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11 Best Rated Home Standby Generators – In Depth Reviews

W hen the power runs out, it is useful to have a backup solution that will ensure you can keep using the electrical items at home no matter how long it takes for the power to come back on. In case there is a powerful storm or a malfunction of the electricity grid, it’s best to have a generator that will continue to supply your house with electricity.

Standby generators are the quickest way to restore power after a blackout, and they can provide enough energy for the entire house for days. The following models have proven to be the most reliable in crises.

If you are interested in a greener power source you can use during your camping trips, take a look at the most wanted portable solar generator kits of the moment. Packed with high-capacity batteries and ready to connect to one or more solar panels, these generators will give you enough energy to keep your devices charged and power a broad array of appliances.

Top 11 Standby Generator Comparison

Photo Product Power Type Rated Wattage (Liquid Propane/ Natural gas) Engine Displacement Response Time Transfer Switch Rating Operating Noise Level Price

Best Overall
1. Generac 7043 Guardian Series Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 22,000/ 19,500 999 cc 30 seconds 200A 67 dB Check Price at Amazon

Editor’s Choice
2. Cummins Power Generation 20kW Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 20,000/ 18,000 999 cc 3-7 seconds 200A 65 dB Check Price at Amazon

Best for Large Home
3. Briggs & Stratton 40355 Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 20,000/ 18,000 993 cc 20 seconds N/A 67 dB Check Price at Amazon

Best for Cold Weather
4. Generac 7037 Guardian Series Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 16,000/ 16,000 999 cc 10 seconds 200A 66 dB Check Price at Amazon
5. Kohler 14RESAL-200SELS Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 14,000/ 12,000 725 cc 10 seconds 100A 67 dB Check Price at Amazon
6. Champion 100294 Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 14,000/ 12,000 754 cc 20 seconds 200A 63 dB Check Price at Amazon

Best for the Money
7. KOHLER 12RESVL-100LC12 Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 12,000/ 11,000 725 cc 10 seconds 100A 67 dB Check Price at Amazon
8. Generac 7033 Guardian Series Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 11,000/ 10,000 530 cc 5 seconds 200A 63 dB Check Price at Amazon
9. Briggs & Stratton 40449 Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 10,000/ 9,000 570 cc 20 seconds 100A 72 dB Check Price at Amazon
10. Generac PowerPact 7.5kW Standby Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 7,500/ 6,000 420 cc 6 seconds 50A 69 dB Check Price at Amazon
11. Champion 100177 Natural Gas, Liquid Propane 8,500/ 7,500 439 cc 3 seconds 50A 59.5 dB Check Price at Amazon

Enjoy the best comfort while camping with a portable solar power kit. You can choose between models that can supply up to 1,800 watts of power and cheaper kits that will only reach 80 watts, so there’s a price for any pocket within our selection.

1. Generac 7043 Guardian Series

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Aluminum
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 22,000 LP, 19,500 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 999 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 200A
  • Response Time: 30 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 67 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 5 years


The most powerful standby generator for home use of the moment, the 7043 Guardian Series is ready to become the main power backup source for a large household with a lot of appliances. It is indeed a beast that can easily turn two types of fuel into electrical energy and cover long power outages that can go on for weeks. If a tornado or another type of natural disaster messes up with the electrical network in your area, this is the solution you need to have in your yard. Seeing how it responds in under half a minute to the problem, you won’t even have time to realize what happened.

Weatherproof Aluminum Construction

If one thing is true is that this unit needs to be positioned outside to ensure the installation complies with the safety requirements. This is why the 7043 Guardian comes with an ultra-tough aluminum housing that can keep it in perfect condition even if the weather is turning particularly rainy, snowy, or windy. It has the means to withstand freezing and comes with overheat protection that will keep it safe on scorching summer days.

  • RhinoCoat powder-coat finish – this protection layer acts as a barrier against corrosion and will preserve the housing’s new looks for longer.
  • 3 removable sides – the installation process becomes easier with the detachable panels, which provide access to the inside components without difficulty. Moreover, in case service is in order, the professional will be able to do the repairs quicker and easier as there’s no need to remove big components to have access to the defective part.

This structure, along with the latest-generation engine, is guaranteed to function defect-free for 5 years, which is a vote of trust in their product from the company’s part. Generac also offers after-sale services, and a team will be at your disposal 24/7, every day of the year, to help you solve any problem you may encounter.

Strong G-Force Engine

Designed and produced in the USA, the engine is truly reliable and will handle the rigors of generator use without a problem. It works on a pressure-lubrication system, which means that an oil pump automatically distributes oil to the points of the engine that need lubricating, ensuring that the mechanism functions optimally and reducing maintenance tasks to a minimum.

  • Choose between propane and natural gas installation – if you have access to a natural gas supply, this is undoubtedly the most comfortable installation method, as the pipes are rarely affected by natural disasters, and you have a constant flow of fuel at your disposition. On the other hand, if natural gas is not available in your area, you can run your generator on propane, which is often delivered in storage tanks with a size between 100 and 1,000 gallons.
  • High-capacity engine – depending on the fuel type you select, this system can produce either 19,500 watts per hour or 22,000 watts per hour, and there’s no wonder seeing how the total engine displacement is 999 cubic centimeters.
  • Quick response time – this describes the number of seconds it takes the unit to sense a power outage and take over the delivery of electrical power. This unit will activate in about 30 seconds, which may seem a bit longer when compared with other models, but this can be seen as a protection feature as well, as it doesn’t activate if a current fluctuation interrupts the city energy network’s delivery for a couple of seconds.
  • Low harmonic distortion – the True Power technology this model uses helps it operate smoothly with harmonic distortion percentages under 5, which means that it can be used to power sensitive appliances.

