Choosing the Perfect Generator: Ask Yourself These 10 Crucial Questions

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Choosing the Perfect Generator: Ask Yourself These 10 Crucial Questions

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Types of Generators
    • Standard Generators
      • Pros
      • Cons
    • Inverter Generators
      • Pros
      • Cons
    • Whole Home Generators
      • Pros
      • Cons
  3. Brands of Generators
    • Top Tier Brands
    • Middle of the Road Brands
    • Bottom of the Barrel Brands
  4. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Generator
    • Budget
    • Power Requirements
    • Fuel Type
    • Fuel Storage
    • Space for Generator
    • Noise Level
    • Electric Start
    • Frequency of Power Outages
    • Intended Use
  5. Conclusion



Are you new to the world of generators? Or are you considering purchasing your first generator? In this article, we will cover 10 essential questions that you can ask yourself to determine the type of generator you might need. Whether you are looking for a portable generator for occasional use or a whole home generator for continuous power supply, these questions will help you make an informed decision. So, let's dive in!

Types of Generators

Before we delve into the questions, let's briefly discuss the different types of generators available in the market.

Standard Generators

Standard generators, also known as open frame generators, are typically gas-powered and come in open frames. These generators offer a higher power output compared to other types but tend to be noisier, heavier, and consume more fuel. Here are the pros and cons of standard generators:


  • More power output
  • Cost-effective option for higher wattage needs


  • Noisy operation
  • Heavy and cumbersome
  • Higher fuel consumption
  • Power can be less clean

Inverter Generators

Inverter generators are known for their quiet operation and cleaner power output. They are usually smaller in size and more fuel-efficient. However, they offer less power compared to standard generators. Let's take a look at the pros and cons:


  • Quieter operation
  • Cleaner power output
  • Compact and portable


  • Lower power output
  • Relatively more expensive

Whole Home Generators

If you are looking for a generator that can power your entire house, including central air conditioning, a whole home generator is what you need. These generators are fully installed and have enough power to run all your electrical appliances. However, they are permanently installed, require large fuel storage, and come with a higher price tag. Here's a quick overview of the pros and cons:


  • Automatic operation
  • Can power everything in your house
  • Suitable for prolonged power outages


  • Permanently installed
  • Requires large fuel storage
  • Expensive option

Brands of Generators

When it comes to generators, different brands offer varying levels of quality and reliability. Let's categorize the brands into three tiers:

Top Tier Brands

The top tier brands in the generator market are Honda and Generac. These brands are known for their exceptional quality, reliability, and performance. However, they also come with a higher price tag.

Middle of the Road Brands

If you are looking for a balance between quality and cost, consider brands like Furman, Champion, Westinghouse, and Predator. These brands offer reliable generators at a more affordable price range.

Bottom of the Barrel Brands

Watch out for the bottom of the barrel brands that you may come across on clearance at discount stores. These imported generators might be cheap, but they often lack quality and longevity due to their inexpensive parts.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Generator

Now that you are familiar with the types of generators and different brands, let's discuss the key factors to consider when selecting a generator:

1. Budget

Consider your budget and determine how much money you can and are willing to invest in a generator. Avoid making impulsive purchases out of desperation or fear. Instead, plan your budget and use strategies like using credit card points or rebate checks to stretch your dollars.

2. Power Requirements

Decide what appliances and devices you want to power with your generator. Do you only need to run lights and a TV, or do you want to power your entire house? Consider the running watts and peak watts of the generators you are considering. Ensure that the generator can provide a minimum of 1500 to 2000 running watts to meet your basic needs.

3. Fuel Type

Evaluate the available fuel options for generators. Common fuel types include gasoline, propane, natural gas, and diesel. Each fuel type has its advantages and considerations. Determine which fuel type suits your needs and preferences.

4. Fuel Storage

Consider the space you have available for storing fuel. Gasoline takes up a significant amount of space and may not be the safest option for storage. If you have a natural gas outlet or a large propane tank on your property, you can utilize those as fuel sources. Otherwise, assess whether you can safely store the required amount of propane or gasoline.

5. Space for Generator

Think about where you plan to store the generator when not in use. Depending on the generator's size and type, you may need a dedicated space in your garage, shed, or outside your house. Make sure to choose a generator that fits within the available space without causing obstruction or inconvenience.

6. Noise Level

Consider the noise level of the generator, particularly if you have close neighbors or require a quiet environment. Inverter generators are known for their quieter operation compared to standard or whole home generators.

7. Electric Start

Opt for a generator with an electric start feature. While pull starts are a backup option, an electric start makes the process much more convenient, especially during emergency situations.

8. Frequency of Power Outages

Assess the frequency and duration of power outages in your area. If power outages are infrequent and short-lasting, a smaller generator would suffice. However, if outages occur frequently or last for extended periods, consider investing in a higher wattage generator to power essential appliances consistently.

9. Intended Use

Consider the specific use case for your generator. If it is solely for home use and occasional power outages, a more affordable, entry-level generator might meet your needs. However, if you intend to use the generator for a business or require reliable, always-on power, investing in a top-tier brand like Honda or Generac would be more suitable.


Choosing the right generator for your needs requires careful consideration of various factors. By asking yourself the ten essential questions outlined in this article, you can narrow down your options and make an informed decision. Remember to set a budget, assess your power requirements, determine the fuel type and storage options, consider available space, noise level, and prioritize an electric start if possible. By keeping these factors in mind, you are on your way to finding the perfect generator for your requirements.


  • Learn what type of generator you need by asking yourself 10 essential questions.
  • Explore the pros and cons of different generator types: standard, inverter, and whole home generators.
  • Discover top-tier, middle-of-the-road, and bottom-of-the-barrel brands in the generator market.
  • Consider factors such as budget, power requirements, fuel type, storage space, noise level, electric start, frequency of power outages, and intended use when choosing a generator.


Q: What is the difference between a standard generator and an inverter generator? A: Standard generators offer more power at a lower cost but tend to be louder and use more fuel. Inverter generators, on the other hand, are quieter, produce cleaner power, and are more fuel-efficient but offer less power.

Q: Can a whole home generator power everything in my house during a power outage? A: Yes, a whole home generator has the capacity to power all the electrical appliances in your house, including central air conditioning. However, it requires proper installation, fuel storage, and comes at a higher price.

Q: How do I determine the power requirements for my generator? A: Take a look at the running watts specified for the appliances you want to power. Ensure that the generator you choose can provide a minimum of 1500 to 2000 running watts to accommodate essential appliances.

Q: Are inverter generators more expensive than standard generators? A: Inverter generators tend to be more expensive than standard generators due to their advanced technology and cleaner power output.

Q: Can I use a generator indoors? A: It is not recommended to use a generator indoors due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Always operate the generator in well-ventilated areas or outdoors, away from windows and doors.

Q: How often should I perform maintenance on my generator? A: Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your generator. Refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for specific maintenance intervals and procedures.

Q: Can I connect my generator to the electrical panel of my house? A: It is highly recommended to hire a professional electrician to install a transfer switch that can safely connect the generator's power to your house's electrical panel. This ensures the safety of your household and prevents backfeeding into the grid.

Q: What should I do if my generator won't start? A: Check the fuel level, battery charge (if applicable), and spark plug. Ensure that the generator's switches and breakers are in the correct positions. If the issue persists, consult the generator's manual or contact a qualified technician for assistance.

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