Best Whole House Generator – 5 Full Reviews + Buyer’s Guide

We’re all used to power outages ruining our family dinner, summer barbeque or simply just our quiet time at home. When the power goes out in the middle of the meal, killing all the lights, it can feel like you’re suddenly stranded in the great outdoors.

However, if you live in a region that is frequented by hurricanes and tornadoes, things can be a lot more serious. The chances of you experiencing a power outage in dangerous weather conditions are greatly increased. Without essential electricity and heating, you might be worried that you won’t be able to sustain yourself for the few days you need until help arrives.

This is where a whole house generator will be an essential purchase. These are powerful backup generators that will easily supplement every appliance in your house within seconds of the original failing.

When you buy a whole house generator, reliability will be the first crucial need. The second will be power, as you’ll want something with the fuel capacity and wattage to support multiple appliances such as cookers, fridges and computers. Having these things up and running simultaneously will make an emergency seem far less daunting to tackle.

You’ll also want a versatile generator that can be adapted to gasoline, diesel or even solar power, so you won’t be left in the lurch if you only have one type of fuel to hand.

But where can you find some of the best whole house generators? What features and abilities should a good whole house generator have to see you through a tight spot? How much can you be looking to spend on a decent whole house generator?

Well, you won't have to worry the next time your power cuts out, because we’ve drafted a list of some of the best whole house generators currently on the market. We’ve also compiled a handy buyer’s guide that will help you source the very best generators, rounding it off with some frequently asked questions.

OUR TOP PICK

Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable...

Our first whole house generator has an impressive output, boasting enough wattage to make sure that your home will be fully powered for up to 17 hours. It is a dual fuel unit, which enables you to power it with various types of diesel and gasoline, with a starting output of 12500 watts - introducing Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator.

This generator will easily power your larger units such as the refrigerator, the freezer, the sump pump, the AC and your lighting circuits. You want a generator that gets your house back on its feet in no time at all.

You can put gasoline or propane inside and it will run effectively, making it a great unit if you’re short on power supplies. This has a transfer switch outlet that lets you hook up this generator to your existing housing power system. It also comes with a remote control that allows you to start your backup without leaving your house.

Pros

  • This has a heavy wattage output, meaning that you can rely on this generator to power your entire house, including all the essentials like the refrigerator and freezer units.
  • With its adaptable output ports, you can hook this up to the lighting system and switch it out when your original power shorts out - a bright house will make you feel much safer than a dark one!
  • The remote start feature - this is very useful if you have mobility issues and struggle to get out of the house. Once it’s set up, your generator should cause you as little hassle as possible.
  • The dual-fuel capacity makes for great wattage as well as flexibility. You can be sure that this machine won’t let you down even if all you have in the shed is half a canister of diesel.

Cons

  • These more powerful generators are also very noisy, so you might want to run this one away from the house in a muffled container.

EDITORS CHOICE

This next generator comes with a low price tag, making it the perfect option for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the earth on their backup power supply. A lot of customers have rated this product very highly, especially after using it throughout various hurricanes that have caused damage across the United States - introducing A-iPower SUA4500 Portable Generator.

This is a great low-priced and durable machine to be operated in storms and extreme weather conditions. It has a 459cc four-stroke engine that will give your house 9500 watts of power. This is more than enough to run all the appliances in your home.

It has a fuel tank composed of 100% steel and with a capacity of 7 gallons, which will provide your storm-battered house 8 to 9 hours of fuel, although some users have claimed that this generator will run up to 13 hours on the lowest power settings.

This is the perfect generator for low-income families who live in an area that often gets afflicted with severe storm weather.

Pros

  • The fuel capacity and the power output are very impressive for the price.
  • You can expect this generator to power your house for up to 13 hours, which gives you more than enough time to try and get your national grid power back online.
  • This is a great generator to run in extreme weather, the durable steel fuel container will be able to withstand gale-force winds and rain.
  • The price - you can get all the power and efficiency of some of the more expensive brands for half the price. This also doesn’t compromise build quality or reliability.

Cons

  • For the lower price, this does have less of a run time than some of the other generators listed here.

BEST VALUE

DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt Gas or...

This next generator is probably one of the most versatile on this list, coming with two different fuel options, you won’t have to rely on one single fuel type. It also delivers a high level of performance, with 11400 surge watts of power and 9025 running watts, you have more than enough to power your home for 8 hours on one tank - introducing DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator.

This has an impressive 50 amp generator that might have a louder running sound, but it does pack more of a punch in terms of power. If you switch to a gas output, then you’ll be able to increase your power outage - although make sure to rig your transfer switch to avoid surges back into the grid!

You can run this generator for 7 hours on propane fuel and 8 hours on a single tank of gasoline. This is ideal if you have only one type of fuel to hand and circumstances prevent you from sourcing another.

Pros

  • You have a lot of flexibility with this generator, owing to the dual-fuel input, which allows it to put out different levels of power. You can run it at lower power to increase its longevity and vice-versa.
  • The power output is as good as any other you’ll find on this list. It will comfortably support the light system in your home.
  • The generator can operate for half a day at full power, keeping your food chilled and your house well-heated, which is particularly important during stormy weather.
  • This type of hybrid generator is perfect for those who want to buy a cheaper brand of fuel to save money on costs.

