10 Best Whole House Generators [Review, Usage & Buying Guide]

Power outages are common in those areas where natural disasters happen frequently. In this world where your life has become very much dependent on electronic appliances, you can’t even imagine spending some hours without electricity in your home. So, in these troublesome situations, whole house generators come handy to give power to your essential appliances as well as other electronic items.

But selecting the best whole house generator is not an easy task. First, there are different manufacturers, and second, their models come with varying capacities of power as well as their fuel consumption rates differ from one another.

So, in order to help you out, we have reviewed the ten best standby generators that can power your whole house. We are sure you will definitely like the list and will be able to select one according to your needs.

Best Whole House Generators

1. Generac 7043 Home Standby Generator – Best Overall

Generac whole house generator

Power Capacity: The most powerful whole house generator in the market is the Generac 7043. You can run multiple air conditioners and other different appliances at the same time with ease. It generates 22,000 watts of power on propane and 19,500 watts on natural gas.

THD Rating: It comes with a True Power Technology that takes care of your sensitive electronics like smartphones, laptops, computers, and TV. Its less than 5% THD rating is ideal for sensitive electronics and appliances.

Transfer Switch: The generator also includes a 200-amp smart transfer switch that automatically turns the generator on when the power goes out.

Engine: It is powered with 999cc Generac G-Force 1000 Series engine that is quite powerful.

Fuel Consumption: If we talk about its fuel consumption, then it uses 92 cubic feet of propane per hour at 50% load and 228 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load.

Noise Level: It is not a noisy generator. It has a decibel rating between 58 dB (A) and 67 dB (A). The noise level changes according to the load applied.

Control Panel: Its control panel has an LCD display for monitoring battery status and tracking maintenance intervals. Other than this, you can also connect your generator with your smartphone, tablet, or computer to monitor your generator’s status.

Weight and Warranty: The unit is backed by a 5-year limited warranty and weighs 515 pounds.

2. Champion Power Equipment 100294 Home Standby Generator – Best under $4000

 Champion 100294 whole house generator

Weight and Warranty: If you like the products from Champion Power Equipment, then this 100294 standby generator is the ideal choice for you. It weighs around 494 pounds and comes with a 10-year limited warranty. Also, there is a free lifetime technical support.

Engine: The unit is powered with 754cc Champion 4-stroke V-Twin engine.

Power Capacity: It runs on both liquid propane and natural gas and generates 14,000 watts power output on propane and 12,500 watts on natural gas.

Transfer Switch: It comes with a transfer switch of 200-amp that provides seamless power to your whole house. This transfer switch can power only eight circuits, but there is no need for an additional step-down transfer as those appliances will either get 120 or 240V.

Fuel Consumption: The unit consumes 1.6 gallons of propane and 116.5 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load.

Noise Level: If we talk about its decibel rating, then it is of 63 dB (A). Its advanced sound dampening feature and a low-tone muffler keep the noise levels low.

Starting System: The best thing about this generator is its 24V starting system that operates between -30 degree Celsius (extreme cold) and 40 degree Celsius (extremely hot). There is no need for a warming kit.

3. Generac Guardian 7030 Air-cooled Standby Generator – Best under $3000

Generac whole house generator

Weight and Warranty: Another best whole house generator in our list is the Generac Guardian 7030. It weighs around 399 pounds and is backed by 5-year limited warranty.

Power Capacity: You can use both the liquid propane and natural gas to power your generator. With propane, you will get 9000 watts of output power and with natural gas; it generates 8000 watts of power.

Engine: It comes with a 426cc Generac OHVI engine

THD Rating: It has a THD rating of less than 5% that is ideal for sensitive electronics and appliances.

Transfer Switch: It includes a 100-amp smart transfer switch that can power 16 circuits overall.

Fuel Consumption: The generator uses 1 gallon of liquid propane in an hour at 50% load. But if you are running your generator on natural gas, then it will consume 109 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load.

Noise Level: It operates at 66 dBA.

Control Panel: Its evolution controller has an LCD display that makes monitoring and tracking easy. Also, there are LED indicators to notify you when maintenance is required and tell you the status of your generator. Also, you can do remote monitoring with the help of your phone, laptop, or computer.

4. Generac 6438 Air-cooled Gas Powered Standby Generator – Fastest Self-Test

Generac 6438 standby generator

THD Rating: This Generac 6438 standby generator works on both LPG and natural gas to provide you clean and constant power during a power outage. Its less than 5% THD rating ensures the safety of your sensitive electronics.

Transfer Switch: It includes a 200-amp automatic transfer switch to provide seamless power to your small house, but you have to purchase that separately.

Engine: The unit is equipped with a 530cc Generac OHVI V-Twin engine.

Power Capacity: Its power capacity is of 11,000 watts on liquid propane and 10,000 watts on natural gas.

Fuel Consumption: At 50% load, it uses 1.18 gallons of LPG per hour and 124 cubic feet of NG per hour.

Certifications: This unit is not only CARB compliant but also a CUL, UL, and EPA certified product.

