The reason might be a neighborhood power outage or a natural disaster, including hurricanes and storms. Sometimes, it even takes more than a week for power to be restored. However, when you have a whole house generator, you don’t have to worry about finding yourself off the grid. Buying a whole house generator requires you to pay close attention to specifications, which include fuel type, transfer switch, power output, installation and maintenance, as well as warranty period.
Your choice will depend on how big your house is and the total wattage you need to power your home, including refrigerator, air conditioner, Wi-Fi, furnace, etc. Instead of you spending endless hours on the internet and at stores near your house, you can go through our detailed review of top whole house generators.
The Champion Power Equipment 100294 home standby generator comes with 14-kilowatt power to provide 14,000 watts of electricity on propane and 12,500 watts on natural gas.
It also has a 24-volt starting system that is capable of operating in extreme or sub-zero heat even without a warming kit. Besides, this unit performs self-diagnostic tests. As a result, you can ascertain for sure when there is something wrong with the unit in advance before a breakdown.
There is a low-tune muffler that dampens the sound of the generator for quiet performance. This way, you can enjoy an uninterrupted power supply at 63 dba noise level. Since it is a standby generator, it does not require manual operations and extension cord.
Our plus for this
- 10-year limited warranty
- Weekly self-diagnostic tests
- Low-tone muffler
Our minus for this
- Costly plumbing and electrical contracting
2. Westinghouse WPro8500 Super Duty Industrial Portable Generator
Unlike many large generators, the Westinghouse WPro8500 Super Duty Industrial Portable Generator comes in a small size. Despite its size, the machine is designed for industrial-grade use with 8500 running watts and 11500 peak watts.
This plus an automatic low oil shutdown, a full panel GFCI, and overload protection are some of the most impressive features of this powerful whole house generator. An electric start feature permits effortless starting as the key fob allows you to start it from a distance.
The engine runs for about 17.5 hours on a large 6.6-gallon gas tank. Smart idle control and a built-in fuel gauge help oil measurement. For easy mobility, the generator comes built-in foam grip handle and heavy-duty wheels. There is also a lift bracket for better handling.
Our plus for this
- Electric start
- Full panel GFCI
- Smart idle controls
Our minus for this
- Loud and heavy
3. Kohler 20RESCL-100LC16 Air-Cooled Standby Generator
The Kohler 20RESCL-100LC16 Air-Cooled Standby Generator stands out with a sleek appearance that could easily be mistaken for an air conditioner.
Like an AC unit, the generator is installed outside the home and is wired into the fuel system and electrical panel. This way, it is automatically engaged after an outage.
With a response time of about 10 seconds, the generator offers premium power quality with less than 5% harmonic distortion. This protects your electronics from damage from power fluctuations. Measuring 48 by 26.2 by 29-inches, the machine comes with a 100% corrosion-proof enclosure that protects it from harsh climatic conditions.
It also features a 100 amp 16-circuit automatic transfer switch for 20000 Watt. This plus 5-years warranty coverage make the product one of the best whole house generator.
Our plus for this
- 100% corrosion-resistant enclosure
- 10 seconds response time
- 5-years warranty coverage
4. Generac 7175 Guardian 13kW Home Backup Generator
Designed by Generac, the 7175 Guardian 13kW Home Backup Generator enough power for the entire household with its 200 amp and NEMA 3R aluminum outdoor enclosure smart switch.
Engineered with true power technology, the unit delivers premium power quality with less than 5% harmonic distortion. This promotes the smooth and clean operation of appliances and electronics. Plus, the machine is engineered and built in the USA with foreign and domestic machine parts.
There is also a pressure-lubricated G-Force engine that aids heavy unit operations. This cuts down on maintenance time for reliable performance. The automatic generator comes with a 5-year limited warranty, a removable door panel, and a base pad that minimizes ground preparation.
Our plus for this
- 5-year limited warranty
- G-Force engine
Our minus for this
- No wheels or carrying handle
5. Generac 7682 GP6500E – 6500 Watt Portable Generator
Another product from Generac, the Generac 7682 GP6500E – 6500 Watt Portable Generator like its counterpart delivers smooth and easy operation with its OHV engine.
The durable engine comes with a lubrication feature to prolong the engine’s life. It also comes with a large-capacity steel fuel tank that is incorporated with a fuel gauge for stable and reliable performance.
At full capacity, the generator can run for up to 10.5 hours at 50% load. For smooth operation, the unit comes with an electric start feature and a battery.
