Home Depot Generators Prices Installed

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Despite the relatively high cost of a whole house generator, many families are beginning to realize they are necessary to provide safety and comfort to the home in areas with frequent outages.

There is, however, some confusion around the actual cost of a whole house generator. Different sites provide different price estimates. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a generator is about $4,074. But this may not reflect the full cost of a generator, especially if you want your generator to provide power to your whole home.

Though there are less expensive options, we estimate that the average cost of a whole house generator for a medium-sized home is $12,250 to $27,150 upfront, plus $165 to $485 per year in maintenance and repair costs.

Understanding your individual circumstances and needs is vital to understanding how much you can expect to pay.

Evaluating the overall cost of a whole house generator

At AlltimePower, we provide a tool that estimates the cost of a generator based on your individual needs. This article explains in depth how we determine the cost and gives you a way to understand the process yourself. The most obvious cost when it comes to installing a generator is the cost of the generator itself.

Whole House Generator Cost
ItemAverage Cost
Whole House Generator$3,000 – $6,000
Installation$3,000 – $5,000
Total Cost To Install$6,000 – $11,000

*A complex installation costs $5,000 to $12,000+. Learn more

The cost of standby generators versus portable generators

If you want to install a traditional, fuel-powered backup generator, the cost for a medium-sized home runs from $7,000 to $15,000.

Generator Cost
SizePrice RangeTypical Coverage
2 – 5 kW$250 – $1,400One appliance and a few lights.
7 – 10 kW$2,000 – $3,00010 lights, refrigerator, sump pump, well pump, microwave, TV, laptop, coffee maker, and furnace fan.
13 – 16 kW$3,000 – $4,500Full home under 1,500 square feet.
17 – 20 kW$4,000 – $6,000Full 1,500 to 3,000 square foot home.
22 – 25 kW$4,500 – $12,000Full 3,000 to 5,000 square foot home.
30 – 48 kW$10,000 – $16,000Large luxury home or commercial applications.

*Not including installation.

  • A lot of factors go into determining the cost, including the make, model, and quality of the generator. Fuel-based generators are not your only option.
  • Recently, many people have begun to install home battery backup systems, such as Tesla’s Powerwall. These batteries run on power from the electrical grid, but costs run higher: about $10,000 to $20,000 for a medium-sized home.
  • Solar-powered batteries are even more expensive, typically around $20,000 to $40,000, while battery backup systems that rely on a combination of solar, battery, and fuel can cost as high as $50,000.
  • When determining the cost of a whole house generator, the most important factor to consider is the capacity of the generator.
  1. Capacity refers to the amount of power a generator can produce at a given time to start up and sustain electrical applications in the home.
  2. If the generator does not meet your home’s electrical requirements, it could put undue stress on the unit and may even cause damage to some of the devices connected to it.
  3. The higher the capacity, the higher the cost.
  4. Though larger homes typically have greater electrical needs, this is not always the case.
  5. A smaller home in a cold climate that needs a lot of heating may require a generator with a higher capacity than a large home with minimal electrical needs.
  6. Additionally, you may find that you only need certain appliances to run during an outage.
  7. You can determine your ideal capacity by adding up the amount of power it would take to start up each appliance you’ll need.

Cost of installation for a whole house generator

Average Cost To Install a Generator
National Average Cost$8,500
Minimum Cost$3,000
Maximum Cost$22,000
Average Range$6,000to$11,000

*Prices for a 13 to 22 kW backup generator plus installation.

Cost of whole house generator maintenance and repair

This is different from the amount of power it takes to maintain an appliance. For example, it takes about 2,800 watts to start up a refrigerator, but only about 700 watts to keep it running. You can use an online calculator to estimate the wattage of each appliance.

Backup Generator Prices
Fuel TypePortableStandby
Gasoline$250 – $4,500--
Natural Gas$900 – $4,300$2,000 – $6,000
Liquid Propane$250 – $4,000$2,000 – $6,000
Diesel$3,300 – $6,700$5,000 – $18,000
Solar$500 – $3,300--

*Prices for units with power capacity of 2 to 24 kW. Not including installation.

The cost of the generator itself

The cost of a whole house generator is often much larger than a generator that only covers part of the electrical needs of your home. Whole house generators provide the most consistent and reliable power. They allow you and your home to function as if the power had never been shut off.

This may be the best option if you live in an area that experiences extended outages lasting more than a day.

The average cost of a whole house generator

It’s also a good form of protection against natural disasters such as hurricanes, which could shut off power for days or even weeks. Backup generators that do not have the capacity to provide power to all of your appliances are a less expensive option.

