Who else wants the best portable generator for general home use?
If you’re looking for a portable generator to power your home appliances, tools in the shed, your campsite, an outdoor sporting event and/or sump pumps during an emergency, you’ll want the best portable generator for home use…
…These generators are designed specifically for the needs of someone using it around the home. Things like Generac‘s OHVI (overhead valve industrial) engine are not required because you will not be using your generator all-day every-day. Instead, these generators are designed for optimal ease of use, reliability and price.
Generators for Home Must Be Easy to Use
Generators for home must be easy to use because the people using them are not always mechanics and tradesmen. When you open up the box of your new generator for home you want to be able to turn it on as quickly as possible. These generators are all fast and easy to setup. You will need to add some oil, hook up the battery of the electric start if you have one, assemble the wheel and handle kit if you have one and sign up your warranty online and you’re ready to go.
The generators featured on this page are all very easily transported from one location to the next. Whether they have a handle and wheel kit or are just incredibly light, all these generators will be able to come with you wherever you go.
Generators for Home Must Be Reliable
Generators for home must be reliable because given you will be using it intermittently you need to rest easy knowing it will start every time you use it. Home use generators differ from professional generators in that they do not have the beefed up engine parts and automotive style lubrication and oil pressure warning that pro generators have to cope with extended daily use.
All these generators have at least a normal OHV (overhead valve) engine with low oil shutdown and splash lubrication. These systems help to minimize generator downtime and keep your home generator working for a long time.
Generators for Home Must Be Affordable
Generators for home must be affordable because a generator for home is generally a play-toy tool instead of a 100% required tool. Portable home use generators range in price from $199 to $2,679 and power from 1.6 kW to 17.5 kW (running kW).
Because these generators are not designed for professional use the components used cost less and so the generator can cost less.
Jump to the Size of Portable Generator You’re After
Coming in as the number 1 top small size portable generator for around the home is the affordable (at about $419) Generac 3,250 running Watts home use generator.
The reason it is number 1 is because it ticks all the boxes. It has everything you need and more in a generator for home and costs only about $419. Generac set-out, with their GP series, to provide you with a highly affordable, reliable and easy to use generator class. And they did just that…
…You get features usually reserved for $1000+ generators like 10 hours of run-time (at 1/2 load) off of 3.5 gallons of gasoline, the best power-to-weight ratio in class, Generac’s OHV engine and a low-tone muffler to ensure your neighbors aren’t annoyed by the sound of your generator.
Quietest, Best Fuel Efficiency and Most Portable Inverter Generator
This generator has won more awards, at least on this website, than any other. It is the quietest generator, most portable, best for camping, #2 best for the money and #3 overall for general home use.
Weighing in at 44 lbs and as compact as a briefcase you will be able to take this generator with you wherever you go – fishing, camping, hunting, tailgating, to a picnic, to a sporting event and/or to your back shed to power some tools. You could easily use it to power your sump pump and fridge in an emergency to protect your basement from costly damage and to prevent your expensive food goods from going off.
If this generator’s portability doesn’t get you then its quietness and fuel efficiency will. When supplying you with 400 W this generator only produces the sound level of a refrigerator. You could place it next to you and your friend and still speak without raising your voice. You can talk next to the fridge, can’t you? While barely producing any noise this genset will also drink through barely any fuel – 1.1 gallons every 11 hours or about a can of soda worth of gasoline per hour. This is more than twice the fuel economy of a conventional generator.
A propane powered generator is ideal for home use because propane can be stored indefinitely around the home…
…You probably already use propane in your barbecue, and so, when you require electricity, you can simply unplug your barbie and plug in your generator. Easy! And that same tank (20-pound bbq size) can give you 9 hours of electricity.
2 of the main advantages of a propane powered generator are it has lower emissions than a gas and diesel and the easy availability of propane tanks during a blackout. The gas station may lose ability to pump gas but it will not lose ability to sell propane tanks.
Best Engine Life
Taking the top spot is the 8,000 running Watts XP series Generac. Generac started offerring the first affordable generators to people like you and me in the late 1950s. Before Generac (because of the expense) generator usage was restricted to commercial use. Thankfully, you now have many affordable options for your home use needs.
The “XG” series Generac generator features a purpose-built for generators OHVI (overhead valve industrial) engine with automotive grade components to ensure a long, healthy life. It has a pressurized lubrication system (instead of splash) to ensure all the engine parts are lubricated. This is crucial, especially in extended-use situations, because the engine will overheat and fail if it is not lubricated properly.
