Best Generators For Home 2020 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

Best Generators For Home 2020

Despite so much advancement in the technology sector, there are still problems of power outages and the number of people that get affected by it keeps increasing. The brief rolling blackouts are such an annoyance plus the power loss for days or sometimes even for weeks in some areas can be life-threatening too. In such cases choosing the best generators for home becomes an important task to do. But, no need to worry, here we have prepared for you the complete beginner’s guide to buying the best power generators for home, that will help you choose your ideal generator. Moreover, we have created a list of Top 10 Best Generators for home in 2020.

The spoiled food, frozen pipes, no air conditioning in summers, no heat in cold winters are some of the common problems due to an ordinary power outage. Having a private backup power system is one of the best solutions that enables you to continue using selected appliances and lights, and supply electricity to your entire house. Selecting an ideal generator for a home can be a wee bit challenging if you don’t have a background in electrical engineering, which, obviously, the majority of house owners do not have.

Best Generators For Home in 2020

1. Westinghouse WGN 7500DF

best generators for home 2020

Searching for the best generators for home? Westinghouse WGN 7500DF will give you some of the best features that you might be looking for in your ideal generators for home. They have made sure to include it all in a high-class model for you. Westinghouse has been leading in the production of efficient and reliable generators from the past 130 years. This is not only because they invented the modern-day power grid but also made a generator power production more versatile.

During natural disasters or calamities, the one or the other fuel might be harder to come by, so it gives you the awesome advantage of choosing the fuel that is available to you at the moment with its dual-fuel capability.

First of all, to start the generator is quite simple. You just require to push one button and with the help of a charged built-in battery, it will start running. It includes a remote key that lets you start your generator from anywhere you please just like your car. Moreover, there’s a port for connecting the battery to an outlet on the generator so that you can recharge it.

This is one of the best generators for home when it comes to power. It produces quite an impressive amount of power that is capable to power all of your major appliances during the power outages and has 6750 rated watts and 8550 peak watts on using liquid propane gas.

Whether you use gas or liquid propane, the power comes from the trustworthy 420cc Westinghouse OHV, air-cooled engine. The Switch and Go feature allows you to switch between fuels just while the generator is running, making things even more convenient for you. Apart from that, the generator comes with a wheel kit and handle, which makes it easier to move around in spite of its over 194 lbs weight.

Running out of fuel? No need to worry. This amazing generator has an hour-meter that tells you how much time is left before running out of fuel. Its controls and operation are quite easy and user-friendly plus it comes with plenty of outlets, so you can plug a lot of devices, tools, and appliances at the same time. You can read the user manual which comes with the generator itself to clearly understand all its recommended maintenance schedule.

Moreover, it can be operated for a long duration of up to 16 hours on just 6.6 gallons of gasoline.
It comes with a 120V/240V twist-lock outlet that works best to power tools, making it a versatile generator.

Key features

• Duel fuel Capability
• Electric push start
• 16 hours of Operation
• Low oil shut-off
• Transfer Switch Ready
• 420cc, OHV, Air-cooled engine
• CARB approved

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologyDual Fuel
Gasoline Starting Watts7500W
Gasoline Running Watts9500 W
Propane Starting Watts6750 W
Propane Running Watts8550 W
Start TypeRecoil, Electric
Engine Size420 cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Fuel Tank6.6 gallons
Fuel TypeGasoline, Propane (LPG)
Dimensions 27.20 x 26.10 x 26.00 in.
Weight194 lbs

What’s included?

• Wheel kit
• Battery Charger
• Propane hose
• Oil
• Oil Funnel
• User Manual

Pros
  • High power at a reasonable price
  • Dual fuel technology
  • Electric push start
  • Transfer Switch Ready
  • Easy to move around
  • Long Run-time
Cons
  • Bit loud & shaky

2. Champion 7500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator

Champion 7500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator

Champions are one of the leading and trusting companies offering some of the most reliable and best generators for home and have also been providing durable power products designed in the US for the world market from years of experience. 

It produces starting power of 8400 watts and 6750 running watts with a run time of 5.5 hours at 1/2 load when you use a 20-pound propane tank. On the other hand, it gives you the run time of 8 hours by producing 9375 starting watts and 7500 running watts when your 6.1-gallon fuel tank is full.

Champion 7500-Watt ultra-power generator with electric start dual fuel generator can be operated right out of the box either on gasoline or propane. It features Intelligauge which is a type of LCD that offers the analog display of Voltage, Hertz and running hours to keep tracks of maintenance levels.