Why capacity determines cost

You will still be able to run appliances that are most important, such as heating, refrigeration, and water heating, but some convenience may have to be sacrificed. For instance, you may have to limit shower time or wait to wash clothing or run the dishwasher.

Cost of whole house generators versus partial house generators

This may be a good option if you live in an area that experiences frequent outages of a shorter duration. Another cost you will have to take into account is the cost of installation for a whole house generator. Installation costs vary based on the size and make of the generator, as well as other factors such as where you live and the hourly rate of the electrician.

Solar Generator Cost

A good rule of thumb, however, is that installation costs about 75% of the cost of the generator itself. So if the generator costs you $10,000, you can expect to pay about $7,500 in installation costs for a total of $17,500.

Generac Generator Costs

If the electrician has to make electrical upgrades to your home before installing the generator, the cost may be higher than 75%. Backup generators require safe and effective electrical wiring that connects to the existing wiring of your home.

Generac Generator Prices
Power CapacityAverage Price
7 kW$2,000
10 kW$3,000
16 kW$3,800
17 kW$4,000
20 kW$4,500
22 kW$5,000
30+ kW$12,000

*Prices not including installation.

The cost of installing a subpanel and wiring the home runs from $500 to $900.

Kohler Generator Cost

Other upgrades may be necessary as well. If your home has a fuse box rather than a circuit breaker, for example, the electrician may have to upgrade the home to a circuit breaker for the new generator to work properly.

Briggs & Stratton Generator Cost

Some homeowners with technical experience may be tempted to install the generator on their own to save money. Unless you are a qualified professional, however, you should not attempt this. Backup generators require sophisticated electrical wiring and gas hookup.

Cummins Generator Cost

Any mistakes could be costly, dangerous, and even life-threatening. If you are looking to offset the installation cost of your backup generator, consider buying a portable generator instead. Portable generators have a lower capacity of just a few hundred watts to 7,000 watts, but they only cost $200 to $5,000.

Generator Installation Costs

They do not require installation, and they are easy and inexpensive to maintain. You will, however, have to purchase fuel to power a portable generator. It must be stored indoors separately from fuel, which translates to more work for the homeowner.

Cost To Install Whole House Generator
TypeAverage Cost
Typical Installation$3,000 – $5,000
Complex Installs (Longer Distances or > 20 kW)$5,000 – $12,000+

*Not including generator.

Once the power goes out, you will have to take the portable generator outdoors, add fuel, set up the electrical connection, and start the generator.

Standby Generator Installation Cost Factors

It’s also important not to start a portable generator indoors, in a garage, or anywhere the carbon monoxide could pose a threat to your health. Standby generators, on the other hand, have an automatic switch, meaning they will automatically kick on once the power goes out.

Standby Generator Installation Cost
FactorAverage Cost
Home Energy AssessmentFree With Installation
Labor Charges For Electrician$40 – $100 per hour
Transfer Switch Installation$400 – $2,000
Electrical Wiring$6 – $8 per foot
Gas Line Installation$12 – $25 per foot
Concrete Pad$150 – $400
Propane Tank Installation$400 – $1,800
Permits$80 – $450
  • They can also provide more power to the home than portable generators. Depending on your individual needs and budget, however, a portable generator may be a better option.
  • For more information about the differences between standby and portable generators, check out this blog post. The cost of the whole house generator and installation makes up the bulk of the cost of a whole house generator.
  • But once the generator is installed, there are other smaller costs to take into account. To properly maintain a generator, you should run it at least once every week.
  • The cost of fuel to run a generator for 15 minutes is no more than $5. This means that, without accounting for the cost of any outages, you will be paying about $100 per year in fuel costs to maintain the generator.
  • During an extended outage, fuel costs will run up to about $30 a day. Every 6 to 12 months, you should hire a technician to perform a more detailed inspection of your generator.

Generator Transfer Switch Installation Cost

This costs about $65 to $85 per hour depending on the hourly rate of the technician. If your generator requires any repairs, it may cost more, typically about $75 to $300 for minor repairs. Properly maintained, backup generators last at least 20 years.

Cost To Install Generator Transfer Switch
TypeAverage Total Cost
Manual$400 – $1,300
Automatic$600 – $2,000

*Transfer switch plus installation.

  • Look for extended warranties to make sure your generator lasts. Backup generators are impressive machines that generate electricity for a home separate from the electrical grid.
  • Buying such a machine and the comfort and safety it affords is not cheap. For many households, purchasing a generator requires financial planning and budgeting.

