Last Updated on
Top Overall Pick
Do you live somewhere where regular stormy weather leaves you in the dark, stumbling through the house with your flashlight or candle?
Well, if tropical storms are your norm, consider picking up the best whole-house generator to keep you safe and comfortable when the power goes down.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll highlight two types of whole-house generator solutions: Powerful portable generators and standby generators.
Even the smaller generators in our curated list kick out enough power to keep your essential electricals running when it counts.
Our Favorite Whole House Generators on the Market 
10 Best Whole House Generators - Reviews
1. Generac 7043 Whole House Generator - Best Overall Pick
The Generac 7043 is one of the larger air-cooled generators on the market. The 22,000 watts of starting power and 19,000 watts of running power give you a powerful ally when the electricity goes down.
The 7043 is strong enough to cope even with extremely hostile conditions. Many users have reported that the generator stood up well to hurricanes.
WiFi-enabled, you can monitor this unit from a distance using a smartphone app. You also can schedule maintenance via the app, as it gives you welcomed remote control.
The True Power tech in this generator allows you to use even sensitive electronic devices with minimal interference or distortion.
2. A-iPower SUA12000E Whole House Generator - Best for the Money
While most inexpensive whole-house generators are rather useless, the A-iPower is an exception to the rule. Although it’s at the lower end in terms of power, this unit will still keep your basic electrical appliances running in a small house if the power gets zapped.
Portable and on wheels, what you lose in capacity, you gain in maneuverability.
You can keep this generator running for nine hours or so at a 50-percent load before you need to top off the tank. Many users claim runtimes that far exceeding that, but nine hours is a safe bet.
If you need an emergency generator and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, the A-iPower is the best generator for the money.
3. Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS Whole House Generator - Premium Choice
This rugged standby generator packs 20,000W of power, so you can keep everything you need running, even in a relatively large home.
If the power goes out, the Kohler should have it back in action within 10 seconds, according to the load. Not only do you get more than enough grunt for the whole house, but harmonic distortion is so low that you can easily run all your sensitive devices – from laptops to HD smart televisions and CPAP machines.
A 200-amp automatic transfer switch comes included, and you also can monitor this generator online and opt-in for text alerts.
For people looking for smooth power delivery with higher loads in a unit that runs relatively quietly, the Kohler 20RESCL-200SELS is our premium pick for the best whole-house generator.
4. Generac 7178 Whole House Generator
The 7178 is another Generac Guardian Series model, this time packing 16,000W of power.
WiFi-enabled, you can take charge of this generator from a distance. Smartphone access that uses a free app is a bonus with this line of generators.
As long as you have some idea what you’re doing, installation isn’t too tough. We say this because the instructions are less than comprehensive, so experience and intuition must step in to help. If you’re not too technically inclined, you might want to call for assistance.
Aside from the need for pretty rigorous maintenance, there’s little else to knock about this powerful, whole-house generator.
5. Briggs & Stratton 40346 Whole House Generator
If you have a mid- or large-sized home, you need a generator that has enough power to keep you safe, comfortable, and entertained when the lights go out. This 20,000W beast is the whole-house generator for the job.
As you’d expect from a unit this size, you can expect a bit of noise in operation. But installation is seamless, except that you might want to call an electrician to hook it up to 240V.
The remote control is a nice touch and completes a smart package if you’re looking for an all-in whole-house generator built to last.
6. Generac 7175 Whole House Generator
This standby generator from Generac comes with s smart switch, so you’ll enjoy robust whole-house protection if the power dies.
The proprietary G-Force engine kicks out plenty of power without calling for much in the way of TLC. You’ll enjoy consistent, smooth power delivery with minimal maintenance.
As well as being a first-class generator, buyers benefit from terrific customer service if they run into any snags. Plus, all Generac generators are built and engineered in the U.S. Throw in its class-leading guarantee, and you’ve got a winning package.