It comes with a patented fuel selected switch that allows you to safely switch fuels. Volt Guard built-in surge protector make sure your equipment is safe from any kind of overload. It will act as your savior by providing the home backup in an outage. 

The generator comes with a 3-year warranty plus free technical support for a lifetime. Its Cold Start technology allows it to start quickly in winters and makes it your best friend during power outages, for camping, construction sites, and ranches, etc. It’s careful packaging and clear directions ensure the hassle-free setup. Overall Champion 7500-Watt is one of the best generators for home offering you great power output with other awesome feature, keeping in mind your convenience.

Key features

• Dual fuel Capability
• Electric start
• GFCI protected outlets
• Safe fuel selecting switch 
• Low oil shut-off
• 8 hours of Run-Time
• 3-year warranty

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologyDual Fuel
Gasoline Starting Watts9375 W
Gasoline Running Watts7500 W
Propane Starting Watts8400 W
Propane Running Watts6750 W
Start TypeRecoil, Electric
Engine Size439 cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Engine Speed3600
Fuel TypeGasoline, Propane (LPG)
Dimensions27.8 × 28.7 × 26 in.
Weight200.6 lbs

What’s included?

• Battery
• Wheel kit
• Oil funnel

Pros
  • Powerful and easy to start
  • Duel Fuel Technology to switch b/w fuels
  • Long run time
Cons
  • It can be a bit noisy and loud

3. WEN 56200i Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

Best Generators For Home 2020

WEN 56200i is one of the best quietest inverter generators in the market with just 51 decibels of the noise level. It produces clean energy that is free from voltage spikes without making that loud shaky noise as made by the regular generators. Its 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts.

The generator is easy to move around and lightweight, weighing only around 48lbs. If you require more energy you can connect two 56200i generators by using the WEN parallel connection kit and easily share the wattage between various units.

It comes with an ECO- Mode which allows the motor to automatically adjust its fuel consumption as the items are plugged in and out from the panel, preventing the wastage of gasoline and hence maximize the fuel economy of the unit.

It limits total harmonic distortion to under 0.3% at no load and 1.2% at a full load that makes laptops, tablets, cellphones, etc and other appliances to run safely. The OHV engine operates at an extremely quiet 51 decibels, even quieter than a window air conditioner, so no worries about the loud noise.

The generator is easy to control and operate, and also the instruction manual is quite easy to read and follow. Moreover, one of the other reasons that make this generator so popular is that it is quite inexpensive or even half the price as compared to big brands such as Honda and Yamaha, but still is a value for money to buy, offering some very good features. In nutshell, it can be one of the best ideal generators for home, providing you with the power in times of outages.

Key features

• Versatile panel and lightweight design
• Eco- Mode to save fuel
• Extremely quiet operation
• Overload protection
• CARB Compliant
• 2-year warranty

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologySingle Fuel
Running Wattage1600 W
Surge Wattage2000 W
Half-Load Run Time6 hours
Half-Load Run Time1 Gallon
Engine size79.7 cc
Engine type4-stroke
Volume Level (22 feet)51 dBA
Fuel TypeGasoline
Dimensions18 × 11 × 18 in.
Weight48 lbs

What’s included?

• 5V USB Port
• Low oil shut-down
• Parallel connection ports
• Carrying handle
•Two three-prong 120V receptacles
• 1 12V DC Receptacle

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet Operation
  • Overload Protection
  • Eco Mode 
Cons
  • Bit shaky

4. Champion Power Equipment 100522 Portable Generator

Champion Power Equipment 100522

Champion Power Equipment is one of the market-leading brands when it comes to power generation equipment. This Champion 3500W portable generator will provide you with the power and versatility that you are looking for.

While buying the best generators for home, safety is one of the factors that you should keep in mind. So, this generator is specially designed keeping in mind your safety with a low oil shut-off sensor and has a 0.6-quart oil capacity. The built-in surge-protector, called Volt Guard helps to prevent any kind of overloads and keeps your equipment safe from the spikes in voltage.

The generator produces 4375 starting watts and 3500 running watts that can take care of all your equipment such as lights, fan, refrigerator, and many other appliances and tools by powering them up in case of an emergency. Not only that, it’s cold start technology allows the quick start without much hassle during winters.

