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5 Best Portable And Standby Generator 2021 | Emergency Power Backup
In the absence of electricity, a standby generator would be your savior. Whether you want your house cool or warm, without the standby generator this would be a hard task. However, while traveling, getting this advantage is not possible with traditional generators. In such cases, you would need portable generators.
Most people make a hasty decision when buying portable generators without taking necessary factors into consideration. If you are looking for the best whole home backup generator which is also portable then you are at the right place.
In this guide, we have reviewed six of the best standby home generators. This post also tells you which generator size will be suitable for you and how you can choose it. Read on to check out the best home generator portable reviews.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Recommended Top 5 Whole House Generator
Wattage | Noise Level
Type | Weight
Best for Home Backup
9500 W / 7500 W
Heavy Duty, Fuel Powered
SereneLife Portable 155Wh Generator
Quiet and Gas Free
120 W / 180 W
Rechargeable, Solar Panel Compatible
Goal Zero Yeti 3000x
2900 W / 2000 W
Battery Powered, Heavy Duty Portable
Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station
Best For Outdoor and Emergency Use
110 V / 1000 W
Solar Powered, Electric Generator
Generac GP3000i Inverter
Best for Advanced Technology
3000 W / 2300 W
Compact Built, Gas Powered Technology
How Much Wattage You Need For Your Generator
Choosing the right generator size is extremely important for optimum efficiency. The calculation for knowing the right size is very simple and can be done by anyone. The standard generator output of any company is Kilowatts (kW) or Watts (W). Therefore, the formula is Watts = Volts x Amp.
When you buy any generator you need to see the electrical appliances you have at home and if the generator has the capacity to power those appliances. Some appliances have high wattage while others have low power consumption.
Type of Load
Two Lighting Circuits
Four Lighting Circuits
10 Lighting Circuits
4-Ton Central AC
Electric Clothes Dryer
Depending on what is the total power consumption in the establishment, the generator power can be chosen.
Westinghouse WGEN7500 Portable Generator - Best Overall
The first noticeable thing about the Westinghouse WGEN7500 Portable Generator is its remote starting feature. With this, you can start the generator with just the given key fob. The maximum distance to which this would be applicable is 109 yards.
The built of the generator is exceptional and is equipped with a sturdy steel frame. There are roll bars placed on the generator’s top, which makes the whole structure very durable. A high-quality iron sleeve furthermore protects the tank and unit.
Equipped with a fuel gauge, the tank is very much in your control. To increase safety, a low oil shutdown feature is built into the generator. With this feature, the generator shuts down automatically when the level of oil becomes very low.
- 7500 Running Watts and 9500 Peak Watts; Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil Start; Up to 11 Hours of Run Time on a 6.6 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge
- Features Two GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) 5-20R 120V Household Duplex Receptacle and One L14-30R 120/240V Twist-Lock Receptacle; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
- Plug-and-Play: Comes with a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
- Powered by a 420cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve with Automatic Low Oil Shutdown and Digital Hour Meter. Noise Level-72 dBA
- All Westinghouse Portable Generators are Functionally Tested in the Factory and May Contain Minimum Residual Oil and/or Fuel Odor; EPA and CARB Compliant; Backed by 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage with Nationwide Customer Service Network
The power capacity of the Westinghouse WGEN7500 Portable Generator is 9500 peak Watts and 7500 running Watts. This makes it a very capable home inverter generator that can power most appliances.
This home inverter generator has dimensions 27.3 x 26.2 x 26.2 inches and weighs 192 lbs. From this home backup generator review, you can determine that it provides exceptional performance. Moreover, due to the presence of in-built wheels, moving the generator is not difficult at all.
REASONS TO BUY
- Easy to the user and intuitive in-built control panel
- Presence of various safety feature to prevent accidents
- Medium price-range with premium features
- Useful remote start option
- High durability due to sturdy frame
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- Heavy generator which could have been hard to move without wheels
- Noise level is 64 decibels which are high for a small establishment
SereneLife Portable Generator Review - Best Value for Money
The SereneLife Portable Generator is a compact and budget-friendly home inverter generator. With a unit of 155Wh, this generator comes with many incredible features. There are varieties of outputs in the generator.
