When does the hurricane season start?
According to NOAA, the Atlantic hurricane season starts on the 1st of June and continues till the 30th of November. The period for Pacific hurricane season is almost the same. However, nothing concrete can be said about Mother Nature. A hurricane may come a month early or arrive late. It is best to keep in touch with the weather news and ensure that you act timely before the arrival of a hurricane.
Why buy a generator for Hurricanes?
Hurricanes are the most common natural disaster across the US. The likes of hurricane Sandy and Katrina have wreaked havoc on infrastructure across the country. The first thing that happens after a hurricane strikes is a power outage. To deal with the long-term power outages, you need an alternate power source. A generator during a hurricane will keep your life running. You can stay connected with the world through TV and social media, keep your essential appliances such as refrigerator, well pump, heating system running, and sleep peacefully in the summer/winter season. Apart from a generator, many other things need to be taken care of, but an alternate power source is the first.
This review will present you with some of the best generators you can use during hurricane season. We have done considerable research on the best hurricane generators and included standby units, conventional portable generators (single and dual fuel), and inverters. This article will also focus on a buying guide and FAQs to help you select the best generator for a hurricane season.
Hurricane Generators Compared
Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator
Champion Power Equipment 100555 Portable Generator
DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered Portable Generator
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Portable Generator
Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator
Rainier R12000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Briggs and Stratton Q6500 Inverter Generator
Hurricane Generator Reviews
1. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator – Best Conventional Generator for Hurricane
Generator Type: This Westinghouse WGen7500 is one of the best generators to use in hurricane season. It is a gas-powered portable conventional generator.
Starting Mechanism: It offers three different start options. One is recoil, and the other two include electric and remote start mechanisms. The remote start option comes with a key fob that allows you to control the unit from up to 109 yards away.
Engine Power and Output Power: A powerful 420cc Westinghouse 4-stroke OHV engine features a cast iron sleeve that can generate higher output power of 9500 peak watts and 7500 rated watts.
Fuel Tank Volume and Runtime: Its 6.6-gallon fuel tank can run the generator up to 16 hours at quarter load.
Noise Level: The operational noise of this WGen7500 is 73 dB (A).
Control Panel: It features a data center through which you can easily monitor the volts, frequency, and runtime of the generator. Also, there is a battery indicator light and, four GFCI-protected 120V AC 20A outlets, and one 120/240 AC 30A twist-lock outlet. All these outlets are covered for safety and protection.
GFCI outlets protect users from getting engaged with electric shocks. It is a circuit-breaker that turns off the electric power when it senses an electrical fault.
Safety: GFCI protected outlets and low-oil shutdown sensor. The low-oil shutdown feature is responsible for switching off the engine when it realizes that the oil level is sliding down.
Weight and Certifications: Westinghouse WGen7500 is both CARB (California Air Resources Board) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certified that weighs 201 pounds.
Warranty Period: It offers a warranty period of 3 years.
Portability: You can quickly move the unit with two durable wheels and a fold-down handle.
2. Champion Power Equipment 100555 Portable Generator – RV Ready Generator
Generator Type: Champion 100555 is an RV-ready portable conventional generator that runs on gas.
Noise Level: It operates at a decibel rating of 68 dB (A).
Starting Mechanism: You only have a recoil start option to start the generator. It also features a cold start technology that starts the engine in no time during winters.
Engine Power and Output Power: This Champion 100555 model can produce 4375 watts of starting power and 3500 watts of running power. It has a powerful and reliable 208cc Champion OHV engine.
Fuel Tank Volume and Runtime: On a full 4.7 gasoline tank, you can get up to 12-hour runtime at half load.
Control Panel: Its control panel has an intelligauge that functions the same as the data center. Also, covered power outlets include two 120V AC 20A household outlets, one 120V AC 30A RV-ready outlet, and one 120V AC 30A twist-lock outlet.
Safety: Volt Guard and automatic low-oil shutdown system. Volt Guard is responsible for protecting your appliances and equipment from power surges.