This gasoline-fueled generator offers you the run time of 12 hours at 50% load and a noise level of 68 dBA. Whenever you have an outage the 208cc Champion single-cylinder OHV engine will provide you the power to back up all of your home essentials. It features Intelligauge that monitors frequency, voltage and operating hours with ease and safety.

Key features

• Cold start
• Low oil shut-off sensor
• 12 hours Run-time
• Volt Guard to prevent overload
• 3-year Warranty

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologySingle Fuel
Running Wattage3500 W
Starting Wattage4375 W
Half-Load Run Time6 hours
Gasoline Capacity6 Gallons
Engine Size208cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Volume Level 74 dBA
Fuel TypeGasoline
Dimensions28.5 × 18.7 × 20.5 in.
Weight123.5 pounds

What’s included?

• Wheel kit
• Battery

Pros
  • Cold start technology
  • Long Run-time
  • Volt Guard to prevent overloads
  • Easy to move around
  • 3-year warranty and technical support
Cons
  • Loud
  • Can only run on single fuel(gasoline)

5. Firman P03601

Firman P03601

Firman P03601 generator produces 4550 starting watts and 3650 running watts and the power is supplied by 208cc Firman engine that runs cool and efficiently with its Phoenix Fat Head Block.

It comes with a whisper series muffler that keeps the generator running at quiet 68 dBA, which is even below the standards set by National Parks Service and its spark arrester has been approved by the USDA forest service.

This portable generator has a long run time of 14 hours with a 5-Gallons tank. It features an OHV engine that provides higher performance at low maintenance. The generator comes with the largest tank in the industry for extended run time and also has a quiet muffler.

Its durable and compact roll-cage design allows it to run for years. Moreover, it features a Volt Lock automatic voltage regulator which ensures clean and consistent output from the Power Stream alternator.

Key features

• 5 Gallons fuel tank
• Reliable Recoil Start
• Volt Lock
• 4-in-1 data minder
• Delivers true 30A power
• 14 hours Run-time
• Power Stream alternator• Automatic voltage regulator

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologySingle Fuel
Running Wattage3650W
Starting Wattage4550 W
Half-Load Run Time14 hours
Gasoline Capacity5 Gallons
Engine size208cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Volume Level68 dBA
Fuel TypeGas
Dimensions 23.2 × 17.5 × 18.5 in.
Weight101.5 pounds

What’s included?

• Oil
• Funnel
• Spark plug wrench
• Cage frame design
• Shipping bracket wrenches
• Owner’s manual

Pros
  • Quiet operation with Whisper Series muffler
  • Long Run-time of 14 hours
  • Voltage regulator for consistent power output
Cons
  • A bit heavy

6. Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator

Best Generators For Home 2020

Champion Equipment are manufacturing the most reliable and best generators for a home in the market right now. Next time when you have an outage the 196cc Champion single-cylinder OHV engine will provide the power to backup all your home essentials. This RV ready 3500-Watt portable generator has been designed keeping in mind your convenience and safety.

It produces 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts. The generator comes with push-to-reset circuit breakers, low oil shut down sensor and oil funnel to make easy changes.

You can buy it with confidence, as it is EPA certified and CARB compliant and the Company’s Nationwide network and service centers will back your purchase up with 3-year-warranty and free lifetime technical support. Sounds like a good deal, right? This can be your ideal generators for home if you are looking for a power package at a decent price.

Its Cold Start technology makes sure the engine starts quickly in the winter season. It features a durable steel frame which ensures to take care of all your essentials including lights, refrigerator, fan, modem/router, fan, etc.

Key features

• 3.8 Gallons fuel tank
• Cold Start
• 68 dBA Noise level
• 49 State Compliant
• 12 hours Run-time
• Durable steel frame
• RV ready and Volt Guard
• 3-year Warranty

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologySingle Fuel
Gasoline Running Wattage3500 W
Gasoline Starting Wattage4000 W
Half-Load Run Time12 hours
Gasoline Capacity3.8 Gallons
Engine size196cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Volume Level68 dBA
Fuel TypeGas
Dimensions23.5 × 17.5 × 19.6 in.
Weight98.3 lbs

What’s included?

• Spark Plug tool
• Oil funnel

Pros
  • Good power out at decent prize
  • Easy to start and operate
  • Power and quiet
  • Dependable
Cons
  • Comes without wheels
  • Fuel guzzler and vibrates

7. All Power America APG3590CN

All Power America APG3590CN

All Power America portable generator is best for providing power during the electrical outages and remote projects at home or jobs. This EPA and CETL certified generator has an OHV engine that provides a Run time of 8.5 hours at half load. It has a 5-Gallons fuel capacity and operates at the noise level of 75 dBA.

