What Type of Generator or Backup Power Supply Do You Need?

When it comes to generator shopping, it can be hard to know where to start. A long list of terms get tossed around, many of which overlap and can unintentionally confuse— electric generators, gas generators, standby generators, automatic power generators, back-up generators, etc.

Some are designed for partial-home coverage, while others are for powering your full-home. Let’s not forget generators made specifically for commercial vs. residential use. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types of generators to help you find the best power source for your needs this upcoming hurricane season.

Gas-Powered Portable Generators

Gas-powered portable generators are intended to be placed outside a home or small business in the event of a power outage and are often placed on wheels for ease of transportation. These units don’t require special installation, they can be stored away in a garage or shed storage area and rolled out as needed.

These are a great, economical choice if you are looking to power just a handful of things, have a space to store the unit when not in use, and don’t mind keeping some gas and a few extension cords on hand. Whether this means powering part of your home during a few-hour outage or keeping a few essential business devices connected come lights out, these smaller generators can come in handy for short-term power in a pinch.

Automatic Backup/Standby Generators

Emergency automatic backup generators (also called standby generators) are permanently installed units that sit outside the home, much like an air conditioner. Running off of a liquid propane gas tank or your natural gas service line, these exterior generators will switch on within seconds of an outage and power your home for the duration of the outage.

Depending on the wattage you get, a backup generator could be labeled as either a partial or a whole-home generator. Different models are available to meet any of your power needs— whether you want to keep your home running as if nothing happened, complete with air conditioning, or you just want to keep the food cold, a few lights on and a microwave ready to heat dinner. 

Emergency automatic backup generators are the right choice if you want hassle-free peace of mind, with no extension cords necessary. Curious as to how long a generator can power your home? See which factors influence runtime.

Emergency Backup Batteries

Emergency backup batteries provide ready power for emergencies via a battery system that can be installed inside the home. You may already have a small-scale version of this in your home or office near your computer, that offers a few minutes of power for you to save documents and shutdown systems in the event of a power outage.

While technically not generators, backup batteries act much like an automatic backup generator, providing power automatically when an outage occurs. Battery backups are available in a wide range of outputs, from keeping the bare necessities powered like the refrigerator, a few lights to keeping the whole home running. 

A battery backup might be the right choice for you if you don’t want to store gasoline or LP gas on your property, you don’t have natural gas service to your home, or you are looking for an automatic, low maintenance, hassle-free solution. These types of units can also be connected to and run off a solar energy system, making them an appealing option for energy-conscious home or business owners.

Commercial Generators

Generally speaking, the options up until this point are designed for residential use. While some smaller to mid-sized businesses and storefronts can certainly get away with a residential model, sometimes you need a little extra juice for large-scale establishments with high-voltage electrical needs.

Commercial generators can handle the power needs for your business. Much like a home automatic backup generator, commercial generators switch into action when the power goes out, keeping your business up and running without interruption. If you are a business owner, a commercial-grade generator is a smart idea to consider.

Start Comparing Generator Options

Now that you’ve learned a little about what kind of generator you may need for your home or business, it’s time to start looking for the right brand. 

If you’re a homeowner, check out our helpful generator comparison guide, where we compare residentially-rated Generac vs. Kohler vs. Briggs & Stratton generators.  While you’re at it, download our free resource, The Battle of the Home Generator Guide, which compares three popular wattages of the top three generator suppliers to help you choose the right model for your Florida home.

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If you’re a business owner, reach out to us directly for the best commercial generator for your SWFL business. We’d be happy to help you estimate your wattage capacity and get you a more powerful power source to keep you up and running all hurricane season. Give us a call at 239-935-5892, today.