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Home Generator Reviews: The Best Whole House Generators

Home Standby GeneratorHome generators are one of the most useful pieces of equipment any home owner can own. When the power goes out, there’s still an ability to have power generated! This keeps food cool, people connected, and can provide warmth on a cold night. How do you find which generator is the right one for you? Through the best home generator reviews that you can find right here!

Here Is the Best Chart For Home Generators

Home generators come in many different shapes and styles. Each make and model has some various strengths that can provide a unique, potentially beneficial experience. This chart will help you find the winners that will work best for you!

PictureNameWattagePriceOur Rating
PictureNameWattagePriceOur Rating
Briggs & Stratton 40346 Home Standby Generator20,000
$$$$$4.5
Kohler 14RESA Generator14,000
$$$5
Generac 6729 20kW Home Standby Generator20,000
$$$$$2.5
Generac 6237 8,000 Watt Standby Generator8,000
$$3.6
Generac 6438 11,000 Watt Standby Generator11,000
$$
4.5
Briggs & Stratton 40326 Home Standby Generator12,000
$$$3.5
Briggs and Stratton 40396 Generator20,000
$$$$$+
3
Briggs and Stratton 404458,000
$$
3
Generac 6439 11,000 Watt Standby Generator11,000
$$$
3.8
Kohler 20RESAL20,000
$$$$$
3.8

What Is a Home Generator? Do You Even Need One?

Home generators supply power to a home in a variety of ways. The best home standby generators will give you some flexibility in how that power is generated, but still give you enough power to meet the unique demands that you have. You provide the generator with a fuel source, turn it on, and it begins producing electrical currents that you use through one of its receptacles.

Home generators are typically measured in the amount of watts they produced. A 600 watt home generator, for example, won’t be able to run any of your major appliances when the power goes out, but could provide some lighting and run a small appliance, like a rice cooker, if necessary. On the other end of the spectrum, a 20,000 watt home generator can run every major appliance your home has and still have room left over for an air conditioner or two!

The question that must be answered is this: what does your home need if the power goes out for more than 24 hours? You could pack your refrigerator with ice and bucket flush your toilets, but what if that power outage goes to 48 hours? Or lasts even longer? Having the best home generators supplying power to a sump pump, refrigerator, or a furnace can seem like a luxury when everyone else is struggling without any power at all.

If you live in a single family home, then a home generator might not seem necessary, but it should be included with your emergency plans for added comfort and safety. Apartment or flat residents can also benefit from these home generator reviews, however, thanks to the invention of solar power generation.

Is It Possible to Find the Best Home Generator?

For many home owners, a full 20,000 watt home generator is a little excessive. Although it would be nice to have all of the appliances working during an emergency, there’s one little cost that can’t be overlooked: fueling. High powered home generators, especially standby generators, can use a lot of fuel when they are working at full capacity. It’s nice to have the extra power, but depending on local rates, you could be spending $30-$40 per day to run the generator – and that’s the low estimate! That’s why many home owners choose a mid-range option that is between 4000-9000 watts.

In this range, you have a wide variety of selection to find the best home generator that works for you. Some generators are portable or come with wheel kits so you can transport the generator around your property to where it is needed. You get enough power to run 1-3 major appliances, have lighting, and be able to maintain a reasonable lifestyle while the utilities are working to restore power.

One commonly overlooked item in the home generator conversation, however, is the electronic equipment that you have. Generators can produce a high amount of harmonics and although that doesn’t usually bother an older style television set or refrigerator, it can bother your computer, router, and other sensitive electronics. If having power for these electronics is important for your household, then you’ll need to look for the best home inverter generators to have those needs effectively met.

How Do Home Generators Work?

To answer this question, the different styles of home generators must be looked at individually through our home generator reviews so that you can see their full functionality. In basic terms, however, you can expect something similar to what is described below.

  • Portable generators. These generators come in a power range of 600-9000 watts in most instances and run on gasoline, propane, or natural gas. When you provide the generator with fuel and turn it on, you will receive power at the receptacles that are on the machine. You’ll need to run extension cords of a commercial grade from the receptacle to your appliances directly in order to get power.
  • Standby generators. These generators sit outside of the home and will hook into the actual electrical grid that the home has. This might happen inside or outside depending on the design and ratings of the generator. They hook into an existing fuel source that is typically propane or natural gas and once started, will monitor the electrical supply to a home. If it is interrupted, the standby generator kicks in and supplies power.
  • Solar generators. For those living in rental homes, an apartment, or a flat, solar generators are often the best home generator to use. They don’t violate a lease in most instances and in return can provide generally up to 2000 watts of power. They charge a battery in the generator in most instances that is then used when the power is out. Look for daylight panels instead of direct sun panels to receive the best results in this category.

