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Portable vs standby generators - which one do you need for your home?

home generators

After Superstorm Sandy hit in October 2012, like hundreds of thousands of other folks in the Northeast, you probably wondered just how much longer you could last eating food heated on the gas range for the sixth day in a row after being left without power.


If this was your reality, while annoying, you were incredibly lucky in comparison to so many others who lost their homes and all of their belongings. But, after Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012, it's evident that having to live through major storms is becoming a fact of life for so many Northeast and Mid Atlantic residents. That's why it makes sense to invest in a backup power generator for your home, to prepare for any future storm or power outage eventuality.

Of course this leads to the obvious questions: "Where do you even begin to look?" and "What's the best generator option for your home and needs?" Since we're the local company to trust for home services, we're here to help answer these questions for you.

First, there are two types of generators:

  1. Whole house generators
  2. Portable generators

Apart from a name clearly stating that one is more mobile than the other, there is more to it than that but we have the information to help you make the most informed decision about choosing which one is right for you.

  • Whole house generators
    Also known as stationary models, these are permanently installed outside your home and start as soon as the power goes out. They usually run on propane and some do need to tap into a natural gas line. Costs for a whole house generator can run up to thousands of dollars, depending on what you need to power up and how large your home is.
  • Portable generators
    A portable generator can cost considerably less than a whole house generator. They are not permanent and usually are easily stored in a garage or shed. Most people use a portable generator to power a TV, a few lights and a refrigerator to avoid losing thousands of dollars in spoiled food.

So, which one do you need?


Are you a family with two small children and a large house? The whole house generator may be the way to go. Are you an older family with kids who have left the nest and it’s just the two of you? In that case a portable generator may be your best option. But, as clichéd as it sounds, only you can decide which is truly best for you, based on your family, budget and most importantly, what devices or equipment you want, or need, to keep powered up.

Decide first what you would need and confirm the wattage you require. Count on GE, a leading name in power generators, for the information and tools you need to help figure out what system is best for you. Generator size calculator ›

Once you know the size generator they recommend that works for you, it will help you to decide whether a whole house or portable generator is better for your needs.

So, like any other big purchase, make sure you do your research and check out all different types and brands of generators. And, whatever you do, stay safe in those storms or power outages and lose the stress about remembering to have a stock pile of candles! Believe me, you’ll thank us later.

Learn more about our generator services ›

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