Many people tend to get an outdoor portable generator for use in beach parties and camping. But others may also use them for home backup as well when there’s a power outage.
In fact, some people pick the best portable generator for home backup over the fuller-sized version because they’re quieter and more affordable. The best home backup portable generator can work quite as well as a bigger model but will cost less.
Our Picks of 8 Best Portable Generators for Home Backup:
Picking out the best portable generator for home backup can be a rather tedious task, which is why we’ve done it for you. Now at least your job is simpler, as you just get to choose between the following options:
1. Champion 3800-Watt Generator
If having 3400 watts available is a bit too iffy for your needs, then you can have more legroom with this 3800W model.
This also runs on gasoline and propane, with 3800 running watts (4750 starting watts) for at least 9 hours. This has lots of security features like Volt Guard as well.
This is well-made, and that’s confirmed with a warranty period of 3 years. You even get free technical support for a lifetime.
This dual fuel portable generator has been considered as one of the best portable generator for home backup.
- This offers 3800 running watts.
- You can use gasoline or propane.
- It can run for at least 9 hours (10.5 hours on propane) with a tankful of fuel.
- The warranty is for 3 years, with free lifetime technical support.
2. Westinghouse WGen7500 Generator
Let’s start with this Westinghouse generator, which gives you a lot of wattage room to work with.
This gives you 9500 starting watts and 7500 running watts, and that’s more than enough to power a long list of appliances during a power outage.
What’s more, you get to run them for up to 16 hours straight before you need to refuel.
This comes with an easy to use one-touch push button start, along with another switch for quick engine shutoff.
There’s digital volts/frequency/hours meter, a main breaker, circuit breakers, a L14-30R 120/240V Twist-Lock Receptacle, and two (2) 120V GFCI outlets.
The outlets all have rubber covers for protection. The other safety measures include the use of a durable cast-iron sleeve, and features like automatic low oil shutoff.
This home backup portable generator is quite well-made, and it complies with regulations set forth by the EPA, CARB, and the CSA. Westinghouse even offers this with a longer than average warranty period of 3 years.
- This offers ample wattage for many home appliances. It allows you to power the fridge, AC, coffee machine, and other appliances that require more than a thousand watts.
- It’s easy enough to use, and you can this to your home through a transfer switch.
- It’s very simple to start, and there’s even a key fob that lets you start the generator from more than a hundred feet away. That’s convenient as you can start it from inside the house if the generator is located outside.
- It has lots of safety features to make sure it lasts a good long while, and it even has a 3-year warranty.
3. DuroStar DS4000S Generator
If you’re only concerned about running your fridge and other crucial home appliances during a power outage, then you don’t really need to waste your money buying a generator offering more watts than you need.
Instead, you can get this generator that offers 3300 running watts with 4000 starting watts.
This is still enough to power your AC and fridge at the same time, long with your lights and the TV.
This isn’t all that noisy, as it’s EPA-approved. The 4-gallon tank is also able to offer 8 hours of running time before you need a refuel.
This gas powered portable generator also comes with various safety features, including a volt meter, an oil warning light, circuit breaker, and auto low oil shutoff.
- You still get plenty of watts for your home appliances.
- It’s EPA-approved.
- You get a bunch of safety features for easy use.
- It’s very portable too.
4. DuroMax XP12000EH Generator
Which fuel do you wish to use, gasoline or LPG? They both have their own sets of pros and cons.
But you don’t have to decide now with this hybrid dual fuel generator, since you can use either (or both).
With the 12000 watts available here, you can understand why it’s called the “beast”. That’s a lot of watts that can probably make life very comfortable for your entire family even during a power outage.
In fact, you may not even notice there’s a power outage at all. Use this with gasoline, and you get overnight use with 10 hours of run time at half load.
With LPG you get to use it for the whole day as it gives you 20 hours of run time at half load. It’s not very noisy at all, and in fact the EPA considers this safe enough to in US national parks.
You have the automatic low oil shutoff feature, and circuit breakers to protect from overloading. Yet this beast is technically portable. It even has wheels and a handle. Bring this to a campsite, and it can feel like you never left home.
- You have a huge amount of wattage for all your home appliances.
- This runs for a very long time, especially with propane. In fact, you can just switch from one fuel source to another when you run out to really extend the run time.
- It’s EPA-approved, so it’s safe and not so noisy.
5. Champion 3400-Watt Portable Generator
If you only plan to have a few appliances running in case of a power outage, then the 3,400 watts you get from this Champion portable generator is more than enough.
It will even accommodate your fridge and AC, and maybe a TV too. It can be run in parallel too, so you can buy another one if you need more watts.
This runs on either gasoline or LPG. It has an electric start button, and the battery for this function can be recharged.
Run this dual fuel portable generator with gasoline and you get 7.5 hours of use, while with a tank of propane you get another 14.5 hours.
- This offers 3400 watts, but get another one and you double the wattage.
- It’s very portable as it’s comparatively lightweight and it has a handle and wheels.
- It can run for a very long time, especially by using one fuel source after another.
- This can run at less than 60 decibels.
6. Duromax XP4850EH Generator
Using dual fuel sources can be great, but 12000 watts may be overkill for some households.
That’s why DuroMax also offers a more modest version with just 3850 running watts and 4850 starting watts.
That’s more than enough to run only the essential appliances at home in case of emergencies and power outages.
The features include a key start switch for easier use, along with a volt meter and an advance oil warning light.
This also comes with a circuit breaker as well as automatic low oil shutoff. This is also EPA-approved for use in national parks.
It’s not very noisy at all as it operates at less than 70 decibels. That’s due to the overly large muffler. This can also run for 8 straight hours on gasoline, plus 20 more hours on propane.
- You still have enough watts to run your lights, fridge, AC, and a TV. That’s great for any household.
- It’s very easy to use, with lots of safety features too.
- It can run for a very long time, especially if you use both sources of fuel one after another.
- It’s not noisy at all, and is EPA-approved.
- This is also CARB-compliant, so it can be bought and used in California and all 50 states.
7. Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Portable Generator for home
A lot of powerful generators are noisy, which can make life annoying and your neighbors irate. But with this generator, you get only 66 decibels at 25% load.
That’s about 60% quieter than your usual home generator. That’s even quieter than the sound of the shower or your dishwasher.
But that doesn’t mean you reduce your available watts to impractical levels. You still get 5000 running watts and 6500 starting watts to power your fridge, AC, lights, and even the TV at the same time.
If you’re just using about 1250 watts, you can get up to 14 hours of run time before you need to refuel. This gives you lots of sockets for your appliances.
You get four AC outlets, along with a locking 120V/240V outlet. There are even 2 USB ports so you can recharge your smartphone and laptop at the same time.
- This is very lightweight.
- It still has ample watts for various home appliances.
- It doesn’t cause much of a ruckus for your eardrums.
- There are 2 convenient USB ports.
- It uses fuel efficiently, so you can get up to 14 hours of straight use.
8. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
You can’t be surprised to learn that a Honda generator is extremely fuel-efficient and best affordable portable generator for home backup. After all, Honda cars have that same reputation.
This particular model gives you 2200 watts, which is 200 watts more than its predecessor.
That lets you run a very long list of small appliances, or maybe even a couple of major ones. If the wattage isn’t enough, there’s no need to replace it with a bigger one either.
You can just get another one like this and then run them in parallel with a cable. That gives you more operating room with 4400 watts.
A single tank can give you 9.6 hours of use, and that’s a lot considering that the fuel tank only contains 4 gallons. It’s very quiet as well, with operating decibels ranging from 48 to 57 decibels.
That’s like a quiet evening in a peaceful suburb. You can bring this to your campsite too, as it comes in a handle and its weight is just 47 pounds.
- It can give you 2200 watts, but you can buy another generator to double the wattage.
- It’s compact and lightweight.
- You can get more than 9 hours of use before you have to refuel.
- It’s extremely quiet, so you can use it and not have your sleep bothered by the noise.
Benefits of a Portable Home Generator:
If you don’t have a home generator yet, you need to get one pronto. A home generator is one of those things that you’d rather have and not need, rather than need and not have.
But eventually you’ll find yourself in a position of needing one, when you have power outage at home. With a generator during a home power outage, you’re able to enjoy the following advantages:
- The generator can run the air conditioner in the summer and the heating system in winter.
- It can keep the lights on in your home so everyone can move around safely and freely.
- You’re able to use cooking appliances to prepare food.
- If you’re rushing to do some work on your laptop or PC, the generator can make sure that you’re able to finish the job despite the power outage.
- Your refrigerator can keep on working, so the food inside don’t spoil (and the ice cream doesn’t melt).
- It can get boring during a power outage, but with enough watts from your generator you can turn on the TV and the attached sound system, or even play console games.
- If you wear a CPAP machine to bed when you sleep, the generator can run it so you can continue your sleep apnea therapy.
- If the power outage occurs in the morning, your generator can still ensure you enjoy the coffee from your espresso machine.
- A portable generator is generally more affordable, can move easily anywhere you want and setup wherever you need.
Basically, you won’t have to endure the lack of available electrical power even when there’s an outage at home or you’re outdoors where there’s no convenient wall socket to power your electronic devices. This capability is crucial in boosting your comfort levels, and in emergencies it can even save lives.
What Size of Generator Do I Need to Back Up My House?
The size of the generator you need depends on all the appliances you want to power in your house. And if you want to power your entire house, you need to list out all the electrical appliances in your house. Sum up their amperages or wattages. That should give you an idea of the total wattage.
Remember, it is possible for you to buy another electrical appliance after installing your generator. For instance, you may purchase a bigger refrigerator several months or years after getting your generator. So, you need to add extra wattage to the total wattage.
Some people believe that it may be a good idea to purchase a generator that can supply much more power than you need. As far as we’re concerned, this is not economical. You know why? The more the capacity of a generator, the more expensive it will be. So, why pay for additional wattage that you don’t need?
Generally, a 3000-watt generator should be sufficient to power your house easily.
How Long Can a Backup Generator Power a House?
This depends on certain factors, and the factors have been discussed right below.
- Manufacturer’s recommendation: Some generators can run continuously for more than 12 straight hours, but the manufacturer recommends that you should allow the generator to rest after making it work for a certain number of hours.
- Fuel tank capacity: No matter how long your generator can work, it will shut down when it runs out of fuel. So, the amount of fuel its tank can take plays a role in determining how long the generator will work.
- Amount of load: If you have been using generators, you’ll know that the more load you put on it, the faster it will consume your fuel. And when it runs out of fuel, it will shut down. This is why generators work longest when it’s on 25% load capacity.
That being said, backup generators work for about 6 – 12 hours, depending on the factors discussed above. Also, some generators can work longer than 12 hours.
Is a Whole House Backup Generator Worth It?
Yes, it is. Remember, most of the appliances we use at home are powered by electricity. The TV, air conditioning unit, heating unit, fans, microwave oven, pressing iron, washing machine, dishwasher, laptop, smartphone, and tablet all need electricity to function.
So, a power failure may be difficult to bear, even for a few minutes. Unfortunately, you can’t prevent power outages. You can only provide a backup power supply. That’s why a whole house backup generator is worth its cost and much more. Get it if you can afford it.
Can a Backup Generator Power a House?
Sure! It all depends on the size and capacity of the generator. There are several generators that can power a whole house easily. However, such generators cost a fortune to purchase, and they also cost a lot of dollars to run because they consume a lot of fuel.
Is Powerwall Better Than Generator?
