Best Whole House Generators Of January 2024 – Forbes Home

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Whole house generators can help you disconnect from the grid entirely or keep your appliances running during extended power outages or emergencies when a portable or standby generator would otherwise fail. 80kw Diesel Generator

Best Whole House Generators Of January 2024 – Forbes Home

In order to take advantage of those benefits, it’s crucial you get the right generator for your unique situation and application. Check out our list of the best whole house generators to see which model would be the best for you to keep your home running even without a connection to the grid.

The Forbes Home team is committed to bringing you independent, unbiased ratings and information. We use data and expert advice to inform all of our content. Plus, our advisory board of licensed professionals fact-checks and reviews our content for accuracy and relevancy. You can read more about our editorial guidelines and the whole house generators methodology for the ratings below.

Explore Most Popular Generators For Home Installation

When in need of temporary power for medical, heating, cooling or electrical reasons, Angi’s electricians can help. Installation done for brands like Generac, Kohler and Cummins.

Generac Guardian Wi-Fi Enabled Standby Generator

As the leading home generator brand, Generac’s Guardian series generators, once again, set them apart from competition. This Wi-Fi-enabled Guardian generator allows you to monitor its status via phone or computer from anywhere in the world using the company’s MobileLink technology, all while providing 10,000 watts via liquid propane (LP) or 9,000 watts via natural gas (NG).

The generator is air-cooled, shuts down automatically in high temperatures and features an automatic transfer switch to take over powering your home the minute you lose grid-based power. Quickly and easily set up by professional installers, the Generac Guardian easily attaches to your existing LP or NG pipes and comes with a five-year limited warranty and 24/7/365 customer phone support.

The Generac Guardian Wi-Fi Enabled Standby Generator runs about $3,879 on average.

Briggs & Stratton 12,000-Watt Automatic Air Cooled Standby Generator

The Briggs & Stratton 12,000 Watt Generator packs quite the punch for a narrow footprint unit and ships at a solid price. Though one of the smallest generators on our best-of list, this product delivers a solid 12,000 watts and comes in as one of the best ranked generators by customer reviews.

With an automatic voltage regulator, efficient alternator and smartphone app control over Wi-Fi, you never have to worry about damaging sensitive electronics with surges nor under-powering your high-voltage appliances. The generator can also be run on a low-speed mode to reduce noise, save fuel and tighten your control.

The Briggs & Stratton 12,000-Watt Automatic Air Cooled Standby Generator runs about $4,299 on average.

Champion 14-kW aXis Home Standby Generator with 200-Amp Whole House Switch

While the Champion 14-kW aXis generator is one of the most expensive whole house generators on our list, it includes excellent features to help it stand apart from its competition. Offering a best-in-class 14,000 watts, the Champion aXis goes unmatched on this list for the amount of power it outputs to your home. This generator is also the quietest of our top five with noise measured at only 62 dbA.

The Champion aXis is designed to start automatically when your home’s power is lost, evenly manage the electric load and operate at sub-zero temperatures or in extreme heat. While this generator does not have a remote monitoring system, it does come with a 10-year limited warranty, offering more than double every other brand on this list.

The Champion 14-kW aXis Home Standby Generator with 200-Amp Whole House Switch runs about $4,799 on average.

Generac PowerPact 7,500 Watt Standby Generator

If you have a small home or need fewer watts of power, the Generac PowerPact 7,500 Watt Standby Generator is a great option. The PowerPact includes most of the same features as Generac’s larger models while requiring the smallest footprint of those we’ve ranked.

You get what you pay for, though: this PowerPact only includes a three-year limited warranty and is one of the loudest options, measured at 69 dbA. The PowerPact includes a lightweight, indoor-rated automatic transfer switch and can power up to eight circuits of your home.

The Generac PowerPact 7,500 Watt Standby Generator runs about $2,049 on average.

Generac Guardian 3-Phase 20kW Automatic Standby Generator Wi-Fi Enabled

The Generac Guardian 3-Phase 20kW generator is one of the largest, most powerful air-cooled 3-phase generators on the market. If your home or small business needs dependable 3-phase power back-up look no further than this Generac Guardian. This generator has all the features you’ve come to love of a Generac, easy-installation, Wi-Fi control and monitoring, and durable, all-weather construction that’s built to last. With a noise level of 67 dbA, this unit’s noise is impressively low for the level of power output. The only thing missing from this package is an automatic transfer switch, which is sold separately.

Generac Guardian 3-Phase 20kW Automatic Standby Generator Wi-Fi Enabled runs about $5,599 on average.

*NOTE: Pricing information was accurate at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

A whole house generator is the most powerful type of home generator available. It’s wired to your electric panel and turns on automatically when you lose power, so your entire home stays online if you have the right size. In contrast to a standby or portable generator, a whole house generator will power many more appliances for as long as you can provide it with fuel.

