If you are searching for the Best Home Generator Buying Guide then I highly recommend you to read our full Guide along with 30 Critical Tips.
Troubled with Power outages often?
Storms, Hurricanes, and tornadoes are just a few of the situations that can leave you without power for hours, days, weeks, or even months. When this happens, how will you cook food? Take care of your home’s inhabitants? Postponing these nagging tasks will only worsen the situation in the long run. Winter and summer outages of the utility grid are also an unpleasant inevitability. Life in such and shivering climate without access to anything resembling power is equally strenuous.
Even if you’re not suffering from any power outages or natural disasters right now, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality that might come your way in the future.
But the good news is that you can take an active role in preparing for these events by taking the initiative and investing in a quality generator. These tools can help you power your home during power outages, or even better, keep your lights on during a blackout caused by a hurricane or other natural disaster.
So, sit down, grab some coffee and get ready to read this best generator buying guide.
Finding the best suitable generator for your home is often perplexing!
There are lots of things that need to be taken into consideration when one must choose a home generator. There are many questions like the peak hours, backup power frequency, wattage consumption, etc. that need to be addressed before buying a home generator, and yet there may be some more things that you may wish for.
Here, we will list a few 30 important considerations in this Best Home Generator Buying Guide, when choosing a generator.
Assess your Home
In this home generator buying guide, we are prioritizing things in order. The first thing in the listicle is to study your home power needs. For that you have to assess these: –
1. How many people are in your house?
It is the first thing to consider. Generally, the bigger the number of people in your house means more power you require. For example, a family of two (2) would need a generator that has an output of about 3000 watts while a family of 4-5 would need at least 7500 watts. If you have kids, a bigger generator is needed because they are always taking up more power than adults. Your needs will also change as your family grows.
2. How big is your home?
The size of your home will largely depend on the capacity of the generator you choose. For instance, 2 bedroom houses would use twice as much electricity as a 4 bedroom house would require. A small kitchen or 4 room house may not have much demand for power, hence there is no need for a generator that has an output that is more than 1000 watts.
3. How many appliances do you have?
Your appliances are taking almost 80% of your total power usage. In 2019, according to US Energy Information Administration, “the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,649 kilowatt-hours (kWh), an average of about 877 kWh per month.” (https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs) As no matter what the appliance is, the more it consumes electricity, the higher your generator needs to be. The main appliances that take a huge amount of power are water heaters, microwave ovens, dryers, Dryers, furnaces, central air-conditioners, and refrigerators. For example, generators of 7500 watts are good enough for homes with 5-6 appliances in use at the same time.
4.How often do you run your appliances?
This is the big question for most people who want to buy a generator. Energy usage is usually highest during prime times—early morning, early evening, and early nights—and it’s lowest during mid-day. If you tend to use your appliances in these peak hours then your generator should be large enough for them to run at the times that they’re used.
5. What will you need to run other than normal?
Depending on your needs, a generator may be fitted with a range of accessories that assist it with additional tasks such as mains hook-up, engine starting, oiling, charging batteries, and heating water, etc., which are all dependent on your needs.
6. How much power do you need?
Whatever fuel you choose, you’ll need to figure out how much power you need for the items that you want to run during an outage. This means calculating the wattage of each appliance—your fridge, furnace, and TV —and adding them up. (Lots of calculators are available for it. You can Google it and easily find one. ) If your generator is too small for what these appliances draw, it’s not going to be able to power them all at once.
7. How many outlets do you expect to use?
Portable generators generally have more than two outlets, which makes it easier for you to power more electrical appliances. Most people want more than two outlets as it will allow them to power computers, televisions, fans, and other electronic devices. High-capacity generators have many plugs that can be used to power a lot of appliances simultaneously. This makes them ideal for powering many appliances at once and for making the most out of a power outage.
Your Native Whether is a Criterion
[We consider this also as a priority in this home generator buying guide.]
1. What is the weather likely in your area?
It is important to start by considering that climate change is now officially a global phenomenon. Weather conditions can pose difficulties to you as well as the generator. For example, it may be too hot or too cold in your region depending on your location. This causes fluctuation in demand for power and this affects the cost of electricity. Factors such as the season, humidity, rainfall, other eventualities like long periods of storms and temperature also come into play and will affect your power demand.
If you are in a hurricane-prone area, you will need more power than usual.
You must know whether there are hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes in your area as this will affect how you choose a generator and what it can do during an emergency. If there is any chance of inclement weather, you’ll want a generator that has enough power to last through the event. You’ll also want a generator that has plenty of outlets for power-intensive appliances.
