Last updated on February 1st, 2021 at 04:41 pm
Why go for a Whole House Generator?
Many people believe that why to buy a whole house generator when the power needs can be fulfilled with a small generator. It may be wise to buy a smaller generator in some cases. However, when we look at the limitations of a smaller generator than a whole house generator, we tend to think otherwise. A whole house generator will ensure that no part of your home is left in the dark during power outages. If the power outage will last for a few days, a small generator will be a hassle to use. You will have to turn off one device and then turn the other one on. Just imagine turning off the AC to run your water pump and then turning off the water pump to run the dishwasher. How will you manage without a refrigerator during the summer season, and what will you do without a heat pump and water heater in winters.
An average blackout lasts for 1-2 hours, but what about the long spells of a power outage in disaster-prone areas that can go on for days and weeks. It is better to be prepared for such unfortunate events, and a whole house generator can help you navigate such challenging times. Among the eight common causes of a power outage in the US, the top 5 are related to natural disasters, and the last is a high power demand. We all know that getting the power back due to a natural disaster will take hours, days, and even weeks. Hence, a whole house generator is the best way to keep things going during a blackout.
Things to take care of while buying a Whole House Generator
While buying a portable generator, you need to take care of a few things. We don’t want you to spend your hard-earned money on the wrong generator and then face issues later. First of all, you need to consider your power needs, the type of the generator; portable or standby, followed by the fuel type (single or dual). Once you have sorted out the basics, you need to look for other factors that make the machine user friendly and increase money value. We will cover all these factors in detail in the buying guide section of this review.
Let us now look at the ten best whole generators.
Best Whole House Generator Reviews
DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Westinghouse WGen12000 Ultra Duty Portable Generator
WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Generator
A-iPower SUA12000E Portable Generator
Generac GP15000E Portable Generator
Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator
Generac 7031 Guardian Series Home Standby Generator
Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS Standby Generator
Champion 12.5KW Home Standby Generator
Briggs and Stratton 40346 Home Standby Generator System
1. DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Most Powerful
Fuel Source: Another dual fuel portable generator on the list is the XP12000EH from DuroMax. It uses both propane and gasoline to power your house.
Engine: It is powered by a DuroMax 18HP, 457cc OHV engine.
Power Output: The unit generates 12,000 watts of peak power and 9500 watts of rated power. This power output is higher than the WEN DF1100T portable generator.
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime: 8.3-gallon fuel tank gives 9 hours of runtime at 50% load on gas and 7.2 hours of runtime at 50% load on a 40-gallon propane tank.
Transfer Switch: The voltage easily switches from 120V to 120/240V. You can either select to get full 120V power or operate the unit at both 120V and 240V simultaneously.
Noise Level: Fully isolated motor mounts and an oversized noise reducing muffler featuring a spark arrestor ensure quiet and smooth operation.
Controller: Its control panel has two 120V household outlets, one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 120/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, and a 120/240V 50A outlet. Other than power outlets, we have an engine switch, idle control switch, and circuit breakers. Also, there is a voltmeter, transfer switch, oil alert lamp, and a recharge indicator.
Start System: It is equipped with both electric and recoil start systems.
Warranty: The generator is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Portability: Two fold-down handles and never-flat wheels make transportation simple.
2. Westinghouse WGen12000 Ultra Duty Portable Generator – Overall Best
Fuel Source: Westinghouse WGen12000 is a powerful open frame gasoline-powered conventional generator. It is highly portable and suitable to power most of your home essentials during power outages and emergencies.
Start System: It not only features an electric start system, but the remote start option with a key fob also adds convenience.
Engine: Equipped with a powerful 713cc, 22HP Westinghouse OHV V-Twin engine featuring a cast iron sleeve for longevity.
Power Output: The generator gives 15000 watts of peak power and 12,000 watts of rated power.
With this output power, you can run not only big and mid-size appliances but also your sensitive electronics because the THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) rating of this generator is less than 5%.
