Generator Buying Guide

Generators are great to have when there is a power outage at home, on camping trips or on a job site. Learn more about the different types of generators including Genarac standby generators, inverter generators and portable generators, plus find out which one will work best for you!

Shop Generators

Shop our selection of Genarac standby generators and portable inverter generators to bridge the gap during power outages or outdoor activities. For home, job sites, or for play, we have a large selection of generators to suit your needs.   

What to Look for When Buying a Generator

  • Use: Generators are used for backup power during emergencies, on job sites, or during leisure activities like camping or tailgating. There are two types of generators: standby and portable.   
  • Wattage: The wattage needed for your generator is dependent on what type of generator you need and how you will be using it. Usually the higher the wattage of the generator, the more you can power.
Note: Power on generators are measured in circuits, which varies from brand and model. Always consult a licensed electrician before doing any calculations.  
  • Runtime: Keep in mind that runtime is usually quoted at an average fraction load because most people do not run their generator at full load all the time. 

Common Uses of Generators

Home

Standby generators are best for powering an entire home, or necessary areas of a house during emergency situations. It is a great option for the elderly or disabled people who may be more inconvenienced by a power outage.

Leisure Activities

Portable generators are great for outdoor activities when a power source might be hard to find. They are a great option when camping, boating, tailgating, or RVing.

Work

Both standby and portable generators are good options for the workplace. Standby generators are good when powering essential computers, networks, and phones, while portable generators can provide temporary job site electricity for tools and lights.

Inverter Generators

Inverter generators have smaller wattage capability but are a great option for those looking for generator that runs quiet and on clean power. Known for their small size, inverter generators convert AC power to DC, providing a cleaner and quieter power source for camping, boating, or RVing.
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Portable Generators

Basics of Portable Generators

Portable generators run on gas and can be used to supply a limited amount of power during a storm, on a job site, or on a camping trip. They are a great option if you do not want to invest in a permanent backup generator. Portable generators provide power for outside activities and protect from power outages in the home.
Note: They must always be used outside, and it is important to follow the generator manufacturer's operating, maintenance, and safety instructions.
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Portable Generator Features

Portable generators have many features including, circuit breaker protected outlets to guard against overload, larger fuel tanks for extra run time, low-tone muffler for quiet operation, fold-down handles and wheel kits for easy portability, and integrated fuel gauges to help prevent power interruptions.

Standby Generators

Basics of Standby Generators

Standby generators are a perfect option for backup power during power outages and storms. They automatically provide power to the home until the outage is over. Standby generations use an automatic transfer switch to connect the generator to your existing electrical system. 
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Automatic Transfer Switch

Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) is the core of the generator system. It is an electrical panel that safely connects a generator to your homes electrical circuits.
Note: Do not attempt to install a transfer switch yourself, as it may require local permits and must be installed by a professional electrician.
SHOP TRANSFER SWITCHES

Options to Consider

There are a couple of options to consider when purchasing a standby generator. Essential circuit coverage covers only the most important needs of your home, allowing you to choose what will be backed up during a power outage. Managed whole-house coverage is for smaller generators and is paired with a power management switch that provides whole-house coverage by managing the power requirements of individual appliances. Complete whole-house coverage provides complete coverage for all of your circuits, which means when the power goes out, everything comes on and stays on.

Installation

Consider a standby generator from Generac - a standby generator is permanently installed outside your home to provide 24/7 backup power. It runs on your home's natural gas service, with propane models also available. Visit your Lowe's store for product and installation details
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR INSTALLATION SERVICES

Generator Accessories

Generator Covers

Covers will keep your generator protected from the natural elements like weather and UV rays.  
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Power Cords

Power cords are an essential part of powering your portable or standby generator. Make sure you follow the manufacturer guidelines before you purchase a power cord.
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Maintenance Kits

Maintenance Kits are a good way to keep your standby generators running smoothly. They usually include an air filter, oil filter, spark plugs, and more.
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Generator Safety Tips

These tips are merely supplemental and are not intended to substitute reading the owner's manual.  
Before reading these tips, always read the owner's manual and instructions for your generator, which also reference generator safety tips. Carefully follow all instructions and warnings to safely start and operate the generator. Do NOT cut corners when it comes to safety.  
  • Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors. Exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a deadly poison gas you cannot smell, taste, or see.   
  • Don't run a portable generator in the rain.   
  • Before refuelling, turn off the generator and let it cool down.  
  • Avoid electrical hazards like connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring.  
  • Keep children and pets away from generators at all times.  
  • Inspect the generator regularly, and contact the nearest authorized dealer for parts.  
  • Make sure the generator is properly grounded. Check and follow all applicable federal, provincial and local regulations related to grounding.  
  • Use proper power cords like heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge.  

NEVER OPERATE A GENERATOR INSIDE, INCLUDING THE BASEMENT AND GARAGE

Always operate a portable generator in dry areas 30 feet away from the home and far away from open doors, windows and vents. Improper use of portable generators can cause death by carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide symptoms include dizziness, unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting and death. Make sure to always have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home.   

Portable Generator FAQ

Standby Generator FAQ

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