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Kohler vs. Generac Generators: How their Portable & Home Standbys Stack Up

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 17, 2021 1:24:10 PM / by Jaron Henkel

When making your hurricane preparedness plan this year, you may be considering adding a generator to your list. 

But which brand should you choose? And is a portable generator or permanently installed home standby generator better for you?

Today, we’ll compare two of the most popular options: Kohler vs. Generac generators.

Comparison #1: Engine

Generac Generators:

  • Can run on either gasoline or LP fuel.


Kohler Generators:

  • Requires a conversion kit to run on other fuels aside from gasoline.
  • With the Tri-Fuel conversion kit, they can run on gasoline, LP, or propane.
  • Has been making engines for almost 40 years more than Generac, but both are quality choices.

Out Door Kohler

What they have in common:

Both manufacture portable and permanently installed home backup generators as well as their own custom engines, built to last and engineered to work well in a variety of environments.

Comparison #2: Warranty

Generac Generators:

  • Generac offers a 3-year warranty on its standalone generators and a 2-year warranty on its portable products. 
  • Parts, labor, and limited travel typically have a 1 or 2-year warranty, and parts only carry a 3-year warranty. 
  • For a 4 or 5-year warranty, only the USA and Canada are covered, and only for major parts components.

Kohler Generators:

  • Kohler offers a 2,000 hour or 5-year warranty on its standalone products, and a 3-year warranty on its portable models. 
  • The warranty on its gasoline pumps for portable products is 1 year or 2 years, depending on the specific pump, and 90 days if the pump is for professional/rental use.
  • The GEN series warranty is also 90 days when for rental or professional use, as opposed to 3 years for residential use.

What they have in common:

Both Kohler and Generac offer strong warranties on their generators, and that includes the standalone generators and the portable models, as well.

Comparison #3: Housing Enclosures

Generac Generators:

  • Generac offers one lower priced home backup generator with a powder-coated steel enclosure
  • Corrosion-resistant powder-coated aluminum enclosures are offered for the rest of their line.

Kohler Generators:

  • Kohler encloses some of their lower-priced home backup generator models with powder-coated aluminum or steel.
  • Their mid-range and up generators have a more corrosion-resistant composite enclosure.

What they have in common:

A generator is only as good as its housing— it protects the unit from the elements and keeps animals and children out. Fortunately, both generators offer quality housings. 

Comparison #4: Environmental Impact

Generac Generators:

  • Generac generators feature their special “G-Flex” technology, allowing the generator to work according to your energy demands, saving energy.
  • With Generac, the consideration from the company is more about whether they should be providing diesel or natural gas options, and which of those options are going to be the better choice for the environment and the customers. 
  • Generac is ready for that, so it can help protect the environment while still providing standby power.

Kohler Generators:

  • Kohler’s entry-level portable generator is CARB compliant, meaning it meets even California’s strict carbon emissions standards.
  • Kohler has addressed this issue in the past and understands the impact that larger, diesel generators have on the environment. 
  • However, the company is also aware that there are ways to mitigate the impact, by handling the installation and use of the generator correctly. 
  • Proper venting of exhaust gases, correct cooling to reduce heat transfer, and other factors are all important when having a Kohler generator installed.  

What they have in common:

As mentioned earlier, both Generac and Kohler have flexible fuel options, allowing you to use cleaner fuel choices like LP and natural gas.

Both Kohler and Generac have an environmental impact, and for those who are environmentally conscious, this is worth considering when deciding which one to buy. 

Diesel is typically more expensive to use over time than natural gas, and natural gas is also often easier on the environment.

Comparison #5: Noise Level

Generac Generators:

  • Generac’s mid-range home backup generator rings in at about 66dB, about as loud as a lawnmower running a few houses down, or about as loud as your air conditioner’s condenser.
  • Generac’s home backup generators also feature a quiet-test mode - a routine weekly test cycle that runs at ⅔ its normal operating RPM keeping the noise level very low during the test, to the sound level of an idling car. 

Kohler Generators:

  • While Kohler doesn’t provide decibel ratings on their generators, they do state that their mid-range model operates at a sound level similar to an air conditioner condenser.

What they have in common:

Both Generac and Kohler generators have a reputation for being quiet. 

The portable models tend to be a bit louder than their standalone, permanently installed relatives, around 73-75 dB— roughly as loud as a garbage disposal or kitchen blender. 

Home backup generators tend to be significantly quieter as a whole.

Made a Decision About Your Generator? Let Us Help!

Both Kohler and Generac offer well-built, high-quality generators that will provide your family with peace of mind when the power fails. 

Let Southwest FL Electric help you choose the model that is right for your home and needs. Contact us today!

generator installation

Topics: Home Generators, Standby Generators, fort myers electrician, Generac, Kohler, How Do Generators Work, Generator Size

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