A Brief Guide to Our Favorite Backup Generators

Loss of power is one of the most common scenarios in disaster situations. Whether you’re dealing with a severe storm, cyber-attack on the power grid or other foreign or domestic attack, you can almost guarantee the power will go out at some point. When that time comes, what will you do? How will you keep your refrigerated or frozen foods from spoiling within a few hours? How will you keep the lights on in your home? A good generator can help alleviate many of the discomforts and dangers associated with a prolonged power outage. Here’s a brief guide to some of our top picks.

Gas-Powered Generators

Gas-powered generators are only good if you have gas on hand to power them. But they’re very good at providing sufficient power to keep large appliances (such as critical medical gear and refrigerators) functioning when the power goes out. Portable gasoline or propane-powered generators are fairly inexpensive and some can crank out serious wattage. Some great options include:

  • Honda EU2200i Gasoline Powered Inverter Generator: This generator has 2200 Watts, which is enough to keep the essentials (such as a refrigerator and a few other devices) running in the average-sized home. It’s also pretty quiet and has a run time between 4-9 hours.
  • Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator: If you’re looking for a little more power, this 9500-Watt generator will meet your needs. It has a 12-hour run time and can be powered by either gasoline or propane.
  • DuroMax XP12000EH Generator: For even more wattage, the DuroMax XP12000EH generator is a good choice. It is not the most affordable option, but you may find that the extra sticker price is worth the increased power of the 457cc OHV engine. This generator also takes gas or propane.

When it comes to storing fuel, propane tanks are generally safer to store than gasoline. Always store with the valve closed in approved containers. Keep in mind that a full propane tank is safer than an empty one, since empty propane tanks are more likely to contain explosive vapors.

Solar-Powered Generators

Solar-powered generators can be great life-saving devices in emergencies. They don’t require you to store fuel, and they operate cleanly and quietly. But they do have their drawbacks. Notably, you need to have sunlight to get power from a solar-powered generator.

They also have slow recharging times and higher up-front costs. They do make great backup power supplies though, in case you run out of fuel for your gas-powered generators. Here are some of our top solar-powered generator picks.

  • Goal Zero Yeti Lithium Portable Power Station: This generator comes in various models, including the 3024Wh model and the 428Wh model. The 3024Wh model is more expensive but it also has more power capacity than the 428Wh model. It provides more than 3000Wh of battery capacity. All models have two AC outlets, two 12V output ports, and three 2.4A USB ports.
  • Humless GO Mini Portable Solar Generator and Panel Kit: This kit comes with two 130-Watt solar panels (foldable), a plug-and-play connecting cable, and the Go Mini generator with 640 Watts of power. This silent system is great for powering small items but won’t power your refrigerator or other large appliances.
  • Suaoki 400Wh/120,000mAh Portable Solar Generator: This high-power unit can be charged from various sources, including AC outlets, solar panels and 12V/24V vehicle-based power sockets. It’s a great choice if you need a solar-powered generator to serve you on the road or at home.

These are some of our top picks, but we want to know which options are your favorite. Have you used a generator in an emergency? If so, what type was it and how did it perform? Let us know in the comments section below!