The system includes a 200A NEMA 3 transfer switch, which automatically switches from the main electrical network to generator operation and reverses the action when the blackout is over. You can install it next to an existing distribution panel to save money, and it makes no difference if you place it indoors or outdoors as it is rated to resist all conditions.

Safe to Run, Super Easy to Use

Even if this is a super powerful machine, it was designed to be used at home, so it comes with functions and features that allow the average user to preserve it in a good state.

  • Low-oil shut down – the system integrates a sensor that measures the oil level and shuts down the operation if it is at a dangerously low point. It will not turn on anymore until you add more lubricant.
  • Overload protection – if the internal temperature is turning too high, the system will shut down automatically to avoid damages.
  • Quiet self-test mode – the generator needs to run a test once a week to ensure everything is in order and ready to kick in during an emergency. This test takes about 10 minutes, and the great news is that it is quiet, as the engine engages only at 2 thirds of the normal RPM to preserve the peace of your household.
  • LCD – placed inside the housing, the LCD panel is accessible if you open the lid. It shows the information on the battery status (if you decide to add one) and the time you need to perform maintenance. A set of LEDs positioned around the LCD help monitoring the generator’s status.

You can keep an eye on the system remotely with the help of a smartphone or tablet as this model comes with WiFi connectivity, and you can connect it to the Mobile Link app. This way, you will be informed if a blackout is happening at your home and if the generator kicked in to cover it. You will need to pay separately for this service, however.

PROS

  • Super powerful engine recommends it for large households
  • Powder-coated aluminum enclosing offers excellent protection against weather elements
  • Periodical tests are made at a lower speed to maintain the peace
  • Fast response when the power goes out
  • Safety sensors turn it off in case it runs out of oil or overheats

CONS

  • You need to pay extra for the Mobile Link service if you want to use it
  • Just like most generators, it is a bit loud


Verdict

It is an all-purpose model that can power anything from lights, even halogen work lights, to all-size appliances, power tools, sump pumps, and well pumps. It can be fueled with natural gas or liquid propane, and you also have the option to buy a battery that can be used in case you run out of fuel. The manufacturer offers a generous 5-year warranty so you can be sure that maintenance and troubleshooting will not become an issue.


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2. Cummins Power Generation 20kW

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Aluminum
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 20,000 LP, 18,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 999 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 200A
  • Response Time: 3-7 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 65 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 5 years


You are looking at one of the most dependable models people buy to keep their homes covered in case of blackouts. The Power Generation 20kW from Cummins comes with a high-performance engine that can provide enough electrical energy for a large home while meeting the highest safety standards. This backup power supplier comes with a robust enclosure that is made from galvanized steel on the interior and aluminum on the exterior and presents impeccable resistance to corrosion, dust, and water. It complies with the NFPA 37 code, so you will be able to install it just 18 inches away from the house.

Fit for Medium and Large Households
    With a 999 cubic centimeter engine displacement, this model is built to keep large appliances running, and it can even maintain a 5-tone air conditioner operating optimally while providing enough power for the lights and the other devices in the house.

  • Gas or propane operation – just like most generators, it can run on two fuel types. If operated on gas, it will output a total of 18,000 watts, while propane will deliver 20,000 watts.
  • Quick 200A transfer switch – it is resistant to outdoor conditions, so you can place it outside if it is more convenient for you. The transfer switch is the one that activates the generator when the power is out and switches back to the regular electrical network when it is back on. In this case, it is one of the quickest, seeing how it can do all these in no more than 7 seconds.
  • Optional load management – if you have multiple heavy loads that need to be managed by the generator, you can acquire this kit, which allows the unit to learn and remember the power requirements of 5-ton air conditioners or other 240V loads and control up to 4 of them simultaneously.

This model is conceived to resist outdoor conditions, but if the weather in your area is particularly cold, you can buy weather accessories, which are offered for purchase by Cummins, and make sure your unit will function flawlessly even at temperatures that drop below 32F.

User-Friendly Operation

While the installation isn’t that easy that anybody can do it (in fact, we recommend leaving this task to the hand of a professional to make sure the safety standards are preserved), this model surely is easy to operate, and you will not have to deal with maintenance tasks too often.

  • Free remote data access – the unit connects to Wi-Fi, so you can get full control over its operation even when you are not at home. Thus, you can use your smart device to check its status or schedule the tests. Moreover, and this is truly a great deal, you can power it on or off from the distance and send the data it collects directly to the authorized dealer in your area so they can diagnose eventual malfunctions without needing to pay you a visit.
  • Crank-only test mode – the exercise cycle can be performed without even powering on the engine, which reduces the wear considerably. When the controller needs to make sure the generator is performing correctly, the engine cranks without using any fuel, being more cost-effective and quieter.
  • Safety sensors – they identify if the motor runs out of oil or if a malfunction will lead to the system overheating and shuts the operation down. This model also regulates voltage automatically so the fluctuations don’t affect the appliances in your home.

