Standby Vs Portable Generators: What’s Best For Residential Use?

Standby Vs Portable Generators: What’s Best For Residential Use?

Standby generators and portable generators are the two most common types of generators. For backup power solutions for your home and small businesses. Both provide electricity to a home during a power outage but in different ways. So let us see about Standby Vs Portable Generators. Also, which one is best for your home?

A portable generator is an immediate but temporary power solution that works on gasoline. Furthermore, a standby diesel generator is an automatic, permanent backup power solution, that works on natural gas or liquid propane.

What is a generator?

The generator is a device that converts the motive power into electrical power for use in an external circuit.

Generators are machines that produce electric energy in the form of voltage and current. They produce electricity based on the principle of electromagnetic induction.

Electric generators act as a lifesaver. Electric generators full-fill backup power during power outages, which can occur in real-time situations. There are so many sources to produce mechanical energy, and the sources are gas turbines, water turbines, wind turbines, steam turbines, etc. Apart from all of these, there are several ways to produce mechanical energy.


Faraday disk was the first electromagnetic generator that was invented in 1831 by British scientist Michael Faraday. It is the first electromagnetic generator to run successfully. But there are problems been evaluated like inefficient design, generating high voltage with low current, heating of the copper disk, and so on.

After a long time, the first practical electric generator named “Dynamos”, was built by “Hippolyte Pixii” in 1832. It is the first electrical generator that delivers power to the industry. It comes with a new design along with some new techniques. Like a rotating coil of wire, self-powering electromagnetic field coils, and so on.

Types of Generators

Basically, there are three main types of generators:- portable, inverter, and standby. But we will discuss only Portable Vs Standby Generators.

1. Portable Generator

A portable generator’s features are very useful in a variety of applications. A portable generator is powered up by gas or diesel fuel and can provide temporary electrical power as per the need of the user.

It provides power during planned or accidental power outages. It is more suitable for residential purposes and smaller commercial organizations such as retail shops.

Furthermore, it uses for construction sites for powering smaller tools, camping, and weddings. And also many more places where portable generators can fit eventually.

Characteristics of the portable generator are

  • Uses a combustion engine to conduct electricity.
  • It can plug into electrical appliances or tools via its sockets.
  • It has enough power to run home appliances like a television, refrigerator, etc.
  • The engine should run at 3600 rpm to provide the standard 60hz of current.
  • Use a governor to control the engine’s speed.
  • Can power tools and lights.

2. Standby Generators

A standby generator is an electrical system that operates with an ‘automatic transfer switch that sends commands to power up a device during power loss. Standby generators install outside near the house.

It uses to perform the purpose of “switching on” automatically when framework power fails. These are very useful for residential apartments, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and commercial establishments connected to grid power.

Characteristics of the standby generator are

  • Starts automatically.
  • Delivers stable power protection.
  • Two components: a standby generator and an automatic transfer switch.
  • It will sense the power loss within seconds and boot up electricity so that power loss is very less.
  • It can monitor utility power, constantly.
  • Used in safety systems for elevators, medical and life support equipment, and fire protection systems.

Standby Vs Portable Generators:-What is the Best generators for Residential Use?

At the present time, we use a couple of appliances like- machines and gadgets in our households to simplify our lives. From coffee machines, blenders, and washing machines to laptops, AC, TV, water purifiers, etc., all appliance works on electricity.

All of us are totally dependent on these things. In the case of an electricity collapse, we feel completely helpless. Nobody wants their life to pause or to suffer during power cuts. That’s the only reason why everyone is investing in generators.

Difference between portable generators Vs standby generators?

Generators are very useful machines in our daily life. It becomes a part of our daily life as a lifesaver. Furthermore, generators for use in lighting up our homes can fall into two very broad categories Portable and Standby.

When power is lost for a long period of time, some consumers visit hardware stores to purchase portable generators. A portable generator is an appropriate option when it comes to delivering backup power in a critical situation.

Therefore, it is more important to know that there are many more options for being safe with reliable backup power.

Apart from portable generators, there is an option for Standby generators that runs automatically when the utility power fails. The homeowner doesn’t need to do anything for running up the generator, standby generators can sense automatically through a transfer switch that can help to monitor utility power and transfers the electrical load to the generator, and within 10 seconds, it will provide the power.

A standby generator installs outside the home looks like a central air conditioner and runs on propane or natural gas. It will power up critical appliances and systems like- lights, air conditioners, refrigerators, home security systems, office equipment, etc.

