Getting a backup generator is an easy choice for home use. It’s a dependable resource for homeowners who live in regions of the country that are often affected by extreme weather and power outages. But the biggest issue for anyone looking to purchase one of these units is deciding which one to get.
There is a wide array of backup generators and interlock kits for sale, figuring out which is right for you and your home is predicated on a simple set of criteria. Namely, how often the power might be lost, how much juice you think you’ll need when it does, and whether you want to go with a unit that is portable or stationary.
Let’s break it all down so you can buy with confidence:
Determining Your Load
First things first, how much power do you actually need from your generator. The answer is something that you’ll need to carefully calculate before you go out and buy a unit. You need to make a list of everything that you need to keep running in the event of an outage.
Consider all of the essentials, lights, refrigerator, a source for charging your devices, anything else that’s vital to your household. Add up the running wattage on these items and don’t forget to include the startup wattage for the largest item on that list. It’s usually three to five times higher than the running wattage.
The most common units are the ones that you can move from one place to the next, these are usually available in lower wattage options anywhere from 1kW to 3kW and they run on gasoline. These are noisier options but you can find a unit that is quieter than the others so it doesn’t bother you too much. But if you need a genie to do the fundamental stuff like keep your food cold and keep the lights on, this is your best bet.
These versions are designed to be wired directly into the electrical system of the home. They typically run on diesel or propane and they can provide substantially more wattage than their portable counterparts, in the range of 8kW to 16kW.
These are also significantly more expensive than the portable units but if your home is often threatened with losing power, this might be the way to go.
These are the smallest of the three most common options that are out there and they are more similar to portable generators than the permanent options. These are ideal for home use as well as taking them with you to the woods or to the tailgate party. They often run cleaner and quieter than the other versions as they offer increased fuel efficiency.
Since they’re smaller in size and power you have the option of connecting two of them to each other so you can get a greater amount of electricity when need be. It’s like a slightly more customizable option for powering your home when the lights go out. Their wattage capacity also ranges from as low as 1kW to as much as 7kW.