The Best Generator For Hurricane Season And Other Outages


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If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best generator for hurricane season is, then I recommend the Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt Portable Generator as the best one. 

If you live within a few hundred miles by the gulf coast or Atlantic ocean, you could be affected by a hurricane. 

When a hurricane knocks out the power, it could be days before you get it back. That’s when a generator earns its keep.

So the question becomes, do you need a generator? 

And if you do how many generators are enough to power up your house?

In this article, I would like to answer these questions and recommend the best generators for hurricane season for you.

At a glance, these are three generators that I’m going to review:

A Quick Comparison

Image
Best Standby Home Generator
Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Wi-Fi and Transfer Switch, Aluminum
Best Portable Generator For Home
Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt 120/240 Volt Super Quiet Portable Electric Generator
Best Backup For Essential Items
Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start
Generator
Generac 70432 Guardian Series
Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt
Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel
Generator Type
Standby
Inverter Portable
Conventional Portable
Output Power
120/240 22000W (LP), 19500W (NG)
120V/240V 7000W
120V 3800W (NG), 3420W (LP)
Start Type
Electric Switch
Electric Switch,Recoil Start
Electric Start
Fuel Type
Natural gas, Liquid Propane
Gasoline
Gasoline, Propane
Fuel Tank Capacity
Externally connect to fuel pipe
5.1 gals
3.4 gals
Run Time per Tankful
306 cu/hr (NG), 3.90 gal/hr (LP)
18 hours with ECO mode ON
9 hr (NG) or 10.5 hr (LP) at 50% load
Item Weight
476 lbs
261 lbs
122 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
68 dBA
52-58 dBA
68 dBA
Engine Displacement
999 cc
389 cc
224 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
48" x 25" x 29"
33.4" x 27.6" x 28.4"
26.3" x 24.8" x 22.9"
CARB Compliance
Best Standby Home Generator
Image
Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Wi-Fi and Transfer Switch, Aluminum
Generator
Generac 70432 Guardian Series
Generator Type
Standby
Output Power
120/240 22000W (LP), 19500W (NG)
Start Type
Electric Switch
Fuel Type
Natural gas, Liquid Propane
Fuel Tank Capacity
Externally connect to fuel pipe
Run Time per Tankful
306 cu/hr (NG), 3.90 gal/hr (LP)
Item Weight
476 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
68 dBA
Engine Displacement
999 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
48" x 25" x 29"
CARB Compliance
Best Portable Generator For Home
Image
Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt 120/240 Volt Super Quiet Portable Electric Generator
Generator
Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt
Generator Type
Inverter Portable
Output Power
120V/240V 7000W
Start Type
Electric Switch,Recoil Start
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
5.1 gals
Run Time per Tankful
18 hours with ECO mode ON
Item Weight
261 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
52-58 dBA
Engine Displacement
389 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
33.4" x 27.6" x 28.4"
CARB Compliance
Best Backup For Essential Items
Image
Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start
Generator
Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel
Generator Type
Conventional Portable
Output Power
120V 3800W (NG), 3420W (LP)
Start Type
Electric Start
Fuel Type
Gasoline, Propane
Fuel Tank Capacity
3.4 gals
Run Time per Tankful
9 hr (NG) or 10.5 hr (LP) at 50% load
Item Weight
122 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
68 dBA
Engine Displacement
224 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
26.3" x 24.8" x 22.9"
CARB Compliance

Last update on 2020-10-01 at 22:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Do You Need A Generator For Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season usually takes six months long. It runs from early May to the end of November. It’s quite a long time.

If the severe magnitude of hurricanes like Hurricane Irma knocks the power out for more than a week, you don’t have air conditioning, hot water, lights, charging devices, listening to radios, and so on.

When this nature disaster hits you hard, it really changes your lifestyle completely to the point where it does put you in a real crisis situation.

So having some backup power is all about trying to minimize the crisis and keep your life as normal as possible without power from power grid systems. 

It is relatively inexpensive with some good thoughts, research, and just some preparation to be ready for those situations when they do happen.

Also Read: Lesson learned from Hurricane Ike in 2008

How Much Power Do You Need?

Generally, you would want a generator that would provide the amount of wattage to run things like your refrigerator, air-condition, and lighting.

If you want to run the whole house, you probably want a generated from 5000 to 7500 Watts. But I would say, 10kW is the safest rate especially when you need to run many appliances like refrigerator, sump pump, lighting, heating system, well pump, microwave, and so on.

The table below is a general guideline for some ideas:

Household ItemWattage
Refrigerator500 W
Heating System1000 W
Electric Hot Water Heater4500 W
Well Pump1000 W
Television500 W
Garage Door Opener500 W
Total Wattage9000 Watts or 9 kW

To check the actual amount of wattage to run those things, you need something like a Kill A Watt device. 

