Nature can unleash its forces when you least expect, but if you are not prepared, you can find your home without power, and the last thing you will need in a natural disaster is a power outage. Imagine a storm wreaking havoc in your area, and all the power lines are knocked out. It will be a bad experience for you and your family.
However, there are whole-home generators there for you to continue all your daily activities as usual. The whole home standby generators are not only going to supply power for your appliances and devices. You and your family also have that much-needed peace when you have hurricanes, storms, extreme winders, and other adverse weather conditions. Even though purchasing a whole house generator can drain your pocket a little, the investment is worth it.
Top 6 Best Whole House Generators
1. Champion Power Equipment 14kW Whole House Generator
The Champion Power Equipment 100294 14-kW Home Standby Generator is the perfect answer to any kind of power outage. The system comes with a Whole House ATS200 Service Entry Rated Automatic Transfer Switch complete with Demand Control.
- Round The Clock Power Supply: With the ATS200 Whole House Transfer Switch complete with Demand Control, you can be sure of your entire home having an uninterrupted and controlled power supply whenever there is a power outage.
- Very Quiet: Those who like noiseless systems will find it very pleasant to know that this particular product is the quietest in its class. This is possible due to sophisticated sound dampening and a highly-rated muffler, which makes sure that the generator system works at a very reasonable 63 dBA.
- Reliability: Nothing is more frustrating than a generator that fails to work when you need it to. This is different from its 24-volt starting system means it can work in either extreme heat or even below freezing temperatures. The best part of all these is that there is no need for warming kits, and on top of that, the generator carries out auto-diagnostic assessments every week.
- Sheer Power: As expected, this generator churns out an impressive 14,000 watts of steady power when using propane. If on natural gas, it can generate as much as 12,500 watts, and on top of these, there is no need for refueling, extension cords, or even manual operation.
- Customer Care and Support: The system comes with a limited warranty valid for ten years and a permanent lifetime technical support from professionals – all for free.
- Cost: Not a few customers feel the system’s price is beyond what they can easily afford.
- A bit noisy. It can be heard inside the house.
For those who want to have unparalleled peace and enjoy the fullest comfort and even reliability of energy supply in an emergency, this is the coolest option for them. It has far more advantages than demerits, and it is undoubtedly a good investment for money spent.
2. Generac 22kW Home Standby Generator
A unique system by all parameters, the 22 kW Guardian Series home standby generator from Generac is the most significant air-cooled type in the market. It is not only huge, but it is also known for having all the characteristics and operational properties that users have now associated with this trusted brand of home standby generators.
In addition to providing full house coverage for countless homes, this home standby generator also comes with an MSRP that is the least when it comes to the cost per kilowatt of all air-cooled home standby generators.
- Ease of Use: This generator comes with a unique Mobile Link Remote Monitoring feature free of charge. With this, you can check the status and performance of your generator from wherever you are. The best part of this is that you can do this only by using your mobile phone, laptop, or tablet. With the feature, you can get details on the present operating status and even notifications on maintenance. It becomes swift for you to get across to your licensed service dealer when need be. The Mobile Link Remote Monitoring means you do not have to worry about power outages.
- Quality: It is embedded with True Power Technology, which means you can enjoy the most excellent quality of power, and that is not all. It also comes with below 5% harmonic distortion, leading to your delicate gadgets and electrical appliances’ proper operation.
- Quiet Nature: As it comes with the Self-Test Mode, the system can operate at a reduced RPM for a test that can run up to five or 12 minutes, it is remarkably more silent than others, and it does this while using even decreased quantity of fuel.
- Durability: The engine of this generator from Generac is pressure-lubricated and is specifically designed to cope with the hectic use but without the performance affected in any way. The durability is also optimized as there is a reduced need for regular maintenance – especially when compared with other engines.
- Modern Display: The Evolution Controller feature of the system has an LCD available in different languages. This also ensures you can easily follow the battery status and pay attention to the maintenance routines. All these means your generator is always going to be in the best of conditions.
- All-Weather System: It has a specially-formulated RhinoCoat finish that confers even greater strength to the corrosion-resistant aluminum, making it ideal for any kind of weather conditions.
- Customer Support: From its base in Wisconsin, United States, Generac is one brand that is known for offering round-the-clock support to customers. Irrespective of the time you reach out to them, you can be sure of getting first-class customer support.
