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The 5 Best Home Generators (2022 Review)

When you’re 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.


Table of Contents

Top 5 Home Generators


Best Power Station: Jackery Portable Power Station

Jackery’s 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

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 Westinghouse portable generator 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

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 Champion 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

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 DuroMax 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

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 DuroStar 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

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 home standby generators, portable generators, inverter generators, and portable power stations.

  • Standby: 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: 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 home standby generators.
  • Inverter: 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 amount of power based on the needs of the items they’re powering. This results in better fuel efficiency and a lower operational noise.
  • Portable: Portable power stations, including the Jackery Portable Power Station, power smaller home appliances, such as coffee makers and hair dryers. They have an electrical 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

Generators use gasoline, diesel, propane, solar energy, or natural gas.

  • Gasoline: Gas generators are the most common, but you have to use them cautiously to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. They’re powerful but expensive.
  • Diesel: This fuel is less common than gasoline. However, they’re efficient, and you can store them for long periods without a stabilizer. They’re also less of a fire hazard than gasoline-powered generators.
  • Propane: Propane is common in larger standby generators. Though it burns fairly cleanly, it’s not as powerful as other fuel sources.
  • Solar power: Solar generators are a clean alternative to gas-powered generators, and that cost you and the environment nothing. However, they must get several hours of sun exposure to operate.
  • Natural gas: This fuel source is exclusively for standby generators. Since it’s tied to your home’s natural gas line, you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel. However, it’s not that energy-efficient.

Select machines are dual-fuel generators, meaning they can run on more than one of these fuel sources.

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.


How To Use a Home Generator Safely

Using a generator can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Here are some critical steps you should take to ensure that you’re using your home generator safely:

  • Don’t operate a gas generator in an enclosed area, such as a garage or shed, as this can lead to carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Use a fuel stabilizer when you’re storing gasoline for an extended period of time, as unstabilized gas can be a fire hazard.
  • Operate your generator at least 20 feet away from your home to keep any carbon monoxide from making its way into your home.
  • Connect your generator to a transfer switch to transfer between grid power and generator power. Using a transfer switch reduces the risk of electrocution and appliance damage. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to install a transfer switch, contact an electrician for you.
  • Be cautious when you’re refueling your generator. Don’t refill it when it’s hot or near a heater or another warm object.
  • Keep your generator at least five feet away from surrounding surfaces. This reduces the risk of these surfaces overheating, which could cause the items on them to catch on fire.
  • Test your generator when you first get it to make sure that it runs properly. You don’t want to wait until an emergency in case it doesn’t work or you don’t understand how to use it.

How Much Energy Do Common Household Items Use?

While portable generators may provide enough power for lights and small electronics, they can’t power your entire household. The chart below estimates how much energy common household items use in case you want a whole-home generator that can power all of your large appliances at once.

Common Household Items

Item Power
Item Power
Window air conditioner 400–1,200 watts
Aquarium 50–1,200 watts
Ceiling fan 65–175 watts
Coffee maker 600–1,200 watts
Desktop computer 125–200 watts
Dryer 2,000–6,000 watts
Laptop 20–75 watts
Microwave 700–1,500 watts
Portable heater 750–1,500 watts
Refrigerator 500–1,000 watts
Sump pump 800–1,000 watts
Tablet 10–20 watts
Television (42-inch) 200–300 watts
Toaster oven 1,000–1,200 watts
Vacuum cleaner 300–1,500 watts
Washing machine 500–1,200 watts
Water heater 4,000–5,000 watts
Well pump 750–1,000 watts

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.


Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

More Resources

If you’re looking for more information on quality generators, severe weather preparation, or installation tips, these resources can help:

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