As a homeowner, one of the best investments you can make is a whole house standby generator. Our homes are usually connected by energy utility companies. However, there are many times, where you can face power blackouts due to many reasons such as tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms.
In such situations, a standby generator is the best thing to have around in your home that ensures that you’re not plunged in the dark and you have all your amenities up and running, even though there is a power outage for extended periods of time.
A well-built, sturdy and durable standby generator provides you with stable and consistent power supply for prolonged periods of time. However, there are several types of whole house generators available in the market that have varied capabilities and it is very important that you select a system that suits your particular requirements perfectly and the the whole house generator you buy also fits into your budget.
Top 9 Standby Whole House Generators Review
|Image||Generator Reviews||Max Power|
|Briggs & Stratton 40346||35 hp (26 kW)||Check Price|
|Kohler 20RESAL 200SELS||32 hp (23.8 kW)||Check Price|
|Generac 6438||11 kW||Check Price|
|Generac 7042||22 kW||Check Price|
|Briggs & Stratton 40484||20kW||Check Price|
|Champion Power Equipment 100174||8.5 kW||Check Price|
|Champion Power Equipment 100179||12.5 kW||Check Price|
|Briggs & Stratton 40532||12 kW||Check Price|
|Briggs & Stratton 40445||8 kW||Check Price|
Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator: Best Whole House Generator
The Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator is an excellent whole-house generator that can protect your family from power outages. It is especially suitable for powering homes that are large in size and provides flexible and reliable power options to meet the requirements of your home.
The Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator is powered by a commercial-grade 35 HP heavy-duty Vanguard engine that can take on the toughest jobs. The Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator can run all the appliances in your home and also 2 air conditioners. The smart generator detects a power outage and comes on automatically.
The easy to use Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator does not occupy a lot of space; however, it is meant to be an outdoor unit. The generator has been approved as per the National Fire Protection Agency standards and the 20-kilowatt generator can be placed close to around 18-inches from your home.
The generator is enclosed within a rust-resistant Galvanneal steel structure that makes the unit very durable. Ideal for medium-sized to large homes, the Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator is reliable and built to last. The Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator is a sturdy and tough unit that offers excellent value.
Features of the Briggs and Stratton 40346 Generator
- 35 HP Vanguard engine.
- Dual fuel, runs on liquid propane or natural gas.
- Tested as per NFPA standards.
- Quick response system.
- Transfer switch makes it very easy to install (flexible, outdoor, indoor or climate).
- Comes with a 5-year limited warranty on parts and 4-year guarantee on labor.
Kohler 20RESAL 200SELS Generator: Most Reliable Standby Generator
If you’re looking for a generator to power your moderate-sized home, then you can consider the Kohler 20RESAL 200SELS Generator. The generator is powerful, reliable and fairly quiet when running, making it an excellent investment.
The generator automatically starts working within 10 seconds of a power outage and automatically shuts down when the power is restored. The generator has very low levels of THD (total harmonic distortion), which makes it suitable to run your laptops, smartphones, flat screen TVs, etc. The unit can also be set up so that you can monitor it online and get text messages.
The controller has LED indicators and an LCD display that has various features such as voltage, the status of the generator, frequency and it also gives you maintenance reminders. The Kohler 20RESAL 200SELS Generator is a good-looking model and runs very well too. The polymer enclosure of the generator is rust-proof, resistant to corrosion, can withstand harsh conditions and helps to reduce the sound of the generator.
The generator enclosure has a hinged top cover that can be locked, via which you can access the controller and also the various parts of the generator such as the oil filter, oil dipstick, filler and other parts. Overall, the Kohler 20RESAL 200SELS Generator is a great generator offering excellent power and motor-starting capability and is definitely a great buy.
Features of the Kohler 20RESAL 200SELS Generator
- Powered by a Command Pro 1000cc 32 HP engine.
- 20-kilowatt air-cooled whole-house generator.
- 100-amp automatic transfer switch.
- 100% corrosion-resistant enclosure.
- Dual fuel generator that can work on propane or natural gas.
- EPA and CARB approved.
- Comes with a 5-year or 2000-hour limited warranty.
Generac 6438 Generator: Most Advanced Standby Generator
If you’re looking for an advanced “go to” generator to power your home, then the Generac 6438 Generator is a wonderful choice. This dual fuel generator can run either on natural gas or propane. The 11000-watt Generac 6438 Generator produces clean energy that can you can use safely to run your sensitive appliances and devices.
