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The Differences: Portable vs. Standby Generator

Trying to find the right backup power solution for you? Generators can be a great way to have automatic backup power during power loss, especially as severe weather and America’s aging infrastructure make power outages more frequent. If power loss is affecting you, it might be time to consider buying a generator.

When you’re choosing a generator, there are two main generator types: a portable generator or a home standby generator. Explore the difference between portable and standby to choose the best backup power solution for your needs.

All About Portable Generators

Portable generators are the most common kind of backup power solution. Versatile and easily moved, a portable generator can be used in multiple locations for several purposes, from tailgates to camping and combating power outages. Portable generators are gas powered and can run up to eight hours on one tank of gas, model and load dependent. Take a look at these safety tips to understand how to safely operate a portable generator.

Additional information to consider when looking at portable generators is they only output enough power to keep some major appliances running. A transfer switch is required to run indoor appliances*. It also needs to be set up manually for each use. 

Benefits of a Standby Generator

A home generator is a permanent backup power solution installed by a licensed electrician or contractor. With the right size generator, you can manage-power to your whole house, including central air conditioners, refrigerators, sump pumps, and many other appliances. Unlike portable generators, GE standby generators automatically detect the loss of utility power. Featuring the smart and innovative Symphony® II power management system, which allows you to manage and prioritize the use of up to 8 high wattage appliances, while keeping your essential, such as your lights, powered. This power management system is proven patented technology on GE Standby Generators. When the power goes out, your GE generator’s system moves your home onto backup power. 

*Per NEC and UL electric cord markings you are warned against running cords into the home through doors, windows, ceilings, or other openings. Electric cords running into a home present both a fire risk and an electrocution hazard. Last openings into the home also present a CO hazard to those in the home.

Steps to Standby

  1. Backup Power 101
  2. Standby Basics
  3. Buying Guide
  4. Shop Standby Generators
  5. Where to Buy
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