These can charge tablets, digital cameras, phones, laptops, and other appliances with USB, DC, and AC outputs. It comes included with a car charger, but you can also connect it to a wall outlet or solar panel. However, you do need to invest in the solar panel separately. The high power capacity makes it a suitable option for home emergency use and camping trips.
The generator is equipped with a short-circuit protector and voltage control to avoid accidents. There are also other amazing features, such as an LED flashlight which is very helpful during power outages. SereneLife Portable Generator also has a battery level indicator that lets you know when the generator needs to be charged.
The basic operation of the generator makes it very easy to charge. You just need to search for a power source, plug it in, and you are good to go. With dimensions 7.67″ x 3.54″ x 6.73″ inches, this is a very compact generator.
The generator’s durability is high, and it can withstand temperatures ranging between 14° and 104° Fahrenheit.
REASONS TO BUY
- Very powerful generator equipped with a variety of outputs
- Equipped with three charging modes – wall, solar, and car
- Generator is guaranteed gas-free
- High-quality generator with an assured performance
- 12V DC ports and 5V USB ports
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- Hard to power large appliances such as microwave ovens
- Distracting noise in AC mode
Goal Zero Yeti 3000x Review- Best Eco-Friendly
The Goal Zero yeti 3000x is the most eco-friendly option among the other solar power generators. This is a high-powered solar generator with several amazing features. This generator is perfect for providing emergency power backup at home, remote worksites, or camping trips.
You can charge numerous low-power demanding devices such as lights, phones, or laptops using this generator. Furthermore, the 2000W inverter makes it convenient to charge large appliances such as medical devices, power equipment, refrigerators, and such.
The battery capacity of the Goal Zero Yeti 3000z is very high. This makes the whole unit quite heavy at 70 pounds. However, due to the presence of the wheeled cart transporting the unit is not too hard.
You can charge the unit using solar power as well as a standard AC wall socket. This generator has many ports for USB, 8mm, DC, and AC charging appliances. Moreover, this generator is perfect for RV and van life since you can charge it in a vehicle.
REASONS TO BUY
- Huge battery storage
- Convenient wheeled rolling cart
- Numerous charging outlets
- High-capacity generator
- High solar power input capacity
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- Solar charging is relatively slow
- Price range is very high
Jackery Explorer 1000 Review - Best for Small to Medium Use
If you are looking for a perfect generator for small to medium use, then the Jackery Explorer 1000 is perfect. The lithium battery present in the generator makes it the perfect companion for outdoor activities. By reading this solar power generator reviews, you can determine its exceptional performance.
You can charge the Jackery Explorer 1000 with a wall outlet, solar panels, and carport. This generator features a pure sine wave inverter which mimics the sine wave of the AC power. With this, you can charge medical equipment or other such sensitive appliances without any excessive heat and wasted power.
In addition to all of these features, the look and feel are also great. The durability of the plastic used is high and is not of cheap quality. Along with this, the LCD screen is very bright, which makes it very easily readable.
The generator has a 1002W and can run appliances with a total power requirement of 1000 W. There are numerous charging ports in the generator, making it easy to charge any time of the device. These ports include two USB-C ports, three AC ports, one 5V/1.4A USB-A port, one USB-A 3.0 quick charge port, and one 12V/10A carport.
REASONS TO BUY
- Can power appliances under 1000 W
- Noiseless fan, which is perfect for every setting
- Very lightweight option at 22 lbs
- Variable ports for charging all types of devices
- Falls at an affordable price range
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- Charging is very slow at a max output of 200W
- Turning on and off has to be done manually
Generac GP3000i Inverter Review- Best for Advanced Technology
The Generac GP3000i Inverter Generator has an advanced technology known as the PowerRUSH Technology. This unique technology makes it possible for the engine to provide power 50% more than the starting capacity. Moreover, True Power Technology delivers clean power needed by sensitive appliances.