Some necessary differences between standby Vs portable generators

  • A standby generator permanently installs outside the home and it looks like a central air conditioning unit.
  • Standby generator runs on natural gas or propane and is connected to existing gas lines. Compared to the portable generator it fills with gasoline every time it runs itself. In addition, the oil will change, especially if running continuously.
  • A standby generator is fully covered inside its body, while a portable generator has exposed engine parts.
  • A standby generator delivers a stable and consistent power supply, which is important for advanced electronic devices like big-screen TVs, computers, etc. and some portable generators provide low-grade power supply, which can damage and break-down sensitive electronic devices.
  • Standby generators are installed by professionals to provide full safety and “hands-off” operation for the homeowner. While Portable generators must be operated by the homeowner under the compulsion of an unexpected outage.
  • A standby generator uses for heavy and advanced appliances and systems in your home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators, home security systems, and more. Apart from it, If using a portable generator, then appliances must need to be plugged into the unit using extension cords. The extension cords must be covered with heavy wire, for the electrical and distance they run to the portable generator outdoors.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Standby Vs Portable Generators

Portable generator/ Advantages

  1. Much cheaper than standby generators.
  2. Smaller and more compact.
  3. It can purchase easily from any local retailers, hardware or big box stores.
  4. It can borrow from a friend or relative nearby your place that has power.


  1. Store inside because of duly weather.
  2. You must have to connect all the connections with an extension cord from the generator.
  3. Start it manually, even after a long period of no use.
  4. A number of times need refueling with limited run time.
  5.  Regularly maintenance requires.
  6. Lack of security even while running. It can be a target for thieves.

2. Standby generator/ Advantages

  1. It will start automatically within a few seconds of a power outage.
  2. When power is restored, it stops automatically.
  3. There’s no need to refuel it, again and again, it is directly connected to your home’s Natural Gas or Propane source.
  4. A larger generator is placed inside. So,  it can supply power to your entire home.
  5. Made to install outside the house where the homeowner lives.
  6. It has a feature of weekly self-diagnosis and alarming you when maintenance is needed.


  1. Quite expensive than portable generators.
  2. It requires to hire a professional to set up the installation. Which takes installation costs.

Some Common Factors to Consider Before Buying an Ideal Generator for Your Home

1. Budget

So, before buying a generator, you should set your budget. You can find both high-end and low-end products. Setting your budget allows you to make an appropriate of the major reason while buying anything as nobody wants to go over their budget. So, at the time you buy a generator, you must be sure about the high and low price products. After it, your budget will allow you to make an appropriate choice.

2. Needs of voltage

On a daily basis, we use multiples of electricity items in our homes. So, it is important to know the voltage needs or the power you’d require during outages. Basically, 3000-5000 watts is sufficient for a home.

3. Important and special features

Generators run on petrol, diesel, and other fuel. So, you have to choose wisely, the type of generator that you’d want in your house.

  • Type of generator

A  generator also selects after looking at all its features. Features like cooling, automatic transfer switch, automatic shut down, automatic voltage, etc. And the most important thing is to select a generator for home is to perform ‘Noise-free’.

  • Size of generator

These are small-size generators that provide power between 2000 to 7000 watts. That use for camping and home use. Medium generators provide power between 8000 to 20000 watts. And large generators provide 20000 to 40000 watts power.

For immediate Worry-Free power in electricity failure, Choose a Standby Generator

In this modern world, if you live in an area where power outage will occur regularly and you must think of having instant power during an outage, then the standby generator would be the best option.

When you have successfully planned to go for a standby generator, then don’t need to worry about no more power outages. The standby generator will fulfill all your needs in power outages. Standby generator runs weekly diagnostic tests to make sure it is ready to take what comes next in the future on your way. The initial cost of a standby generator will be forgettable after a short period of time while you are enjoying your family at the of a power outage and also can sleep comfortably.

Generator maintenance

Maintenance is a process, where rechecking all the units working functionally. Maintaining a generator is a process and it will help to live the machine more than it life. Maintaining a generator is a vital role for the owner and must have to follow the maintenance schedule of the manufacturer. Routine checking is good for general inspection.

Routine inspection will help you to know a few things to check like coolant level and accessing oil, glancing at the belts and hoses along with checking the terminals and cable. Oil changing frequency is based upon the manufacturer and how much has been used, according to its working environment. Technically, after 100 hours of operation, you must have to change the oil. If the generator uses diesel than it should need proper maintenance on time.

Further Care and Maintenance of Generators

It is also important to shut off the generator on a weekly basis for up to 30 minutes under load. This will help to charge the battery and remove the excess wetness, lubricate the engine and filter the oil and foil also.

You should also keep remembering the records of inspections and service tests for future inspections and examinations. These records will help you to allow to know the state of your generator.


Considering all these points I mentioned above. The voltage requirement of a home or small shop is generally between 5000-7000 watts. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive option, then a standby generator is ideal for home use. These generators are capable of powering all the major appliances used in a household.

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