The Cummins Power Generation 20kW generates a noise level of 65 decibels, which is acceptable for an engine that is operating outside. It is both EPA and CARB certified, and this proves that it has low carbon emissions and will not become a pollution source for the air in your yard. It is also warranted to be free of defects for 5 years.

PROS

  • Can be used in medium to large-sized homes as it packs one of the strongest engines on the market
  • Good sound insulation provided by the aluminum enclosure
  • Performs the exercise cycle without requiring for the engine to be turned on
  • Turns off on its own if it runs out of oil
  • Free access to the Cloud Connect Smartphone App

CONS


Verdict

Cummins offers one of the strongest generators of the moment, and it throws in Wi-Fi compatibility and a free app, so there’s no doubt that this acquisition is worth the money. The system responds quickly and can cover a large household’s power needs. It is also super safe to use as it turns off on its own if it runs out of oil or detects a malfunction that may lead to overloading.


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3. Briggs & Stratton 40355

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Aluminum
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 20,000 LP, 18,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 993 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: N/A
  • Response Time: 20 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 67 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 3-6%
  • Warranty: 5 years


Power outages will cease being an issue with the 40355, an ideal product for medium to large-sized homes as it meets all the essential power needs of your home. It is one of the more flexible entries on the market, allowing simple outdoor installation. You can either connect it to a natural gas source, and it will deliver 18,000W per hour, or to a propane tank for a power output of 20,000W, which will be maintained constant by a strong engine with a 999 cubic centimeter displacement.

Since it features a weather-resistant transfer switch placement, the installation process will be a cinch. The only downside to it is the fact that it is a costly acquisition, but it is one worth making, so if you have the budget for it, we recommend you buy it.

The quick response it provides in case of a power outage ensures you won’t sit around long for it to restore power to your appliances and electronics, the switch being done automatically in under 20 seconds. Thus, you won’t have to search for it in the dark to make the change yourself. It features Galvanneal steel enclosures and boasts a rust-resistant design that ensures long-lasting durability even if you place it outdoors and rain and snow fall on it. It is a 20kW rated model that you can trustfully rely on for years on end. Additionally, a 5-year warranty is provided on parts and labor for it.

PROS

  • Recommended for use in medium to large-sized homes
  • Provides power automatically a few seconds after the power outage
  • The transfer switch can be installed either indoors or outdoors
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

CONS

  • Some customers complained that its emissions kill the grass growing in front of it
  • Noisy when it runs (outputs 67 decibels)


Verdict

Its weather and corrosion-resistant design makes it suitable for outdoor installation, where it can function even in extreme weather conditions. It might be a costly acquisition, but it is one worth making nonetheless as it restores powers to your appliances and electronics in a matter of seconds after a power outage.



4. Generac 7037 Guardian Series

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Aluminum
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 16,000 LP, 16,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 999 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 200A
  • Response Time: 10 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 66 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 5 years


Another great model from Generac, the 7037, is a powerful version of 16,000 watts. It’s a big size whole-house model that can be used to power anything from lights, excluding halogen, tools, small and large appliances, and water pumps. The 999cc engine designed by OEM Branded takes its power from natural gas or liquid propane, making it suitable for any home.

The start is electric, so it doesn’t take long for it to turn on when needed, requiring approximately 10 seconds to respond to a blackout with the 200A switch that safely closes the connection to the utility network and opens the one to the generator. Among the features included, we remind the low oil shutdown that prevents a malfunction in case the oil level drops too low and the overload protection that also ensures smooth operation in safe conditions.

It is also equipped with a Quiet-Test mode that turns the engine to a lower RPM to reduce noise and fuel consumption. It complies with all safety standards like CARB and EPA and comes with a 5-year warranty so that you can enjoy a worry-free performance.

PROS

  • It doesn’t make too much noise
  • Turns on on its own
  • Safety features to prevent overexertion
  • Can be used for the entire house
  • Generous warranty period

CONS


Verdict

Similar to the previous model, this one provides power for the entire house whenever there is an outage. It is equipped with the same useful features that not only make it easy to install and use but also very prompt. It responds in seconds, and it’s strong enough to sustain the entire house and all the appliances in it. Whether you choose to power it with natural gas or propane, it’s more economical than other competitors.



5. Kohler 14RESAL-200SELS

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Corrosion Proof Polymer
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 14,000 LP, 12,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 725 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 100A
  • Response Time: 10 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 67 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 5 years


This is a powerful unit that can handle whole-house electricity supplying. It features a smaller 725cc engine and is an air-cooled model so it’s not as reliable as the first ones in sustaining high-voltage devices. Still, it can be used to power lights, mobile devices, and household appliances. It isn’t suitable for powerful water pumps or power tools.

Made of composite, it is resistant to bad weather and will work without issues even if it’s raining or snowing. With the majority of portable models, you have to wait until the rain stops to get them started without risking a fire hazard. You can choose between a 100 and a 200-Amp switch version, both with a 14,000 wattage, and the option of either natural gas or propane fueling.

