Best Whole House Standby Generator For 2019 (Reviews & Guide)

generacLosing power in your home is difficult. It takes away your entertainment options and can result in food spoiling. If someone relies on electricity for work or medical equipment, it is imperative to restore power quickly. A standby generator is a viable choice to keep your electricity on.

Standby generators kick on when they detect that your home is without power. This means that you usually only go a few seconds without electricity. With so many options available, exploring the best standby generators on the market helps to ensure that you pick the one that will best serve your needs.


In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top 5 Picks

Preview
Top Pick
Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Whole House 200 Amp Transfer Switch, Aluminum
Kohler 20RESCL-100LC16 Air-Cooled Standby Generator with 100 Amp Transfer Switch Single Phase, 20,000-Watt
Generac 7033 Guardian Series 11kW/10kW Air Cooled Home Standby Generator with Whole House 200 Amp Transfer Switch (not CUL)
Generac Guardian 7030 Optimus Generator, Aluminum
Champion Power Equipment 100294 Home Standby Generator
Product Name
Generac Home Standby Generator
Kohler Air-Cooled Standby Generator
Generac Guardian Air-Cooled Standby Generator
Generac Standby Generator Air-Cooled
Champion Power Equipment Standby Generator
Fuel type
Natural gas or liquid propane
Natural gas or propane
Natural gas or propane
Natural gas or liquid propane
Natural gas or propane
Wattage
22,000 watts
20,000 watts
11,000 watts
9,000 watts
14,000 watts
Noise level
67 dB
69 dB
63 dB
62 dB
63 dB
Run-time
-
-
-
-
-
Top Pick
Preview
Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Whole House 200 Amp Transfer Switch, Aluminum
Product Name
Generac Home Standby Generator
Fuel type
Natural gas or liquid propane
Wattage
22,000 watts
Noise level
67 dB
Run-time
-
Preview
Kohler 20RESCL-100LC16 Air-Cooled Standby Generator with 100 Amp Transfer Switch Single Phase, 20,000-Watt
Product Name
Kohler Air-Cooled Standby Generator
Fuel type
Natural gas or propane
Wattage
20,000 watts
Noise level
69 dB
Run-time
-
Preview
Generac 7033 Guardian Series 11kW/10kW Air Cooled Home Standby Generator with Whole House 200 Amp Transfer Switch (not CUL)
Product Name
Generac Guardian Air-Cooled Standby Generator
Fuel type
Natural gas or propane
Wattage
11,000 watts
Noise level
63 dB
Run-time
-
Preview
Generac Guardian 7030 Optimus Generator, Aluminum
Product Name
Generac Standby Generator Air-Cooled
Fuel type
Natural gas or liquid propane
Wattage
9,000 watts
Noise level
62 dB
Run-time
-
Preview
Champion Power Equipment 100294 Home Standby Generator
Product Name
Champion Power Equipment Standby Generator
Fuel type
Natural gas or propane
Wattage
14,000 watts
Noise level
63 dB
Run-time
-

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The 5 Best Whole House Generator Options


1. Generac Home Standby Generator

The Generac Home Standby Generator is a home backup generator that can be used for everything in your home, including an air conditioning system. As one of the best home generator options, it kicks on within seconds so that you do not have to deal with any issues associated with a long-term power outage.

This whole house generator is ideal for multiple electronics, including sensitive ones. It has under five percent harmonic distortion to ensure that cellphones, tablets, laptops and similar small electronics do not get surged with too much power.

The engine is pressure-lubricated and purpose-built. This ensures that it can provide reliable power when you are using it. Its engine also requires less maintenance compared to other engine types.

This generator operates relatively quietly. It uses a lower RPM when it is running for a test that lasts from five to 12 minutes. The generator also uses less power due to this feature. Due to the quietness of the generator, it is a good choice for people living in neighborhoods with neighbors who are nearby. When your generator is running, it is unlikely to cause a disturbance when they are trying to sleep.

