Comparing Portable Generators With Home Standbys

No matter where you live, you’re probably at risk of a power outage. From storms and winter weather, grid attacks, or even a squirrel on a power line. 

Over the past 10 years, power outages in the US increased by 64%. Once a blackout hits your area, you’re left defenseless and in the dark. Sometimes with no way to cook, keep lights on, or power your home security system. 

The only way to avoid losing your electricity? Or to take it with you on-the-go? Backup power. 

But how do you know what type of backup power option to choose? Read on.  

You may need gold for the ‘gold standard’ 

Dave Trezza tests generators for Consumer Reports. He says, “Home standby generators are expensive, but they’re the gold standard in backup power. If you can afford it, I’d tell you to pick a home standby generator every time.”

Not surprisingly, these full-home power solutions are very expensive. Depending on the size of your home and the power you need to generate, they can run from $12,000 to $22,000 or more. Installation can be extra.

Trezza tested home standby generators against gas-powered generators (but not against solar-powered generators). He said home standby generators outperformed all of them. 

In addition to their high cost, home standby generators require a significant amount of fuel. Somewhere in the range of 13 to 48 gallons of liquid propane or natural gas per day. Yikes!

On the plus side, home standby generators are relatively quiet. And they don’t need to be covered due to weather.

Portable generators offer convenience

A much more affordable option for most people is a portable generator. And even if you are fortunate enough to have a home standby generator, a portable generator is a handy item to own. 

You never know when you’ll have to bug out. Or wish to take your generator to a campsite or anywhere else where you will need power.

Portable generators are also very convenient. You can easily move them from one room in your home to another.

A power outage is never fun. But chances are you don’t need electricity in every room of your home until that power returns. A portable generator will run the items you need most in the rooms where they’re located. 

Make sure it’s solar-powered 

Are you in the market for a portable generator? If so, there are a number of features to consider. While far less expensive than a home standby generator, they are still an investment. So, the right decision is essential.

First and foremost, make sure it’s a solar-power generator. Gasoline-powered generators are loud and smelly. They require a lot of expensive gasoline. Sometimes up to 12 to 20 gallons per day. And in a blackout, gas might not be pumping at your local station.

Gasoline generators have also been responsible for many carbon monoxide illnesses and deaths. Especially when owners don’t use them correctly. 

In their panic to provide electrical power when an outage strikes, people can forget to keep it at least 25 feet away from their dwelling. Or they leave windows open and allow dangerous fumes to enter their home. Gas-powered generators also need to be protected from the elements.

Quieter, lighter, and fume-free

The advantages of a portable solar generator over a gas-powered generator are numerous.

One is they’re quiet. So quiet you can even place it in your bedroom at night. Which is important because some folks depend on them to keep medical equipment running. Including CPAP machines.

Portable solar generators are also much lighter in weight than gas-powered generators. They are easily transported from room to room. And easily carried to a car or RV for use outside the home.

These fume-free generators also start up very quickly. That can be crucial for powering your fridge and freezer. Especially if you arrive home not knowing how long the power has been out. It also means getting lights back on in a hurry. And powering your cellphone. 

Preparation = peace of mind 

At the end of the day, if you can afford a home standby generator, it’s a great solution. Of course, it assumes you’ll be able to stay in your home when a crisis hits. To cover your bases, a portable generator makes a safe option.

But if you want to combine affordability with safety and convenience, the choice is clear. Obtaining a portable, solar-powered generator will be a decision you never regret.

It will be there if you have to hunker down in a blackout. And it will be ready to grab and go if you have to bolt out the door.

Like a good friend, it won’t let you down. But it will provide you with the peace of mind you can only get by being prepared.


  • Kathy Intravaia - January 15, 2024

    I’m considering getting another generator from you, or one of the packages. Will your newer generator be enough to power a well and sump? The one I have is ok for the refrigerator and I also have a smaller one to take on the road, etc. However, we need something for the house, but I’m thinking that I’d rather go with yours than Generac for the well…. but people say I should go with a whole house one. My concern is if I need to move at some point, something portable would be better. Any comments related to well power needed. In addition, do you have something more than solar that can attach …. maybe a pedal/bike attachment in case the sun isn’t shining?
    I appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.

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