For safety reasons, it is equipped with two essential features, namely the low oil shutdown and the overload protection. It also features an hour meter that counts the hours since the last oil change, thus, making maintenance easier. The standard 5-year warranty is also available for it.

PROS

  • Weather-resistant housing
  • Safety features to prevent damage
  • High wattage for maximum efficiency
  • Long warranty

CONS

  • The engine is smaller and cannot handle high-load appliances
  • Uses a lot of oil


Verdict

It is great for whole-house use and offers great results regardless of the weather due to the solid construction that makes it resistant to moisture. Although the engine is smaller in capacity, it has a generous wattage that ensures it will successfully handle the entire house. All in all, it’s a very reliable and durable choice, especially since it’s covered by a long warranty.



6. Champion 100294

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Painted Steel
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 14,000 LP, 12,500 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 754 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 200A
  • Response Time: 20 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 63 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 10 years


As it ensures 24/7 power delivery to all of your lights, appliances, and electronics, meaning that in the event of a power outage, you won’t be affected, it’s easy to see why the hefty sum of money asked for this product is definitely worth paying. It can operate in temperatures ranging from -22 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and features an all-weather composite mounting pad, so you don’t have to worry about weather conditions damaging it in any way.

The onboard battery charger it features maintains the charge all the time, while the connection compatibility to a propane or natural gas system ensures refueling is never needed. It can manage up to 8 high-demand appliances at a time due to its transfer switch, which features 8 circuits. It produces 58.3 amps at 240V on propane and 52.1 amps at 240V on natural gas.

For convenience in use and to ensure proper maintenance for long-lasting durability, it performs weekly self-diagnosis checks. Fortunately, it only produces 63 decibels when it runs, so it won’t bother you or your neighbors for that matter either. When it comes to the warranty, the agreement which accompanies it lasts for 10 years, while technical support is granted for life.

PROS

  • Low operational noise level – only 63 dB
  • Can operate in temperatures ranging from -22 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sub-panel style transfer switch features 8 circuits
  • All-weather mounting pad
  • Free lifetime technical support and 10 years of warranty

CONS

  • One of the largest models – needs a lot of room for the installation
  • Consumes a lot of lubricant


Verdict

It might cost a pretty penny, but you will surely be willing to pay what it takes to ensure your appliances, lights, and electronics will function even in the event of a power outage, this Champion entry providing reliable performance to spare you of unpleasant situations.



7. KOHLER 12RESVL-100LC12

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Steel
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 12,000 LP, 11,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 725 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 100A
  • Response Time: 10 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 67 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 5 years


This 12 kW generator will keep your basement dry, your groceries cool, and your family comfortable. It has was engineered with +/- 1% voltage regulation and less than 5% harmonic distortion. This means that it will protect your most valuable electronics from damage. The 725 cc engine will deliver a power output that can vary from 11,000W on gas and 12,000W on propane.

In just 10 seconds, the 100A switch manages to detect the blackout and power the generator, which automatically powers appliances such as the fridge, oven, or AC. It produces a noise rate of 67 dB, which is, nonetheless, dampened by the steel enclosure, so it can run without becoming a disturbance for your neighbors. Moreover, it has low oil and overload protection, so you can rest assured that it will turn off in case it encounters a problem so it doesn’t undergo more extensive damage.

It comes with a 5-year or 2,000-hours warranty. This means that if it develops any damages, you will get a free replacement, or the company will pay for the repairs. Nonetheless, the steel enclosure material is rust-resistant, which means that it will maintain the same high quality for many years.

PROS

  • Recommended for use in medium homes
  • It has a 10-seconds response rate
  • The enclosure is made out of steel
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

CONS

  • You have to change the oil every 100 hours
  • Some complained they didn’t get clear responses from customer support when they were in need


Verdict

If you experience a power shortage, this generator will come on automatically without you having to press anything in only 10 seconds, so it is a great backup solution if you have some critical home systems that need to be powered constantly. It is mostly fit for medium-sized households.



8. Generac 7033 Guardian Series

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Aluminum
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 11,000 LP, 10,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 530 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 200A
  • Response Time: 5 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 63 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 5 years


Ran by the Generac G-Force engine that provides the strength and stability needed in generators so that it can handle strenuous use, the 7033 Guardian Series is a must-have as it keeps power outages from interfering with your day-to-day activities, keeping all the electronics and appliances in your home up and running at all times. The 200-amp, 11,000-watt model runs at only 63 decibels to not present a distraction.

As it uses the True Power technology, it provides power to the entire house, even to delicate devices and appliances, as the harmonic distortion of the unit is less than 5% for cleaner and safer electricity to be provided. The evolution controller LCD it features shows maintenance schedules to keep you up to date with your duties and even shows the battery status. Speaking of, the unit features a built-in battery charger as well for added convenience in use.

Seeing how durability is another must for generators, the Generac 7033 excels on this front due to its aluminum enclosure and RhainCoat finish that helps it resist corrosion and even high winds of up to 150 MPH.

It even comes with an integral sediment trap that keeps moisture and particles from entering the engine and the fuel regulator to prolong its lifespan. Furthermore, it is backed by Generac’s 5-year warranty against defects, so if any issues appear in this timespan they are handled free of charge.