What Are the Prices of the Best Home Generators Today?

As you will see in our home generator reviews, the prices of home generators can vary a lot based on the features of the generator. That is why it is critically important to evaluate your needs first! When you can find a generator that meets your specific needs, then you’ll be able to save money by not paying for features you don’t need!

The average price for a home generator is about $600 on Amazon right now. Lower watt generators can be about 50% of this cost in some instances. High watt standby generators typically cost more than $2,000, however, and some models are priced above $5,000.

What Do Our Reviews Have To Say?

Kohler 14RESA

This generator is designed to be as easy to install as possible. You don’t need a concrete mounting pad like other generators of this design do and the roof of the enclosure is both hinged and locked. The connections come through the enclosure wall so there’s no need for stub-ups and the load connection terminal block makes field wiring a really simple task.

Even though it provides a lot of power for the home, it is reasonably quiet and won’t disturb the rest of the neighborhood when it is running! It provides a clean, consistent level of power so that even the most sensitive electronics can be powered by this generator. Overall this generator provides a lot of value for the investment made into it.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Kohler 14RESA

Generac 6729

For the average home owner, the price point of this generator is a bit high and the could definitely be a detriment. Be sure to check where your nearest Generac service center is before ordering so you can plan for servicing costs that may happen should the generator break down. Make sure you have a plan to manage your natural gas or propane costs for long-term outages and you’ll find that the Generac 6729 will provide you the power that you need!

The good news is that it operates with a smooth level of power thanks to its True Power Technology, which means you can plug-in your sensitive electronic equipment without worry when the generator is running.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Generac 6729

Generac 6237

Will 8000 watts of power be enough to power your home in an emergency? With careful management, you’ll be able to rotate through appliances and still have power to cook, run your electronics, and have a few lights on all at the same time. That’s why it is one of the best home generators available right now – it provides just enough power for the average home.

It should be noted, however, that this generator from Generac may not work for large single family homes for 3 bedrooms or more, but for the smaller homes it is a definite plus to own this generator. It even comes with a good quality mounting pad that eliminates the need to place this standby generator on one you’ve previously installed.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Generac 6237

Briggs and Stratton 40346

If there was anything that could be improved with this specific generator, it would be in its design. It’s low profile already and doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it is designed to be an outdoor unit primarily and that poses some difficulties in some situations. By adding a venting kit or other interior options, there would be even more protection from an emergency.

The generator is backed by a 4 year warranty, is powered by a reliable Briggs and Stratton engine, and will give you better noise levels than other generators that are much less powerful. Overall this leads to an excellent, dependable experience!

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Briggs and Stratton 40346

Briggs and Stratton 40396

Do you need something that will provide your entire home, no matter how big it is, with your investment into a standby generator? Then this model from Briggs and Stratton should be one of the first that you consider! It’s all weather enclosure is designed to provide easy access and it locks up nicely to prevent any unwanted intrusions.

With flexible placement options, almost any home can have this generator easily installed. It can be placed as close as 18 inches from the home and has been tested against NFPA standards for optimal compliance. It has a great 4 year warranty that covers parts and labor, plus gives you the power to run 2 air conditioners in addition to all of your appliances.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Briggs and Stratton 40396

Briggs and Stratton 40326

The Briggs and Stratton 40326 includes an air conditioning control module which allows it to manage up to four AC units while running on generator power, which is great if you’re in an area that often has blackouts due to excessive load on the local power grid.

The unit itself runs a test for 20 minutes every week, which is a lot more frequent than other generators that only run an automated test cycle once every month. It has a very low noise output, which means you can place it as close as 20 inches away from your home, depending on local building codes. Give this one a look if you want to be able to provide standby power a small to medium sized home.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Briggs and Stratton 40326

Briggs and Stratton 40445

For the average home, most households are going to easily get by with 8000 watts of starting power. Most emergency situations without power are less than 24 hours and that percentage goes up even more when another day is added and this generator will easily meet your needs in that time period. It is a plug and play standby generator in style, so most people will love having it power their home!

