Portable vs. Standby Generators: Which is Right for Your Home?

Portable vs. Standby Generators: Which is Right for Your Home?

Category: Kohler Power

Date: November 2nd, 2022

With recent climatic changes and sometimes severe weather patterns, getting a backup generator is recommended. This will protect your family against common weather-related power outages. But you might wonder whether to go for a portable or a standby generator. Well, it all depends on several factors.

Difference Between Portable and Standby Generators

Portable and standby generators do the same task: to provide power, but the two types of generators differ in cost and functionality. A portable Kohler generator is run on gasoline and burns around 12 to 20 gallons daily.

Some manufacturers got more inventive, and you can find a portable generator run by other products like liquid propane, diesel fuel, and natural gas. But most consumers don’t have a chance to try them out since a few are on the market. And some clients are not interested because if they buy a portable generator using gas, they have to tag a gas cylinder everywhere. Seems tedious.

Portable generators can be a little noisier than standby generators, and you have to wheel them in and out of the storage. You need to connect them every time there’s a power outage and manually fire them up.

On the other hand, you can install a standby or a whole-house generator permanently in your home. You need a pro installer recommended by a Kohler generator dealer. The dealer must keep it in a waterproof place to keep it safe.

The main advantage of this stationary generator is that it kicks on automatically immediately when lights go off. That is also powerful, and they can power the entire home. These generators can be run on propane or natural gas, so running them full-time with a propane tank is easy.

However, they have a major drawback: they are costly. But these are the best generators for home backup power purposes. They outperform all other categories of generators on the market.

So, if your area has many power blackouts, you should consider standby generators from a reliable Kohler generator dealer.

Although most people go for portable generators because they are cheaper.

Let’s check out each generator with its pros and cons.


The Generator Features

Portable generators

  • Power output: 3000 – 8500 watts;
  • Price range: $400 – $1500;
  • Uses fuel: 12 – 20 gallons of gasoline daily.


These generators are cheaper to buy and install than whole-house generators. They are suitable for people with small homes because they can power them. You need to connect it to your circuit breaker, which will power your home. For easy connecting, they have inbuilt outlets where you connect with extension cords in case you don’t have a transfer switch.


You must wheel this portable generator around every time there’s a blackout and connect it to the switch. In case of prolonged power outages, you need to have a lot of gasoline in storage with fuel stabilization. They are noisier and have lower power output.

Home standby generators

  • Power output: 8000- 2000 watts;
  • Price range $2,000- $5,000;
  • Fuel: 13- 48 gallons of natural gas or liquid propane.


These generators are very effective and can power an entire home during a power outage. They are automatic and can run for more days without refueling. They are quieter compared to portable generators. Since they are installed in a covered place, they don’t need weather covers.


These standby generators are costly.


Safety Features When Using Portable Generators

Portable generators have been nicknamed silent killers because of carbon monoxide emissions at a high rate. A group of people may not be aware of the hazard caused by carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless, tasteless, and odorless, so killing someone may be very easy. Between 2005 – 2017 there were over 900 death cases caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. In all the mentioned cases, they were using portable generators, and 15400 people were hospitalized in emergency rooms because of the same gas.

To reduce silent deaths caused by carbon monoxide, some brand generators come with an inbuilt sensor that automatically shuts off. This goes off if there’s carbon monoxide build up to a dangerous level if stored in an enclosed place.

Some portable generators are designed with engines that emit lower carbon monoxide levels.

Although the generator may have a shut-off feature, you shouldn’t turn it on when indoors. You should also keep your portable generator 20 feet from your home and ensure the exhaust faces the opposite direction from your home, windows, AC, and doors.


Where to Place a Portable Generator in Case of a Storm

Most people use generators during power outages, mostly when there is a storm. How will you switch it on in the rain? Here are some tips on using the generator safely without getting it wet.

  • You can buy a canopy for your portable generator.
  • When you shop for a portable generator, always use the following terms, CO shield, CO sense, CO guard, CO detect, or CO protect. These marketing terms ensure the generator meets voluntary standards.
  • Keep it in your garage, then switch it on when and open the garage doors.


Are you confused about the generator you should get for your home? Before deciding which to buy, you should check your budget and what you want it for, then proceed and purchase the most suitable. If you don’t know where to start, ask help from a Kohler generator dealer for more details and clarification.

Remember never to switch on your portable generator when it’s still indoors, and keep it at least 20 feet away from your home.

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