Power outages are common these days due to weather-related events (like hurricanes or tornadoes) or a vulnerable power grid. Thus, a backup power source in the form of a “generator” makes sense.
Available in various sizes, power capacities, and functions, the best generator for you depends on what you want from it. Do you want to run a few essential devices on it or your entire house?
For the latter, a “whole house generator” is ideal. These generators are tremendously impressive in terms of wattage, noiselessness, durability, etc.
Continue reading as I’ve compiled a list of the top 6 whole house generators with crucial specifications, pros, and cons. Don’t miss the buying guide.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Best Whole House Generator Summary
- 2 What Are The Different Types Of Whole House Generators?
- 3 What Are The Features To Consider When Buying A Whole House Generator?
- 4 6 Best Whole House Generators – Reviewed In Detail
- 5 Best Overall Whole House Generator
- 6 Best Budget Whole House Generator
- 7 Most Powerful Whole House Generator
- 8 Best Natural Gas Whole House Generator
- 9 Best Whole House Generator For Home Backup Power
- 10 How Big Of A Generator Do I Need To Run My Whole House?
- 11 What Is The Return On Investment For A Whole House Generator?
- 12 Best Whole House Generator (FAQs)
- 12.1 Is It Worth Getting A Whole House Generator?
- 12.2 Is A Home Generator Tax Deductible?
- 12.3 What Is The Total Cost Of A Whole House Generator?
- 12.4 Who Is Better, Kohler Or Generac?
- 12.5 How Long Does A Whole House Generator Last?
- 12.6 What Is The Average Life Of A Generac Generator?
- 12.7 How Much Does It Cost To Install A Generac Whole House Generator?
- 13 Conclusion
Best Whole House Generator Summary
- Best Overall: Westinghouse 12500 Watt Dual Fuel
- Best Budget: Champion Power Equipment 100177 8.5-kW
- Most Powerful: Generac Guardian 24kW
- Best Natural Gas: Champion Power Equipment 100416 8,000-Watt
- Best for Home Backup: KOHLER 10RESVL-100LC12 10kW
What Are The Different Types Of Whole House Generators?
There are multiple types of whole house generators, varying in size, installation process, fuel type, and additional features. These include:
Home Standby Generators
As the name suggests, these generators are your best backup power source for the entire home.
Key Notes About Home Standby Generators
- Standby generators are usually costly
- Fixed setup
- Professional installation is recommended
- Highest power capacity, e.g., 8kW, 10kW, 15kW, 22kW, etc.
- Auto start-stop mechanism
- Built-in self-diagnosis feature
- Multiple fuel options, e.g., propane, LPG, natural gas
These generators cost less than standby models and are movable from one place to another.
Key Notes About Portable Generators
- Non-stationary setup
- It usually runs on gasoline. Thus, you’d store large quantities of gasoline for prolonged cuts.
- High CO production
- Mostly non-weather design
- They are rarely equipped with auto start-stop functionality.
- Suitable for powering essential items
- The usual power capacity is 3kW, 5kW, 8kW, etc.
Inverter generators are often regarded as the advanced version of portable generators due to their complex mechanism.
Key Notes About Inverter Generators
- Don’t run at full power all the time. Instead, throttle up and down as per requirements.
- Quieter operation
- Fewer emissions
- Complex exhaust systems
- Usual power ratings vary from 1500W to 7kW
- Easy to lift and carry
Portable Power Stations
Portable power stations don’t use any fuel but high-capacity rechargeable batteries. Common types include solar power stations.
Key Notes About Portable Power Stations
- Ideal for outdoor activities, like camping, trekking, etc.
- Slightly heavier due to bulky battery(s)
- Extremely quiet due to no internal engine
- Safe for indoor applications as there are no harmful emissions
So, depending on the wattage required, you can purchase these different types of generators for your home.
What Are The Features To Consider When Buying A Whole House Generator?
Here’s the quick buying guide for a whole house generator to make an informed choice among the options available.
