My Generator Recommends: Top Home Backup Generators

My Generator Recommends: Top Home Backup Generators
4.54 | 24 votes

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.

Home backup generator

There are different home power backup generator options to cater for all different home sizes and requirements.

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:

Yamaha EF2400iS & Yamaha EF2800i

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.

Home backup generator

The Yamaha 2400w has the capability to be paired together to double the power output!

Cromtech 2400w Inverter Generator

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.

Home backup generator

Cromtech Outback 2400 is a great value for money option backed by Crommelins

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 S8000 Auto Start Generator

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.

 Generac 10kVA Gas Standby Generator

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:

Yamaha EF7200E, 6000 AVR Generator

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.

The new Yamaha EF7200E generator is packed with additional features

The new Yamaha EF7200E generator is packed with additional features

Pramac ES8000, 7.2kVA Generator

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.

Home backup generator

Pramac ES8000, Honda Powered 7.2kVA Generator popular for home backup power

Visit the My Generator website for more information on Portable Generators for Back-Up and Emergency, and for Auto-Start Generators.

 

Sean Connolly

Sean Connolly

Managing Director at My Generator
Sean is the co-founder and Managing Director of My Generator (mygenerator.com.au)
Sean Connolly

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Comments

  • Bruce Langford November 23, 2014, 8:02 am

    Hi, I am researching auto-start generators for charging my solar power set up. I wanted to know if the portable inverter generators such as the Yamaha 3000 watt model can be configured for auto-start power?
    Many thanks,
    Bruce Langford

    • My Generator Admin November 26, 2014, 8:20 am

      G’Day Bruce, the short answer to this question is no. For solar power back up you require an auto-start generator to be connected with a two-wire auto start controller. In this instance you would need to look at the auto-start generator range; Pramac have the best models for this purpose. All of these generators are two wire auto start and can be connected with a two-wire auto start controller to connect to your solar battery inverter. This needs to be done by a qualified electrician. Hope that helps – thanks!

  • Blake LeStrange December 3, 2014, 7:06 am

    Hi there – I see that that there are gas powered generators of this type also. I’m interested in what your thoughts are on these compared to petrol auto-start units?

    • My Generator Admin December 3, 2014, 8:12 am

      G’Day Blake – The gas auto-start standby generators are best suited for homes connected to mains gas. It can be more expensive to connect to gas mains, but once connected you don’t need to worry about fuel levels. Gas standby generators can run on LPG tanks, however we often find the petrol and diesel auto-start units to be more fuel efficient in this case. Historically, we have sold more of the petrol and diesel auto-start units. However, this trend has changed in recent years with a rise in popularity of the gas powered units, particularly from the Generac range; they self-test weekly and are very quiet for their size (noise rated at 60dBA) and as mentioned, if you use mains gas, you don’t have to worry about filling up with fuel.

  • Phil O'Keefe December 15, 2014, 2:27 am

    Looking for a generator as home back up when power goes out. Maybe for work around property. Expect only occasional use, so may sit for extended times without use. We live in a rural location, so needs to run house watertank pump and fridge, plus some lights. What do you recommend?

    • My Generator Admin December 15, 2014, 3:40 am

      We have several options that would work for you Phil. There are a few questions to ask first to make sure we are pointing you in the right direction. Do you have a manual transfer switch installed on your switch box? In which case you could look at our auto-start generator range.
      Or do you intend to run a lead from the generator to run appliances in the event of a mains power failure? In which case there are some great portable back up options, where it mainly comes down to what size you would need. Perhaps it would be best to call us on 1300 400 122 to discuss your needs in more detail. Cheers.

  • Simone McLean August 3, 2015, 11:39 pm

    Hello, I’m looking for an Inverter Generator to provide backup power to some home appliances when we experience power loss. Wanting something that will last us for a long time. Thank you, Simone.

  • Louise July 29, 2016, 7:54 am

    I am looking for a generator to power a garage that has been turned into a bedroom and living area.
    Use would be continuous running.
    Standard appliances and 3 x 2000w heaters.
    Is there anything suitable and non permanent as we rent.

