The best home generators when there is a power outage (2023)

A home generator is used as a power source.NotstromquelleYou must keep your appliances, heating and cooling systems, and lights working during a power outage.

We've analyzed dozens of generators based on size, wattage, fuel source, battery life and maintenance. Our best overall pick, theGenerac Guardian 24 kW Standby Generator (Model 7209), is Wi-Fi compatible for easy monitoring and is one of the largest air-cooled generators on the market.

Here are the best home generators.

better overall

Generac Guardian 24 kW Standby Generator Model 7209


The best home generators when there is a power outage (1)

what we like

  • The largest air-cooled generator on the market

  • Silent weekly self test mode

what we don't like

  • Significantly lower energy production when using natural gas

  • Transfer switch is not included.

Air-cooled generators are the typical choice for home backup power. This type of generator offers ease of maintenance and economy. The Generac Guardian 24kW is the largest air-cooled generator on the market, providing up to 24,000 watts of power when connected to a propane fuel supply. Homeowners looking for a generator that can handle the highest energy demands will appreciate this powerful unit. It also offers Wi-Fi capabilities so you can control the device's operation from anywhere.

This popular generator model maximizes power output but minimizes space requirements. The unit's cabinet measures 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, which is larger than the most compact generators available, but on par with typical whole-house generators. Generac has also equipped this device with a weekly Quiet Test self-test mode that operates at just 57 decibels. During normal operation, the generator is rated at 67 decibels, which is average operating noise, but impressive for a generator of this power capacity. Please note that this model does not include a transfer key, so you must purchase it separately.

Price at time of publication: $6,231

Dimensions:48 x 25 x 29 inches |Weight:514 pounds |Material:Aluminum |Performance:24.000 Watts (LP)/21.000 Watts (NG) |type of fuel:propane or natural gas |Guarantee:5 years

best budget

Generac PowerPact 7.500 Watt Standby-Generator, Modelo 69981

The best home generators when there is a power outage (2)

what we like

  • Includes 50 amp switch

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  • Consumes 1.42 gallons of fuel per hour

what we don't like

  • No engine hour meter

  • WLAN monitoring is missing

Generac's PowerPact is a simple but well-equipped home generator and is an excellent value purchase. Designed to serve as a backup generator for essential equipment, this model is automatictransfer counterwhich can cover up to eight circuits. It offers up to 7,500 watts of power when using propane, but it can also run on natural gas, but the power is limited to 6,000 watts.

Unsurprisingly for an entry-level generator, this model lacks Wi-Fi monitoring features. It also doesn't have an engine hour meter, but an aftermarket meter can be fitted to help you keep track of oil changes and routine maintenance. The three sides of the aluminum case are removable for easy maintenance and repair.

Price at time of publication: $2,991

Dimensions:36 x 27 x 25 inches |Weight:280 pounds |Material:Aluminum |Performance:7.500 watts (LP)/6.000 watts (NG) |type of fuel:propane, natural gas |Guarantee:3 years

best preparation

Champion 12.5 kW Residential Backup Generator with 100 A Transfer Switch

The best home generators when there is a power outage (3)

what we like

  • NEMA 3R external transfer switch

  • Gull-wing housing for easy maintenance

  • Battery tender to avoid dead batteries

what we don't like

  • Batteries need to be purchased separately.

  • Fuses in hard-to-reach switch

A backup generator is always available to keep critical systems running during a power outage. The 12.5kW Champion Home Standby Generator is equipped with a NEMA 3R rated 100A external transfer switch that covers 12 circuits. Instead of setting up a portable generator and connecting it to a wired network after a power outage, this generator automatically keeps the devices and systems you care most about running. It can handle an AC system of up to 4 tons.

No matter what climate you live in or what time of year this backup generator is equipped with a 24 volt starting system rated for use in temperatures ranging from -22 to 104. a board are always ready to use and provide starting power. Please note that you need to buy the batteries separately.

Price at time of publication: $3,999

Dimensions:52.4 x 33.5 x 32.1 inches |Weight:520 pounds |Material:Stahl |Performance:12.500 watts (LP)/11.000 watts (NG) |type of fuel:propane or natural gas |Guarantee:ten years

bester dual fuel

DuroMax XP1300EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator

The best home generators when there is a power outage (4)

what we like

  • Long run time on propane

  • Provides AC power, refrigerator and light.

  • Large selection of outlets

  • EPA and CARB approved

what we don't like

  • It will not ship with oil.

