Choosing The Best Generator For Your Home or Garden

With the colder months slowly creeping in, we’re edging nearer to the months of dark nights, colder weather, and those dreaded storms. When a bad storm kicks in, it’s not unusual that it is capable of knocking out the power in your home. For those you that live in areas prone to this, you’ll be no stranger to hearing rumblings about generators.

Lots of people look to invest in a generator to keep in their homes but don’t know where to start. What kind would you need for home use? Can I get one which I can use as a help in the garden for the Summer, too? What size do I even look for?

The answer depends heavily on whether you just want to have one for general backup use. You may need one for tasks such as keeping a freezer and air conditioning units running, or a more powerful one if you live in an area which gets hit by storms and you want to ensure your life to goes on as usual even when the power is out for days.

Here are a few things to consider:

Using A Generator For Your Needs

The first and most important factors to consider include thinking about how many hours you need the generator to run for. Is it in the case of an emergency, or in everyday application and fuel type?

Generators are often available with different size fuel tanks. Many generators are available with the option of a standard fuel tank or a long-run fuel tank, naturally, the volume of fuel in the tank determines the length of time a generator can run for. You’ll find that there are 3 main types of generator fuel for portable sets; petrol, LPG and diesel (although the diesel generators for sale tend to be larger and louder). There are benefits to all three and it’s important to consider your options.


Petrol is probably the most commonly used type when it comes to portable generators. Let’s take a look a little more closely at these.

Portable and more affordable generators

Portable generators can cost around several hundred dollars to about $1,000. Most of these types run on gas, although some can run on propane in canisters. The benefits of having a portable generator include the fact you can plug in heavy-duty extension cords and run them directly to the equipment you consider most crucial, meaning you get by with a single extension cord and move them around your house, including outdoors.


Portable generators are simple enough to buy, fire up and use yourself at home. However, the fact that you don’t need professional installation means you’re on your own in making sure it’s running safely and effectively.

Remember that when running a portable generator, avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by running this outside and well away from windows and doors. Running it in the garage is also out of the question because the exhaust can work its way inside, even if the big door is open.

More Expensive Stand-By Generators

Portables are great for the home if you are mainly going to need a backup every once in a while. But for those ‘bigger’ tasks, built-in standby units are becoming increasingly popular. The units themselves are permanently installed outside, a little like air conditioning units. Instead of running off gas, these generators are plumbed to run off natural gas or, where that isn’t available, propane.

Assuming the connection isn’t to a tiny propane tank, standby generators can essentially run as long as they’re needed. These more permanent units also switch on and off automatically and even put themselves through a low-power test phase on a regular schedule. Permanent units are always wired up professional to switches, so you won’t need extension leads and can rest knowing they are safely connected.

One major downside is the noise factor, as running a generator does create loud noise throughout the house. However, locating the generator in an insulated enclosure reduces the sound even more.

Weigh up what you need

Estimate your power needs before you shop for the best generator. Look for a label on each appliance that you want to power during an electrical outage. Add up the watts to determine the generator size you need, and think about in reality, how often you’ll use it. Do you need more of a backup for when the power in your home goes? Or do you need to rely on one that starts up automatically?

If you don’t research thoroughly, you may find yourself disappointed and in a muddle with a generator that is too loud, too big, or not powerful enough!

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