Generator Transfer Switch Prices

It is thus vital to have a grasp on how much the ideal generator for your home will cost overall. Though various websites attempt to give you an estimate, this does not always reflect the actual cost of a whole house generator.

Generator Transfer Switch Cost
30 Amp$150 – $500--
100 Amp$200 – $700$350 – $1,000
200 Amp$450 – $1,000$700 – $1,450
400 Amp--$1,650 – $2,700

*Transfer switch only. Installation labor adds $200 to $500.

Many factors go into determining the overall cost, from the capacity and quality of the generator to installation and maintenance and repair costs. Based on our estimates, you can expect to pay anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 for the generator itself, $5,250 to $11,250 for installation, $0 to $900 in electrical wiring, and $165 to $485 per year in maintenance and repair costs.

Generator Interlock Installation Cost

This adds up to $12,250 to $27,150 upfront, in addition to $165 to $485 per year. These costs change if you consider alternatives, such as a portable generator or a battery backup system.

Generator Interlock Installation Cost
ItemAverage Cost
Interlock Kit$50 – $150
Breaker, Power Box, Cords, Misc.$200 – $400
Electricians Labor$150 – $300
Total Cost To Install$400 – $850

To get a better handle on your individual power needs, try out our generator pricing tool.

Potential Installation Drawbacks

  • The Power Calculator uses similar metrics to the ones explained in this article to give you an accurate sense of how much a whole house generator will actually cost you.
  • Most generators produce 60 to 70 decibels (dB) from 25 feet away, similar to a central air conditioner. Some city properties are tighter, increasing the noise level, which may be regulated by local noise ordinances.
  • Generators need regular maintenance to ensure reliability.

Portable Generator Costs

Portable generators cost $250 to $2,500, depending on the brand, power capacity, and fuel type. Portable generators under 2 kW cost $250 to $700 and can power one appliance and a few lights, while 5 to 10 kW generators cost $600 to $2,500 and can power multiple appliances and 10+ lights.

Portable Generator Sizes and Prices
WattsPrice Range
Less than 2,000$250 – $700
2,000 to 4,900$300 – $1,400
5,000 to 9,900$600 – $2,500
10,000+$1,500 – $5,000

Portable generators are a budget-friendly temporary solution for backup power.

Never plug a generator directly into an outlet in the home. This is illegal and can cause electrocution or set fire to the house.

Portable Generator Installation Cost

The average cost to install a portable generator is $400 to $1,300. A manual transfer switch costs $200 to $800, plus $200 to $500 for the electrical work. Heavy-duty extensions cords rated for 30 to 50 amps cost $30 to $200 for plugging appliances directly into the generator instead.

Portable Generator Installation Cost
FactorAverage Cost
Manual Transfer Switch$200 – $800
Electrical Work$200 – $500
Total Cost To Install$400 – $1,300

Consider these accessories when installing a portable generator:

Portable Generator Accessories
AccessoriesPrice RangeDescription
Heavy-Duty Extension Cord$30 – $200Plug major appliances directly into a portable generator.
Wheel Kit$30 – $300Make it easier to move a heavy generator.
Generator Cover$20 – $165Protect a portable generator from the elements when outdoors.

Portable vs. Standby Generators

Standby generators are permanently installed outside the home, start automatically when the power goes out, and run for several weeks. Portable generators are smaller and cheaper, but are less powerful, must be started and refueled manually, and shouldn’t run for more than two consecutive days.

Portable vs. Standby Generators
Generator Cost$500 – $2,500$2,000 – $6,000
Lifespan2,000 – 5,000 hours10,000 – 30,000 hours
Power Output2 – 10 kW7 – 22 kW
Fuel Cost$30 – $70 per day$50 – $150 per day
Fuel Needs12 – 20 gallons of gasoline or diesel per day20 – 75 gallons of liquid propane or 3,000 to 8,000 cubic feet of natural gas daily
  • Smaller and less expensive
  • Lower installation costs
  • Can power lights and essential appliances
  • Prevents food from spoiling during an outage
  • Easy to move around
  • Require minimal maintenance
  • Useful for camping, outdoor events, or construction site
  • Can power a whole house
  • Quieter than a portable generator
  • Can run for days or weeks continuously
  • Starts automatically
  • Can power sensitive electronics
  • Can power heating, air conditioning, and hot water heater
  • Noisy
  • Significantly less powerful
  • Require manual start and refueling
  • Produces hazardous fumes
  • Requires space for storage
  • Can’t power sensitive electronics
  • Can’t power heating or air conditioning
  • Can’t run for more than two consecutive days
  • More expensive
  • Requires professional installation
  • Permanently fixed in place
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Requires propane or diesel fuel delivery or access to a natural gas pipeline

Generator Rental Cost

Renting a small portable generator costs $40 to $110 per day without fuel, depending on the power capacity and local rental rates. Renting an industrial towable generator costs $300 to $1,000 per week, depending on the size.