The generator unit starts up seamlessly as soon as a power outage is detected. The V-twin air-cooled generator gives reliable and trouble-free operation and can handle heavy loads such as a large-size house with 2/3rd of the appliances running and also the pool filter working.
The generator has excellent features such as an evolution controller which contains an LCD display, an inbuilt hour meter and a dual line. The Generac 6438 Generator is quite digitally advanced compared to other generator models. Also, the maintenance of the unit, oil change, etc. is quite easy.
Overall, the Generac 6438 Generator is a reliable and good-looking generator. And, at the “quite an affordable” price point, the Generac 6438 Generator is a fantastic buy.
Features of the Generac 6438 Generator
- 11000-watts (rated).
- The dual fuel generator can run on liquid propane or natural gas.
- 200-amp Smart Transfer Switch.
- No manual start and hands-free operation.
- True Power Technology provides clean power for safe operation of sensitive electronics.
- CUL, EPA, UL and CARB compliant.
- Comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Generac 7042 Guardian Series Generator: Best Standby Generator For Home Use
An extremely powerful generator, the Generac 7042 Generator is similar to the other models in the Guardian Series. The generator can power all the facilities in a large size home easily. The 22,000 watts output of the Generac 7042 Guardian Series Generator makes this generator the largest and most powerful air-cooled model in the market.
Although the Generac 7042 Guardian Series Generator is very large, it can be installed easily like the other generator models from Generac and it can be installed at a distance of around 18-inches from the external wall of your home safely.
The Mobile Link Remote feature allows you to connect and monitor your generator via your smartphone, computer or tablet devices. The generator starts as soon as it senses a power outage and it has other features like overload protection. The Generac 7042 Guardian Series Generator is very low-maintenance; the oil and the filters of the unit are easily accessible and it is equipped with status indicators that allow you to change all the things whenever required.
Overall, the Generac 7042 Guardian Series Generator is a reliable generator offering excellent performance, which makes it a wise investment for a large-sized home in the long run.
Features of the Generac 7042 Guardian Series Generator
- True Power Technology.
- Aluminum housing.
- Air cooled.
- THD less than 5%.
- Mobile Link Remote allows online monitoring.
- Automatic test cycles.
- CARB compliant.
- Comes with a 5-year warranty.
Briggs & Stratton 40484 Generator: Best Convenient Standby Generator
If you are on the lookout for a generator that allows you to provide power in your home to run all your appliances reliably and safely, then the Briggs & Stratton 40484 Generator is your best bet. The 20-kilowatt generator features a Symphony II Power Management System and it also has an Automatic Transfer Switch that allows you to run all your large appliances like your refrigerator, air conditioner, etc. and also your small appliances, lights, etc.
Compared to the other models in this category, the Briggs & Stratton 40484 Generator produces lesser noise (almost 50% lesser) and you can run it at any time of the day without disturbing your neighbors. The Briggs & Stratton 40484 Generator can be installed 18-inches from your home safely as it meets all the fire safety standards.
The generator is equipped with a weather-resistant transfer switch that helps to manage the load effectively and keeps the generator running even in rough weather conditions. The generator is equipped with an automatic detection system that turns on the generator as soon a power outage is detected.
Features of the Briggs & Stratton 40484 Generator
- Quick Response.
- NFPA standard compliant.
- Allows flexible placement.
- Includes a transfer switch.
- Comes with a 4-year limited warranty for labor and parts.
Champion Power Equipment 100174 Generator: The Quietest Standby Generator
The advanced Champion Power Equipment 100174 Generator is an excellent generator that provides power to meet the wide range of electrical demands of your home. The dual fuel generator can be powered either using propane or natural gas as fuel.
The generator starts up automatically when it senses a power blackout and shuts down when the power is restored. The Champion Power Equipment 100174 Generator provides consistent and reliable power that keeps all your electronic devices running and prevents them from being damaged in between any power blackouts.
You can now get consistent power in all types of weather conditions – hot or cold, thanks to the automatic transfer switch. The engine of the generator is protected by a steel weather-resistant casing. The battery charger present onboard maintains the charge all the time, which ensures that you have starting power whenever you need it.
The generator unit performs self-diagnostic tests on a weekly basis and the steel enclosure helps to protect the unit from harsh environmental conditions. The low-tone muffler and lining that is sound-dampening help to reduce the noise of the generator when it is in operation. In fact, at 59.5 decibels, the Champion Power Equipment 100174 Generator is the quietest generator in its category. So, now with the Champion Power Equipment 100174 Generator, you can enjoy complete peace of mind during a power outage.