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime: A full 10.5-gallon fuel tank can give up to 16 hours of runtime at 25% load and 11 hours of runtime at 50% load.
Smart Switch Ready: It is a Smart Switch Ready unit featuring an automatic transfer switch outlet. It automatically turns on the generator when the power goes out and turns off when the power returns from the grid station.
Controller: The control panel of WGen12000 features four 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A outlet, one 120/240V 30A (Transfer Switch Ready) outlet, and one 120/240V 50A outlet along with two 5V USB ports.
Also, it has a data center, automatic transfer switch outlet, electric start button, engine switch, and the main breaker.
Noise Level: 74 dBA is its noise level.
Safety Features: The spark arrestor, overload protection, and low-oil shutdown are there for the safety of the generator.
Portability: Westinghouse WGen12000 is easy to move on any surface, thanks to its durable wheels and fold-down handles.
Warranty: It has a 3-year limited warranty.
3. WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Portable Whole House Generator
Fuel Source: If you are looking for a portable generator to power much of your home appliances, then you can go for WEN DF1100T. It is a dual fuel generator that accepts both gasoline and propane. You can easily switch between gasoline and propane with the help of a fuel switch knob.
Engine: If we focus on its engine, then there is a 457cc 4-stroke OHV engine with an air-cooled system. It runs up to 3600 RPM.
Power Output: The generator produces 9500 peak watts and 7500 running watts on propane and 11000 peak watts and 8300 running watts on gasoline.
Transfer Switch: The voltage easily switches from 120V to 240V, ideal for transfer switches. There is the NEMA 30A twist-lock in the control panel that allows you to plug your transfer switch for seamless power.
Start System: It is powered by a reliable electric start system.
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime: It has a 6.6-gallon fuel tank that gives 8.5 hours of runtime at 50% load. On the other hand, 20 gallon LPG tank gives 3 hours of runtime at 50% load.
Controller: Its control panel features an hour meter, circuit breakers, a fuel switch, and an engine switch. Also, there are four 120V GFCI protected outlets, one 120/240V 50A outlet, and one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet. Moreover, we have a 12V DC outlet.
Safety Features: Automatic voltage regulator, overload protection, and low-oil shutdown
Portability: The fold-down handles and 9.5-inch wheels make transportation and storage easy.
Warranty: The Company offers 2 years of limited warranty.
4. A-iPower SUA12000E Portable Generator – Least Expensive Portable Generator
Fuel Source: A-iPower SUA12000E is a gasoline-fueled portable generator that has the power to run your whole mid-size house.
Start System: It comes with both recoil and electric start mechanisms.
Engine: The SUA12000E has a 459cc A-iPower 4-stroke OHV engine with a cast iron sleeve.
Power Output: It delivers 12000 starting watts and 9000 running watts.
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime: At 50% load, this unit can run up to 9 hours on a 7-gallon fuel tank.
Controller: A variety of power outlets make it easy for you to run a range of home appliances. It has four 120V 20A household outlets, one 120/240V 30A (Transfer Switch Ready) outlet, and one 120/240V 50A outlet. Also, it features a 12V 8A DC outlet.
Along with these power receptacles, its control panel has a data center, engine switch, low-oil indicator, and AC and DC circuit breakers.
Noise Level: Its decibel rating is 78 dBA, which is quite higher.
Safety Features: A-iPower SUA12000E comes with a spark arrestor, GFCI-protected outlets, overload protection, and low-oil shutdown features.
Portability: A U-shaped handle and never-flat wheels allow easy transportation.
Warranty:2-year limited warranty
5. Generac GP15000E Portable Generator – Most Powerful Portable Generator
Fuel Source: The most powerful portable generator among all whole house generators is the Generac GP15000E. It is a single fuel unit that needs gasoline to run all of your household appliances.
Start System: It only has an electric start system.
Engine: It has a powerful 992cc Generac 4-stroke OHVI engine.