Cost To Rent Portable Generator
Power CapacityRental Price Per Day
1 – 2.5 kW$40 – $55
3 – 4 kW$50 – $65
5 – 7 kW$70 – $90
8 – 10 kW$80 – $110
100 – 300 kW Towable$300 – $500 per week
500+ kW Towable$700 – $1,100 per week

Can Portable Generators Run A House?

Portable generators connect to a home's electrical panel with a transfer switch or interlock kit. This allows the generator to power lights and essential appliances for outages lasting less than two days. However, portable generators can’t power heating and cooling systems or sensitive electronics.

Home Generator Cost Factors

Total installation costs depend on the generator's size (kW), whether it's standby vs. portable, fuel source, accessories, and the wiring and hook up complexity.

Professional installers offer free home energy assessments to determine the proper size backup generator depending on your power needs.

What Size Generator Do I Need?

Use the watt usage chart for generators below to calculate the size required for a house. In general:

  • Large 20 kW standby generators power a whole house.
  • Mid-range 10 to 16 kW generators power major appliances, including central air conditioning, or an entire home if paired with a smart load manager.
  • Portable 5 to 10 kW generators power multiple appliances and ten lights.
  • A 4 kW generator powers an RV.
Generator Size Calculator For House
Type of LoadWattageGenerator Size
7 kW20 kW48 kW
Two Lighting Circuits200 W
Four Lighting Circuits400 W
10 Lighting Circuits1000 W
Refrigerator / Freezer1200 W
Sump Pump1000 W
Well Pump1000 W
Furnace Fan500 W
Garage Door Opener850 W
Microwave Oven1000 W
Electric Oven2000 W
Radio150 W
Television300 W
Laptop50 W
Desktop Computer200 W
4-Ton Central Air Conditioner8500 W
Washing Machine1200 W
Electric Clothes Dryer3000 W
Coffee Maker900 W
Gaming Console100 W
Jacuzzi Bathtub1500 W
Hot Tub6000 W
EV Charging Station7200 W

*Running wattage is shown. Some appliances startup wattage can be double the running wattage.

Home Generator Accessories & Prices

Homes in the northern half of the U.S. need a cold-weather kit for $130 to $500 to ensure the generator turns on when temperatures drop below freezing. A smart load manager costs $130 to $250 and allows smaller generators to power a whole home by balancing the load across multiple appliances.

Generator Accessories
Generator Battery$70 – $300Starts the generator when the electricity goes out.
Cold-Weather Kit$130 – $500Ensures the generator starts in regions where temperatures drop below freezing.
Wireless Monitor$200 – $210Provides access to generator status from inside the home.
Smart Load Manager$130 – $250Allows smaller generators to power more appliances by balancing the electric load.
Fascia Kit$65 – $130Protects the generator’s base from rodents and insects.

Generator Maintenance Kits

Generators require regular maintenance with periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance and reliability. DIY preventative maintenance kits cost $20 to $110. Annual generator maintenance contracts cost $200 to $650 per year and include a full inspection and oil and filter changes.

How Much Do Generators Cost To Run?

A small 7 kW portable generator costs $30 to $70 per day to run, while a larger 15 to 20 kW whole-home generator costs $50 to $150 per day to run all day. Costs depend on the generator’s size, fuel type, and local gasoline, propane, diesel, or natural gas prices.

Daily Generator Running Cost Calculation
Fuel SourceGenerator Size
7 kW15 kW20 kW
Natural Gas$10 – $20$22 – $32$30 – $40
Liquid Propane$60 – $70$145 – $165$150 – $170
Diesel$32 – $40$90 – $110$100 – $120
Gasoline$55 – $70----

*Costs depend on current and local fuel prices.

How Long Can A Generator Run Continuously?

Manufacturers recommend running a standby generator for up to 500 hours continuously, or about three weeks. Most portable generators run for 8 to 14 hours with a ½ power load and one tank of fuel. Portable generators should not run for more than 24 hours continuously without a break.

Time A Generator Can Run
TypeContinuous Hours
Portable8 – 14
StandbyUp to 500

Generator Fuel Consumption

A standard 5-kilowatt portable generator consumes 0.75 gallons per hour or 18 gallons per day, which costs about $40 per day. Whole-house 15 to 20 kW standby generators consume 1.22 to 1.60 gallons of diesel per hour or 3.16 to 3.45 gallons of liquid propane per hour.