  • Tech support could be better

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In general, home generators that run on propane have short run times; not surprising as propane has a much lower Btus than gasoline and therefore provides less power. But we've seen reports of up to 8 hours of operation on propane (the manual says 5 hours) with this whole dual-fuel home generator that also runs on gasoline. In fact, this unit could be considered a triple power generator as it can also be converted to run on natural gas (converter required, sold separately).

We also like this fixture for its ability to run more than just lights. Its 10,500 watts should be more than enough to run a central air conditioner and a fridge, so you can feel more secure when keeping your perishables refrigerated. We also noticed that the XP1300EH is no slouch: it can easily power a central heating or air conditioning system. While this unit comes on wheels, we consider it more of a backup feature than a portable one (although its small size feels like the right size for camping trips). We recommend hiring an electrician to install a transfer switch in your home and the necessary wiring to your home's electrical box. This generator must also be outside and covered.

Due to its reliable multi-hour runtime, this unit appears to be a reliable propane-powered solution to the increasingly frequent controlled power outages that many communities have instituted to conserve energy. However, to ensure power continuity during disasters such as hurricanes, it may make more sense to use gasoline instead of propane.

Price at time of purchase: $1,499

Dimensions:30 x 29 x 26 inches |Weight:234 pounds |Material:metallic |Performance:10.500 watts |type of fuel:Propane/Gasoline |Guarantee:3 years

best wearable

WEN GN6000 Portable Generator

The best home generators when there is a power outage (5)

what we like

  • Ready to change with NEMA L5-30R plug

  • 7.5 hours of operation at half load

what we don't like

  • The gas tank holds only 3.4 gallons.

  • A little stronger than expected

For limited and short-term power needs, you can use a portable generator for your home. The WEN GN6000 is a great choice, offering up to 6,000 watts of power and 5,000 watts of power. That's enough to operate an air conditioner, TV, sump pump and lights at the same time. It may not be enough to keep large appliances or a central cooling system running, but it helps make brief power outages more bearable.

The WEN GN6000 stands out among portable generators because it is transfer switch ready thanks to a NEMA L5-30R plug. It also has many other outlets, including two 120V household outlets, a single 120V 30A RV outlet, a 12V DC outlet, as well as the aforementioned four-prong 120/240V outlet. At half load, you can expect this portable generator to run for up to 7.5 hours before it's time to refill the 3.4 gallon gas tank.

Price at time of publication: $461

Dimensions:23.2 x 16.9 x 17.2 inches |Weight:129.7 pounds |Material:Not available |Performance:6.000 watts |type of fuel:Gasoline |Guarantee:2 years

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best battery

Goal Zero Yeti 1500X portable power station


The best home generators when there is a power outage (6)

what we like

  • fuelless option

  • smokeless; can be used indoors

what we don't like

  • Requires a recharge every 3 to 6 months

  • Lithium-ion batteries have a limited lifespan.

As an alternative to traditional home generators, consider using a portable power station. The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can store up to 1500 watts of power. While you might think that a portable power station doesn't have the energy to keep your home running in the event of a power outage, this superior version of the Goal Zero has enough power to keep a refrigerator running for up to 28 hours. Power it up by plugging it into a 12V solar panel, wall charger, or car charger.

The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is not equipped to replace a home generator, but can serve as a short-term power source. There are no fuel gauges to monitor, maintenance to perform, or exhaustion to worry about. In the event of a power outage, plug your essentials and devices into the Yeti 1500X's outlets, which include a pair of 120V AC outlets or USB ports.

Price at time of publication: $2,000

Dimensions:19x14x14 inches |Weight:43 pounds |Material:Not available |Performance:1.500 watts |type of fuel:Not applicable |Guarantee:24 fun

best backup

Generac Guardian 10KW Home Backup Generator, Model 71710

The best home generators when there is a power outage (7)

what we like

  • Silent weekly self test mode

  • Equipped for Wi-Fi Surveillance

what we don't like

  • Transfer switch is not included.

  • The device is very dependent on Wi-Fi

If you want near-instant power restoration to critical systems in the event of a power outage, install a backup generator like the Generac Guardian. This 10kW model has Wi-Fi monitoring and is equipped for natural gas or propane sources. Pair with a 16-circuit 100-amp transfer switch or a 200-amp smart switch, depending on your needs.

The Generac Guardian backup generator's weekly self-tests ensure it's ready to power your home's vital systems. This model is fuel efficient and runs quietly, thanks to a short five-minute test cycle that runs at just 57 decibels.