Power Output: The GP15000E gives a massive power output. It delivers 22500 starting watts and 15000 running watts.
You can power your various household appliances except for delicate electronic items because its THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) rating is quite high (<20%).
Fuel Tank Capacity and Runtime: A huge 16-gallon gasoline tank offers up to 10 hours of runtime at 50% load.
Controller: Its control panel has 8 AC outlets and 1 DC outlet. The AC outlets include four 120V 20A receptacles, two 120V 30A receptacles, one 120/240V 30A (Transfer Switch Ready) receptacle, and one 120/240V 50A receptacle.
The DC outlet includes a 12V 10A receptacle. Also, its power panel has an hour meter, an engine switch, and the main breaker.
Safety Features: Overload protection and low-oil shut down along with a spark arrestor.
Portability: Once placed on the ground, it is easy to move, thanks to its wheel kit.
Warranty:2-year limited warranty
6. Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator – Best Standby Generator for Home Use
Construction: The Generac 7043 is the largest air-cooled standby generator engineered and constructed in the USA by using both domestic and foreign parts. Its powder-coated all-weather aluminum enclosure has three removable sides so that you can easily service and maintain the unit.
Fuel Source: You can connect the generator to your existing liquid propane or natural gas line.
Engine: It is powered by a pressure-lubricated 999cc Generac G-Force 1000 Series engine.
Power Output: The unit generates 22,000 rated watts on liquid propane and 19,500 rated watts on natural gas. This power output is enough to run your whole house with ease.
Fuel Consumption: At 50% load, the unit consumes 228 cubic feet per hour of natural gas and 92 cubic feet per hour of liquid propane.
Self-Test Mode: When you enter into the self-test mode, the generator runs five to twelve minutes at extremely low RPM to consume less fuel and produce low sound.
Transfer Switch:200 amp smart transfer switch provides seamless power to your house.
THD Rating: Its True Power Technology ensures less than 5% THD rating so that you can power your sensitive electronics without any hesitation.
Noise Level: It operates at 57 to 67 dB (A) depending on the load.
Controller: A multilingual LCD display is the part of the controller that helps you to track maintenance intervals and monitor battery status.
Remote Monitoring: You can also remotely monitor your generator with the help of a mobile-friendly application. You can check the generator’s status and keep an eye on the maintenance schedule.
Safety Features: Overload protection and low-oil shutoff along with automatic voltage regulation and circuit-protecting mechanism.
Warranty: It is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
7. Generac 7031 Guardian Series Home Standby Generator – With New Controller Design
Construction: This Generac 7031 standby generator is ideal for smaller to midsize homes. It is engineered and made in the USA. It is a durable and reliable generator featuring an all-weather aluminum enclosure. This covering features RhinoCoat powder coating. It also has three different openings so that you can easily install, service, and maintain the unit.
Fuel Source: The unit can be operated either on gasoline or propane.
Engine: It is featured with a 530cc Generac OHVI V-Twin engine. It runs up to 3600 RPM.
Power Output: The maximum output power it can generate on natural gas is 10,000 watts and 11,000 watts on liquid propane. This Generac 7031 is less powerful than the Generac 7043, and that is why it is recommended for smaller to midsize homes.
Noise Level: It operates at 63 dB (A).
Fuel Consumption: The generator consumes 123 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load and 43 cubic feet per hour of liquid propane.
Self-Test Mode: The generator also goes into the self-test mode every week, where it runs at a lower RPM.
Transfer Switch: The Generac 7031 doesn’t come with a transfer switch; you have to buy it separately. You can either get a 16-circuit or 200 amp transfer switch.
THD Rating: Less than 5% THD rating allows you to power your TV, laptop, and smartphone without any hesitation.
Controller: Its new controller design is more user-friendly as compared to its previous models. There are color-coded and backlit buttons to help you with navigation.
Remote Monitoring: You can also control and monitor your generator remotely through your tablet or smartphone.