When choosing a generator, the power output is a critical factor to consider. Check the power output of all the available options and compare each with your requirements.
As a thumb rule, a generator with at least 10-15% more power output than your total requirements is the best choice.
If you want to power up a small space and a few essential devices, a 3500W-5000W generator should suffice. On the other hand, you should go for a sizeable 8000W-10000W capacity generator if you’ve got a bigger space to power, along with some power-hungry appliances, such as AC, refrigerator, etc.
The variety and number of output ports are the next big things that influence the versatility of the generator. Moreover, a few bucks are also saved as you won’t need to buy an extension cord.
The more the variety and number of ports, the more types and number of generator connections are possible.
Usually, most whole house generators have standard household AC ports, RV ports, transfer switches, etc.
CO Levels Monitoring
All other fuel-based generators generate harmful carbon monoxide gas except for solar generators. To keep a check on CO levels, it’s recommended to buy a whole house generator with CO sensors that can detect and turn off the machine during high emissions.
Fortunately, most brands are conscious enough and provide built-in sensors by names such as CO Shield, CO Protect, CO Sense, CO Guard, CO Detect, etc.
Tip: Look for the ANSI/UL2201 certification for confirmation.
Another feature that’s worth spending extra for is the auto start. Look for whole house generators with auto-start functionality. This way, the generator will automatically start after sensing a power failure.
For whole house generators that lack an automatic low-fuel indicator, a fuel gauge is appreciated. It’ll keep you updated with the remaining fuel so you can keep some on the side in case the power goes off for a long time.
6 Best Whole House Generators – Reviewed In Detail
Here are the six best whole house generators with significant wattage to fulfill your power requirements.
Best Overall Whole House Generator
- Wattage: 12500W
- Fuel Type: Propane, gasoline
- Unique Feature(s)/Technology(s): Key fob, automatic low oil shutdown sensor, digital hour meter
- Dimensions: 27.2 x 26.1 x 26.5 inches
- Weight: 199.6 pounds
The first generator on the list is this dual-fuel home backup portable generator from Westinghouse, a renowned generator brand.
Since the generator is a dual-fuel model, you can run it on propane and gasoline. Note that the fuel tank capacity is 6.6 gallons. With propane, you get a running wattage of 8500W and a peak or surge wattage of 11200W. For more wattage to power heavier appliances, gasoline is recommended.
Gasoline provides 9500W and 12500W running and peak voltages, respectively. Setting up the generator in your house is also a straightforward process with a user manual at your service.
Coming to the startup, Westinghouse has installed a long-life key fob, enabling remote start from anywhere in the house.
Regarding possible connections, there are four heavy-duty power outlets – 2 GFCI 120V standard household receptacles, a 1120V transfer switch, and 1 120/240V RV outlet. All these outlets are safely concealed inside rubber covers.
The entire standby generator is powered by Westinghouse’s heavy-duty 457cc 4-stroke OHV engine. It features a cast iron sleeve for a longer life.
Coming to other useful features, there’s an automatic low oil shutdown sensor that shuts off the generators due to low fuel and a digital hour meter to let you know the runtime in hours.
- Multiple power outlets
- Automatically starts during power outages
- Easy to setup following the user manual
- Decent fuel tank capacity
- Remote monitoring lags sometimes.
- Noise levels could have been lower.
Check the Westinghouse 12500 Watt Dual Fuel’s latest prices on Amazon
Best Budget Whole House Generator
- Wattage: 8.5kW
- Fuel Type: Natural gas, propane
- Special Feature(s)/Technology(s): Gullwing design, all-weather design
- Dimensions: 52.4 x 33.5 x 32.1 inches
- Weight: 460 pounds
Another investment-worthy whole house generator is this Champion 100177. Powered by natural gas (continuous wattage 7500W) and propane (continuous wattage 8500W), this automatic generator is the quietest model you’ll come across, courtesy of its built-in low-tone muffler and sound-dampening system.
The total wattage is also staggering at 8.5-kW. Thus, rest assured of 24/7 backup power no matter how prolonged the power cut is. And guess what? You need not refuel this generator at all. Besides, there’s no need for an extension cord.