The generator runs on less smelling propane fuel, supports clean-running and is environment-friendly, plus propane would not foul the carburetor for quick and reliable starts.

The wheel kit with never-flat wheels comes with equipped retractable handles which makes handling and storage very easy.

All Power America APG3590CN is ideal for people who are looking for affordable home backup power, emergency power or those who are seeking robust 10,000 surge watt propane power in a variety of other non-emergency applications.

Key features

• Electric/Recoil start
• Low oil shut down
• 5 Gallons fuel tank
• EPA and CETL certified
• Twist-lock outlet
• OHV engine

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologySingle Fuel
Rated Wattage7500 W
Starting Wattage10000 W
Half-Load Run Time8.5 hours
Gasoline Capacity5 Gallons
Engine size420 cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Volume Level75 dBA
Fuel TypePropane
Dimensions31.7 × 21.3 × 25.2 in.
Weight208 pounds

What’s included?

• Flat-free Wheel Kit
• Battery
• Propane fuel hose
• Volt and hour meter

Pros
  • High power output
  • Low oil shut-off
  • Long Run-time
  • Clean burning power
Cons
  • Can be noisy and loud

8. DuroStar DS4000S

DuroStar DS4000S

Durostar generators are one of the best brands when it comes to performance, power, and affordability that gets its name on the list of top-rated portable generators. It’s a whole package of power, featuring compact designs for ease, making it convenient for different situations or applications.

The fuel-efficient powerful air-cooled 7 horsepower engine prevents the generator from overheating. Also, it is equipped with an easy to read fuel gauge that makes it easy to monitor the level of gas remaining in the generator.

It comes with 3 power outlets, two 120V household power outlets, and one 120V, 30A, three-pronged outlets. Not even that, extra outlets come in handy if you want to power a lot of appliances at the same time. Sounds cool, right?

This gas-powered generator comes with plenty of power of peak 4,000 watts and 3,300 running watts that is capable of handling your heavy loads from lights, refrigerator to a home air conditioner, etc.
It features low oil shut-off that automatically shut down the generator when the oil is low.

Moreover, this generator is ideal for a variety of uses from getting through power outages and keeping your family supplied with all conveniences, thus making it one of the ideal generators for home.

It comprises of the power panel that includes the selection of outlets for maximum compatibility in your applications and also has a voltmeter for measuring voltage output.

The Surge-Arrest protects the generator from power surges and has all-metal construction for maximum durability. This DuroStar generator is great for camping, home back-up power, RVs and many other things.

Key features

• 4 Gallons fuel tank
• 8 hours Run-time at 1/2 load
• Low-oil shut off
• Air-cooled OHV engine
• 69 dBA Noise level
• Power Panel
• EPA and CARB approved
• 3-year Warranty

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologySingle Fuel
Running Wattage3300 W
Starting Wattage4000 W
Half-Load Run Time8 hours
Gasoline Capacity4 Gallons
Engine size208 cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Volume Level69 dBA
Fuel TypeGasoline
Dimensions23 × 18 ×17.5 in.
Weight94 pounds

What’s included?

• Two 120V household outlets & 1 twist-lock outlet
• User manual

Pros
  • Full power panel
  • Quiet muffler to minimize noise
  • Quite affordable
  • Low oil shut-off sensor
Cons
  • Heavy to move around without wheels
  • No watt or amp meter

9. Duromax XP4850EH

While buying generators for home, one must consider all the things which suits best as per their needs or requirements and then come up with the right decision. Everyone seeks for a reliable power source which chugs powerfully to life as soon as you trigger that starter.

Duromax XP4850EH 3850 is there to fulfill and take care of all the needs that you might be looking for in your generator. It has 3 power outlets installed on a clearly labeled control panel along with a key start control. The generator offers you dependable operation just from the moment you unbox the 130 lb heavy-duty frame.

With the dual-fuel capability, this portable generator gives you the flexibility to choose between either gasoline or propane. It features a 7 Horsepower air-cooled engine with a Low-oil shut off sensor that protects the motor.