Generator Fuel Consumption
Fuel TypeGenerator Size
5 – 7 kW15 kW20 kW
Gasoline0.75 GPH----
Liquid Propane1.42 GPH3.16 GPH3.45 GPH
Natural Gas118 CfH133 CfH330 CfH
Diesel0.60 GPH1.22 GPH1.60 GPH
  • Gallons Per Hour (GPH)
  • Cubic Feet Per Hour (CfH)

How Long Do Generators Last?

A standby generator lasts 15 to 30 years and provides 10,000 to 30,000 hours of use with proper maintenance. Portable generators last up to 10 years and provide 2,000 to 5,000 hours of power. Reputable brands offer 5- to 10-year limited warranties on whole house generators.

How Long Do Generators Last?
TypeLifespan In YearsHours of Runtime
PortableUp to 102,000 – 5,000
Standby15 – 3010,000 – 30,000

DIY Home Generator Installation

Installing a permanent backup generator involves complex electrical work and gas plumbing that needs a licensed professional for safety. Improper wiring can damage the generator, fry appliances, and endanger utility workers by back-feeding the grid.

Portable generators don’t always require professional installation, and appliances can be plugged directly into the generator. To power more appliances, hire an electrician to install a manual transfer switch to connect the generator directly to the home’s electric panel.

Hiring A Generator Installer

A professional pulls permits, determines the power and size generator needed to run the house, pours a concrete pad, installs the wiring and plumbing, and safely connects it to the utility grid. Follow these steps to find the best pro for the job:

  • Get at least three in-person estimates to compare.
  • Look for electricians with experience installing home generators.
  • For natural gas and propane generators, select a pro who is certified for gas plumbing.
  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for longer than five years.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Ask for a written contract and warranty.
  • Get a full breakdown of all costs involved.
  • Avoid making large payments upfront. Come up with a payment schedule for the work completed.

Questions To Ask A Generator Installer

  • How long have you been installing generators?
  • How many generators have you installed?
  • Will your company handle the gas plumbing, or do you use subcontractors?
  • Can you provide references of past work?
  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • What costs might be associated with the installation?
  • What permits do I need, and will you obtain them?
  • What is your payment schedule?

Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted generator installers:

  • Whole House Generators - The Home Depot. (2020).
  • Portable Generators - The Home Depot. (2020).
  • Generac Home Backup Generators. (2020).
  • Portable Generators at Lowes.com. (2020).
  • Home Standby Generators at Lowes.com. (2020).
  • Transfer Switches - The Home Depot. (2020).
  • Generator Transfer Switch Kits at Lowes.com. (2020).
  • How Much Does A Standby Generator Cost To Install? (2016).
  • Jon Schlecht at Prairie Electric. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Lynn DeCort at DeCort Electric. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Tommy McNutt at Advantage Service Co. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Josh Hagerman at Palmer Electric. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Charles Wheeler at Wheeler Generators. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Angie Wittchow at Champion Power Equipment. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Travis Gooden at Greenwave Electric. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Eileen O'Hearne at Emergency Power Generators of NE. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Norh Robinson at Smalltyme Electric. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Tobi Hartlieb at Southwest Florida Electric. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Glen Koedding at Green Sun Energy Services. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Autumn Riggan at Midwest Generator Solutions. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Jordan Byers at Cox Electric. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Erich Maurer at Seth Energy. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Sarah Kellam at Kellam Mechanical. Personal Communication. (2020).
  • Home Standby Generators. (2020).
  • Home Generators. (2020).
  • Generac Generators (with installation). (2020).
  • Home Standby Generators. (2020).
  • What it Costs to Install a Whole House Generator. (2020).
  • The Cost to Install a Home Emergency Generator. (2018).
  • Buying a Generator. (2017).
  • Natural Gas Generators. (2020).
  • Is Running a Generator More Expensive. (n.d.).
  • Whole House Standby Generator Cost. (2020).
  • Home Generator Sales - How Much Will It Cost. (n.d.).
  • Generator Purchasing Guide. (2018).
  • What is the real cost of a whole house generator? (2020).
  • Generator installations. (n.d.).
  • Generator FAQ’s. (2019).
  • Generator Sizes and Types For Home Or Business. (n.d.).
  • Electrical Work Pricing Guide. (2020).
  • How Much Does a Typical Standby Generator Installation Cost? (2019).
  • DIY Whole-House Portable Generator Installation – Addenda. (2018).
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