Generators come in two basic types: portable generators and standby generators. There also are inverters, which are not generators but may meet your needs. The source of backup power generator you ultimately choose will be determined your power requirements.
are fueled by gasoline or diesel and portable generators include 120-volt power outlets. When the portable generator is running, you can plug appliances and tools directly into these outlets. Some portable generators also include 240-volt outlets. Portable generators are versatile. You can use portable generators for:
- emergency portable power at home,
- portable power on jobsites, or in remote locations
- for recreational purposes, like boating or camping.
are fueled by liquid propane or natural gas. The number of circuits to which a standby generator can provide power and the number of appliances you can run with a standby generator is determined by the power capacity of that standby generator.
Standby generators are about the same size as a standard central air conditioner. A standby generator may cost as little as $1,500 or as some standby generators as much as $15,000 or more. The greater the standby generator power capacity, the higher the cost ... How to Buy a Generator >
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Generator Features and Accessories
Aside from pure power production for either portable generators, or a standby generator, there are some useful features and accessories to consider.
To use your standby generator, or portable generator to power your home, you'll need a sufficiently sized generator and a transfer switch. The transfer switch safely closes off the utility power line and opens a direct line to the generator and reverses when power is restored. Standby generator models can work with a manual or an automatic transfer switch. The benefit of an automatic transfer switch is that it senses when utility power has been lost and automatically switches to portable generator or standby generator power.
Portable generators can be transported to different locations. Small portable generators are light and can be carried. Larger portable generators are heavy, making a wheeled frame essential for transportation.
Portable generators are not necessarily quiet. Some portable generators offer extra features to reduce the noise.
Make sure the portable generator, or the standby generator you purchase is suited for the climate in which you will use it.