Best home backup generator in 2021: 8 top picks

Keeping up the steady pace of life is important, especially during the lockdown. If power outages are common in your area or your work depends on a stable power supply, a home backup generator will become a real game-changer. It will make sure that your home appliances are running and allow you to keep working in any circumstances. Here are some tips for you on how to choose the best home backup generator and the 8 best options to choose from.

Standby or Portable?

Depending on how often the outages happen in your region, you might need a portable or a home standby generator. Both of them will provide stable power to your home. A portable emergency household generator is a temporary solution that will keep the power going for some time. An automatic home standby generator is a permanent emergency power solution running on a different type of fuel.

How to choose the best standby home backup generator 

Step 1: Consider the power

When choosing a generator, consider the total wattage of all the appliances that will be run by it. Do not forget about all refrigerators, lights, cooking devices, washing machines, computers and gadgets, heating and air conditioning systems. The more devices are usually plugged in at your home, the more powerful generator you need to install.

Step 2: Consider the warranty

Warranty is highly important for such an expensive purchase as a good emergency generator for home. You will use it for a long time, so the longer warranty the seller gives, the better. Different brands also provide buyers will lifelong service, and this is a good backup for you, too. Pay attention to the conditions on which the warranty and services are provided.

Step 3: Consider the noise level 

The size and wattage of the generator influence its noise level. Even the best soundproof units may be disturbing, especially at night. Plan carefully where the generator will be installed and think about isolating it from the rest of the house. Otherwise, you might end up constantly listening to the unpleasant sounds of the machine. 

How to choose the best portable home backup generator 

Step 1: Consider a dual-fuel option

Some portable generators for home power outages have the option of using either gasoline or propane. This gives you the opportunity to choose a more ecological or more efficient fuel. It also increases your chances to immediately fuel up the generator when you need it.

Step 2: Consider the power

Some portable generators are equipped with a low-wattage engine. It is enough for several hours of recreation but not to back up the whole house. Think of the devices you will definitely use during a blackout (like a fridge, computer, lamps, etc.) and estimate your wattage needs. Also, pay attention to the average runtime of the generator and its surge wattage.

Step 3: Think about additional purposes 

A portable generator can be useful both at home for backup purposes and away if you go camping or organize an outside event. So, in case you like to get out of the city once in a while, your home backup portable generator can serve as a portable energy source for your recreational activities like RV-ing or camping. This will turn your purchase into a really efficient investment.


8 Best Home Backup Generators in 2021

Generac 7043

Generac takes pride in the fact that their generators and engines are designed and built in the U.S. The Generac 7043 model is one of the best emergency household generators that will provide an automatic backup power supply needed during frequent power outages. 

The unit is equipped with a durable all-weather aluminum case. It is air-cooled and kicks in in a matter of seconds. This model is considered to be the most efficient for big houses available today.

Pros:

  • 5 year limited warranty
  • Engineered and built in the U.S.
  • Multi-lingual LCD
  • Easy installation and maintenance

Cons:

  • Battery is not included

Features:

  • TruePowerT™ Technology
  • Generac’s G-Force™ engine
  • Generac’s Evolution™ controller
  • Mobile Link™ Wi-Fi connectivity
  • 200 amp transfer switch
  • Operates on natural gas or LP gas
  • Runs on LP or natural gas

Specifications:

  • Max continuous power capacity: 22.000W (LP) / 19.500W (NG)
  • Rated voltage: 240V
  • THD: <5%
  • Noise level: 67 dBA
  • Weight: 515 lb


Champion 100213

This portable dual-fuel generator with recoil start will be an ideal machine for any situation with additional power needs. It easily switches from one type of fuel to the other and features a fuel selector that makes the process safe. Depending on the type of fuel, it can produce up to 5500 running watts and up to 10 hours of operation. 
All these factors make it the best portable generator for a home power outage.

Pros:

  • EPA certified and CARB compliant
  • Reasonable price
  • 3-year warranty
  • Easy to set up
  • Dual fuel

Cons:

  • Quite heavy for transportation
  • According to some user reviews, consumes a lot of oil

Features:

  • 4-stroke 389cc Champion engine
  • Cold Start Technology
  • 1 120/240V 30A outlet
  • 4 120V 20A outlets
  • Low oil shut-off sensor
  • Foldable handles and solid wheels

Specifications:

  • Running wattage: 5500W (gasoline) / 5000W (propane)
  • Starting wattage: 6900W (gasoline) / 6250W (propane)
  • Runtime: 9 hrs (gasoline) / 6.5 hrs (propane) @ 50% load
  • Tank capacity: 6 gal.
  • Noise level: 74.0 dBA
  • Weight: 162.5 lb.