- Excludes battery
- Cost: With an off-the-shelf price that runs into several thousands of dollars, some customers believe the price is on the high side.
This is, by all means, a reliable generator, and for those who can afford it, it is an investment that is worth making. Existing customers who have purchased this system have nothing but praises and recommendations for it – it is a system made with excellence.
3. Kohler 20RESCL Standby Generator
Here is one of the best-known generators ideal for providing backup power, and it comes with an automatic transfer switch unit added. In a situation where there is a thunderstorm and you have an outage, the reliable 20-kW Kohler generator is always on hand for you as a standby source of power for all your appliances, be it air conditioner or heating systems.
- Reliability: Like every other product from Kohler, this particular generator is designed to come with a heavy-duty, challenging, and commercial-grade engine that means it will serve you irrespective of the weather. From extreme cold to very high temperatures, this generator is going to be there for you through all the seasons.
- Powerful Nature: In a matter of mere seconds, this Kohler generator can automatically provide power for an air conditioner as massive as five tones (60,000 BTU) and even other appliances too. With its outstanding PowerBoost technology feature, this generator can supply enough power for devices like central air conditioners without affecting other machines. Here is the incredible peak motor-starting capacity of the Kohler 20RESCL: 41kVA at 240 volts.
- Best Engine and Dependable Parts: A dependable Kohler Command PRO engine powers this generator, and it is built for demanding applications. It also has hydraulic valve lifters that improve the cost efficiency and performance of the system.
- Seamless Compatibility: It is fully compatible with wireless generator management systems from OnCue, Load Control Module, and even the Programmable Interface Module (PIM).
- Only a 5-year warranty
- Price: With a price tag running into thousands of dollars, the price is like the only thing that some customers have raised as an issue.
- Not the best customer service.
With a corrosion-proof enclosure that maximizes durability and a host of other features, this generator system from Kohler is genuinely recommended. It is an excellent embodiment of quality, excellence, and outstanding performance.
4. Briggs & Stratton 20,000 Watt Whole House Generator
The ideal generator set for any home, this 20kW standby generator is perfect. With this generator, you can flawlessly meet all the energy needs of your home.
- Wireless Monitoring: This is one feature that allows you to monitor the status of your generator directly from your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, and it even allows for sending notifications for maintenance. This way, your generation is always in shape to provide power whenever there is an outage.
- Excellent Management of Power: The generator system can sort the distribution of power to all your appliances, and this is done automatically and without your input. With this load management, the generator is not going to have an overload or shutdown; hence, your family will be able to enjoy a steady supply of power.
- Durable Engine and Body: This generator system is powered by the much-touted commercial Vanguard engine, rated as one of the very best in the industry. If you plan to use the generator in a very demanding area, this is the right choice for you. To also increase this generator system’s durability, it is made with the same high-quality galvanized steel that protects against rust. There is also a very sophisticated powder coat paint that protects against all kinds of damage.
- Trustworthy Customer Support: The brand is an extensive network of dealers and call center experts. Users can easily reach out online to the customer care unit, and they will be promptly attended to.
- Easy Financing Option: This is a unique advantage, and it is made possible because of the partnership between the brand and Synchrony Bank. There are financing solutions that you can select from when it comes to purchasing this generator system.
- Cost: For several customers, the main issue with this brand is nothing but the price. They believe that it will be an excellent idea if the cost can be lower than what it is now.
- Engine starter is the weak point.
With this generator, you can be sure of keeping your family safe and in comfort at all times, and you will never have to worry about power outages. This is one generator system that every home will be glad to have for those who can afford it.
5. WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Generator
This generator is ideal for emergency backup and transfer switches. It is designed to run on gasoline and propane, and the fuel selection is made very easy with a dial. When running on gasoline, it has 11,000 surge watts, 8,300 running watts, and for propane, it is 9,500 surge and 7,500 runs.
- Quality Engine and Voluminous Tank: This generator features an electric start that supplies power to the 457cc 4-stroke OHV engine, easily operated with a key. It also has a 6.6-gallon tank that provides as much as 8.5 hours of run time on half-load capacity.
