PlanetGenerators.com / Buying Guide / Whole House Generators

Best Whole House Generator Reviews

Last updated September, 2019

generac whole house generatorA whole house generator can be a major investment, and that is why you want to be absolutely sure that you get the right product for your needs. For a home generator, you should have a solid unit that is going to power all of the primary appliances that you rely on every day. This is why we compiled this list of what we believe to be the best whole house generators on the market. If you scroll down below our comparison chart, you will find an our “definitive guide” detailing everything you could possibly want to know about standby and home generators with full reviews.

So, let’s get started!

Our Best Whole House Generator Reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line
Overall Score
Pros : This air-cooled generator will automatically turn on when your power goes out, and it is going to provide your home with up to 20,000 watts of power. It is also backed by a 5-year/2,000 hour warranty.
Cons : The biggest drawback of this generator is the fact that owners must go through an authorized service representative for all maintenance if they want to maintain the warranty.
Bottom Line : After installing this generator, you can rest assured that your home is going to have power when you need it the most. The built-in microchip will automatically activate the generator within 10 seconds of a power outage, and that makes it an ideal option for those who live in areas that frequently get major storms.
Overall Score:
​Installation - 9.0
Power - 9.5
​Noise - 9.5
​Efficiency - 9.0
Pros : In addition to having a solid 5-year warranty, this generator was also built with durability in mind. The 40484 produces a maximum of 20,000 watts, and owners will have more placement options because of its streamlined housing.
Cons : When purchasing the 40484, you must make sure that you have included all additional parts. The base unit doesn’t come with a transfer switch unless it is added to the order.
Bottom Line : Briggs & Stratton’s 40484 is a great generator for homeowners who want a robust unit that isn’t going to break the bank. This generator can easily be installed in just a few hours, and the durable Vanguard motor is going to last for years with the proper maintenance.
Overall Score:
​Installation - 9.0
Power - 9.5
​Noise - 8.0
​Efficiency - 8.5
Best Budget Buy
Generac 7033

Generac

7033

Pros : Generac is a world-renowned manufacturer, and the 7033 is one of their flagship units. The 7033 is easy to install, easy to maintain, and very affordable. The all-weather aluminum body was designed to stand up to the elements, and you can actively monitor the generator with Generac’s mobile app.
Cons : The 7033 isn’t as powerful as many other generators, and it might not be a good option for larger homes.
Bottom Line : In addition to being affordable, this generator is extremely rugged as well. As an added bonus, it also boasts cutting-edge sound dampening features that bring its operating noise level down.
Overall Score:
​Installation - 9.0
Power - 8.0
​Noise - 9.5
​Efficiency - 9.0
Pros : If you want to steer clear of noisy generators, then the 100294 standby generator might be for you. This quietest-in-class generator operates at 63 dBA, and it produces 14,000 watts on propane and 12,500 watts on natural gas.
Cons : The Champion Power Equipment 100294 is another generator that wasn’t designed for larger homes. It will power most basic appliances, but it might not keep your HVAC system running on natural gas.
Bottom Line : This is a great piece of machinery for smaller homes and off-the-grid cabins. At full load, it will consume around 2.6 gallons of fuel per hour, and that means an entry-level propane tank could get you through power outages that last for multiple days.
Overall Score:
​Installation - 9.0
Power - 7.0
​Noise - 8.0
​Efficiency - 9.5
Pros : The 76107 is rated at 25kW, and it is going to handle anything you throw at it. Its metal enclosure was designed to resist rust, hard impacts, and extreme temperatures.
Cons : Briggs & Stratton’s 76107 is on the larger side, and it might not be an ideal option for those who live on smaller pieces of property. Potential buyers should also note that the 76107 no longer comes with a remote oiling system.
Bottom Line : This generator is very easy to use, and buyers will be glad to hear that it is backed by a 5-year warranty. When your power goes out, the 76107 will immediately switch to natural gas or liquid propane, and the power management system is going to prioritize high-demand appliances.
Overall Score:
​Installation - 8.0
Power - 9.5
​Noise - 8.0
​Efficiency - 8.0

Whole House & Standby Generator Buying Guide

If you’ve ever felt the panic, anxiety, and nervousness that washes over whenever the power goes out for any longer than a blink of an eye you know exactly how important having an emergency whole home generator around can be.

Time after time, we’ve heard stories on the news – and maybe lived through these experiences firsthand – about people that have had to go days or even weeks without power because of natural disasters, horrific storms, or other emergency situations that couldn’t have been otherwise predicted.

Thankfully, generator technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. Today we are able to protect our home, our property, and our quality of life with a relatively minimal investment in a whole home generator (sometimes called a standby generator).

These investments not only give us power when we need it – power just like we enjoy when the grid is working the way it should be – but they also give us quite a bit of these of mind and a sense of safety and security we might not have had otherwise.