Safety Features: Safety features include low-oil shutoff and overload protection. Also, automatic voltage regulation and circuit-protecting mechanisms are included in safety features.
Warranty: The unit is covered by a 5-year warranty.
Liked Generac generators? Check out top 5 Generac generators here.
8. Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS Standby Generator – Fast Response Time
Fuel Source: The Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS can run on both propane and natural gas.
Engine: It is powered by a heavy-duty 999cc Kohler Command Pro engine that runs up to 3600 RPM.
Power Output: The unit generates 20,000 rated watts on liquid propane but 18,000 rated watts on natural gas. Its output power is slightly lower than the Generac 7043.
Fuel Consumption: If we talk about its fuel consumption, then the generator consumes liquid propane up to 82 cubic feet per hour at 50% load and natural gas up to 161 cubic feet per hour at 50% load.
Transfer Switch: Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS includes a 200-amp automatic transfer switch.
THD Rating: Less than 5% THD rating and +/-1% voltage regulation allows you to power your sensitive electronics during a power outage.
Noise Level: It operates at 64 to 69 dB (A).
Warranty: It is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
Construction: Its solid construction with a durable corrosion-proof enclosure keeps the unit free from wear and tear.
Response Time: It has a fast response time. Your standby generator will take only 10 seconds to power all your essentials.
Safety Features: Overload protection and low-oil shutoff
9. Champion 12.5KW Home Standby Generator – Best Value
Transfer Switch: This Champion Power Equipment standby generator comes with a 100 amp automatic transfer switch that features 12 available circuits.
Warranty: It has a 10-year limited warranty. Also, there is a lifetime free technical support available.
Fuel Source: The generator uses both liquid propane and natural gas.
Noise Level: It operates at 63 dB (A) noise level. Low-tone muffler and an advanced sound dampening system keep the noise levels low.
Engine: The unit comes with a 717cc 4-stroke V-twin engine. It is powered by a 24V starting system that operates in any extreme condition.
Power Output: It generates 11,000 and 12,500 rated watts on natural gas and propane, respectively.
Self-Test Mode: It performs a 15-minute self-diagnostic test on a weekly basis.
Construction: Its steel enclosure keeps the generator safe from the elements.
Fuel Consumption: It consumes 1.6 gallons of propane per hour at 50% load and 122 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at a 50% load.
THD Rating: With less than a 5% THD rating, the unit is safe for the most sensitive electronics.
Controller: It has a simple and user-friendly control panel.
Safety Features: Low-oil shutoff and air-cooled cooling system
10. Briggs and Stratton 40346 Home Standby Generator System – Loudest
Warranty: This Briggs and Stratton unit comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
Transfer Switch: It includes a 200 amp automatic transfer switch.
Fuel Source: It also uses both natural gas and propane. The generator also features a remote monitor option that allows you to change the fuel temperature when the weather gets too cold.
Power Output: It generates 20,000 watts of power output on propane and 18,000 watts on natural gas. The Symphony II Power Management system ensures both of your high-demand and lower-demand appliances work together.
Construction: Its corrosion-resistant steel enclosure adds durability.
Engine: It is powered by a 993cc V-Twin 4-cycle OHV engine.
Fuel Consumption: If we talk about the fuel consumption of this generator, then it consumes 2.31 gallons of liquid propane per hour at 50% load and 187 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load.
Noise Level: Its operational volume is 70.8 dB (A) at 23 feet.
Self-Test Mode: The generator goes into the self-test mode every 7 days for 20 minutes.
Safety Features: Low-oil alert/shutdown and overload protection are included in the safety features.
Remote Monitoring: The unit also allows you to control and monitor it remotely.
Standby vs. Portable Whole House Generator
First of all, choose between a home standby and a portable generator. Both these generator types do the same thing, but there are some differences as well.
First, portable generators are easy to transport if not connected to the home’s circuit breaker panel with a transfer switch. On the other hand, home standby generators are stationary.
