Is a Generator in Your Future? Check These Tips Before you Buy

Learn which generator is best for you

During a disaster, a generator comes in handy. Whether winter worries about power outages, tornado season, or hurricane season, many people know the wisdom in having a generator as a backup source of power. But, do they really make sense and are they worth the money? Here’s what you need to know.

There are two main types of generators: portable and stationary

Portable generators are the most popular buy due to price. At just $500 to $2000, most people can afford to pay to own one. But before you buy, you need to know that a portable generator only runs your lights and a few essentials. It does not run a central air unit or your water heater.

To run a portable generator, you need at least 34 gallons of gasoline for two days. You need to keep this gas on hand, in a safe place, because most gas stations can’t pump gas during power outages. In order to keep this amount of gas on hand, you will have to stabilize it; otherwise, the generator may not start.

Stationary generators tend to be more convenient but also more expensive. Ranging in price from $2000 or more, these generators are something many people can’t afford. A stationary model must also be professionally installed outside your home, which adds to the cost.

The convenience of having this type of generator is that it runs everything in your home including central air and electric water heaters. Because they are permanently connected to your home, many of them turn on automatically even if you are away. A stationary unit runs on propane or natural gas so you don’t have to worry about storing gasoline.

If you consider buying a generator, keep your budget in mind and if the cost is worth the benefits offered. If you decide a generator is worth the money and peace of mind, here are a few more features you need to keep in mind as you shop.

Multiple outlets

Choose a unit with four or more outlets. This enables the generator to use its wattage by spreading the load through more outlets.

Oil guard

An oil guard will protect the generator engine from damage if the oil level falls below the minimum.


One person can easily move generators that have wheels.

Electric start

This is not a necessity but is nice to have making the generator easier to start.

Hopefully, you will never need a generator, but if you want to play it safe, follow these tips and buy the best generator for your family.