Best Standby Generator in 2020 (Reviews & Buying Guide)
Most homeowners don’t really realize that there are a number of ways that a home can lose power. Everything from weather to natural disasters and an overloaded electrical grid can leave you and your home without power.
Electricity really has become a luxury over the years and people just don’t realize how damaging it can be to go without electricity. This is especially true if you are going to be without power for a number of days or weeks Without electricity you cannot access the Internet, food will spoil, and many mechanical systems like the HVAC system will be inoperable. However, with the best whole house generator, you can rest assured that you will have the power that you need during these troublesome times. That being said choosing the best home backup generator will not be an easy task.
Best Standby Generator for Home Use: Comparison table
Consider The Fuel Source
When you are choosing your home generator the first and most important consideration will be the fuel source. This is the fuel source in which your generator will operate off of. If you are in a coastal or remote part of the country there is a good chance that you won’t have access to natural gas. This means that you will only be left with the option of diesel or liquid propane. Unfortunately, going with liquid propane or diesel generators will mean that you will be required to install a large tank in your yard where the gas will be stored. If you already have liquid propane appliances, you will already have one of these tanks. Natural gas will by far be your best option if it is available to you because you don’t have to worry about getting the tank refilled.
Size Of The Generator
Size is another extremely important consideration. You want to make sure that the generator is capable of powering all the items that you want to be powered. First, you will have to consider the appliances that you want to be powered and look at the data plate of each appliance. Look for the wattage draw and the amperage of the appliances. You will then want to use this formula to calculate the kilowatts of the generator that you are going to need. (Starting Amps x Volts =Watts. When you are choosing your home generator, you want to make sure that you are choosing one that offers a 20 to 25% higher peak load than what your appliances require. For instance, if your appliances require 22 kilowatts, you will want to choose a generator that is capable of handling 27 kilowatts.
As for air conditioning systems, you will want to look at the ton rating of the unit and multiply that number by 12,000. (Ton of unit x 12,000). So, if you have a 5-ton heating and air system this means that you will need a generator that is capable of handling 60,000 BTUs or more. Homeowners looking for an entry-level whole home generator should opt for a 22-kilowatt generator. A 27 to the 48-kilowatt generator will be capable of replacing 75% of the 200 amps that come through your electrical panel.
1. Champion Power Equipment 100294 Generator
The Champion 100294 Generator might only be rated at 14-kilowatts, but it is certainly a powerful generator that is capable of powering several different appliances in the home. In fact, this unique generator is capable of handling 14,000 watts on propane and 12,500 watts on natural gas. The propane unit will produce right around 58.3 amps while the natural gas version will produce right around 52.1 amps. This should be sufficient to power most of the 200 amp circuit of the home and this is just the beginning of what this generator has to offer.
- Whole house 24/7 power - the Ats200 whole house transfer switch with demand control Provides seamless, managed power to your entire home during an outage
- Quietest-in-class - thanks to advanced sound dampening and a specially designed low-tone muffler, This generator operates at a residential-friendly 63 dba noise level
Ten-Year Warranty And Lifetime Technical Support
At the end of the day, the most impressive thing about the Champion 100294 Generator is the ten-year warranty and lifetime technical support. This means that for the first 10 years of ownership the generator is covered under the manufacturer in the event that something goes wrong. The lifetime technical support ensures that the support staff will always be at your disposal in the event that you run into technical issues.
24-Volt Starting System
Another impressive thing about the Champion 100294 Generator is the 24-volt starting system. This system ensures that your generator will fire right up without problems in the most extreme of weather conditions. In fact, the system is capable of starting in -22 degree F and 104 degree F temperatures. This is pretty impressive and will be an essential feature if you are located in the far North or deep South where weather conditions get extremely harsh.
While this is only a 14-kilowatt generator it certainly has the power to supply power to the most essential appliances in the home. This in combination with the other features and this is a generator that you cannot overlook.
- 24-Volt starting system
- Ten-year warranty with lifetime customer support
- Available in propane and natural gas
- Only offers 14-kilowatts
2. Generac 7033 Guardian Series Generator
The Generac 7033 Guardian Series isn’t named the guardian for any mundane reason. This machine is capable of guarding your home and supplying power to the most essential appliances. The Generac 7033 Guardian Series might only be rated for 11-kilowatts, but it is equipped with some of the most impressive technology available on the market. The true power technology delivers the best-in-class power quality, which ensures that you always get smooth operation of sensitive electronics and appliances.
- True Power Technology delivers best-in class power quality (less than 5% THD) for smooth operation of sensitive electronics and appliances
- Includes a 200 Amp NEMA 3 (indoor / outdoor rated) whole house smart transfer switch
200 Amp NEMA 3 Transfer Switch
The Generac 7033 Guardian Series comes with an impressive 200 amp NEMA 3 whole house smart transfer switch. This switch is rated for outdoor or indoor use and it basically kicks in as soon as the power goes out. This means as soon as the power in the home goes out this machine will kick right into the action and supply the home with power. You won’t have to go outside and do anything. The generator will spring right into the acting. This will come in extremely handy during those nighttime power losses.
The Generac 7033 Guardian Series certainly might be impressive when it comes to looks and technology, but it also has an extremely durable exterior. This generator is equipped with an all-weather enclosure, which means that it will withstand some of the harshest weather conditions. The all-weather aluminum enclosure not only looks great but it more than capable of taking its fair share of punishment. In addition to this, all three sides of the generator are removable, which means it easier to install and service.
