Home generators for backup power are must-have devices in emergencies like hurricanes, wildfires, or blizzards. When it comes to keeping essential electric-powered devices running, nothing beats a reliable power generator. Some home generators are even portable enough to use at off-grid campsites.
Thankfully, there are many high-quality home generators that deliver excellent performance at an affordable price. You can easily pick a generator to meet your power requirements—and your budget.
Home, Garden and Homestead is delighted to lend you a hand in choosing the best generator for your needs. We have chosen seven of the best-performing portable generators on the market. These are top options from reputable brands with the best balance of price and performance. Home Garden and Homestead receives a small commission from sales made through Amazon links in this story. Thanks for supporting this website!
Consider These Things Before Buying Home Generators for Backup Power
Before buying any product related to emergency use, you need to pay attention to some of the essential features. Here’s a quick look at the major points you need to consider.
Basically, you need to pick a home generator that supplies enough backup power to run all the equipment you need during a power outage.
Beyond that, you need to consider the terms “peak watts” and “running watts.” Peak watts is the highest power output the generator can deliver—but it can’t sustain for a long time. This surge power is needed to get heavy pieces of equipment started from a cold state.
So, make sure the generator can deliver enough starting watts to run devices such as refrigerators, furnaces, and air conditioners.
Running watts is the continuous power the generator can deliver for hours. The total running watts you need will be the sum of the wattages of all the devices you need to run. To add a safety margin, multiply that by 1.5 to determine the total number of running watts you will need.
Home generators for backup power can run on gasoline, liquid propane, or LPG. Your choice of fuel should depend on the easy availability of that fuel type near your location.
Keep in mind that some generators can run on two different fuel types. This is a practical option for situations when gas isn’t readily available. With multiple fuel options, you have more flexibility.
Also, keeping a propane or an LPG tank at hand is a good step towards effective emergency preparedness.
Size and Weight
When portability is your priority, you will need a small and lightweight home generator. You also need to consider the available storage space that will allow you to safely store the device.
However, when you’re using the generator for camping or at a job site, you’ll be carrying it around in a vehicle. So, consider a model that has wheels or has an available wheel kit option.
In any case, when you are planning to use the device outdoors, don’t compromise durability by picking a lightweight model among your home generators for backup power choices.
The price of backup power generators mostly depends on the power output and the fuel efficiency. Generators come in a wide range of prices, so it’s important to do your research and make the right choice for your needs.
We don’t advise picking a cheap generator that isn’t reliable. At the same time, there is no point in choosing a home generator that provides way more power than you will ever need. To remain within budget, try to reduce the number of heavy appliances you will run with a generator.
Editor’s Picks: Best Home Generators for Backup Power
With so many top-end products out there, it wasn’t easy to limit our list to seven products. We have listed our Top Seven picks in three categories: Best Value Generators, Best High-End Generators, and Best Portable Generators.
Here are the top choices.
Best Value Home Generators
The Best Value choices among home generators for backup power combine reliable performance with affordable price tags. These are ideal for buyers on a budget.
With 4000 starting watts and 3300 continuous watts, the Durostar DS4000S is a dependable power source. Be it household appliances or heavy-duty power tools, the DS4000S has you covered with its powerful 208cc OHV engine.
Durostar has provided a sturdy steel frame that ensures top-notch durability. It can handle outdoor use like a champ. With four separate generator mounts and a muffler, it also keeps noise and vibrations to a minimum.
Fuel efficiency is good, too. This generator can run for 8 hours on a full tank when the load is 50% of the maximum. It also has three power outlets including a 20A GFCI outlet. That’s a useful feature when you need to simultaneously power up multiple appliances.
In addition, it has some practical features like surge arrest and automatic low oil shutdown. Moreover, the DS4000S is approved by the CARB and EPA agencies.
To make it easier to move this 95-pound unit, a wheel and handle kit is also available. So, when your power requirements are on the lower end, the DS4000S offers solid value. It turns out, it’s a popular choice among RV users too.
The Pulsar PG5250B is a reliable workhorse with some great features. Pulsar is one of the top brands of dual-fuel generators. The PG5250B scores high marks both in terms of performance and reliability.
To start with, this home generator delivers a peak output of 5250 watts using gas and 4750 watts using LPG. When it comes to fuel efficiency, this Pulsar unit offers 12 hours of continuous operation at half load with a full tank of gasoline. With LPG it’s slightly less.
The 212cc OHV engine is air-cooled and is a dependable performer, if a bit noisy. Added features include a low oil indicator, low oil shutdown, and a 3-in-1 digital meter. In terms of connectivity, there are four outlets including one RV port.
The sturdy powder-coated steel frame makes it feel rugged. It also makes this generator heavy. But the good news is, there are no-flat tires with a foldable locking handle for easy portability.
Another handy feature Pulsar has added is the Switch and Go technology. Just a flip of the switch allows you to shift between gasoline and LPG options. Overall, the Pulsar PG5250B is a great combination of power and versatility.
Looking for a powerful generator to run high voltage appliances? The DuroMax XP5500EH is a solid choice.