The generator also uses Quiet Inverter Technology, which is essential for keeping the noise level low and optimizing performance. You can charge phones or run television and other appliances from the generator directly.
The unit’s overall weight is not more than 60 pounds and is equipped with an in-built handle. This makes it easy to carry the Generac unit even with one hand. Moreover, the compact size of the unit makes it easy to store in tight spaces.
Another great thing about the generator is the capability of parallel connection. With this, you can connect another unit of GP3000i or any similar Generac model. This is done when the power provided by a single unit is not enough. However, you will have to buy the parallel connection kit separately.
The generator is also fuel-efficient with 0.18 GPH fuel usage flow and run-time of 5.8 hours at 50% load. This gives you economic fuel usage, reduces wear and tear along with minimizing sound emissions. The generator’s PowerDial feature combines three operations in one single dial – Off, Choke and Run.
REASONS TO BUY
- Equipped with PowerRUSH Advanced Technology
- Suitable for parallel connection
- Easy portability due to built-in handle
- Clean power source for sensitive electronics
- Lightweight body and compact size
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- Parallel kit is available separately
- Engine oil change is very difficult
Factors To Consider When Buying Generator
Electric Failure, blackouts create havoc on businesses and homes. They cut down your precious working hours and restrain appliances from protecting people from intense frigidity and heat. The worst-case would be when power outages happen during the medical procedure requiring electrical assistance. That’s where generators can help you out.
Let’s discuss how to choose a reliable generator to continue with your work efficiently even after power outages.
What Type of Generator Do You Need
There are three types of generators: Home Standby Generator, Battery backup generator, and Solar Powered Generator. Before you choose, you need to get into a detailed understanding of each type.
Home Standby Generator
Home standby generators are designed ideally for the household to supply power at times of power outages. Most homeowners are infuriated with frequent blackouts; they can benefit from home standby generators.
The best standby home generator can supply power to the appliance during power cuts and stop supplying power when the electricity is back. The transfer only takes a few seconds to make sure of an uninterrupted and seamless power supply. Most home standby generators run on fuels like diesel, propane or natural gas.
Battery Backup Generator
With a battery backup power generator, you can continue to operate refrigerators, lights, and appliances in the event of power outages. The battery backup generators are connected with renewable sources of energy such as small-scale wind generators and solar panels. The battery is always charged at the time of need.
The time to extract the electricity from batteries depends highly on the size of the battery bank. Some mobile battery power systems can supply power to lights and cell phones for only a few hours.
Solar Powered Generator
Solar-powered generators use the sun as their source of energy to generate a voltage. The best solar generator kit includes solar panel battery, solar panel, battery charger, and an inverter. The solar panels can capture the sun’s energy to store it in the battery built inside the generator. The inverter converts the energy from DC to AC power before supplying.
As soon as the generator begins to supply energy, you can use the energy to power your household appliances. The solar home generator is the best generator for portable electronics, a few industrial tools, and household appliances.
Type of Fuel
Generators run on different fuels like natural gas, propane, diesel, and gasoline. What fuel type is the most economical and burns cleanest? The fuel consumption varies as it depends on generator fuel type, weather conditions, electrical capacity, and generator brand.
Let’s discuss different fuel types used in generators.
Natural Gas is most commonly used as generator fuel to power the whole area that includes businesses, schools, and homes. It’s the only source of fuel that uses a local utility grid instead of on-site manual fueling to fuel power generators.
When your business or home is connected to this local utility grid, there will be backup power available all the time during power outages.
- Outperforms other sources of fuel during frigid weather
- Easy to obtain because of excessive abundance
- Encourage long-lasting operation of the generator because of its environmentally friendly nature
- Offers lower power output compared to other sources of fuel
Propane is known as the safest fuel for the environment. You can store the gas for an extended period, and it burns cleanly. Moreover, you can keep the gas seamlessly in different sizes of cylinders without any issue.
The propane gas is suitable for small generators which can supply power to all the home appliances.
