Don’t be left in the dark during the next big disaster – Check out some of the best generators
In the wake of the recent Texas freeze and the widespread blackouts that followed, the subject of storm preparation has taken on renewed importance. In Texas (and states across the South), the rare single-digit temperatures that accompanied this weather event sent millions into the safety of their warm homes to wait out the storm.
Then disaster struck! The Texas went dark, cutting power to millions of customers.
The majority of people under the freeze suffered badly during the Blackout of 2021, but there were at least some lucky people for whom managing this crisis was much easier and convenient. These were the fortunate folks who had planned ahead for an eventuality just like this by purchasing a quality home generator.
To make sure you are not left out in the cold when the next disaster strikes, below we have reviewed 10 of the best generators for home use—generators that can help you keep the lights (and heater) on when you need them most.
We have also included a Home Generator Buying Guide, in which we will outline and explain some of the key features to look for when picking out a generator to call your own.
According to Digital Trends, the Explorer 240 version of the Jackery Portable Power Station is one of the best mobile generators on the market today. The generator boasts a robust 240-watt-hour battery pack, multiple AC and DC power options, and two USB-A ports. Although originally designed for outdoor use, the Jackery Portable Power Station is plenty powerful to get you and your family through the next storm. It has an integrated MPPT controller for lightning-fast charging, and its eco-friendly, green design is guaranteed not to emit pollutants into the air. The product comes with a great 5-year, no-questions-asked warranty, during which the company will service or replace the product for free.
If you’re looking for a sturdy generator that can be operated via two distinct fuel sources—gasoline and propane—the DuroMax XP5500EH Electric Start Portable Generator might be just the product you seek. Even better, with its ultra-visible, front-facing fuel interface, not only can you switch between fuel types in a matter of seconds, you can also continuously monitor your fuel levels to ensure no interruption in power. And if safety is important to you, the generator’s patented CO Alert Technology will actually shut down the motor at the first inkling of carbon monoxide.
Weighing in at just under 40 pounds, the Champion Power Equipment 100692 2000-Watt Portable Inverter is one of the most transportable 2000-watt generators in existence. The generator features a whisper-quiet engine, and the optional parallel kit, which can be easily clipped to the exterior, allows you to effortlessly connect another inverter as a way to instantly increase your power. The environmentally-friendly unit is the perfect option when powering sensitive appliances and electronics; and the three-year limited warranty includes a lifetime of technical support from Champion’s expert team of agents.
With a name like NinjaBatt, you know this portable power station is both strong and versatile. When electrical emergencies strike, the NinjaBatt Portable Power Station will allow you to continue powering all your necessary devices in any kind of weather. The myriad of flexible ports and different power options—including solar—will ensure that you are never left in the dark. Safe to start and use and quiet as a mouse, this is the last portable outdoor generator you will ever need.
The Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator delivers a commanding 7500 watts of darkness-busting power with a peak performance of 9500 watts. The generator offers a state-of-the-art remote starting system with key fob, and up to 11 hours of operational time on a single 7-gallon tank. This beast features a powerful 420-cubic inch 4-stroke OHV engine, fuel level gauge and a digital hour meter to let you know when it’s time to refill the tank. Both EPA and CARB compliant, the unit also boasts a low-oil shutdown feature and a 3-year limited warranty for both parts and labor.
Known for its ultra-high capacity and 250 watt-hour battery, the AZEUS Portable Power Station should be a standard in every American garage. This portable generator includes a variety of interfaced ports as well as an LED flashlight with three very useful settings—lighting, SOS and strobe. Its proprietary battery management system not only lengthens its usage on a single charge, it also protects the battery from overload and potential damage. Weighing just 4.9 pounds, it is one of the lightest products in this category, and its easy-grip handle and sleek design make it incredibly portable.
A gas/fuel-based generator with an easy-to-access electric start mechanism, the WEN 56475 Portable Generator is one of the more impressive alternate power sources you can buy. Convenient to say the least, the unit has a bright digital readout that helps you manage its maintenance and oil level, and the automatic shut-off feature ensures its protection against low oil and overload events. Its powerful 233-cc engine cranks out over 4500 surge watts; and the collapsible handles and wheel kit makes it very easy to transport and store.
When trouble is in the sky, you’ll be happy to have the Generac 70432 Home Generator standing by. This impressive generator offers whole-house protection thanks to its authoritative system of batteries, which together crank out 200 Amps of lighting and heating power. The remarkable machine is equipped with the very latest electronic controls; and its (included) aluminum outdoor enclosure means it won’t crowd up your garage.
