Best Whole House Generator Reviews

Power outages are not regular in the US. Investor-owned utility customers have to live for about four hours without service, according to the numbers released in 2017. On the other hand, co-op customers have to live longer without electricity – for about six hours, averaging 112 minutes, every year.

This number, however, does not take poor weather conditions into account, where you may be left without power for days. Storms and rains are common in most parts of the country and can lead to trouble. This is why it is important to install the best whole house generator so that your day-to-day activities do not get disturbed.

Power outages affect our lives on a great level. Forget accessing television or the internet, even the food in your refrigerator may get spoiled.

Here’s where you need to consider the best whole house generator. It will provide you with hours of electricity backup. All you need to do is find a reliable whole house generator.

Each generator has its own characteristics which is why you need to choose one that fits your needs.

Below is a comparison for some of the most reliable whole house generators that you can consider:

Best House Generator: Comparison Table

A whole house generator is a powerful device that can transfer huge amounts of electric power to your home’s main power supply. It serves as a backup in times of need and allows you to light up your home.

They can be activated manually or automatically, depending on the features offered by the unit. While they are useful, they’re usually very heavy but some may come with wheels.

We studied the market and picked ten best whole house generators for you to choose from. Let’s have a look:

Features

Champion 4000

Watts

​4000 watts

​8000 watts

​9000 watts

​12,000 watts

​20,000 watts

Fuel Type

​Gasolin​e

​Gasoline

​Dual (propane and gas)

​Gasoline

​Dual (propane and gas)

Runtime

​17 hours (50% load)

​9 hours

​9.6 hours (50% load)

​7 hours (50% load)

​43 hours

Noise

​64 dBa (quiet mode)

​76 dBa

​75 dBa

​78 dBa

​64 dBa

Low oil shutdown

Weight

​81.6 pounds

​251 pounds

​215 pounds

​221 pounds

​500 pounds

Dimension

​20.5 x 17.9 x 17.7 inches

​34.7 x 26.7 x 23 inches

​33 x 24 x 25

​29 x 22 x 26 in

​48 x 26 x 29​

This gasoline generator pumps an impressive power of 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts that allow you to power up heavy appliances including refrigerators, AC units.

It has a recoil start system which is a breeze to start. It has a capacity of 2.9 gallons and will run about 17 hours on a full gasoline filled tank. You can also use the “Eco” mode to make the generator use less fuel and extend runtime.

The unit comes with an LED system that will tell you about overload and also give low oil warning. Keeping an eye on these will help you prevent the unit from malfunctioning.

If you think that 3500 watts of running power is a bit less to power up heavy appliances then you can also connect a 2800 watt or higher power inverter to it. This will increase its power and let you use more electricity.

You can choose to run this generator on quiet mode and breathe a sigh of relief as it produces only 64 dBa of noise.

The unit is not very heavy, but since there are no wheels underneath, it can become a nuisance to move it from one place to another. You can, however, buy a set of separate wheels and attach underneath for convenience.

Features:

  • ​30 amp RV outlet/12V DC outlet.
  • ​Dual fuel capability.
  • ​Offers parallel capability and is also RV ready.
  • ​CARB compliant.
  • ​Manual start.
  • ​Gasoline engine.

​PROS

  • ​The LED system makes it easy to use the unit.
  • ​3-year warranty.
  • ​Economy mode can help you save fuel.
  • ​Can increase capacity by connecting an inverter.
  • ​Wheels can be added separately.

​CONS

  • ​No wheels underneath.

Conclusion

Consider Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter with Quiet Technology if you need a low sound producing generator. It is suitable for homes, work, and play.

Briggs & Stratton 30664 8000W Generator can be a perfect fit for users looking at powering big appliances such as ACs and heaters.

This 8000 watt whole house generator features an electric start which makes it super easy to start. There’s also a recoil system as a backup.

This unit doesn’t provide as much runtime as the Champion 4000 due to a smaller tank of 7.5 gallon capacity. Nonetheless, you will get 9 hours of runtime at 50% loud.

The unit has the tendency to shut itself off in case of low oil. This will prevent the generator from malfunctioning.

Moving the unit is a breeze thanks to the installed wheels underneath. They make it easier to carry around this extremely heavy generator from place to place.

Features:

  • ​7.5 gallon fuel tank (metal)
  • ​Incorporates a quality OHV engine.
  • ​Circuit breaker protection.
  • ​Fuel gauge and hour meter to measure gas level.
  • ​OHV 420cc engine from 2100 series 

​PROS

  • ​Easy to use thanks to the electric start
  • ​3-year warranty.
  • ​Produces 25% more surge power to handle heavy appliances.
  • ​Wheels make it easier to move the unit.

​CONS

  • ​Very heavy at 251 pounds.
  • ​Low tank capacity.

Conclusion:

This can be a good option for users who want a powerful unit. However, it cannot be shipped to California.

Homeowners who are looking for a standby generator that has a lot of power and the option of using both propane and gas should turn to this one. It produces clean electricity and safe to run all kinds of appliances.

It can produce 9000 of starting/surging watts and 7250 running watts. Hence, you will not have a problem in running even the heaviest of appliances like refrigerators, ACs.