Price at time of publication: $6,147

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Dimensions:48 x 25 x 29 inches |Weight:338 pounds |Material:Aluminum |Performance:10.000 Watts (LP)/9.000 Watts (NG) |type of fuel:propane, natural gas |Guarantee:5 years

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final verdict

If you're looking for a well-equipped generator for your most used appliances and conveniences, this is it.Generac Guardian 24kW home generatorit's a great choice Offers the highest performance of any air-cooled residential generator set and can be monitored remotely using Generac's mobile link monitoring system. For an economical option, consider theGerador Generac PowerPact 7.500 Watts. The power supply is significantly reduced, but you can keep the essentials in case of a power outage.

What to Look for in a Generator


The watts produced by a generator quantify the generator's ability to power whatever is connected to it. This is one of the most important things to know about any generator you are considering.

Start by understanding how much electricity each component in your home requires. Although an appliance's actual wattage is listed on its energy consumption label, estimate that you'll need about 2,000 watts to keep your fridge cool and most lights on. 3500 watts to add a window air conditioner; up to 7500 watts to add a sump pump and furnace; and 20,000 watts to power just about anything. To figure out how many watts you need in a generator, add up the wattage of the appliances or devices you're likely to be using at the same time. You can usethis worksheetto help you with your calculations.

That number is just the beginning, because energy is made up of three components: the energy to start a device, keep it running, and withstand a surge of electricity—that moment when normal juice starts flowing again and everything shuts down. . Many devices require more power when turned on than they do during operation. If you don't account for the initial watts, you could overload the generator when turning on appliances or other items. Also, the generator can be overloaded by a power surge if the machine doesn't provide enough watts. Depending on whether you're powering just a few appliances or your entire home, you'll need to know how much total power your generator can produce.

In general, higher wattage equates to higher generator cost. But most people would agree that having enough energy is better than being in the dark or having to choose between turning on the fridge or cooling off with a fan.


Home generators require space to set up, so consider the size of any model you are considering. Generator sizes range from compact units that are less than 3 feet of space to large liquid-cooled units that are 5 feet or more in length. In general, the more power, the larger the generator.

Also remember that model specifications and local codes may dictate how much space is needed between the generator and your home. Some small generators require clearance as low as 18 inches.

fuel source

Generators generally run on one of three fuel sources: gasoline, natural gas, or propane.

Most portable generators run on gas and can usually keep the lights on and the refrigerator running for several hours, but little longer. They are unreliable for long term backups e.g. B. if you assume that there will be no electricity for several days. Because these generators, like most gasoline-powered machines, produce exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide, they should always be used outside where there is adequate ventilation. You must also take steps to follow up.Fuel stored correctlyin case of prolonged generator inactivity. A fuel stabilizer is a way to ensure that the gasoline in your generator remains ready to use.

Natural gas and propane are most commonly used for larger home backup generators. In general, these fuels are considered cleaner burning fuel sources and provide on-demand energy sources. Natural gas generators must be permanently connected to a home's natural gas supply; the generator can work as long as the gas supply remains uninterrupted. Propane generators work like propane grills, with an LP tank attached to the generator. While a typical grill tank holds 20 gallons, propane generator tanks run from 100 gallons (about 50 hours) to 1,000 gallons (about 500 hours).

Alternatives to fuel-powered generators are solar or battery-powered power sources. The capacities and durations of these machines vary widely, but they may be the right choice if you have lower energy needs, typically for camping, not at home.

the guarantee

The investment you make in a generator is usually backed by a manufacturer's warranty. Most portable generators and residential inverter generators are covered by a 2- to 3-year warranty that covers parts and labor. Backup generators, which are usually larger investments, often come with 3 or 5 year warranties.

Some warranties also cover the cost of having a technician repair the generator, but this varies by make and model. Please read the fine print carefully to see what is covered.


Decide which type of generator is best for your needs: a portable generator or a standby (or standby) generator. Decide if you want to just leave the lights on or also operate other electrical components such as your computer, refrigerator, windows, or central air conditioning.

Portable generators are best for temporarily powering a device or two or smaller tools or electrical items like fans or lights. They usually run on gasoline as a fuel source. (See “Fuel Source” above.) For this reason, it is important that you never operate a portable generator in an enclosed space, including your home, garage, or shed. Portable generators often make life more bearable during brief power outages, but they don't support all the conveniences like central air conditioning, water heaters, and other large appliances. Inverters are a type of gasoline-powered portable generator that use less fuel and offer quieter operation by constantly adjusting engine speed to only power what the power load consumes. These machines have a higher price tag.

