hours to a few days as long as you have an available fuel source. They are fixed outside of the home and are connected to a propane fuel tank.
Type: Portable vs. Standby
First off, you want to consider the type of generator. You can go with a portable generator, which can be used at home or outside the house.
However, standby generators (also known as whole-home generators) usually have much more power, plus they are integrated into your home’s electrical system. They will turn on as soon as the power goes out.
Something else you may want to look for is a generator with an inverter. Inverters make it so that a generator automatically adjusts its output according to the power demand being put on it at any given time; therefore, they only use as much fuel as is needed, and therefore are very fuel-efficient.
Fuel Type and Capacity
You also want to look for is fuel capacity, particularly with portable generators. Some can go for up to 20 hours on a single tank, and some can barely make it 2 hours. Also, look at what type of fuel the generator can use and whether or not it has dual fuel capabilities.
Remember that portable generators may use gas or propane, whereas standby generators can use propane or can hook right into your home’s natural gas system.
If you want a generator for your home, you may not need it to be overly portable, as a permanent setup is what you may want. However, if you want a generator that can also be used outside of the home, consider going for one that is not too large and has wheels for portability.
You want to pay attention to how many and what types of outlets the unit has. Do you need normal household outlets, an RV outlet, twist lock outlets, DC outlets, USB outlets? These are all possibilities, and different generators have varying combinations of these outlets.
Of course, the other thing you want to look out for is how much power the generator can produce. You need to figure out your own power requirements and then choose a generator that can meet these needs.
Best Generator for Home FAQ.
Is it Bad to Let a Generator Run Until it is Out of Fuel?
A generator should not be allowed to run until it is out of fuel. Running out of fuel can cause some serious problems if the unit is still running.
Can I Run a Portable Generator in the Rain?
While some models may be weatherproof, for the most part, you want to avoid running portable generators in the rain. However, standby generators are built to be outside, so these are fine to run in the rain.
Can I Run a Generator Indoors?
No, absolutely not. Gas generators produce toxic emissions, which can cause serious illness and even death when run indoors or in partly enclosed areas.
What Generator Is Best For Home Backup?
The best generator for home backup is one that fits your needs. This means finding a generator
that can power all the appliances you need during an outage. To determine this, multiply the total watts by 1000 to find the kilowatts. You then multiply the kilowatts by 1.25 to see what kind of power needs you require. That number will then be the minimum generator capacity required for your home.
What Should You Look For In A Home Standby Generator?
When looking for a standby generator, there are some features you may want to consider. Automatic shutoff is an important safety feature to have for any generator you use in the home. The noise level and fuel efficiency are also two more aspects many people consider when searching for the best home standby generator.
The bottom line is that selecting a generator for your home may not be as easy as you think. There is a lot to consider, so do your homework before making a purchase.
You don’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a generator that doesn’t suit your needs.