At the same time, finding the perfect whole home generator is never all that simple or straightforward, even without all the reviews available online.

Sure, there are more top-tier options available at fantastic prices now than ever before – but there are simply more options available now than ever before, too. This means we have to do a lot of research, a lot of digging, and a lot of investigating to be sure that we end up with a top rated whole house generator that will be happy with.

This quick guide will help you find the ideal generator for your needs, your budget, and your expectations!

Best Whole House Generator

(Almost) Everything You Need to Know about Whole Home Generators

whole house generator systemSome of the best whole house generators, standby generators, are designed to act as a passive backup system that automatically “flips a switch” in case your power goes down any than just a few seconds.

Immediately after a blackout has been detected that the generator senses that your power has been disconnected, and instantly (thanks to innovative new technology all modern units include) your generator goes into work seamlessly filling in those power gaps.

Because these generators are tied directly into the wiring of your property you get to use all of your electronic devices and appliances the same way you would have on a day to day basis. This is about as close to a set it and forget it emergency solution as you’re going to find on the market today!


Top 5 Whole House Generators on Amazon

Here’s How Whole House Generators Work

Though there are minute differences in all of the whole home/standby generator options available on the market today, all of them are broken down into two different components:

  • You have the automatic transfer switch responsible for detecting that a blackout has occurred and then triggering the generator to power on in the first place.
  • You have the actual generator itself responsible for producing the power that you’re going to consume while the grid remains down.

Obviously, both of these systems have two separate and totally distinct purposes but both of them have to be working in concert with one another to give you the kinds of results you are after.

Your automatic transfer switch needs to be able to detect that a power outage has occurred in the first place but it also needs to tell your generator to power on and supply “juice” as well.

On top of that, you need your generator to be able to interpret these signals correctly, to fire up almost instantly, and to continue producing power for your property until the automatic transfer switch relays the signal that power – traditional power – has been restored via the grid and to cut out production.

As long as both of these mechanisms are communicating with one another you’ll never again have to worry about going without power for any longer than just a few short seconds, regardless of what may be happening outside or what Mother Nature can conjure up.

how whole house generator works

Highlighting the Top Benefits of a Whole Home Generator

There are a lot of benefits you’ll be able to enjoy when you make the switch from a traditional backup generator system to a whole home/standby generator set up.

  • 1
    Right out of the gate, we have to mention just how nice it is to know that your generator is going to internally flip a switch and provide you with automatic power in emergency power outages without you having to handle any of the heavy lifting yourself. Unlike traditional backup generators that require you to turn them on these generators are designed to flip on instantly when needed and then turn off just as quickly when they aren’t needed any longer.
  • 2
    Secondly, these generators have been designed to provide your entire home with energy and electricity the same way that your great connection can. Traditional backup generators are designed to provide what a bit of extra juice, but only the loudest, most expensive, and most fuel hungry of them would ever be able to come close to powering your entire home.
  • 3
    Third, each of these standby generators have been designed to quite literally “stand by” without any degradation whatsoever. Because the generators are engineered with long periods of inactivity in mind you don’t have to perform all kinds of regular maintenance, you don’t have to worry about fuel spoiling, and you don’t have to worry about hassle and headache the way you do with a traditional generator set up.
  • 4
    Fourth, many of the best standby generators have usually been engineered to include amazing fuel efficiency compared to their more traditional brethren. These kinds of generators utilize higher-quality almost automotive style engines that aren’t going to guzzle fuel the way that other generators might.
  • 5
    Finally, these kinds of generators are designed to run an almost silent set up and are also engineered to be installed outside of your property. This helps you to avoid the loud, noisy, dirty, and smelly situations – not to mention potentially dangerous situations – that can involve running a generator indoors.

Breaking Down the Differences Between Portable and Standby Generators

  • Portable Vs. Standby Generators

Portable generators are a world apart from your traditional generator set up, but that doesn’t mean that they are somehow lesser than whole home/standby systems.

Portable generators work wonders to keep a handful of critical appliances up and running during an emergency situation but can also provide on the go power to campsites and job sites in a way that backup/whole home/standby generators cannot. These generators are designed specifically for short-term usage, can be switched on and off manually, and come in quite handy when you don’t need a lot of “always on” juice.

At the same time, even the best portable generators aren’t going to be able to provide a more permanent solution when you need to be guaranteed that your home will not go without power for long stretches of time.

These setups aren’t going to flip on automatically when a blackout is detected, aren’t going to run weekly self checks to make sure that they are constantly in perfect condition should they be pressed into action, and aren’t liquid cooled and do not take advantage of liquid propane or natural gas – fuel sources that allow them to run almost constantly without any degradation in performance or slip in efficiency.