- Multiple Outlets and Accessories: This generator has four 120V GFCI outlets alongside a 120/240V 50A outlet and a 120V 30A twist-lock outlet. It also comes with other accessories like an oil bottle, a 12V DC cigarette-lighter-style plug, and a 47-inch LPG connection hose.
- No remote start.
- Low run time
This is an excellent choice for those who want to run their generator using either propane or gas. If you want a reliable energy source for your home during an emergency or want to charge your gadgets during picnics, this WEN generator is the ideal choice. This is a brand that has been trusted by so many across the globe since 1951. With the reliable WEN 11,000-Watt Dual Fuel Electric Start Generator, getting power via a couple of sources is possible. You can make use of either LPG or gasoline for the generator utilizing the electric start. This generator is highly recommended.
6. DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
This portable generator is known for its impressive versatility and power. It is a dual fuel generator that can generate well more than 12,000 watts, ensuring that you can get all the energy you need even during the worst storms.
- Powerful Set: With its MX2 Power Boost feature, this generator can double the 120V power for all your appliances. As a result of the fact that it has 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts, it is a solid set that can handle practically everything from your bedroom lights to powering your air conditioning systems or refrigerator, or any other gadget.
- Multiple Outlets: For maximum ease, the generator comes with several outlets and locks. These include the 120V 20A GFCI outlet, 120V 30A twist lock, 120/240V 30A twist lock, and 120/240V 50A massive duty outlet.
- Surge Arrest: It comes with a surge arrest feature that ensures adequate protection for your generator whenever there are power surges.
- Rigidity: As all its parts are made from toughened metal, it is designed to work and remain durable even on the most demanding work sites. It is truly rugged, and you will find it useful in any location you put it to use.
- Impressive Runtime: When it comes to reliability, this is the real deal for you. With just one full tank of gasoline, this generator can last as much as eight hours.
- Dual Fuel: This generator runs on either liquid propane or gasoline, and this feature comes with a lot of advantages. The clean-running LP fuel means there is no gumming up or foul carburetor, and unlike gasoline, liquid propane can be kept for years. There is also a flexible line that allows for connection to tanks of any size or capacity. It has also been designed to run on gasoline or propane so you can enjoy maximum convenience at all times. Hence, you have the flexibility and enough freedom when it comes to the selection of fuel choice. Even though gasoline is also a good option, liquid propane lasts long, is cheaper, has a longer storage life, and, as hinted earlier, it will not gum up the carburetor – that is very important.
- Warranty. Only one year warranty on parts. And it doesn’t include the delivery cost of the parts. Replacement parts delivery may take several weeks.
The XP12000EH is ideal as a backup for your home and that it has a dual fuel option means it can last a lot longer than you can expect. It is handy and an excellent low-maintenance option for your home as a standby power source.
Whole House Generator Buying guide
Adverse weather conditions like storms or even natural disasters like a tsunami or serious flooding can mean power outage for your home. In such an instance, the electricity that your home had previously enjoyed all of a sudden becomes a real necessity for you and your family.
If you do not have the power restored on time, it means that the food in your refrigerator becomes spoiled very quickly, your children will have no access to the Internet, and several systems in your home stop working, thus presented you with a real risk of many things going wrong.
However, with a trustworthy and reliable whole-house backup generator in place for you, you can quickly have the power restored. But that said, you also need to know how to get the very best whole-house backup generator that can meet your needs during these difficult times.
Knowing the Difference Between Whole House and Home Generators
Not many people know how to spot the differences when it comes to comparison between a regular home standby and a whole house generator, and that is why this section is essential.
Advantages of Whole House Generators
- Better Automotive-Based Engine: This is against the lawn-mower style employed with the engines of typical home standby engines.
- Cooling: Whole house generators are liquid-cooled, which allows them to cope with a prolonged outage, unlike home generators that are cooled with air.
- Quietness: As a result of lower revolutions per minute, the whole house generators are a lot quieter.
- Superb Maintenance: Based on the design and the use of high-quality materials, these generators have longer intervals when it comes to maintenance. What this implies is that you do not have to worry at all about regular rates of care. This is also impressive load management, a greater level of fuel efficiency, and even A/C shedding alternatives.
- Capability: Unlike other generators that back up just the essential circuits alone, whole house generators are ideal for backing up the entire home.