For whole house generators, a standby generator is the most common option, offering average power from 10,000 to 24,000 watts. This type of generator is installed permanently outside the home and connected to a propane tank or natural gas line. With the addition of a transfer switch, the standby generators are ready to provide power for hours, days or longer thanks to readily available fuel supplies and high performance. Standby generators come in air-cooled and liquid-cooled models. Air-cooled units that use fans to keep the motors from overheating can serve homes with average power needs well. Liquid-cooled generators are typically found in higher horsepower units that homes in warmer climates rely on to run central air conditioning. Also, liquid-cooled generators generally offer quieter operation.

outstanding features

automatic start

Some whole house generators turn on automatically when the power goes out. This allows the generator to start powering your home when it detects a utility power outage. Typically, this feature is only found on standby generators and not on portable devices. The peace of mind of knowing that your generator is automatically providing uninterrupted power to vital systems such as a sump pump and heating and cooling system can be worth the higher price tag usually associated with these systems.

Note that this is not the same as an electric starter, which starts your generator at the push of a button, rather than the typical recoil starter found on most machines with small engines. In the case of a generator equipped with an electronic starter, it is still necessary to manually start the generator to start the flow of electricity.

transfer counter

A transfer switch connected to your home's electrical box automatically switches the power source from the utility to your backup. The system is designed to detect when the generator is started so your home can use its energy. The switch then disconnects your home from the grid and supplies power from your generator.designated circuitsat home. This process is perfect if your generator has an automatic starter (see above) that turns the machine on after it detects a utility blackout. We strongly recommend that a transfer switch be installed by a professional electrician.

Never plug your generator into an ordinary outlet; this can cause electrical hazards, including feedback, which can endanger utility workers who may be repairing power lines.

frequently asked questions

  • How to safely operate a home generator?

    A whole house generator or backup generator must be connected to a transfer switch that disconnects its powerSwitchboardfrom the mains before generator current can flow through the circuits.

    With portable generators, you must manually initiate power transfer. These products require a number of safety precautions, including the oft-repeated warning never to operate the device indoors or in a garage; Never connect a portable generator to standard corded appliances or outlets.

  • Where is the best place to put your home generator?

    Domestic natural gas, propane and gasoline generators produce exhaust gases that contain carbon monoxide, so choosing the correct installation location is important for health and safety reasons. Because of this, local utilities and regulations often dictate location requirements.

    In general, a generator should be installed at least 1.5 m from windows and doors. Some generators can be installed as far as 18 inches from the house, but you still need 5 feet of clearance from the house's air intake points.

    Portable generators should never be used indoors, not even in a garage. Instead, this type of generator should be located outside the home with adequate distance from doors and windows, typically 20 feet or more.

  • What regular maintenance should be done on a home generator?

    The manufacturer of any generator you buy should provide basic maintenance information, but in general it is recommended that you do the following for most models of generators.

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    • Perform a weekly self-test or run the generator for at least 30 minutes once a month.Most complete home generators have automatic self-test cycles that last 15 minutes or less each week. For portable generators, you must operate the system manually. This will prevent the engine and components from seizing and becoming prone to breakage or failure. Be sure to only operate the generator in an open, well-ventilated area, even during these short service trips.
    • Add fuel stabilizer to the tank when storing a gasoline generator for an extended period.This additive helps prevent corrosion, rust and deposits. Bad gasoline is one of the leading causes of small engine failure, so don't neglect proper fuel storage.
    • Periodically repair or replace engine components that are subject to wear.Items like spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters and more can wear out over time.
    • Never run out of oil in your generator and have regular oil changes.Failure to do so could result in extensive engine damage or even engine failure. Keep an eye on the oil level and top up if necessary. Many standby generators have an engine hour meter that lets you know when it's time to change the oil.

Why trust not fir?

Erika KerlIt includes appliances and tools that make everyday life easier. With experience researching the best home and portable generators and developing buying guides to help consumers make informed decisions, she is familiar with key features and brands that deliver reliable performance. To find the best home generators for this list, he considered factors such as wattage, size, fuel type, and cooling system. Most of the generators on this list are whole-house generators, but portable generators and battery generators are included for short-term supplemental power needs.


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