Second, portable generators produce less power and are louder as compared to most of the whole house standby generators.
Third, home standby generators feature insulated weatherproof housing that keeps them protected. Also, they start up automatically, whereas you have to turn portable generators on manually. Moreover, standby generators are expensive but can operate for days or weeks.
Output and Power Needs
The second most important thing to consider is the generator’s output and power needs. There is no point in buying a whole house generator if you have to make compromises while running your appliances. You must count your total power needs and then go for a generator. The best way to do this is to make a list of all the appliances you need to run on your generator. List the starting and running wattage of each appliance and calculate the total for both. Consider the table below for an example.
|Appliances||Starting Wattage||Running Wattage|
|1 HP Furnace||4700||1750|
|1/2 HP Well Pump||2000||900|
|1/2 HP Sump Pump||2000||900|
In the above example, the starting wattage needed to run all the appliances at one time is 17,100, and the running wattage needed to run all the appliances is 9150 watts. If your power needs are the same as the example above, you can go for a 10,000 watts generator. It is best to leave a cushion of 400-500 watts so that you can adjust any extra appliances during a power outage. There is no point in buying a generator with a 17,000 running wattage as you can adjust the load by turning the appliances on one by one. You can also calculate your power needs in the same way as listed above. To find out the starting and running wattage of an appliance, check the user manual, or consult the customer service.
Type of Fuel
When you select a whole house generator, you can go for a single fuel or a dual fuel generator. Among the single fuel generators, you have the option of going for gasoline, diesel, or propane. Dual fuel generators provide you the luxury of running your generator on two fuels. When one is not available, you can use the other one to run your generator.
Fuel Tank Capacity, Runtime, Fuel Consumption
If you find a portable whole house generator, you must focus on its fuel tank capacity and runtime. At least your generator has a 7-gallon fuel tank to get a reasonable runtime. But runtime not only depends on the fuel tank capacity, but it is also affected by the engine’s efficiency and the load applied.
In the whole house standby generator, the most important thing to look at is how much fuel it consumes per hour.
A whole house generator must have a full-option control panel. Most of the standby whole house generators come with an advanced control panel that gives you maximum control over the unit. It will give you various readings such as voltage drawn, oil level, fuel level, total running hours, and indicate the time for oil, oil filter/air filter replacement. The control panel must have electric outlets, AC circuit controllers, on/off buttons, and other features for portable units.
The transfer switch is also equally important to focus on. You can install a manual transfer switch to use it with your portable generator. If you are going for a standby generator, you will have an automatic switch that will automatically detect the power outage and turn on the generator automatically.
A 200-amp transfer switch is ideal for an average home. But the standby generators mentioned in the list come with both 100 and 200-amp transfer switches. So, before the selection, never miss matching the transfer switch amps with your home’s main breaker amps to get a perfect generator according to your needs.
If you are going for a portable generator, look for a unit that has an electric starting. It is challenging to pull-start a large unit as compared to small units. Standby generators start automatically when the power goes out.
A whole house generator must have some safety measures installed to keep it safe. It must come with surge voltage protection, grounding, and protection from overloading and overheating. The generator must also offer auto shutdown when the oil or fuel level is low.
Noise Level: Standby generators make less noise, so you don’t have to worry about their noise levels. But when selecting a portable generator, never miss checking its decibel rating.
Warranty and Certifications
Warranty and certifications give you peace of mind when it comes to buying a whole house generator. You don’t want to spend on repairing your generator after a year or two. Hence, it is better to look for a generator with a warranty cover. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions of the warranty agreement before starting your unit. A generator with certifications from EPA will not pollute the air around you and thus keep the environment safe.
The last thing to consider is the price you have to pay for the generator. Standby generators are costly as compared to portable generators. When you pay more for a standby generator, you invest in your property and increase its worth. This investment will help you fetch a higher selling price for your home.