- Comes with unlimited shelf-life
- Emission-compliant and clean-burning fuel source
- Generator relatively low engine noise
- Some containers of propane gas are flammable and pressurized
Diesel is another common type of fuel that costs very inexpensive compared to natural gas and propane. Also, diesel is safe as it is not flammable like most fuel types. The gas is used for various purposes, such as permanent power sources for recreational vehicles, emergency backup, and construction power sites.
- Easy to obtain
- Least expensive to maintain and operate
- Least flammable and easy to store for efficient re-fueling
- Generate more engine noise
Gasoline is ideal to use in most types of generators if it can generate power below 150 kW. The gas is used most commonly as residential backup generators.
- Straightforward fueling process
- Easy to obtain fuel source
- Ideal for most smaller and portable standby generators
- Comes with 12 months of shelf-life
Running Time/ Running Cost
Most power backup generators are not designed to generate long-hours of power supply. Some last for eight hours while others for twelve hours. There are some other generators which can even last for several days. Nonetheless, you should not let your generator run for seven continuous days.
The diesel generator runs for the longest period. You should be certain that the generator has sufficient gas. Proper fueling is essential for uninterrupted operation, so check the oil level after twelve hours.
Some portable generators need fuel that does not contain lead like gasoline generators. The generator will stop functioning when it runs out of oil to eliminate the generator’s risk of damage. Furthermore, the generator backup power is relatively more expensive than a regular electricity service provider.
Below you will find the average running costs of various fuel type generators:
- Diesel Generation Running Cost: With a $3.17 per gallon average fuel cost, the 20 kW portable diesel generators can power appliances like a water heater, well pumps, and HVAC. The running costs about $122 per day while consuming 1.6-gallon of fuel per hour.
- Natural Gas Generator Running Cost: Natural Gas generators are suitable for areas with frequent power outages. The running cost of natural gas varies as per the size of the generator. The 7 kW generator can cost $0.82 per hour and uses 118 cubic feet per hour fuel. In contrast, a 15 kW portable generator costs $1.71 per hour while using a 245-cubic meter per hour fuel source.
- Propane Generator Running Cost: The Portable generators with 20 kW power can burn 3.45 gallons of fuel per hour and consume 83 gallons in one day. The running fuel cost would be about $200.
- Gasoline Generator Running Cost: As of the 2018 July ratings, the gasoline price was around $2.89. Thus, a 5 kW generator can power the essential appliances by using 0.75 gallons of fuel in an hour. For a day, it can consume 18-gallons which would cost about $52 in a day.
Material: Copper Wire Generator vs. Aluminum Wire Generator
The generator, mainly a diesel generator, is divided into two components. One is the electric ball part, and the other is the power part. Most generators come with a copper wire generator, aluminum wire generator, or half aluminum and half copper wire generator. But which one is the best?
Experts and professionals suggest going for a copper wire generator because of the following reasons.
Aluminum has more resistance as compared to copper, so when the heat is generated to its maximum level, there is a possibility to heat up the generator. Furthermore, you cannot integrate copper and aluminum welding. Because the power line connection can be easily burned, an aluminum wire has low life than a copper-wire generator.
Aluminum wire generators produce additional 7 dB noise in comparison to copper wire generators. So, an aluminum wire generator produces twice the noise of a copper wire generator.
The circuit component resistance and heating value are directly proportional. That means the generator has higher resistance, so is the heating value. Furthermore, the copper wire comes with lower resistance which means low heating value and more energy-saving without wastage of heat.
The generator is used for conducting electricity, and metal materials have excellent conductivity. For example, the conductivity of aluminum wire is about 35.33 per cent, and that of copper wire is around 58.13 per cent. That is also one of the reasons why copper wire has more life and longevity than aluminum wire.
It is crucial to know the power you require during a power outage from the generator. Also, you need to consider whether to supply power to systems such as air conditioning, the whole house and just the refrigerator or not.
You should look out for two metrics while buying a generation, including running or rated watts and starting or surge watts. The surge watts are the power that appliances require to consume for the first few months. For example, 1600 starting watts of power are required by 11,000 BTU RC air conditioners to start operating.
