Best Standby Generator Reviews 2018: Whole Home Backup Generators
Are you tired of connecting and disconnecting your portable home generator, during a blackout? Then you should invest in one of the best standby generator for home use. They are designed to power your home automatically the power goes off, as they are directly connected to the electrical panel in your home. Besides, you can always opt for different fuel types, to power it, be it liquid propane, diesel or natural gas.
Best Standby Generator Reviews
Therefore, if you want a permanent home backup generator, you can rely on this home backup generator review, for the best installation of an emergency generator in your home.
Why Should You Trust Us?
When it comes to the best whole house generator, we got you covered with some top brands like Briggs & Stratton, Champion, Kohler and Generac. Besides, our top five lists represent the best home generators, as they are bought, tested and reviewed by most customers, no complaints.
Additionally, our team also checked them out against other top-selling standby generators in the current market, and they are the best long-term deal for a home backup generator.
Therefore, you will only be getting the best home backup generator, with whichever brand and model you opt for in this standby generator review.
Standby Generator Comparison Table – Top 3
How Big of a Standby Generator, Do You Need for Home Use?
Before you buy any standby generator model, you should check if it would meet your home needs. Remember that this type of home backup generator is very costly and depending on make and model can be very costly to install and maintain.
Therefore, you should consider some of these aspects when selection a standby generator for your home.
- Home Size– You can check this in square feet. There is countless home standby generator calculator online, on the company website that you can use to calculate and see what size your home actually needs.
- Size of the Central Air Conditioner– Always considers the number of AC in your home as well as their size in BTUs or Tons. This is because they use more watts than any other home appliance. Therefore, you should ensure your home backup generator could handle it.
- What You Will Be Powering– This depends on whether you want everything to run at once, during a power failure. The power wattage determines what it can power. So do the calculations before selecting a small portable one, midsized, a large portable one or a large stationary Besides, the bigger it is the more watts it has and the better it can safely power many appliances at once.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Standby Generator In Your House?
The best standby generator for home use can cost something in between a six-pack to few thousand dollars, depending on its size, who you know in the business. Besides, you can always invite different installers 3-5, to come and inspect the property before giving you the custom quote for the installation.
However, always choose your installer by reputation rather than the price quote, as expertise does not come cheap. Since you will be hiring them only once for the job verify if they are licensed, insured and bonded.
Nonetheless, despite the overall cost of purchase, installation, and maintenance, homeowners still find a standby generator for their home worth the invest. Power outages can cost you a lot, especially if it is frequent and you have loads of important appliances that need power like air conditioners, freezer, and refrigerator.
Therefore, the cost of installing any of the best home backup generators usually rides on its size, power wattage, class ratings as well as power transfer controls, some special requirements, job preparation and the labor rate.
Besides, there are also other costs related to the installation of a standby generator, like permit fees and taxes as well as the cost of installing the fuel supply. So do the math before, opting for this kind of home generator. You can find the information online or in any reputable generator company website.
Top Home Standby Generator Brands
If you want a convenient and reliable standby generator, you can opt for any of the listed power brands below. However, you should at least try to know these brands here in this standby generator review, in order to be in a better position to make an informed choice.
Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton is the ultimate company for purchasing any top-performing automatic standby generator. Besides, they will help you choose the best home generator for your needs in a step-by-step process.
Moreover, they have excellent customer service, industry-leading lengthy and useful warranties as well as many other offers related to home power backup.
Kohler Power Systems is a recognizable brand when it comes to the best standby generators for the money. They are highly preferred by builders due to their quality and level of reliability. Moreover, they are known for their stable long-term power provision during a blackout.
Besides, Kohler usually gives a 101 guide when it comes to choosing standby generators as well as what they entail.
Generac offers some of the most powerful solutions when it comes to backup generators, especially portable and stationary standby generators. Moreover, this company is known for its 24/7 reliable customer service.
Generac standby generators run on the existing natural gas or liquid propane, neither do they require any extension cords as they have a direct connection to your home electrical panel.
