The 6 Best Whole House Generators of 2018

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There are two types of people, those who just react to think and those who love to be proactive. If you’re a proactive person, you probably either have a good whole house generator, or you’re already looking for a good one.

The thing is, natural disasters happen suddenly. It’s not like you get a one month notice to prepare yourself for the next earthquake, flood or hurricane. When similar things happen, they just do. If you’re not prepared in advance, you’ll have to pay the price of being unprepared. You might also be interested in our articles about the best whole house humidifiers and the best electric water heaters.

Being stranded without electricity for weeks, or even months, is definitely not something that you want, that’s why having the right whole home generator is really important.

The only problem with buying the right whole home generator is the fact that most people don’t know much about those things, and rightfully so. It’s not really an everyday item or something that you purchase on a regular basis, that’s why we’ve created this guide.

The first step of getting yourself a decent whole house generator is knowing what actually makes a good one. Once you’re familiar with whole house generators and what separates them from each other, we’ll have a look at the best options that the market has to offer.

Below are the 2 most important things to keep in your mind when you’re choosing a whole house generator.

1. How much electricity do you need?

Whole house generators are not created equal. When it comes to the amount of electricity generated, different models can vary significantly. The real question is how much electricity do you need to stay up and running? The answer is this: it depends on your consumption.

It goes without saying that the power needed for a 3-bedroom house is less that is required to power a 6-bedroom house. However, the determining factor doesn’t only come to that. The type and quantity of electric gadgets that you have make a huge difference.

Things like air conditioners, heating systems and sump pumps usually consume the largest share of electricity. However, you need to factor in essential things such as lighting and refrigeration as well.

Now, the generated and consumed electricity is calculated in watts. All you have to do in order to know if a certain generator is enough for your needs is calculate the number of watts that your house consumes and see whether this generator produces enough electricity. It’s a really easy and straightforward process that can save you lots of money that could be spent on a generator that simply won’t do.

2. Understand the actual cost

When you’re buying your new whole house generator, you might think that the price tag of the generator itself is the only “cost” that you need to watch out for. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The cost of the generator itself is only a part of what you’ll have to pay. Aside from that price, you’ll need to pay for professionals to install your whole house generator. Unless you’re an electrician who is qualified to do this (and have people to help), installation fees are a must. You must also make sure that the people who’re hiring to install your generator are well-qualified as if they’re not, you can end up with damages that by far exceeds any money that you could have saved.

Another thing that you need to take into consideration is the cost of the transfer switch. The short answer is yes, you need that. In a nutshell, the transfer switch is a safety element that prevents the generator from accidentally frying your electric appliances or even causing damage to itself.

The third hidden running cost that you need to keep an eye out for is the type of fuel that the generator uses and whether this is the most economical choice for you. Knowing what installing a generator costs as a whole can help you get a generator with the right price that’ll best suit your needs.

Now that you’re familiar with what you need to look for in your new generator, let’s have a look on some of the best generators that the market has to offer.

1. Briggs & Stratton 40346 20000-Watt Standby Generator

The first on our list is this 20000-watt generator by Briggs & Stratton. There are many factors why this generator made it on the list, first of which is safety. As this generator has passed all of the NFPA strict safety tests, it is one of the safest generators available on the market. In fact, it is so safe that it can be placed as close as 18″ from your house.

If your house doesn’t have a really big yard, this feature alone is very useful. The added safety factors also bring peace of mind as those things are always installed in the most important places in the world: homes.

Being a 20000-watt generator also means that the Briggs & Stratton 40346 can handle the consumption of relatively large homes. As we mentioned before, having a generator that is just not enough for your house’s needs isn’t exactly the most pleasant experience ever. Always make sure to calculate the actual requirements of your house before you purchase the generator.

Another thing that is worth mentioning about this generator is that the transfer switch is included. Since you’ll have to buy that anyway, having it included is a great money-saving addition. Also, the included switchboard is of really high quality and is weather-proof so you can install it indoors or outdoors, depending on what’s more convenient for you.

Product highlights:

  • 20000-watt power
  • High-quality switchboard included
  • High safety standards

2. Kohler 20RESCL 20000 Watt

Kohler is an American company that is well-known for its quality products. When it comes to whole house generators, Kohler proved that it is worthy of its reputation. The Kohler 20RESCL has a wide array of features that make it an excellent choice for anyone looking for an excellent whole house generator in the 20000-watt category.

Aside from its wide array of impressive features, one thing that makes this whole house generator really stand out is it’s extremely durable, corrosion-proof enclosure. The enclosure of this generator is treated to withstand the harshest weather condition, even those that are found in seaside areas. Areas that located near a sea or an ocean are notorious for their harsh conditions that cause the corrosion of many metal items. Being designed to withstand those conditions specifically narrows the choices down a lot if you’re living in a seaside area.

Another great feature about this whole house generator is its low noise levels. Thanks to its dampening noise enclosure, the Kohler 20RESCL is one of the quietest generators that are available on the market. In addition to being quiet, this whole house generator is compliant with all the industry’s safety standards like NEMA, ANSI, and IEEE.

This whole house generator has an easy-to-read display that shows multiple different messages related to the generator’s status, which is a really useful feature. The switchboard is also included with this Kohler generator, which reduces the additional costs that you might have to pay after you purchase the actual generator.

If you’re looking for a reliable and durable whole house generator that is backed by a company that is well-established in the generator industry, the Kohler 20RESCL is one of the best available options on the market.

