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Portable Generator Buying Guide


  1. Power During Outages: Hurricanes, ice storms, and wind storms often result in power outages, leaving entire communities without electricity. Having a generator ensures that your family has the necessary power during unexpected blackouts.

  2. Types of Generators: There are two main types of generators available: portable generators and permanently installed home generators. Portable generators can power your home appliances during blackouts, provide electricity for recreational activities or camping, and operate tools on job sites. Home generator systems are installed at your residence and can power at-home medical equipment, multiple appliances, and often start automatically during power outages.




To determine the appropriate generator for your needs, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Power List: Make a list of items you will need to power during an electrical outage. Consider appliances, lights, computers, home electronics, in-home medical equipment, and the need to keep food supplies refrigerated. For recreational or job site usage, list the tools or appliances you plan to use simultaneously. Consider additional items like work lights, radios, and outdoor cooking or entertainment appliances.

  2. Consider Appliance Start-Up Wattage: Ensure that your generator can handle starting each appliance. The starting wattage is often higher than the running wattage and may be two to three times the appliance's wattage. Check the owner's manuals for the start-up wattages, and if unavailable, use a wattage calculator to estimate your power needs.

  3. Calculate Total Power Requirements: Add up the running wattage of all the items you wish to power simultaneously. This gives you the total running watts required by your generator. Additionally, add the highest starting wattage from step 2 to determine the total power needed to start and run your appliances and equipment.

With this information, you can compare and shop for generators that meet your wattage requirements. Remember, never connect a generator directly to your home's wiring. If you plan to connect it to your home's electrical system, hire a qualified electrician to install a transfer switch.



If you are looking for a portable generator, follow these steps:

  1. Determine Power Needs: Consider the wattage range required for your portable generator, typically ranging from 900 to 15,000 watts.

  2. Evaluate Portability: Assess the ease of transporting the generator. Look for models with built-in wheels for convenient movement, especially on rugged terrain like construction sites.

  3. Runtime: Choose a generator with at least 10 hours of runtime. This allows contractors to complete a full day's work or homeowners to have a full night's sleep without the need for refueling.

  4. Outlet Requirements: Count the number of outlets you will need on the generator based on the appliances you intend to power simultaneously. Check the appliance specifications to determine the type of outlets required.

By following these steps, you can select a suitable portable generator that meets your power needs effectively.


Check out this video from one of our suppliers, Cummins  on this exact topic!