You’re only going to get those benefits out of a best whole house or standby generator solutions.


  • Fuel Types Considerations You Have To Tackle

Traditional portable generators are usually going to run off of a handful of fuel sources, most commonly operating off of either gasoline, diesel, or propane.

Whole home/standby generators, however, can take advantage of different fuel sources that allow them to run for longer durations without blowing up your bank account, all while taking advantage of fuel sources that are already being delivered to your home as well.

  • Diesel fuel is one of the more popular choice since, providing quite a bit of high thermal efficiency so that you can get a lot of energy production for a lot less fuel. Diesel can be stored on site for longer durations of time without “turning”, and while you’ll have to come up with a storage and transport solution to get that fuel to your standby set up, it’s a safe and reliable fuel you can count on.
  • Natural gas (NG) is another fuel source commonly used in these whole home/standby generator systems, particularly for homes that are already having natural gas fuel delivered for other uses (like heating, for example). Having a natural gas generator is tremendously cost-effective solution that offers a lot of power density and if the fuel sources already on site the initial installation process is a quick plumbing project.
  • Liquid propane systems (LP) are being installed more frequently than ever before, in large part because the fuel simply isn’t ever going to spoil no matter how long it sits in storage. While the fuel does have to be stored separately (the same way that diesel would), this is one of the most impressive fuel sources for those that want to be guaranteed their investment in fuel for their generator never goes bad before it gets used.
  • Multi fuel systems can provide a certain level of redundancy that gives a lot more safety, a lot more security, and a lot more peace of mind to those that invest in this technology. When you have a whole home/standby generator that can utilize a number of different fuels all in the same system you won’t have to worry about hunting for fuel that may become scarce or not being able to use your generator at all.

Whole House Generator FAQ

Are whole home generators even worth the investment?

This is the kind of question that only you are going to be able to answer for yourself.

At the same time, there’s a reason why the whole home/standby generator industry has been growing by leaps and bounds in just the last few years. People want to make sure that in the event of an emergency situation they do not go without power, especially considering how important it is to have electricity on a consistent basis these days.

The odds are pretty good that if you’re looking to protect yourself, your family, and your property in an emergency a whole home/standby generator is the right investment to make.

Just how big of a generator do I actually need?

When it comes to whole home/standby generators size most definitely matters. It’s critically important that you get your hands on a generator that can deliver enough power to run everything on your electrical circuits, and that’s something that is best figured out with the help of professional electricians.

Sure, you could go the DIY route to try and figure out the kilowatt rating you need your generator to be able to meet. But if you’re going to make this investment in the first place is not a bad idea to have a professional electrician help you dial things in so that you never run the risk of getting a generator too small for the task at hand.

How far away from my home should I store my generator?

There are a couple of different things you need to consider when you are looking for a place to locate your generator, including:

  • That the location is easy to access for maintenance and repair as well as installation.
  • That the location is within all code and zoning requirements for your municipality.
  • That the location provides adequate ventilation and access to your fuel supply.
  • That the location is close enough to your home for automatic transfer switch detection but far enough away to avoid potential emergencies caused by the generator itself.

These kinds of generators are almost always installed by professionals and you’ll want to take their advice about where to best situate your generator. Usually, these pieces of technology will be closer to your home the end you thought but always far enough away to be safe.

Will this generator add any extra value to my property?

Again, this is kind of subjective as the person that ends up purchasing your property is either going to consider this to be a game-changing addition that protects them in an emergency or a nice little perk that doesn’t really move the needle for them one way or another.

At the end of the day, however, most homebuyers are really going to appreciate the fact that they have a built-in system ready to protect them and their family in the event of an emergency. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting at least your money back when you go to sell your home.

How long will my generator last before needing to be replaced?

You should be able to expect more than 3000 hours of usage (125 DAYS of continuous operation) out of a whole home/standby generator but can frequently get even more than that if you regularly maintain your equipment the way it should be maintained.

As a general rule, top-tier manufacturers of this equipment expect that their generators are going to last in excess of 30 years before they should be swapped out – and some of the high-end models are designed to last at least 50 years before replacement even has to be considered.


Final Thoughts...

If you want to be sure that you aren’t ever left unprotected in an emergency situation, and want to guarantee that you always have access to electricity no matter what might be happening to the grid around you, a whole home/standby generator is the way to go.

Use the inside information we’ve provided through out this quick guide to find a top-tier whole home/standby generator. It isn’t a decision you’ll ever regret making!

Best Whole House Generator
The Best Whole House Generators on The Market
5
Perfect!
These generators are relatively inexpensive for the return on the investment they provide. They are fuel-efficient (for the most part), durable and dependable, and about as close to a set it and forget it piece of emergency technology as you are going to find today.
Available at Amazon

Last update on 2019-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API