This reduces the strain and pressure needed to activate the machine. With Generac’s PowerRush advanced technology, the product delivers up to 40% more starting capacity. Two heavy-duty wheels and handles also aid movement.
Our plus for this
- Large-capacity fuel tank
- Electric start and battery
- OHV engine
Our minus for this
- No warranty information
6. DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Propane, Gas, and electric start features among others make the DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator one of the best whole house generators. Designed by DuroMax, the XP12000EH unit runs on a DuroMax 18HP, 457cc OHV engine. It also features a dual-fuel technology that allows it to run on either gasoline or propane.
This way, with enough flexibility, you can determine your fuel choice. Propane for one has a longer shelf life and supports cleaner burning that won’t harm the engine internals. It is also less expensive and makes a good source of power.
The generator offers 9500 running watts and 12000 starting watts. Hence it can handle heavy loads and high amperage tools. As a plus, the machine is CARB and EPA certified for use in all the states of America.
Our plus for this
- EPA and CARB approved
- Dual fuel technology
- Powerful engine
Our minus fir this
- The wheels are plastic
7. Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator
The Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator combines stylish design and functionality into a quiet backup power for homes. Rated 60% quieter than standard generators, the unit features an efficient integrated engine and alternator that provides up to 14hrs runtime at a 25% load.
The machine is also 30% more fuel-efficient at 25% load. Its design is also 30% lighter than standard generators and 45% more compact. There is also a telescoping luggage-style handle feature paired with 8-inches solid wheels.
This makes it easy to move around your home. Besides quiet performance features, the inverter features a steel-frame enclosure shell that protects internal components and minimizes noise.
Our plus for this
- Compact design
- Quiet power
Our minus for this
- The access panel doesn’t fit well
Types of Generator and Fuel Source
1. Gas Powered Generators:
Since natural gas is a common and abundant fuel, gas generators are fairly common. They are considered cleaner (with minimal emissions) and possibly cheaper alternative to traditional fueling options like gasoline or diesel. Natural gas-powered generators are also not susceptible to cold.
Usually, they are installed directly into gas lines. This means fuel is readily available with no need to be re-filled. The downside of this, however, is that such a generator is not portable. The generator is more affordable as well but the cost of installation can be quite high since expert services are required to connect to gas lines. They are also high maintenance (a gas leak can be very dangerous) and they are less durable.
2. Diesel-powered generators:
Diesel generators are quite common and the durability of diesel engines is well known. Hence, they are suitable for longer and heavier use compared to most of the other types of generators with less maintenance required. Diesel is considered the least flammable of all fuel sources.
However, it has high emission rates. Because of this, some areas place a limit on the number of house diesel generators can be run per day. Diesel fuel doesn’t store well too. Large quantities cannot be stored for more than 24 months. Diesel generators are generally affected by to wet stacking (I.e. moisture ruins the fuel). Hence they are least suited for a wet environment. A close alternative that is resistant to wet stacking is emulsified diesel. Emulsified diesel has lower emissions and offers almost the same shelf-life as regular diesel.
3. Propane-powered generators:
This can be in the form of propane liquid or vapor. Propane overs several advantages over diesel or gasoline fuel. It is a much cleaner alternative with very low emissions. It also has a longer shelf life compared to gasoline and diesel. It works well and powers up faster even in cold weather. Generators powered with propane are generally considered to be more affordable and last longer.
But while the generator is cheaper and durable, the fuel isn’t. it burns 3 times faster than diesel. Propane is a complex fuel that requires a complex system to use. Hence, the cost of installation of a propane generator is typically higher since it must be installed into gas lines. Also, the fact that propane is kept under pressure means they are highly flammable and can cause a highly explosive fire if an accident occurs.
4. Solar generators:
Solar generators are powered by solar energy. The make use of solar panels, lithium batteries, and inverters to harness and store solar energy. Ultimately, solar generators are greener and safer for the environment than conventional generators with no emissions.
Most units are portable and more suited for outdoor camping trips or use in RVs. However, if you are looking for solar generators to power an entire house, then the larger units with a wattage of between 1000 to 10,000 watts will be recommended. Such units will be able to power the larger appliances in a home for a longer period. You should find many commercial and residential options in this range.
5. Inverter generator:
Inverter generators convert and stores high voltage AC power as DC voltage then coverts it back to clean AC power when needed. While they generally are more complex and more expensive, inverter generators are becoming quite popular these days for several reasons. They are quieter than conventional options thanks to their complex exhaust system that helps to keep the noise level down. Inverter generators are also more affordable to run. The generator does not run at full power at all times as it regulates itself to match power needs. This improves the efficiency of the generator and helps to keep emissions low. However, inverter generators are quite expensive.