Weight and Warranty: The Generac 6438 is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and weighs 407 pounds.

Noise Level: It only produces 63 dB (A) noise levels which is ideal for residential areas.

Self-Test: The unit also conducts a self-test in less than 12 minutes by using less fuel to ensure it is ready for emergency purposes.

Remote Monitoring: Moreover, you can also link your smartphone with the generator to monitor it remotely.

5. Champion 8.5-KW Home Standby Generator – Least Power Transfer Switch

Champion standby generator for whole house

Transfer Switch: This standby generator from Champion comes with a 50-amp automatic transfer switch with eight available circuits. They can effectively handle the load to provide power to your whole small house.

Weight and Warranty: It weighs around 460 pounds and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

Power Capacity: It can produce 8500 watts of clean power on liquid propane and 7500 watts with natural gas. This output power is ideal for small homes.

Fuel Consumption: The unit consumes 1 gallon of LPG and 97.5 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load.

Noise Level: Its 59.5 dB (A) decibel rating makes it a noise-free unit. Thanks to its low-tune muffler and state-of-the-art sound dampening feature.

Self-Test: The generator also performs a self-diagnostic test to make sure it is perfectly ready for emergency purposes. It does this every week.

Starting System: Another appealing feature of this generator is its 24V starting system that operates in both extreme cold and hot weather conditions.

Safety Feature: There is a low-oil shutdown sensor that turns the engine off when it senses lower oil levels.

6. Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS Air-cooled Standby Generator – Higher Fuel Consumption

Kohler air cooled standby generator for whole house

Weight and Warranty: Another powerful whole house generator in our list is the Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS that weighs 500 pounds and comes with a 5-year limited warranty.

Transfer Switch: It includes a 200-amp automatic transfer switch that can provide seamless power to your whole house.

Response Time: It has a fast response time of only 10 seconds to power all of your appliances simultaneously.

Engine: Its powerful 999cc Kohler Command Pro engine is the main centre of attraction.

Power Capacity: On liquid propane, it can generate 20,000 watts of power output and with natural gas; it produces 18,000 watts of power.

Fuel Consumption: To produce this output power, it uses 2.3 gallons of LPG and 161 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load.

THD Rating: The unit also takes care of your sensitive electronics as its THD rating is less than 5%.

Noise Level: Its 69 dB (A) decibel rating is according to its output power.

7. Kohler 20RESCL-100LC16 Air-cooled Standby Generator – Heaviest Whole House Generator

Kohler standby generator 100LC16

Weight and Warranty: Its weight is around 560 pounds and has a 5-year limited warranty.

Transfer Switch: It comes with a 100-amp transfer switch with 16 available circuits.

Engine and Power Capacity: Its 999cc Kohler Command Pro engine is potent. It can generate 20,000 watts of power on liquid propane and 18,000 watts on natural gas.

Fuel Consumption: The unit consumes 161 cubic feet of natural gas in an hour at 50% load. But if you use liquid propane then you will lose 2.3 gallons of LPG per hour at 50% load.

Response Time: The unit turns on your appliances immediately when the power goes down.

Noise Level: It also offers quiet operation so you can easily sleep at night. Also, your neighbours will never get disturbed by a noise level of 69 dBA.

THD Rating: In addition, its less than 5% total harmonic distortion provides clean power to your sensitive electronics to protect them from damages.

8. Briggs & Stratton 40484 Home Standby Generator System – Best under $5000

Briggs & Stratton home standby generator

Transfer Switch: This 40484 home standby generator from Briggs & Stratton comes with a 150-amp transfer switch to provide uninterrupted power to your whole house.

Weight and warranty: It runs on both LPG and natural gas and weighs around 485 pounds. Also, it comes with a 5-year limited warranty.

Engine: It is featured with a powerful 993cc Vanguard V-Twin OHV engine

Power Capacity: It generates 20KW power on propane and 18KW output power on natural gas.

Power Consumption: But to generate this power, it uses 2.3 gallons of LPG and 187 cubic feet of NG in an hour at 50% load.

Power Management System: The unit is featured with the Symphony II Power Management that manages high power demanding appliances with low power demanding electronics to cover your whole house.

Noise Level: It is also quieter than most portable generators available in the market with a decibel rating of 69 dBA. Thanks to its sound-dampening technology and automotive-style exhaust system.

9. Briggs & Stratton 40396 Home Standby Generator System – Dual Amp Transfer Switch

Briggs & Stratton home standby generator

Transfer Switch: This 40396 model from Briggs & Stratton is another quality standby generator that comes with a dual 200/400 split amp transfer switch to easily manage the power of your whole house.

Weight and Warranty: It runs on both natural gas and propane and weighs 500 pounds. Also, it comes with a 5-year limited warranty.

Power Management System: The best thing about Briggs & Stratton whole house generators is that they feature the Symphony II Power Management System that is responsible for balancing the load between high-power and low-power demanding appliances.

Engine and Power Capacity: It is powered with a 993cc V-Twin engine that generates 20KW power on propane and 18KW power on natural gas.

