7 Best Standby Generators for Home Use in Power Outages

A standby generator has its perks over a conventional portable generator. Besides providing you lots of power, a standby generator is the best option for people living in areas prone to weather-related power outages. It is also the best option for business places such as banks, restaurants, medical clinics, schools, and colleges.

It also comes in handy if you work from home as it saves you from the hassle of turning the generator on every time the power goes out. A standby generator also saves you from the hassle of bringing out your generator, adding fuel to it, getting it started, and then storing it back once the utility power has been restored. If you have a natural gas standby generator, you don’t even need to refuel the generator and check the fuel level in it.

A standby generator will do everything for you. It will start automatically within 1-2 seconds, bring the power back to your home, and turn off once the utility power is restored. As it is connected through a transfer switch to your home, a standby generator also ensures that none of your appliances will malfunction during a power outage.

Standby units are advanced units. They come with various safety features like surge protection, overloading and overheating protection, low oil, fuel shutdown, and indications when anything is wrong with them.

If you want to get rid of all the power issues for your home and don’t want to be troubled by a long spell of a power outage, a standby generator is the best option for you.

This guide will cover the top 7 standby generators along with a detailed buying guide, a comparison of the different fuel types, and a FAQ section. After reading this review/guide, you will be able to select a standby generator according to your needs.

Standby Generators Comparison Chart

Terms used in the below table along with their meanings:

Propane Wattage: The maximum wattage each generator can produce while running on propane.

Natural Gas Wattage: The maximum wattage each generator can produce while running on natural gas.

Propane Consumption/hour at 1/2 load: How much propane each generator will consume while running at half power for one hour. For example, the maximum output of Generac 7043 is 22K watts. If the load applied is 22/2=11K, then the generator will consume 228 cu ft of propane in one hour.

Natural Gas Consumption/hour at 1/2 load: How much natural gas each generator will consume while running at half power for one hour. For example, the maximum output of Generac 7043 is 22K watts. If the load applied is 22/2=11K, then the generator will consume 92 cu ft of natural gas in one hour.


Fuel Type

Propane Wattage (Watts)

Natural Gas Wattage (Watts)

Propane Consumtion/hour at 1/2 load

Natural Gas Consumtion/hour at 1/2 load

Dimensions (inches)/Weight(pounds)

More Details

Generac 7043

Generac 7043

Natural Gas & Propane



228 cu ft

92 cu ft

48 x 25 x 29/515

Generac 7033

Generac 7033

Natural Gas & Propane



123 cu ft

43 cu ft

48 x 25 x 29/44643 cu ft

B&S 40555

B&S 40555

Natural Gas & Propane



170 cu ft

2.6 gallon

50.5 x 32.9 x 31/484

Kohler 20RESCL

Kohler 20RESCL

Natural Gas & Propane



161 cu ft

2.3 gallon

48 x 26.2 x 29/569

Champion 8.5-KW

Champion 8.5-KW

Natural Gas & Propane



97.5 cu ft

1 gallon

52.4 x 33.5 x 32.1/460

Champion 12.5-KW

Champion 12.5-KW

Natural Gas & Propane



122.2 cu ft

1.6 gallon

52.4 x 33.5 x 32.1/520

Generac 7174

Generac 7174

Natural Gas & Propane



154 cu ft

1.54 gallon

48 x 25 x 29 /385

1. Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator–  Overall Best 

  • Fuel Type: Propane and natural gas
  • Starting Watts: 22,000 watts
  • Running Watts: 19,500 watts
  • Fuel Consumption/hour @ half load: Natural gas: 228 cu ft, Propane 92 cu ft
  • THD Rating: Below 5%
  • Dimensions: 48 x 25 x 29 inches
  • Weight: 515 Pounds
  • Starting Mechanism: Automatic
  • Noise Level: 57-67 dBA
  • Warranty: 5 years limited warranty
  • Certifications: CETL and CUL

When the power goes out for a long time, you need a generator to keep your life going and make sure that everyone in your home is safe. Further, the security systems are running, your food stays fresh in the refrigerators, well pumps, and water heaters keep running. No one would want their kids to wake up in the middle of the night only to find out the AC stopped working.