The Dual Fuel Technology almost doubles the life of your generator by being able to run on clearer propane from a BBQ tank. This generator provides constant power of 3,850 watts and a peak of 4,850 watts that will adequately handle all of your household needs in an emergency or power outage.

Key features

• Dual Fuel Technology
• 4 Gallons fuel tank
• Air-cooled 212cc OHV engine
• 69 dBA Noise level
• Power Panel
• 8.9 hours Run-time
• 50 states EPA and CARB approved

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologyDual Fuel
Starter type Electric start & Backup recoil start
Running Wattage3850 W
Starting Wattage4850 W
Half-Load Run Time20 hrs on propane & 8 hrs on gasoline
Gasoline Capacity4 Gallons
Engine size210 cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Volume Level69 dBA
Fuel TypeGasoline and Propane
Dimensions19 × 22 × 19 in.
Weight130 lbs.

What’s included?

• Battery
• Spark plug wrench
• Assembly wrench
• A screwdriver

Pros
  • Dual-fuel capability
  • High wattage output
  • Strong steel frame
  • Solid rubber wheels
Cons
  • Increase in noise level with the increased load
  • A bit costly
  • Not CARB certified

10. A-iPower SUA12000E

A-iPower SUA12000E

A-iPower SUA12000E generator is powered by 459cc OHV engine, combined with an efficient, high-output alternator that utilizes the same design and technology as we found in the other expensive, popular brands of generators.

This design provides the highest peak wattage for starting motor-driven tools and appliances and has more than 25 years of experience.


With it’s easy to reach and ergonomically angled control panel, this generator allows you convenient, user-friendly access and visibility to the panel.

This gasoline-powered electric start generator provides starting power of 12,000 watts and 9,000 watts of running power. This is one of the best generators for home back-up power. Its one-touch button for electric start allows an effortless start of the generator.

The A-iPower comes with a DC adapter plug for charging the battery and can easily power up lights, refrigerator, fan, TV, air conditioner, pump, etc at the same time.

Moreover, it is capable of running 4-5 power tools and has an average run time of 9 hours at 50% load.

Key features

• Electric start
• 7 Gallons fuel tank
• GFCI protected outlets
• Built-in DC adapter plug
• 9 hours Run-time at 1/2 load
• 78 dBA Noise level

Specifications

Portable Generator TechnologySingle Fuel
Starter typeElectric start
Running Wattage9000 W
Starting Wattage12000W
Half-Load Run Time9 hours
Gasoline Capacity7 Gallons
Engine size459 cc
Engine Type4-stroke
Volume Level78 dBA
Fuel TypeGasoline
Dimensions19 × 24 × 19 in.
Weight130 lbs.

What’s included?

• Digital hour meter
• Fuel tank breather hose
• Weatherproof cover
• Battery
• GFCI outlet
• Wheel Kit

Pros
  • Push-to-reset circuit breakers to prevent overload
  • Low oil shut-down
  • Built-in DC adapter plug and DC charging cables
  • Never-flat wheels
  • Easy to assemble
  • Convenient handling
Cons
  • Loud and shaky at high load

Best Generators For Home Buyer’s Guide

Generators are mainly of three types: inverter, portable and standby.

Portable generator

These type of generators are powered by diesel or gas and generally provides temporary electric power. Following are some of the key characteristics of portable generators:

• A combustion engine is used to conduct electricity.
• It can be plugged into electrical appliances via its sockets.
• It can be used in remote sites.
• Portable generators can power lights, tools, run a freezer, television, and refrigerator.
• It can be moved from place to place and is intended to be connected only when you need it.
• Engine’s speed is controlled using a governor.

Check out our list of best portable generators here

Standby generator

A standby generator is a back-up electrical system that operates with an automatic transfer switch which basically commands it to power a device during the power loss. Following are some of the key features of a standby generator:

• It operates automatically
• It has two main components, a standby generator, and an automatic transfer switch.
• An internal combustion engine is used to conduct electricity.
• It delivers you permanent power protection.
• It runs on the fuel type that is already in use in the facility or home.
• Operates on natural gas or liquid propane.
• It is used in standby lighting, safety systems of elevators, medical and life-supporting equipment, etc.

Inverter generator

An Inverter generator produces more AC electrical energy per engine rotation but it’s not in the form that can be used directly. So it basically uses an engine connected to an alternator to produce AC power. Unlike other generators, it also has a rectifier that converts AC power into DC power. Following are some of the key features of an inverter generator:

• It relies on high – tech magnets and uses advanced electronic circuitry.
• It tends to be more lightweight.
• An inverter generator is more energy efficient as it adjusts itself according to the amount of power needed.
• Can be a nice fit for cars, boats, and RV.

