BEST HOME BACKUP GENERATOR MODELS
After tropical storms, cyclones and hurricanes hit, the resulting power cuts can cause disruption for days or weeks afterwards. Keeping food cold, living by torchlight and trying to keep mobiles, laptops and radios powered up becomes a daily challenge.
Australians are no strangers to natural disasters – which is why many people are doing the smart thing and buying a home backup generator. While it obviously won’t prevent the disaster, it can make life much more comfortable in the aftermath. There are a few different types of back-up generator options for your home or small business.
1. The first option is a Portable Domestic Backup Generator which can produce enough power to run your essential appliances and items around the home. Think refrigerator, freezer, lights, radio, mobile charger, laptop, TV, fan etc. – all those items that make everyday life easier when it counts. Most importantly, it can also power critical equipment for those who care for elderly or ill relatives. These generator models are lightweight, portable and are the most popular option for those who just need to run a handful of basics during an outage. Typically this is also the most cost-effective option.
Here are the best portable domestic/home backup generator:
The Yamaha 2400w is a popular generator for many applications, and home backup is no exception. This home backup generator recently came out on top in the Caravan & Motorhome Magazine’s Mega Portable Generator Comparison of 2014 – and all the features that made it top of the class are equally important for home backup. We’re talking about the reliable 2000W continuous output, ECO mode, dual 15A AC outlets, fuel efficiency and quiet running. Plus this home backup generator offers a parallel running (TwinTech) so you can join two EF2400iS units together for almost double the output. If you need a little more runtime and power, check out the EF2400iS slightly older brother, the EF2800i with an 11 litre fuel tank and only weighing 29 kilos – this is a very popular multi-purpose generator; recreation, home backup, handyman tasks, farming, it just runs a little bit louder than the EF2400iS. Both models are backed by a 48 month warranty and national service network and are overall excellent inverter generators.
This Chinese built generator comes from a manufacturer known well in Australia, Crommelins. And Cromtech has quickly proven its worth in terms of powerful, portable and good value for money generators. The Cromtech Outback 2400 delivers a continuous output of 2400 watts and is easy to transport and store. Complete with all the features expected from a portable inverter generator including pure sine wave power, full safety protection and 12 month warranty backed by Crommelins nationwide service network. Probably the most appealing aspect of this unit is the price; it’s around a half to a third of the cost of the premium brands. This is in part due to the fact that it doesn’t have a 4 year warranty like Yamaha. But it is still backed by the Australian manufacturers and generator gurus at Crommelins – so you get the national service support for spare parts, repair and the like, and it’s at a budget price (this is often not the case for many Chinese budget brands).
Overall, a good value for money proposition if you only intend to use it infrequently or have it ‘just in case’, which is often the case for backup power. You can run your fridge/freezer, lights and personal electronic appliances. If you know that you will require your home backup generator more often, then we suggest a premium brand such as Yamaha, which are designed to handle more regular/intensive use and provide longer warranties.
2. The second type of home backup generator is somewhat more advanced and gives you the option of providing automatic mains failure power backup to your whole home: These models are known as Auto-Start Generators. Their design and optional convenient features let you use your generator without running extension cords and will automatically transfer the home’s power supply to the generator when there is an outage. Essentially, once the mains power goes out, the generator will automatically kick-in to instantly restore power to your entire home/office. The other popular use for this type of generator is for solar back-up: for those living off the grid and using solar to power their homes, an auto-start generator can automatically top up the deep cycle battery packs when solar power is running low. In both instances, a qualified electrician is required to install and connect an auto start generator.
Here are the best Auto-Start home back-up generators:
Pramac’s Auto Start Series is ideal for home backup. The S8000 includes the latest in AVR technology and comes with an 18 litre long range fuel tank, making it is the most popular unit for domestic and small business mains or solar power reserve.
Powered by a reliable Honda GX390 air-cooled engine with electric start, the Pramac S8000 has a continuous output of 5500 watts –enough to keep you powered up when it counts. The easy to use control panel allows you to integrate an automatic mains failure panel for hardwired mains connection. Alternatively, it’s also incredibly popular for solar home backup thanks to the 2-wire auto start option. Pramac have a range of Petrol and Diesel auto-start generators.
The Generac Gas Generators represent the leading edge of back-up power technology. This time it is all about gas power. The generator can be run from mains gas or from LPG. This gas-powered option has become increasingly popular as they can be a far more cost efficient option. For those on mains gas, you dont have to worry about refueling or topping up the tank all the time, as you’re tapped into the mains gas supply. Additionally, these Generac Auto-Start Gas generators automatically test themselves on a regular basis to ensure they’re right to perform when the blackout comes. These units are coupled with an automatic transfer switch connected to your home and require a qualified plummer and electrician to install and certify. Considered the Rolls Royce of home backup generators.
3. Your last power backup generator option, is something that provides you more power output than the small portable options, but isn’t an automatic start up option either. We’re talking about AVR generator models (6kVA to 9kVA) which are best suited to people requiring more power for not only fridges/freezers but perhaps also water pumps, power washers, larger tools, washing machines, hot water systems and other pieces of equipment with a greater power draw. AVR stands for Automatic Voltage control, meaning the power output is stable and without surges. These generators are either used to run appliances directly or can be connected to your house/building mains by an electrician – it just wont be automatic start up power like the auto-start generators, you’ll need to manually switch the power over and start up your generator.
Here are the best AVR home back-up generators:
A newly released model from Yamaha that has become popular very quickly. At around $1,800 – $1,900 you get a premium brand generator with significant power output, representing terrific value for money. This genset has state of the art technology additions including digital display, and is also very economical providing 11 hours of run time at quarter load from a full tank. Popular among not only as a home backup generator, but also tradesmen for work on construction sites and farmers for rural applications.
A European-made Honda powered generator that gives you 5500 watts of continuous clean power. An 11 litre fuel tank gives you approximately 5 hours run time at 75% load. A popular optional addition is the wheel and handle kit for easy maneuverability around your home, along with the Pramac Manual Transfer Switch for connection to your home mains switch board. Pramac portables come with a one year warranty and are backed by a national service network.