When it comes to reliable power sources, generators are becoming a must-have for homes across the country. With the increasing frequency and duration of power outages, having a generator can save lives during and after adverse weather conditions. However, it is important to take the necessary precautions when using a generator, as it can be dangerous if not used properly. To help you choose the best generator for your needs, our expert engineers have tested and rated the performance of different models.
We tested each model by loading it with essential items that you may want to power during an outage, such as a heater, refrigerator, or window air conditioner. We also looked at how easy it is to move and use a generator, as well as how efficiently it uses gasoline and how long it runs on a single tank. Generators are sold by power output, measured in watts. The amount of power they provide determines the amount of electronics and appliances you can use at one time; estimate about 5000 watts for a typical home.
To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, many new generators have a built-in sensor that triggers an automatic shutdown if CO builds up to dangerous levels in an enclosed space; some also have motors that emit less CO in the first place. Recent CR test data shows that this security feature is likely to save lives. Consumer Reports recommends a portable generator only if it passes our recently expanded CO safety technology test.When buying a generator, you can go four ways: backup generators for the home are permanently installed, can run on natural gas or propane, and turn on automatically during an outage; portable generators and inverters can be moved and come in different sizes; and portable power plants are large batteries that store electricity for when you need it. To ensure you get the best generator for your needs, consider these options: low-carbon engine brands such as Ryobi and Echo use these types of engines to protect themselves from the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning; automatic start so that the generator turns on without you lifting a finger; alternative fuel capacity so that some models run on gasoline only while others come equipped to run on a propane tank or natural gas line; fuel gauge so that you can see at a glance how much fuel is left in your portable generator; low oil shutdown so that if oil falls below minimum levels, the generator shuts off to prevent engine damage; multiple power outlets so that four or more allow you to make better use of the power by distributing the load; removable console so that you can connect appliances without using extension cables outdoors; and transfer switches so that most are designed for a 220 volt input, which means that this is a 5000 watt or more generator.When looking for reliable generators, some of the top brands include Briggs & Stratton, Cat, Champion, Generac, Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240 Solar Generator, and Champion 3800 Watt Portable Dual-Fuel Generator.
Don't let rain, snow or wind hide you in the dark - get the most out of your generator with these tips!.