PROS

  • Mobile Link compatibility lets you monitor the generator’s status from anywhere via your PC, tablet, or smartphone
  • You can set the time and frequency at which it self-tests
  • Built-in battery charger
  • RhinoCoat finish prevents the enclosure from being damaged by the elements

CONS


Verdict

Disruptions can occur quite often in certain areas, but with the Generac 7033 Guardian Series, you won’t experience these disturbances anymore and go on with your life, using appliances and electronics as you normally do at any hour of the day or night.



9. Briggs & Stratton 40449

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Galvaneal Steel
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 10,000 LP, 9,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 570 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 100A
  • Response Time: 20 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 72 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: N/A
  • Warranty: 5 years


You’ve probably heard about Briggs & Stratton, so you are familiar with how popular they are and how qualitative their products are. The generators they offer are varied, and we have chosen the 40449 because it’s one of the customers’ favorite.

It’s a more compact version that weighs only 272 pounds, which is not much considering it’s made of steel and comparing it to other similar models. It’s a lower wattage model that only boasts 10,000 watts, but it manages to handle high-demand appliances that require plenty of energy.

Its compact size makes it more advantageous for people with limited space, and it doesn’t sacrifice performance in any way. The automatic transfer switch is a patented 100-Amp Symphony II that offers more power so that it will be able to sustain large appliances while also ensuring enough power for the small ones.

The 570cc engine can be powered by natural gas if you have a local supply line or propane liquid that you need to supply yourself. Take note that the response time is a little longer than in previous models, taking it 20 seconds to detect the power outage and start providing electricity.

Although it isn’t equipped with a low oil shutdown feature, it has an hour meter that lets you know when it’s time to change the oil and also overload protection for safe functioning. It also offers the option of remote monitoring, thanks to the built-in mechanism. The warranty is the standard 5-year found in most models.

PROS

  • Powerful enough for the entire house
  • Compact size for small spaces
  • Safe operating
  • Comprehensive warranty

CONS

  • Longer response time
  • Repairs are costly after the warranty period ends


Verdict

Coming from such a reputable manufacturer, we couldn’t expect less from this product. It relies on a powerful engine that ensures power for the essential appliances, and it offers two fuel options. It’s equipped with safety features that help you handle its maintenance and avoid damage that could void the warranty. However, keep in mind that it’s a little noisy, and it takes almost double for it to respond to a power outage.



10. Generac PowerPact 7.5kW Standby

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Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Galvaneal Steel
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 7,500LP, 6,000 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 420 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 50A
  • Response Time: 6 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 69 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <5%
  • Warranty: 5 years


This model is ideal for powering only the essentials during a blackout, as it is rated at 7,500W when used on propane and 6,000W when used on natural gas. It is produced by Generac, so great quality is expected both from the product’s performance and the after-sale service. Just like their most expensive products, it comes with a tough enclosure (powder-coated Galvanneal steel) that is resistant to rain and dust and features the 3 removable sides design, which makes installation and upkeep easier.

The kit includes a 50A NEMA 1 transfer switch that acts quickly, being able to get the generator power transferred to the appliances in about 6 seconds. The switch can power up to 8 circuits, but keep in mind that you can only mount it inside, seeing how it isn’t rated for outdoor use.

While the 420 cc motor is one of the smallest, it is designed to offer reliable operation throughout the years. The system comes with the latest protection mechanisms, including oil level monitoring and overload shut off, and it packs the same True Power technology you will find in any Generac, which keeps the harmonic distortion percent under 5. Thus, the unit can power even more sensitive devices that won’t be damaged by current variation.

The warranty offered for this model is 5 years and, just like the more expensive Generac models, it comes with great after-sales service provided by a helpful technical team that is available 24/7 on every day of the year.

PROS

  • Robust enclosure guarantees it will function optimally in outdoor conditions
  • Quick response time – only 6 seconds
  • Advanced safety mechanisms
  • LED indicators show the state of the system, so it is easy to know when maintenance is needed
  • Great after-sale service

CONS

  • Small engine – can power a very limited number of appliances
  • The transfer switch can only be installed inside


Verdict



11. Champion 100177

Check Price at Amazon


Specifications:

  • Enclosure Material: Steel
  • Power Type: Natural Gas, Liquid Propane
  • Rated Wattage: 8,500 LP, 7,500 NG
  • Engine Displacement: 439 cc
  • Automatic Transfer Switch Included:
  • Transfer Switch Rating: 50A
  • Response Time: 3 seconds
  • Operating Noise Level: 59.5 dB
  • Low Oil Shut Down:
  • Hour Meter:
  • Overload Protection:
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation:
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: N/A
  • Warranty: 10 years


We end the list with this model from Champion that can deliver great power thanks to the OEM Branded engine. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor electrical equipment, and it adapts to both 120 and 240V currents.

Whether you have a natural gas line or decide to power it with propane, it will be very easy to install and connect to your home’s electric grid. According to the manufacturer’s specifications, it takes only 3 seconds for it to respond to a power outage, so the result will be practically instant.

It also boasts an electric start that can turn the unit on even in below 0 temperature conditions, so you can use it all year round, even in the harshest winters. Another advantage of this product is the low operating sound that barely reaches 60 dB, which is the lowest in its class.