This generator is capable of dual-fuel operation. So, you have the flexibility of using gasoline or propane. With 5,500 starting watts, it allows you to run high amperage tools without a hitch.
The DuroMax 224cc OHV engine comes equipped with an electric starter, so you don’t need to strain yourself while starting it up. One more thing is the low noise level. Even with high power output, the noise output is well controlled.
The fuel efficiency is good, too. You get 10 hours of running time at 50% load with a full tank of gasoline. Keep in mind, the running time will be slightly less with propane. In addition, the MX2 power boost technology makes it possible to get maximum power from each of the 120-volt receptacles.
With a steel exoskeleton and 100% copper windings, long-term durability is assured. For easy transportation, you get a mobility kit.
If you are looking for performance and value, we recommend the Duromax XP5500EH without a second thought.
Best High-End Generators
The Best High-End Generators are for users looking for higher power output and advanced features. These are some of the best products the top brands have to offer.
At a first glance, the Champion Power Equipment 100111 looks like any other mid-range generator. But in reality, it’s a beast of a generator with a peak power output of 15,000 watts. That’s perfect as a whole home backup system.
What’s even more impressive, the powerful 717cc V-Twin Champion OHV engine is ready to take on almost anything you throw at it. We’re talking 15,000 starting watts and 12,000 running watts. The 10.9-liter gasoline tank delivers 9 hours of power at 50% load. Overall fuel efficiency is good.
In terms of features, there’s the electric start and Cold Start Technology for easy powering in freezing conditions. For overload protection, a built-in surge protector has been provided. Also, the build quality is good enough to handle all kinds of environments. This generator not the quietest model in this category, though.
Another thing we liked is the 5-mode Intelligauge on the control panel that makes monitoring the system easy. All the seven outlet points come with covers for weather protection.
All in all, as a top-end product from a reliable brand, the Champion 100111 is a great choice for home generators for backup power.
If you are looking for a premium backup generator, the powerful Duromax XP12000HX checks all the right boxes. The 460cc OHV DuroMax engine operates on gas as well as propane. The peak output is 12,000 watts. That’s plenty of power for running a whole range of appliances for the home or providing electricity at a job site.
Changing the fuel interface is super easy and the nifty digital command center delivers all the data needed for maintenance. Another practical feature is the 7 connecting outlets for operating it in any situation. And the engine has copper wirings that give it a longer running life.
To top it off, it also has CO alert technology. Quite simply, the device will automatically shut off when carbon monoxide levels are too high. For better overall performance, the device also comes with an idle control, circuit breakers, and a low oil sensor.
Considering the powerful output and build quality, we feel DuroMax has done a great job to keep the weight of the generator within reasonable limits. Duromax has a solid reputation in the market in terms of performance, and the XP12000HX is a great example of why Duromax is a top brand in whole house generators.
Best Portable Generators
The Best Portable Generators offer an optimum combination of power output and portability. They are great for camping and tailgating. Bring on the home generators for backup power that are versatile enough for dual uses!
This mid-range generator from Westinghouse stands out due to some great user-friendly features. It has a clear VFT Meter display to provide real-time outputs related to the frequency and running hours. In addition, it has a push-button electric start and it also comes with a remote start key fob.
The Westinghouse WGen7500 generator has an onboard battery charger for smooth start-ups. Plus, you get a full range of safety features including overload protection, automatic voltage regulation, and automatic low oil cut-off.
At the heart of the device is a reliable 420cc 4-Stroke OHV Westinghouse engine delivering a peak output of 9,500 watts. Perhaps best of all, the fuel efficiency is the best in class. The 6.6-gallon fuel tank delivers a superb running time of about 11 hours at a 50% load.
In terms of connectivity, you get a twist-lock receptacle and 2 water-resistant GFCI duplex receptacles. For easy handling, there are foam grip handles and dual never-flat wheels. The foam grip handles make moving it around a comfortable task.
The Westinghouse WGen7500 generator is also EPA and CARB compliant. On the whole, this is a great generator—especially if you want a device for home as well as campsite use.
When it comes to beating power outages, the G12KBN from Pulsar is a dependable choice. As expected from Pulsar, this is a dual fuel model compatible with both gasoline and LPG. This generator delivers 12,000 peak watts from gasoline and 10,800 peak watts from LPG. That’s good enough for handling almost any type of tools or equipment. Since LPG is easily storable, this is a great choice for tackling natural disasters.
The 457cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine is highly fuel-efficient. At half-load, you get 12 hours of run time when the 8-gallon gas tank is full. That’s more than what most competitors offer in this power range. Besides, the powder-coated frame and durable wheels make it a great choice for outdoor environments. Dual options of electric and recoil start add to the flexibility,
But that’s not all. There are 7 outlets in total, including 4 120V 20A AC outlets. As a result, powering up multiple devices super simple. We have to say, the excellent power to weight ratio and the great value make the Pulsar G12KBN a real winner.
So, it all adds up to one thing. Whether you need a generator for power outages or for a camping trip, these are some of your best options.
Editor’s Note: If your air conditioner is an unsightly part of your landscape, check out these Easy Ways to Hide an AC Unit.