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The 5 Best Home Generators (2021 Review)

When buying a home generator, it’s important to consider outlet options, fuel type, and noise level, among other factors. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best home generators on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you and your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Home Generator Courtesy Amazon

A home generator runs your home’s essential appliances in the event of a power outage. To help you find the model that has enough power for your home, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best home generators on Amazon. Here are our top recommendations.

Best Power Station: Jackery Portable Power Station

This portable power station can support small devices, such as space heaters, coffee makers, and cell phones, making it useful for on-the-go power. Additionally, it can run these devices while it’s being recharged to give you continuous power.

Key Features

  • Charges using car outlets, wall outlets, or solar panels
  • Operates at 1,000 watts
  • Weighs 22 pounds
  • Backed by a two-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The Jackery Portable Power Station has an average rating of 4.9 stars out of 5 stars on Amazon from around 3,000 global reviews. Ninety-seven percent of the reviews are 4 or 5-star, while 1% of the reviews have 2 or fewer stars.

Customers liked the Jackery Portable Power Station for its durability, easy setup, and reliability, especially considering its cost. Out of the limited negative reviews, one user mentioned the product emitting a bad smell, and one mentioned an unsteady flow.

Easiest To Start: Westinghouse Portable Generator

This portable generator runs for up to 11 hours after being turned on with its push button or remote key fob. Its long runtime and four 120-volt standard household outlets make it a solid choice for emergency outages and DIY projects around the house.

Key Features

  • Runs for up to 11 hours on a 6.6-gallon fuel tank
  • Operates at 7,500 running watts and 9,500 peak watts
  • Weighs 192 pounds
  • Backed by a three-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The Westinghouse Portable Generator has an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars on Amazon. Of its 7,500 customer reviews, 90% have a rating of 4 or more stars, while 7% have 2 stars or less.

Many customers recommended the generator for being affordable and easy to assemble. Several customers also liked its long runtime and industry-leading efficiency. Dissatisfied customers had issues with operating the generator’s battery or communicating with the company’s customer service team.

Best Inverter Generator: Champion Power Equipment Open-Frame Inverter

This inverter generator has five built-in outlets for running several appliances and a 69-decibel noise level for limiting disturbance. Plus, it features Intelligauge technology that monitors voltage and operating hours and cold-start technology that ensures smooth operation during cold weather.

Key Features

  • Runs for up to 13.5 hours on gasoline
  • Operates at 5,000 running watts and 6,250 peak watts
  • Weighs 121 pounds
  • Backed by a three-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The Champion Power Equipment Open-Frame Inverter has nearly 3,000 consumer reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-two percent of customers gave the inverter 4 or 5 stars, while 5% awarded the product just 1 or 2 stars.

Happy customers liked the Champion Power Equipment Open-Frame Inverter for its range of features, including its fuel shut-off valve, wireless remote, and multiple outlet options. Others liked it for its ability to deliver house-wide power with little distortion. Unsatisfied customers said that getting in touch with customer support was difficult.

Most Powerful: DuroMax Electric-Start Generator

This portable generator has 10,500 watts of power and five built-in outlets for running large appliances, such as refrigerators. For your convenience, your order includes a wheel and handle kit, spark plug wrench, oil funnel, toolset, and user manual.

Key Features

  • Runs on an 8.3-gallon fuel tank
  • Operates at 10,500 running watts and 13,000 peak watts
  • Weighs 227 pounds
  • Backed by a three-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

The DuroMax Electric-Start Generator is rated 4.5 stars out of 5 stars on Amazon across more than 3,800 reviews. Eighty-nine percent of the reviews are 4 or 5 stars, and 8% of the reviews have 1- or 2-star ratings.

Happy customers said that the DuroMax generator earned high ratings for its easy-to-understand instructions, reliability, and value. One reviewer said that it was able to power items around their house for 77 hours during a hurricane. Some unsatisfied users said that the generator didn’t work as advertised.

Best Design: DuroStar Gas-Powered Portable Generator

This gas-powered portable generator offers a unique idle control that lowers its working revolutions per minute when it’s not in use. This saves you fuel and reduces its noise level. Additionally, this all-metal generator is outfitted with surge-arrest technology to protect you, your family, and your belongings.

Key Features

  • Runs for up to 15 hours on an 8.3-gallon fuel tank
  • Operates at 8,000 running watts and 10,000 peak watts
  • Weighs 129 pounds
  • Backed by a one-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

More than 2,800 reviews have been written about the DuroStar Gas-Powered Portable Generator on Amazon. The product has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety percent of the reviews have 4 or 5 stars, and 6% have 1 or 2 stars.

Customers liked the DuroStar Gas-Powered Portable Generator for its quick setup, ease of use, portability, and value. Of the unsatisfied customers, a handful said that their order was missing parts and that they encountered a lack of customer support when they tried to resolve the issue.

Buyer’s Guide

Before buying a home generator, it’s important to consider how its design and specifications impact its performance. Here are four factors to think about before making a purchase.

Type

Home generators are available in a variety of models, with some of the most popular being standby generators, portable generators, inverter generators, and portable power stations.

Standby generators connect directly to your home’s electrical panel to automatically turn on during a power outage. Most models run on natural gas, which is convenient but expensive.

Portable generators, including the Westinghouse Portable Generator, are compact models that can move to various locations around your home. While they’re able to power large appliances for hours, they don’t provide whole-home power like standby generators.

Inverter generators, including the Champion Power Equipment Open-Frame Inverter, are similar to portable generators in that they have built-in wheels for easy transportation and a gasoline fuel source. However, they adjust their power output based on the needs of the items they’re powering. This results in better fuel efficiency and lower operational noise.

Portable power stations, including the Jackery Portable Power Station, power smaller home appliances, such as coffee makers and hair dryers. They have an electric battery that’s charged using a wall outlet, car outlet, or solar panel.

Wattage

Wattage refers to how much power a home generator supplies. The available power of a generator is measured in running watts, which typically ranges from 1,000–10,000 watts. The higher the wattage, the larger the appliances the generator can run. For example, the 7,500-watt Westinghouse Portable Generator can supply power to a few of your home’s essential appliances, while the 1,000-watt Jackery Portable Power Station can power small devices and appliances.

Fuel

Most home generators are powered by gasoline or electrical batteries. Gasoline provides hours of power, but it’s expensive to refill and emits high levels of carbon monoxide. Electricity is a cleaner fuel source, but it provides a limited amount of power.

Noise

The noise level of a home generator varies depending on its running wattage and power source. Some generators list their decibel ratings in their product descriptions. For example, the Champion Power Equipment Open-Frame Inverter runs at about 69 decibels, which is similar to the sound of a vacuum cleaner.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of home generator do I need?

The home generator you need depends on a variety of factors, including the type and wattage of the appliances you want to power. For example, if you want to power small appliances, such as a coffee maker or television, a portable power station may be enough. However, if you want to power large appliances in your home, a standby or portable generator may be a better choice.

How much does a home generator cost?

While the price of a home generator varies depending on the model, most cost between $500 and $1,000.

How do portable generators create power?

Portable generators don’t actually create power. Instead, they turn chemical or mechanical energy into electrical energy for you to run your appliances. They do this by burning gas to rotate an alternator, which induces an electrical current.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.