Brand of Generator for Home Use

suebotJune 13, 2011

We just got our power back after 59 hours. We loose power about twice a month and have decided to get a portable generator but heard Generac's are basically junk. Unfortunately a Honda is not within our budget but any suggestions might help.



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We did the research when building 4 years ago and ended up with Generac. It has never failed us. We live an area with frequent power failures and pretty much everyone in the neighborhood has a stand-by generator, and most are Generac. If you are uncomfortable with Generac, look into Kohler, although I remember it was more expensive. Having a stand-by generator is like buying insurance, you may resent what you pay for it, but are glad when you have it in an emergency.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 8:13AM
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Been using a Generac generator with a 10HP Tecumseh engine for about 6 years and have never had any problem with it. Bought it at one of the big box stores. However the longest we've ever had to run it due to a power outage was about five hours.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 1:58AM
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Thank you both for your sound advice. We purchased a Troy-Built w/a Briggs & Stratton engine from Lowe's. Our electrician will be installing a panel and all that goes along w/a correct installation. It turns out to be more costly than the generator itself. As I was thinking we are not purchasing a generator than will be running every single day so to invest thousands of dollars doesn't make sense in our situation. I just feel so much better knowing we now have an alternate source of power.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 7:19AM
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Look at the website for NorthernTool. They have "house brand" generators, but they use Honda engines. Ours is a 5500w and has never let us down. Powers the well pump, fridge, TV, computer, furnace circulator pump (gas furnace), microwave, computer -- you know, all the necessities!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 3:35PM
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What fuel are you planning on using for the generator?

For more than a few hours the natural gas units are great (if you have natural gas already).

59 hours is going to take some fuel.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 12:28PM
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From all the research I have done, all, that's all, generators are coming out of China; B&S, who owns Generac, has a major plant over there. Having said that, most generator repair sites I've noticed are geared to these two brands; I would see if they also sell them.....gets you the in with service. That dealer would probably come pick yours up if it should need service, even a charge would beat trying to load one on a truck, etc. I have to agree, it is a long ways between the price of a B&S and the Honda 6500. This is a voice of experience....dah, I bought one of the Chink ones (ETQ) and it lasted about 18 months!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:57PM
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It's not true that all generators are made in China. These days, a high proportion of things are, but it IS possible to find some that are made better, of better materials, in the US. Of course you're going to pay for that. DH just found a place near us the other week that had a lot of really nicely made (US) generators, snow blowers, etc. They were much more expensive, though, than the ones you'll find at Lowe's, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, etc.

Generacs, from what I've seen have a decent name. We have a small Honda and I can vouch for the fact that it's amazing--quiet and very hardworking.

Be sure, when you look, that you get one that has a high enough 'starting' wattage. It's really important to understand the difference between starting and running, and to know what you'll need in your home. It doesn't pay to get one that's too small to do what you'll need

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 8:32AM
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All Chinese made stuff is not necessarily created equal, either. Factories over there build stuff to spec, whether it's a cheap spec or an expensive one. Wherever it's built, if it's cheap, it's cheap.

I'm not defending Chinese plastic crap, Lord knows there's too much of it, just saying that you get what you pay for regardless of where it's made.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:20AM
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I would also consider getting a used Honda...

In 1989 I bought two portable Honda's to supply power on jobsites. Those two have been in almost daily service ever since and neither one has given us any problem, aside from replacing a couple burned out mufflers and the fact that mine are a real PITA to change the spark plug.

The spark plug is right on top of the engine about 1" below the gas tank and we have to pull the gas tank to change the plug, consequently these units have sometimes run as much as 18 months between changing the plug.

The new ones have the same spark plug araingement but they put a tube in the fuel tank that you can reach down through to get to the plug.

What I find most amazing is how easy the Honda's are to start. Turn the switch on, press the fuel primer bulb twice and give a light pull on the starter cord. Yes, I said a light pull. The guys on my crew were so impressed with how easy they start that they began betting each other to see who could start it with the lightest pull.

My 8yr old nephew has started it on the first pull many times.

Once started they will instantly go to full load without any warm up time.

The only down side is that you have to refuel it about every 8 or 9 hours, but in my case that is not a problem either because I keep it on my service truck, which has two 60gal gas tanks, and I rigged an electric fuel pump with an 8ft hose and nozzle, so when I have to refuel I pull the truck up close, turn the pump switch on and use the hose just like I was at a gas station.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 2:49AM
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if its gotta be gas, buy honda. if it can be diesel, be diesel, and make it kubota. either way, try, try, TRY to make it 1800 rpm, NOT 3600. noise, vibration, fuel, actual wear and tear, etc

period. no questions asked.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Yamaha is the way to go. No other brand really compares, handa comes the closest but doesn't nearly add up to the benefits that a Yamaha generator has to offer.

In the the past Honda has been and still is a company that offer good products that are reliable, high quality products. But since Yamaha's generators have hit the market, Honda dropped to second place.

Just to name a few of the bene fits of a Yamaha, the battery life doubles the Honda generator (this is why the warranty of a honda is only 2 years and the Yamaha is up to 6 years). The sound of the yamaha generatoris amazing avaerage around 60 decibels, while others average around 78 decibels, just amazing engineering.

Click here to check out a full comparison of both generators.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yamaha Honda Comparison

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 10:47AM
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With all the devestating storms we have been haviing, and more and more people being without power for days, I wonder why folks don't consider buying a small generator? Just the cost of replacing the contents of a refrig/freezer would justify having one. I also recognize that many places, like apartments, you couldn't have one, but I am referring to homes/businesses. The nation's aging power grid is probably a major consideration also.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 8:33AM
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You can't go wrong in my opine with Generac or Kohler. If power outage is a common occurance a propane or natural gas generator is a smart choice. For any diesel or gasoline fired engine getting fuel can be an issue when the filling stations don't have power as well. That is unless you have the room to store copious amounts on your property. Then it has to be treated if not used. Natural Gas for us was the best choice as well have it piped to the property., and failure of supply is very, very, rare.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 4:29PM
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The larger, house-sized generators, say 8kw up, use a lot of fuel. And in an area-wide outage, petrol is going to be hard to come by.

I chose a tri-fuel generator six years ago. It was branded "Northstar," Northern Tool's 'house' brand, but it has a 13 hp Honda engine that will run on gasoline, propane or natural gas. Natural gas is usually the last utility to fail, and if you go this route, there's no refueling every few hours.

One problem with petrol these days is that it goes "off" right quick. The addition of ethanol encourages water absorption, so stockpiling fuel for more than a few months isn't an option anymore. Propane is good for years, since it doesn't have any additives, but you will need something much larger than the 20# tanks customarily used for BBQing. Additionally, you need a larger, two-stage regulator to reduce the pressure to 9" WC; single stage regulators will freeze up with the volume needed to run a big genset.

A tri-fuel generator covers a lot of bases.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 10:19PM
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I agree completely.

Gasoline and diesel are outrageously expensive after a hurricane and the supply dwindles quickly. It is also difficult to store for long periods.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 5:51PM
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