Emergency Backup: Home Standby Generators vs Portable Generators

You're probably reading this because each time there's a blackout you start pondering the idea of getting a generator as an emergency backup. Well, you're not the only one. Backup generators are becoming increasingly popular due to advances in technology and decreasing prices. Below we will compare home standby with portable generators to help you decide which would suit you best.


How does a standby generator work?

A standby generator is installed permanently on your property by a licensed electrician to partially or completely power your home. When the power goes out a standby generator will automatically switch on and provide power to your home. This can prove important in various situations, for example maintaining electricity to life supporting equipment or sump pumps, to ensure protection against flooding.

Standby generators are either powered from an internal tank filled with petrol/diesel or they are connected to a gas line and powered with natural gas. Generally if a natural gas line is available, this is the more popular option as they are more efficient and there is no refuelling required.


How do portable generators work?

A portable generator is designed to be as the title says, portable. Generally this is because of weight or mobility accessories like wheel kits. They can power select items that are plugged into the generator through a power cord. This can be handy if power outages are infrequent (less than 3 times a year) and short (less than two hours). They can also be set up to the mains via an automatic transfer switch if power outages are more frequent.

Portable generators need to be manually set up and are started with a recoil cord. Their running time depends on tank size and fuel type however it’s generally from 5-12 hours. Fuel must be drained after each use unless using a fuel stabiliser.

Below is a table that outlines the key differences to consider when considering which type of generator would best suit you circumstances.

To sum up, both home standby and portable generators have their place within the emergency backup space. The deciding factor will be based on your individual needs and budget.


If you have any questions feel free to comment below or contact us on 1300 873 588 or support@generatorwarehouse.com.au



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