7. Generac 5734 GP15000E Whole House Generator
The Generac 5734 GP1000E proves that you don’t need a huge generator to pack a serious punch on the power front. One of the larger portable generators, its 15,000W of running power is more than enough for a whole-house electrical backup.
The cavernous fuel tank lends itself to an exceptional runtime of ten hours or more. Fuel capacity is a tremendous 16 gallons, so you won’t have to top off the tank constantly.
As with all Generac products, be aware that the manufacturer has a reputation for poor customer care. When all is going well, you’ll be delighted you invested in a Generac. But if anything goes wrong, there’s a chance you’ll need to hire repairs or maintenance from a third party.
Overall, however, the 5734 is a versatile and potent portable generator, ideal for backup power at home.
8. Westinghouse WPro8500 Whole House Generator
The Westinghouse WPro8500 is another stellar portable generator that produces enough power for the whole house in the event of an outage. While many resources suggest that standby generators are your only option, that’s not the case.
The 8,500W of continuous power from this powerhouse gives you enough grunt to keep the appliances going in a medium-sized house throughout a lengthy storm. If you live somewhere with a volatile climate, this can get you prepared for the next hit.
The Westinghouse can run for an exceptional 17 hours or more on a single tank of fuel. This is truly impressive.
With a neat remote control and powerhouse performance at a reasonable price-point, this is another excellent candidate for the best whole-house generator.
9. Generac 7172 Whole House Generator
Next on the list in our whole-house generator reviews is the 7172, another classic Generac Guardian Series model that packs a reasonable punch.
Best used in smaller homes, the 7172 is rated at 10,000W and comes with a transfer switch for whole-house protection.
As with all the Guardian Series generators, you get the convenience of taking charge from afar, thanks to its handy smartphone app.
All you need to do is connect this highly capable generator to your gas or LP supply, and you're safeguarded in any kind of power outage.
10. Duromax XP10000E Whole House Generator
The Duromax is another powerful portable generator. If you’re resistant to the hassle and expense of installing a bulky standby unit, this is the perfect compromise.
The 16HP engine can run for nine or ten hours – depending on the load – before you have to fill the 9-gallon tank. If oil levels get low, its auto shut-off reduces the chance of any damage.
Unlike larger standby models, maintenance is minimal with the Duromax. Installation, however, is not quite so simple, and the instructions are so lacking as to make things tough. You might consider calling in a professional to sidestep this aggravation.
CARB-compliant and approved for use throughout the United States, the Duromax XP10000E is a strong contender for the best whole-house generator.
Final Verdict: Our Overall Winner
Our overall pick for the best whole-house generator is the Generac 7043
Rated at 22,000W, having this powerhouse weapon in your armory will restore your power within seconds of an outage.
A transfer switch comes included, and you have online remote access.
For smooth power delivery with virtually no harmonic distortion, the Generac delivers across the board. If you choose this generator, you’ll never be caught without power during a storm again.
Buyer’s Guide: Which Whole-House Generator Suits Your Needs?
Before we launch into our whole-house generator reviews, let’s walk through a few things to simplify your buying decision.
Focus on these characteristics before rushing out to buy:
- Powerful Portable or Standby Whole-House Generator?
- Fuel: What’s It To Be?
- Location and Installation
- The Noise Factor
- Harmonic Distortion
- Size Matters
Powerful Portable or Standby Whole-House Generator?
If you want backup power for your entire house, you have two primary choices:
- Portable generator
- Standby generator
There’s no right or wrong answer here, simply what makes the best whole-house generator for you. That’s all that counts.
Portable generators obviously give you the flexibility to move them around with relative ease. They typically are cheaper and require less maintenance, too. Hook it up if the power goes down, and you’re good to go.
Standby generators, by contrast, are costly and usually require professional installation. Calling in a certified electrician can bump up the price substantially. You’ll also need to look into what permits your local town planning regulations require.
