Buying Guide

How To Choose a Generator

Types of Generators

table - generator types

There are 3 main types of generators available, with each kind serving various functions:


This guide will explain how to choose a generator and highlight the types available, including the power output requirements, fuel needs and wattages necessary to run specific appliances and power tools.


SHOP ALL GENERATORS

Generator Power Requirements

table - home appliance wattages

Before choosing which type of generator will work best in case of a home power outage, you must first determine the wattage necessary to power all of your appliances.


Tip: Remember that starting wattage requirements may be as high as three or four times the required continuous wattage. Portable generators offer a higher surge wattage to help accommodate start-up requirements.


How to find your desired generator wattage:

  • Find the wattages of all the equipment you'd like to power with a generator using the chart provided.
  • For equipment with motors, double the wattage requirements - more power is necessary to start up these items. For these, you'll need a higher starting wattage but won't need the power to be that high.
  • Add up the wattage for everything to get your total required wattage.


Tip: This is approximate wattage only. Please refer to your appliances' owner's manuals for exact wattage.

Home Standby Generators

Standby generators provide 24/7 blackout protection to power vital home appliances.

  • Automatically supplies emergency backup power within seconds of a power outage.
  • Permanently installed and operates on existing fuel supply, usually natural or liquid propane gas.
  • Can produce power for entire house or only a few designated circuits.
  • Some models have advanced technology that runs the unit at reduced noise levels and conducts weekly self-diagnostic tests.

Portable Generators

table - outdoor power equipment/tools wattage

Most portable generators run on unleaded gas for limited power at home, job site or recreational activities.


Tip: 12-volt outlets enable portable charging for smart phones and other wireless devices.


Optional Features:

  • Generators will auto-idle control idle the engine down when not in use for greater efficiency and extended run times.
  • Some models feature an electric motor, powering up with the touch of a button with a fully charged battery.


Tip: This is approximate wattage only. Please refer to your appliance's owner's manual for exact wattage

Inverter Generators

table - tailgating/camping/boating/recreation gear wattage

Inverter generators are perfect for tailgating, camping, boating or traveling in an RV.

  • An inverter generator is also good for small businesses and job sites because of its clean power, low noise levels, fuel efficiency and lightweight design.
  • If more power is needed, consider units that are parallel kit compatible, allowing a connection between two inverter generators for twice the power.


Tip: This is approximate wattage only. Please refer to your appliance's owner's manual for exact wattage.