Standby vs. Portable Generators–Which is Better for You?

Standby vs. Portable Generators–Which is Better for You?

If you’re like most of us, you don’t think about your generator needs until you’re sitting in the middle of a blackout. We’re all just one bad storm away from suddenly finding ourselves desperately trying to salvage our Netflix and Chill evening, watching the season finale on our cracked tablet, and simultaneously wondering if maybe we should be saving the battery. 

But look at you, no storm in sight, researching generators and just generally killing this whole adulting thing. Self high-five! Read on to become your own personal expert on home generators. 

Types of Generators

You might be surprised to find out that there are four different kinds of generators. Two of the most common are Portable or Standby, but there are several kinds within the portable category. Portable generators won’t have enough backup power to support your entire home through a blackout but can take the edge off the inconvenience. Since the standby generator category is more comprehensive, we’ll start there. 

Standby Generators

Standby generators are simpler and easier in every way except on the wallet. These generators are hardwired directly into your home's energy source, so they switch on  automatically whenever they register a drop in your home's power. They’re also quiet and less disruptive than Portable generators. 

The Kohler Home Backup Generator offers options like a digital controller with LED lights and an LCD display. You can even download their On Cue software to control your unit remotely. Standby generators are also usually connected to a steady energy source such as propane or natural gas, so you don’t have to worry about refueling them even after days or weeks of powering your entire home. 

The downside of standby generators is the cost. The cost of the unit will set you back $3-$5K. However, its value comes from being hardwired to the electrical grid, so it can automatically switch on. It’s also connected to a fuel source, so you don’t have to refuel it.

Portable Generators

Now that we’ve thoroughly covered a Standby generator's pros and cons, the Portable list will be a breeze. In many ways, it’s the opposite of a Standby generator. 

The costs for a Portable generator are significantly lower, costing between $500 - $2,500. Installation is a breeze. You usually only have to hook it up to the small gasoline tank on the unit and plug it into whatever necessary outdoor panel. 

What you save in costs you may feel is eaten up in time, effort, and convenience. For example, a portable generator can’t automatically switch itself on when your power fluctuates because it’s not wired into your electrical grid, so it doesn’t know when your power has gone out. You’ll need to get it out, take it outside and get it set up to be plugged into your power panel. 

Remember that portable generators are not built to power your whole house. You may be able to keep your fridge going, which is definitely helpful, but football and margaritas are going to have to wait. 

While we’re on the topic of their limitations, they must be manually tested regularly and frequently refueled during use. However, given their low cost, a portable generator may be just the thing for you if all you need is the occasional couple hours long backup plan. To up your comfort, consider also buying a portable power station. While your portable generator keeps your brews cold, the power station will keep your phone and laptop charged. Consider your Netflix and Chill plans protected. 

Want more information? Wenger Electric is Columbiana County’s #1 source for all your generator, residential and commercial electrical needs. We’re here for you, serving both the Columbiana and Youngstown areas. Contact us today!

Get a Free Estimate

We maintain constant communication with our customers until the job is done. To get a free quote, or if you have any questions or special requests, drop us a line. We look forward to serving you!

For more information please fill out the form below.