Factor in routine maintenance, too, if you opt for a standby generator, so you know what you’re getting yourself into. California residents also must ensure that their generators are CARB-compliant.
Note: DO NOT hook up a portable generator to your house without using a transfer switch.
Portable generators rated at 7000W can run most essential appliances. And a portable generator rated at 10,000W or more typically can power all your major devices – as long as you don’t go crazy.
Once you step up to 17,000W and above, you should have everything in the house running smoothly.
You should think carefully about which type of generator makes sense for you. Many people incorrectly assume that portable generators are not capable of providing a whole-house solution. This is simply not the case.
If you’re unsure, air on the side of caution and opt for a portable model with a higher power rating.
Fuel: What's It to Be?
Generators are fueled by one of the following:
- Natural gas
- Liquid propane
- Duel-fuel systems
Diesel is the fuel of choice for many appliances and a range of backup power applications. And its high thermal efficiency makes diesel cheaper to use per kW.
Diesel-fueled standby generators are reliable in the extreme, so hospitals and emergency representatives often use them.
Today, natural gas is a much safer, more reliable option than it used to be.
A generator running on natural gas operates just like one fueled with gasoline. You’ll get an internal-combustion engine that pushes a mixture of air and fuel into the combustion chamber, where a piston compresses the mixture.
A natural-gas generator can burn gaseous fuels rather than the liquid ones used for gas and diesel generators.
LP (liquid propane) is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used for heating appliances and cooking equipment, along with some vehicles.
Backup power generators can make use of LP vapor or liquid, though vapor generally is the preferred option. You also can store LP without spoiling, which is ideal in a system designed for emergencies.
Dual-fuel systems can use either natural gas or LP, depending on availability.
A bi-fuel system will burn natural gas and diesel simultaneously, at a ratio of 75 percent natural gas to 25 percent diesel fuel.
Location and Installation
Think long and hard about these two elements before settling on a shortlist for your best whole-house generator: Location and installation.
If you’re looking for a whole-house generator, you’ll want to place it somewhere that’s easy to access. Repairs and maintenance are awkward enough already, so don’t make it harder on yourself. Also, keep your generator a safe distance away from any water.
If you’re installing your generator on the roof or anywhere else outdoors, be sure you check local code requirements, so you keep things inside the law.
If you opt for indoor installation, think about:
- Fuel supply
- Exhaust ducting
- Any nearby combustible materials
Place the generator as close as you can to the transfer switch and fuel supply, but away from potential dangers.
A licensed plumber or qualified electrician generally are best-suited to install your whole-house generator. If you're utterly confident carrying out this sort of work yourself, feel free to go the DIY route. But be certain you know what you’re doing and call in a professional if you get stuck.
Think in advance of your purchase about how you plan to get your generator installed, so you can factor the expense into your budget.
The Noise Factor
While you might imagine that a whole-house generator would be noisier than a portable model, that’s typically not the case. Standby generators tend to be better insulated and more efficient.
Watch out for the decibel ratings that the manufacturer quotes. These often are measured at a distance of 25 feet. Up close, these things can get a little noisy.
The energy that whole-home generators kick out is not the same as you get from the grid.
When generators produce electricity, the harmonic distortion can adversely affect some sensitive devices, including laptops. In the worst-case scenario, it can damage the devices.
Look for a generator with a low harmonic-distortion rating – of 5 percent or less – if you plan to run that type of equipment.
This part is simple.
Make a list of the items and appliances you would want to be powered in the event of an electrical outage and add up the wattage ratings they require. If the device is rated only in amps, multiply this number by 120 to get the wattage.
Add a safety buffer of 10 percent to 15 percent, and you’ll have a clear idea of what size generator you need.
If you take all of these aforementioned factors into consideration, you’ll have an easier time knowing which type of generator makes the most sense for your specific needs.
Now, we’re ready to move on to our whole-house generator reviews, so you can get prepared for the next time a lightning storm or hurricane whistles through town.