Best Home Generator for Emergency Backup Power 2024


No matter what part of the country you’re in, there’s at least some risk of losing power temporarily. The best generator for your home’s backup power isn’t the same for everyone. You may have the desire (and budget) to keep the whole house going as if nothing happened. On the other hand, you may only want to keep a few essentials running. Whatever your needs are, there’s a home generator for you. I’m going to walk you through my top-rated picks for whole home, portable, and even budget generators based on what I’d buy in each category.


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Best Whole Home Generator for Emergency Backup Power

Generac Guardian Series Backup Generators

Best Generator for Home Overall

The ultimate generator for backup power is a whole-home generator. They’re expensive, but if you can afford one, they’re highly convenient. My favorite is the Generac Guardian series. The line has a wide range of power levels, they all come with wi-fi connectivity, and they’re well-designed for permanent outdoor installation.

Pros

  • Powers your entire home
  • Quiet operation
  • Automatically kicks on when the power goes out
  • Wide range of available power options
  • Produces clean sine wave energy that won’t damage electronics
  • Online help available to choose the right model
  • Wi-fi monitoring
  • Built in the USA using global components
  • Available with or without a transfer switch
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • You need a buried tank or piped-in fuel service
  • Permanent installation required
  • Additional installation costs
  • May require you to pour a concrete pad

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 10kW – 26kW
Engine Generac G Force
Starting Automatic
Fuel Natural Gas or Liquid Propane
Price $3217 – $6997 + Installation

Best Portable Generator for Emergency Backup Power

Honda Super Quiet Series Generator EU7000iS

Best Portable Generator for HomeBest Portable Generator for Home

Portable generators are popular emergency backup power options thanks to their lower cost, the portability to use them for other activities, and the ability to store them out of the way. The downside is that most portable models can’t power your whole house, so you have to pick and choose what to keep running and what to do without.

I like the 5000-watt class for its balance of portability and power, and that it’s possible to get one with a quiet operation design. Honda’s EU7000iS is the one I recommend. There’s a host of features built into it, but it’s the outstanding reliability of the GX390 EFI engine that seals the deal. Honda’s commercial engine reputation is stellar, and I trust the GX series to last longer than any other small engine available on portable generators today.

Pros

  • Electric start
  • Electronic fuel injection
  • Quiet operation
  • Produces clean sine wave energy that won’t damage electronics
  • 120V and 240V outlets
  • Carbon monoxide detection with automatic shutoff
  • Low-oil shut-off protects the engine
  • Parallel compatible
  • Bluetooth connectivity to Honda My Generator App
  • CARB-compliant model available (EU7000ISNAG)
  • 2021 Pro Tool Innovation Award Winner

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Weight may be challenging for some users, especially on bare ground

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 5500 Continuous/7000W Surge
Engine Honda GX390 EFI
Starting Electric and Pull
Fuel Gasoline
Fuel Capacity 5.1 gallons
Runtime Up to 16 hours
Weight 263 pounds
Price $4999

Best Home Generator for the Money

Westinghouse WGEN7500

Best home generator for the money

Westinghouse WGEN7500Best home generator for the money

Westinghouse WGEN7500

For those of you who want the most watts for the buck, there are several good options. Ryobi and Generac both have solid choices at the $900 price point with 6500 continuous watts and CO detection. However, you can get a bit more for your money with the Westinghouse WGEN7500. At 7500 continuous watts, it offers higher power delivery, as well as electric and remote starting.

There are trade-offs, though. Compared to the Generac and Ryobi models, you don’t get the CO detection. More importantly from a comfort standpoint, you have to give up having a quiet generator, though this one does have more power than our Honda EU000iS offers.

Pros

  • More power than other brands at the same price point
  • Electric and remote start
  • 120V and 240V outlets
  • Carbon monoxide detection with automatic shutoff
  • CARB-compliant

Cons

  • Standard loud operation
  • Not rated for sensitive electronics

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 7500W Continuous/9500W Surge
Engine 420cc 4-Stroke OHV Westinghouse
Starting Electric and Pull
Fuel Gas
Fuel Capacity 6.6 gallons
Runtime Up to 11 hours at 50% load
Weight 192 pounds
Price $899

Best Budget Home Generator Under $500

Champion 100522

Champion 100522Champion 100522

If you’re looking for a quality generator under $500, it’s a tougher task than it was a few years ago. There are a lot of brands at this lower price point that we haven’t tested, so we can’t give them a recommendation one way or the other. After filtering through what’s left, I like the Champion 100522. It offers 3500 continuous watts with an outlet package that’s RV-ready at a price that’s $100 under budget.

As we expect for a budget pick, it doesn’t have as much power or as many features as more expensive models. If you want to upgrade, you can get electric and remote starting for $100 more. The big thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to manage your power use and keep an eye on refilling the smaller fuel tank when you’re running on the upper end of the continuous watt limits.