Features of the Champion Power Equipment 100174 Generator
- 439cc OHV engine provides 7.5 kW of power on natural gas and 8.5 kW on propane.
- Works on 50-amp and a 10-circuit connection.
- Weight: 460 lbs.
- Noise 59.5 decibels.
- Less than 5 percent THD (total harmonic distortion)
- Gull wing design for easy access of the control panel and engine.
- Comes with free lifetime technical support and a 10-year limited warranty.
Champion Power Equipment 100179 12.5 kW Standby Generator
If you’re on the lookout for a simple solution for all your power outage problems, then you should definitely consider the Champion Power Equipment 100179 Standby Generator which is equipped with an ATS100 transfer switch. Whenever there is a power outage, the generator will start automatically and shuts off when the power is restored.
The dual-fuel generator is equipped with a 717cc engine that gives 11kW of continuous power on propane and 12.5 kW on natural gas. The Champion Power 100179 Generator is equipped with a 24V starting system that can operate in a wide range of temperatures from -22°F-104°F and does not require a warming kit to start. The generator has an onboard battery charger that provides the starting power required in case of an emergency. The generator does not need any refueling as it connected to the natural gas or propane connection.
The generator unit facilitates easy installation and includes a composite, all-weather mounting pad and the steel enclosure helps to protect the generator. The gull-wing design of the Champion Power 100179 allows you to access the control panel and engine easily. The generator is extremely quiet as it features a low-tone muffler and a sound-dampening lining which reduces the noise via the unique baffle system. In fact, the noise level of the generator is equivalent to a normal conversation.
Now, you can enjoy complete peace of mind knowing that your family is safe and secure in case of a power outage thanks to the Champion Power 100179.
Features of the Champion Power Equipment 100179 Generator
- Provides 12.5 kW continuous power.
- Equipped with a 717cc OHV engine with an electric start.
- Automatic 21 circuit, 99-amp transfer switch.
- Composite all-weather mounting.
- All-weather steel enclosure.
- Noise produced: 63 decibels.
- Dual fuel, works on natural gas and propane.
- Comes with a 5-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support.
- Comes with cUL and UL listing (available in the US and Canada)
Briggs & Stratton 40532 12000-Watt Standby Generator: Best Value Standby Generator
The Briggs & Stratton 40532 Standby Generator is a 12000-watt generator that can handle all the power needs of your home effortlessly. The generator has a powerful engine and an excellently built box, which can be maintained very easily.
The generator is equipped with the Symphony II Management System that helps to save fuel and money in the long run. The generator has 4 transfer switches that you can choose from according to your requirements. The generator can run on both liquid propane as well as natural gas; however, using propane can give you more power.
The Briggs & Stratton 40532 Generator is compliant as per the NFPA 37 standards, which allows you to place the unit 18-inches away from your home safely and this makes the generator perfect with homes with tight lot lines. The generator is suitable for working in areas that have low natural gas pressure and it can work at 3.5-7-inches water column.
So, if you’re looking for a generator to keep the refrigerator and all the lights running in your home, then the Briggs & Stratton 40532 Generator is the one to buy.
Features of the Briggs & Stratton 40532 Generator
- Symphony II Power Management System.
- Compact and ergonomic design.
- Commercial-grade Vanguard engine.
- Rust-resistant enclosure made of Galvanneal steel.
- NFPA 37 compliant.
- Comes with a 5-year labor and parts warranty.
Briggs & Stratton 40445 8000-Watt Generator: Best Budget Standby Generator
If you’re looking for a standby generator for your home that is a budget and affordable buy, then the Briggs & Stratton 40445 Generator is an excellent option. This “essentials only” generator is sure to keep some of the electronic appliances and lights powered in your home in the case of a power outage.
The Briggs & Stratton 40445 Generator offers 8000-watts of rated power when you’re using propane, with gas it provides 6000-watts. The generator is fairly quiet when in operation and the high-quality motor with an excellent alternator guarantees the durability and long life of the generator.
The generator’s enclosure is made of durable automotive-grade galvanneal steel that is resistant to corrosion and rust and ensures several years of protection from abrasions and chips. The Vanguard engine of the generator is very high-quality and the alternator intake ducting and muffler design ensures that the running of the generator is quieter by 60 percent.
The Briggs & Stratton 40445 Generator has quite a compact and ergonomic design and it is compliant with the NFPA 37 standards, which makes it safe for placement as close as 18-inches from your home.
Features of the Briggs & Stratton 40445 Generator
- Reliable Briggs & Stratton engine.