The enclosure on this generator is all aluminum. It also features a powder coating that offers additional protection against the elements. Since aluminum is the primary material, you will not have to worry about the enclosure rusting no matter the weather conditions in your area.

This generator has user-friendly, smart controls. Use the LCD display to get information about your generator and to monitor its function when it is in use. The display is multilingual so that you can choose the language that you understand the best.

With the display, track your maintenance intervals, check the status of the battery and know that your generator is always operating at an optimal level. This display is easy to use and navigate so that you can quickly find the information that you are looking for.

This generator has mobile link remote monitoring. No matter where you are in the world, you can use this feature to fully monitor your generator. Use your tablet, computer or smartphone to access this monitoring system.

Via the monitoring system, you can access a variety of information, such as the maintenance schedule for your generator and the current operating status.

You can choose the fuel type that you prefer with this generator. It operates on either propane or natural gas. Both provide a solid level of efficiency when the generator is running.

It provides you with a maintenance schedule. Overall, the maintenance is simple so that you can take care of it with minimal effort. With regular maintenance, your generator will remain ready for operation in the event of a power outage.

This generator comes with a 200-amp transfer switch. It operates smoothly and ensures a flawless transition when the generator detects that your power has gone out and it needs to kick on.

  • Fuel type: Natural gas or liquid propane
  • Wattage: 22,000 watts
  • Noise level: 67 dB

What We Liked

  • The generator’s engine starts within seconds
  • It is efficient regarding fuel usage
  • Maintenance is simple

What We Didn’t Like

  • The unit does not have an alternator

Our Overall Impression

This whole home generator has enough power for the average home. You can use it for everything from appliances to small electronics and lights. Due to its size and specifications, it is one of the best whole house generator options.


2. Kohler Air-Cooled Standby Generator

The Kohler Air-Cooled Standby Generator is a home generator that works for small and large electrical items. It is one of the whole house generators that allows you to maintain power for most of your electric items, from air conditioning to computers and televisions.

The generator uses POWERBOOST technology. This makes it possible to run larger items. Once the power goes out and the generator detects it, the power is restored in about 10 seconds.

The generator has a DC2 controller. This allows you to use a single controller for the transfer switch functions and the generator set. It responds to the electrical demands of your household due to its electronic speed control. Due to the digital voltage regulation component of this generator, the harmonic distortion is low so that sensitive electronics have protection. Unstable power quality is also not an issue.

The engine on this generator is reliable due to its hydraulic valve lifters. You will not have any long break-in requirements or need to make routine valve adjustments due to this engine.

The transfer switch is 200 amps. This is a standard size for generators that can power a whole home. Its controller is integrated to use with the transfer switch, generator set, load control module and the programmable interface module. You can easily read the LCD. Even in low light and sunlight, you can read the display clearly.

This generator has an alternator to help ensure greater battery power. You can use two fuel types with this generator so that you have options, depending on your preferences. The generator set features include a critical silencer, an enclosure that reduces sound and protects the alternator from corrosion, battery cables, a secondary regulator and a fuel solenoid valve.

When the oil level gets too low, this generator will shut itself off so that the engine does not sustain damage due to a lack of lubrication. Once you add the appropriate amount of oil, you can start it up again without a problem.

The enclosure on this generator protects the unit against corrosion and damage from weather. It is easy to clean and maintain. This enclosure will not rust or lose its integrity prematurely. You can even use it in seaside areas where salt and humidity are constant factors.

  • Fuel type: Natural gas or propane
  • Wattage: 20,000 watts
  • Noise level: 69 dB

What We Liked

  • The remote monitoring makes it easy to keep an eye on the unit
  • This generator operates quietly
  • It is very efficient with fuel

What We Didn’t Like

  • It may require more maintenance than similar generators

Our Overall Impression

This generator features corrosion-proof housing so that it will not experience issues in multiple weather environments. You can use it to power everything from major air conditioning units to small, sensitive appliances. It turns on quickly and uses fuel efficiently so that you can use it for long periods of time.


