Standby vs. Portable
Comparison of Standby and Portable Generators for the Home
This information is provided to help you in comparing portable generator backup power and standby generator applications to protect your home. There are two options: a standby generator that's permanently connected to your home, or a portable home generator. Let's consider both types to help you in your decision.
Home Standby Generator
When utility power fails, home standby generators start automatically to provide emergency generator backup power.
These residential standby generators are often larger and more powerful than portable power generators. They are fueled by a natural gas or propane line (instead of an internal gas tank), and hardwired to your home electrical system (instead of plugging in cords). An automatic transfer switch makes the whole process simpler for homeowners by activating the unit when the power goes out, and then disconnecting it when utility power goes back on.
What to Look for in a Home Standby Generator:
A portable generator can be pulled out when you need an emergency generator for your home over shorter periods of time.
As a point of comparison, these lightweight generators are usually smaller, less powerful and less expensive than standby units. The biggest difference, however, is that you have to start it up yourself, either via recoil (like many lawnmowers) or battery-powered ignition. A portable generator typically has a built-in fuel tank and power outlets that accommodate household extension cords.
What to Look for in a Portable Generator: