What Type Of Generator Is Best For Home Use?

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Discover the best types of home backup generators so you invest in a machine that is optimal for your situation.

There are a few different generator features where your decision is extra important for home use.

First of all, standby generators could be worth the extra investment if you live in an area where power grid outages happen a lot.

On the flip side, many people will still prefer portable generators due to the lower investment and flexibility.

Secondly, unless you have your own way to “clean up” the power, you likely want to get a portable inverter or just low THD generator.

This may require an extra investment but is typically recommended if you plan to run electronics like a microwave, laptop, and certain refrigerators inside your house.

Thirdly, having a propane-compatible generator makes it more convenient to stay prepared for outages.

You could even consider a tri fuel generator which adds natural gas compatibility on top of the more standard duel fuel feature that allows you to run on propane and gasoline.

Standby vs portable generator for home use

One of the first decisions you want to make is whether to go for a standby generator or a portable generator.

Standby generators are basically “boxes” you install in a single location.

These tend to be relatively convenient to use since you don’t have to move your generator every time the power grid goes down.

Standby generators also often turn on and off automatically depending on the power your house receives.

On the flip side, standby generators tend to be more expensive than portable generators.

You can also only use them for your home.

Reasonably sized portable generators can make your camping trips, tailgating parties, and DIY sessions more convenient too.

If you live in a location with a lot of power outages throughout the year, a standby generator could be better for home use.

At the same time, many people will also find that a portable generator is good enough, requires a smaller investment, and can be helpful for other purposes.

Regular vs inverter generators for home backup power

Standby generators tend to provide clean low THD power anyway so this section is mostly for you if you plan to get a portable generator for home backup electricity.

If you want to power sensitive electronics like a laptop, TV, microwave, certain refrigerators, and certain air conditioners safely, you want low THD electricity.

So if your house does not have its own inverter or another way to “clean up” the energy, you likely want to get an inverter (or other low THD) generator for home backup power.

These tend to be pricier but you likely don’t want to discover your generator fries your refrigerator full of food during a power outage.

Additionally, inverter generators tend to be quieter.

This makes the power grid downtime slightly less inconvenient for you and your neighbors.

Best generator fuel types for home use

Especially in the portable generator category, gasoline-only models tend to be the most popular option.

However, home use generators come with a variety of fuel type compatibility options too.

First of all, there are dual fuel generators that can run on both gasoline and propane.

This is generally a valuable feature for a home backup generator since propane typically stores a lot longer than gasoline.

In turn, you can just get a tank of propane instead of having to keep a maintenance calendar for your gasoline stores.

If you plan to use your portable generator or gasoline stores for other purposes too, this matters to a lesser extent.

However, even then, you may find it easier to find propane during power outages since gasoline is such a popular fuel type.

If natural gas is a convenient fuel type in your location, you could even consider a tri fuel generator too.

Lastly, there are portable solar and wind generators.

However, these tend to be too weak for many typical home appliances.

In turn, the portable versions of these types of generators are often not enough for home backup power.

What fuel type does your home use generator need?

If you plan to use your portable generator or gasoline stores for other purposes too, a gasoline-only model could be good enough.

That being said, you likely just want to invest slightly more into a home use generator that can run on propane too.

This way, you have to spend less time and attention on staying prepared for any unexpected power grid issues.

If natural gas is a convenient fuel type for your situation/location, you could even invest in a tri fuel (or just natural gas compatible) generator too.

In theory, you could also consider portable solar or wind generators to power a few smaller devices for a short amount of time.

However, you will typically need bigger solar panels and/or more capacity if you want backup power for your house.


Which is better for home use, inverter or regular generators?

While they do tend to be pricier, inverter generators or at least low THD models are often better for home use since you likely have at least a few electronics you want to power.

At the same time, you could also consider getting your own inverter or another way to clean up the power.

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Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.