Champion is among the most reliable and reputable power equipment companies. Their standby generators are known to give you the needed power security immediately you have a power blackout. Likewise, their automatic power transition is smooth and very efficient when it comes to powering up your home appliances.
Things to Consider While Buying Standby Generators for Home Use
It has reached a point that you cannot stomach the frequent power outages, and need an emergency generator that can automatically transition its power in case of a power blackout in your home. However, you will need to know some basics apart from price and brand when it comes to purchasing the best home backup generator.
This home backup generator review will help you narrow your choices to the best whole house generator for your home. Here are some of the considerations:
- Power Requirements– This depends on whether you want the generator to power the whole house or just some emergency household appliances or load. This is solely your choice, but the rest of the technical power split will be determined by the electrician during installation
- Voltage Requirement– The common low voltages for the U.S. is 120/240 Volts single phase, 120/208 Volts three phase, 120/240 Volts three phase and 277/480 Volts three phase. However, you can always inquire from your electrician, if you are unsure or do not reside in the U.S.
- Type of Transfer Switch– For emergency standby units, the transfer switch is usually automatic, but you can get a manual one depending on the system. The location and size (amperage rating), is usually determined by the electrician, depending on whether the system will carry the whole house or just emergency loads.
- Fuel Type– The most common fuel with these types of generators are natural gas, diesel, and liquid propane. Gasoline is not preferred due to its short shelf life. Moreover, you should consider the generator size as well as the availability of the fuel, especially on short notice, within your area.
- Location/Placement– Generally, all generators should be in a convenient place for easier maintenance and repair. Besides, it should be near the fuel supply as well as the transfer Moreover, it should be high enough for rising water not to reach. If you are installing it outside or on the roof, adhere to the codes of minimum distance from building openings and combustible walls. As for indoor installation, consider ventilation, proximity to combustible items, exhaust ducting and fuel supply.
- Installation– Here you can rely on a licensed electrician or plumber, but it is best to go with a reputable company that is known to install different models of standby generators. Nonetheless, the choice is yours. You can also use a referral.
- Accessories– This depends on the model, brand type, and can range from a remote monitor to cold weather kits among others.
- Maintenance– Standby generators need constant and proper maintenance to ensure it automatically starts smoothly the next time you have a power blackout. Therefore, to avoid system failures have a maintenance program in place, you can hire somebody or just do it yourself.
- Warranty– It is important to understand your warranty duration as well as coverage, as most whole house generators come with a one to a five-year However, you still need to understand its coverage and if you can increase it.
1. Briggs & Stratton 40346 20000-Watt Home Standby Generator
This here is our top pick and ideally the best standby generator for large homes. It can power up to two air conditioners, including other home appliances. Besides, its weather-resistant transfer switch makes it very convenient when it comes to installation, as it can be placed indoors or outdoors.
This whole house generator has been tested against NFPA standards and can be placed up to 18 inches from your home. This provides more placement options within your yard.
It has a sound dampening technology and an automotive-style exhausts system that ensures it operates very quietly, zero disturbances to the neighbors.
Besides, it has a 16-unit circuit control center with circuit breakers, designed to fit within your yard.
What Makes This The Best Standby Generator?
- Features & Performance– It features Briggs & Stratton patented Symphony II Power Management with a 200amp automatic transfer switch that can easily manage a load of up to two air conditioners while powering the rest of your household appliances.
- Run-time & Efficiency– This generator runs on the commercial grade vanguard engine series, which are engineered to take some of the most demanding power jobs. Besides, it provides a stable power supply to your home thus protecting your home appliances from power surges. Moreover, it running watts with liquid propane is 20,000 watts while for natural gas is 18,400 watts, making it very efficient when it comes to powering up your whole home.
- Maintenance & Warranty– It is backed by a 5-year limited warranty that covers parts, labor, and travel for up to 4-years. As for its maintenance, you can rely on the user manual or hire someone. Likewise, always buy genuine Briggs & Stratton maintenance and repair parts to ensure future optimal functionality.
2. Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS Air-Cooled Standby Generator
This whole house generator automatically powers your home in 10 seconds, during a power blackout. It comes with a 200 Amp whole house automatic transfer switch and a load shedding. Besides, it is service entrance rated and comes with a rust-free durable casing for surviving extreme outdoor elements and weather.
Moreover, its low harmonic distortion ensures that your most sophisticated and sensitive appliances are well-protected from any electrical damages.
Additionally, it has a heavy-duty engine that is built to exceed the demands of standby power. It features an in-built Ethernet as well as a pack of LED lights for easy viewing of the ATS, Automatic Transfer Switch status.
As for noise levels, this standby generator has an advanced silencer technology that ensures it operates within a reasonable noise level of 69 dBA from 7 meters.
In addition, it meets EPA regulations for phase II small off-road engines as well as CA 2011 requirement.
What Makes This The Best Home Backup Generator?
- Features & Performance– This generator features an outstanding motor-starting power with hydraulic valve filters as well as a PowerBoost Technology for proper accommodation of large electrical loads. You can easily power any appliance without worrying if it will blow, as the generator supplies clean power.
- Run-time & Efficiency– Its efficiency lies in the ability to protect your electrical appliances from power surges and its automatic powering capabilities, which is less than 10 seconds. It supplies 2,000 watts and 240 voltages that can manage your whole house. Besides, for indoors, its automatic transfer switch can be 100 Amp with a 16-circuit load or 200 Amp with a load shed kit for the outdoors.
- Maintenance & Warranty– When it comes to its maintenance, you can rely on the user manual for guidance. Likewise, you can always hire someone to do the upkeep or if possible try to maintain it yourself, but repairs can be hard and might need an expert. It has a 5-year/2,000-hour limited warranty.
3. Generac 7043 Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled Home Standby Generator
This home generator can power your house immediately a blackout happens. It comes with a 200 Amp NEMA 3 indoor and outdoor rated automatic transfer switch.
Its ease of repair, maintenance and installation are aided with its three removable door panels for easy access as well as a base pad for minimal ground preparation. Its wiring techniques are also efficient and save time on installation.
This Generac standby generator features LED indicator lights for displaying the presence of utility power, generator status and maintenance time. The multilingual LCD display also allows you to track battery status.
Likewise, you can monitor its status from anywhere in the world using its Mobile Link Remote Monitoring feature. You can use a smartphone, PC or tablet. Besides, you will have to connect your account to an authorized service dealer for a quicker assistance.
What Makes This The Best Whole House Generator?
- Features & Performance– It features a True Power Technology that ensures it delivers quality power ideal for sensitive appliances. Likewise, it has less than 5% total harmonic distortion for a clean smooth power transition, protecting all sorts of electrical appliances.
- Run-time & Efficiency– This generator has an in-built pressure-lubricated Generac G-Force Engine capable of handling all the rigors when it comes to its use. The resulting power is reliable and convenient needing less routine maintenance. Moreover, it automatically runs on liquid propane or natural gas, during a power
- Maintenance & Warranty– You get a five-year limited warranty as well as a 24/7/365 customer support when you buy this home generator model. As for maintenance and repair, you can refer to its accompanying user manual, for thorough routine checkups as well as repairs. Nevertheless, always use original Generac spare parts when it comes to repair and hire an expert on it.
4. Champion 12.5-kW Home Standby Generator
If you are looking for a home generator for your emergency power backup, this is it. This standby generator is very easy to use and maintain. Besides, it has many features that enhance its performance.
Moreover, its automatic 100 Amp transfer switch has twelve circuits that provide seamless smooth power to your home, during a power outage. Likewise, it has a 24-volt starter system that allows for its operation at sub-zero or extreme heat levels, within -22°F and 104°F, with no warming kit.
Besides, you will always have the starting power you need, as the onboard, battery charger maintains the charge all the time and you have the natural gas or propane system, so no refueling.
In addition, this generator usually performs weekly self-diagnostic tests.
Why Did We Include This In Our Standby Generator Review?