Types of Generators & Uses
1. Is your generator is for outdoors or indoors?
Indoor generators are called ‘portable (battery) power stations’ that are generally smaller than the ones used in outdoor settings. Mostly Inverter kind of, they are emission-free, no-noisy, and can be used in apartments and RV without the fear of carbon monoxide exhaust. Solar-powered is also available indoors. Outdoor generators are much bigger, sturdier than indoor ones. They are perfect for powering larger appliances such as air conditioners, clothes dryers, water heaters, and heating systems.
2. Do you need an Inverter Generator or a Traditional one?
Inverter generators are usually built with advanced features to ensure that they are producing cleaner, more usable power. These generators are a bit expensive but the price is worth it as these generators are a one-time investment. They can be used for various purposes, such as residential and industrial sites.
3. Is it a good choice to buy an Inverter Generator?
The decision to buy an inverter generator depends on your needs. Most inverter generators are giving pure sine-wave power, are meant to be portable, and are designed to be plugged into a wall outlet. These units can run any appliances in your house if they have battery power because the batteries are usually used as the main power source for these generators. It depends on your needs whether you are going to use it for your home or portable tools. It will be eco-friendlier and with less noise output.
4. Do you want it to be Gas-powered or Electric?
Usually, gas-powered generators are more powerful than electric ones and suitable for powering numerous appliances simultaneously. They are also comparatively cheap to buy and operate since they run on liquid fuels. However, the initial cost of installation is a lot higher and so is the maintenance cost. Furthermore, when there are heavy storms or power outages, these generator types might not be able to meet your needs due to a lack of fuel.
5. Is it a good choice to buy a Diesel Generator or Gas Generator?
It depends on your needs whether you are going to use it for your house or portable tools. However, diesel generators are more affordable than gas ones. They also have longer run time, but they emit harmful fumes and have higher noise output than the latter ones. If you are living in an apartment or buying a generator for your home office, then it makes sense to look for a quiet generator instead of a noisy one.
6. Whether I can try a solar generator?
Yes! We in this home generator buying guide, tend to prefer it because for a lot of reasons. First of all, it does not produce any pollution like any other generators. It is also eco-friendly and cost-efficient. In fact, the solar generator will run for a lifetime if you maintain it properly. If you want to get more detailed information about how to maintain this kind of generator, then check out the websites that are discussing this part also.
7. Do you want your generator to be portable?
Portable generators are intended for running tools and other low power appliances around the house and for camping and tailgating but can do a lot more than that if they are positioned alongside a primary home unit. If you need something that is permanently installed, then it’s better to choose a non-portable generator since they have fixed mounts. You may want to ask yourself whether you need a portable unit or a permanently installed one.
8. Is the engine Liquid-cooled or air-cooled?
There is a difference between water-cooled and air-cooled engines, and it is important to know how the technology works. An air-cooled engine uses just a fan to dissipate heat, while liquid-cooled models have a water pump that actively circulates coolant through the engine’s radiator and cylinder area using an internal combustion cycle. An engine is water-cooled means that it is much more efficient and also helps to avoid overheating. Such engines are quiet and require less maintenance.
9. Are you planning to use your generator for backup?
It is highly recommended that you consider investing in a generator that is designed specifically for emergency backup situations. In these situations, power outages can last for days and you’ll likely need your generator to last a long time. These specific generators are designed to cope with extra demands that come with extended use over time.
Many people use generators for medical purposes such as CPAP machines or oxygen pumps, according to the FDA. If you have special medical needs, make sure that the generator has an outlet with enough power and features for your device(s).
Fuel You Prefer
1. What kind of fuel do you want to use?
Most people prefer fuel-powered generators because they are inexpensive and easy to refuel almost anywhere, but they require some maintenance and can be a fire hazard and with lots of impure emissions. Solar generators are more expensive, but they don’t need any refueling and they don’t create any pollution. (It is better for our common future, if you can choose a solar, as stated above.)
2. The Fuel Availability in your area
While choosing one you have to think about the fuel easily available in your area. Some areas have natural gas and others have more oil, so you need to get a proper generator that works on your area’s easily available fuel supply. Solar generators also can be a great choice when fuel is scarce. It is eco-friendlier also.
3. Is it fuel efficient?
There are different fuel consumption rates between generators of different voltages. Low voltage generators are usually more reliable and energy-efficient than other models available in the market right now. They save on electricity usage, and most people use them in their homes. This fuel efficiency helps you save money on your electricity bills and ensure that there is enough fuel available for future power outages. Different fuels and different Wattage/Hour capacity engines have different consumption rates. Please do a neat study on fuel efficiency.