You will get covered outlets to prevent ingress of dust and contaminant. You will get an illuminated control panel to ensure no matter when you use this generator you will be able to do so safely. And – to top it all off – you get a 9 gallon steel fuel tank for 10 hours of run-time at 50% load.
Top Value for the Money
This is the #1 top value for the money generator on the market today. You get 8 kW of running power for only a fraction more than $1,000 and it often comes with FREE Super Saver Shipping.
It has an 8.3 gallon fuel tank – big enough to never stress about refueling. It has an electric start and recoil start – starting your generator is as easy as starting your car. It has 6 outlets to ensure all your electrical needs are met and it even has a heavy-duty 50 Amp outlet.
People love how easy it is to get warranty money from DuroMax, how prompt delivery was, how many outlets there are, how quiet it is (for its size) and they loved how many times this generator has saved their homes (kept sump pumps running, kept fridge going, kept lights on) during power outages. This generator has amassed an approval rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Diesel Powered for Better Fuel Efficiency
When you’re looking at diesel generators, you already know you’re going to get exceptional run-time for the fuel volume. And this one, the DuroStar 5,500 running Watts fully enclosed diesel generator, does not disappoint…
…Off only 3.83 gallons of fuel, you’ll get 12 hours of run-time (at half load). Do you realize how awesome that is? This is a 6,000W generator remember.
As a comparison, this diesel generator’s smaller gasoline counterpart (a 4,000W) gets 8 hours of run-time off 7 gallons of gasoline. That’s about twice the amount of fuel to get 33% less run-time.
So, what the main disadvantage of diesel? Well, I’ll tell ya, it’s noise level. Usually diesel generators are significantly lounder than other fuel types. However, you will notice in the image that this one is fully enclosed to contain the noise. In fact, with this enclosure, this diesel is only about as loud as your vacuum cleaner once you move a few feet away from it. In my opinion, that’s not bad for a 6 kW beast.
This is the largest portable generator on the market. It has 26,500 surge Watts and 17,500 running Watts to ensure you’re ready for the next home emergency like a blackout or natural disaster.
Most people get standby generators plumbed in to their natural gas line and hooked up to their home electrical circuit with a smart transfer switch for home emergency backup power. However, standby generators are more expensive and less versatile because they have to stay in one spot – your front, back or side yard. Also, if your area does not have a natural gas feed line, you’re pretty much out of luck for standby generators (unless you have one of those unsightly, large natural gas tanks in your yard).
So, if you live in an area without a natural gas underground line, you’ll want to get the best gas powered portable generator for home backup emergency power – this one. You can still get a transfer switch to hook up your portable generator to your home circuit (no need for extension cords etc.) but you will need to turn it on and refuel it yourself. Given this generators size (X-Large) you could rest easy knowing that next home emergency you’ll have all the power you need.
Did you know that Briggs & Stratton are the world’s largest manufacturer of air-cooled gasoline engines? Well, they are. Most power equipment manufacturers simply purchase the Briggs engine and install it on their product. No point reinventing the wheel, right?
So now you know you’re getting a top class engine on your generator for improved engine life, extended maintenance intervals, less noise and vibration and better fuel efficiency. But what else do you get?
You get everything you would expect in a great generator including all the necessary engine alarms/warnings and electrical protection to ensure all you need to do is enjoy the electricity you are getting… You get the most used outlets including (4) 120V AC and (1) 120V AC 30 Amp twist lock to ensure you have an outlet for ever tool or appliance you have… You get a generator with a 7 gallon fuel tank for an 8 hour run-time at 50% load and you get one of the most trusted warranties in the generator industry.
Coming in as the best medium size home emergency generator is the Generac GP5500 with 5.5 kW of running power. Next time your home power cuts out you will be ready. Provide power to your sump pumps, fridge/freezer, lights and whatever else you decide is an emergency need. Don’t be left powerless with a flooding basement and gone bad food.
This generator is a NEW version of Generac’s GP5000… And for the same price why wouldn’t you enjoy an extra 500 Watts and an even better power-to-weight ratio?
Being one of the more popular generators on the market today – this generator hits a sweet spot. It has folding and locking handles, a durable wheel kit, manual start, 10 hours run-time, 5 outlets, large 7.2 gallon fuel tank and 4 out of 5 star approval rating.
2. The Consumer Reports generator buying guide was perused to get their expert opinion, and use it to help formulate a general ranking criteria. (Although I came to different conclusions).