All of this is made possible with Generac 7174’s output of 22,000 watts on propane and 19,500 watts on natural gas. It has enough capacity to power your entire home for as long as you would like. While a RhinoCoat aluminum casing is protecting it, it works hard to let you sleep peacefully. With its 200 amp automatic transfer switch, you won’t be left in the dark for more than 2 seconds. The machine is loaded with safety features and keeps all your appliances and circuits safe. So there is nothing to worry about during an outage with a Generac standby generator.

  • Remote monitoring with Wi-Fi
  • Self-testing at idle speed
  • Battery not included
  • Costly
Our Verdict

We tested Generac 7043 and found it perfect for medium to large-sized households. We hope you have gathered a thorough knowledge of all the features after going through the review. The generator has 4.5/5 ratings. Its value of money stands at more than 80% of the investment. However, its installation process is a bit complicated and gets a rating of 3/5 from our experts for ease of installation.

Overall, it is a durable machine and is capable of handling high loads in extreme working conditions. With its rust-free aluminum coating, you don’t have to worry about protecting the unit from harsh weather. Its THD value is less than 5%, allowing you to run all of your sensitive appliances without any fluctuations. The mobile applications allow you to monitor the unit’s working condition and check propane levels.

It is best for people who want to deal with power outages without any hassles. Either the outage is long or short; Generac 7043, with its massive 22K watt output, will take care of you and your family without any hiccups.

2. Generac 7033 Guardian Series Home Standby Generator–  Under $3500 

  • Fuel Type: Propane and natural gas
  • Starting Watts: 11,000 watts
  • Running Watts: 10,000 watts
  • Fuel Consumption/hour @ half load: Natural gas: 123 cu ft, Propane 43 cu ft
  • THD Rating: Below 5%
  • Dimensions: 48 x 25 x 29 inches
  • Weight: 446 Pounds
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Starting Mechanism: Automatic
  • Noise Level: 63 dBA
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Certifications: CETL and CUL

Generac is well known for making standby generators. It offers whole house generators in various power ranges and for different budget categories. This machine is made for small homes and consumes way less fuel than 7043.

You can run your sensitive appliances on this generator as its THD is below 5%. You can also run your heavy machines such as well pumps, refrigerators, and AC units without any issues. Its fuel average is excellent and helps keep the utility bills in the pocket. The noise level of the generator is very low, and it won’t disturb your neighbors.

Overall, it has the same features compared to the machine reviewed above but comes with a lot less power output. The 11,000 watts power output is ideal for small homes, offices, and small workshops.

  • 5-years limited warranty
  • Below 5% THD
  • Pressure lubricated engine
  • Remote monitoring
  • Multilingual LCD screen
  • Large in size
  • Heavyweight
  • It takes a lot of space for installation
Our Verdict

It is a feasible machine for small to medium-sized homes with power needs below 10,000 watts. After testing the unit, we found out that it is a big unit and needs a lot of space for installation. Compared to the model reviewed above, the power capacity is way too less, but the size and the weight are almost the same.

We are saying this because it is ideal for small homes and small homes need something compact. You can also go with a 10,000-watt portable generator if you can afford to turn it on every time the power goes out.

Apart from a couple of issues with the machine, it is an absolute gem. It comes with a 200 amp transfer switch for automatic converting, multilingual LCD, aluminum enclosure, and below 5% THD to keep your appliances safe. Please note that there are some rumors that the manufacturer has discontinued this model. However, it is still available. Generac takes full responsibility for its products and offers excellent customer service.

3. Briggs & Stratton 40555 Standby Generator–  Under $4500 

  • Fuel Type: Natural gas & propane
  • Starting Watts: 17,000 watts
  • Running Watts: Propane: 17,000 watts, Natural gas: 15,300 watts
  • Fuel Consumption/hour @ half load: Natural gas: 170 cu ft, Propane 2.6 gallons liquid propane
  • THD Rating: Below 5%
  • Voltage: 120/240 volts
  • Dimensions: 50.5 x 32.9 x 31 inches
  • Weight: 484 pounds
  • Starting Mechanism: Automatic
  • Noise Level: 64 dBA @ 7 meters
  • Warranty: 5-years

If you are looking for a standby generator in the mid-range, then Briggs and Stratton 40555 is a feasible option. Its power output capacity is perfect for running heavy machines along with sensitive appliances at your home. It has enough power to support your heavy tools for workshops and commercial facilities and let you complete your tasks without any interruptions.

