The Best Generators for Your Home of 2019

A power failure can create serious health and property risks. The right home generator can save the day – or at least make life safer and more comfortable.

PRYMAX Portable Solar Generator

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  • Environmentally-conscious design with battery and solar power
  • Overheating and voltage control
  • Lightweight design at 6.5 pounds

Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter

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  • Dual fuel with gasoline and propane
  • Reduced noise level at 59dBA
  • EPA certified

Champion Portable Generator Remote Start

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  • Easy, remote start
  • Smart monitoring for voltage
  • EPA certified

5 Best Generators

  • PRYMAX Portable Solar Generator

    Best Solar Powered Generator

  • Champion 100263

    Best Dual Fuel Generator

  • Champion Portable Generator Remote Start

    Best Generator with Remote Starter

  • A-iPower SUA12000E

    Safety.com Top Pick

  • WEN 56200i Super Quiet Inverter Generator

    Safety.com Top Pick

The Best Features to Look For When Buying a Generator for Your Home

Electric start

With the push of a button your generator roars into action. Some models even have remote controls! (But don’t worry: There’s also a cord to pull in the event that your battery dies.)

Wheels

Oftentimes, even the lightest models can weigh 100 pounds or more (sometimes a lot more). A typical generator has wheels as a standard feature. Make sure before you buy, or you might wind up paying an extra couple of hundred bucks to add them.

Fuel gauge

This lets you know how much gas is left in the tank, so you’ll know how many more potential hours of power you’ve got. Surprisingly, not every generator has a fuel gauge.


Factors You Should Consider Before Buying a Generator

Buy it before you need it

If you wait until just before a predicted storm (or after it) you may discover there’s not a generator to be found in your zip code. In other words, go shopping now and then take the generator out of the box for a test run. Reading the user manual by smartphone flashlight once you’ve lost power is no fun at all.

 

How much power?

Every home is different, obviously. But about 5,000 watts’ worth of juice should keep the basics up and running: refrigerator, sump pump, window air conditioner (or portable heater), computer, household lights. Determine your needs beforehand, so you can buy the  generator that meets them.

 

Placement

A home generator must be placed at least 20 feet away from your home with its exhaust facing away from your home to prevent carbon monoxide infiltration. Consider hiring an electrician to install a “transfer switch,” which lets the generator send power only to designated circuits. You’ll also need to rig up some kind of tarp or tent over the generator to keep it out of the rain.

Our Top 10 Generators

1. PRYMAX Portable Solar Generator

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Our take

The PRYMAX Portable Solar Generator makes it easier to travel and still have access to power. Operated on a 298Wh lithium battery and solar power, this generator is safe to use in your home or even a tent if you’re on the go. The built-in battery management system is designed for detecting overheating, voltage control, and more.

Stand-out features include

  • Solar and battery-powered for use in variety of settings
  • Lightweight and portable design at 6.5 pounds
  • Free 2-year warranty

2. Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter

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Our take

The Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator is designed with an electric start, and the engine runs on either gasoline or propane. Another great feature of this generator is the quiet start at 59 dBA. With Economy Mode, you can reduce the electrical output and noise while extending the life of the engine.

Stand-out features include

  • Cold Start Technology for easier running in cold weather
  • Reduced noise level at 59dBA, about as loud as a normal conversation
  • Easy to transport

3. Champion Portable Generator Remote Start

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Our take

Easily switch on or switch off the Champion Portable Generator with Remote Start. This generator comes with a remote key fob that allows you to control the device within 80 feet. It is also designed with an electric start and Intelligauge for monitoring voltage and more.

Stand-out features include

  • Easy to switch on or off with a remote
  • Power lasts up to 12 hours when ran at 50%
  • Noise level about as loud as a vacuum cleaner at 68dBA

4. A-iPower SUA12000E Gasoline Powered Generator

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The A-iPower Gasoline Powered Generator features an easy, keyless button start and a durable steel frame. This generator is capable of being used in damp conditions with GFCI protected outlets. It also provides 9 hours of run-time when operated at 50% capacity.

Stand-out features include

  • Keyless, button start
  • Runs up to 9 hours at 50% capacity
  • Durable steel frame

5. WEN 56200i Super Quiet Inverter Generator

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Our take

The WEN Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator features a portable design and low noise at 51dB, which is about as loud as a typical conversation. This generator will run for 6 hours at 50% capacity and comes with an Eco-Mode Throttle for energy efficiency.

Stand-out features include

  • Quiet design, as loud as a normal conversation
  • Over 6 hours of run-time at 50% capacity
  • Eco-Mode Throttle for energy efficiency

6. Champion 7500-Watt Generator with Electric Start

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The Champion 7500-Watt Generator is a dual-fuel device, allowing you to run it on gasoline or propane. It’s built with a sturdy steel frame and has an electric starter. With Intelligauge, this generator will keep track of voltage use, run-time, and more. This generator also comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

Stand-out features include

  • Runs on gasoline or propane
  • Features an electric start
  • Built with Intelligauge to track voltage, run-time, and more

7. Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator

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Our take

There’s a reason it weighs more than 200 pounds: the steel frame with roll bars on the top and a cast-iron sleeve that protects the gas tank. The Westinghouse WGen75000 Portable Generator produces 7,500 watts and will run for more than 10 hours on a single fill-up. All that power is noisy, though, so wear ear protection.

Stand-out features include

  • Remote control start
  • Fuel gauge
  • Low-oil shutoff

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FAQs About Home Generators

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Are generators noisy?

Often they are. In fact, some manufacturers suggest wearing ear protection when working close to a generator. Inverter generators tend to be much quieter.

Are generators safe?

Yes, if you observe certain precautions. The most important one is to set the generator at least 20 feet from your house and point the exhaust away from the dwelling. Otherwise you run the risk of carbon monoxide seeping into your home.

Are generators expensive to run?

Some of the best generators will run for up to 18 hours on a single tank of gasoline. Since the typical U.S. home loses power once or twice a year for about three hours, it shouldn’t be a problem. In the case of a long-term outage, it might get pricey to run the generator nonstop. Then again, losing a freezer full of food can also be costly — and staying warm/cool and being able to charge your cell phone are definitely important things to consider.