Warranty Period: It includes a 3-year limited warranty. Also, free lifetime technical support is available.
Portability: Champion 100555 does not come with wheels, but two carrying handles help you to move the unit easily.
Weight and Certifications: It is also EPA certified and CARB approved and weighs 110 pounds.
3. DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered Portable Generator – Best for Camping
Generator Type: DuroStar DS4000S is also an RV-ready portable conventional generator that is gas-powered.
Weight and Certifications: This power generation unit’s weight is 94 pounds, and it is both EPA and CARB compliant.
Starting Mechanism: It also has the same recoil start mechanism.
Engine Power and Output Power: A 208cc 4-stroke OHV engine powers DuroStar DS4000S. Its engine power is the same as the Champion 100555, but its power output is slightly lower. It can produce 4000 starting and 3300 running watts.
Noise Level: Super quiet muffler keeps the engine noise at 69 dB (A).
Control Panel: The control panel includes an engine switch, a voltmeter, two 120V AC 20A outlets, and one 120V AC 30A outlet.
Fuel Tank Volume and Runtime: Its 4-gallon fuel tank capacity is lower than the Champion 100555. It offers up to 8 hours of runtime at half load.
Safety: Low-oil shutoff and surge arrest features make this generator quite safe to use. Surge arrest protects the unit from power surges. Also, a built-in spark arrestor shields the generator and surroundings from sparks.
Warranty Period: 3-year limited warranty.
Portability: DuroStar DS4000S also doesn’t come with wheels. There are carrying handles that make the generator easy to move.
4. Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi Portable Inverter Generator – Inverter Generator
Generator Type: This Honda Power Equipment EU3000i Handi is a portable inverter generator that runs on gas.
Starting Mechanism: Recoil start system
Engine Power and Output Power: It is featured with a 163cc Honda GX160 engine responsible for generating 3000 watts of power.
Its advanced inverter technology provides clean AC power so that you can power your most delicate electronics.
Parallel Operation: Honda EU3000i is also parallel capable. It means you can double the output power by combining another inverter generator.
Fuel Tank Volume and Runtime: Your unit can keep running for 7.7 hours at quarter load on a 1.6-gallon fuel tank.
Eco-Throttle System: It features an eco-throttle system that controls the speed of the engine. It automatically adjusts the engine’s speed to generate only the power required for the application in use. It helps the generator to save fuel and give extended runtime.
Noise Level: Honda EU3000i generates 57 dB (A) to 65 dB (A) noise level.
Control Panel: Two 120V 20A outlets, one 120V twist-lock outlet, and one 12V DC outlet are featured on the control panel. Also, we have parallel operation outlets and an eco-throttle switch.
Safety: Low-oil shutoff and spark arrestor are included in its safety features.
Also, there is a closeable fuel vent to transport the unit safely.
Weight: Its weight is only 78 pounds.
Portability: A unique folding handle and two recessed wheels make it easy to transport.
5. Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator – Home Standby Generator
Generator Type: If you want to buy a powerful home standby generator, you must go for the Generac 7043. It is a dual fuel generator that runs on both natural gas and propane.
Engine Power and Output Power: It is equipped with the 999cc Generac G-Force 1000 Series engine that can produce 22,000 watts of power on liquid propane and 19,500 watts on natural gas.
Its THD rating is less than 5% that makes this unit ideal to power sensitive electronics.
Fuel Consumption: Generac 7043 consumes 92 cubic feet of propane at 50% load per hour and 228 cubic feet of natural gas at 50% load per hour.
Noise Level: Standby generators produce lower noise levels, and that’s why it runs between 57 and 67 dB (A) decibel rating.
Transfer Switch: It comes with a 200-amp NEMA 3 whole house transfer switch. It automatically turns on the generator when the power supply goes off and turns it off when the power comes.
Control Panel: Its control panel is simple and easy to use. There is a multilingual LCD display that tells different important information related to the generator.
