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Best Home Backup Generators for 2022

Best Home Backup Generators for 2022

We reviewed over 100 generators to find the best home backup system for 2022.

Thad Warren
June 2022
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9 Minutes

If you're looking into investing in a backup generator for your home in case of prolonged blackouts you have three main variables to consider:

  • Size - How much power does it produce
  • Type - Portable or standby and fuel type
  • Quality - Budget vs features and reliability
  • Price - How much do you want to spend 

Ultimately the goals of your backup system will determine what generator is right for you.

When thinking about backup power, most people will fall into one of these two scenarios. 

  1. I want to power vital appliances in case of an outage like my refrigerator, TV, heater, fans, microwave, well pump, etc. 
  2. I want to power everything/most things in my home when there is an outage like my lights, heating,  

In this guide, we will the 3 variables above (size, type, quality) to make recommendations for the two types of scenarios (power vital appliances and power everything). 

Our recommendations: 

To power vital appliances:

To power your entire home:

Which type of backup generator is right for me?

If you want to power a few critical appliances without spending a huge chunk of money a large portable generator is your best bet. If you want to power most or all things in your home and aren’t as price-sensitive, a standby generator is likely what you’re looking for. 

For quick reference here are some average power requirements for common appliances.

Appliance
 
Power Consumption
Refrigerator
600 watts
Sump pump
750 to 1,500 watts
Portable heater
1,500 watts
Window air conditioner
1,000 watts
Lights
5 to 80 watts (per bulb)
Computer
60 to 300 watts
Toaster
850 watts
Coffee Maker
1,000 watts
Microwave Oven
1,000 watts
Blender
400 watts
Space Heater
1,300-2,500 watts
Electric Water Heater
4,000 watts
Stereo
200 watts
LED TV (42")
85 watts
Central AC
3,800 watts

 

Here’s a more in-depth look at a large portable generator vs a standby generator. 

Large Portable Generator for Home Backup

Power vital appliances with a relatively small investment and flexibility of using your generator for other applications. Typically 7,000-12,000 watts and $800-$2,000.

Large portable generators that produce at least 7,000 watts are a popular option because they are relatively cheap, versatile, and can easily be used for off-grid projects. Large portables give you the flexibility of having a backup generator for your home and a powerful option for camping or any off-grid use. 

7,000 watts is usually enough to power a small home or cabin and is enough to power vital appliances in a larger home like a refrigerator, lights, microwave, etc. 

Standby Generators for Home Backup

Power everything (or most things) in your home when there is no power. Typically 12,000+ watts $5,000+.

Home standby generators are permanently installed at your home and stay connected to your home and are usually powered by natural gas. Natural gas power means that you can plumb your generator to have a constant source of fuel. This means no filling up the tank with gas every so often. 

When the power goes out they kick on and power your home. The amount of electricity you need and how many appliances you expect to run will dictate what size makes sense. 

What About Solar Generators? 

Solar power generators/batteries can be a great option for a home backup system. We have a guide for the best solar battery generators here. This guide will focus on gas, propane, and natural gas generators because that is currently the most common option for folks researching home backup generators. 

Best Overall Portable Generator for Home Backup 

 

  • Size: 9500w running, 12500w Peak
  • Type: Portable, duel fuel
  • Quality: High
  • Price: $1,249

Shop now on Amazon: Check the latest price
Shop now on HomeDepot: Check the latest price

Why we like this generator 

The WGen9500DFc is a powerful generator with all of the helpful features you want. Duel fuel, electric or pull start, 20A, 30A, and 50A circuits, CO2 sensor, individual breakers, smart switch, and more all at an affordable price. 

When we compare this to other generators it checks all the boxes as far as features, and of the comparable generators, this unit is the most highly rated with 4.6 out of 5 stars with 7100+ reviews on Amazon and 99% of the 11,000+ reviews on HomeDepot recommend it.

This video does a good job of walking around the generator and showing you what comes in the box.

 

What we don’t like

Nothing is perfect, and that’s true for the WGen9500DFc. The biggest con we found with this generator is the noise level. This is pretty much true for any large portable generator, and this unit is not louder than most others, but it’s not quieter either.

For comparison, the WGen9500DFc operates at 74 decibels, while the quietest comparable portable generator operates at 72 decibels (DuroMax XP12000E). 

If you are planning on using this for your home the noise level won’t be much of a problem since you will be keeping it outside, but if you want to use this for powering an RV or campsite it can be a nuisance. If this is something you are concerned about, see our guide on the quietest portable generators. 

Westinghouse WGen 9500DFC Specs:

Specification
Value
Volume (dB)
74
Dimensions
27.7" L x 26.1" W x 26.5" H
Weight
212 lbs
Peak Watts
12500w
Running Watts
11200w
Fuel Capacity
6.6 gal
Runtime 50% load (hrs)
8 hrs
Engine Size
457 cc
Warranty
5 years
Hourly Fuel Cost/kW - 50% Load
$0.4825/kWh

 

Best Budget Portable Generator for Home Backup

 

  • Size: 5000w running, 6250w Peak
  • Type: Portable, gas-only
  • Quality: High
  • Price: $752

Shop now on Amazon: Check the latest price

Shop now on HomeDepot: Check the latest price

Why we like this generator 

WEN GN625i is a great budget generator that has enough juice to handle most of your small appliances during a blackout or if you are off-grid. It has many of the most basic features like a transfer switch outlet, electric start, v-ready tt-30r outlet, 4 20A outlets, and USB outlets. 

