Marney Generators is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more


Philip Brown
  Mar 25, 2023 1:14 AM

As you know, generators can be used for different purposes. For example, you can use it as a backup power source for your home or office. You can also use it to power your RV or camping site. But what is the best portable generator for home use? 
This is a question that many people ask themselves. And, to be honest, it is not an easy question to answer. There are so many generators on the market, and each has its own features and benefits.
In this article, we will look at what you need to consider when choosing a portable generator for home use. We will also give you our top 5 picks for the best portable generators for home use.


With all the outlets, buttons, inputs, and switches, the best portable generator for the home can be overwhelming. If you are not a trained electrician who works closely with wires and power supplies, these backup electrical devices can seem like a confusing 3D puzzle. However, if you live in a hurricane-prone area or want to be prepared for a power outage, having your portable generator can be of great help. And according to the experts we consulted, portable generators for home use are less confusing than they seem.

1. Things to Know About Portable Generators for Home Before You Buy

  • Wattage

Knowing what electrical appliances and equipment you cannot live without in a power outage are crucial when choosing the best portable generator. What you want to power the device shrinks you to the bare minimum.

The best portable generators for homes have a starting capacity of 2,000 to 14,000 or more. Consider what devices you want to use if there is a power outage, and buy the best portable generator for your home with enough watts to accommodate those devices.

Wattage of Generator

To calculate how many watts you need the portable generator for your home to have, make a list of all the virtual devices you want it to power and record their operating wattage. For example, your refrigerator might have 600 watts of power, your air conditioner might have 3,000 watts, and all your computer equipment might be around 300 watts. This means that to power all those items and the lights (about 100 watts), you will need a portable generator for your home with a minimum operating capacity of 4,000 watts.

  • Fuel

Most of the best portable generators for a home run on gas. While there are battery-powered generators, gas-powered generators are generally better because they need electricity to charge if they run out of power. Gas-powered models can fill up with fuel and keep working. Some battery-powered generators for the home can also be charged via a car outlet, and solar-powered options can be charged in sunlight.

Gas Generator

Gas Generator

Source: Amazon

Fuel-powered generators should only run outdoors and be fully charged, serviced, and ready to go if there is a power outage (you don’t want to mess around with fuel during a heavy rainstorm). To refuel, the generator must be turned off and allowed to cool for 20 minutes. Adding more gas to an overheated generator can cause an immediate fire.

  • Weight

Portable generators for the home can weigh up to 200 pounds. Lightweight generators tend to be a bit noisier because they do not have the same insulation or padding as quieter, often heavier generators.

Since many portable generators can be quite heavy machines, make sure the generator you choose has wheels so you can move it around more easily. However, you may need a little help getting it in and out of the trunk.

  • Running time

Portable generators for the home can run for about 6 to 12 hours on a tank. "Running time depends on the engine and how big the tank is," says Williams. "It varies from model to model."

  • Noise

Portable generators for homes typically fall between 50 and 80 decibels. Portable generator noise can be an issue. Most generators are loud-even those that claim to be quiet aren't quiet.

You will not be the only home on the block with a loud generator for emergencies and hurricanes, so noise should be fine if you're worried about disturbing your neighbors.

2. Generator Safety

Generators, or anything with a fuel-powered generator, should never be operated in an enclosed space, such as a warehouse or garage. The exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can poison and kill people. Most manufacturers offer models that turn off when carbon monoxide is detected, making them impossible to run in enclosed spaces. Do not run the portable generator for home use in the garage with the door open or in the front of the garage when the door is open-carbon monoxide can still be trapped in the garage and slowly enter the home. For this reason, it's a good idea to run the generator outside, at least 20 feet from home, away from windows and doors where exhaust gases are blowing out of the home.

3. Exact Transmitter Size

Knowing what you plan to power with the generator is important to choose the right size. Manufacturers list two numbers for generators: starting watts and running watts. The starting watt includes the initial surge current required to start appliances or tools with a powerful electric motor or compressor. Once started, these devices need less power to run continuously. Many manufacturers have a chart with estimated power requirements for common appliances and tools to help supplement what is needed. This number can also be calculated by adding up the energy consumption of specific devices and adding them together. To calculate wattage, multiply the voltage (usually 120 volts) by the number of amps (amperage) needed to run the device (usually found on the label attached to the device). Do this for each item the generator will power.



Source: Amazon

4. Faqs - The Best Portable Generator for Home Use

How many types of portable generators are for home use?

Portable Generator

Portable Generator

Source: Pinterest

Today, there are two main types of portable generators for home use: conventional generators and inverter generators:

  • Conventional portable generators are larger, louder, and more powerful portable generators. They are usually powerful enough to power larger electronics and appliances like televisions, air conditioners, and refrigerators.

  • Inverter portable generators are smaller and less powerful than conventional ones, but they also provide cleaner power, and their motors increase or decrease power depending on demand. Most inverter portable generators are small, so they are limited in what you can power, but they are convenient, light, and efficient for devices and small tools. Since inverter generators maintain a more steady current, they also tend to be more expensive.

Both conventional generators and inverter generators require refueling after a certain amount of time - typically 8 to 10 hours, depending on the load - so even if there are several tanks redundancy, they are still the ideal choice for shorter periods.

What size is a portable generator needed to power a house?

How big of a portable generator do I need to run a house? With the best portable generator for home use, rated between 5,000 watts and 7,500 watts, you can run even the most important home appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, well pumps, and projector circuits. A 7500-watt generator can run all these devices at once.

Do I need a license for a home generator?

Most cities require a permit before installing a home generator. However, not all locations have this requirement. Check your local guide to make sure you have a permit, if necessary, for your city.

Where should the whole house generator be placed?

The exact location in the yard is up to your preference. Still, most manufacturers recommend that a whole-house generator be installed away from doors, windows, vents, and anything else - any combustible material at least 5 feet away. There may also be regulations regarding generators for the whole family, so check your local manual to ensure a whole-family generator meets your requirements. Meet local building codes and installation instructions.


The best portable generators for home use can keep your lights on, your air conditioner or heater running, and your appliances up and running in the event of a power outage. These reliable machines are generally easy to use and set up and have a home, inverter, and portable options for emergency power when needed.

3 ratings