Home Generators vs. Portable Generators


Years ago, dealing with an electricity outage for a while wasn't a big deal, as many people had lived their lives without electricity before. In today's world, however, people depend much more on electricity for heat, light, refrigeration, cooking, and more. When power outages or blackouts occur, they pose a much bigger threat than they used to. Although buying a generator can be a daunting process, being informed about your different options is the best way to get the right generator for you and your family's needs.

Home Generator

Home Generator

The most convenient aspect of the home generator is its ability to automatically start almost immediately after a power outage. The home generator is by far the best option if outages occur frequently in your area, last a lengthy amount of time or if for safety and health reasons electricity is needed. Many home generators can run all or most of the appliances in your home at once, allowing you to go about your daily life without interruption. The generator will produce cleaner power to properly fuel today's electronics. They are quieter than portable generators and don't require extension cords or refueling. Their fuel supply comes directly from your home's natural gas or propane, eliminating the problem of running out of fuel. The home unit is designed to weather even the harshest conditions and doesn't run the risk of being stolen due to its large nature.

The biggest drawback of home generators is their price. They tend to cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 dollars, depending on the wattage it supports. Purchasers will also have to have the unit installed and there is some light general maintenance that needs to be performed.

Portable Generator

Portable Generator

The type of generator that is right for you depends primarily on how severe the power outages in your area tend to be and what your requirements for a generator are. If your power outages are infrequent and last only an hour or two, then investing in a portable generator might be the right choice for you. Portable generators range in price from around $500 to $1000. It runs on gasoline, so you will need to make sure you have an adequate amount of gas in a safe storage space at all times. A portable generator is great for running a few essential items needed during a small outage. You can easily go through your house and determine the appliances you will use in an outage, and then find a generator with the correct wattage for your needs. Another benefit of a portable generator is its ability to be, well, portable. It can be used for other activities such as camping or boating, not just for powering your home.

Unfortunately, portable generators do have their disadvantages. Due to their small nature, they tend to pose a greater risk of getting stolen. These generators also have a small fuel capacity, only holding anywhere from 1-5 gallons of gas at a time. If your outage lasts more than a few hours, you will have to go through the hassle of refueling it. For safety reasons, portable generators have to be placed a safe distance from your home (as recommended by the manufacturer), with extension cords running to your house for your appliances. In severe weather, this is not only a hassle, but can be a safety hazard. One of the biggest disadvantages portable generators is their inability to start automatically. You have to set up the generator and start it manually. This means that if the power goes out and you are not at home or no one at home knows how to operate the generator, then the power stays out.

Portable generators have their uses and for some people will provide enough security and convenience in the even of a power outage. But if you are looking for a solution that truly solves the problem of power outages and allows you to go about daily activities with very little interruption, a standby generator is the best option. Depending on the frequency and length of power outages affecting your home, standby generators tend to be the most convenient and affective for your electricity needs.

Clayton Preble is the owner and operator of Georgia Generator, a sales, installation and service provider of whole home and backup generators in Atlanta and Jasper, Georgia.

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