It should be easy for anyone to see why the Generac 7033 Guardian Series is called a guardian. This device is capable of safeguarding your home at all-time against power outages.
- All-weather enclosure built for durability and accessibility
- Smart transfer switch springs into action when the power goes out
- LED lights indicate the status of the generator
- Doesn’t comes with a battery
- Only offers 11-kilowatts
3. Briggs & Stratton 40484 Generator
Briggs &Stratton might be most well known for creating some of the most innovative and reliable lawn mower engines, but they have done an equally impressive job with their Briggs & Stratton Standby Generator. When you see everything that the system has to offer, you will have no choice but to agree. First, just look at the 150 amp transfer switch. This switch is not only capable of being installed indoors or outdoors, but it will automatically power when home when the power goes out. This means that you don’t have to go outside and do anything when the power goes out. The generator will immediately recognize what’s going on and take over.
- Includes 150 amp automatic transfer switch with flexible indoor/outdoor installation
- This 20kW with Symphony II Power Management can manage your home, up to 12,000 square feet with a 5-ton air conditioner saving you thousands less than a previously required larger, liquid cooled unit
The generators mentioned above are only capable of supplying 11 and 14-kilowatts, but this is where the Briggs & Stratton Standby Generator is different. In fact, this powerful machine is capable of supplying the home with 20-kilowatts. This Symphony II Power Management system is capable of powering up to 12,000 square feet along with a 5-ton air conditioner.
If you have ever used a whole home generator in the past, you probably know that many of them are loud and can be annoying. Luckily, that is not the case with the Briggs & Stratton Standby Generator. This generator comes equipped with an automotive-style exhaust system and sound dampening technology. The unique airflow technology ensures that this system operates 50% quieter than other portable generators.
Quiet, sleek design, and capable of powering 12,000 square feet with a 5-ton air conditioner, what is not to love about the Briggs & Stratton Standby Generator. This system can literally do it all.
- Quiet operation
- Capable of powering 12,000 square feet with a 5-ton air conditioner
- Symphony II Power Management Technology
- Only available in liquid propane and natural gas
4. Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator
You saw a Generac on the list earlier and were probably pretty impressed. Well, it is safe to say that you are going to be blown away by the 7043 model. The Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator is capable of supplying your home with 22-kilowatts on the propane version and the natural gas version is capable of producing 19.5-kilowatts. With this type of wattage, you can literally run most of the items on your 200 amp circuit breaker and this is just the beginning of what this impressive system has to offer.
- True power technology delivers best-in class power quality (less than 5% thd) for Smooth operation of sensitive electronics and appliances
- Includes a 200 amp NEMA 3 (indoor/ outdoor rated) whole house Smart transfer switch
Mobile Link Remote Monitoring
The mobile link remote monitoring technology in the Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator is off the charts. This unique technology really allows you to take control of your home generator as you can monitor the status of your generator from anywhere in the world. This technology works by connecting to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can check out the operating status along with the generator’s maintenance schedule.
The Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator also comes equipped with unique LED lights that allow you to monitor the status of the generator. You can check out the battery status and track the maintenance intervals to ensure that your generator is always in top running condition. The lights are located on the side of the generator and easy to read.
Backed With A 5-Year Warranty
When you invest in the Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator, you can rest assured that you are getting quality. In fact, the manufacturer backs the product with a five-year warranty. In the first five years, the generator will be covered in the event that something goes wrong.
When it comes to whole home generators, you simply could do worse. The Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator has all the essential features and more.
- Five-year warranty
- User-friendly LED light
- Monitor status of the generator from anywhere
- The battery is not included
5. Kohler 20RESCL Air-Cooled Generator
If you are in the market for a quality home generator that has all the essential features and more, look no further than the Kohler Air-Cooled Standby Generator. This 20,000-watt generator automatically starts up within ten seconds of losing power. In addition to this, the generator is built with a motor unlike anything else on the market. The Kohler generator features a heavy-duty engine that was specifically built to exceed the demands of the standard standby generator. Simply put, with the Kohler name you are going to get more.
- 20,000-watt air-cooled generator automatically starts up when the power goes out
- Includes 200 Amp whole-house, service entrance rated, load shedding, automatic transfer switch
Generators are built tough, but they are constantly exposed to the elements. Rain, wind, snow, and sleet can really take its toll over time. Not only will the elements corrode items, but they will cause them to rust. This is why the Kohler 20RESCL Standby Generator comes equipped with a corrosion-proof housing.
Backed With A Long Warranty
There is no reason to invest in anything if you are going to get a warranty. The Kohler manufacturer is so confident in the design and product that they are willing to offer a five-year, 2,000-hour warranty. This means that if anything goes wrong with the first five-years or the first 2,000 hours of operation the manufacturer will do whatever is necessary to rectify the situation.
Excellent Power Quality
With a +/-1 voltage regulation, you can rest assured that your most sensitive electronics will be protected from harmonic distortions. In fact, this generator only produces 5% harmonic distortion during operation.
With quiet operation and the ability to power a 5-ton air condition unit, the Kohler 20RESCL Standby Generator is without a doubt a home generator that cannot be overlooked.
- 5% or less harmonic distortion during operation
- Backed with a five-year warranty
- Corrosion-proof housing
- Not available for diesel operation