When a residential or even commercial customer is considering a generator, there are two choices: standby generator or portable.
Looking at the inventory of standby generators, you will see that they go from one extreme to the other as far as size and capacity goes. There are small units that don’t run much, but there are larger units that can run all of the essentials in entire homes.
When looking at the prices of these standby units versus the portable ones, it seems the portable generators are the winners. However, there are other costs that you need to consider so that you can see where the value truly lies.
The Differences Between Standby Generators And Portables
Standby generators are permanently installed, whereas portable generators aren’t. In other words, a portable generator sits in the shed or garage until you need it. The permanent standby generator stays in place at all times, automatically kicking on when utility power goes out. This means that you don’t have to worry about manually connecting the generator and starting it up every time the power goes out.
You also have to look at the fact that some portable generators are not meant for use in the rain when, at times, storms that pack heavy rain are the reasons why the power goes out. You don’t want to wait until after the storm is over to restore power to at least some of the essential items within the home.
There is also the installation. While the installation of a standby generator is involved, it is permanent. A portable generator is not permanent, which means having to connect it yourself every time the power goes out.
Another difference is the fuel source. You will have to manually refuel a portable generator, whereas a standby generator can be connected to your natural gas or propane line so that it can receive a constant supply of fuel.
The cost difference can come down to a few hundred dollars, depending on what your specific needs are. If you have a portable generator with a good manual transfer switch, it is going to cost you less, but it isn’t able to hook itself up and automatically start when the power goes out during a rain or ice storm.
While a standby generator costs more out of the box, the long-term savings can become evident in the way of not having to make trips for fuel to manually refuel, not having to deal with fixing burst pipes after they’ve frozen, you can keep your sump pump running when the basement tries to flood, and much more.