On the plus side, this is a smaller generator that’s easier to move around when you need it.


Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lighter and smaller than higher-powered generators
  • Low-oil shut-off protects the engine
  • RV-ready
  • CARB-compliant

Cons

  • Standard loud operation
  • Limited on how many things it can power at once during an outage
  • Not rated for sensitive electronics
  • No 240V outlets

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 3500W Continuous/4375W Surge
Engine 208cc Champion single-cylinder OHV
Starting Pull
Fuel Gas
Fuel Capacity 4.7 gallons
Runtime Up to 12 hours at 50% load
Weight 108.5 pounds
Price $399

Best Propane/Natural Portable Gas Generator for Home Emergency Backup Power

Champion 201169

Champion 201169Champion 201169

Even when you’re on the hunt for a generator that uses natural gas or propane, I still prefer having the gasoline option of a tri-fuel model. Three primary brands in that space are readily available: Champion, DuroMax, and Westinghouse. There’s a nice range of power options available, including models from each brand that hit either 12,000 or 13,000 continuous running watts.

You need to balance your power desire with your ability to move the machine, though. My preference is to settle in the middle range with Champion’s 201169. With 6500 running watts, it has the power to offer a 240V plug when you need one while maintaining good portability. This model includes CO detection along with electric starting as a nice bonus. You even get the LP and natural gas hoses you need in the box.

The downside is that it’s more expensive than gas-only generators in the same power range, but that’s normal for any of the competitors in this space. It also misses out on quiet operation and has an OEM engine.

Pros

  • Use gas, liquid propane, or natural gas for fuel
  • Electric start
  • 120V and 240V outlets
  • Carbon monoxide detection with automatic shutoff
  • Low-oil shut-off protects the engine
  • Includes hoses for LP and natural gas

Cons

  • Standard loud operation
  • Power level and runtime vary based on which fuel you’re using
  • More expensive than gas-only models at the same power level
  • Not rated for sensitive electronics
  • Not CARB-compliant

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 6000W Continuous/7500W Surge
Engine 389cc Champion
Starting Electric and Pull
Fuel Gas/Propane/NG
Fuel Capacity 8.5 gallons (gas)
Runtime 12 hours (gas), 6.5 hours (propane)
Weight 197 pounds
Price $1129

Solar generators fall into two broad categories: those that are truly portable and those that are designed to stay in your home. In the uncertainty of a power outage, I like having the ability to swap batteries out since solar recharging is a longer process that’s directly affected by how much sunlight you have available. I also like being able to take my solar generator on the go and use it for outdoor recreation.

However, the latest generation of integrated battery models includes expandable battery systems that can lead to both higher power output and greater total capacity than swappable systems. In terms of emergency power for your home, these systems are superior.

There are several trade-offs you need to consider, though. Neither design offers as much wattage as a portable or whole home generator can produce, so choose your battles on what you’re going to power. As you expand your capacity on integrated battery home systems, the storage space that’s required becomes significant and the cost is considerable, especially when you add the cost of permanent solar panels attached to your roof.

With that introduction out of the way, I have a recommendation for you in each category.

Best Portable Solar Generator: EGO Nexus Power Station PST3041

Best Portable Solar Generator 

EGO Nexus Power Station PST3041Best Portable Solar Generator 

EGO Nexus Power Station PST3041

EGO’s Nexus Power Station is compelling on several levels. It has a highly detailed LCD screen that shows you tons of useful information. Even though it tops out at just 1800 continuous watts, it’s the battery platform that sets it apart. Running 56 volts, its highest capacity battery is 12 Ah, totaling more than 600Wh of capacity. With four of those bad boys on board, you’ve got more than 2400Wh to work with.

The proposition is even greater if you’re already on the EGO battery system for your lawn care needs. If you happen to have the 54-inch zero-turn mower that came with 12Ah batteries, it’s icing on the cake.

Even if your EGO collection includes 6.0Ah, 7.5Ah, or 10Ah batteries, it’s still a highly capable system that has plenty of potential at home and on the go.

Pros

  • Powers on with the push of a button
  • Near-silent operation
  • Produces clean sine wave energy that won’t damage electronics
  • LCD screen with helpful information, including remaining runtime estimate
  • No maintenance, emissions, or fuel to manage
  • Solar or AC recharging
  • Swappable batteries
  • Safe to run indoors
  • Includes USB charging ports
  • High-capacity batteries maximize runtime
  • higher surge rating than 2000W gas generators
  • Runs on the same batteries that power EGO lawn care products
  • Easy to transport for other uses
  • Bluetooth connection to the EGO Power+ app

Cons

  • Available power drops with fewer batteries (based on combined battery capacity)
  • Limited power reduces what you can run during an outage

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 2000W Continuous/3000W Surge
Engine None
Starting Push Button
Fuel EGO 56V Batteries
Fuel Capacity 4 x 12Ah batteries
Runtime Variable
Weight 36.71 lbs
Price $1499 kit

Best Integrated Battery Solar Generator: EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra EFDPUPCS-BP

Best Integrated Battery Solar Generator 

EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra EFDPUPCS-BPBest Integrated Battery Solar Generator 

EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra EFDPUPCS-BP

Remember when I said solar generators don’t offer the same power as whole-home generators? That statement still stands when it comes to the maximum power they offer, but EcoFlow gets well into that power range.

