Choosing the Right Size Generator

The first line of defence against these issues is a generator. Choosing a generator can be difficult, as there are so many models to choose from, some as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars and capable of powering a single appliance, while others cost upwards of $5,000 and are capable of powering a whole house.

An expert from Consumer Reports says to buy the smallest generator that can satisfy your needs. So you won’t have to stock up on as much gasoline to run it. When it comes to fuel consumption, a 20-gallon tank is typical for the larger portable generators we’ve tested in our rankings.

As a result, how can you know which power source is best for your situation? Stay with it.

For each category of generator we examine, we include information on how to find the best one for your needs, a CR suggestion, and a product evaluation.

A Word on Wattage

To figure out how much power you’ll need in the event of a power loss, tally up the wattages of all the appliances you plan to use. With this information, you may get a rough idea about what it will cost. A word of caution before you pull out the calculator: equipment such as air conditioners take significantly more power when they’re cycling on than you may imagine (think: refrigerators, freezers, and sump pumps). Unaccounted-for surge watts can cause problems in your calculations.

Please use the interactive tool below to do so. Just click on a generator type to get an idea of what you can do with it. Each appliance’s wattage is a basic guideline and may differ from what you really have in your house.


Consider how frequently and for how long you’ll need to use a generator when deciding on the suitable size for your home. However, if any of the three power-outage situations below match your situation, please let us know.

It’s possible to click on any type to see a list of its benefits and cons, along with product recommendations and reviews.

  1. You Experience Frequent Power Outages

It gets worse: the outages can last for hours or even days at a time. For those who live in areas susceptible to extreme weather, such as hurricanes and blizzards, this is also relevant.

Portable, standby, and large inverter generators are some of the options available.

It is possible to manage and run hardwired equipment like central heat and air conditioning, well pumps, sump pumps, electric stoves, and water heaters using these three types of generators. These three types have enough juice to power your complete household. Check your breaker box for any of these and make sure they’ll function in the event of a power failure. When it comes to electrical work, only a qualified electrician should be called in.

  1. You Have Occasional Outages

You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a standby generator for your home if you don’t have to.

Portable and large inverter generators are among the options available.

If you live in an area where power outages occur frequently, you may not be able to afford the $10,000 or more it takes to buy and install a stationary device. As long as you don’t mind having to get your large inverter or portable generator out of the shed and hook it up during a power outage, you may save thousands of dollars. A transfer switch, however, is still required.

  1. You Rarely Lose Power

Even so, having a backup generator is a good idea for your own sanity.

  • Small inverter
  • Recreational inverter Types to Consider

As you can see in our interactive tool, midsized inverter generators offer enough power to run a refrigerator and a window AC or space heater. Portable variants are small enough to fit in the back of a truck and power a TV and a cooktop at the tailgate

Recommended Readings (Power Tools Bible)

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