Generac 7033

This automatic standby model by Generac possesses the same beneficial features as the 7043 model but features a lower power rating for smaller houses at a more affordable price. It will provide your home with the great power quality needed for all your appliances and electronics. It is equipped with a smart transfer switch.

Despite its lower efficiency, it is the same size as the 7043 model, but 100 lb. lighter. It features a durable aluminum case with 3 removable sides for easy maintenance and installation. 

Pros:

  • 5-year warranty
  • Designed and built in the U.S.
  • User-friendly
  • Easy installation and maintenance

Cons:

  • Battery not included

Features:

  • Runs on liquid propane or natural gas
  • Multilingual LCD display
  • G-force engine
  • True Power technology
  • Smart transfer switch

Specifications:

  • Max continuous power capacity: 11,000W (LP) / 10,000W (NG)
  • Rated voltage: 240V
  • THD: <5%
  • Noise level: 64 dBA
  • Weight: 348 lb.

Generac GP15000E 5734

This portable generator by Generac is highly efficient with 15,000 running watts. It is an ideal unit for situations that require a lot of temporary power. The engine features full-pressure lubrication that positively influences the lifespan of the unit. It is equipped with a hardened steel tube cradle for extra strength and durability.

The generator comes with a detailed manual and requires only minimal assembly. It also has an hour meter that tracks and reminds you of maintenance intervals. The integrated lifting eye will ensure the easy transporting and security of the unit.

Pros:

  • Highly efficient
  • Can be used on rough surfaces
  • Compact
  • Safe from overloading

Cons:

  • Technically portable, but very heavy

Features:

  • 992cc Generac OHVI engine
  • Idle control
  • low -oil pressure shutdown
  • Integrated lifting eye
  • Electric start
  • 2 120V, 2 120V GFCI, 1 120V 30A twist lock, 1 120/240V 50A,1 12V DC outlet

Specifications:

  • Running wattage: 15,000W
  • Starting wattage: 22,500W
  • Runtime: 10 hrs @ 50% load
  • Tank capacity: 16 gal.
  • Weight: 363 lb.


Champion 8.5-kW

This home emergency generator is totally automatic with its 12 circuits that provide a seamless power supply. It has a very low noise level for its class because of a low-tone muffler. It efficiently operates both in extreme heat and sub-zero temperatures. The device performs regular self-diagnostic tests and it doesn’t need any warming kit.

The model features the innovative gull-wing design for easy access to the control panel and the engine. The noise level is residential-friendly thanks to the low-tone muffler that makes the unit one of the quietest in its class.

Pros:

  • First-class customer support
  • Fully automatic
  • 10-year warranty and free lifetime technical support

Cons:

  • Not recommended for CA installation

Features:

  • Champion auto-control module
  • 439cc 4-stroke Champion OHV engine
  • 12 switch circuits
  • All-weather composite mounting pad

Specifications:

  • Max continuous power capacity: 8500W (LP) / 7500W (NG)
  • Rated voltage: 120V/240V
  • THD: <5%
  • Noise level: 59.5 dBA
  • Weight: 386.1 lb.


DuroMax XP13000EH

This model is a dual-fuel hybrid portable generator that can power your household essentials.  It features a front fuel switch and idle control. The unit is equipped with an electric start, which makes turning it on as easy as starting a car. The open-frame design makes it perfect for the outside and rough surfaces.

Duromax claims its generators to be as eco-friendly as possible. The unit is EPA and CARB approved.

Relatad guide: The most reliable 10,000 Watt Generators

Pros:

  • 3-year warranty
  • EPA+CARB approved
  • Dual fuel

Cons:

  • Relatively low runtime

Features:

  • 20HP 500c 4-cycle air-cooled spark-ignition engine
  • 2 120V 20A GFCI, 1 120V 30A twist lock, 1 120/240V 30A twist lock, 1 120/240V 50A heavy duty outlet
  • Low oil shutoff
  • Electric/recoil start

Specifications:

  • Running wattage: 10,500W (gasoline) / 9,975W (propane)
  • Starting wattage: 13,000W (gasoline) / 12,350W (propane)
  • Runtime: 8.5 hrs (gasoline) / 6.5 hrs (propane) @ 50% load
  • Tank capacity: 8.3 gal.
  • Noise level: 74 dBA
  • Weight: 236 lb.

Briggs&Stratton 40375

This model features a commercial-grade engine in a very compact design. It is an automated solution for providing power to homes during power outages. The generator is equipped with an auto transfer switch. It can run on liquid propane or natural gas and produces up to 10,000 watts.