Cons

  • This is another generator that will run very loudly, so make sure you either run it away from the house or in a separate enclosure.

RUNNER UP

Our next model of generator is probably the most powerful on the list, delivering its lucky user over 15000 running watts. This is perfect for users who have larger houses and more appliances to run. It also comes with various fail-safes such as a low-oil shutdown mechanism, which will prevent burnout when running low on fuel - introducing Generac 5939 Gas Powered Portable Generator.

With this whopping generator performance, you have that extra peace of mind, particularly if you’re in an emergency and there’s a storm raging outside and you and your family are relying on your backup power supply to get you through the next few crucial hours.

You can run this generator for over 10 hours, which makes it one of the more long-lasting power supplies on this list. It has a fuel capacity of 60 gallons, so once your tank is fuelled to the top, you won’t have to worry about this tank running for most of the day on low power.

Pros

  • The power output of this generator is probably it’s most impressive feature. If you have a larger household that wants to keep their devices plugged in during the heavy downpour or storm, then this will be a great generator to have.
  • The larger fuel tank will mean you can run it for longer off one single tank.
  • If you have more than one refrigerator or AC unit, this generator will be able to fuel them both without issue, although we recommend turning off the AC to avoid excessive power consumption.
  • The safety mechanisms mean that you won’t have to keep visiting your generator to switch it off manually, which will be very useful in stormy weather.

Cons

  • The excess power comes with an increased price tag - this should only be purchased by people who really need that extra power to keep those essential appliances supplied throughout an emergency.

RUNNER UP

Generac 6438  11,000 Watt Air-Cooled Steel...

Our final generator is a static one that comes with heavy-duty power output and is great for keeping things like indoor pool filters and walk-in refrigerators running. It requires little maintenance when running, making it the ideal whole house generator for use during particularly dicey weather - introducing Generac 6438 Gas Powered Standby Generator.

This V-twin generator is air-cooled and churns out about 11000 watts, making it ideal if you’re running a lot of electrical appliances at one time. It has a 250-gallon tank that will burn an impressive 2 gallons of fuel every hour, so make sure you have plenty of petrol to run this one.

The changing of your oil and plug will be very simple, the static nature of the design will mean that you can make sure that your generator will not blow away or get damaged by falling trees in more severe weather conditions.

Pros

  • When it comes to power and fuel, this is probably one of the best units on our list. The gallon capacity alone will ensure that your house will be powered for over 10 hours on continual running.
  • The static build of this generator will appeal to users who would prefer their generator to be fixed in one place in a separate and discrete storage unit.
  • This comes with the same features as other Generac generators, which will be handy for users already familiar with this type of model.

Cons

  • This is another loud-running unit, so when you want it installed, you might want to make sure that it is far away from your home to avoid disturbance.

Best Whole House Generator Buying Guide

The differences between standby - that is, fixed to the one spot - generators and portable generators are numerous. It is worth familiarizing yourself with the unique attributes of both to see which one you’re going to want to purchase to power your home.

The Pros Of A Portable Generator

A portable generator is a lot more versatile, simply because you can move it about your property. This will be important if you don’t have a separate storage area for your generator and will need to find a place to shelter it in a storm.

You can also set up a portable generator so that it starts as soon as your main power supply cuts out. A lot of electrical experts would recommend against this, however, as it can increase the risk of power outages and fires as the current reverses back to the grid.

The Pros Of A Standby Generator

Generators can be notoriously difficult to operate, so the appeal of a standby generator is that they are a lot easier to operate.

If you are needing your reserve power system to kick in immediately to support your commercial appliances at your restaurant or cafe, then the reliability of the standby machines cannot be overstated.

For example, if you work at a hospital or a nuclear power plant, the ability for a backup power supply is the difference between life and death.

Standby generators conventionally have a higher power output than portable generators, allowing you to supply more power to a wider range of home appliances than its portable cousins.

Fixed types of generators are also directly connected to the gas supply of your building, making the cost of fuel a lot cheaper, as it will come out of your monthly gas bill rather than an independent fuel source. Portable generators require normal fuel sources and will need separate fuel supplies, which affect cost and storage.

Best Whole House Generator - FAQ's

Can You Run All Your Appliances At The Same Time With A Portable Generator?

When your power has been outed, you’ll have to ask yourself which are the appliances that you will need to run and which are the ones you won’t. Running all your appliances at once is an easy way to drain fuel and make your generator run down a lot faster.

The most important appliances will be things like refrigerators and computers, as the former is where the food is kept fresh and the latter where you can communicate with family and friends. You might also want to charge your devices to check on the weather report.

Your lighting system is also a crucial aspect of the running of your home. You’ll need to be able to see what you’re doing to organize your home during an emergency.

Ideally, in terms of wattage, you’ll want something that produces 1000 watts to most of your average-sized home. If you have a larger house with more appliances you want to run, we recommend having a standby generator that can run at 12000 or 15000 watts.

Why Is A Portable Generator Better Than A Standby Generator?

It might sound obvious, but the freedom of movement you get with a portable generator will be a major incentive to prospective buyers. You can select different places to house a portable generator following different weather conditions. 

You can also move a portable to a basement for safety to avoid damage in severe weather conditions.

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