The machine produces 17,000 watts on propane and 15,300 watts on natural gas. Both the outputs are ideal for medium to large-sized homes. Its running sound is way lesser than other models with the same power output. The weight to power output ratio is also impressive. Compared to the model reviewed above, Briggs and Stratton 40555’s size is compact, and the running sound is low. It comes with a 5-year warranty and is easy to operate the machine. It is an easy to maintain and user-friendly machine.

  • Symphony II power management system
  • Sound dampening technology for a quieter operation
  • Complaint with National Fire Protection Agency standard 37
  • No transfer switch included
  • Discontinued by the manufacturer
Our Verdict

First things first, this generator is discontinued by the manufacturer, but it is still available online. It is a high-quality unit and deserves a spot on the best standby generators list. Its power output makes it an ideal unit for medium and large homes, offices, restaurants, and other small to medium businesses.

Despite being discontinued by the manufacturer, they cater to the warranty issues for the registered buyers and provide 24/7 customer support. One special feature of this machine is that it can also supply 240 volts to adjust heavy tools and machines.

If you can get a hold of this machine, it is a lifetime generator and will continue to work for at least 20-25 years without any issues. All you need to do is maintain the machine and take good care of it.

4. Kohler 20RESCL-100LC16 Standby Generator–  Best Heavyweight Standby Generator 

  • Fuel Type: Natural Gas and Propane
  • Starting Watts: 20,000 watts
  • Running Watts: Propane: 20,000 watts, Natural gas: 18,000 watts
  • Fuel Consumption/hour @ half load: Natural gas: 161 cu ft, Propane 2.3 gallons liquid propane
  • THD Rating: Below 5%
  • Dimensions: 48 x 26.2 x 29 inches
  • Weight: 569 Pounds
  • Starting Mechanism: Automatic
  • Noise Level: 64 – 69 dBA @ 23 feet
  • Warranty: 5-year/2000-hour limited warranty
  • Certifications: EPA

Kohler is also a well-known name in the world of standby generators. This machine is an ideal fit for coastline areas where corrosion and rust are common issues. It is enclosed in a 100% corrosion-proof enclosure that keeps your machine’s contents safe and just like brand new even after 10 years.

As far as the output is concerned, the machine produces 20,000 watts on propane and 18,000 watts on natural gas. It is enough power to run large homes, restaurants, offices, and workshops without any issues. The THD rating for this machine is below 5%, and +/-1% voltage regulation makes it safe to run selective appliances without any worries.

A 5-years warranty covers the generator. Please note that this machine is not certified to be sold in California as it doesn’t come with CARB certification.

  • Power boost technology
  • Easy to install
  • Reasonably priced
  • Poor customer service
  • Not as reliable as its competitors
Our Verdict

The generator works very well. However, there are some concerns about installing and connecting the generator with your computer and Kohler servers. The customer service is also not great, and it may take you hours to get the issues solved. Some users have raised shipping issues as well.

Overall, the unit is a fine one. It demands regular maintenance, and you can’t skip a maintenance session with Kohler. Some users have explicitly stated that if oil is not replaced timely, the generator can develop issues. You can’t afford to do this with Kohler because its customer support and warranty services are already very bad.

It comes with a transfer switch, but you have to buy a battery to make the generator work. All the other accessories are included in the purchase.

The machine is feasible for large homes, commercial facilities, and offices.

5. Champion 8.5-KW Home Standby Generator–  Inexpensive 

  • Fuel Type: Propane & natural gas
  • Starting Watts: 8,500 watts
  • Running Watts: Propane: 8,500 watts, Natural gas: 7,500 watts
  • Fuel Consumption/hour @ half load: Propane: 1 gallon, Natural gas: 97.5 cu ft
  • THD Rating: Below 5%
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Dimensions: 52.4 x 33.5 x 32.1 inches
  • Weight: 460 pounds
  • Starting Mechanism: Automatic
  • Noise Level: 60 dBA
  • Warranty: 10-years limited warranty
  • Certifications: CARB and EPA

Champion has also provided standby generators for small homes with 1-2 inhabitants or small shops and offices. This model from Champion is branded as the most affordable standby generator currently available in the North American market. It supplies 8,500 watts on propane and 7,500 watts on natural gas. This power output is best for small homes that just want to power their essentials during a power outage.