A whole house generator, also known as a standby generator, is a device that provides backup electrical power to an entire house in the event of a power outage. It operates automatically and is designed to restore power quickly and seamlessly, allowing you to maintain essential functions and appliances in your home even when the grid power is down.

The whole house generator is connected to a power grid, which allows it to run automatically. The generator relies on a transfer switch to detect power interruptions. Once a power outage is identified, the generator’s engine is automatically activated and fueled by natural gas, propane or diesel stored on site. This engine drives an alternator to produce electricity, which is then converted to the appropriate voltage and frequency for household use.

You should expect to pay between $1,500 and $7,500 for a whole house generator, including installation. The average cost sits around $4,500. The exact price will come down to what features you’re looking for and the cost of installation labor in your area.

Compare Quotes From Top-Rated Generator Installers

Consider four primary elements when choosing a whole house generator: power requirements, cooling systems, fuel types and noise levels.

To determine how much power you’ll need for your generator, you can either use an online wattage calculator, the wattage information on your appliances or your electrical bill. We recommend multiplying the total wattage of your appliances by 1.5 to give yourself a safe margin of error. A small to medium-size house in the U.S. typically uses a minimum of 5,000 to 7,000 watts, so you should expect most generators to have a minimum of 8,500 to 10,000 watt outputs.

When you’ve determined what power level you need from your whole house generator, you should consider whether you want an air-cooled or liquid-cooled system. An air-cooled generator either passively uses the surrounding air to cool the engine or relies on a fan to maintain temperature.

Liquid-cooled generators pump coolant through the engine block. This coolant absorbs heat from the engine, then is cycled through to the radiator, where it cools off, then moves back to the engine to maintain an appropriate temperature.

Air-cooled generators are usually less efficient, and they tend to have shorter shelf lives when used in whole-house contexts. They often overheat and then automatically shut down. Liquid-cooled generators tend to work best, particularly if you live in an area that often reaches temperatures of over 100 degrees, because they are much less likely to overheat.

Whole house generators either use liquid propane from a tank or natural gas from a utility line (or custom tank). Propane is cheaper and less contaminating, but using natural gas means you won’t have to refill a tank (although this isn’t an option if you’re looking to go off the grid).

Be sure to purchase the right type of generator for the fuel you’re looking to use, or check to see if it can be easily converted from one fuel source to the other (most can be).

Choosing the right whole house generator based on your budget involves careful consideration of your power needs and available options. While these generators offer excellent backup power solutions, your choice should align with your financial constraints.

Understanding your budget is the first step. Whole house generators come in various sizes and capacities, each with a corresponding price range. Smaller generators that power essential circuits will typically be more budget-friendly than larger units that supply power to the entire house.

It’s essential to balance your budget and your power requirements. Assess your essential appliances and systems that need backup power during outages. This evaluation will help you determine the generator’s capacity that suits your needs without overspending.

When shopping for a whole house generator, it’s important to make sure you purchase the right transfer switch. This component is a crucial link between your generator and your home’s electrical system. It’s what enables a seamless transition to backup power during outages.

You’ll want to assess your power demands to choose the ideal transfer switch for your whole house generator. The size of your generator dictates the transfer switch capacity you’ll require. A transfer switch that aligns with your generator’s output ensures efficient power distribution across your household circuits.

Simultaneously, factor in the complexity of your electrical system. Automatic transfer switches offer effortless power restoration by detecting outages and facilitating a smooth switch to generator power. They’re particularly beneficial for those seeking a hands-off experience. On the other hand, manual transfer switches are more budget-friendly and necessitate manual intervention to redirect power. Weighing convenience against cost-effectiveness is crucial.

Whole house generators can run quite loudly (65 decibels on the low end to 69+ on the high end), so it’s important to take that range into consideration when purchasing and placing your generator.

A whole house generator can provide back-up power for your entire home, including for essential appliances like your air conditioner, sump pump and refrigerator. Property estimated and installed, you should be able to run everything at full capacity, whether you’re going off the grid permanently or you’re forced off temporarily due to an emergency.

Trying to determine the size generator you’d need? If, for example, you wanted to power a window air conditioning unit, your immersion water heater and a microwave, you’d need a generator with a 10,000-watt output to be safe.

Whole house generators are able to do this because they have higher power capacities—22 to 48 kilowatts—than portable generators, and can run significantly longer without maintenance.

Portable generator options aren’t permanent installations like whole house ones are. That means that, in advance of outages or other emergencies, you need to have fuel on hand, which can often be in short supply. These aren’t concerns with whole house generators, which can use fuel from a much larger, pre-filled tank

Installing a whole house generator isn’t something you likely want to DIY. It involves electrical wiring and working with fuel—all of which is a major fire or explosive risk. There are associated local rules, which anyone installing one should be aware of. We highly recommend hiring a professional.

