If you’re like most Americans, then you’ve probably been spending more time at home in the past year than ever before. And a power outage can be quite disruptive—especially if you or your spouse is working from home. Now is a great time to consider investing in a standby generator so you can be prepared for that next power failure.
What is a standby generator?
There are two primary types of generators: portable and standby. While these two types of generators perform the same basic function, they are vastly different.
A portable generator runs on gasoline, and you have to pull it out of storage, connect it to your home’s breaker panel, and start it up manually if your power goes out.
A home standby generator (also called a stationary generator or a whole-house generator) runs on natural gas or propane, and it’s permanently connected to your home’s exterior.
Advantages of standby generators
Reliability: Since it runs on natural gas or propane, a standby generator can operate for days or weeks on a whole-house propane tank—or indefinitely if you have natural gas. To run all day, a standby generator typically uses between 13 to 48 gallons of liquid propane or natural gas (depending on the size of your home and how much power you’re using). Disclosure1
Convenience: A standby generator turns on automatically when there’s a power outage, and it can power everything in your home at once. There’s no need to manually connect anything.
Quiet: While portable generators are notoriously noisy, a standby generator is insulated and has weatherproof housing, which keeps it quiet.
Power output: Standby generators are much more powerful than their portable counterparts, with a power output of between 8,000 to 20,000 watts (compared to only 3,000 to 8,500 watts by a portable generator).
Comfort and safety during storms: Whether it’s a hurricane in the summer or an ice storm in the winter, all types of weather incidents can unexpectedly knock out your power—sometimes for several hours or even days. A standby generator will keep your appliances, HVAC unit, and other important electronic devices up and running for your family’s comfort and safety.
The primary reason people choose a portable generator over a standby generator is due to one simple factor: cost. H “Home standby generators are expensive, but they’re the gold standard in backup power, and they outperform all other types of generators in our ratings. If you can afford it, I’d tell you to pick a home standby generator every time.” Disclosure1
The cost of investing in a home standby generator is between $2,000 to $5,000, with installation costs ranging from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more. Disclosure1 However, a standby generator’s reliability, convenience, noiselessness, and power output make it the obvious choice to keep your home up and running.
Disclosures 1. Consumer Reports, “Portable vs. Standby Generators: Which Is Right for Your Home?” https://www.consumerreports.org/generators/portable-vs-standby-generators-which-is-right-for-your-home/, accessed August 18, 2021.