3. Generac Guardian Air-Cooled Standby Generator

The Generac Guardian Air-Cooled Standby Generator uses True Power Technology. This feature ensures that you get the right amount of power without surges and unstable levels of electricity. Its total harmonic distortion is under five percent so that you can operate sensitive electronics without them sustaining any damage.

The transfer switch is a whole house smart switch. It is 200 amps, so it is the right size for the electrical grids of most houses. This is means that you will not need to make any alterations to make the transfer switch compatible with the electrical components of your home.

This generator has a built-in LED display. You can easily read it no matter the level of light, allowing you to check your generator day and night to ensure that it is functioning at an optimal level. Use this display to look at the status of your generator, to determine if it is time to perform maintenance and for utility power presence.

The enclosure that comes with this general is aluminum and it is all-weather. This tough enclosure protects all of the inner components of your generator so that they do not sustain damage as a result of weather and the elements. You can remove three sides of this enclosure, allowing access to the inner components for service, installation and maintenance.

You can use a battery with this generator. However, it does not come with one. Choose between using propane or natural gas, depending on which fuel source that you prefer.

The engine on this generator is pressure lubricated. You get an alert when the oil level runs low so that you can prevent damage to the engine. To ensure that this generator is operating as quietly as possible, there is a self-test quiet-test mode. For five to 12 minutes, the generator runs at a lower RPM. It also uses less fuel during this testing phase.

This generator has mobile link remote monitoring. You can use this feature to check on your generator no matter where you are in the world via your mobile device. Check on things like whether you need to perform maintenance or the operating status of the generator using this monitoring system.

  • Fuel type: Natural gas or propane
  • Wattage: 11,000 watts
  • Noise level: 63 dB

What We Liked

  • You can use it for heating and air conditioning
  • It has a solid run time
  • The digital display is easy to use and read

What We Didn’t Like

  • You have to perform maintenance more frequently than you do with similar generators

Our Overall Impression

This generator has a display that is easy to use, a standard transfer switch and solid fuel efficiency. While the wattage is a bit less compared to similar models, you can still use it to power most electronics without an issue, including those that are sensitive due to its low level of harmonic distortion.


4. Generac Standby Generator Air-Cooled

The Generac Air-Cooled Standby Generator provides sufficient power without hurting sensitive electronics. This is due to it having under five percent total harmonic distortion. Your appliances will run smoothly and not have any issues with power surges or instability.

This generator has a 100-amp transfer switch and 16 circuits. The switch is rated for outdoor and indoor use. Due to the versatility, you can use this generator in the way that best suits the needs of your home. It allows you to connect a variety of electric items so that you can power those that are most important.

It features an evolution controller. On this controller are LED indicators that provide important details about the status of your generator, whether you need to perform maintenance and if there is utility power present. Use this to monitor the overall functioning and health of your generator.

The engine is pressure lubricated. This means that you will not need to perform a lot of maintenance to keep it in good working condition. The aluminum shell provides strong protection against the wind and elements.

Know the status of your generator when you are away from home due to the mobile link remote monitoring. With your computer or mobile device, you can get important information about whether your generator is in need of maintenance and how it is functioning with this feature.

The LCD display is easy to read and use. Track maintenance, monitor the status of your battery and more. It is multilingual, allowing you to use it in the language that you are most comfortable with.

You can use a battery with this generator, but it does not come with it. There are two options for fuel, including propane and natural gas. Both are relatively efficient, so you can choose the fuel source that is the easiest and least expensive for you to use with your generator.

  • Fuel type: Natural gas or liquid propane
  • Wattage: 9,000 watts
  • Noise level: 62 dB

What We Liked

  • It operates quietly
  • The fuel efficiency is solid
  • You can learn how to use the features quickly

What We Didn’t Like

  • This generator is not ideal for large air conditioning systems

Our Overall Impression

This generator uses the latest technology. The enclosure is durable and able to resist the elements. Use the LED indicators to ensure that your generator is working at an optimal level.