This machine is also one of the quietest standby generators. Its fuel consumption is also outstanding, and the running costs won’t make a dent in your pocket. With this generator, the only thing you need to worry about is load management. You may feel a bit limited while running multiple heavy machines with this machine. But don’t worry; it has enough power to run all your essentials without any problems.

The generator is protected with a 10-year warranty and is housed with an all-weather resistant steel enclosure for durability.

  • 10-year warranty
  • Affordable
  • User-friendly machine
  • High maintenance unit
  • Limited power output
Our Verdict

If you are looking for an affordable whole house generator, Champion has got you covered. With all the amazing features reviewed above, Champion is an excellent choice in this price range. It is best for small homes and people who like to keep their generators quiet. A low noise level of 59 dBA is exceptional in this power range. Champion has taken care of its customers. It is also best for areas where the temperature can drop to -22 Fahrenheit. You don’t need to worry about cold start and running your heaters in below freezing points.

It is one of the very few standby units with a CARB certification, making it a blessing for Californians. You may have to spend a little while installing the unit because it doesn’t come with hookup cables. The best thing about this unit is that it has 100% satisfaction with all the users. It comes with the recommendation of our experts. All you need to do is install the generator, make connections, and you are good to go.

6. Champion 12.5-KW Home Standby Generator–  Under $3000 

  • Fuel Type: Propane & Natural Gas
  • Surge Watts: 12,500 watts
  • Running Watts: Natural gas: 11,000 watts, Propane: 12,500 watts
  • Fuel Consumption/hour @ half load: Natural gas: 122.2 cu ft, Propane: 1.6 gallons
  • THD Rating: Below 5%
  • Dimensions: 52.4 x 33.5 x 32.1 inches
  • Weight: 520 pounds
  • Starting Mechanism: Automatic
  • Noise Level: 63 dBA
  • Warranty: 10 years limited warranty
  • Certifications: EPA and CARB

This is also one of the best standby generators from the trusted house of Champion. You can run this machine on gasoline and propane, and it is capable of delivering 12,500 watts of power on propane and 11,000 watts on natural gas. This power is not only enough to run essentials but also keep your ACs, heating units, refrigerators going without any issues.

The fuel consumption rate is also economical. Your propane tanks will last for a very long time, and your natural gas bill will stay within the budget. Apart from having a low initial price, the running cost is also very low. Hence, this generator will give you some big savings in the long run.

This machine is also protected with a 10 year warranty period and is enclosed in a weather-resistant casing for durability.

  • 100 amp switch with 12 circuits
  • User-friendly machine
  • Well-built
  • Heavy machine
  • It runs at 78 dBA instead of claimed 63 dBA
Our Verdict

Champion’s 12.5kW generator is a more powerful model than the one we reviewed above. Apart from its production capacity, all the other features are almost the same. It comes with a bigger transfer switch with 100 amp power and 12 available circuits.

It is a fine option for medium-sized homes, offices, and other commercial facilities with a load below 11,000 watts. If you still have any confusions, which Champion generator is best for you, go through Champion’s buying guide.

7. Generac 7174 Guardian Home Backup Generator–  Lightweight 

  • Fuel Type: Natural gas & propane
  • Starting Watts: 13,000 watts
  • Running Watts: 13,000 watts
  • Fuel Consumption/hour @ half load: Natural gas: 154 cu ft, Propane: 1.54 gallons
  • THD Rating: Below 5%
  • Dimensions: 48 x 25 x 29 inches
  • Weight: 385 pounds
  • Starting Mechanism: Automatic
  • Noise Level: 65 dBA
  • Warranty: 5 years limited warranty
  • Certifications: CETL and CUL

One of the best things about this generator is that it provides equal power on propane and natural gas. So, you don’t have to worry about the fuel type being used to run it. With a starting and running capacity of 13,000 watts, the machine can run heavy and light appliances without any issues.