You can read more about inverter generators here

Portable vs. Standby

Portable and standby generators are the two major types of generators which are best suitable for urban homes and each type comes with their pros and cons.

Portable generators are easy to move from place to place and you have to connect them only when needed. In case of an emergency you have to move a portable generator out of storage, fill it up with fuel, start-up manually and then connect with your loads.

If you don’t mind a very short runtime (an hour or a few), a battery-based inverter system might work for you as well. You can use both portable generator and inverter, and it does not require any professional installation.

Note

Portable generators can be operated only outdoors as their engines emit carbon monoxide. But, they are not weatherproof so you should store them indoors and prepare a sort of protective canopy that prevents it from any damage.

Where portable generators provide power for relatively short periods, require manual fueling and connection, in contrast to that, standby generators give you a convenience of fully automatic operation.

It includes an automatic transfer panel with a control circuit and is hooked up to a fuel source that is used by your house for heating, such as propane, diesel or natural gas. Standby generators provide the highest level of comfort without ant doubt, but, it comes with a price tag.

Also, you have to take permissions from your fuel and electric utilities and pass the inspections after the work is done.

What type of generator do I need?

Since there are so many different types of generators available in the market, it can be quite overwhelming to decide which one to choose from. So to buy the right system to fit your needs you have to make various key decisions. Start by asking these following questions to yourself:

Do I want to run few critical appliances or the entire house in an emergency?

For what duration of time I want to be able to use my backup source?

How much money am I willing to spend?

Quick Checklist

Go for a portable generator and a transfer switch if :

• You want protection only against short- term outages
• You don’t mind moving around a hundred-pound device
• You can spend $200 – $2000
• You want to back up some hardwired applications and then to have backed up devices pre-wired.

Go for a portable generator without a transfer switch if :

• You are in need of immediate emergency power.
• You have a budget of less than $1500
• You want to run only a few appliances via extension cords
• You need protection against short – term outages
• You are okay with moving around a few hundred-pound devices.

Go for a standby generator if:

• You require more than 17 kW power in your house
• You can wait for installation and permits of the system.
• You are preparing for long – term power outages.
• You are ready to spend $5000 – $11000
• You want to enjoy the full automatic operation and don’t want to move around a heavy device.

One of the other important things to keep in mind before buying a generator is to have a clear idea about your family’s power requirements so that you can choose the suitable generator of that particular wattage accordingly. For more information, you can click here.

One of the most important aspects of a generator is its power output. A 6-kW machine promises to deliver 6000 W, or enough power to light 60 100W light bulbs. Advertised power ratings can be somewhat misleading. Generators carry three somewhat ambiguous power ratings:

Power Output

Maximum power

Good for about 30 minutes and a 10 percent duty cycle. Some producers confuse this issue by calling the maximum rating the surge rating.

Surge or starting power

Tolerated for a few seconds.

Continuous power output

Available 24 hours a day at 100 percent duty. Gensets tend to live longer if loads are kept within 80% of the continuous rating.

The generator makers like to describe their products in terms of the maximum rating for obvious reasons, which is kind of useless for the average consumer. What we depend on is constant power on tap as long as we need it.

Power Quality

Voltage

Nearly all generators have some form of control to hold voltage steady and uniform under varying loads. Undervoltage dims lights and also overheats motors. Whereas overvoltage induces insulation failure and short circuits. Inverter generators provide a balanced voltage control, which is necessary to operate computers and other digital devices.

Frequency

Two-pole generators need to turn 3600 rpm to produce 60hz current. A fine-tuned governor is required to hold this speed. Inverter generators bypass the rpm or frequency nexus and run only as fast as the load requires.

Distortion

Alternating current should have the kind of mirror-image sine waves. A Brushless generator can distort these waves by as much as 40%. So while buying a generator look for the one with no more than 6 percent full-load distortion.

Engine

According to the CPSC, the light-duty gasoline engine generators have an operating life of 500 hours, which means that the average generator goes to the scrapyard within around five to seven years of purchase. So, it is wise to purchase a generator with a serious engine, like a Honda GX Series or a top-of-the-line Briggs or Kohler.

These engines have overhead valves, ball-bearing mains, cast-iron cylinder sleeves, and forged crankshafts. Moreover, electric starting is a great comfort and quite well mandatory for engines displacing more than 300 cc.