1. Do you want a silent generator?
If you’re living in an apartment or buying a generator for your office, then it makes sense to look for a quiet generator instead of a noisy one. For example, if the noise level of the generator is at least 65-70 decibels, then it is not going to disturb others.
Generators of any kind tend to produce a lot of noise. The amount of sound depends on the type of machine and its size. Some units are very quiet in comparison to others. It is vital to consider the generator’s noise level because many people choose to place their generators indoors (even though it is unsafe if it is fuel-powered.) where they live with other family members who don’t want that noise in the rooms where they sleep. Quiet Power Technology of Briggs & Stratton can be an example of the Genset manufacturer’s dedication to avoiding noise pollution and irritation by reducing the Decibels(dB) to the vicinity. Almost all the major players are having quieter generators.
(In this home generator buying guide, we are advocating for a less-noisy one, as we are against all sorts of pollutions, including noise.)
Remote Generator Management System
1) Is your generator remote controlled?
If you have purchased a generator that can run independently, then you will be able to control it from anywhere around and start it whenever there is an outage. It is ideal to have the best virtual generator management system, with Automatic Transfer Switches (ATS). It is a remote-control device with the ability to receive data from your cellphones. People are considering this feature of getting it operated from anywhere as the best thing nowadays. Even though they have to spend some money, yet it is a good investment. If your generator is not remote-controlled, then it becomes difficult to connect to the internet and therefore you won’t be able to operate it from a distance. There are meticulous virtual management systems equipped with the best generators.
Some Miscellaneous, but Critical Points
1) Is it safe to use a generator?
Since a generator is a powerful tool, it can be dangerous if you don’t use it the right way. Make sure that you read all the instructions on where and how to store fuel, how to test it for leaks, and how to operate it safely. You should also wear protective clothing like gloves and goggles since this will prevent you from getting cut or burned.
2. Where are you going to put it?
The location of your generator is important as well because it will determine whether or not it works as expected. However, before positioning your unit in the right place, consider a few factors such as whether it’s waterproof and weather-resistant. Anyways, keep the system away from your home windows and doors at least 15 feet away as per https://www.energy.gov/ to avoid carbon monoxide choking. You have to set carbon monoxide alarms also in addition.
3. Is it hard to start?
If your unit is extremely difficult to tow, then it’s probably too heavy and bulky for a generator of that size. You can always consider using a couple of batteries or a battery bank instead. If the starting process is hard for you, then consider buying one with an automatic push-button starter feature that makes starting the generator really simple.
4. Is it safe for sensitive electronics like mobile phones?
There are some portable/ power generators that aren’t safe for use around your electronics. So, before you purchase, make sure that the generator will not damage your key devices. The inverter generator is quite good in this scenario. It is supplying with pure sine-wave power.
Maintenance, Price & Warranty
1) Can you afford the maintenance?
Some people think that generators are maintenance-free and don’t have to go through any service or fuel changes, but this is not the case. You still need to maintain the oil level, check for loose wires and tighten nuts and bolts, etc. There’s a lot of preparation involved if you want to use your generator during a power outage when it’s dark outside. This is why some people forget about it or end up not using it properly which ends up damaging it in the long run. They got wounded and sometimes something fatal also can happen, without proper knowhow about its proper maintenance
2. Can you save on maintenance and electricity?
A generator is an investment, but it can bring you some savings as well. If you properly use it, then you can benefit from cost-saving features like fuel efficiency. Some generators run on gasoline while others are more economical and use gas or propane which is cheaper compared with gasoline. In addition, if your unit is an inverter generator then most likely you will be able to get more out of the same amount of power that goes through it.
3. What is the price of the generator?
It is very important to consider the price because it can determine whether you’ll be able to afford it or not. As a rule of thumb, when you need a generator that works similar to those in homes, then you should spend approximately between $1500 and $2000. It also depends on the features that you need such as different power outputs, fuel efficiency, and so on.
4. Finally, what is the warranty period?
Generators come with a limited warranty period, so it is vital to check the terms and conditions before you purchase one so you fully understand what you’re getting. Go for a longer warranty generator.
There is not a “best generator out there for everyone“. It is your choice and you need to be aware of the factors that you need to consider when you decide which kind of generator will suit your needs. Do not forget to pay attention to the power, cost, and operation tips. Always keep in mind that what matters most is your safety more than making sure that you buy a big and strong engine.
It is always better to get a generator that is best for you, without compromises.
Hope this Home Generator Buying Guide can help you make a decision.