The most recent hurricane Ida has wreaked havoc through the midwest. Unsurprisingly, the power grid was quick to fail, and many unprepared households got served a good reminder about the importance of alternative energy sources.
If you want to be prepared for the inevitable future hurricanes, you will have to get a suitable generator for your home. Our detailed reviews will help you choose the best generator for the hurricane season, ensuring you will be ready when the lights go off.
Generator For Hurricane Season – Our Top Picks
1. Generac Guardian 24kW Home Standby Generator
A portable generator can be a lifesaver in the case of a shorter power outage, but if your home is equipped with a central air conditioning system and a water heater, chances are you want a powerful standalone system that will provide you with enough clean and stable power for extended periods. That’s where Generac Guardian 24kW comes into play, with plenty of power output and all the latest features you’d expect from a modern generator.
Thanks to the TruePower technology, the power provided by this generator is clean and suitable for sensitive electronics inside your television, AC system, audio-video equipment, etc. Harmonic distortion is less than 5%, so you won’t have to worry about inconsistent power output. This generator runs on natural gas, and it consumes up to 200 cubic feet of gas per hour at full load.
The PWRview phone app will give you an insight into your power consumption. The real-time view will let you monitor your current power consumption. The histogram will help you paint a bigger picture, showing the hourly power consumption for every date of the month, helping you track down the big spenders.
2. DuroMax XP15000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Standalone units are not easy to install on your own, so you will likely have to spend extra cash on installation fees, which can you a couple of thousand dollars. Standalone systems have superior power output, but you can still find a few portable generators on the market designed to power the whole house. The DuroMax XP15000EH is our favorite portable generator.
The dual-fuel system gives you additional flexibility, enabling you to power your generator both on gasoline and propane. Powered by the 713cc DuroMax engine, this generator will output up to 15000 watts of surge power, and up to 12500 watts of running power. When running on propane, you should expect about 12000 watts of surge power and up to 11200 watts of running power.
The main panel is well designed, with outlets and breakers populating the bottom half of the panel, while the top part is populated with the generator controls. You will be hard-pressed to find another generator started by a key. Most generators have a manually operated knob for switching between gasoline and propane operation, but the XP15000EH does this electronically with a simple switch. The multimeter will display the voltage, frequency, and total hours. Low-oil shutoff will turn off the generator if the low levels are low.
3. Pulsar PG15KVTWB 15,000W Dual Fuel
If the DuroMax XP15000EH seems a bit out of reach for you, but you still need a powerful generator that will effortlessly power your home, the XP15000EH might offer you the perfect solution. Due to its attractive price and great power ratings, it quickly became one of the most popular generators on the market.
The 713cc air-cooled engine offers plenty of power output, with 15000 watts of surge power and 12000 watts of running power. When running this generator on propane, you can expect less power output; with 12000W of surge power and 11200w of running power. This will be plenty to power all the major systems and power-hungry appliances in your home.
Its control board may not be eye-catching as the one found on Duromax XP15000EH, but it gets the job done. PG15KVTWB has an electric start system, which is controlled by a knob. Right beside the start knob, you will find the fuel selection switch, letting you toggle between manual and auto mode. The VFT meter will display the voltage, frequency, and runtime. Overload and low-oil indicators are also built-in. The fuel tank can house 10.6 gallons of gasoline, which will be enough for up to 10 hours of runtime.
4. Champion Power Equipment 100111 15,000/12,000-Watt Portable Generator
Since early 2022, the price of generators has been on the rise, with most models priced at double or triple their retail price. If you are in the market for an affordable 15kW portable generator, the Champion 15000 watt could be the perfect choice for you.
Power ratings are similar to the Duromax XP15000EH and Pulsar PG15KVTWB, with 15000 watts of starting power and up to 12000 watts of running power. The big 10.9 fuel tank will power this generator for up to 9 hours.
The control panel has an unusual layout, but you will get the hang of it in no time. This model is equipped with an electric starter system, which is perfect for users who lack the physical strength required to start up a crank-powered engine. Unlike the more expensive models, the choke on this model is manually operated using a knob located at the center of the console. At the center of the main console, you’ll also find Intelligauge, a screen that provides you with some basic diagnostics info. Thanks to the onboard power meter, you’ll know at what level of load the generator is currently operating.
5. All Power America G12000EGL 12000 Watt Heavy Duty Dual Fuel
All Power America produces some of the most affordable generators on the market, and the G12000EGL is their flagship model, offering a lot of watts for an affordable price. Thanks to the efficient 459cc air-cooled engine, the G12000EGL has impressive power ratings. The models we’ve reviewed previously sported a much bigger engine, but not that much more power compared to the G12000EGL.
There’s plenty of power to go around, with up to 12000 watts of surge power and 9000 watts of running power. We liked the improved fuel economy, the 8-gallon tank will keep this generator running for up to 10 hours. This is a dual-fuel system generator, so you also have the option to use propane. When using propane, you can expect a lot less power, with 9000 watts of starting power and up to 7250W of running power.