How Much Power Do You Need?
Different types of generators have varying power output (measured in watts). This refers to the amount of power the generator can deliver. The power rating of a generator determines the number and types of appliances it can run at the same time as well as the quality and consistency of the power generated.
Thus, you must determine how much power you need before you set out to buy a generator.
- Home power requirement: A whole house generator with a power rating of about 25 to 20 kilowatts should be enough to power a 3000 sq. ft. home. However, you may need more or less depending on the size of your home and the number and types of appliances you have. For instance, refrigerators use up to 600 watts while AC units require 1000 watts or more. Some portable heaters and sump pumps can use up to 1500 watts of electricity each. You will need to consider all of these before you decide on which unit to buy.
- Job site power requirement: When considering the power requirement for a generator to be used at a job site, you will need to calculate the power requirement for each tool you will be using at the site. You can begin by listing all the tools you will be making use of such as electrical saws, welding equipment and so on. Check the tag on each equipment to find out how much power is required to run it. Some tools will have ratings in amperes and voltage. You will need to do the maths to get the accurate wattage. Add them together and get a generator that supplies at least 20% more power for greater efficiency.
- Recreational and camping power requirement: Buying a generator for tailgating, camping, and other outdoor recreational activities is easier. Typically, you don’t need a lot of power since only basic appliances will be in use. For instance, an inverter generator with 1000 to 2000 watts of output should be good enough for basic outdoor use. However, if you intend to bring heavier appliances like air conditioners or microwaves with you then you should go for a unit with a higher power.
- RV power requirement: Again, the power requirement for running a generator in your RV depends largely on the appliances you will be making use of. In most cases, the air conditioning unit requires the most power to run in an RV. If you have one, then you have to put its starting wattage into consideration. For instance, a 13,500 BTU AC unit will need a 3000W generator to start. Hence, if you have an AC in your RV, this is the lowest wattage you can buy. Check for the other appliances you wish to run together with the AC in your RV home to find the correct power requirement.
How To Determine The Power Requirements Of A Particular Generator?
While purchasing any generator, you should check the manufacturer’s information about the unit’s starting amperage and voltage. You can then use this information to calculate the expected wattage you will get from the unit using the formula
Starting Amps x Volts = Watts (divide the answer by 1000 to get the kilowatts rating).
You can then compare this figure to the expected wattage of your home based on your appliances.
Useful Generator Accessories
After purchasing your generator, some important accessories go with your generator that you need t install as well. Some of them are so important that without them the generator may not work as well as it should. Others are less vital but still it easier for you to use a generator. Here are some of the most useful generator accessories to get.
- Transfer Switch: A transfer switch helps to switch the load from the main power supply to the generator and vice-versa. A transfer switch is typically installed on the electrical panel of your home. When an outage occurs, the switch helps to transfer the load to the generator. Similarly, when the main power is restored, the load is transferred back to the mains. There are two types of transfer switches. They can be manual or automatic.
- Manual transfer switch: As the name implies, a manual transfer switch requires you to manually flip the switch when the mains line fails to transfer the load to the generator and switch it back when mains power is restored.
- Automatic transfer Switch: This type of switch automatically flips the load to the generator or mains power supply when needed. It has been programmed to carry a specific load based on your power need and the size of your generator.
- Extension cords: Extension cords are required for the delivery of electricity to your house from the generator. Typically, you need heavy-duty power chords to power the appliances that will be connected to your generator. Some of the factors to consider when buying extension cords include their power rating which should be the same as the amp specification of your generator. The length of the cord is an important consideration as well.
- Muffler: Generally, generators don’t have a reputation for being quiet. Even the best of them still make a lot of noise (except inverter generators and other types that are less loud). If noise reduction is a priority for you then you should install mufflers. A quiet muffler can be installed on your generator to reduce the noise output.
- Automatic voltage regulator: You need an AVR if you intend to use your generator to power appliances that are susceptible to fluctuating power supply. An Automatic Voltage Regulator will help keep the voltage of the generator stable so that such sensitive appliances are not affected by fluctuation and power surges.
- A Remote control: If you want the extra convenience of being able to start your generator without having to walk to its location physically, then buying a remote start makes perfect sense. A remote control makes it possible to start your generator with the push of a button. They are of two types: wireless remote control or wired controls connected to the generator with a cable.
