The 20 Best Generators for Emergency Preparedness

When choosing your generator, you will face many questions that you will have to answer through research and guesswork. However, when selecting an emergency generator for being prepared in the worst-case scenario, a few machines are already perfect.

Emergency generators have several things that they need to do: portable, easy to install, and easy to fix if something goes wrong. The 20 best generators for emergency preparedness have something unique to all of them that allows you to use them even in the worst scenarios.

We have broken the list into four sections, where the definition of an emergency generator will be different. Someone living on a farm will need an emergency generator for vastly different reasons than someone living in the middle of a city, causing the solution to be slightly different.

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What are the Five Best Generators for Emergencies In a City?

When you live in a city, the chances of needing a generator that can run your entire house for months are not likely. Emergency generators in the city need to be ready to go at any moment, powering a house for a few hours until the situation is resolved.

These generators also usually don’t need to immediately supply a lot of power, running longer and giving power to the necessities in a house. Many people prefer to have them tucked away where they won’t notice them unless something goes wrong.

  1. Generac 7033 Guardian Series: Generac is perfect for those looking to power a whole house while having the generator not be an eyesore. The 7033 Guardian series costs more than most others but comfortably supplies over 11kW of power for your home.
  1. Pramac Gas Generator 20kVA: This high voltage, dual gas-powered generator is recommended when you have a larger house to power. Supplying 20 kVA, it is the most expensive generator on our list but can run on natural gas or LPG gas to power your home.
  1. Westinghouse 7500 Gas Generator: When it comes to trustable, Westinghouse has made some of the most long-lasting generators out there. The 7500 is portable, stored in the garage when not in use, and runs on regular gasoline, allowing for easy refueling.
  1. DuroStar DS4000S: Supplying only 3500 watts of power, the DS4000S is perfect for emergencies when the power may only be out for a few hours. Enough to power your fridge and maybe a hotplate; it runs on gasoline; the small size makes it easy to store when not used.
  1. Pulsar PG10000B16: The largest portable emergency generator that we recommend for a city dweller, the PG10000B16 will run almost anything. Whether you need it to run your home or your home office, it will be able to run for most of the day without issue.

Which are the Five Generators That are Best on Farms?

When it comes to farms, it can be a nightmare choosing the right generator, with most farmers having the issue of not being sure to get one permanently installed or not. Further, unlike someone living in the city, it can take several days for the power to return to a farm when something happens.

Just a downed cable can mean one whole week without power, which makes the requirements for the generator a lot more demanding. We usually recommend having several generators throughout the farm to deliver power to everything that may need it.

  1. DuroMax XP12000EH: Running on gasoline or propane, this 12kVA generator has everything you may need to power a small farm on it. We recommend having this at the main buildings, but it does have wheels when it may be needed at a specific tool or machine in emergencies.
  1. WEN 56475: When working on a farm, you may need power in the middle of nowhere without warning; the WEN 56475 can supply all the power you may need. With a more rugged exterior, this generator does everything you need it to without complaining about rain, wind, or dust.
  1. Briggs & Stratton 30545: We include this because farm life is entirely unpredictable, and you may need to have a small strong power supply where only a small vehicle can go. The 30545 can supply power for over 10 hours when working at 1/4 load, making it the best for this.
  1. Westinghouse Wgen7500: We recommend putting the WGen7500 at your barn or any other location on the farm that may need power apart from your house. With a capacity of 7.5kVA, it produces enough power for hours on end without having to be shut off constantly.
  1. Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel: A small 3.4kVA power supply that comfortably runs off propane or gasoline, this small power unit is perfect for fieldwork. When your powerlines have failed, the fence still needs to be built, or other fieldwork needs to be done.

What are the Five Best Emergency Generators Away from Cities?

While farms are typical to think of when not in a city, they are not the only reason you may be far away from a city. Living in the wilds of the world has become a lot more attractive as technology has allowed us to reach the wilds without losing contact.

Homes built atop a mountain can look fantastic and usually have a solar array or other green energy solution. This makes a power failure so much more stressful as there may be no way to get power for months as you order and ship new parts.

  1. Black Max 7000 Watt: Small, strong, and affordable the BM907015 is a perfect gasoline generator for rare emergencies when you are alone. Easy to move out of storage with an electric start, it can supply power for hours on end, using a Hona motor as a base.
  1. Honda 658060 3000 Watt: If you live in the middle of nowhere to access nature, the chances are you use little energy anyway. This small Honda generator provides 2.8kVA and will power the essentials for days on end while you work on finding a solution.
  1. Sportsman GEN2000: This small, portable, and rather rugged generator can comfortably give you enough power to keep your food cold. We recommend having one of these on standby at all times to ensure that you at least have some power when something damages your current power system.
  1. DuroMax XP12000EH: A much more expensive and permanent solution to emergency power needs when living in the wild. The XP12000EH provides 12kVA of power and will keep your entire home powered for days, allowing you to craft a solution to whatever is interrupting your power comfortably.
  1. Wen DF1100T: We recommend you buy this generator when your wild home is still being built, providing power to all the tools. It provides 11kVA of power for your home and will charge everything, power everything, and light everything up without a complaint for years.