Like other Generac models, it has a 5-years warranty and is protected with a RhinoCoat powder finish aluminum casing to give it a long life. One of the unique features of this generator is the True Power technology which keeps the THD below 5% and makes it fit for running sensitive and delicate appliances. The generator operates at a sound level of 65 dBA and won’t disturb your neighbors.

You can monitor the generator with a mobile application and check the maintenance schedule of the machine. Its safety features ensure a safe working experience and are designed to keep the generator and your appliances safe from short circuits and voltage surges. It is a lightweight and compact machine.

  • Quiet operation
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Excellent customer service
  • May stop working during self-testing
  • Costly
Our Verdict

It is enough to say about this generator that it come from Generac. All Generac generators are high-quality, durable, and reliable. They do have some issues, but it is nothing to worry.

This particular model from Generac is best for medium-sized homes and people who can’t afford any downtimes. Everything you need to get started is included in the box. Once installed, the unit is ready to power your home during the next outage. One problem with this generator is that it may skip self-testing at times. So, you will need to keep a check on its testing schedule.

Buyer’s Guide

What factors must you keep in mind when buying a standby generator for home use? If you are not aware, then here we are going to elaborate on those factors.

Output and Power Needs

When you are on a hunt for a standby generator, the first thing to come to your mind is its output and your power needs. Standby generators are often confused with utility power supply. It is not the case, they are machines, and all machines have some limitations. The best way to deal with this problem is to buy a generator that meets your power needs. A too-small generator will not serve the purpose of a standby generator, whereas an overly sized generator will be too expensive to buy, run and maintain in the long run. Therefore it is important to buy a generator that will match your needs.

You can ensure this by making a list of all the appliances you plan to run on your generator. We have given an example below for your understanding.

Appliances Starting Wattage Running Wattage
Refrigerator (2) 2400 800
1 HP Furnace 4700 1750
TV (2) 400 400
Lights 800 800
AC (2) 3600 2400
1/2 HP Well Pump 2000 900
1/2 HP Sump Pump 2000 900
Security System 800 800
Total 16700 8750

In the data above, 16,700 is the wattage needed to start all the mentioned appliances at one single time, and 8750 watts are needed to keep all the appliances running simultaneously. In such a situation, a generator with 9000 running watts of power will do the work. However, we suggest you add a cushion of 800-1000 watts as we are talking about standby generators, and you may need to power any other appliance as well. A generator of 10,000 running watts of power will be perfect in this situation.

You can calculate all your power needs in the same way. To know about your appliances’ exact starting and running wattages, refer to the user manual or check online.

Fuel Source

The common fuel sources to run a standby generator are natural gas, propane, diesel, and gasoline. Each fuel type has some advantages over the other and some drawbacks as well. Let’s look at the factors that differentiate the fuel from each other.

Energy Density: Diesel is the most powerful amount of the lot, followed by gasoline, propane, and natural gas. If you burn the same amount of fuel in a combustion engine, diesel will provide the highest amount of energy.

Availability and Shelf Life: All the fuel types are available around the year. However, gasoline and diesel are most difficult to find during the time of a disaster due to infrastructural problems. Their shelf life is also less as compared to propane. While gasoline can be stored for 10-12 months, propane cylinders can be stored for 8-10 years without any risk of going stale. Natural gas has no storage issue, but its availability comes into question when infrastructure is damaged or increased demand. Its pressure also reduces when the temperature falls below the freezing point.

Runtime: Diesel offers the best runtime when it comes to large standby units followed by gasoline. The runtime of propane is higher than natural gas. However, propane has a higher energy rating and can provide more power in the same generator compared to natural gas.

Safety: Propane and natural gas are the safest to use and burn. They produce harmless exhausts as compared to gasoline and diesel. Gasoline is the most dangerous to operate and use as there is always the risk of spillage and fire breakout while using it. If you are using natural gas, you need to take utmost care while making the connections, as any mistake can lead to an unfortunate event.

With this information, it is now easy to select the best fuel type for your standby generator.