Like other high-rated whole house generators, Champion 100177 is equipped with a reliable 4-stroke 439cc OHV engine that keeps the generator running at maximum efficiency.
The key highlight of this Champion generator is its gull wing design, which gives you easy access to the engine, control panel, and control system.
Don’t worry if you live in extremely hot or cold climates, as the generator is specially engineered to operate seamlessly in temperatures ranging from -22° F to 104°F.
Champion 100177 is a power-packed standby generator that’ll automatically come to your rescue during unexpected and prolonged power cuts.
- Powerful engine capacity
- Sound-dampening mechanism for low-noise operation
- All-weather design
- Easy access to the internal mechanism
- Surge power often fluctuates
- Requires more maintenance
Check the Champion Power Equipment 100177 8.5-kW’s latest prices on Amazon
Most Powerful Whole House Generator
- Wattage: 24kW
- Fuel Type: Natural gas, gasoline
- Special Feature(s)/Technology(s): TruePower, PWRview
- Dimensions: 48 x 25 x 29 inches
- Weight: 514 pounds
It’s impossible to miss Generac generators when compiling a list of the best whole house generators. And this beige color 24kW standby generator is one of the company’s top offerings.
Generac Guardian is what you need if you’re ready to burn more cash for the most potent generator. With a massive 24kW power output, you need not think about what to power up and what not. Power them all!
Due to its small size, the generator takes 70% less space and, thus, can be installed anywhere around your house. You also get Generac’s official home energy management system, PWRview, with the generator.
Though PWRview has numerous other functions, I like that it helps monitor your house’s energy usage. As a result, you can save up to 20% on monthly energy bills.
Thanks to the mobile link remote monitoring feature of Generac Guardian, you can remotely operate the generator from anywhere in the world using your smartphone.
Coming to the power quality, the TruePower technology ensures less than 5% harmonic distortions, ensuring smooth operation of your electrical devices.
- Built-in house energy monitoring system
- Compact design to save installation space
- Continuous power supply across all devices
- Best power output in its class
- Bulky construction
Check the Generac Guardian 24kW Home Standby Generator’s latest prices on Amazon
Best Natural Gas Whole House Generator
- Wattage: 8000W
- Fuel Type: Natural gas, propane, and gasoline
- Special Feature(s)/Technology(s): CO shield, wheel kit
- Dimensions: 27.6 x 28.2 x 26 inches
- Weight: 207 pounds
So far, we’ve discussed dual fuel whole house generators powered by natural gas/propane or propane/gasoline. What if you could use all three fuels in a single generator? If you’re wondering how this Champion 100416 is the answer.
A tri-fuel model, Champion 100416 can effectively run on natural gas, propane, and gasoline. Additionally, the generator is delivered to you with ready-to-use 6-foot propane and 25-foot natural gas hoses. Hence, you can quickly connect the machine to the respective fuel tanks on the go for instant power.
Note: The starting and running wattages are 10000W and 8000W, respectively.
One of the dangerous aspects of running a generator is carbon monoxide production, which can prove fatal if produced or inhaled in large quantities. To tackle this, Champion 100416 comes with the CO shield.
This technology monitors carbon monoxide levels and shuts off the engine automatically if its levels appear unsafe for the people around.
The engine of Champion 100416 is the standard 4-stroke 439cc OHV engine but with more power efficiency.
Despite this, this generator is lightweight and comes with a wheel kit. You can install the two wheels at the rear end and take the generator anywhere.
- Smart CO emission monitoring
- Works with three types of fuels
- Quiet operation
- Easy to carry around
- Build quality could have been better.
- No multiple power outlets
Check the Champion Power Equipment 100416 8,000-Watt TRI Fuel’s latest prices on Amazon
Best Whole House Generator For Home Backup Power
- Wattage: 10kW
- Fuel Type: Natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
- Special Feature(s)/Technology(s): PowerBoost, OnCue Plus, Command PRO
- Dimensions: 30.6 x 28 x 32.4 inches
- Weight: 448 pounds
If you’re looking for the best generator for home backup power, this KOHLER 10RESVL 10kW standby generator will end your search.
