Assessing the Difference Between Standby Generators and Portable Generators

Portable Generators vs. Standby Generators
November 14, 2018

Here are the key factors that set them apart.

When it comes time to research generator options, a person may start out by believing that standby and portable generators are basically the same thing. A few dozen hours of research later… and it becomes clear that that isn’t the case.

So then, what differences can you expect when you compare standby generators with portable generators? Let’s take a look.

Capacity

A standby generator has enough fuel capacity to see you through a longer power outage or emergency without needing to fill it up. A portable generator, on the other hand, has a smaller capacity and requires filling every few hours. Many find that they’ll have a lot more peace of mind with the standby generator, and are generally more hands-off with it.

User-Friendliness

A standby generator comes on automatically when the power goes out and can be connected to your existing electrical system. The switchover is seamless, and you won’t have to to plug appliances into anything special.

With a portable generator, however, it must be set up in the middle of an emergency or frustrating power outage. Then you need to make sure that you’re using the right extension cables to connect your appliances to the generator. Needless to say, this isn’t the best use of a person’s time when they’re trying to figure out the logistics for an emergency.

Safety Measures

If you're in a rush and position a portable generator too close to your property, you could end up getting CO2 poisoning or bringing it too close to something flammable. You always need to maintain proper ventilation to avoid a potential tragedy. With a standby generator, you just need to keep the immediate surroundings clear of flammable objects. It's already positioned in such a way that you won’t need to worry about fumes making their way inside.

Durability

Standby generators are built to last for a long time, and wear and tear are kept to a minimum due to the way the components are enclosed within the device.

Operating Conditions

A standby generator is designed to operate under pretty much any weather condition possible. Since its enclosed in an outdoor enclosure and set on a cement pad in the yard, the standby generator can function in extreme weather conditions such as hail and ice storms. A portable generator, however, can't be operated in wet conditions, and other weather patterns may cause problems as well.

Noise

Local ordinances don't change regardless of whether you have electricity or not. You shouldn’t have any problems with the sound level when it comes to your standby generator. Portable generators are much louder and may cause complaints if you need to keep it running for long. You might not think that it's all that loud at first, especially if you test it when the power is still up. Consider how quiet it gets in a neighborhood when you don't have the television on or the computers running. A moderately loud generator could end up sounding quite annoying in the changed environment.

A standby generator comes out on top compared to a portable generator – and it's the smarter choice of many to keep residents, workers and investments safe and sound during emergencies.

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