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Standby Generators vs. Portable: Which One Is Right For My Home?

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

We are quickly approaching the time of year when storms and winds become a regular occurrence. They’re unavoidable, yes, but many people have made the decision to adopt and invest in an alternative source of power in their home — a generator. A generator is a device that turns mechanical energy into electrical energy for use. There are two main types— a standby generator, which is a permanent installation adjacent to your home, and a portable generator, which is able to be stored and moved with ease. Which type is the best for your home? Let’s take a look at the differences here.

Start-Up the Generator

The power just went out in your home. What’s next? With a standby, electricity returns to your home within a few seconds. A standby automatically restores electricity when it goes out. With a portable, the entire process will be manual — retrieving the unit, refueling it, starting it up, and plugging in whatever you wanted to energize.

Fuel Supply

When it’s installed, your standby generator is connected to your gas line. This means that you will never have to refuel it because it runs off your home’s natural or LP gas supply. A portable requires gas as well, but also requires you to keep the extra gas around. Since generators are typically only used in emergencies, it’s also a good idea to keep extra fresh gas around for a portable generator, as fuel degrades and could cause you to have start-up issues. This is not a problem with standby generators, as they have a constant fresh-fuel supply line.

Power & Ability

Standby generators have the ability to provide high-quality, uninterrupted power to your entire house, or only to designated circuits, your choice. With a portable, your choice of circuits narrows considerably.


Standby generators are of course, considerably more expensive than portable generators. This is because installation requires gas-supply checks, permits, plumbing, electricians, and sometimes leveling. Standby generators are also a home investment.


If installed correctly, Standby generators are 100% safe. Portables, on the other hand, were not built for indoor use as they produce more carbon dioxide than an idling car. In fact, over 500 deaths between 2005 and 2010 were attributed to the indoor use of portable generators. A recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology declared that, “Regardless of housing type or location, generators that release as little as 27 grams of CO per hour continuously for 18 hours cause 80 percent of the modeled cases to result in an exposure predicted to reach dangerous levels.” For reference, most portable generators release an average of 500 to 4,000 grams of CO per hour. In other words, if you’re going to use a portable generator for your home, don’t keep it inside! Find somewhere with plenty of ventilation.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for peace of mind for either short or prolonged outages and an automatic transfer of power, a standby generator best offers that security to you and your family. If you think that you can’t afford to have one installed, think again. You can power only the essential circuits or your entire house, with choices available to fit every budget.

Have You Made Your Decision?

If you decided on one for your home, we’d like to help. State Generators not only delivers and installs but covers every step along the way. Find out more about our comprehensive process here then click here to set up an appointment!


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