    • Lachlan July 31, 2016, 11:42 pm

      Hi Louise, if you are looking for a generator for continuous running, then you would need to look at Stationary Diesel Generator that runs at 1500rpm and are water cooled. However these are quite large, and as their name suggests, they are stationary and generally (but not always) a permanent fixture…They are usually moved by forklift, crane etc.
      For your type of application and appliances you have listed, a more typical style of generator is a portable domestic back up generator – these are lighter, more portable and cheaper generators, however they are not designed to run non-stop continuously. They are mostly petrol sets that are air cooled and run at 3000rpm, and are designed to run for the short periods that you need them for (i.e. back up power when there is a black out), but not all day, every day.
      You could perhaps look at a solar power source to run your smaller standard appliances and then a generator to run your heaters for the periods you need. An option to look at could be the Yamaha EF7200E 6kVA Generator – this is a very popular model for home backup and will run for 11 hours at a quarter load. Just be sure to check the exact peak power draw of your heaters (and any other appliances you would need to run from the generator) to make sure the generator has enough power for your particular appliances.

  • Bryce Crouch October 10, 2016, 2:05 am

    From that list, what one unit do you recommend as the cheapest (but still quality) option to power our whole home when there is a blackout? Our house is standard size. Thanks

    • L Adams October 10, 2016, 7:53 am

      Hi Bryce, the most popular model for your described application is the Yamaha EF7200E – a 6000 watt AVR petrol generator. It is very popular because:

      – It is electric start
      – Comes with Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) to reduce voltage fluctuation
      – Comes with a long range 28 litre fuel tank that can provide 11 hours run time at quarter load
      – Is priced around $2,000

      Its size will power the general appliances you need throughout your home when there is a mains power blackout. You can either run the appliances directly from the generator or opt to have an electrician fit a manual transfer switch to your home and then connect the generator your switchboard. The latter option is the popular choice when there is a blackout as you just switch over the power source of your home to the generator, start it up and power to your home is restored.

  • Dominic Mulligan December 4, 2016, 11:36 pm

    Hi,
    My wife and I have just bought a block of land near Canberra. We’re exploring the idea of building an off grid solar powered house with one or two two tesla power wall 2 batteries. What generator would you recommend we look at to provide power if our batteries run out of juice or need to be topped up?

    Cheers

    Dominic

    • L Adams December 4, 2016, 11:50 pm

      Hi Dominic – good question. We would recommend an Auto Start Generator – this type of generator is by far the most popular for backup to off grid solar systems. These generators will automatically start up to recharge your home batteries when they get too low and then automatically turn off and stop recharging once the batteries are topped up. There are petrol and diesel generator options available.
      Your solar installer can advise what size auto start generator is required to best suit your particular solar set up. The solar installer or electrical contractor will connect a two wire auto start controller between the generator and your solar system to enable the automatic topping up of your batteries.
      Please feel free to give us a call on 1300 400 122 to discuss further. Many thanks.

  • ron eglinton December 31, 2016, 10:40 pm

    I live on a small rural property on mains power in the mid north of south australia.
    Mainly due to weather events etc., which are often happening miles away from our property, we have several power outages a year with some lasting up to 5 – 7 days but most are restored within a day or occasionally two. I run a typical house load of lighting, fridge, freezer, washing machine, electric jug, microwave and an electric stove. However i also have a 2 hp electric pump on my bore to supply house water, and a 2. 5 air-conditioner in hot weather and an electric 60 gallon water heater on J tariff. What size and type of generator do i need? Ideally auto-start would be good but I wonder if it could handle my total power load. Electric start would be better than pull start if auto start was not possible. I could manage for short term without the electric stove and possibly the water heater. But in hot weather the air con and water pump are essential for safety as it gets very hot here and we are at retiring age and suffer during heat spells and there is a fire danger. Petrol is easiest but although I dont have much experience with diesel that would also do as well. Silent or quiet running would be a bonus.

    • L Adams January 2, 2017, 10:16 pm

      Hi Ron, thank you for your question. We can certainly provide some recommendations based on your described application, but ideally you would have an electrician take a reading on your home to find out the maximum power draw of all your listed appliances. Once you have that information, you can then get the right sized generator.
      Our most popular generator model for general domestic home backup is the Yamaha EF7200E 6kVA Petrol Generator: it comes with electric start, long range fuel tank and Automatic Voltage Regulator fitted. Most customers will use this generator in conjunction with a manual transfer switch fitted to their home, so when a blackout occurs, you switch the power source over to the generator, start the generator up to provide power to your home.
      You may need more than 6kVA of power based on the appliances you have listed (again, best to get an electrician to take a reading on your home), in which case, I would consider a larger petrol or diesel Pramac Auto Start Generator: they have models around the 9 to 12kVA size and are designed to automatically start up (as opposed to manually) and restore power to your home during a mains blackout.
      Lastly, if you are on mains gas, then you could also consider a gas powered generator option from Generac: these range from 8 to 13kVA in size and are a very fuel efficient and especially quiet power backup option if you are on mains gas.
      For any further questions, you can call us on 1300 400 122, thanks.