How it works is that you can plug it into your wall and whatever device you’re checking, plug it right into this meter.

For instance, if it’s a light plug it in, it’ll tell you how many watts you’re drawn in. Same thing if you have an air conditioning which is a 110V, you can plug that in here and it’ll tell you what the wattage it consumes.

Portable Generator Vs Permanent Generator: Which One?

Before you choose which type of generator, firstly you need to understand what your needs are. Then you would shop for that would meet those needs.

Portable Generator

Generators aren’t cheap. The least expensive one that would run a refrigerator and a couple of lights start at $300.

A 3000 Watts to 6500 Watts portable generator will power your essentials like a refrigerator to keep your foods from spoiling, lights, fans, sump pump, and tools.

Those generators are usually priced under $1000. You’ll also need the gas container and gas which you don’t want to store in a house. 

Then you need the adapters for the power extension cords.

For portable generators that run on gas, they cover the essentials but aren’t powerful enough to run your entire air-conditioning system.

Keep in mind that you want to set about 20 feet away from the house from any occupied building. Never hook up directly to your house circuits.

Since most portables run on gas, never run it indoors because of the fumes.

Permanent Generator

If you’re willing to spend in the thousands can opt for a permanent generator which is powerful enough to run your cooling system.

In addition to being expensive, these are more complicated to install. You’ve got to have a slab to mount it on since it connects right into your electrical box.

You’ll need to get a qualified electrician to hook it up. But once it’s there, it’s there. In my opinion, this permanent generator is worth it for the long term. 

When the electricity goes off for 10 to 20 secs, your generator kicks on and gives you air conditioning, allows the burglar alarm to stay on, garage doors gonna open, charge your cellphone, and more.

It uses natural gas and propane. You’re not going to have to go to the gas station to buy gas because when they’re power outages the gas station loses power too and you can’t get the gasoline.

In addition, since it’s connected right into your electric box there aren’t any power cords to trip over.

If the $10000 purchase and install price tags may send you back to the portable generator.

Which Generator Should You Purchase in Preparation for Hurricane Season?

Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series – Best Standby Home Generator

When it comes to a permanent standby generator, there are two popular makers – Generac and Kohler. But I would stick to the 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series from Generac as the best one as backup power.

Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Wi-Fi and Transfer Switch, Aluminum

Click the image to view on Amazon

The Generac 70432 is the largest in terms of power from the Generac Guardian Series. With the price is almost comparable to Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt, you’ll get 22000 watts (with LPG) and 19500 Watts (with NG) of power. It includes a 200 Amp transfer switch. It’s really a bargain in my opinion.

This Generac generator is using an air-cooled system and the G-Force engine that requires low maintenance. With the massive 22000 watts of power, it’s more than enough to run the entire home. That’s including your A/C and heater systems. 

It runs automatically. When it senses power loss, it kicks within a few seconds. It will continuously run as long as necessary until utility power returns. You can stop it when needed.

The generator runs on either natural gas or LP gas. A 22 KW Generac generator would consume 6.46 cubic meters per hour of natural gas at half load and 3.90 gallons per hour of LP at full load. It burns less fuel while keeping its efficiency at an optimum.

Compared to the previous version, this version comes with a WiFi interface (MobileLink) so you could monitor your generator VIA the Computer, or your smartphone. Although the enclosure is made from aluminum, the engine is a bit noisy about 68 dBA. If you live in a rural area, this is not a big deal.

One of the real users on Amazon mentioned that his generator works great and loved the built-in load shedding feature in the transfer switch. Another user did mention that it is a great generator but only with a proper installation.

Pros

  • Powerful even at the same price as Honda portable generator
  • Comes with WiFi interface for easy monitoring
  • Include the transfer switch
  • 5 years limited warranty

Cons

  • Very noisy
  • Need experts to install
  • Very costly when including the total installation cost

The Verdict:

The Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series is a great option for a standby generator for home. When the hurricane and storms come, it is there ready to run automatically when it detects a power outage. I would recommend this generator especially when you have kids and someone who needs oxygen equipment (COPD). The standby generator is a non-trivial investment. It is indeed far more expensive than conventional generator but it will be paid for itself in the long term.

Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt – Best Portable Generator For Home

Although there are many options of portable generators rated from 6500 to 10000 watts in the market, the Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt 120/240 Volt Inverter Portable Electric Generator is probably the best home portable generator you can get. 

Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt 120/240 Volt Super Quiet Portable Electric Generator

Click the image to view on Amazon

It’s an inverter unit so it’s clean energy, you can charge your cellphones, batteries, tools, and most electronics devices.

