Generators Help During Power Outages!
Since hurricane Sandy, many homeowners found themselves without power for long periods of time. If you have experienced a power outage in your area, you might want to consider having a generator which can provide you with some power while you are waiting for the power company to restore power to your home. The portable and stationary generators will provide you with some information and recommendations for both types of generators that have been tested and rated by Consumer Reports, an independent company you can trust when it comes to evaluation of consumer products.
Generator models come in two types. They are portable (movable) and standby or stationary (unmovable). We will provide information on both types for easy reference.
Portable and Standby Generators Video
Below is a short video showing you some of the basic differences between portable and standby generators.
Take a look!
Portable and Standby Generators
In general, from the perspective of convenience, cost and safety, portable generators are less expensive, easier to move around but more dangerous because of the fuel used to run them, usually gasoline. Some models use propane gas.
Also, you are restricted to the number of appliances you can have running during an outage. The portable generators have a limited number of outlets available for this purpose. You will have to decide on which appliances will be connected to the generator when an outage strikes. They will require using proper extension cords that reach the generator. You may want to consider using different colors to know which appliance is connected to which outlet on the generator.
You will have to do some homework to determine the total watts required to keep the appliances running during an outage and purchase a generator that has that number of rated watts.
Stationary or Standby Generators
Besides being more expensive, stationary or standby generators must be installed by a professional since they operate on natural gas or liquid propane. However, they will be able to provide power to your whole house during an outage and will automatically come on even while you are away from your home. They come with higher rated watts that will provide enough power for your whole house.
Consumer Reports does an annual testing of products and generators are included. They have rated 46 models. We have included some of the key features to be considered for generators and have compared several generators for your consideration.
The features rated for every model includes overall score, ease of use, power delivery, noise, power quality and run time range in hours. You should be able to find a generator that fits your budget.
Portable and Standby Generator Safety Video
It is always wise to know all about portable and standby generators before making your purchase. It is important to know the safety rules when running one of these units. which also includes safety. Below is an excellent video showing you how to properly use these units.
Portable and Standby Generator Safety Video
Here’s how we define the rated features.
- Overall Score: Based on power delivery, power quality, run time, noise, and ease of use.
- Ease of Use: Includes starting, transport, and helpful features such as fuel shutoff.
- Power Delivery: How much wattage models delivered and how well they handled surges in power demand over various loads.
- Noise: Measured at 23 and 50 feet from the generator. Use hearing protection when standing close to the generator.
- Power Quality: A generators ability to deliver power smoothly, with consistent voltage.
- Run Time Range: The average of how long a generator ran, over various loads, on a full tank of gasoline or diesel fuel, a 20 pound tank for propane-based portables, or a 250 gallon propane tank for stationary models.
Based on reviews by consumer and tests performed by Consumer reports, the following models were identified and received a very good score are listed below. The rating scale used is as follows: 1-20 Poor, 21-40 Fair, 41-60 Good, 61-80 Very Good, 81-100 Excellent. The rating score of the unit is in (). The units that are recommended or a best buy are indicated in .
- Honda EU7000is (79) [Recommended]
- Rigid RD906812B (78) [Best Buy]
- Kohler PRO7.5E (73) [Recommended]
- Generac RS7000E (72) [Best Buy]
- Troy-Bilt XP7000 30477 (72) [Best Buy]
- Honda EM6500SXK2 (70) [Recommended]
- BlackMax BM90700B (70) [Recommended]
- Briggs & Stratton 30470 (69) [Best Buy]
- Briggs & Stratton 30549 (69) [Recommended]
- Westinghouse WH7500E (69) [Recommended]
- Honda EU6500iS (69) [Recommended]
- Predator 68530 (68) [Best Buy]
- Generac GP5500 5939 (67) [Best Buy]
- North Star 165603 (66) [Recommended]
- Champion 41537 (66) [Recommended]
- Yamaha EF7200DE (65) [Recommended]
- Powermate PMD146500 (65) [Recommended]
Small Stationary Generators
- Kohler 8.5 RES-QS7 (92) [Recommended]
- Generac 6237 (91) [Best Buy]
- Generac CorePower 5837 (77) [Recommended]
- Briggs & Stratton 40445 (73) [Tested – No Recommendation]
Large Stationary Generators
- Cummins 13GSBA-6722B (93) [Recommended]
- Kohler 14RESAL (93) [Recommended]
- Generac 6241 (91) [Recommended]
- Briggs & Stratton 40401 (86) [Recommended]
- GE 40324 (83) [Tested – No Recommendation]
- GE 40448 (74) [Tested – No Recommendation]
Getting Familiar With Generator
It is very important that you read the owner’s manual before you even start or use your generator for the first time. Become familiar with the maintenance that’s required in keeping your unit in tip top shape. By performing the regular maintenance you keep the warranty in effect. Some of the maintenance will require you to change the oil at regular intervals and filters.
It is wise to keep a backup supply of these items on hand for emergencies. If you have a gasoline powered model, store the fuel in the proper containers. Add a gasoline stabilizer to the gas to preserve it longer. Otherwise, you will have to get fresh gas every thirty (30) days and dispose of the old gas according to local ordinances.
Buy a generator that has sufficient outlets for your needs.
It’s highly recommend that you perform a test run if you have a portable generator to ensure everything is running smoothly and you will know what to do when the power actually goes out. This will help you from panicking when an actual storm hits and an outage strikes. You may need to keep a flashlight handy so you can safely get to the generator in the dark if the outage occurs at night.
In some cases, for portable generators, you may have to run the generator once for ten minutes every thirty days. Verify your models requirements by reviewing the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your unit.
Before purchasing a generator determine the total wattage requirements for all household appliances first.