Running or rated watts is the energy consumed by the device after it begins to run continuously. For example, a minimum of 1000 rated watts is required by an 11,000 BTU air conditioner to operate seamlessly.
The home inverter generators are large generators that are evaluated by kilowatt measure the electrical power output of the generator. By formula, one kilowatt is equal to thousand watts.
To evaluate the power needs, you should decide whether you want to power HVAC or air conditioning systems or not during power cuts as they consume more power.
For an adequate power supply, the size of the generator is crucial to understand. If you want to run an air conditioner unit, the generator should be of a size that can handle the power load. But, how can you determine the right size?
Take a look at the data plate of the air conditioner unit, which shows the size in Tons or BTUs. Generally, for every ton of capacity, there are 12,000 BTUs and about 3.517 kW of energy. If the generator has a capacity of three tons and 36,000 BTU, it will need an 11 kW or bigger standby generator.
You can always use the power calculator or generator size calculator to understand what is best suited for your home. However, the formula is Watts = Volts X Amps to calculate generator output.
A higher capacity generator is always suitable to power all the household electrical appliances. For instance, if all your factory appliances make 200,000 watts and home electrical appliances make 5000 watts, you need a 300 kW generator for the factory and a 7.5 kW generator for the home.
Let’s discuss the generators with different capacities along with their functioning and other aspects.
More than 300 kW Generators
The maximum capacity generators can power official establishments and large industries. The generators can easily power large equipment and heavy machines.
200 kW- 300 kW Generators
The high-rise buildings and large-scale industries need higher capacity generators as they need to power multiple AC units, elevators, and other large machines. Some of these generators are bi-fuel generators.
100 kW- 200 kW Generators
Bigger companies and small & medium-scale industries require generators with more than 100 kW capacities. On a full tank, the generator can power large appliances for a maximum of ten hours. Moreover, the generator can provide energy to marine devices such as trawlers and fishing boats.
50 kW-100 kW Generators
The generators with a higher capacity of more than 50 kW are suitable for restaurants and offices. They can efficiently power central air conditioning systems. Moreover, the offices with multiple computer units, fans, and light require 100 kW generators.
10 kW-50 kW Generators
To power larger appliances like water pumps, air conditioner units, and water purifiers, you need a more powerful generator. Therefore, a higher capacity generator of 50 kW can power such large appliances effectively.
Whenever a generator operates, it is accompanied by noise. However, the level of noise varies from a generator to generator. Some generators produce extreme noise that is harmful to the ears. For that reason, the Central Pollution Control Board has laid down permissible noise levels at 75 dB for industries during the daytime and 70 dB at night.
The acoustic enclosures are an engineered box or structure made to minimize the noise generated. Diesel generators that use acoustic enclosure make sure that noise level is attenuated such that it won’t affect the people in the vicinity.
Based on generator noise level standards, you can find three generator types. These include Generators below 120 dB noise level, Generators below 75 dB noise level, and soundproof/silent Generators.
Generators below 120 dB noise level
For industrial purposes, generators between 75-120 dB noise levels are suitable. Though the level of noise produced is extreme, they generate more power output required to power the large appliances. That is the reason most manufacturers will go for this generator.
Generators below 75 dB noise level
There is no denying that as the power output increases, the noise level of the generator will also increase. So, the high-capacity generators will produce noise on operations. The generators below 75 dB noise levels are suitable for commercial purposes because of high power demand.
Most silent generators come with a soundproof enclosure. The enclosure is made of composite materials that contain hard materials to reflect the sound. Moreover, the resilient and porous material absorbs the noise to transform into heat energy. That’s how the noise is eliminated from the surroundings.
Safety Features To Consider
Generators are usually safe when they are equipped with the below-mentioned safety features. If your generator has the following features, you can definitely go for the purchase.
Automatic CO Shutoff
The feature is of utmost importance in any generator. The shutdown features a turn of the engine when it detects harmful carbon monoxide in the area. Any portable generator use includes this feature and passes all the CR’s test to be listed under CR suggested generators.
