A guide to choosing the right home generators for blackouts and emergency preparedness

Power outages can be more than a simple inconvenience. In long-term emergency situations, a power outage can be financially devastating and dangerous to your health. Heating systems tend to use electricity, so an outage due to a winter storm puts you and your family at risk to severe cold. Summer interruptions during a heatwave affect air conditioning and freezers. Home generators are a simple and easy to install answer.

You should consider if whole home generators are worth the investment for your home. Besides providing the power needed to use appliances and generate heat, there are other benefits to purchasing a whole home generator. You should also need to be aware of the cons associated with different generator types.

whole generator

Portable home generators tend to be the least expensive option for home generators.

Whole home generator

  • A 4,000-watt model is adequate enough to run a couple of appliances. This model tends to cost around $400.
  • These generators are convenient due to their small size, but they do not run for very long. Their fuel tanks quickly run out, requiring several refueling per day.
  • Your access to appropriate fuel sources may be limited or cut off, so portable generators are not a good choice for disruptions expected to last more than a few days.

Some home generators are fixed in place. These are sometimes called standby generators. The initial standby generator costs are much more than portable generators, but standby generators are best suited for times when your power might be out for a week or more.


Other advantages of standby home generators include:

  • If you have an existing fuel supply, a fixed generator can be hooked up to use it.
  • Standby generators run more efficiency, especially if you purchase a model that has a diesel engine. Diesel models may be more expensive to purchase, but these engines require less maintenance and their fuel efficiency is the highest among generators.

How you start and use a generator is dependent on its type.

  • Portable models can be stored until they are needed, but standby generators remain permanently connected to a home's electrical system.
  • Portable systems are hooked up to a fuel source when they are ready for use, but the fixed systems always have access to fuel.
  • The oil in a portable generator's engine must be changed often.
  • Portable generators require a person to fuel and start it. Then it has to be manually hooked up to the home's electrical system. Fixed systems normally have sensors that detect when the home supply has been disrupted and then turn on automatically.
  • Standby systems provide the most wattage.

Everyone's whole home generator needs are different depending on where the home is located and how often power outages are expected to occur. When choosing a whole home generator, you need to consider the overall cost of the equipment, which includes the initial purchase, maintenance, durability and fuel efficiency. QualitySmith will provide you with estimates so you can select the right whole home generator to match your specific needs.

Generac Generators offers some of the finest American-made home generators.