To end the list of qualities, we mention that the warranty is a generous 10-year period that will ensure extended problem-free use. With features like automatic voltage regulation and low oil shutdown, you can be sure that malfunctions will be a rarity.

PROS

  • Powerful enough for the entire house
  • It has the shortest response time
  • It is silent
  • Comes with a very long warranty

CONS

  • It has a very small engine
  • Not powerful enough for large tools


Verdict

This model we picked seemed like a very good choice at a very reasonable price. However, it’s not as powerful and reliable as the previous ones, and it can’t handle items like tools, but it works for lights and home appliances. The small engine is responsible for the lack of power, as well as the low wattage. A good thing about it is the instant response to a power failure, followed by a silent operating.



Buying Guide


A standby generator is unquestionably a long-term investment, so you will want to take your time and consider all the data that can help you select the ideal model. These units are bulky, heavy, and, in most cases, require the assistance of a professional who can make the connection of the system to the electrical grid, on the one hand, and to the fuel source, on the other, so the last thing you want is to end up installing a generator that is not powerful enough to cover the needs of your household. In this direction, we have prepared a buying guide that highlights the main criteria you need to follow when deciding on a model.

Fuel Source

This is the first aspect you need to think about – what fuel source is the most accessible for you from a monetary point of view and which is more convenient to use:

  • Natural gas – if your household is already connected to a gas line or it is simple to connect it, then you should definitely go for this option and never deal with bulky tanks that need to be refilled periodically. Gas lines are safe and rarely affected when a natural disaster strikes, so the generator will be ready to kick in during crises.
  • Liquid propane – A good alternative to natural gas, propane is stored in tanks, so you will need to clear enough room in your yard not only for the generator but for the container as well. Propane is usually more expensive than gas, but it generates more power, so it is just as equitable to use this power source. For instance, a generator that delivers 18,000 watts on gas will output around 20,000 watts on propane.

Power Ratings

A generator doesn’t necessarily need to power the entire house in case of a blackout. You can choose to have only some essential system functional and keep all the other down until the power is back on. On the other hand, the biggest consumers can be essential in some areas where it becomes basically impossible to live without an air conditioner during the summer or a furnace in the winter.

Here is what level of generator power you need, depending on the level of coverage you need for your household:

  • Light circuit coverage – this method is the most cost-effective, as it implies backing only one or two essential appliances, like the furnace or a well pump. Depending on the energy consumption of the appliances, a 9,000W or higher model will suit this arrangement. We recommend the Briggs & Stratton 40449 or the Generac 7033 Guardian Series.
  • Medium circuit coverage – if the appliances in your home are not used extensively, you can opt to have them all covered, and an 11,000W to 16,000W model is usually enough. You can also control how much power each appliance uses by installing a transfer switch (we recommend a 200A model). For this arrangement, you can go with the Champion 100294, Kohler 14RESAL-200SELS, or Generac 7037 Guardian Series.
  • Complete circuit coverage – this option will ensure the comfort stays the same during a blackout, as the generator will keep all the lights and appliances in the house working. In this case, you will need a generator that can deliver 18,000W or more. We recommend the Generac 7043 Guardian Series, Cummins Power, or the Briggs & Stratton 40355.

Transfer Switch

It is usually included in the box, but kits can be purchased separately if your model doesn’t include one. This device is an essential part as it is the one making the connection between the generator and the appliances. You will need to permanently install it near the main circuit breaker panel. To make sure you pick the right size for the transfer switch, you will want to check your generator’s largest outlet. For example, if the current rating on your generator is 200A, you will need a 200A switch.

Response Time

This represents the number of seconds it takes to the transfer switch to identify a blackout, safely close the connection to the electrical grid, and switch to a generator power supply. Most models can do this in under a minute, and some are super quick, like Champion 100177, for example, which only needs 3 seconds to bring the power back on.

Safety Features

You have a high-capacity engine turning fuel into electrical energy, so it is essential to check if the process takes place under optimal safety conditions. Most generators in our top come with the following safety features:

  • Low-oil shut off – just like a car engine, the one used by a generator has a pump that delivers oil to the key components, so you will need to add more oil periodically. If you forget to do it, the generator will automatically shut down to prevent damages to the engine. Even if this protection mechanism isn’t present in all models, most of them come with hour meters that will tell you how much time has passed since the last maintenance task so you know when you should restock on oil.
  • Overload protection – the transfer switch detects faults in the system and can anticipate if the generator is about to overload so it turns it off to prevent damage being done both to the machine and to the electrical circuits in the house.
  • Auto voltage regulation – this function adjusts voltage so it remains constant and at the right level for each load. It ensures that the appliances don’t get damaged by voltage variations.
  • Low carbon emissions – as these systems burn fossil fuels, it is expected for them to release carbon dioxide into the air. However, most of them have a small carbon footprint and are CARB-certified.

Noise Level

There’s no such thing as passing next to a standby generator and not being aware it is running. They are loud, with decibel levels that go from 60 to 80, so even your neighbors can hear them. In this situation, the solution most manufacturers came with is to provide their products with insulated enclosures that can attenuate the noise considerably. If you are looking for the quietest solution, you can go with Champion 100294, which has a sound level of 63 dB and comes with a thick aluminum enclosure.