Control Panel

A standby generator must come with a fully advanced control panel. All the information regarding the unit must be easy to access. A control panel will tell you about the wattage drawn from the generator, current running hours, total running hours, oil level, and indication for oil, oil/air filter replacement, and service reminders. It will also tell you about the battery condition and if your generator is overheated or overloaded.

Transfer Switch

The transfer switch is also equally important to focus on. If there is no transfer switch with your generator, then you have to buy one. When the power cuts, it goes off automatically and allows the generator to generate power to rerun your appliances.

You may get 200, 100, and 50 amp transfer switch with your generators depending on their power production capacity.

Noise Level

In general, home standby generators work without making much noise. So, it is obvious that you are not going to buy a loud generator. But still, before going to make the payment, ask the decibel ratings of your generator if not mentioned.


All the latest standby units have excellent safety protocols installed in them. A standby unit must not start if the oil is low and will shut down when overloaded or overheated. Such features will ensure that the unit and your home’s electric system are not harmed in case of any problem.


Also, never miss to check or ask about the warranty period. A 5-year warranty period with free technical assistance is a must to have.


Standby generators don’t come cheap. When you are buying a standby generator, you are making an investment that will give you a better living standard and increase your property’s value. It is best to spend a little extra and get the best generator for your home.

Portable vs. Standby Generator

Portable and standby generators are often compared with each other. While one provides power on the go, the other ensures that your home is never out of power during an outage. With a portable generator, you can handle a brief power outage and run a limited number of appliances. It is also best when you need power outdoors or at a job site. Portable generators require more maintenance than a standby generator, and you would need a fresh stock of fuel to run them. A portable generator needs to be started manually when you want to power from them and then turned off and stored safely.

On the contrary, standby generators can provide way more power than portable generators. Their maintenance needs are less frequent but would need a professional for servicing and repairing. You would also need a place to install a standby generator and keep it safe from rain/snow. A standby generator needs a transfer switch to connect to your home’s electrical system and is automatically turned on/off during a power outage. Standby generators also increase your property’s value, and you can expect a return of 50-60% on the generator price while selling your home.


What is the best place to install a standby generator?

You must take care of the following while installing a standby generator.

Install it at a place where it is easy to access for maintenance and repairs.

Ensure that the installation place is raised by 2-3 inches to keep the generator safe from rainwater and insects.

It must be installed at a place where the exhaust is directed away from the living area of your home.

The installation area must have natural gas availability/pipelines.

The generator must be installed away from vegetation, areas prone to snowdrift, animals, and rainwater.

The location must be close enough for automatic transfer switch installation and far enough so that the exhaust stays away from your living space.

Can a standby generator replace the utility service?

No, a standby generator cannot replace the utility power, and there are two reasons for it. First, these standby generators are not designed to replace the utility service. Second, the cost of fuel will make the generator the most expensive in the long run. So, the first choice of every person is utility power, and for a backup power option, these standby generators are used.

Which generator is better: liquid-cooled or air-cooled?

Both the generators work very well. A liquid-cooled generator is cooled with liquid, whereas an air-cooled generator is cooled through heat exchange. A liquid-cooled generator can handle a long power outage better than an air-cooled unit.

What is the average life of a standby generator?

A standby generator will last for approximately 3000-4000 hours of operation. Considering the power outage frequency in the US, it can last for 30-40 years. However, if the unit is maintained regularly, the lifespan can further increase.

How long can a home standby generator run on a full fuel tank?

Fuel-efficient generators always give a good runtime as compared to non-fuel-efficient generators. Also, the size of the engine and fuel tank affect the runtime.

How often you have to check the oil of your standby generator?

It is recommended to check the oil every 36 hours of operation. The oil change and maintenance frequency depend on the model you have. Also, it depends on the period of power outages.

But whatever the situation is, read the operation manual that you got with the generator.

Do I need a permit to install a standby generator at my home?

You must check with the state laws and local building codes related to installing a standby generator at your home. It is better to be careful before starting the installation. We don’t want you to re-install a generator in another place after objection from local authorities.

Final Words

We hope that all the ambiguities regarding a standby generator have now been cleared from your mind. You can select one of the generators from the list above and make your life easy. Don’t worry, as all the generators have been well researched and boast of thousands of satisfied users.

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