Quick Guide to Choosing the Type of Generator Right for You
There are two basic types of generators to consider: standby generators and portable generators. Which one is right for you? The differences between these two types of generators are important but can be confusing. Here's a quick guide to help you sort out which type you need.
Standby are used to offset the harmful effects of power outages: they're installed permanently as an emergency power source for a home or business. In contrast, portable units are used to provide power in places that don't have any, such as construction sites or other remote locations such as campgrounds.
These are hardwired into the electrical systems, which provides two main benefits. In the event of a power outage, a standby generator will come on automatically so that you don't have a power interruption to key appliances. Additionally these will shut themselves off when power is restored to your residence. Even more importantly, essential devices are already hooked in with a standby generator - as a result, you don't need to run extension cords and hook in devices on your own in the middle of an emergency.
Consider a standby generator if:
- You won't know when an outage will occur
- You're purchasing for a business that can't go without power
- Your sewage system at your residence needs power
- You have to account for medical needs during an outage
While portable units can be used to power essential appliances during a power outage, they're designed to be used for short periods of time - only a few hours at a stretch. Additionally, standby devices have an installed fuel source - often directly from city gas or propane lines. Portable units do not have an installed fuel source and are typically run on gasoline, which cannot be stored for long periods of time. So, while portable options are generally smaller and less expensive, they should really only be used in situations where you need portable power generation, such as a construction site.
Consider a portable generator if:
- You're powering a portable device like an RV or trailer.
- You are powering a work or job site.
- You need a backup power source for multiple locations.
- You'll be powering a limited amount of options. (Hard wiring portable generators into your house is a difficult task.)