This generator produces a maximum of 7000 watts of power and 5500 watts rated output. This power can handle running a small home but you’re not going to run home A/C with this. But if you have another Honda EU7000iAT generator, you run them in parallel operation to produce the power up to 14000 watts. 

The cool thing about this generator is that it’s fuel-injected. It is quiet, doesn’t require as much maintenance, and the runtime is much longer. It features the ECO throttle system for energy saving.

When you’re not using many appliances at the same time, you can keep the ECO mode on. It can run up to 18 hours on a single tank. But if you need a lot of power like a water heater then you can switch it over so it runs at full RPM. Of course with the ECO throttle system off, it can only run about 12 to 15 hours.

When the generator runs on ECO mode (2400 – 3600 rpm), it generates the noise level of 52 decibels which is pretty impressive. So quiet and your neighbors probably won’t notice it. Unfortunately, this generator only runs on gasoline with a pump octane rating of 86 or higher. 

So, how about its reliability?

According to the reviews from the real users on Amazon and some forums, one of them reported that after put 125 hours on the generator, it runs without any issue. The other user said he had it up around 4000 hours and still running strong.

Pros

  • Longer runtime due to the fuel injection & ECO throttle system
  • Super quiet when running with ECO mode
  • Equipped with pull cord start in case the battery is dead
  • 120/240V AC output available
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Only run on gasoline
  • No fuel cut-off feature
  • Pricey

The Verdict:

The Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Inverter is probably the quietest and most reliable portable generator as a power backup system for your home during hurricane season. With 7000 watts of power, you shouldn’t have a problem to run the essential appliances in your home. Just don’t run the A/C system at the same time and you’ll be fine. It’s a huge purchase but it will last a very long time and offers amazing runtime with the fuel injection system. 

Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator  – Best Backup For Essential Items And Off-Grid Living

The Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator is the most affordable but less powerful in the list. However, it is one of the most popular portable generators for people who need adequate power backup without spending a bomb. 

Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start

Click the image to view on Amazon

It’s a dual fuel generator, run on gasoline and propane. The running wattage for gasoline is about 3800 Watts and 3420 Watts for propane. It’s enough power to run your essential household items like a refrigerator, lights, and sump pump during a power outage. If you live in RV, it can handle your 15000 BTU RV air conditioner with a breeze.

Unlike the Honda EU7000iAT, this unit doesn’t have a 240V outlet. It only has a 120V outlet for 20 Amp and 30 Amp. It isn’t a big deal as most people would probably use it for small appliances. The fuel consumption wise, it has a run time of up to 9 hours on a full tank of gasoline or 10.5 hours on propane at 50% load.

The generator is easy to operate with the electric start function. It also features the Intelligauge to monitor the running hours, voltage, and Hertz. Overall it is easy to use and maintain except one thing – the oil dip cap. It is located way down underneath which makes the oil change a bit tricky. 

The noise level of this generator is decent at 68 dBA. It is not as quiet as the Honda but comparable to the Generac generator. The overall reviews of the Champion 3800-Watts generator are good. 

Many users on Amazon were impressed by the easy to set up, dual fuel features, and capabilities of the generator. It works fine as backup power to mitigate the risk of hurricane season. Good to know that the generator comes with a 3-year warranty and free lifetime technical supports.

Pros

  • Dual fuel
  • Comes with electric start
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • May not suitable to use for sensitive electronics devices
  • Changing the engine oil a bit tricky

The Verdict:

If you’re looking for an affordable backup power generator and don’t need a lot of power, the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator is a great option. The power is adequate to run the essential items in your house. As long as your foods in a refrigerator don’t get spoilt during a power outage, it will get the job done. If you’re living off-grid, the generator is perfect for that.

What’s The Best Generator For Hurricane Season?

Choosing the best generator for hurricane season depends on a lot of factors.

How much power do you want? And what is your budget?

For me, I will pick Honda EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt Portable Generator as the best one mainly for four reasons:

  1. It is super quiet. I don’t want to disturb my neighbors unless I live in a rural area.
  2. Honda is a trusted and reliable brand. I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a bit on something that is proven durable and reliable.
  3. It produces clean power. Voltage-friendly to my electronic devices. 
  4. 120/240V AC option – Great!

If you have a budget to spend and don’t plan to move to other cities in the future, the permanent Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series is no brainer. It is a proper backup power to run the entire house.

But if you have a limited budget, the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator is a great alternative.

Finally, get ready for hurricane season and be as prepared as you can. Don’t wait until the storm gets here to get out and start shopping for the generator. 

It’s not a fun situation. Be proactive!