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The Best Home Generators, Tested And Reviewed

April 29, 2024      

South Shore Genertor Sales & Services - 26KW Generac Back up Generator

When the lights go out, power and reliability matter.

The Northeast is known for power outages in inclement weather, so generators are a must-have?

Rachel Stotts of Jackery says, “Emergencies, grid overload, weather, and natural disasters can cause power outages. Access to a generator can ensure you avoid some of the serious aftermaths that outages cause—not the least of which is maintaining the ability to preserve and prepare food.” Noting that the average U.S. household’s refrigerator holds more than $300 worth of groceries on any given day, Stotts says “all of it can be wasted in a matter of hours without power.”

How big of a generator do you need to power your home?

“In general, generators with a capacity of 5,000 to 10,000 watts will power a home’s basic essentials,” says Joel Worthington, president of Mr. Electric, a Neighborly company. “Larger homes may need generators with capacities of 10,000 to 20,000 watts.”

While there are plenty of online calculators that can help homeowners with generator math, Worthington says it’s best to consult an electrician for the best generator size for your home.

To determine the best home generators across a variety of needs, we conducted research and surveyed our staff who rated whole-home and portable units in terms of their performance, maintenance, noise level, and value to yield the following of the best generators across categories.

Our Top Picks


Generac Guardian 26KW Home Backup Generator

What’s Great About It

  • Delivers a lot of power from a compact footprint
  • Remote monitoring
  • Automatic transfer switch
  • Not too loud

What Could Be Better

  • Requires professional installation

While whole-home generators conjure images of big machinery, Generac’s entry into the category is compact (in comparison) but still quite mighty, earning it the top spot on our list.

While the longest we ran it in an emergency was about an hour, it was powerful enough to manage a central HVAC system, water heater, microwave, lights, refrigerator (standard size), stove, hair dryer, coffee maker, laptop/phone charging, TV, and a small refrigerator. We found that the Generac Guardian produces a reasonable amount of noise

Delivering enough power to run your home’s large appliances, this generator takes up less space while delivering more power than comparable units. It features a G-Force engine that keeps things running reliably and requires less routine maintenance to boot. And when the power goes out, you’ll appreciate the 200-amp automatic transfer switch that lets you turn on your backup power with a flip of your finger.

Thus, the standby generator features Mobile Link Remote Monitoring (free with every Guardian Series Home standby generator), so you can monitor its status from anywhere in the world using a smartphone, tablet, or PC. It also features Quiet-Test Self-Test Mode, which runs at a lower RPM for five- or 12-minute tests. Loosely translated, that means less noise and less fuel consumption when you run a test.

Designed for outdoor use, the Generac Guardian has an aluminum enclosure with a powder-coated finish, so it’s corrosion-resistant and tough enough to withstand whatever Mother Nature blows its way.

If this generator makes your shortlist, keep in mind that installation by a certified and licensed electrician is a part of the deal.

Wattage: 26,000 | Size: 48 x 29 x 25 inches | Weight: 518 pounds | Fuel Source: Natural gas, propane | Warranty: 5-year limited

Best Overall, Portable

Generac GP8000E Cosense 50ST Portable Generator 7676

What’s Great About It

  • Generous tank capacity
  • Heavy-duty wheels for portability
  • Electric start

What Could Be Better

  • Quite loud when in use

Those looking for a portable generator will find a solid option with Generac GP8000E. Ideal for recreational use and emergency power, this generator has a 7.9-gallon tank capacity, which means it has an 11-hour runtime at 50% load.

It proved to be easy to set up and easy to start. We ran it for over 24 hours during an emergency, and it provided enough power to run standard household appliances like a dehumidifier, microwave, lights, refrigerator (standard size), coffee maker, laptop/phone charging, TV, and small refrigerator.

It also has a robust 1.25-inch steel-tube cradle that protects the unit and covered outlets for added protection. While this generator weighs close to 200 pounds, it’s still portable courtesy of its heavy-duty, never-flat wheels, which ensure it can go where you go without issue.

Other notable features include an electric start, an hour meter that tracks maintenance intervals, and a low-oil level shutdown feature that safeguards the engine.

While some generators are air-cooled, you should know that this one requires coolant, and we did find it to be pretty loud.

Wattage: 8,000 | Size: 27 x 26.5 x 27.2 inches | Weight: 198 pounds | Fuel Source: Gas | Warranty: Not listed


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Whether your need is to power your business to keep on your production schedule or your home to keep your family safe and sound;.South Shore Generator has the product diversity to meet all of your generator requirements. We are proud to sell and service generators from 2kW to 2000kW single set units and up to as large as 100MW utilizing Generac's innovative Modular Power Systems (MPS).

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