Regular Home Standby Generators: Just as the name implies, the traditional home standby generators are suitable for providing power for relatively smaller homes in the 9kW to 20kW range. Hence, they come with smaller engines that are cooled with air and can only be useful for the short-duration provision of power to devices like fridges, air conditioners, light bulbs, and some pumps. They cannot provide backup power for the entire home or even for an extended duration with small houses.
What is a whole house generator?
Unlike the relatively smaller standard home standby generators described in the section above, whole house generators are those that have the range starting from 22kW up to 48kW. With the extra power comes a lot of benefits.
You know very well that you do not have to worry yourself about selecting whether it is the air conditioner that has to function while the refrigerator has to be off during critical moments. With a whole house generator, everything in your house is going to run normally, just as if there is no outage of any kind.
There are several other advantages that whole house generators have over the regular standby generator. They have more significant and more powerful engines that are not air-cooled but liquid-cooled, so that means they can keep working for relatively long periods without any stressful maintenance, but that is not even all.
Whole house generators also come with very detailed and comprehensive programming that allows for more efficient load management. This is also a more significant number of alternatives for fuel like diesel, liquid propane, and natural gas.
Whole House Generator Pros and Cons
There are several pros and cons with whole house generators, and both will be discussed in this section of the review. If you happen to live in an area with extreme heat or cold, it will be apparent to you why you need a whole house backup generator as the comfort and safety for you and your loved ones are paramount.
Trying to carry out your regular activities without a reliable supply of power in either dry or wet season can lead to many problems and even dangers. Even if you can pull through for one or two days, emergencies can come up at any time.
Pros of Whole House Generators:
- Climate Control: When the power goes off, you need to commence climate control of your indoor spaces immediately, and you can easily do this with whole house generators. In an outage, even the heating with natural gas cannot be done without power.
- Food Preservation: All the food kept inside the refrigerator and deep freezers cannot last long without power. With these generators, your food will remain fresh.
- Illumination: Of course, no one can dwell in the darkness; your home needs proper lighting in all your spaces.
- Appliances and Devices: Your electrical appliances like television, radios, and computers can all run without any stress as long as there is a power supply from the generators. When you also have life-saving medical devices that depend on electricity, the whole house generators can make all the difference between life and death.
- Comfort: As all your appliances are running well, your family is safe, and all supplies are preserved, you get an overwhelming sense of comfort and security.
Cons of Whole House Generators
Even though whole house generators are very good with the benefits listed above, they also have a few demerits. These cons are as follows:
- Price: Unlike portable standby generators that typically cost a few hundred dollars, whole house generators are a lot more expensive and can cost anything from $3,000 to as much as $6,000 per unit. Extra costs can also be incurred depending on other requirements of the generators you need for your home.
- Extreme Sophistication: Some of these generators are so advanced that you may not operate or maintain them properly without you having the needed technical knowledge or expertise.
Whole House Generator Fuel Choices
Whole house generators are designed to run on various kinds of fuel types. The ideal one for your home is going to depend on several parameters. The most common fuel options for whole-house generators include propane, natural gas, diesel, gasoline, and mixed fuel (bi-fuel) options.
This happens to be the most well-known fuel option for whole-house generators. This is because natural gas is relatively cheap, burns neatly, and has one of the highest efficiency levels. Apart from that, you will not likely run out of natural gas anytime soon as the supply is often from the municipal pipes.
The only prominent issue here is that before you can use it for your whole house generator, your home must already be connected or have a natural gas line. If you do not have a natural gas line, you may have to resort to storing fuel, which is not the safest or most efficient option.
When it comes to efficiency, diesel is far better than gasoline. This is made possible because diesel uses compression heating instead of spark ignition (which is what obtains in a gasoline generator). In addition to this, it provides more excellent resistance to mechanical stress. When safety is also considered, diesel is a much better option because it is not combustible like gasoline. It has a higher level of protection than natural gas.
Of all the heating oils used for generators, propane is the most well-known. Generators that run on propane are also known to be far less noisy and even cheaper than other models in the market. Also, because of all the heating oils, none has a longer shelf life than propane. You do not have to stress yourself concerning the generator’s supply or get worried over declining efficiency over time.
Just as the name implies, these are generator systems that run on two kinds of fuels. These typically include propane and gasoline. The user can switch flawlessly between propane and gasoline. In most cases, all that is needed to do the switch is just a fuel switch knob.