- Features & Performance– When it comes to features that enhance its performance, this generator is the quietest in its class due to the sound-dampening lining and a low tone muffler that reduces its noise level to 63 dBA, though a unique baffle system. Moreover, it has less than 5% total harmonic distortion to guarantee safe use when it comes to powering sensitive electrical appliances.
- Run-time & Efficiency– It has a Champion 717cc OHV engine that ensures it produces the clean continuous power of 12.5 kilowatts on propane and 11-kilowatts on natural gas. Moreover, it produces 52.1 Amps at 240 volts when running on propane and 45.8 Amps at 240 volts on natural gas.
- Maintenance & Warranty– This generator has a lengthy 10-year limited warranty as well as a free lifetime technical support from its dedicated experts stationed all over the country. As for routine maintenance, use its user manual and ensure you maintain it as directed for optimal future functionality.
5. Briggs & Stratton 40450 10000-watt Home Standby Generator
Are in search of a reliable whole house generator, here is what should be on your top list. It can be controlled to power up only some essential household appliances or the whole house. The choice is yours, but the fact remains that it will automatically give you power in case of a blackout.
Moreover, it features front air ventilation that pushes the engine exhaust out, in front and away from your home. Besides, it comes with a convenient low oil shut down/alert system to ensure it does not damage, due to continuous running with low oil level.
You can safely place it as close as 18 inches from your home. Besides, it is tested against tough National Fire Protection Agency standards.
In addition, it is made from rust-free durable galvanized steel. It comes with synthetic oil and a battery charger for convenience.
What Makes This The Best Home Backup Generator?
- Features & Performance– Its Load Control Center allows you to choose between the Essential Power Plus System that allows it to power only specific circuits and two air conditioners or the Managed Whole House Power System that allows you to power all your household appliances and up to two air conditioners.
- Run-time & Efficiency– This whole house generator automatically runs on liquid propane at 10kW or natural gas at 9kW, in case of a blackout. It runs on a 570cc Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Commercial Grade Vanguard Engine. Besides, it has a 200 Amp service entrance rated automatic transfer switch that powers all circuits without a sub-panel.
- Maintenance & Warranty– You get a 5-year limited warranty on labor, parts, and travel when you purchase this backup generator. Besides, the company stands behind this warranty, making it easier for you to use hassle-free. As for maintenance and any repairs, you can refer to the user manual, as different models of Briggs & Stratton have different specifications and maintenance requirements.
How to Install an Automatic Standby Generator
After you have determined the best home generator for your home power back-up and bought it, you can now proceed to have it installed. It can take about 8 hours to install a standby whole house generator. Learn more in this home backup generator review.
- Acquire Permits– This permit ensures that you install the generator in accordance with the national and local codes. It is issued at the municipalities, but most authorized generator dealers usually work with them and can get this permit on your behalf.
- Set up Fuel Source– If you prefer to use natural gas, then your fuel meter will need to be upgraded by your local fuel line to ensure you get the right flow and volume for your power needs. As for liquid propane, the local LP provider should ensure you have the right size of LP tank on site for optimal functionality of your standby generator.
- Install Automatic Transfer Switch– The Automatic Transfer Switch is meant to provide the needed load during a power outage. However, your local utility provider will have to disconnect your electrical services for the day, to ensure you have a proper switch between the generator and the utility power. It does not matter if you are installing for the whole house or just a few essential loads.
- Prepare Site for Installation– Your electrical engineer or dealer will have to ensure that the installation site abides by the clearance requirement of your local codes before putting a bed of pea gravel or cement slab for the generator base. After which, the generator is placed 5-feet from the doors and windows. It can be secured to its pad with four stainless-steel bolts. Then the conduit, wiring and fuel line is run for its set-up.
- Simulation of the Outage– After all these, the electrician will have to ensure that the generator is well fueled and wired by simulating a power outage to test the responsiveness of the system. This is to ensure that all your home loads have ample power provision during the next emergency blackout.
After installation, you can always discuss the service options with your dealer, to ensure that your standby generator has proper regular maintenance for optimal performance.
