CHOOSING THE RIGHT GENERATOR FOR HOME USE
Power outages can happen everywhere. An auxiliary source of electricity is essential for every family's comfort and security. Unfortunately, buying a portable generator can be a confusing process because there are many different types available. The purpose of this quick buyer guide is to help you choose the best device for your needs and possibly save you hours of research.
Generators of course are used for a broad range of purposes. So, the first thing to do is to determine how you'll use it. Then you have to pick the right wattage. Note that what is sold as a generator is actually a genset
- a set consisting of an engine and an alternator. The main difference between the gensets is in the type of fuel their motor is using. The main three motor types for portable models are gasoline
. You may read a detailed guide
to choosing portable generators, but our quick selection recommendations are the following. If you are not expecting to use your device frequently, you may consider a gasoline-fueled
genset, which is the cheapest among all types. If you plan to use your genset frequently, such as on jobsite, your best bet is a diesel
model. It may cost several times more than a gas model, but diesels have the highest efficiency and reliability. Finally, if you don't want to store by your home large amount of gasoline or diesel, and prefer a fuel with practically unlimited shelf life which can be available during a blackout, I would consider a propane
engine. There are dozens of genset manufacturers to choose from. Based on the customer reviews at Amazon, major US brands such as Generac and Briggs & Stratton do not necessarily have better reliability than lesser known brands manufactured in China. If you are looking for best prices, in the power range up to 8,000 watts consider ETQ generators from Eastern Tools & Equipment, Champion line made by Champion Power Equipment, DuroStar and Sportsman. Based on their characteristics, cost and buyer reviews, they provides good value at low cost.
DuroStar 4000 W peak/ 3500 W rated portable. 120 V outlets, 12 hours run time per tankful at half load; OHV engine; emissions meet EPA.
All Power America APG3201 6,500 watts surge/5,000 W run. Includes wheel kit, electric start and a battery. Outlets: 120V 20 Amp duplex, 120/240V 25A Amp twist-lock outlet.
Sportsman GEN4000LP: 4000 starting watt, 3250 W rated.
Two 120V 20A outlets and one 12 VDC 10 amp outlet. Runs 10 hours at 50% load on 20lb BBQ tank (not included).
Note that a portable genset is intended to be hooked up to your appliances via extension cords. If you want to connect it to your home wiring to energize lights, wall outlets and other hard-wired devices, and you are on grid, the safest way to do it is by installing a transfer system. In an emergency there are other connection options
The above review is based solely on the analysis of the model's characteristics and prices. Although these models have generally positive user reviews at Amazon, no attempt was made to determine their actual reliability and customer service. All the information here is provided "AS IS
" and do not constitute a professional or a legal advice: always do your own research. The sole responsibility when buying a product rests with you, the buyer: see complete Disclaimer and Disclosure linked below.