Each time a blackout occurs, we’re faced with footing the bills for everything ranging from spoiled food to frozen pipes, etc. To avoid all that, we should consider getting a generator that can act as a backup system when we lose power. But with so many different models and types on the market, finding the right one for us might seem impossible.
Also, generators are expensive, and with so much at stake, most of us need help finding the best model. In this article, we’ll go over all that we need to know about generators and their sizing, and hopefully, learn which one suits our needs best. But first, let’s talk about which sizes of generators you should consider, depending on how often you experience power outages.
Frequent Power Outages
Those who live in an area that experiences frequent blizzards, hurricanes, and storms in general, probably experience long, regular outages. So, we need a generator that can roll with the punches, and produce a sufficient amount of energy to power our home. If all of this sounds familiar, these are the types of generators we should be using:
- Home standby
- Large inverter
Just because power outages aren’t that common in our area, doesn’t mean they won’t ever happen. So we still need a backup plan in the form of a power generator. However, because we won’t be using it too frequently, we don’t have to spend an obscene amount of money on it. Those who experience an outage every once in a while should consider the following generators:
- Large inverter
Infrequent Power Outages
Even if the last time we experienced a power outage was years ago, a generator can still come in handy and give us some peace of mind. The following generators will likely suffice if we live in areas that rarely experience power outages.
- Recreational inverter
- Midsize inverter
Hopefully, by now, we have an idea of which generator suits our needs best, depending on how often we experience blackouts. Still, there are some nuances between each type of generator within these categories, and that’s what we’ll talk about next.
Portable inverters are by far the cheapest ones we can buy. Regardless of that fact, they still offer great value in terms of capacity vs. cost. Moreover, some models are incredibly efficient and can produce enough energy to power our entire home. We can also connect these inverters to the breaker panel, to allow us to use hardwired equipment during a blackout.
Unfortunately, portable inverters tend to be quite noisy, and connecting one to our circuit panel might cost as much as the generator itself. Also, they’re quite bulky and can weigh up to 300 pounds. Finally, we need to cover and protect them if we plan on setting them up outside and using them during periods of precipitation.
Overall, these generators will likely fit our needs if we have space for them, and don‘t experience blackouts too often.
Recreational inverters weigh around 60 pounds and are by far the lightest models of generators. They’re easy to store and transport, quiet, and we can set them up quickly by ourselves.
But because of their size, we can’t expect these inverters to produce a lot of power. Also, we can’t connect them to a breaker panel, or use them to power a device that doesn’t have a standard plug.
All that being said, recreational generators are perfect for those who rarely experience power outs. Moreover, if we likely won’t have to depend on the generator for a long period of time, this is the perfect type.
Midsize inverters are quite efficient as they use small amounts of gas to power up our home. They typically weigh less than 150 pounds and often have wheels, so they’re easy to transport. These inverters can produce around 2500–4500 watts, and we can even connect them to our electrical panels using a transfer switch.
But the high installation costs make this an impractical choice of generator. Namely, setting a transfer switch can cast as much as the inverter itself. Also, most models can only be used with 110-volt devices, which have a standard two or three-prong plug.
Large inverters can produce a steady flow of electricity, perfect for sensitive electronics (for example stereo equipment). They’re fuel-efficient, so we can use them to power all necessary devices we might need during a blackout. Also, we can connect them to our breaker panel in order to run any hardwired equipment.
But even though they have so much to offer, large inverters are among the pricier models. So before we purchase one, we should think about whether we truly need it. They also can’t run on propane or natural gas and need to have a stable gasoline connection at all times. Still, if we experience frequent power outages, a large inverter might be the best choice for us.
Home Standby Power Generators
Home standby power generators are permanently installed in a separate area close to our home. This is because they’re made to be on automatic standby and provide an uninterrupted stream of power during an outage. Moreover, many homeowners install them because they offer the greatest level of protection during a blackout.
Home standby generators can also power everything in our homes simultaneously. We can set them up to run on propane or gas indefinitely without needing to connect them with a cable.
All that being said, the reliability of these generators does come at a price, as they’re the most expensive models by far. Moreover, just setting one up can cost us well into thousands of dollars — and that’s without the actual cost of the generator. Also, because we can’t move them, we can’t install one close to the ground, or areas prone to flooding.
More often than not, a generator is the only thing that can protect us from a world of trouble that a random blackout can cause in our home. Still, finding one that suits the needs of our home (without breaking the bank) can be quite difficult.
Hopefully, this article serves as a guide in helping us decide how big of a generator we should get. In doing so, we’ll be able to sleep soundly, knowing that our homes and families are safe during a blackout.