The generator offers both the recoil and electric start options. You can start it by simply pushing a button or use the recoil system as a backup.

It has a fuel tank of 6.6 gallons which is enough to run it continuously for 9.6 hours. Moreover, it supports both 120v/240v outlets and allows you to connect 10 different outlets simultaneously.

While the unit is powerful, it can create a lot of noise (75 dBa). Therefore, you need to find the right place to place it so that the noise does not disturb you. Also, it may be a bit heavy at 215 pounds but the good thing is that it comes with attached wheels. Hence, you will not have problems in moving it.

Features:

  • ​Solid 420v OHV engine with a cast iron sleeve.
  • ​Harmonic distortion is less than 5%.
  • ​6.6 gallon tank
  • ​Contains a voltmeter for monitoring.

​PROS

  • ​Shuts off automatically in case of low oil.
  • ​Voltage regulation (Automatic).
  • ​Electric start makes it easy to run
  • ​2-year warranty.

​CONS

  • ​100 lb LP tank not included.
  • ​Can be a bit noisy.

Conclusion:

Powerhorse Dual Fuel Generator 9000 Surge Watts can be an excellent choice for homeowners who want power, clean electricity backup, and the option to run multiple appliances at the same time.

This EPA/Carb compliant standby generator is a powerhouse and provides 12,000 starting watts and 9,000 running watts.

There’s a 4 stroke engine in the unit which is capable of driving horsepower of 16. The unit can light up even the heaviest of appliances and works without any trouble.

With a 7-gallon tank capacity, Ai SUA12000EC will run for 7 hours at 50% load. The runtime may not be a lot, but there are no voltage fluctuations and the electricity is clean.

Starting it is a piece of cake as it incorporates both electric and recoil start systems. The electric start system is a must in heavy generators because it requires a lot of strength to pull the cord to start the unit.

It offers 6 outlet connections to run appliances at the same time. There are 4, two duplex 120v (5-20 R) outlets, One, 120V (L5-30R), and a 120/240v L14-50R. Apart from that, you can use the 12v DC outlet as well.

It features a low oil shutdown option and protects the unit from getting damaged. The unit is heavy but thanks to the wheel kit underneath, it can be moved easily.

Features:

  • ​Single cylinder engine
  • ​Equipped with a powerful 459cc engine.
  • ​Powerful 459cc engine with 16 HP
  • ​Several outlets
  • ​9000 running watts

​PROS

  • ​The outlets are in the front
  • ​Contains a runtime meter.
  • ​Easy start system.
  • ​2-year warranty
  • ​Has a gas gauge.

​CONS

  • ​Very heavy and loud.

Conclusion

Ai Power SUA12000EC 12000-Watt Gas Powered Generator is a good choice for users looking to power big appliances. This whole house generator is affordable and easy to use.

Kohler 20RESCL is hands down one of the best whole house generators. It can deliver 20,000 watts of electricity and backup your entire home during power outages.

It packs enough power to back up two 5-ton AC units thanks to a 999cc engine while delivers 3600 RPM.

This generator will turn on automatically after only 10 seconds of a power cut. You won’t need to find the unit in the dark and make efforts to start it.

It features a reliable voltage regulation system (plus, minus 1%) that ensures all your appliances stay safe. It adjusts the output on its own and provides enough juice to the appliances.

You have two fuel options, propane and gas to power up this generator. Moreover, the unit is super quiet with only 64 dBa and sounds similar to a common AC unit. You can keep it outdoors because its body is corrosion proof and is also tested under severe cold conditions (-30 degrees).

It consumes 2.3 gallons per hour on 50% load and 3.9 gallons per hour on full load.

The unit has the capability of shutting itself down in case of low oil. This protects the unit from malfunctioning.

Features:

  • ​Security features to protect the unit and other appliances
  • ​Automatic transfer switch
  • ​999c engine
  • ​Corrosion-proof enclosure
  • ​20,000 watts of electricity

​PROS

  • ​2000 hour or 5-year warranty.
  • ​Automatic start makes it easy to use.
  • ​Air cooled standby generator.
  • ​Digital LCD display to read voltage.
  • ​Connects between the main service panel and meter.

​CONS

  • ​Expensive.
  • ​Very heavy at 500 pounds.

Conclusion:

If you want an extremely powerful standby generator that can power up 2 heavy HVAC units and four additional non-essential loads then Kohler won’t disappoint. It is loved by consumers for the quality it brings to the table.

Advantages Of A Whole House Generator

  • ​They are kept in one place as they need to be connected to the main power supply (main meter).
  • ​Most of them can regulate voltage and ensure that no appliances malfunction.
  • ​Most can run even big appliances including ACs and refrigerators.
  • ​They are ideal for long hours of load shedding and power outages as they offer long run times.
  • ​They can be kept outdoors if they are too noisy.

Should You Choose A Whole House Generator Or A Portable Generator?

A lot of people confuse a portable generator for a whole house generator but the truth is that they’re different in many aspects. The main difference is of power and mobility.

Portable generators need to be connected with power cords manually while a whole house generator stays in one place, connected to the main power and turns on automatically in most cases.

