What Should I Look for When Buying an Emergency Generator?

Power outages are a common occurrence, especially during extreme weather conditions. Unfortunately, it affects everything from working to having fun at home. At worst, it poses a real danger to life. However, having an emergency generator can save the day when there is a blackout. Surprisingly, when it comes to buying an emergency generator, most people do not know what to consider.

This brings us to the question; what should you look for when buying an emergency generator? Size, power, efficiency, noise level, run time, and automatic start are some of the features you should consider when purchasing an emergency generator.

An emergency generator is a great power solution when there is an outage. This article discusses all you need to know when buying an emergency generator, types of generators, safety guidelines, and answers a few questions you frequently ask. Stay with us.


What Should I Look for When Buying an Emergency Generator?

Buying a generator for emergency preparedness can feel somehow overwhelming since there’s a lot to consider. The emergency generator you choose should be capable of providing dependable power as per your needs.

Below is a list of things to look for when buying an emergency generator:


  • Size – The physical size of a generator matters. Do not go for a massive generator that takes up too much space; it might be expensive to install. Instead, look for a medium-size generator that you can install almost anywhere. 
  • Power – This is a vital consideration. Generators usually have a power output measured in watts (w); the same applies to all electrical appliances. Your generator should have a higher power rating than all your appliances for effective running. If you are unsure about your power needs, consult a professional electrician for further advice. 
  • Efficiency – Efficiency is measured by how long a generator runs on a single gas tank. Remember, high power does not mean it’s the best generator. The longer your generator runs without the need to refuel means it’s efficient. This is also convenient if you work in rural areas. 
  • Noise Level – A loud generator can be irritating and disturbing at times. Some residential and commercial areas have stringent noise control rules; look for a quieter generator. The standard noise level of a generator is between 60 – 70 decibels.
  • Run Time – An emergency generator should give you an extended operation time without hitches. You do not want a case where your generator runs for an hour then trips, and you have to start it again; it’s not suitable for emergencies. On average, a good generator should run for at least 12 hours.
  • Clean Power – We all know generators burn fuel that produces carbon monoxide, which is hazardous. It is essential to look for a generator with minimal carbon monoxide emissions. Also, install your generator far away from the main building in a well-ventilated shade.
  • Automatic Start – A good emergency generator should have an automatic start feature. When there is a power outage, it should automatically start and supply power. This is great for people who travel a lot or are usually unavailable to start the generator quickly.

Other factors to look out for when buying an emergency generator include durability, fuel gauge, low-oil shutoff, multiple outlets, alternative fuel capacity, electric start, automatic CO shutoff, etc.


Types of Emergency Generators

There are numerous types of generators in the market that serve different purposes. Here is some general classification of emergency generators:

  • Portable Emergency Generator

These generators are movable and can be used anywhere, but not in an enclosed room. They are cheaper than standby generators. They often use gasoline and produce a high level of carbon monoxide.

m k 1 Buying an Emergency Generator

  • Standby Emergency Generators

These units are usually costly and require a professional to install. They are permanently installed and linked into the building’s electrical grid; cannot be moved easily. They have an automatic start feature. Most of them run with low noise levels.

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  • Inverter Generators

Inverter generators are the quietest generators in the market. They have a sophisticated exhaust that helps reduce the noise level. They are very efficient and often produce low emissions of carbon monoxide. Inverter generators are also portable and can be used anywhere depending on power rating.


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Below is a summary chart of the types of generators and their power and cost range:


Generator Type Power Rating Cost
Portable Emergency Generator 3000w – 8500w $400 – $2,500
Standby Emergency Generator 5000w – 20,000w $2000 – $6000
Inverter Generators


1500w – 6500w $300 – $4000



Safety Guidelines for Using Emergency Generators

While an emergency generator can be a lifesaver machine, it can also be hazardous if the proper precautions are not taken. Below are some safety practices to observe while using emergency generators:

  • Never plug your generator into a wall socket.
  • Turn off the generator and let it cool down completely before refueling.
  • Install your generator in a well-ventilated structure away from people.
  • Ensure your generator is grounded correctly.
  • Maintain a sufficient supply of fuel.
  • Inspect and service your generator regularly.
  • Always keep your generator dry.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of your frequently asked questions:

  • Can you plug an emergency generator into a wall outlet?

No. Plugging a generator into a wall outlet causes back feeding, which is very dangerous. This can damage your generator or blow your electrical appliances. Back feeding may also result in electrocution or fire breakout.

  • Do I need to ground my emergency generator?

Yes. For safety purposes, your generator should be properly grounded. If you do not ground your emergency generator, you risk being electrocuted. Ensure you observe and adhere to the state or local electrical grounding regulations.

  • How much power output do I need for an emergency generator?

For best performance, go for a high-power emergency generator; with a power rating between 6000w and 8000w. This will allow you to run essential electrical appliances and still have more room for extras. 



Emergency generators help prevent critical service interruption at home or workplaces. This article has outlined all the essential factors you need to consider when buying one. It is prudent to buy a generator after you have considered all your preferences; so you can settle on one that suits your needs. Waiting for desperate times may lead to poor choices.

We hope you found this article informative. For safety, get a certified technician to help you with the installation. Always service your generator regularly to get the best performance.

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