Did you ever find yourself in a conversation where you were telling someone that you had to stay in a hotel because lights went out in your house? 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. Our review is based on our own experience with the products where we spent two days understanding their features along with expert opinions and customer reviews from trusted websites.
In the beginning, you’ll see a list of top generators we managed to find, followed by in-detail reviews of each one, complete with pros and cons, and a buying guide to help you make the right choice.
Two important considerations, once you’ve figured out your power needs, are the physical footprint of the generator and the amount of noise it makes. Whether you have a small yard or many acres of land, you’ll want the generator near to your home so the size and sound matter.
The larger generators featured on our list are approximately 30 inches x 30 inches x 48 inches, while the smaller generators are closer to 24 inches x 24 inches x 36 inches. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code requires generators to be five feet or more away from openings such as doors and windows.
Smaller home generators are allowed as close as a minimum of 18 inches from an exterior wall, though you should always check local codes as they may differ from the NFPA’s standards.
With the generator placed immediately outside of your home, you should also consider the noise level, measured in decibels (dB). Most generators on our list average 60 to 70 dBs, for reference a vacuum cleaner is approximately 70 to 80 dBs.
Home generators can be run by a variety of different fuel types, but all the ones on our list use either liquid propane (LP), natural gas (NG) or both. Those that can use both fuel types are easily converted, without tools, to be ready to burn whichever fuel is needed.
The advantages of propane are its affordability and that it burns “clean”, meaning it leaves little to no contamination. Some houses have a permanent propane tank, but propane is also available in smaller containers at grocery stores, hardwood stores and even gas stations.
Generators that run on natural gas can be directly tied to the home’s natural gas line, allowing practically limitless fuel without having to worry about running out. The disadvantages of natural gas are that it’s less energy-efficient than propane and will therefore produce less power, and that a homeowner is still dependent on the gas grid for backup power.