A casual trip to see available residential generators can leave you confused because there are so many sizes, brands, colors and models that you will be unable to pick one generator. Avoid this "analysis-paralysis" by using the following information to help you select the best backup generator for your home.


Many laypeople wish for a simple way to understand 'electrical language'. This will also come to the fore when you are shopping for a generator. The easiest way to pick a generator (based on its rating in watts) is to examine each of the electrical appliances in your home. Try to total up the wattage of each appliance (such as the TV, computer, light bulbs and microwave oven). That rating is printed on each device so check carefully for it. That total you get will give you an idea of how many watts the generator needs to supply if all those appliances are being used at the same time. You can buy a generator whose wattage rating is equal to, or slightly higher than the total you got when you added up the watt rating of your appliances at home.


You may need to move your generator from one location in your home to another. For instance, you may wish to move it from the garage to the basement when you are using the basement as a temporary office. It would be a good idea for you to select a generator that has a transport trailer or comes equipped with wheels for easy transportation.

Type and Amount of Fuel

What type of fuel can you easily access in case of a power outage? You can choose between petrol, propane, diesel or natural gas. Consider the capacity of the tank after you have decided on a kind of fuel. Ask an electrician to tell you how long a particular generator can run on a full tank of fuel. You can choose a generator whose tank capacity matches your requirements (as explained by the electrician).

Sound Emission

No homeowner wishes to buy a generator that makes his/her home sound like a busy quarry. However, you may end up with a very noisy generator if you are not careful about the noise levels of the generators you express interest in. Select a generator that is soundproofed or highly muted. Ask the supplier to let you test it at home, if possible.

Ask an electrician to advise you on how to connect your electrical appliances to the generator so that you do not make a mistake that costs you an expensive piece of equipment.