- Fuel stabilizer: A fuel stabilizer helps to keep the fuel fresh. It also prevents the build-up of gum in your generator. This is particularly important if you intend to keep your generator in storage for a long time with fuel in it.
- Protective Weather Cover Kit: A weather kit is particularly important if you live in an area where the weather gets really cold. Essentially the kit includes a battery warmer which helps to heat up the battery when the temperature is low and an oil heater that keeps the oil from freezing up in the cold.
- Wheel Kit: If you own a generator that does not have wheels, installing a wheel kit will help increase the mobility of your generator. We recommend a non-flat wheel as they are easier to maintain compared to other types of generator wheels.
Whole House Generator Cost
The cost of purchasing a whole house generator varies widely depending on the wattage, type of generator, fuel source and additional features of the unit. Various brands also offer generators at different price ranges. Hence, it is almost impossible to state an exact figure. They may cost as high as $15,000 depending on what you are looking for.
A small portable generator with a wattage of 3250 watts may cost between $300 to $400. But this might not be sufficient if you have a lot of heavy appliances to power. More sophisticated 10000-watt models may cost as much as $1200. This is just good enough for most homes.
However, if you have a larger house with high power needs, then a 20000 watts model that may cost as much as $5000 or more will be an ideal choice.
How to Pick the Best Whole House Generator for Your House
Choosing a fuel source
This is an essential step in choosing the best whole house generator for your home. In almost all cases, the fueling source you choose depends on where you live. Choosing a fuel that is abundant and readily available where you live is important. Similarly, some fuel types will not work great in some climates. For instance, wet stacking will affect diesel generators if you live close to rivers, lakes or any other marshy area. Gasoline and diesel generators also don’t perform very well when the weather is too cold. In such cases, propane or natural gas options will be best.
Whole House Generator Sizing
Choosing the right size of the generator is perhaps the most crucial step of all. This requires detailed and complete knowledge of the load requirements of the electrical appliances you have in your home. Choose a generator with an output rating that is about 20 to 25% higher than the peak load you are expecting in your home. For instance, if the expected load is 22 kilowatts, then a generator with a power rating of at least 27 kW is recommended.
Additional factors to consider:
- Noise level: choose a quiet generator or opt for an inverter generator if noise is a concern
- Warranty: manufacturer warranty levels vary from one manufacturer to the other. You should check for this before you make a purchase
- Extra features such as an electric start, automatic low-oil shutoff and so on are not compulsory but will make your life easier.
The Whole House Generator Installation Procedure & Guide
Installing a whole-house generator is a relatively simple procedure. In many cases, you may not even require the services of a professional. However, for more technical setups like connecting to a gas line and wiring your home for the generator, you may need technical or professional assistance. Here is a simple step by step guideline for generator installation.
Step 1: The first step is to install an electrical sub-panel as well as a transfer switch next to your mains electrical power panel. This can be manual or automatic for switching to alternative power when the mains are down and switching back when power is restored. The main panel and the newly installed subpanel will have to be connected. This step of the process is best handled by a professional.
Step 2: Choose a location for your generator: the next step will be to choose an appropriate location for your generator. There are plenty of factors to consider here. This includes:
- Compliance to building code in your area
- Accessibility for easy maintenance
- Proximity to the fuel source and for electrical hookup
- Away from doors, windows, water sources, and other utilities
- Clear on all sides
- Compliance with neighborhood regulations
You should put all of these points into consideration to site your generator in the least problematic area possible. Some states or towns require you to get a permit before you can install a generator, check if this applies to your state and apply for a permit if it does.
Step 3: Once you have chosen the best location, you can begin preparing the area for installation. You may need to clear up the area and pour a concrete base on which the generator will be installed.
Step 4: Place your generator on the prepared base. If you are using a gas-powered unit, you will have to run a gas line and hook your generator up to it. Then you need to connect the generator to a gas meter installed in a trench not far from your generator.
Step 4: Finally, connect the generator to the sub-panel installed in your house. After the installation has been done this way, you may need to enclose the generator in a way that keeps it weather-proof based on your climate.
Wrapping It Up
Buying a whole house generator is not as easy as you might have thought to be. Not to talk about the very best model. Hence, with all of the various assistant as requested by different people for us to help in recommending the best whole house generator for home use, has made us too picked and reviewed the various product as seen in this article. We hope you can find your way of choosing the one that best meets your home demands and needs.
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