Portable or Standby Generator?

GeneratorA standby generator is permanently connected to your home or office and as the name suggests is permanently on standby ready to kick in should your mains electricity supply falter. They tend to be larger than their portable cousins and are very often permanently fixed and have their own housing.

A portable home generator is just that, “portable.” It is designed to be relatively easily moved and consequently can be transported by the tradesman as he moves from work site to work site.

The decision as to whether to go for a standby generator or a portable will hopefully be assisted by the following:


Home Standby Generator


  • Home standby generators are usually larger and more powerful than the portable versions.
  • They are normally fuelled by natural gas or propane.
  • They are connected directly to your home electrical system.
  • An automatic transfer switch is usually recommended – it will switch the unit on when the power goes out, and then off when the power goes back on.
  • A standby generator produces lots of sound, so noise reduction technology is essential for home use.

Please consider that all of the points above mean your overall expenditure will be greater than just the cost of the generator itself. Also, ensure the people you employ to install your generator are properly qualified to do so.


Portable Generator


Portable generators are designed to provide emergency cover for your home or workplace over a shorter period of time or power in a remote area.

Portable generators tend to be smaller, less powerful and less expensive than their standby counterparts. Note, unlike the standby machines you will have to start the portable generator yourself (most likely with a pull-cord) although some have battery powered ignition. Portable generators typically have a built-in fuel tank and power outlets that accommodate household extension cords.

  • Check to ensure your “portable” generator includes the wheels and handle you need to move it around.
  • Also, does the generator have sufficient power outlets to meet your need?


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