Self-Testing Mode: Generac 7043 also goes into the self-testing mode every week to make itself prepared for emergency power backup. Its engine runs at a lower RMP that saves fuel during the self-testing period.
Remote Monitoring: You can also monitor your generator remotely through your smartphone, tablet, or PC. You can look at the maintenance schedule or check the current operating status of the generator.
Safety: It comes with overload protection, a low-oil shutdown system, and an automatic voltage regulation feature.
The automatic voltage regulator prevents the fluctuation of voltage.
Weight: The weight of this home standby generator is 515 pounds.
Warranty Period: It is featured with a 5-year warranty.
6. Rainier R12000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Dual Fuel and Portable
Generator Type: Rainier R12000DF is also a dual fuel portable conventional generator. It runs on propane and gasoline.
Control Panel: It is featured with a fuel selector knob, electric start switch, and VFT meter (Volts, Frequency, and Time). Also, there are two 120V 20A outlets (GFCI-protected), one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 120/240 30A outlet, and one 120/240V 50A outlet.
Starting Mechanism: It starts either electrically or manually.
Engine Power and Output Power: A powerful 457cc Rainier 4-stroke OHV engine produces 12,000 peaks and 9500 rated watts on gasoline and 10,800 peaks and 8550 rated watts on propane.
Fuel Tank Volume and Runtime: Rainier R12000DF comes with a 6.6-gallon gas tank that offers a runtime of up to 17 hours.
Noise Level: Its engine operates at 72 dB (A).
Safety: Low-oil and overload protection alarms
Weight and Certifications: It is both EPA and CARB certified. And it weighs 200 pounds.
Warranty Period:3-year limited warranty
Portability: Two foam grip handles and 10-inch durable wheels make the Rainier R12000DF highly portable.
7. Briggs and Stratton Q6500 Inverter Generator – Expensive Generator for Hurricane
Generator Type: Briggs and Stratton Q6500 is a portable inverter generator.
Weight and Certifications: Its weight is 135 pounds, and it is not a CARB compliant unit.
Warranty Period: The Company offers a 2-year consumer and 1-year commercial warranty.
Portability: A convenient luggage-style telescoping handle combines with two never-flat wheels to make transportation easier.
Starting Mechanism: You only have a recoil start option to run the generator.
Engine Power and Output Power: It has the 306cc Briggs and Stratton engine that produces 6500 starting and 5000 running watts.
Quiet Power Technology: Quiet Power technology changes the speed of the engine according to the amount of electrical load. This helps in saving fuel, extending the runtime, and keeping the noise level low.
Fuel Tank Volume and Runtime: You can power your house up to 14 hours at 25% load.
Noise Level: Briggs and Stratton Q6500 generator generates 66 dB (A) noise level at 25% load.
Control Panel: If we first focus on the power outlets, then we have four 120V 20A outlets, two USB ports, and one 120/240V 30A locking outlet. Also, there are power-use and low-oil indicators.
Safety: Automatic low-oil shutdown sensor
When buying a generator to deal with power outages during a hurricane season, you must consider the following factors to get the best possible unit.
Conventional or Inverter Generator
First of all, decide whether a conventional or inverter generator would be suitable for you. If you need to run your whole house, a powerful conventional generator would be best. You can either go for portable units or home standby generators.
Or, if you need clean power to run your electronics and appliances, then an inverter generator is the option. You can still get a good power output of more than 5000 watts from an inverter generator, but if your power needs are higher, then it is suggested to select a conventional generator.
If we go deep into the difference between these two units, then inverter generators are fuel-efficient, whereas conventional generators are not. Also, inverters are light in weight and more portable than conventional units. Moreover, inverter machines make less noise, but in general, they are expensive than traditional generators.
Standby vs. Portable Generators and Power Needs
The next big thing to consider is the power output of your generator. If you want to power your entire home during hurricane season, then a standby generator is the best. However, if your aim is to power only essentials like refrigerators, lighting, AC, well pumps, then a portable generator will be best. Standby generators are large units and produce more power than portable generators. Portable generators are cheap compared to standby units and can be used during a hurricane, for outdoor needs, and your RV.