Explore Most Popular Generators For Home Installation

When in need of temporary power for medical, heating, cooling or electrical reasons, Angi’s electricians can help. Installation done for brands like Generac, Kohler and Cummins.

To determine the best whole house generator ranking, the Forbes Home Improvement editorial team analyzed 16 major whole house generators, with each generator’s star rating determined by evaluating a variety of metrics, including:

Price made up one of the bigger percentages of the best whole house generator ranking for the simple fact that price can make or break a homeowner’s decision. List price for each generator was evaluated from different platforms including Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s and more.

Each generator’s warranty was listed and analyzed. The more years a generator’s warranty policy had, the more points a generator was awarded.

For the comfort of the homeowner, 10% of the total ranking went to noise level (dbA). Each generator’s noise level was evaluated and from there was scored based on the loudness (or softness) of its average level.

Remote monitoring could be a must-have for some homeowners who often evacuate their homes for natural events, or for those on vacation, which is why 5% of the ranking is made up of remote monitoring options among each generator.

Whether a generator had an automatic transfer switch, and any included circuits, were analyzed and lumped into the total ranking.

Each generator was evaluated based on whether or not it offered a load management option, which is a popular add-on for many generator inquirists.

Whether or not each generator offered an electric start feature gained or lost a generator points to amount to 5% of the total ranking.

Those living in warmer regions or simply worried about a generator overheating may appreciate this category at 5% of the total ranking. Each generator was evaluated based on whether or not it offered the high temperature shutdown option.

Heat control, similarly to high temperature shutdown, can help mitigate any damage done to a generator, which is why the team included it as a category to make up 5% of the total ranking.

With a yes or no based on whether a generator included overload protection, each product gained or lost points totaling 5% of the total ranking.

Another potentially helpful indicator for some homeowners, low oil protection options account for 5% of the total best whole house generators ranking.

Most U.S. homes need at least 5,000 to 7,500 watts to cover minimum needs, so you’ll see standby generators offer nine to 20 kilowatts. Whole house generators will typically start at 22,000 watts and can run as high as almost 50,000.

Note: A kilowatt is 1,000 watts.

The best whole house generator is the one that fits best with the power requirements of your home and the appliances you need it to run. We compiled a list of five that we think are likely to do the trick depending on what you need, but chose the Generac Guardian 10,000W as the all-around best because it performs well and runs relatively quietly, plus has a good warranty, positive reviews and a reasonable price.

You should expect to pay $1,500 at the least and $7,500 at the most, depending on the type of generator you need and the cost of labor in your area. The average in the U.S. is around $4,500.

Whole house generators are approximately 99% reliable. They’re built with longevity in mind, but running any type of engine constantly will cause wear and tear on batteries, belts, hoses and fluids. The better you maintain your generator, the more reliable it will be.

Installing a whole house generator or its transfer switch is a job best done by an experienced professional to ensure compliance with local safety codes.

The Generac, Champion and Briggs & Stranton models listed on our list of the best whole house generators all appear reliable, with load management, high temperature shut up, heat control, overload protection and low oil protection features that will keep them running smoothly, even in less-than-optimal conditions.

The average 2,500 square foot house in the U.S. consumes close to 6,900 watts. That’s just the average, though, so you should check what your specific appliances require. You should always find a model that can handle more than you think you’ll need, just in case.

The Honeywell 10kW Home Generator had the quietest engine of the whole house generators we evaluated, with a relatively low 57 decibels of noise.

This will depend on exactly where you live and the tax deductions and rebates available to you. Check your local regulations or get in touch with a certified accountant to learn more.

You can manually add the wattage of each of your major appliances or check your utility bill to be perfectly sure. You can also use online tools to get a better idea of what you’ll need.

Chauncey grew up on a farm in rural northern California. At 18 he ran away and saw the world with a backpack and a credit card, discovering that the true value of any point or mile is the experience it facilitates. He remains most at home on a tractor, but has learned that opportunity is where he finds it and discomfort is more interesting than complacency.

In addition to being a contributing editor for Forbes, Corinne is a dynamic digital professional specializing in copywriting, copy editing and content strategy. With over eight years of experience at Bed Bath and Beyond, she has gained invaluable knowledge and expertise on everything related to the home. In her current role as SEO Editor, Corinne oversees the SEO content strategy for sites such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Bed Bath and Beyond Canada, buybuy BABY and Harmon Face Values.

Best Whole House Generators Of January 2024 – Forbes Home

Diesel Generator Parts Samantha is an editor who covers all topics home-related including home improvement and repair. She edited home repair and design content at websites like The Spruce and HomeAdvisor. She also has hosted videos on DIY home tips and solutions and launched multiple home improvement review boards staffed with licensed pros.