You might find marketing terms like CO Sense, CO Shield, CO Detect, CO Protect, and CO Guard on a generator. To verify if the generator meets the safety standards, you can look at one of the following references:
- ANSI/PGMA G300 Certified Safety & Performance
- ANSI/UL2201 Certified for Carbon Monoxide Safety
This is another safety measure of eminent importance in a generator to provide security and safety for the people and the surroundings. With this feature, the generator will automatically shut-down when it is going to run out of oil.
The safety feature is additional, which oversees the generators against the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Following the Environmental Regulations
The generators usually function on fossil fuels which produce toxic fumes. Diesel and gasoline generators are two standard generators producing poisonous fumes in the air. That’s why the government has imposed strict regulations to protect the environment.
Now, the generators must have an essential certification like EPA to pass as an environmentally friendly generator. Also, states have various regulations, such as California only allow usage of CARB compliant generators.
Apart from that, propane fuel generator burns more cleanly compared to gas generators and also inexpensive to run. If your power requirement is very low, you can go for solar-powered generators. You can power a camping light, stove, and phone with this generator.
Ways To Start Your Generator
Nowadays, generators are convenient to use because of a variety of features. Some generators use the additional feature to make it easier for an inexperienced user. To use the generator, you should know how to start it.
Generators usually have three different ways to start, such as automatic start, electric start, and push start. Each type is unique and offers different techniques to start. You can choose the generator as per your experience and comfort level.
Electric Start Generators
Electric start generators don’t require a pull cord. You can start the generator by pushing the button or twisting the key. After doing this, it will power the battery installed within the generator and activates it. The process is quite straightforward.
Most portable models come with an electric start feature.
What happens if you are not at home and suddenly there is a power outage? A sudden power outage can result in a short circuit at your home. That’s where automatic start generator plays a crucial role.
The generator with automatic start will start operating automatically as soon as the power is down. Thus, you don’t have to push any type of button to operate the generator. A stationary generator features an automatic start.
Pull start or Recoil Start
Pull start is used to start small-scale portable generators that come with 5 kW of power capacity. The mechanism includes a rope, spring, and molded rope reels. If you pull the recoil cord, you are proceeding to start the engine. You need to pull the cord till you feel resistance and then leave it.
If you cannot start the engine at the first attempt, try to pull the cord back again.
Proper Generator Installation Tips
To install a generator, you need to consider few essential things. First, you need to buy the right generator according to your business or home. Secondly, you need to determine the power and size that is suitable as per your needs. After that, move to the installation guide.
Let’s go step-by-step into the proper installation guide of the generator.
Step 1: Connect with an Installer
For a streamlined process, you must hire an installer to install a generator at your home or office. Further, if you don’t want to hire a single installer, you can divide the installation process into smaller layouts for electricians and plumbers. However, these business owners or homeowners have to take more work, but the method is quick.
Step 2: Select the location to install the Generator
To install a generator, look for a place which is:
- Away from the way of utilities
- Complaint with neighborhood regulations and homeowners’ association
- Have sufficient space on all the sides
- Electrical hookup and fuel source nearby
- Easy to maintain
- Code Complaint
- Away from water resources, doors, and windows
Connect the generator to a transfer switch such that it won’t back-feed energy within the grid. The transfer switch location should be as per your generator’s location for easy accessibility.
Step 3: Receive all the Essential Permits
The homeowner’s insurance, state, or town will require approving the plan. Without approval, you cannot install the generator. The installer can help you get consent to install the generator from the administration.
Step 4: Placing the concrete Pad
Let your generator rest on a concrete pad. It will protect the generator from standing water and keep it in place during natural disasters or extreme weather conditions.
Step 5: Connecting the Generator
Once you have secured the generator to a concrete pad, it’s time to connect the fuel source and transfer switch. Any electrician, plumber, or installer can perform the tasks.
Clear the debris after connecting the generator from the space.
Step 6: Inspection
The installer will check that all connections are adequately placed, such as fuel or oil level. After that, you are ready to kick start your generator.