Just like the Duromax XP15000EH, it has a key-operated electric start system, which gives it a more premium feel. Right below it you’ll find the main breaker and two indicators; for output and low-oil. The rest of the control panel is populated with sockets and breakers. Even though this model has an electric start system, they still included a crank, which can be a lifesaver if your electric start fails or the battery goes flat.
6. Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen9500
There’s a good reason Westinghouse generators are so sought after. Their generators are reliable, quiet, powerful and they pack all the latest features you’d expect from a portable generator.
The WGen9500 has marginally better power ratings than the G12000EGL, with 12500 watts of surge power and 9500 watts of running power. They both have pretty much the same engines, so that allows us to conclude that Westinghouse used better components with higher efficiency ratings. The WGen9500 might be a viable alternative to the G12000EGL if you plan to run your generator exclusively on gasoline.
It sports an electronic start system, which automatically adjusts the choke and cranks the engine. It’s really easy to operate thanks to the push to start button. Just to the right of the start button, you’ll find the Run/Stop switch, which you’ll need to toggle to the Run position before starting this generator. They were nice enough to include a car-style 5V plug, which is perfect for charging small electronics. The data center will display the operating voltage, frequency, and runtime.
7. A-iPower SUA12000E 12000 Watt Portable Generator
If you’re on a tight budget, but you still need a portable generator that’s capable of powering a whole house, you should start considering the A-iPower SUA12000E for your next purchase.
The 459cc engine is capable of supplying up to 12000 watts of surge power, and up to 9000 watts of running power. The power ratings are similar to the WGen9500 and G12000EGL. You won’t even notice this is a budget generator since it comes equipped with an electronic start system. In case your battery goes flat, you still got the option to start up the engine using a crank, which is always a welcome addition.
The screen is simple, displaying only the total runtime. Next to it, you’ll find a low-oil indicator, which will warn you if you forget to top off the oil. The 7-gallon tank is on the smaller side, with up to 7 hours of runtime.
8. Powermate P0080301 Gas Generator 9400 Watt 49 ST
All the generators we’ve reviewed so far are meant to power all the power-hungry systems and appliances in your home. But many users are just looking for a generator that will keep the lights on and power only the most necessary appliances, so going for a 9,4 kW generator such as the Powermate P0080301 might be a good idea.
Powered by the Generac 420cc engine, it will give you up to 9400 watts of starting power and up to 7500 watts of running. It is equipped with a modern electric start system, with a push to start button and automatic choke. The fuel economy is great, with up to 13 hours of runtime on a full 8-gallon tank. To keep the fuel levels in check, they also included a fuel gauge. The display will show you the total runtime.
Fuel tank size
The size of the fuel tank will depend on the engine displacement. The more powerful engines have the biggest fuel capacity because they consume more fuel. But it’s not rare to see two generators with similar engines, but entirely different fuel tanks. Some manufacturers opt-out for a smaller tank due to the cost and space-saving. A smaller tank means you’ll have to refill it more often, so always go for the model with a bigger fuel capacity.
Standalone vs portable generator
There are two types of power generators – standalone and portable. Both will power your home for an extended period, but there are some major differences between them. Standalone generators are the most expensive, but they generate the most amount of power. The power they deliver is much cleaner, with fewer voltage fluctuations and less harmonic distortion. Portable generators are easier to set up and more convenient.
In the case of a hurricane, power lines can be disrupted for weeks or even months. Suddenly, the fuel economy becomes one of the main factors when choosing the perfect generator for your home. It’s simple, smaller generators consume less fuel, and they might be the best choice if you don’t need a lot of power.
Most modern generators are equipped with an automatic choke, which makes starting up the generator that much easier. While some might argue that the manual choke is more reliable, you have to keep in mind that it’s not user-friendly. And most automatic chokes also offer the option for manual operation, so you can always tune it the way you want.
What size generator do I need for a hurricane?
To reliably power your whole house, you will need at least 10000 watts of running power. You might get away with less running power, but you will need to manage your power consumption.
Can you run a generator during a hurricane?
Yes, you can, as generators are designed to supply your house with power during emergencies such as hurricanes. Standalone units will work in all weather conditions, but portable generators will need to be placed in a garage. Make sure to keep it well ventilated to avoid CO2 buildup. Never run a generator inside a house, the only exception is a well-ventilated garage or basement.
How do you protect your generator during a hurricane?
Electricity and water don’t mix, so unless you got a standalone unit, you will have to find a way to keep your generator dry. If you got a backyard shed or a garage separate from the house, you can house the generator there. If that’s not an option, you can use your garage as a last resort, but only if it is well ventilated.
Which is better generator or inverter?
Inverter generators deliver much cleaner power, making them better suited for sensitive electronics. They offer much less power than regular generators, and they are much more expensive. But inverter generators have better engines that run at a steady 3600 RPM, which considerably reduces the noise level. In short, regular generators are loud and provide more power for your dollar, while inverter generators offer clean power and low noise levels.
With so many generators on the market, it is not easy to pick the best one. We’ve reviewed some of the best models on the market to help you narrow down your search. Review your alternative energy options and be prepared for the next hurricane season.