Portable generators require a lot of maintenance while a whole house generator doesn’t.

Whole house generators are more suitable to backup up a home because they provide a permanent solution and longer run times.

If you face frequent power outages for long hours then a whole house generator is what you need.

Best Whole House Generator Buying Guide

Let’s have a look at a few factors to consider when buying the best whole house generator:

What’s Your Requirement?

Determine the requirements of your home. Here’s a small rundown of what basic appliances require:

  • Fridge: 600-750 watts.
  • AC: 1000 watts.
  • Iron: 800-2000 watts.
  • TV: up to 400 watts.
  • Microwave: 800-1800 watts.
  • Dishwasher: 1200-2400 watts.

Do the maths so that you can pick the best whole house generator.

1. Safety Features :

Whole house generators aren’t cheap which is why you need to look for ones that come with good safety features. Heavy duty whole house generators are enclosed in a corrosion-proof body. Hence, they can be stored outdoors.

Apart from that, it is essential that the generator has meter gauges and low oil shutdown features, too so that you know about efficiency and other such factors.

Moreover, a low shut down oil feature automatically shuts off the generator when the amount of oil in the tank goes low. A generator requires a good amount of oil to work properly. A lack of oil will restrict it from delivering the right amount of power, thus causing fluctuations.

These fluctuations can cause sparks, appliance malfunctions and even damage the generator. Therefore, make sure that the generator has these capabilities.

2. Starting System:

Whole house generators incorporate three types of starting systems: electric, recoil, and autostart.

Autostart is the best option. It doesn’t require you to pull the cord, go near the generator or push any button. The unit is powered on automatically when the power goes off.

The other method is the electric button start system. It requires an individual to push a button on the generator to make it work. This offers great ease as no physical work is needed.

Lastly, the recoil system involves pulling a cord to turn the generator on. This is the most difficult method because it requires a lot of strength. In fact, you may have to pull the cord several times for the engine to start.

3. Fuel System:

Look for a unit that supports dual fuel, both propane and gas as it will be more convenient for you.

4. Noise Level:

Whole house generators can’t be super silent. They will produce a certain amount of noise because they are heavy duty devices. However, not every generator is meant to be super loud.

Whole house generators that produce noise between 60-70 dBa are suitable. Anything above that can be unpleasant so pay special attention to this feature.

5. Overheat Protection:

Generators can overheat and malfunction, too. To avoid that from happening, make sure that they have a THD rating of no more than 5%. Liquid cooled or air cooled whole house generators can be a good option.

Air-cooled generators are more suitable as they come with an internal fan to keep the unit cool. It does so by releasing heat and emission from the generator so that all the parts can work properly.

Liquid-cooled generators follow the same principal. They use different lubricants to keep the unit cool.

Whole House Generators FAQS

Q. Can you install it yourself?

Ans. It’s common for people to take the DIY approach when it comes to installing things at home. However, such is not the case with whole house generators. It’s a risky process as you need to make a connection between the meter and the main power supply which is difficult for a common man.

Hire a professional electrician or a plumber (for gas powered) for the job.

It is also unsafe for a person to try installing a generator on their own because a wrong connection can produce a spark or worse, cause fire hazards.

Q. Best Place To Store A Generator?

Ans. The location is of huge importance as hard-to-access areas can make it difficult to maintain the generator and also reduce their life.

Apart from that, ensure that water cannot reach anywhere near the unit. It should have a wide shelter to prevent rainwater from entering into the system. Moreover, it should be high enough from the ground so that water on the ground can’t damage it.

Lastly, the place should be properly ventilated, close to a switch, and the ductwork should be done neatly as well.

Q. Which Is The Most Suitable Fuel Type?

Ans. Whole house generators should be carefully picked in terms of the fuel type they support. Old generators were confined to gasoline fuel only which resulted in poor stability and short life. However, modern whole house generators offer a dual fuel system, greater stability, and long lasting capability.

Choose a unit that supports the type of fuel that is the most cost effective for you and also readily available.

Q. What Are The Risks Associated With Whole House Generators?

Ans. They may produce carbon monoxide gas, hence you should install them outdoors and not go near the unit when operational. Also, overloads may cause the engine to consume more fuel.

Lastly, the engine may malfunction and cause sparks, damaging the unit or other appliances. In fact, poorly maintained generators may also cause fires hence make sure to pick a generator that’s reliable and durable.

Q. Can They Run All Appliances?

Ans. Most whole house generators are made to run all appliances, however this depends on the power of the engine. Also, running more appliances may reduce run time.

Q. What Are The Right Amount Of Watts?

Ans. The higher number of watts a generator offers, the more number of appliances you’d be able to power up. Some units may also allow you to connect inverters to increase power output.

The Bottomline: 

All the generators above are great. You should pick the best whole house generator keeping your requirements in mind.

Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS Air-Cooled Standby Generator is the best option if you want a powerful generator. It is safe to use and comes with a long warranty but is quite expensive.

However, consider Champion 4000 if you want an affordable unit that’s powerful and safe. The most important thing is to pick one according to your needs.

About the Author Billy

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