Portable Generators vs Standby Generators, Deciding What’s Better

whats the best generator

Diesel generators are great for supplying power during blackouts, and in some cases brownouts, as well. However, with the increasing floods and natural calamities power cuts are becoming more frequent. For this reason, more and more families are considering a backup option.

Perhaps, the availability of several options in the market poses another problem for the buyers. Although the primary function of a generator is to produce electricity, the buyers face a dilemma choosing whether to buy a portable one or a standby generator.

If you’re also struggling between these two options then this article is, indeed, meant for you. Here you’ll find all the information to help you choose the right fit for your needs.

The Basics

Besides producing electricity, nothing between the two types is common. Learning the basics of these two types of generators can perhaps help identify which one can help meet your needs better.

As the name suggests, portable generators can be easily transported from one place to another. On the other hand, a standby generator does not allow mobility. It means you cannot carry it anywhere if the need comes.


  • Power Load


Evidently, offering portability means the generators need to be smaller in size. It also means that the loading capacity of the generator would also be smaller. Considering the elementary physics, the electricity produced depends upon the speed of the alternator, the power of the magnets and the conductivity of the coils. Because of the smaller size, neither huge magnets nor a high-speed motor can be fit into a portable generator. On the contrary, a standby generator provides much greater power.

Depending upon the load that you need to power, you can either choose a portable generator or a standby one. You can perhaps search for a generator manufacturer and click for more info on their website about the loading capacity. Usually, portable generators are pretty good for small houses, whereas a standby generator can power a bungalow or a mansion.


  • Frequency of Blackouts


Besides the loading capacity, the area you live in also plays an important role in your choice. For instance, if your locality experiences too frequent blackouts, then you’d need a generator that can be operated for longer hours.

Longer operating hours means that the engine, as well as the generator, will also bear a lot of heat. To keep it running efficiently, you’ll need to have a cooling system for the generator. Now, it is worthy of note that portable generators are usually air-cooled. In other words, a portable generator might not be as efficient for longer durations as a standby one would be.


  • Versatility


Another basic feature of a portable generator is that it can be carried to any location and be used to power several types of equipment. Some generators also feature sync features, which allow multiple generators to be paired and used simultaneously. For instance, you can use a portable generator at a campsite, or for powering a small get-together in your backyard. Whereas, a standby generator, since it is fixed at one location, cannot help you with these situations.

In other words, you should consider how versatile you wish your generator to be. If you intend to use it for multiple purposes, then you should surely go for a portable one. On the contrary, if you intend to use it for a particular purpose, say to power your mansion or your manufacturing plant, then a standby generator would be the best option.

Considering The Location

The basic features of the generator can help you get a broader perspective about which one might be better. But, apart from these basic features some contemporary ones such as the location where you are to use it, can also make a difference to your purchase decision.

Consider if you are to buy a generator for your company. Surely, a portable one might not fit in, since the power load will be much higher. On the other hand, your local authorities may not permit you to use a large power standby generator either because of environmental issues or because of health issues. Regardless of the situation, you must understand that there are still options that can resolve these issues. For instance, modern generators are fuel-efficient, less noisy, and are manufactured keeping in mind the latest emission norms. So, it is best to enquire about your local compliance before making any purchase.

The Availability Of Diesel

The last thing you’d want to be standing in between your emergency backup and buying decision is the availability of the fuel. Unlike other fuel alternatives such as gasoline and natural gas, diesel fuel is easily available. However, there can still be some limiting factors such as the storage of the fuel.

For instance, if a refuelling station is too far away from your location, you may have to carry the diesel barrels all the way from the station to your home/office. Apart from the distance, there are many other factors which can urge you to store the fuel. If you have a portable generator, then you may not need to store that much fuel, since these pieces of equipment are pretty fuel-efficient. On the other hand, if you have a standby generator, then you should probably have to store fuel to last you at least a week, in the backup. The weather conditions, the fuel tank on the generator, and the hours that you operate it for, all make a difference to the availability of the fuel.

Portable generators are great for emergencies, whereas standby generators can last long. The intended use, the availability of fuel, and also the maintenance of the generators make a great impact on your purchase decision. Most importantly, these factors affect your budget. A portable generator may be limited on features, whereas the standby generator is fully loaded. It also means that standby generators are surely costlier than the portable ones.

In the end, whether you choose a portable generator or a standby one will depend on the budget you prepare.

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