Product highlights:

  • Excellent for seaside locations
  • Super quiet
  • Useful LCD screen
  • 20000-watt power

3. Briggs & Stratton 40415 17kW 3-Phase Standby Generator

This is another excellent whole house generator from Briggs & Stratton. Unlike the other model, this one has a 17000-watt capacity. Despite having a smaller capacity, this generator has some impressive features that make it one of the most reliable options.

The first thing that makes this generator so reliable is the fact that comes with a commercial-grade engine. The Vanguard engine from Briggs & Stratton is well-known for its durability and being able to handle demanding tasks and high workloads. Having such a strong and high performing engine means that heavy workloads aren’t something that you should fear if you’re buying this whole house generator. If you live in a place with frequent electricity outages, this generator is a solid choice.

Another great feature that makes this generator stand out is its ability to operate properly with low gas pressure, which is a nice feature if you live in an area that is known for low gas pressure problems. With the ability to operate properly at 3.5” to 7” water column, the low gas pressure is one problem that you won’t have to worry about with this whole house generator.

Like the previous model, the Briggs & Stratton 40415 is compliant with NFPA 37 standards, which means that it’s safe to be placed as close as 18″ from your house. This is such a huge advantage especially if you have a tight lawn. Being able to place the generator so close to the house is definitely a huge space-saving feature.

Another feature that makes this generator suitable for being placed so close to the house is the fact that it is so quiet. Thanks to the sound dampening technologies that are used in this model, it doesn’t create any kind of noise that makes this generator disturbing to the residents of the house or the surrounding neighbors.

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty whole house generator with excellent safety and comfort features, you’ll definitely love the Briggs & Stratton 40415.

Product highlights:

  • High-performance engine
  • Sound dampening technology
  • Suitable for small spaces
  • Excellent safety features

4. Generac 7030 Guardian Series 9kW/8kW Standby Generator

If you’re looking for a whole house generator that’ll give you a decent performance when you need it at a budget price, the Generac 7030 Guardian is a very good pick.

Despite having a relatively a small capacity, the 9000 watt of this whole house generator is more than enough to power the essential appliances of most modern homes. Let’s be honest here, the main function of a whole house generator is to provide you with electricity in case of a power shortage. When something like that happens, you don’t necessarily need to power every single appliance in the house. If you’re shopping for whole house generator on a tight budget, opting some something that is capable of power the necessities is often a smart way to save money.

Despite not being a well-known brand like many of the other names on the list, Generac generators are engineered and built in the USA. When it comes to quality, this generator doesn’t disappoint.

Thanks to the RhinoCoat material that is used for this generator, it is corrosion resistant and is designed to work in all weather conditions. If you live in an area where the weather is not exactly “nice and sunny”, this is a feature that you’ll come to appreciate.

Aside from the quality and normal features that you’d find in any other decent whole house generator, what makes the Generac 7030 Guardian really stand out is the Mobile Link feature. By setting up this feature, you can access your generator wherever you are by using your computer, mobile phone or tablet. You can monitor and control everything from the maintenance schedule to the generator’s current status.  Add to that the attractive price tag and you’ll have a great whole house generator.

Product highlights:

  • Can be controlled and monitored from a mobile device
  • Weather-proof design
  • Made in the USA
  • Great value for money

5. Champion 8.5 kW Standby Generator

When it comes to things like whole house generators, some people want something that just works. When something works like it’s supposed to, you won’t even notice that it’s there. Being a fully automatic generator that doesn’t require any kind of refueling, the overall process is as smooth as it should be. The Champion whole house generator can run on natural gas or propane, which is an added feature that might become handy when you least expect it.

Easy-access is a unique design feature that the Champion whole house generator has. The smartly-designed enclosure opens up in a way that makes reaching the generators inner parts really easy. This makes regular maintenance or servicing this whole house generator much easier.

If you’re planning on using this generator in a place with cold weather, you’ll be delighted to know that this generator is designed to operate in cold temperature. With the Sub Zero Start feature, this generator is able to start in temperatures as cold as -22°F. This innovative starting system is one of the best and most reliable in the entire industry, which makes this a huge advantage for this generator.

If you’re looking for a whole house generator that gets the job done and comes with a guarantee that is simply the best in the industry, this Champion generator is what you’re looking for.

Product highlights:

  • Suitable for freezing temperatures
  • Easy access to the generator’s parts
  • Fully automatic

6. Generac 6438 11000 Watt Standby Generator

The last whole house generator on our list is another Generac product, the 11,000 Watt 6438. Despite having a smaller watt capacity, this whole house generator is packed with features that make it one of the most outstanding generators that we’ve included on this list.

On the outside, the Generac 6438 has an all-weather enclosure that is made of steel with a durable coat finish that makes it capable of enduring the harshest weather conditions. On the outside, the Generac has some high-quality components that result in an outstanding performance.

The Generac OHVI engine is designed specifically for generators. It is capable of providing a reliable performance that will get you through the longest electricity outages. Having a reliable engine to power your whole house generator is very important as the last thing you need is a generator that’ll let you down when you need it most.

When it comes to safety compliance, this whole house generator is EPA CUL and UL-certified, which makes it a safe choice by all industry standards. As this whole house generator is also NFPA standards compliant, it can be installed within 18″ from the house, which is pretty useful in the case of a tight lawn.

Technology lovers will be glad to know that this whole house generator is mobile link compatible. When you install this device on your Generac 6438, you can control and monitor it from any compatible internet-connected device.

Product highlights:

  • Weather-proof design
  • Mobile link compatible
  • Excellent safety features
  • Great engine