Each EcoFlow Delta Pro Ultra base unit can produce up to 7.2Kw of energy, and you can parallel three of them together to hit 21.6Kw. Additionally, you can expand with as many as 15 additional batteries to reach a total of 90kWh of energy storage. According to estimates, the average American home uses 30kWh per day, meaning EcoFlow has the potential of three days’ worth of whole-home no-compromise power.

For solar recharging, it can handle up to 16.8kW of panel input. With panels rated at that mark, the 60% –80% efficiency we see in Florida would give you a full 90kWh recharge in 6 1/2 – 9 hours of optimal sun (assuming you’re not drawing power while recharging).

So what’s the cost of such a convenient emergency power system? Each Delta Pro Ultra base inverter is $5799, and each battery is $3299. For a full 90kWh system, you’re looking at just under $67,000. Also, keep in mind the cost of solar panels and installation into your home power system.

Pros

  • Potential for off-grid power when combined with solar panels
  • High available battery capacity—enough to run several days with normal power use or weeks with managed use
  • Capable of producing mid-range whole-home generator power
  • 120V, 240V, and USB outlets
  • Produces clean sine wave energy that won’t damage electronics
  • No engine, emissions, or fuel to manage
  • Automatic switch-over during outages
  • Near-silent operation
  • Customizable configurations to meet your specific needs
  • Safe to run indoors
  • AC, solar, or EV station charging
  • Bluetooth connection to the EcoFlow app

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires professional installation for full capabilities

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 7.2kW – 21.6kW
Power Source Battery
Starting Push Button
Fuel AC or Solar
Fuel Capacity 90kWh
Runtime Variable
Weight 111.8 pounds (inverter only)
Price $5799/inverter, $3299/battery

Home Generator Safety Tips

Generators make our lives easier, but they can be deadly. Never, ever run a gas, propane, or diesel generator inside! They produce emissions that will kill you if they can concentrate high enough.

Always make sure that you’re running your generator where there’s plenty of airflow. Opening a window or your garage door isn’t enough. Air has to be able to let the fumes dissipate and move away from your generator so they don’t concentrate in one area.

Many portable generators now come with a CO sensor that automatically shuts the engine off if fumes get too high. They can shut down when there’s no immediate danger, though. Make sure you position your generator so the breeze can blow past the exhaust rather than concentrating on the downwind side.

Here are some other safety tips:

  • Be careful of hot engine components
  • Always use the right gauge extension cord for what you’re powering
  • Don’t overload your generator
  • Don’t store fuel near ignition sources (including your generator)
  • Protect your generator from rain and snow

More Home Generators You Should Consider for Emergency Backup Power

Generac GP18000 EFI

If you want the most power, you can get out of a portable generator, Generac has an 18,000-watt model that’s the best we’ve seen. In fact, PTR Editor-in-Chief Clint DeBoer specifically got this for his home as an alternative to a permanent install whole-home generator. While this model produces a ton of power, it’s heavy and thirsty. Don’t skip the gym and be sure to have plenty of fuel on hand when the power goes out.

Key Decision Factors

Power Range 18000W Continuous/22500W Surge
Engine 816cc Generac
Starting Electric/Pull
Fuel Gas
Fuel Capacity 14.2 gallons
Runtime Up to 9 hours (at 50% load)
Weight 439 pounds
Price $4598.80

Ryobi 18V One+ Power Station RYi1000VNM

Ryobi developed three similar portable inverters and bracketed the needs of everyone—even if you’re not on one of their battery systems. There’s a model for 18V One+ users, one for 40V users, and one with an integrated battery if that suits your needs better.

With millions of people on the 18V One+ platform and more than 300 products that work on the same battery, it’s the 18V model we expect to be the most popular of the three. While you’ll go through your batteries more quickly than ones on the higher capacity 40V system, they’re easily swappable. Plus, this is a highly portable unit that you can take on the go as well as have on hand for emergency power.

Power Range 1800W Continuous/3000W Surge
Power Source Battery
Starting Push Button
Fuel NA
Fuel Capacity NA
Runtime Variable
Weight 24 pounds
Price $1199

Greenworks PowerHub 8201502

Greenworks is moving deeper into the potential of battery power, and that includes energy storage for your home. Rather than relying on a portable inverter, the PowerHub system is specifically designed as a permanent installation, so you don’t have to worry about rolling things out when the power goes out.