  • Mike January 3, 2017, 4:17 pm

    Hi,
    I currently use a Honda eu70 to provide power to a small farm building, Power transfer is currently via two separate 15 amp leads from the generator, into two separated circuits within the building.
    I would like to interconnect the power input points of the two separate circuits within the building, which will require the two 15 amp outlets leads from the Honda generator to be joined at the building power input point, to provide a single ~24 amp power source for the building.
    Can you please indicate if the Generator will still function normally, or if the creation of an interconnect between the 2 generator output leads (circuits) will damage the generator in any way.
    Thanks,
    Mike.

    • L Adams January 3, 2017, 9:40 pm

      Hi Mike, it is common for an electrician to reconfigure the standard outlets to a larger outlet (e.g. 20amp) if required. Thanks

  • Roslyn February 8, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Hi

    I’m considering a home back up generators like the Yamaha. Can you tell me how noisy they are ? My sister tells me the neighbours will hate me ?! Thanks

  • Roger February 14, 2017, 10:15 am

    Hi,
    I am looking at connecting my 7kva generator through a transfer switch to my home for use during blackouts, but I have been told that the generator has to be pure sinewave, is this correct?
    I have done the math and this size is ample for our purposes.

    • L Adams February 14, 2017, 11:05 pm

      Hi Roger, yes around 7kVA is a common size to power a typical home.
      In terms of sine wave, if that is what you have been advised, then you would need an inverter generator which produces pure sine wave output, such as the Yamaha EF6300iSE.
      Many Home owners will use an AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) generator for backup via a transfer switch like you have mentioned, such as the Yamaha EF7200E. AVR generators reduce the voltage fluctuation and are very popular for your described application, but it does NOT produce pure sine wave power, and if you have been advised this is what you need, then once again you would need an inverter generator. Thanks.

  • Richard May 1, 2017, 1:15 pm

    I am looking at a portable generator for the farm shed (not power connected) to run some tools and a welder. The welder (occasional use) seems to be the determining factor, causing generator size/weight/noise levels to go up and portability down. Do you agree? Any recommendation?

    • L Adams May 2, 2017, 2:30 am

      Hi Richard, great question – we get asked this a lot. When it comes to welders, we find the best approach is to call the manufacturer of your welder, quote the model of your unit and they can advise what size generator is required for your particular welder. We find the technical department for the welder brands (e.g. Unimig, Cigweld etc.) to be very helpful.
      To give you a guide, the most common size generator to run a welder is an 8kVA, such as the Powerlite Honda 8kVA Generator. This model is very popular for your described application. Again, depending on the model of welder, some people can get away with a smaller generator such as a 5-6kVA, whereas other welders will need more power up around 9-11kVA. Many thanks.

  • Keith May 28, 2017, 5:51 am

    I am in a rural situation with a three phase supply to the house. There are no three phase loads on site. Biggest load would be the electric induction hot plates . I want to install a backup generator. Do I need a three phase or could I use a single phase with suitBle isolation from the grid

    • L Adams May 28, 2017, 11:26 pm

      Hi Keith, This is a frequently asked question.
      Before any generator installation you should always check with a licensed electrical contractor / electrician to determine what type and size of generator you should install. It will be the licensed installer that will be signing off on the wiring and installation of the generator, as you intend to connect it directly to your switchboard to power your home.
      In our experience, we know of customer’s that have three phase power to the property and install a single phase generator using a 3 phase Automatic Transfer Switch. When you have a mains power failure, the switch will isolate the three phases coming into the switch board from the street. The generator will automatically start and provide single phase power to the house.
      The three phases will be split across different circuits of the house. Your electrician will be able to identify the best way to hard wire the generator to your switchboard.
      I can recommend an Auto Start model from the following range: Auto Start Generators. Please feel free to call us on 1300 400 122 for any further help. Kinds regards.

