Standby Generators: 2021 Buying Guide

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Buying a generator is pretty important if you want to have power off the grid. A great generator can help you a lot when you’re out camping, in an RV park, or you’re stuck in an emergency situation and your usual power source has been shut off. A standby generator is especially important for those emergency situations, as it will constantly stay in the same place so you don’t need to fumble around trying to find your portable generator. 

If you’re looking for a great Standby Generator, you can check out Power Supply Plus to read some reviews of the best generators on the market. If you aren’t sure how to buy the right generator for you though, it can help to know what features you should be looking for in advance. Read on for our buyer’s guide so you can find out how to buy the best standby generator for you! 

Portable vs Standby Generator

So what’s the difference between a standby generator and a portable generator?

Well, for starters, your portable generator is usually designed to deal with very short periods without power. They are made for you to power up all of your key appliances when the power is out. As such, you only turn them on when they’re needed, and they have to be put outdoors. Running a portable generator indoors is a safety hazard, since there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

A standby generator, on the other hand, is specifically made in order to deal with power outages that last for a significant amount of time. These generators are usually built into the electrical system of your home, and they will turn on and off automatically based on your requirements. They also link up to your natural fuel line in your home, so there’s no need for you to keep them topped up with fuel manually. They’re pretty handy to have around too, especially if you want to increase the value of your home! 

Things to Consider

Here’s everything that you need to know about buying a standby generator! 

Fuel Source

The first thing to think about is the fuel source of the generator. There are a number of different fuel sources out there, and the type that you get will depend on your home’s power requirements.

If you’re looking for a standby generator with a power of up to 22kw, then the fuel will usually be liquid propane or natural gas, LP and NG, respectively. You’re going to need a liquid cooled model that covers the whole house if you are planning on getting a diesel operated generator, though. 

Whatever the case, you will need to make sure that you have a generator with a relatively large fuel tank in order to ensure that your house is powered up in those emergency situations. Make sure your gas lines and natural gas meters are the proper size that you need. You may need to speak with an expert to clarify exactly what you need. 

How Much Power Do You Need?

This is a pretty important thing to think about. You want something that is going to be powerful enough to power at least the main electronics in your home in the event of a power outage.

To find out how much power you need, you’ll need to check the power ratings of the products in your home. A generator will usually have a power rating that’s measured in kilowatts, and one kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts.

Now, the power needs of your whole home air conditioning unit is going to be very different from what you need to run your refrigerator, for example.

The power needs for the items in your house will usually be displayed in BTUs. A BTU is equivalent to a ton of capacity and 3.517 kilowatts. This means that if you happen to have a 3 ton air conditioning unit, you’re going to need at the minimum a standby generator that provides 11kW of power or more. Add to this how much you need to run your appliances, lighting and more, and you have an answer as to how much power you will need. 

Generator Remote Monitoring

Want to check up on how your generator is doing? Well, a lot of manufacturers now give you the ability to monitor your standby generator using generator remote monitoring. This is possible through Wi-Fi connectivity. You can also install wireless monitors later down the line onto your generator if you don’t already have one set up.


Generators can be pretty expensive, and for this reason it’s always a good idea to ensure that your standby generator has a warranty. This will ensure that you are covered in the event that your generator happens to break down. You will find that most warranties last for around 4 to 5 years, but they may differ in terms of coverage. For instance, you may find one manufacturer that only covers the parts, whereas with another manufacturer you may get more thorough cover. 

Transfer Switch

It’s vital that your generator has a transfer switch – how else will you turn it on when you need it? If you have an Automatic Transfer Switch though, your generator can turn itself off and on as needed once it realizes that the power has gone out. 

Check the amperage of the electrical service panel to figure out what sort of transfer switch you will need. You can do this by finding the main breaker in your home and confirming the amperage from there. In general though, most homes have a 200 amp main breaker.


That’s everything that you need to know about how to buy a standby generator in 2021! It may be difficult at first to choose the best option for you, since there are so many things to think about, but hopefully with a little bit of extra consideration you can be sure that you have bought the best standby generator for your home.