Maintenance

These machines need professional service to continue functioning optimally. Think of the engine as if it were the engine of your car. It needs to be turned on periodically, and you need to make sure it doesn’t get low on oil. In general, professional service is required once a year.

Warranty

The more expensive the purchase is, the more costly the repairs are, so it is important to check how long the service contract will be. Most manufacturers offer 5 years for their products, but you can get better deals with the Champion 100294 or Champion 100177, which come with 10-year assurances.



Installation Inconveniences


Although they offer the huge benefit of supplying your home with electricity in case of a power shortage, standby generators also hide some drawbacks when it comes to installation. To overcome them, you must first learn more about the inconveniences you could experience when trying to set up one at home.

  • High noise level

    In some areas, it could be forbidden to install one because of the noise regulations that specify no household device should be louder than 60 dB. Measuring the noise level of each product is made at a 25-feet distance so the actual noise could be louder right next to it.

  • Space limitations

    Another regulation is related to the distance required between a generator and a building or flammable materials. Therefore, keep in mind to place it at least 5 feet away from the house and 5 feet away from items that could catch on fire. Also, the fuel tank should be carefully placed to avoid a fire hazard.

  • Difficult to install

    When it comes to dealing with a natural gas line, it’s best to hire a professional who is familiar with all the components and installation processes of an electricity generator. The gas pressure is also vital in installing it properly, so make sure the person you hire knows what are the specifications of the local gas supply.

  • Costly

    If you consider getting one at home, be prepared for high costs that imply not only the purchase cost but also the additional electrical and plumbing work as well as future maintenance. The highest quality units can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 only for purchase, so the investment is not to overlook.

  • Hard to maintain

    Speaking of maintenance, not only the costs are a headache but also the task itself. You will have to change the oil periodically, replace damaged motor components, and be very careful how you use it to prevent irreparable damage.



Maintenance Tips


These backup power sources can last for up to 30 years if you perform maintenance correctly and on time. As you are dealing with an engine, sometimes of considerable dimensions, this process can be costly, but you don’t want to skip the upkeep, as the repairs can prove even more expensive once the unit is no longer under warranty. The best way to deal with the problem is to create a maintenance plan and keep to it.

Here are some tips that will help you keep your generator functioning optimally in the next 20 to 30 years:

1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Even if the operating principle is basically the same, each model comes with a set of specifications that set it apart from the other products. This is why you should always check the user’s manual for maintenance instructions. Depending on the size of the engine and the type of cooling system they need, some generators may require attention more often than others.

2. Pay attention to the weekly self-cycle

All generators perform a test cycle once a week, which usually takes about 20 minutes. This procedure’s purpose is to check if the system is functional and ready to kick in in case of a blackout. You can set the day and the hour at which it happens, and you should pay attention if any faults are found. They are usually signaled through warnings or even alarms, and you should solve them as soon as possible.

3. Inspect the surroundings

Even if the engine is enclosed, you don’t want the enclosure covered in snow or leaves, as these can put unnecessary pressure on the system and prevent ventilation. Moreover, if the space around the generator is full of debris, it can become home for rodents and other pests that will try to find a way inside.

4. Check the consumables

You don’t let your vehicle run low on oil, as this can turn into a safety risk and ruin this expensive part of your car. Well, the same goes for a generator, so at least once a month, remember to take a look at the following:

  • Oil level
  • Coolant level
  • Air, oil, and fuel filters

5. Consider professional servicing at least once a year

Checking is easy, but when it comes to replacing things, it is better to leave it to the hand of a professional. Even if it costs more, professional servicing has its advantages. For example, you can rest assured everything is done optimally, and you even get a guarantee for some services. Moreover, you don’t need to deal with oil disposal, which can be a real bother.

The guys at the service will usually take care of the following maintenance tasks for you:

  • Check and change the oil
  • Check and change the filters
  • Test the fuel
  • Replace the spark plugs
  • Inspect the battery and cables
  • Flush the cooling system, if needed

Frequently Asked Questions



How does a standby generator work?
Each standby generator includes an automatic transfer switch that has the task of disconnecting the house from the electricity grid to prevent back-feeding electricity from the grid, which can be deadly. After the house has been safely disconnected, the generator starts to transfer energy to the home’s electric panel.

What powers it is an internal combustion engine that is usually fueled by the local gas supply or gas tanks where gas lines are not available. The best option is the local gas supply because it’s not conditioned by external factors like a storm that could keep you from getting to a gas station or an eventual gas supply crisis.

Once the municipal power comes back on, the switch turns off the generator and reconnects the house to the electrical grid. Therefore, there is no need for you to interfere with its operation, and it will provide electricity in case of a blackout even if you are not at home. This is vital for the well-running of a home business or for ensuring home surveillance.


How big a standby generator do I need?
It depends on the number of appliances you plan on having covered during a blackout. If you only want to keep the essentials running like a furnace, AC, or well pump, a smaller model will suffice (up to 11,000W). On the other hand, if you want to keep the whole house covered and all the appliances working, you should consider a higher-capacity model that can output over 16,000W.