Some of the other innovative generators are also designed to start using diesel fuel and then with an addition of natural gas upon the application of load until the whole generator runs on natural gas. The main advantage of this, considering the use of natural gas in the mix, is that it offers dual fuel reliability.
As research studies have shown that natural gas lines are often not affected during natural disasters, the bi-fuel generators offer a reliable and steady fuel source. They will always be there for you and your family when the time comes.
How to Pick the Right Size Whole House Generator?
Choosing your whole house’s correct size is very important when it comes to the installation of your entire house generator. It is also helpful to have a unique understanding of how electricity; this is also to the load requirements of the electrical appliances in your home.
When the time comes to check the electrical loads, take time to check the manufacturer’s data plate. This should be done for every primary appliance or equipment, and it is to let you know the amperage that each has.
Once that has been established, the next thing to be done is to get the total starting wattage of all the appliances. A way to do this calculation is to utilize the formula to multiply the starting amps with the volts to get the watts. For the kilowatt calculation, all you need to do is divide the total number of watts by 1,000.
When it is time to select the generator output, go for the one with the rating that is 20 to 25% more than the peak load. To illustrate, if the total sum of the wattage is going to be approximately 22 kilowatts, then go for a 27 kilowatts generator.
There is a good reason for this decision. By going for a generator with a higher rating, you can be sure of flawless operation at an estimated 80% of its expected capacity. That will give you some room for flexibility in a situation where there is a load increase later on in the future.
Just to add, the most demanding use of wattage is often seen with the central air conditioning systems. For those who are not sure of how to know the size of their air conditioners in terms of the tons, all you need to do is divide the number of BTUs by 12,000 (Tons will be BTUs divided by 12,000).
Size Options for Whole House Generators
When it comes to the typical standby generators, the rating is done using kilowatt, which is a measurement of the total load or the capacity a generator can cope with. For the homeowners who are just starting with it, it is just perfect for them to go for the 22kW as it will provide their home with all the benefits they need as against a typical home standby.
However, for a vast majority of homes, a whole house generator in the 27-36kW range is the best, and this is because they take the place of about three-quarters of the 200 amps streaming into your circuit. As these generators have sophisticated load managing programming, for instance, A/C shedding, you will not have any issues with the appliances you hook up to the generator. For example, you can smoothly run your air conditioners without having to bother about overloading the entire generator system.
In a situation where you need to provide backup power for the whole home and have all your appliances running as if no outage ever occurred, then a 48kW generator is another excellent option for you. This particular one is so powerful that it can generate an impressive 220 amps of electricity at standard 240 volts, almost the same as the mains’ power.
Importance of Selecting a Transfer Switch
In the same way, you need to switch to turn on your light bulb; you also need one for your whole house generator. With an automatic transfer switch (also referred to as ATS), it becomes easy for your generator to instantly resume action once there is any kind of power outage.
The ATS can get this done by being able to detect power from the mains supply continually. The moment that it sees an outage, it automatically turns the engine on and supplies power to your home directly from the generator.
Ensuring that you get the right switch is so vital that it is considered crucial as getting the correct generator. If you are not too sure about which button will work for you, it is best to check the amperage of your service panel. This can be seen by checking the main breaker situated in the electrical panel.
On average, the typical home makes use of a 200-amp main breaker. For this reason, the highest level of electricity that your home can make use of is 200 amps. It is right for you to get the same amperage automatic transfer switch with your home electrical panel. Hence, if you have a 200-amp service, you will have to use a 200-amp transfer switch.
Is It Residential Friendly?
Even though there is no argument for having a whole house generator as a good investment, one has also to consider the noise generated by the generator. You do not want your machine to be sounding like an old engine. The best way to ensure that the generator you are getting is residential-friendly is for you to take a look at the decibel levels. Each generator comes with its muffler, so make sure the one that comes with your generator is of the highest quality.
At this moment, you are now very well-informed regarding how to choose the ideal whole house generator for your home. You can now get any of these entire house generators so you can be protected against all types of power outages. All the brands that have been reviewed in this piece are reliable, and you get to choose the one that will meet your needs will not be difficult. However, it is also equally important that you take time to select the one that is truly the best for all your home needs.
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