The Benefits of Having a Backup Generator Installed
If you are not sure about this whole issue of investing in a rather expensive standby generator in your home, then this section of this whole house generator review will convince you otherwise by highlighting some of its benefits.
- Continuous Power Connection– If you happen to install any of the best home backup generators, then you will be in a better position to get power any time your home utility power goes off. Standby generators are designed, to automatically power your home within a few seconds, in the case of a power blackout.
- Keeps Your Home Comfortable– In case of a prolonged power outage, in extreme weather conditions or temperatures, then this type of generator can keep you comfortable and safe. This is because they can power all your home appliances, the furnace, heating system or the air conditioner without causing any issue.
- Prevents Food Spoilage– You can use this generator to keep your food from spoiling in the refrigerator and freezer as well as continue using your electrical cooking units in case of a prolonged power blackout in your home. Therefore, you can save food money, as perishable foods are very expensive and spoil faster when there is no power.
- Improves Home Safety– Power blackout during the night can be very dangerous, especially if you happen to live in a rather remote place with far-off neighbors, as intruders can come in at any time. Besides, not being able to see in and out of your home can be stressful and even a cause for danger among kids and the elderly. However, with this type of backup generator you never even have to get out to power it, as it will automatically take charge and power up your home, immediately your home utility power goes dark.
- Prevents Pipe Freezing– During winter, a power outage can prevent you from heating your home. The cold and lack of heat on the pipes causes them to freeze and burst, adding to their repair bills. It also restricts water from your home. However, a standby generator can prevent all this from happening.
- Prevents Basement Flooding– In case of a storm, and the power goes off, your basement sump pump will stop working and the area around it will flood leaving loads of damages. However, this type of generator will ensure your sump pump is up to speed and functional to prevent flooding.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about Standby Generator
- Question: What is a Transfer Switch?
Answer: A transfer switch is a system that ensures a smooth switch between a backup generator and a home electrical utility system. You can find some of them in manual form where you have to physically, flip the switch to make the change but it is always automatic for standby generators.
It can command your backup generator to start and stop, depending on whether you need the power or not. Besides, it easily transfers the load to your backup generator with success.
- Question: Do standby generators need occasional running and maintenance?
Answer: Just like any other engine powered system, these generators need constant maintenance and proper running for future optimal functionality as well as to enhance its level of durability.
They are usually programmed to run every week for 15 minutes, to ensure all its fluids and systems are ready in case of a blackout. Moreover, you can also schedule the runtime and day. After which, you will notice a green indicator light confirming that the maintenance and run were successfully done.
In addition, you will need to annually service and maintain it, for increased lifespan.
- Question: Can a standby generator operate on all the circuits in my home?
Answer: This depends on the wattage power of your home generator as well as how you installed it. As you can always opt to power the whole house or some essential loads, depending on if you bought a whole house generator.
However, since power outage is usually a temporary issue, and big generators tend to use more fuel, you can just power your most essential appliances like air conditioner, heat and water system, refrigerator and sump pump among others.
- Question: How large is standby generator?
Answer: This type of generator is usually placed outside your house and is about the size of a heat pump or an air conditioning system. Besides, in most cases, its placement is alongside the outside heat pump or air conditioner.
In relation, its placement location always needs inspection by an expert, probably a plumber or electrician. It is not something you can install unless it is within your level of professional expertise.
- Question: What is usually considered as essential home circuits?
Answer: The essential circuits usually vary from home to home, and depend on what you have in your home. Nevertheless, for most it is usually having the sump pump running, the refrigerator and freezer operating as well as the water and heat system or air conditioner in operation and other house appliances related to cooking, the internet, lights as well as the garage doors opening among others.
In conclusion, if you want the best standby generator for your home, you should do some research first before buying one. You can always ask around, or use the internet and read some standby generator reviews before even thinking of owning one.
It is better to be well acquainted with the facts from the buying price, ease of operation as well as its frequent maintenance levels. Regardless this whole house generator review will set you on the right path when it comes to buying this type of generator for your home.