- Auto Transfer Switch.
- NFPA 37 compliant.
- Generator closure made of rust-resistant, durable Galvanneal steel.
- Many access panels and user-friendly control panel.
- Comes with 4-years comprehensive warranty on labor, parts and limited warranty on travel.
- Comes with a 5-year warranty on labor, parts and a limited warranty for travel.
Buying and installing a whole house standby generator is a large investment and quite a huge task. However, this is quite a good investment decision, especially if you want to lower your power dependence. And, once you have your generator in place, you can sit back and enjoy complete peace of mind now that your life can go on uninterrupted even if there is a major power outage.
Why Do You Need a Whole House Standby Generator?
Many times, homeowners have a generator around the home in order to meet the extra power needs whenever it is required. However, a whole house standby generator is not an equipment that handles the power needs of just a couple of rooms but is meant to run your entire home in the case of a power blackout.
Power outages are quite unpredictable and can occur when you least expect it. At such times, you need to compromise on your schedule or on the quality of life. This is where a whole house standby generator becomes very beneficial. It provides the much-required power so that your life and work is not interrupted while the power is being restored. Whole house generators ensure the seamless work at your home or workplace.
Whole house standby generators usually are connected to the gas lines or they work on propane and are designed in such a way that they switch on as soon as they detect a power outage. A good generator will have your power back in just a few seconds and this helps to reduce any damage that can occur to your appliances due to a sudden power shut off.
Whole house standby generators have become quite common even in normal homes; however, most of the users of these types of generators are people who live in areas that have a greater probability of storms, hurricanes, etc., where power outages can happen for several days causing food to go bad, lack of heating, etc.
Advantages of Whole House Standby Generators
Many times, homeowners face various power issues at home. In the case of a power outage, which is restored in a few hours, you will be able to sustain the work at home or your workplace. However, if there is no power for days or weeks together, then the situation can become quite difficult and you need a reliable power source that can keep the lights in your home and few essential electronic appliances in working condition.
Making use of portable generators is advantageous to some extent, as the ability of these units is limited to just very few rooms and they can run few appliances at a time. One option is to have many portable generators, which can help you maintain a certain level of working. On the other hand, having a whole house standby generator can help to power the entire home at one shot instead of you having to set up and get several generators running and also take care of their maintenance, etc.
Another major benefit of having a whole house generator is that you can place the unit outside your home just like an air conditioner unit. However, portable generators need to be stored in a safe area within the home to prevent the theft of the unit. Since a whole house generator is large in size and usually weighs around 500 lbs., it cannot be moved very easily and the weight, as well as the size of the unit, usually deters any theft. And, although the whole house standby generators do weigh a lot, they are quite compact and do not really occupy a lot of space.
Another important advantage of whole house generators is that they offer significant cost savings. These generators help to prevent the damage of electrical circuits, especially when the power goes off and when the primary energy source is restored. This is particularly very important when you are not at home, especially for extended periods and you are not present to unplug your sensitive electronic devices and appliances.
Although the cost of investing in a whole house standby generator is quite a lot more than some models of large-sized portable generators, the value of a whole house generator is much more than an investment in portable generators and is definitely a wise investment to make.
Things to Consider When Investing in a Whole House Standby Generator
Although the most important aspect that you would consider when making an investment in a whole house generator is the value for money that you get. However, this should not be your sole criterion for evaluation and there are other important factors that you should consider before you buy a whole house generator for your home. It is a good idea to do some due diligence and research before you zero in on your choice, instead of just buying one off the cuff, a decision that you might regret later on.
A very important aspect that you must consider is your power requirement. In the case of a power outage, do you require a generator that will run your entire home or just handle emergency leads? Ideally, you should make a list of all the devices in your home, consider the ones that are essential and you definitely want to work in the case of a power outage. Also, determine the amount of energy that will be required to keep these electronic appliances and devices working.
Most often, the refrigerator, air conditioning, heating systems and the freezer consume the most amount of energy as compared to other appliances. However, you should take into account all the appliances you wish to run. With a whole house standby generator, of course, it is not really feasible to run your entire home’s appliances; however, it can definitely power most of the essential appliances you require.
While calculating the power requirements of the various appliances in your home, you must remember that to start the appliances, a lot of power is required than to just run them. So, you must plan for this extra wattage that is needed to start up the appliances. Ensure that the wattage measurement specified on the generator unit is not just the maximum. The devices can definitely work at this level but are more likely to fail. If the product does not mention a running measurement, then it is a good idea to take the running wattage at 90 percent of the maximum capacity.