You should also look for other important features such as reasonably priced oil filter, low-oil-pressure shutdown, a large steel fuel tank, and a reliable fuel gauge. One thing to keep in mind is that good engines have two or more stages of air filtration.

Fuel Options

Most generator engines have been designed for unleaded gasoline as the default fuel. However, gasoline can cause safety and storage problems. Some owners opt for propane, (even though it is expensive) as it is less energy-dense than gasoline and has an infinite storage life. It is also possible to run a generator on natural gas, although adjusting a movable generator to fixed plumbing can be a bit of a headache.

Diesel is also another option. Compression-ignition engines cost anywhere around 30 to 50 percent more than their gasoline-fueled equivalents, but they should operate for decades without any major problems. Also, diesel fuel, when used with additives, tends to be quite stable.

Other features to consider before buying a generator

Circuit breakers

The main circuit breaker is a crucial safety feature that cuts off all electric power whenever necessary. Besides, each receptacle should be protected with a circuit breaker that automatically kicks in the event of an overload. Well-designed generators often have added insurance in the form of circuit breakers or fuses on internal circuits.

Ground-fault circuit interrupters

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that the generator used on job sites must have ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on 15- and 20-A, 120-VAC receptacles. A GFCI compares the amount of current that is going to the load with the amount returning through the return line. Unless a path to the ground has opened, both current flows will be equal. A deviation of as little as 0.5 A causes the GFCI to open and disable the circuit.

Instrumentation

A wattmeter shows how hard the generator works; frequency meters and voltmeters record how well the generator copes with various loads and are primary diagnostic tools. Having these features can be really useful, making things more convenient for consumers.

Automatic idle control

When the current output is low, the automatic-idle-control feature permits allows the generator to slow to two-thirds throttle, which saves fuel and reduces noise. Since the reduction in rpm results in a similar reduction in voltage and frequency, the AIC should be turned off when motors are fired.

Noise

A generator should quietly go about its work so that people can almost forget that there’s a heavy machine running by. Some generators do just that with noise outputs of around 50 dBA, which are roughly the same level as ordinary conversation. Other models produce 70 dBA or more on the logarithmic decibel scale. This level of noise might have your neighbors knocking on the door at midnight.

FAQS on Best Generators for Home:

What are the best generators for home use?

In our list of best generators of home, Westinghouse WGN 7500DF dual-fuel portable generator acquires the first position because of its awesome features at a reasonable price. You can read our review to learn more.

How big of a generator do I need to run a house?

Most of the household equipment like a well pump, refrigerator or freezer, and lighting circuits can run on a generator rated at 5,000 to 7,500 watts. A generator with around 7500-8000 running watts can easily run all these appliances at once. For RVs, a 3000 – 4000 watt generator would do fine.
You can use the following chart to get a rough idea of how much power you would need.

EquipmentRunning (W)Starting (W)
1500-W space heater150000
Water heater (40 gal)4500–55000
75-W incandescent lamp750
Coffee maker, 4 cup6000
Refrigerator7002200
Microwave oven7001000
Clothes washer12002400
Window air conditioner
10,000 Btu
15002200
Central air conditioner
20,000 Btu
24,000 Btu
32,00 Btu
40,000 Btu
2500
3800
5000
6000
3300
5000
6500
7800
Sump pump
1/8 hp
1/2 hp
800
1100
1300
2150
Garage door opener
1/4 hp
1/2 hp

550
730

1100
1400
Well pump, surface
1/8 hp
1/2 hp
800
1100
1300
2150
Drill
1/8 in.
1/2 in.
500
900
1000
1800
Disk grinder, 7 in.20004000
Circular saw, 8 in.15003000
Capacitor start180010,800
What size generator do I need to run my AC?

What size generator you’ll need to run your AC would depend on its BTU level. The following table will be helpful to get the idea.

BTURunning (W)Starting (W)
10,00015002200
20,00025003300
24,00038005000
32,00050006500
40,00060007800

Conclusion

Buying a generator for home might feel like a confusing task at first since there are so many options out there. But among all these different brands and types its necessary to make a list of things that you want to have in your ideal generator. The key things to keep in mind are the power requirements, flexibility to use different fuels, storage, size, budget, and other really useful features that we mentioned in our buyer’s guide of generators for home.

You can also check our list of best dual fuel generators here.

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