What are the Five Best Portable Generators for Any Emergency?

When an emergency hits, you may not have power at home, or you may be in the middle of nowhere in your campervan. RV owners can tell you long stories about when they broke down in the middle of a desert with no cars for days; this constitutes an emergency of epic proportions.

Whether you live in a city that never seems to have power problems, camping in the wilds, or want a backup for the backup, we recommend having a portable generator on hand. While more significant, 12kVA generators have wheels; they are portable in the sense of being moved from a garage to the outside.

  1. Yamaha EF2000iSv2: Small, handheld, and gasoline-powered, the EF2000iSv2 can almost be carried around with you everywhere you go. Perfect for recharging phones, running a small fridge, or running power tools, we recommend anyone driving in the wilds to have one of these.
  1. ACOPower 150Wh Portable Generator: Every house on earth needs something like the ACOPOWER, not specifically a generator; it will charge your laptop and phone for a few days when the worst does happen. We have seen several campers have these permanently in their cars.
  1. Westinghouse Portable Generator: Gasoline-powered, the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT will comfortably give power to any tools you may need it for. It will also quietly run in the corner of your motorhome, recharging your batteries, your phone, and your laptop.
  1. Briggs and Stratton: The P2200 is the portable generator that we think deserves the name the most, capable of powering everything needed in an emergency. We have seen many of these stowed away in the corner of RV owners, with the small machine powering everything from small fridges to computers.
  1. Generac 7127 iQ3500: Providing just under 3.5kVA of power, the 7127 is often used when camping to provide power when needed. It may seem counterintuitive, but the small, quiet orange generator is capable of helping you overcome the most immediate emergency energy needs you may have.

What to Consider When Buying an Emergency Generator?

When choosing your generator for your emergency needs, we recommend considering several things, the ease of use, the power, the gas, and the size. Each of these will affect when you can use the generator and how long you may use the machine.

Many generator owners forget that they may not be the person who starts the generator when it comes. Many people assume that everyone in their family will do the same because they can lift the machine and move it where needed.

Ease Of Use

Emergency generators complicated to plug in and start may be perfect for you when you are home. However, if your family is alone at home, it may be a problem if you need to unpack half the shed first before moving the generator into place.

Many modern generators can be installed somewhere, with a remote start system built into a wall somewhere else in the house. This allows for easier operation when someone who has never started the generator needs to do so with guidance from you over the phone.

Power Delivery

If you have a house that runs several computers, two fridges, a lot of lights, and an entertainment system, you will need more power. Most homes can run for a short while from a 3kVA generator, but you’re not supposed to run these generators for more than a few hours nonstop.

When purchasing your emergency generators, we highly recommend that you think about this when you know a power interruption of several weeks can happen or not. Most city dwellers don’t have to stress about this, neither should most farmers, but if you live hours away from anyone, it may be possible.

Gas Requirements

Most US homes have a constant supply of natural gas, while most farms in the US do not; the gas your generator uses will decide how useful it is in an emergency. Most of the best emergency generators use gasoline as fuel due to its widespread availability.

Further, while not being portable, diesel generators are much less likely to run out of diesel simply because even the most lost petrol stations will have diesel. The availability of your gas should help determine the kind of generator you know will work perfectly for your needs.

Size

It may be attractive to buy the largest generator you can afford, having something the size of a small car in your garage. However, it may be less than useless in an emergency when you need remote power during a city-wide outage.

We recommend having a normal portable generator ready for your home while having a handheld generator ready for working in the middle of nowhere. We have seen several people that have saved themselves simply because they had a small generator at the ready.

How Long Should an Emergency Generator Last?

We recommend choosing a permanently installed generator that can comfortably power your home for at least a day or two. A portable generator can power your home or RV for a few hours, usually around six to eight hours each day.


Emergency generators should not become the standard way of powering your home; this is why even the largest ones will not run for extended periods. Emergency generators are not standby or backup generators that can completely replace the power supplied by a city.

Many generators become overworked and have mechanical problems because their owners decided they would be good enough to work as a permanent solution. If the power supply constantly fluctuates in your area or city, buying a good, large backup generator for your home or office would be best.

What are Emergency Generators Used For?

Emergency generators are used to power a home, RV, construction site, or warehouse for an undefined period while the usual power supply is interrupted. You should only use these generators in an emergency when you need power.

This is why generators made for emergencies will not run unendingly for days or weeks on end. Usually, we recommend only using the generator when needed, using it early mornings and late evenings when the most activity in the house occurs.

Many generators fail because people run them nonstop when they are not necessary, such as during the day or night when nobody uses power. It may seem not easy at first, but reading a book in the middle of the day and going to bed as the sun sets can help you save power when there is none.

Conclusion

Emergency generators can and will comfortably help you power your home when the usual supply of power has failed. Whether this is powerline failure in your city or maybe just a few rainy days, stop the solar array from recharging the batteries you use in your home.

Whatever you do, please don’t think that these generators can power up your welders!

Sources

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and an FHA 203k Consultant. I started PickGenerators.com to help people better understand whole-house and portable generators.

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