Source of Fuel
Usually, whole house standby generators can run on natural gas, diesel or on liquid propane. You will require an electrician and a plumber to come in, install the generator and also ensure that the generator is hooked to the gas line properly and safely. Natural gas is a good option if you require to use it to get through a couple of storms or for a short period of time. The cost of setting up a natural gas supply for your standby generator is a bit expensive; however, once the setup is complete, you don’t really need to be worried about running out of fuel.
On the other hand, propane requires some storage room; however, you can have your peace of mind and not really have any worries if there is a utility shut off, as long as you have sufficient supplies of propane. Propane is also an ideal fuel if you want to remain off-grid. Although running your standby generator on propane is quite expensive, if you have a decent supply of propane, it can help you tide over in the case of an emergency for quite some time.
Although gasoline is a convenient fuel option, it is not popularly used for standby generators as it has a very short shelf life.
The location of the generator is an important factor to consider. It should be placed in an area where the unit is easily accessible in case of any repair or maintenance. The unit should be placed high enough so that any rising water will not reach the generator. In case the standby generator is installed on rooftops or outdoors, it should meet the requirements for minimum distance from building openings or walls. In the case you want to install the generator indoors, then it should meet the requirements for ventilation, fuel supply, exhaust ducting, etc. Ideally, the standby whole house generator should be located in a place where the fuel supply and transfer switch are easily accessible.
Transfer switches usually come with automatic standby generator units. A transfer switch is a very important part of the whole house standby generator and unless the unit comes with the transfer switch when you buy it, you will have to purchase a transfer switch separately. The transfer switch is very essential because when the power goes off, the switch also goes off, thereby starting the generator to ensure that you have power and you’re back online immediately.
The size of the transfer switch and the location of installation of the switch is usually determined by the electrician installing the generator and depends on the kind of loads that your generator can handle.
Installing a whole house standby generator is a major project and you must not attempt to do it on your own. You will require an electrician to install the generator for you, which will incur some labor cost. However, it is a good idea to spend some money and have your generator installed properly for peace of mind.
If you are planning to buy a generator that you want to run on natural gas, then you will need a plumber to ensure that the gas line is properly fixed to the generator, as improper installation can be extremely hazardous.
You may also have to incur some labor cost to install a concrete platform or some gravel laid for the placement of the standby generator and ensure that everything has the required approvals.
The local laws and regulations of your area may mandate that you have certain building permits in place and also other legal requirements when installing a whole house standby generator. Ensure that you check with the contractor installing your generator that everything is in order, as not meeting the regulations can add to the cost of your generator installation in the form of fines.
Another aspect that you must consider is that if you plan to install your standby generator outdoors, is if your area has a noise ordinance. Certain areas have a mandate that limits the sound level of a standby generator to be within a specific decibel level. If there is a specific ordinance of sound requirement, then the sound level limit will determine the enclosure of the generator unit. Residential generators come along with a standard sound reducing enclosure, while heavy-duty industrial generator units come with varied enclosure types including weather-proof enclosures to customized ones depending on the requirements.
Buying a standby generator with additional features can help to increase the convenience of using the unit. Some models have a remote panel that can be located indoors and provides the status of the generator. Some models offer remote monitoring and cold weather kits, etc.
Usually, whole house standby generators come with warranties ranging from 1-5 years depending on the manufacturer, brand and type of generator. Generators for homes usually come with warranties ranging between 2-5 years, while an industrial model can come with 1-2 years warranty with an option to upgrade. Having a warranty offers a lot of peace of mind in case of any repairs or defects.
Maintenance of your whole house standby generator is very important and just like any other equipment, your generator also needs proper and periodic maintenance, upkeep to ensure that it is in optimal working condition and that it will start up promptly when you need it during a power outage.
Many times, generators are neglected when they are not used. This may result in the failure of the equipment, especially at a critical time when you need it the most. So, whether you do it yourself or get a professional to maintain your standby generator, it is a good idea to keep your generator properly maintained and in top working condition to ensure its reliable and fail-free performance.
Buying a standby generator for your home can be quite a mind boggling decision, especially since there are so many brands, models and types of generators available in the market. Also, buying a whole house generator is a long-term decision that you should not make in a hurry. In this review, we have attempted to evaluate 10 models of whole house standby generator models on basis of their features and their pros and cons. You must carefully evaluate the various options available in order to determine the one that is right for you and choose one that will provide reliable and efficient service for many years to come.