Overall, if you just want to turn on a few appliances or tools this generator will do everything you need it to do. 

What we don’t like

This being a budget option, it is obvious that we are going to take a step down in power rating and features. That said, they do skimp on the warranty a bit. The GN625i has a 2-year warranty, whereas most other big brands offer 3+ years. 

WEN GN625i Specs

Specification
Value
Volume (dB)
75
Dimensions
27" x 25" 24"
Weight
120 lbs
Peak Watts
6250w
Running Watts
5000w
Fuel Capacity
4.2 gal
Runtime 50% load (hrs)
8.5 hrs
Engine Size
301 cc
Warranty
2 years
Hourly Fuel Cost/kW - 50% Load
$0.6473/kWh

 

Best Standby Home Backup Generator

 

  • Size: running 22,000w, 22,000w Peak
  • Type: Standby, natural gas or propane
  • Quality: High
  • Price: $6,147

Shop now on HomeDepot: Check the latest price

Why we like this generator 

The Generac Guardian 22,000-watt standby generator has enough power to keep your home functioning as it normally would during a blackout and has all the bells and whistles you can imagine. 

WiFi monitoring so you can check your generator’s status anytime from anywhere, automatic transfer switch (will automatically turn on if your power goes out), automatic maintenance functionality (the unit will turn on to make sure everything is working properly and notify you if maintenance is needed), and not to mention its hurricane “proof” - AKA it can withstand 150 mph winds, the equivalent to a category 4 hurricane. 

Additionally, all Generac standby generators come with a 5-year limited warranty and 24/7 365 days a year phone support based out of their office in Wisconsin. Having around-the-clock U.S based phone support is a big plus. Imagine it’s 2 AM when your power goes out and you need help, not exactly the time you want an answering machine. 

What we don’t like 

There is one giant elephant in the room for the Generac Guardian, price. Compared to the other options on our list the Generac is much more expensive. While we feel that you are getting what you pay for, we recognize that $6,000 isn’t necessarily budget-friendly. 

If you like the idea of a standby generator but want to explore some cheaper options here are some other generators that can keep you covered during a power outage. 

Generac Guardian 22,000w Specs:

Specification
Value
Volume (dB)
67
Dimensions
48" x 29" x 25"
Weight
515 lbs
Peak Watts
22000w
Running Watts
22000w
Fuel Capacity
N/A (Propane/Natural Gas only)
Runtime 50% load (hrs)
Propane: 86.00 ft3/hr, Natural Gas: 164.00 ft3/hr
Engine Size
999 cc
Warranty
5 years
Hourly Fuel Cost/kW - 50% Load
Propane: $0.5876/kWh, Natural Gas: $0.3401/kWh

 

 

Honorable Mention: Honeywell 22kW

A powerful alternative to the Generac, this Honeywell generator produces just as much power and many of the same features like mobile link (check generator status from anywhere), and automatic maintenance. It does have a slightly higher operating fuel cost compared to the Generac. 

The Honeywell has a running cost of $10.68/hr for propane and $6.19/hr for natural gas compared to the Generac’s $10.23/hr and $5.80/hr. 

  • Size: running 22,000w, 22,000w Peak
  • Type: Standby, natural gas or propane
  • Quality: High
  • Price: $5,879.95

Best Budget Standby Home Backup Generator

 

If 22,000 watts seems like overkill, the “little” sibling to the Guardian 22,000 is the 16,000-watt version that has the same features but shaves the price tag down significantly. While you get less power capacity, you get everything else that made the larger version our number 1 pick. 

  • Size: running 16,000w, 16,000w Peak
  • Type: Standby, natural gas or propane
  • Quality: High
  • Price: $4,247


Shop now on HomeDepot: Check the latest price

Our Research

How we did our research 

Many of the most common questions about energy usage are related to generators. How much energy do they produce, which one is right for my application, etc. We wanted to be able to give our users the right information so that they could make the best decision for whatever their application. 

To that end, we conducted an independent study that breaks down 54 of the most common generators from 20+ brands by over 70 different attributes and performance metrics. We looked at everything from price and running costs to engine size and number of outlets. 

We do not and did not receive any free products or make any suggestions based on the manufacturer’s input. We looked at the numbers and make suggestions based off the data. However, we may earn some sort of fee from the seller if you do decide to purchase using one of the shopping links we provide. 

Who is this guide for? 

Many homeowners want a reliable way to power their home or at least their vital appliances in case of an outage. We created this guide to help you make the best decision for your home and needs. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the right call, we hope this guide helps. 

We realize there are many commercial or niche use cases for a generator. In most, cases these scenarios require a unique or specialized type of product that may or may not align with our recommendations. 

For example, if you’re living off-grid and want to power a custom workshop with high-powered electrical equipment, our recommendation for the best generator may not be right for you.