5. Champion Power Equipment Standby Generator

The Champion Power Equipment Standby Generator can power most of the items in your home when a power outage occurs. It has a 200-amp transfer switch, so you can use it for the majority of homes. This generator provides seamless power and since it kicks on automatically, you will not be in the dark waiting for your electricity to come back on.

Due to the advanced sound dampening that this generator provides, it is a very quiet generator. It features a low-tone muffler so that the sound that it does produce is easily tolerable for any person located near the generator.

The starting system is 24 volts. This ensures that no matter what the temperature is outside, your generator can function to provide you with electricity. It works between negative 22 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit without you needing to install any warming kit.

Every week, the generator performs a self-diagnostic test. This provides you with important information about its level of function so that you know if repairs or maintenance are necessary to keeping it working at an optimal level.

You will not need to use any extension cords with this generator since it plugs into the main power supply of your home. It also uses propane or natural gas, so there is no need to outside electricity to ensure that it turns on and keeps working.

Use this generator with your most sensitive electronics without having to worry about power surges or harmonic distortion causing damage. It functions at under five percent harmonic distortion. You can use it for a variety of electronic items at the same time, including a variety of appliances, televisions and other electronic devices.

  • Fuel type: Natural gas or propane
  • Wattage: 14,000 watts
  • Noise level: 63 dB

What We Liked

  • It is relatively compact so that it does not take up a lot of yard space
  • This generator operates very quietly
  • The generator is clean and efficient

What We Didn’t Like

  • You cannot install it on your own unless you are an electrician

Our Overall Impression

This generator is very quiet when you are using it so that you do not disturb yourself or your neighbors. It has enough wattage to power most items in your home so that you are not without your appliances and entertainment items during a blackout. Choose the best fuel source for your needs since you can use propane or natural gas.


Home Standby Generator Buying Guide

There is a lot of information to consider as you examine home standby generators. After exploring a variety of standby generator reviews, it is important to learn more about their features and what they are capable of. The following questions and answers will help you as you look at whole house standby generators.

  • Why Have the Best Standby Generator?
  • How Do Standby Generators Work?
  • What is the Best Fuel Source for a Home Generator?
  • How to Determine the Power Needs for a Standby Generator?
  • What is the Best Transfer Switch for Standby Generators?
  • What is Remote Monitoring for Standby Generators?
  • What is the Difference Between Liquid-Cooled and Air-Cooled Standby Generators?
  • Can You Install Standby Generators on Your Own?
  • What Are the Best Accessories for a Whole House Generator?
  • Where Can You Place a Whole House Generator?
  • What Maintenance is Necessary for a Whole House Generator?
  • How Can You Ensure Safety with a Whole House Generator?

Why Have the Best Standby Generator?

Having the best whole house generator keeps you in power when the electrical grid fails.

There are several benefits associated with whole house generators:

  • Your power comes back on fast when the power goes out
  • You will not lose heating and cooling, your appliances and other electronics while the power is out
  • When the power comes back on, the best whole house generator ensures that there are no surges or voltage fluctuations
  • You will not have to deal with discomfort during a power outage

How Do Standby Generators Work?

Having a whole house generator keeps electricity flowing into your home. The transfer switch and the actual generator are the two primary components. A transfer switch essentially swaps electricity from the electrical grid to your generator.

When the power goes out, the switch is triggered. As a result, the power comes back on via your generator. There are manual and automatic switches. The manual type you have to operate on your own. Most generators today use an automatic switch that will engage automatically without any intervention.

Then, the fuel source your generator uses keeps it operating. Just make sure to check the fuel levels regularly so that it does not run out and cause your generator to shut down when you need it.

What is the Best Fuel Source for a Home Generator?

Most generators use propane or natural gas. The best whole house generator for you depends on the fuel source that you prefer. Many of today’s generators can use both of these so that you have options.