Yes and no. Tesla Powerwall has several benefits over a generator and vice versa. Powerwall is very quiet. It does not make noise like generators. Also, Tesla Powerwall has a mobile app through which you can monitor your power usage. Furthermore, it works with National Weather Service (NWS), so it can take actions based on the information it receives from NWS. For example, if there’s a report that a storm is coming soon, Powerwall will increase its power saving.
On the other hand, Powerwall is a battery attached to solar panels. So, without solar panels, it cannot function. This is the advantage generators have over it. In addition, there are several brands of generators, and this gives buyers more options. Powerwall is made by only Tesla. So, if anything goes wrong with your Powerwall, it can only be fixed by Tesla.
One more thing – Powerwall comes at a particular cost. If you can’t afford it, there’s nothing you can do about it. But there are several types and sizes of generators. No matter what your budget is, you’ll find a generator that befits you. In the end, it boils down to suitability. Which of the two options is more suitable for your power need?
Which Generator is Best for Home Backup?
That depends on what you want and what you need. Do you need to only power your smartphone and laptop for work and entertainment, and perhaps a few lights and a fan to cool yourself off? For these small devices you only need a few hundred watts to get by.
But many wish to power their refrigerators so the foodstuff remains fresh. Maybe in the summer they want the AC running too.
These appliances are more power-hungry, and you’ll need thousands of watts more to accommodate them. That’s certainly true if you power your whole house as if there’s no power outage at all.
Just keep in mind that the more watts you demand, the bigger and heavier the generator will be. This means it won’t be as easy to bring this particular generator to the beach or to a campsite. In addition, you’ll have to spend a lot more money for more watts.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Portable Generator for Home Backup?
It’s an easy decision to choose to a portable generator for home backup use. What’s not so easy is to pick one that’s best for your needs.
But you can make it easier for yourself by focusing your attention on the following generator factors:
This is of course the most crucial factor of them all. The number of watts you have will determine how many and what kind of appliances you can run with your generator. So you need to tally how many watts (starting and running watts) you need from the appliances you want to run.
For home backup, you may want to get generators that offer watts in the thousands if you wish to make sure your fridge and your AC remain running even during a power outage. A good generator can also accommodate your lights and maybe the TV too.
Obviously you need to be mindful of the price. You have to balance your budget with the wattage you need, as the more watts you get will increase the price of the generator. You can’t just settle for a cheap machine that won’t give you the watts you need.
Some generators run on gasoline and others on propane gas. You have to check out the pros and cons of gasoline and LPG generators to see which type suits your needs.
But if both are okay with you, a dual fuel generator may be more to your liking. You may also go for a home generator that’s basically a rechargeable battery, if your need for wattage isn’t that high.
If all you really need is to make sure you have power for your smartphone and laptop, you only need a few hundred watts that a generator like this can provide. You then get to enjoy a battery generator’s compact design, low weight, silent operations, and lack of toxic fumes.
Ease of Use
It’s said that a good generator is one that even a kid can figure out how to use. So if something’s overly complicated, you may want to find a better alternative.
Your generator should come with a manual, though, even if you can find lots if YouTube videos on how to use it. It’s even better if you have good technical customer support.
How lightweight and compact is it? A heavy generator won’t have to be so bad, though, if you have a nice handle and wheels to make the generator more mobile. This factor determines how easy it is to bring your generator to the beach or to a campsite.
On a per year basis, a $900 generator that runs for 10 years is cheaper than a $400 generator that only lasts for a year.
That’s basic mathematics. So you need a long-lasting generator—if it’s not reliable, then what’s the point? So check the warranty, as that gives you a clue as to how long the manufacturer expects the generator to last.
You should also take note of the generator’s safety features, like automatic low oil shutdown and circuit breaker. Read the various customer reviews as well, as their complaints may reveal the shoddy make of a particular generator model.
Buying the finest portable generator is one of the basic ways of preparing for a power outage. It can be the difference between continuing on in comfort during a power outage and having a miserable time without any power at all.
With the benefits you enjoy, every cent you spend will be worth it—if you make sure you get a good generator.