Installed outside your property like an air conditioning unit and wired to the fuel system and electrical panel, the generator automatically gets to work by sensing any power grid failure, whether you’re at home or away.
Within 8-10 seconds, its 100 Amp automatic transfer switches (ATS) power up your energy-hungry electrical devices with the most minor distortion.
Next, the generator is equipped with the unique OnCue Plus remote monitoring system. This system gives you real-time updates about the generator on any connected gadget, for example, a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Thus, you can monitor the generator from anywhere in the world.
The engine you get is KOHLER Command PRO. It’s a V-twin engine capable of meeting extreme power for commercial applications.
Do you often feel a drop in power to minor electrical appliances when a large load like an air conditioner is turned on? If yes, the PowerBoost technology will be your favorite as it distributes the available power evenly across all the devices and even boosts the output.
Talking about the warranty, KOHLER gives you an all-inclusive 5 years warranty for on-grid applications and 2.5 years on off-grid.
If your previous whole house generator couldn’t last long due to corrosion, rest assured of not experiencing the same with 10RESVL as it’s dipped in e-coat and given a durable powder finish.
- Easy to set up and operate
- Cuts down monthly energy bills
- No power drops between devices
- Quick power supply across all connected devices
- Quite noisy operation
Check the KOHLER 10RESVL-100LC12 10kW’s latest prices on Amazon
How Big Of A Generator Do I Need To Run My Whole House?
How big of a generator you need to run your whole house depends on various factors, with the property size, number of devices, and their combined wattage supercritical.
The bigger the property size, the bigger the generator size, and vice-versa.
Refer to the following table for quick reference.
|Property Size||Generator Size Required|
|1500 Square Feet||3kW-4kW|
|2000 Square Feet||6kW-10kW|
|2500 Square Feet||20kW-25kW|
|3000 Square Feet, and more||30kW+|
What Is The Return On Investment For A Whole House Generator?
Although a whole house generator means an excellent resale value for your home, it’s difficult to comment on “how much.”
The ROI for a whole house generator primarily depends on the following factors.
- Location of your property
- Power cut frequency
- How well the buyers recognize the value & convenience
On average, according to Remodeling Magazine, you can expect a 54% return on investment with a whole house generator.
Best Whole House Generator (FAQs)
Is It Worth Getting A Whole House Generator?
Ans: Yes, it’s worth getting a whole house generator if you hate power outages and want continuous power 24/7. Such generators automatically sense power loss and resumption.
Is A Home Generator Tax Deductible?
Ans: According to the Self Generation Incentive Program, not all home generators are tax deductible. For qualification, the generator must draw its power from renewable sources like solar. That is, it must be a solar generator.
What Is The Total Cost Of A Whole House Generator?
Ans: A whole house generator varies in size, brand, assembly, and fuel. On average, you can expect to shell out anything between $1500-$8000 for the best whole house generator.
Who Is Better, Kohler Or Generac?
Ans: Although both Kohler and Generac are industry leaders regarding generators, Generac is a better choice if you want more power output at a better price.
How Long Does A Whole House Generator Last?
Ans: Most whole house generators have a lifespan of 1500-3000 hours or 15-20 years.
What Is The Average Life Of A Generac Generator?
Ans: Although many factors have a say in the lifespan of a generac generator, it’s usually designed to last for at least 3000 operating hours.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Generac Whole House Generator?
Ans: The average cost to install a Generac whole house generator can range from $5000-$10000 (including installation cost.)
So, here you go. Whether a short power cut or a prolonged outage due to unforeseen events, a generator is always on your side, ready to power up your house to keep life going.
Among the various types of house generators, as discussed above, a whole house model is a good investment, primarily due to its power capacities.
Check the above amazing whole house generators and ensure 24/7 uninterrupted power.