The grandaddy of all home power systems is the A-iPower SUA Portable Generator. This massive generator is able to produce 12,000 watts of starting power and an unmatched 9,000 watts of continuous operation. Its enormous seven gallon tank provides a whopping 9 hours of power (7 hours at top-load); and the electric start means you will never again have to pull another rope crank. The machine offers a variety of easy-access ports for charging necessary devices; and an automatic shutdown feature that constantly monitors both carbon monoxide and oil level.
One of only a few dual-fuel units on our list, the Champion 8.5-kW Home Standby Generator can be operated using gas or propane, with a highly visible switch system to alternate between the two fuel types. It offers a three-position electric ignition switch and a quick-touch panel that gives you access to all of its monitoring features. While enormously powerful, the generator emits just 59 decibels of noise and is rated for both home and RV use. As with all Champion products, this unit also comes with a lifetime of dedicated support.
Home Generator Buying Guide
When a blackout hits due to wind, rain or snow, essentially leaving your family freezing in the dark, you’ll definitely want a generator on which you can depend. To assist you in purchasing just the right type of home generator—one that meets all your power, safety and convenience needs—below we have compiled this brief Buying Guide outlining just some of the features to consider when shopping.
As the blackout problems spread throughout Texas in February of 2021, thousands of people scrambled to find gasoline in order to run their single-fuel generators. This turned out to be a major headache, depleting gasoline supplies in some areas of the state. However, with a dual-fuel unit, this problem can be totally averted. Dual-fuel units can operate on both gasoline and propane, giving you another solid option during power emergencies.
When the temperatures drop into the single digits or lower, the last thing you will want to do is start endlessly tugging at a pull-rope to start your generator. Automatic, electric start mechanisms allow you to quickly fire up your generator, saving precious seconds when they are needed most.
Automatic Shutoff System
An automatic shutoff system not only allows you to protect your generator when the oil level is running low, it can also save your life. Some of the better generators have the ability to shut themselves down when the oil is running low or when they detect even a whiff of carbon monoxide—a deadly gas that can kill in a matter of minutes in an enclosed space. Therefore, if you opt to go with a fuel-based generator—rather than one that operates solely on battery power—be sure to select one with a low-oil and carbon monoxide detector and an automatic shutoff for both of these instances.
Battery power has come a long way in recent years. There are now lithium-ion battery packs that can power whole-home generators for many hours on a single charge. Although very powerful and super convenient, the real advantage to owning one of these DC-powered marvels is the lack of carbon emissions produced, making them great for the environment and safe for your home.
Highly Visible Fuel and Oil Gauges
When using your generator to power important systems and appliances—like heaters and refrigerators—you will need to keep track of the unit’s fuel consumption and reserves to ensured preparedness and continuity of service. This is exactly the benefit of having front-facing and LED-lighted fuel and oil gauges. These gauges allow you to stay on top of your fuel usage, even in low-light environments.
Last but certainly not least, a high-quality whole-house generator should be equipped with multiple ports and outlets for powering your various needs—needs ranging from lighting systems to laptops to mobile smart phones. While most generators boast electrical outlets, the newer and more versatile units also have the different types of USB connections that are so very necessary in today’s changing world.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size generator do I need to power my house?
You will need a generator with a minimum of 1000 to 2000 watts. Written out formulaically it’s: (Running wattage x 3) + Starting wattage = Total wattage needed. Tip: For best results, always use a generator that can comfortably handle all your power needs while using no more than 90 percent of its capacity.
How long can a standby generator run continuously?
As long as there is sufficient fuel supply of natural gas or propane, a well-maintained backup generator will keep running. If the Generac generator is running on propane, with a 500-gallon tank, it should run 24 hours a day for over a week.
How many watts does Central AC use?
An average central ac will use 3000 to 5000 watts of power for around 9 hours a day during the hotter months. Click calculate to find the energy consumption of a central air conditioner using 3500 Watts for 3 hours a day @ $0.10 per kWh.
Can you use a standby generator full time?
In theory, standby generators will run indefinitely or for however long fuel is supplied to the generator. Most standby generators are fueled by natural gas (NG) and, thus, there is no need for a fuel tank since there is an endless supply of NG from your utility company.
Is it okay to leave a generator running all night?
The short answer is Yes. You can leave a generator running all night as long as you have enough fuel. In fact, most generators have a run time of about 8 hours, and some can run up to 12 hours. Depending on the size,, and others even more, which indeed allows them to keep running overnight.
What is the life expectancy of a generator?
25 to 30 years
The life of a natural gas standby generator is the same as a diesel. Typical life span for standby generators is 25 to 30 years. For applications operating outside of standby, engine life is dependent on run hours, maintenance cycles, and the quality of installation.