  • John June 24, 2017, 2:58 am

    Could you advise me on what would be the best generator for use on our property as there is currently no power. And until we get a solar setup we will rely on a generator for everyday use. We are only running a fridge, tv , 3 or 4 lights and occasional washing machine, plus laptop phones etc. What generator do you suggest? ?

    • L Adams June 26, 2017, 3:43 am

      Hi John, thank you for a great question! The first option I wanted to point out for you is to consider an Auto-Start Generator: these units are designed for off-grid solar system automatic back up. Often customers in your situation will purchase a unit from this range, use it initially as a normal generator (i.e. run the appliances directly from the generator), and then when their solar system is installed (by a qualified electrician/solar installer), the generator is connected as part of the install to provide automatic backup when your battery charge levels drop too low. Popular models for this described approach are:

      Powerlite Honda 8kVA Auto Start Generator
      Pramac Honda 7.2kVA Auto Start Generator
      Gentech Honda 8kVA Auto Start Generator

      The other option of course is a good, reliable generator to just run your described appliances and not worry about a generator to connect to your off-grid solar system for auto backup. For your fridges, TV, Lights, laptops, phone etc. a great option would be the Yamaha EF2800IS Inverter Generator – it only weighs 29 kilograms, yet still has a large 11 litre fuel tank to provide approx. 17 hours run time at quarter load. Other options around this size would be the Briggs & Stratton P3000I or the Yamaha EF3000ISE (comes with electric start).

      If you needed more power than around 3000 watts to run all of your appliances at the same time (including your washing machine) and any other domestic appliances you may require (e.g. tools, pumps etc.) then you may need to consider a larger inverter generator model, such as the Yamaha EF6300ISE (silenced), or a Gentech Honda 8.8kVA. If you’re in doubt about what size you need for all of your particular appliances, it may pay to engage an electrician to take a wattage reading to see what total power you’ll need.

      These normal (non-auto start) generators could still serve the purpose of recharging your solar batteries once you have a solar system up and running… but their recharging would not be automatic. You would need to do it manually and you would need to talk to your solar installer about best practice of recharging and the generator sizing/type for your particular solar system.

      As a final comment, please just note that any portable generator is not designed to run 24/7 continuously…a quality brand (like Yamaha, Briggs & Stratton, Honda etc.) can handle more intensive/regular use, but they are not built for prime power applications. If you need to power a whole home constantly (days and weeks on end), you would need to look at a Water Cooled Stationary Diesel Generator. Many thanks.

  • Ken Meaney July 27, 2017, 4:49 am

    Hi

    My wife and I are interested in a back up generator for our free standing home in Canberra . We have seen reports on the likelihood of blackouts in SE Australia during the coming summer during days of high temps and low wind and originally looked at 16 or 17 solar panels plus a battery – but the cost would be around $18 – 20 K which is just too much and in any case the battery would not run a small reverse cycle air conditioner at night .

    Could you recommend a 6- 7 KV auto cut in externally installed generator – and someone in Canberra to do the work.

    Many thanks

    Ken Meaney

    • Paul Campbell July 27, 2017, 11:20 pm

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks very much for the inquiry. We have a range of Auto-Start Generators that would be suitable for this application. For a residential back up during black outs, we would recommend a silenced auto start diesel at about 6kva. Providing your house has a single phase supply, we could recommend a Pramac 6kVA Auto Start Diesel Generator .

      P6000 Features:
      – Auto Start
      – Diesel
      – 24L Long Range Fuel Tank
      – Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR)
      – Silenced canopy

      You will also need to purchase the Pramac Automatic Mains Failure Panel (AMF) as an accessory. This signals the Generator to start up during a loss of mains power. When the mains power returns this will signal the generator to turn off.

      For contact details of a local installer in your area, feel free to call 1300 400 122 and speak to a product expert today.

      regards

      Paul

  • Jeff September 10, 2017, 9:06 am

    I am looking for a back up generator, minimum 3000w to run fridge, some lights, possibly three ceiling fans, and other appliances, which will be used selectively. Can you advise me on the best options. Must have large fuel tank.

    • L Adams September 12, 2017, 9:16 am

      Hi Jeff, great question. I would recommend you opt for an inverter generator, as these are quiet, fuel efficient, and produce clean power suitable to run electronic appliances. For your home backup application at around the 3000 watt mark, the most popular models are listed below. These will comfortably run your described appliances and have generous fuel tank sizes for extended run time.

      Yamaha EF2800iS
      Briggs & Stratton P3000i
      Yamaha EF3000iSE

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