Backed by a three year warranty, you’ll get a reliable level of power thanks to the century of experience behind this manufacturer. You’ll get a permanent system of protection from one of the best generators available and in return, you won’t have to worry about the uncertainties that can occur should the power go out.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Briggs and Stratton 40445

Generac 6438

What would you do with 11,000 watts of air-cooled generator power? This Generac standby unit runs on liquid propane or natural gas and offers a hands-free way to get power when you need it. It includes an automatic transfer switch to seamlessly cut from mains power to generator power in the event of a blackout, although the switch is rated for indoor use only.

It’s easy to install and is EPA/CARB compliant. It’s a good standby generator for medium sized large homes and overall this unit functions well, does what it promises, and that’s why it could be the best generator for you.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Generac 6438

Kohler 20RESAL

If you want an affordable whole house solution, then this is the first generator you need to consider. Not only does it have a good reputation as a consistent product, but you’ll get up to 20k watts of power that will let you live a normal lifestyle, even when there is an extended power outage.

It is service-entrance rated, includes a 200 amp switch, and comes with a 5 year, 2000 hour warranty to protect your investment. Although it is one of the more expensive generators available right now, it is definitely one of the best generators as well.

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Kohler 20RESAL

Generac 6439

If you’re looking for a high quality standby generator, you have to look at what this Generac model can provide. Not only does it require zero feeling, but you won’t have to run extension cords to your appliance because it connects directly into your home’s electrical network. The Generac True Power Technology is nice because it provides a safe power source for laptops, cell phones and other sensitive electronic devices.

You’ll get more watts from propane over natural gas, maxing out at 10k watts total. For a whole home solution, this generator has a lot of good things going for it!

Click here to check the price on Amazon and find a great deal on the Generac 6439

What could the best home generator reviews tell you today? Use them to select the perfect generator for your home and you won’t be disappointed when the power goes out any more!

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4 Comments

  1. Edward Ruminski

    September 28, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Need to know if my home needs a whole home generator and what are the advantages of having one versus a portable 5500 generator.

    Reply

    • Brian Martin

      October 12, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      For a solar generator to power a refrigerator/freezer, the primary consideration is the starting wattage which is required. Running wattage is also a consideration, but starting the motor of any appliance requires more energy than running it after it is started. This particular appliance has some unique challenges which must be met.

      For a standard sized refrigerator/freezer combination that you could find in the $500-$700 range on Amazon or your local retailer, the running wattage required for it would be 700 watts. To make sure the refrigerator would remain powered, however, you would need to have a solar generator that could handle a surge wattage of 2,200 watts at minimum.

      Larger refrigerators may have a running wattage of up to 1,200 watts. As a general rule of thumb, the surge wattage is a factor multiplied by 3, so the surge wattage on the largest models on the market today could be up to 3,600 watts.

      If the appliance is Energy Star rated with 5 stars, then it may require as few as 1,200 starting watts and 200 running watts.

      Why is the surge wattage so much higher? It is because this is the amount of power that is required to actually start the motor of the refrigerator/freezer after the power goes out. The nature of this appliance’s motor makes it one of the most power-hungry appliances that are in your home.

      You also have the collection of solar energy to consider as well. Many solar powered generators today come with a 40w charging panel. You would need to combine several charging panels to connect with your generator to have an ongoing solution that could remain off-the-grid. Otherwise you would get about 1 hour of run-time from a week’s worth of solar energy.

      Our recommendation would be to purchase a solar panel starter kit such as this one.

      Those panels would allow for up to 400 watts of additional of charging energy to be funneled into a high capacity solar generator such as this one.

      The good news is that a solar generator of this size would also be able to run most other appliances in a home if they were used individually. Only a clothes dryer (7000 starting watts) and a hot water heater (5000 starting watts) require more starting wattage than the average refrigerator/freezer.

      Reply

  2. Robert Hamilton

    March 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Just finished having a 22kw generac whole house generator connected. 2 days later, the rest of the neighborhood lost power. We were without power for 15 seconds. The rest of the neighborhood was without power for 30 hours. My only complaint was our neighbor complaining that it was loud. I beg to differ. I couldn’t hear anything except our TV. :)..We are very happy.

    Reply

    • Brian Martin

      March 4, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      I bet you found it well and truly worth the investment after that 30 hour blackout! No power for that long would have caused a lot of issues for your neighbours in terms of lost food from refrigerators, hassles with cell phone charging, etc.

      Reply

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