What is the life expectancy of a standby generator?
If you perform upkeep tasks on time, your unit should function optimally for 25 to 30 years. Repairs may be in order over time, nevertheless, and we recommend you get them done as soon as possible to prevent them from affecting other components of the system.

Can you use a standby generator full-time?
As long there’s enough fuel for the unit to run, there’s basically no reason not to use it continuously. Nevertheless, this would imply performing maintenance more often, and the costs with the oil and the filters will increase considerably. You should also give the engine a break every 2,000 hours to make sure it has time to cool off.

Does a standby generator increase home value?
In most cases, it does. Customers love to know they have a backup in case of a power outage and are willing to pay more for a home that comes with a generator. According to a survey performed in 2018 by the Remodeling Magazine, a property that has installed a $12,860 generator will cost more by $6,940 than a property without a backup engine.

Are standby generators safe?
Yes. They come with overload protection, and most of them will stop running if they are low on oil. Moreover, they have lower levels of carbon emissions than portable diesel models. However, to benefit from the highest safety conditions, you should get your unit installed by a professional.

Where should I place my standby generator?
We recommend picking an open-air space that is at least 5 feet away from windows, doors, or vents so the emissions don’t build up around your house. You should also pay attention to the official requirements that are active in your state. For example, the newest standards say that the unit should be placed at a distance of at least 18 inches from the house, but the local authorities may impose higher limits.

Will a 22kW generator run my whole house?
In most cases, yes. This level of power output can keep multiple air conditioning units running simultaneously while allowing you to use your kitchen appliances and electronics, so it is the right pick for full house coverage during long blackouts.

How much does a whole house generator cost with installation?
It is truly a great investment, as you don’t only need to pay for the generator but for all the arrangements that are necessary to make it functional. The total cost usually includes:

  • Generator – can cost from $3,000 up to $7,000 – $8,000.
  • Installation – the cost is higher if the model is more expensive and can vary from $1,000 to $9,500.
  • Electrical wiring – you will need to hardwire the transfer switch, and this job can cost you between $200 and $400, assuming that the switch is included.

By adding up the lowest and the highest values, it results that the total cost can be somewhere between $4,200 and $17,700.


How loud is a standby generator?
The noise level range can go from 60 dB and up to 80 dB, so it is improbable that you will find a whisper-quiet model. On the other hand, if you pick a model with a high-quality enclosure, it will attenuate the noise and make it more bearable. Luckily, this system is not designed to be a permanent power source, so you will only need to deal with the noise during power outages.



Conclusion

A standby generator may soon become a necessity with the climate changing and natural disasters becoming more common, so even if you need to go through a complex installation process and invest quite a lot of money, this system will pay off. Before we come to an end, let’s revisit some of our selections to see what your best choices are again and under what circumstances these products suit your needs best.

Best Standby Generator for Sale: Generac 7043 Guardian Series

If the budget allows it and you have a large home with numerous appliances, devices, and electronics that need power when the municipal source goes out, we recommend you look into the Generac 7043 Guardian Series as it is a 22,000-watt rated model. It has a good response time and comes with all the safety features a unit of this type needs to continue functioning within the highest safety standards. Moreover, this model is Wi-Fi enabled, and you can keep an eye on its operation parameters from your phone or laptop.

Editor’s Choice: Cummins Power Generation 20kW

A high-capacity 20,000-watt model that can power an entire household, the Cummins Power Generation 20kW can be linked either to a natural gas line or a propane tank. It comes with a 200A transfer switch that will activate the system in no more than 7 seconds, turning it into one of the quickest on the market. Plus, it offers remote access through a dedicated app, and the big surprise is that you don’t need to pay a penny for this service.

Best Standby Generator for the Money: KOHLER 12RESVL-100LC12

Although it still costs in the order of thousands, the KOHLER 12RESVL-100LC12 is a more budget-friendly option as it is cheaper than our other entries. This doesn’t mean that quality is lost as it is rated at 14,000 watts when propane is used, and 12,000 watts on natural gas. The greatest advantage this model offers is that it can start large loads without dropping the power to other appliances.

Best Standby Generator for Cold Weather: Generac 7037 Guardian Series

This model comes with an aluminum enclosure that is powder-coated, so it is built to withstand snow, rain, and other harsh weather conditions. Moreover, you can purchase a cold winter kit for this model, which will keep the main components working at an optimal temperature, even if the outdoor value drops down to 32F. It works smoothly, providing clean energy that will keep even the more sensitive devices functioning properly.

Best Standby Generator for Large Home: Briggs & Stratton 40355

A 20000-watt rated model that might be costly but is reliable in the long run, the Briggs & Stratton 40355 is worth a second look at before you make a final decision as its flexibility makes it a worthy acquisition. Not only is it impressively powerful, but it boasts a rust-resistant design and takes only a few seconds to make the switch when the power goes out, so there are only benefits to reap if you go with it.

Lexie Thorne
Lexie Thorne
Lexie is the newest member of the team, previously working for a local business that sold, among other items, robotic vacuums. She takes a keen interest in the latest tech and considers herself to be a veritable tech geek. Using her connections, Lexie makes sure that she always talks to experts when putting together reviews and articles to ensure the information you read is reliable and makes a difference toward aiding you to better understand how automated devices for home use work.

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