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Home generators provide power when the utility cannot. Most fall into two classes—home portable generator or automatic home standby generator. Choose the right generator for your home & family.

Automatic Home Standby Generator

The automatic home standby generator runs on either natural gas or propane. Most can produce more power on propane versus natural gas, but a few have the same rating. As the name indicates, they are fully automatic and turn on whenever the power shuts off, restoring power within a few seconds. When the utility restores power, the power source transfers back to the utility and the generator shuts down.

ProsCons
Fully automatic. Works even when you're not homeInitial cost is higher than a portable of the same capacity.
Doesn't require frequent refueling. Never for Natural Gas. Days or weeks for propaneRequires professional installation.
Utility grade power.  

Portable Generator

The traditional portable generator runs on gasoline. Dual Fuel models add Propane as a fuel, and Tri-Fuel generators can use Gasoline, Propane, or Natural Gas. Gasoline provides the most power, but costs more than either propane or natural gas. A generator using natural gas will produce less power than a generator running on propane, which makes less power than gasoline. 

Almost any generator can provide some power for necessities during an outage. If the main purpose of a portable is home backup, choose one with specific features that enable to do the job better.

FeatureReason
5000 Running Watts or MoreYour furnace, refrigerator, and sump pump will total almost 2400 watts or more. 
Anything less than 5000 will leave you wishing for more power.
120/240 Volts With 120/240, the generator can connect to a transfer switch for safe and  
efficient connections to your home's electrical system.
Run times of 8 hours or moreTo avoid frequent refueling and trips to the gas station.
Maintenance interval => 50 HoursChanging the oil once or twice every day is inconvenient which leads to 
avoidance and eventual engine failure. 50 hours is about every 2 days.
THD <= 6%The distortion of the power signal is damaging to some electronics and 
appliances including some motors. Although not necessarily a requirement,  
be aware that some appliances won't run on power with a THD < 6%.
Idle controlSlow the generator to idle saving fuel and making less noise during  
periods of no power use.
Dual Fuel or Tri-FuelWith Dual Fuel and a large tank, generator run times can stretch into days. 
Natural gas is a virtual endless supply. Generators run for weeks without 
refueling, but still require daily oil checks and on-time maintenance.
Electric Start / Remote StartNo more repeatedly yanking a recoil start cord on a cold day. Electric start 
gets you running fast. Remote Start allows you to turn the generator on and  
off from inside your home.

Read the generator specifications before you purchase. Verify the generator running watts and starting watts, sometimes called max watts or surge watts.

The right portable generator doesn't necessarily have every feature listed. If you only want to run your fridge and a few lights, then a smaller generator will do the job. If you want run a permanently wired appliance like a furnace or central air conditioner, choose a larger generator with 120/240 volts that connects to a transfer switch.

Be sure to see our sizing guides and power calculator to choose the right generator. Select the generator TYPE in the BLUE menu on the left> Portable or Standby.

Home Generator Options

Inverter Generators : Low THD, Low Noise, Fuel Efficient.

Dual Fuel : Runs on Propane or Gasoline

Tri-Fuel : Runs on Natural Gas, Propane, or Gasoline

Remote Start: Start and Stop Your Generator from Inside Your House

Electric Start : No More Pull Cords. Push the Starter and the Generator Starts.

 

Home generators provide power when the utility cannot. Most fall into two classes—home portable generator or automatic home standby generator. Choose the right generator for your home & family.

Automatic Home Standby Generator

The automatic home standby generator runs on either natural gas or propane. Most can produce more power on propane versus natural gas, but a few have the same rating. As the name indicates, they are fully automatic and turn on whenever the power shuts off, restoring power within a few seconds. When the utility restores power, the power source transfers back to the utility and the generator shuts down.

ProsCons
Fully automatic. Works even when you're not homeInitial cost is higher than a portable of the same capacity.
Doesn't require frequent refueling. Never for Natural Gas. Days or weeks for propaneRequires professional installation.
Utility grade power.  

Portable Generator

The traditional portable generator runs on gasoline. Dual Fuel models add Propane as a fuel, and Tri-Fuel generators can use Gasoline, Propane, or Natural Gas. Gasoline provides the most power, but costs more than either propane or natural gas. A generator using natural gas will produce less power than a generator running on propane, which makes less power than gasoline. 

Almost any generator can provide some power for necessities during an outage. If the main purpose of a portable is home backup, choose one with specific features that enable to do the job better.

FeatureReason
5000 Running Watts or MoreYour furnace, refrigerator, and sump pump will total almost 2400 watts or more. 
Anything less than 5000 will leave you wishing for more power.
120/240 Volts With 120/240, the generator can connect to a transfer switch for safe and  
efficient connections to your home's electrical system.
Run times of 8 hours or moreTo avoid frequent refueling and trips to the gas station.
Maintenance interval => 50 HoursChanging the oil once or twice every day is inconvenient which leads to 
avoidance and eventual engine failure. 50 hours is about every 2 days.
THD <= 6%The distortion of the power signal is damaging to some electronics and 
appliances including some motors. Although not necessarily a requirement,  
be aware that some appliances won't run on power with a THD < 6%.
Idle controlSlow the generator to idle saving fuel and making less noise during  
periods of no power use.
Dual Fuel or Tri-FuelWith Dual Fuel and a large tank, generator run times can stretch into days. 
Natural gas is a virtual endless supply. Generators run for weeks without 
refueling, but still require daily oil checks and on-time maintenance.
Electric Start / Remote StartNo more repeatedly yanking a recoil start cord on a cold day. Electric start 
gets you running fast. Remote Start allows you to turn the generator on and  
off from inside your home.

Read the generator specifications before you purchase. Verify the generator running watts and starting watts, sometimes called max watts or surge watts.

The right portable generator doesn't necessarily have every feature listed. If you only want to run your fridge and a few lights, then a smaller generator will do the job. If you want run a permanently wired appliance like a furnace or central air conditioner, choose a larger generator with 120/240 volts that connects to a transfer switch.

Be sure to see our sizing guides and power calculator to choose the right generator. Select the generator TYPE in the BLUE menu on the left> Portable or Standby.

Home Generator Options

Inverter Generators : Low THD, Low Noise, Fuel Efficient.

Dual Fuel : Runs on Propane or Gasoline

Tri-Fuel : Runs on Natural Gas, Propane, or Gasoline

Remote Start: Start and Stop Your Generator from Inside Your House

Electric Start : No More Pull Cords. Push the Starter and the Generator Starts.