Give Yourself Peace of Mind with a Generator
Be prepared for the next power outage, camping trip or renovation project by finding the right generator.
A portable generator or inverter generator provides recreational, jobsite or limited home standby power, while an automatic standby generator starts when there’s an outage and provides power to selected circuits or your whole house.SHOP GENERATORS
Here are some questions to get you started on picking a generator:
Automatic Standby (Or Stationary) Generators
Best For: Homes, Cottages, Farms or Offices
Things to Consider:
A standby generator is a true back-up electrical system that’s installed outside your home like a central air conditioning unit. It automatically supplies power within seconds of a utility outage and shuts itself off when power returns. It operates on natural or propane gas and can generally handle between 10,000 and 15,000 watts.
Before purchasing an automatic standby generator, decide whether you want to back up a few essential circuits or your whole house. These circuit diagrams will help determine the amount of wattage you need.
Automatic Standby Generators: Features to Look for
Automatic Transfer Switches sense when your power goes out and turn your generator on for virtually uninterrupted power. When power is restored, the automatic transfer switch turns the generator off.
Automatic Voltage Regulation stops voltage fluctuations that may harm sensitive electronics (computer, home theatre system, etc.).
Automatic Safety Shutdown shuts down a generator in the event of low oil pressure, low oil or coolant level, high temperature or other unsafe operating conditions.
Circuit Breakers help prevent damage to connected equipment by shutting down the flow of power if there’s too much current passing through.
Liquid Cooling allows generators with high wattage outputs to run more quietly and reliably for longer periods of time.
Portable or Inverter Generators
Best For: Recreational or Jobsite Use
Things to Consider:
Portable generators run on gasoline and include outlets for running electricity; they typically handle anywhere between 1,000 and 8,500 watts. If you plan on transporting your generator regularly, look at weight, dimensions, wheel type and handle style to determine ease of mobility. If you need your generator to run for extended periods without refueling, such as overnight or through full work days, run time is an important consideration.
Inverter generators are a newer breed of generators that are designed to be lighter, quieter and more fuel-efficient than other portable generators. Many are suitable for use with computers and other sensitive electrical equipment.
Overtaxing a portable generator reduces fuel efficiency and, in some cases, can cause damage to connected equipment. It's important to calculate the power output you need and to give yourself some wattage cushioning
Portable Generators: Features to Look for
Frequently Asked Questions
Running watts (also called rated watts) are the continuous watts needed to keep items running. Starting watts are extra watts needed for two to three seconds to start motor-driven products like a refrigerator or a well pump. This is the maximum wattage the generator can produce.
Unlike running watts, starting watts are only needed during the first few seconds of operation. It’s rare that more than one item will start or cycle at exactly the same time. Therefore, if the generator has enough power to start your largest motor, it will start all of them.
If running watts are not on the tool or appliance, you may estimate using the following equation: WATTS = VOLTS X AMPS. Starting requirements for appliances with motors will typically be three to five times more than the running watts.
Yes, refer to your owner's manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules.
Aluminum is corrosion-resistant, so it prolongs the life and look of the generator, particularly in coastal communities where salt air can quickly penetrate and corrode most metals.
Air-cooled models, which come equipped with a comprehensive installation manual, can take as little as four hours to install. They come pre-mounted on a composite pad to further simplify installation. Liquid-cooled generators normally require up to 14 hours to install. Because of their additional weight, liquid-cooled units must be installed on a stronger mounting surface such as a concrete slab.