This model can be installed as close as 18” to a building and it is also the smallest home emergency generator in its class. It will be perfect for small properties and will work in any weather.

Pros:

  • Batteries included
  • 5 year parts and labor limited warranty
  • Automotive-grade galvannealed steel
  • Compact
  • Engineered and assembled in the U.S.

Cons:

  • Transfer switch is sold separately

Features:

  • 570cc commercial-grade Vanguard OHV engine
  • brushed, computer-friendly alternator
  • Symphony II Power Management System

Specifications:

  • Max continuous power capacity: 10,000W (LP) / 9,000W (NG)
  • Rated voltage: 120/240V
  • THD: <5%
  • Noise level: 67 dBA
  • Weight: 272 lb.

A-iPower SUA12000E

This powerful generator is a great choice for home backup. It features a keyless button start and has outlets that are protected from the damp. The engine is combined with an efficient alternator typical of more expensive units of the brand.

The brand itself boasts 25 years of reliability and experience. The design of the unit is safe with its curved edges and corners. All the components are made to be durable and ergonomic, and the coating is rustproof.

Pros:

  • 2-year residential or 1-year commercial warranty
  • Easy-access ergonomic control panel

Cons:

  • Not CARB compliant

Features:

  • 16HP 459cc OHV engine
  • Electric start
  • Factory-installed handle
  • full GFCI 120V AC 20A outlet; a multifunctional 12V port
  • Cast iron cylinder sleeves
  • Heavy-duty fuel tank

Specifications:

  • Running wattage: 9,000W
  • Starting wattage: 12,000W
  • Runtime: 9hrs @ 50% load
  • Tank capacity: 7 gal.
  • Noise level: 78 dBA
  • Weight: 216 lb.

What size backup generator do I need?

When you think of the right size of your future backup generator, the main thing to consider is how and where you will use it.

A portable generator is enough for occasional power outages. The size of it depends on the tank capacity and the wattage of the unit. Count the total wattage of the appliances you need to have plugged in during a blackout and add several hundred extra watts for the smooth start. The average wattage of a portable generator is about 3000-4000W, which is enough for a refrigerator, a microwave, and small gadgets. 

Also, if you plan to use the generator away from home, choose one that is easy to transport. Some of the best portable generators for home power outages weigh more than 150 lbs. They are theoretically portable and even feature wheels and a handle, but in reality, it may be next to impossible.

If you experience frequent outages and need a stable backup, a home standby generator is more preferable. The size depends on the wattage, so here you need to estimate the total wattage of your dwelling including all refrigerators, freezers, pumps, air conditioners as well as smaller devices like TVs and microwaves. The average wattage of a household generator is 15,000-17,000W – this will keep the whole house going.

A standby generator requires some free space outside the house, so your choice may also depend on the place where the generator will be installed. Make sure that it is not far from the house and within easy reach in case it needs maintenance. 

With any type of generator, keep in mind that over the years your power requirements are likely to increase. So do not choose a generator that barely covers your current needs. Instead, plan for something a bit more powerful in case you buy a bigger fridge or a new TV for your kids.

How to install a backup generator 

A portable generator usually requires no or minimal assembly, and all the accessories are supplied. Pay attention to such details as an oil funnel, a wheel kit, and a battery: some brands do not include them in the price.

A standby generator installation needs to be performed by a specialized company. They will connect it to your electricity and ventilation systems correctly and provide a warranty. But there are 4 things to consider before installing a standby generator.

1. Placement

It is possible to install a standby generator in the basement, on the ground level, or on the roof. The basement is a good idea if you don’t get it flooded. If you plan on installing it on the roof, some structural improvements might be needed. The weather resistance of the generator is important for outside installation. 

2. Ventilation

To install a generator in the house, you need a proper ventilation system. Buildings that feature Con Edison steam heat usually need vent improvements.

3. The choice of fuel

A generator can run on natural gas or diesel oil. Diesel generators are generally better as the fuel is stored onsite, and they are cheaper than those running on natural gas.

4. Extras

Additional things like extra fuel storage or sound-proofing are to be planned before the installation, so think beforehand about what might make your home backup experience more pleasant.

Wrapping it up 

When you are choosing the best home emergency generator, think about your personal needs. It is important to consider the total wattage, the frequency of use, the size and weight of the machine as well as some extra functions you might need.

A portable generator is the best variant for you if blackouts are rare in your region and also if you want a reliable power source for your trips and outside activities. It is cheap and efficient but is not good for long operation periods.

A standby home emergency generator is a great option for regular power outages and a stable power supply for the whole house. It is more expensive than a portable generator, but its convenience is definitely worth the money.

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