Noise Level: Its noise level is 69 dB (A) that is loud but not that louder than many portable generators.

Fuel Consumption: If we focus on its fuel consumption, then it uses almost 2 gallons of propane and 187 cubic feet of natural gas per hour at 50% load.

Certification: The product also meets the NFPA 37 standard that allows you to place the unit as close as 18 inches from your house.

10. Briggs & Stratton 40450 Home Standby Generator System – Lightest

Briggs & Stratton home standby generator

Transfer Switch: The last unit in our list is the Briggs & Stratton 40450 that includes a 200-amp transfer switch which you can install both indoors and outdoors.

Power Capacity: Its power capacity is low. It generates 10KW power on liquid propane and 9KW power on natural gas.

Noise Level: It is quite a noisy unit with a decibel rating of 75 dB (A). But again, its Symphony II Power Management System makes it a great unit to buy.

Engine: It is powered by a 570cc C-Twin engine.

Fuel Consumption: It consumes 1.18 gallons of liquid propane per hour at 50% load. And if it is running on natural gas, then it will use 111 cubic feet of NG at 50% load per hour.

Weight and Certification: It comes with a 5-year limited warranty, and you can place the unit as close as 18 inches from your home. It meets the National Fire Protection Agency 37 standard that allows you to do so.

Buyer’s Guide

Many people buy whole house generators just by reading reviews. If any product has better reviews and good star rating, they go for that, but it doesn’t always help. You can select standby generators by reading reviews, but it also necessary to focus on its features and other things to make up your mind. So, here in this section, we are going to draw your attention towards those factors that you must consider before buying your ideal whole house generator.

Power Capacity

The first thing that must draw your attention is the power capacity of a generator. This power capacity helps you to find out how many appliances you can run with your whole house generator.

Some of the powerful and expensive standby generators come with a power capacity of 22KW whereas some low-end units produces low as 8KW power output. So it all depends on your needs which generator to select.

But here one thing you must need to know that these generators produce lower maximum power output on natural gas as compared to propane. So, first, make sure that you have both types of fuels available to use anyone to meet your needs. But if you have access to any particular one then you must focus on the power output that it can give it to you on that fuel type.

Fuel Consumption

These whole-house generators consume a lot of fuel, but their fuel consumption rate differs. Some units consume more fuel no matter whether you are running them on propane or natural gas whereas some generators use considerably less fuel.

Also, fuel consumption depends on the load applied. A particular generator will consume less fuel at 50% load as compared to 80% or 100% load.

Noise Level

If your house is big and don’t have close neighbours, then you can afford a noisy generator, but in closed residential areas, it is hard to spend a night with a noisy generator during a power outage. It can make your neighbours angry.

Therefore, it is necessary to check the decibel rating of your generator before the purchase. Also, some manufacturers place noise insulation around the engines to keep them quiet during operation, so you have to check that as well.

Generac models are far less noisy as compared to Briggs and Stratton models.

Transfer Switch

An automatic transfer switch turns on the generator when it senses that the power supply from your utility company has stopped.

Some models come with transfer switches whereas for some units you need to purchase them separately.

If your whole house generator includes an automatic transfer switch, then it is fine but if not then you must purchase one that is compatible with your unit. Also, you must ensure that it is powerful enough to deal with the amount of load you are going to apply.

Air Cooled vs. Liquid Cooled

It is also necessary for you to check whether your generator comes with an air-cooled or liquid-cooled cooling system.

Both these cooling systems effectively pass out the heated air generated by the engine. But there is some difference between them.

Air-cooled generators use fans to prevent overheating of the engine whereas liquid-cooled units use water instead of air.

If we compare both these systems, then many people prefer to buy air-cooled generators as they are less complicated, power-efficient and require less maintenance than liquid-cooled generators.

Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring is another excellent feature that some models come with. You can easily check the status of your generator and make sure it is working fine with the help of your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Safety

It is equally important for you to focus on the safety features of your generator. Some units come with extra security features that include overload protection, low-oil shutdown sensor, and watertight covers to protect you from electric shocks. 

Warranty

The warranty period of your generator also needs to be checked. As you are investing a significant amount of money in purchasing a whole house generator so it must have a good warranty period.

Some units come with a 5-year warranty whereas some generators offer a warranty of 10 years.

User Guide

Which fuel is better to use in a whole house generator? Liquid Propane or Natural Gas

All the products that we have reviewed use both fuel types but which one is better to use is a good question.

First of all, if you have access to natural gas, then it is the best option as compared to liquid propane. It is less expensive and produces lower engine noise levels than propane. But if you don’t have a natural gas line running around your house then the only option is propane.

Unlike natural gas, you can purchase as many tanks of propane as possible and store them in your garage for years to deal with an extended power outage. But you have to protect them from natural disasters. If we talk about natural gas then the gas pipelines will never get affected by storms, but in the case of earthquakes, these lines may get damaged.

But one thing you have to realize that propane gives more output power than what natural gas offers so if the power output is your main concern then you must use propane to run your whole house generator.

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