The max power output is lower than parallel-capable systems but among the highest for the single inverter. With pre-configured 10kWh and 20kWh systems ready to go, it takes some of the guesswork out of creating your system. Plus, you can expand with up to four PowerHubs to get a total of 80kWh of capacity. What you won’t see from other brands is that Greenworks backs the PowerHub with a 12-year warranty.

Power Range 7.6kW
Engine None
Starting Automatic
Fuel Battery
Fuel Capacity 10kWh – 80kWh
Runtime Varies
Weight 75 pounds (inverter only)
Price $2499.99 – $15,999.99

Anker Solix F3800

Anker’s Solix F3800 is another hybrid that can act as both a portable power supply and a home energy storage solution. The base unit offers 6000 watts of continuous output—far more than typical portable battery inverters.

As you scale the system, you can get up to 12000 watts of power running into your home’s grid with up to 53.8kWh of total capacity. While that’s not as high as we saw from EcoFlow’s system, it’s still worth considering if you don’t have a $67,000 budget or capacity need to go all in on EcoFlow.

Power Range 6000W – 12000W
Power Source Battery
Starting Push Button
Fuel Battery
Fuel Capacity 3.84kWh – 53.8kWh
Runtime Variable
Weight 132.3 pounds (base unit only)
Price $3999

Choosing the Best Generator for Home Backup Power

Power Needs

Having enough power is goal #1 for us. You need to plan for not just the running load, but the surge power that each of the items you’re running needs.

What size generator do you need? That depends on what devices you plan to power. With some simple math and planning, you can arrive at easy guidelines for making a solid choice.

Reliability

Most generators you buy from quality brands and reputable retailers are just fine as long as you take care of your generator maintenance. Even brands with an OEM-branded engine have the potential to offer you years of service if you’re using them often.

As you’re shopping for the best generator for home use, keep in mind that many people only use them in an emergency. That means they need to reliably start and run even if they sit in your garage unused 98% of the year.

If that sounds like you, one of the best things you can do is pull the generator out and start it once a month. Always use a fuel stabilizer and try to run the tank dry when you know you’re not going to use it for a while.

Price and Value

Buy the best generator for your home that fits your budget. In our opinion, getting better quality over higher watts is the way to go if it comes down to a choice. Ask yourself what features you really need and be willing to forgo some of them to get a better price on a unit with a high-quality engine.

Noise Level

If you’re going to use your home generator for camping, RVing, tailgating, or other outdoor activities, you may want to go with a quiet model. These are usually in the sub-3000-watt class, but we’re beginning to see more powerful models promising quiet operation.

Features to Look For

  • Bluetooth connection: monitor fuel levels, shut the generator off, and view other diagnostic information from your phone
  • Electric start: keep the battery charged and eliminate pull-starting
  • Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI): better starting and efficiency with fewer maintenance issues
  • 240V plugs: if you want to run higher-demand items
  • Total Harmonic Disruption (THD): how “clean” the power is for running electronics
  • Carbon monoxide sensor: shuts the engine off if CO concentrations get too high
  • Fuel capacity: the larger the tank, the longer between refills
  • Portability: how you transport the generator from storage to where you’re going to use it

Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews to Recommend a Generator for Home Backup Power

The are a whole lot of publications and authors out there trying to convince you that they know what the best generator is for your home’s backup power. Let’s give credit where credit is due—they use good SEO writers and may have even used a few generators in the process.

But do they have more than a decade of experience using generators, understand the key features to look for, and have they experienced the differences in the quality of components in the field? Have they been around to see advances in carbon monoxide detection, engine efficiency, and how battery power is changing the landscape?

We have. We’ve been testing and reviewing generators since we started back in 2008, and they’re a core part of the construction process. They’re also an essential part of a homeowner’s emergency plan once they move in and are enjoying their home.

So, you can take the advice of whatever Big Media company decided to offer product reviews designed first and foremost to rank for Google, written by someone who may or may not understand the full landscape of what’s available. Don’t forget to check up on breaking news, updates on the weather, and play a few games while you’re there.

Or you can trust Pro Tool Reviews because tools are what we do. When I recommend a generator for you, it’s because it’s the one I would buy. My primary motivation is to recommend what I genuinely believe is the best in each category based on more than a decade of experience and being involved in the power tool industry every day. And if you choose to buy something I recommend, I hope that it works exactly the way you expected when the time comes.

That’s how I hope to earn your trust. Not because I work for a high-profile media company with massive name recognition. But because I’m like you, and when I choose to make a purchase, I see the dollars come out of my bank account. I expect those products to work when I need them. I want authentic recommendations when I’m shopping, and I’m committed to offering you the best of my experience and knowledge when you see my name as the author.


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