Before making the final purchases, it is wise to calculate your power needs. To do this, make a list of all the appliances you want to power during a hurricane. Mention their starting and running wattages and calculate the total for both. To help you out, we have given an example below.
|Appliances||Starting Wattage||Running Wattage|
|1/2 HP Furnace||2350||875|
|1/2 HP Well Pump||2000||900|
|1/2 HP Sump Pump||2000||900|
In the above example, 11350 watts are needed to start all the appliances at once, and 6275 watts are needed to keep them running. You would be surprised to know that a generator with a running wattage of 7000 watts can manage all these devices. You do not need a larger generator for this wattage. Smaller generators are cheap to buy, inexpensive to run and maintain.
The Control panel also needs to be checked. Make sure the power outlets available can power your appliances, tools, and electronics.
If you want a hurricane generator for your home use, at least two 120V 20A household power outlets must be there. To run an RV, an RV-ready outlet is the best option. Also, to run power tools, 120V 30A twist lock outlets are used. Moreover, to power electronic items, 12V DC outlets must be part of your generator.
The operational sound of your generator must below if you are buying a home unit for a hurricane. Generators with higher decibel ratings are acceptable for outdoor use but not for home-usage.
Conventional generators do make more sound than inverters during running. But the noise level also depends on the load applied. At 25% or 50% load, you can easily bear the sound of a conventional unit.
Try to find a generator that supports both the electric and recoil start mechanisms. Electric start is more convenient than recoil start, but you need recoil as a backup.
If you are not choosing a standby generator for hurricanes, you will go for a portable generator. Look for a generator that is easy to move around. It must come with high-quality wheels, ergonomic and durable handles, and a lifting hook. If your generator cannot be moved around easily in a hurricane, there is no point in having one. You must be able to drag your generator outside quickly and place it in a safe place.
When you are buying a hurricane generator, you must be very careful while selecting its safety features. It must offer state of the art protection from rainwater, overheating, overloading, and surge protection. Your generator must have a low oil/fuel shutdown option as well.
If you are picking an inverter, it will be nice to have parallel capabilities in it. Paralleling allows you to pair two generators (same model) together and augment the power output. It comes in handy when you want to run a heavy appliance but do not want to buy a large generator. Having two small inverters has its perks as you can use them for different purposes.
If you are going for a portable generator, make sure it has all the power outlets you need. It must come with outlets that will support heavy appliances like refrigerators, stoves, AC unit, and well pump. If you are using power extensions, they must be of high quality and have the appropriate power rating. Please follow all the safety measures while connecting an extension with your generator. Never connect your portable generator to the main system of your home without a transfer switch.
Warranty and Customer Service
For a hurricane generator, a warranty is of paramount importance. Generators used during a hurricane or flood are more susceptible to issues and problems. A warranty will come in handy at such times. Make sure you read the terms and conditions before using your generator in a hurricane. After-sale customer service is also helpful while setting up your generator for the first time and sorting out any issues later on.
The last thing and one of the most important is the generator’s price. Make sure you buy the best generator for hurricanes as you would need a durable and high-quality unit. When you go for high-end products, expect to pay a higher price. Please note that standby units are costly than conventional generators and inverters.
Preparing Generator for a Hurricane
If you already own a hurricane generator or recently bought one, you need to prepare it before a hurricane. Follow the steps below to make your generator ready for a hurricane.
- Bring your generator out from the storage place. Wipe off any dust or debris on it.
- Add some fresh fuel to it and let it run for 30-40 minutes without any load. Check for any unusual sounds or vibrations.
- Add loads to your generator one by one and check it is powering your appliances properly and without fluctuations.
- Ensure that the oil is fresh and properly filled, check any fuel leakage or tear out pipes. Replace them and get everything sorted out. Make sure that the battery is adequately charged and the air filter is neat and clean. If there is anything to be repaired/replaced, get it done before the onset of hurricane season.