Any generator that is a standby model that goes up to 22,000 watts will usually be able to work using liquid propane or natural gas. However, there are some options on the market that you can run using diesel.

Look at the size of the fuel tank to get a better idea about how long the generator can run on a single full tank. If you choose to use natural gas to power your generator, you have to ensure that the gas lines and meter are the appropriate size and compatible with your generator. Changes can be made to ensure compatibility if you prefer natural gas.

Both natural gas and propane have similar levels of efficiency when used for a generator. You will also find that the overall costs of these fuel are mostly the same. Depending on where you live, natural gas may be easier since you will not have to go out and physically purchase a tank like you do with propane.

How to Determine the Power Needs for a Standby Generator?

How many electric items you want to run will determine how much power you need from your generator. The first step is looking at the power ratings. Standby types of generators use kilowatts as their rating measurement. 1,000 watts is equal to one kilowatt. For example, a generator with 22,000 watts has 22 kilowatts.

Consider the items that you want to run with your generator and add up their wattage. This will give you a base number to work with. You do not want to overpower your generator, so it should have more wattage than the total wattage of the electric items that you want to run. For example, if the total items you want to run equal 19,000 watts, it is a good idea to get a generator with 22,000 watts.

What is the Best Transfer Switch for Standby Generators?

The transfer switch makes it easy to regain your power in an outage. Most of today’s generators have an automatic transfer switch that kicks the generator on without you needing to do anything when the power goes out.

This switch works to continuously sense whether or not you have utility power once a power outage occurs. Once utility power is restored, the generator kicks itself off automatically so that your home is not getting two sources of power.

A transfer switch is connected to your electrical service panel. The average home requires a 200-amp switch. To determine the right amperage, you can look at the electrical service panel amperage.

What is Remote Monitoring for Standby Generators?

If you want to maintain control and monitoring over your generator when you are away from home, this is a feature that you want to consider. With remote monitoring, you can use a mobile device to get information about your generator.

In most cases, this type of system lets you look at whether your generator needs maintenance so that you can make arrangements. You can also see how your generator is functioning if it is operating. This type of system makes it easier to ensure that your generator is working as it should even when you are away from home. Since the monitoring is remote, you can access this system from anywhere in the world.

What is the Difference Between Liquid-Cooled and Air-Cooled Standby Generators?

When you are looking at generators, you will find that some are liquid-cooled, and others are air-cooled. The air-cooled type forces air over the engine via a fan. A liquid-cooled generator has a radiator system similar to those in vehicles to keep the engine cool.

Can You Install Standby Generators on Your Own?

Once you decide on the best whole house generator, you must ensure that it is installed correctly. For a generator that powers your whole house and uses a transfer switch, it is best to have a professional install it. Improper installation can lead to an electrical fire.

What Are the Best Accessories for a Whole House Generator?

Checking out standby generator reviews gives you more insight into the accessories that are beneficial for a specific generator. For example, some are more convenient to use with a remote monitoring system while others can benefit from a weather-proofing kit.

A remote monitoring system offers convenience. Some generators already come with this feature. If they do not, you can often have them installed by a professional.

It is important that you protect your generator from the elements. Even if the housing is solid, a weather-proofing kit gives you additional shielding against snow, rain and other inclement weather.

Where Can You Place a Whole House Generator?

The owner’s manual will provide the specifications regarding how far away from your home the generator needs to be. Since generators can produce carbon monoxide, it is important that you put it at the right distance to prevent the fumes from affecting anyone in the home.

What Maintenance is Necessary for a Whole House Generator?

The maintenance necessary will depend on the generator that you choose. However, changing the oil on a regular schedule, removing debris from the enclosure and ensuring the proper fuel level are common maintenance requirements.

How Can You Ensure Safety with a Whole House Generator?

The following are important safety tips for generators:

  • Have it serviced on a regular schedule
  • Ensure that it remains dry
  • Make sure that your carbon monoxide alarms are functioning
  • Do not place your generator inside a structure
  • Never touch the generator with wet hands