The Best Generator for Emergencies


More on electricity?

Emphatically, Yes!  Why do we dwell so much on electrical power? It’s simple.  We depend so much on electricity for just about everything we do that electricity becomes a major concern in an emergency. And, if you think that a gasoline generator will solve your problems . . . well let’s take a closer look at your circumstances.

Where do you live? 

If you live in a multi-family unit (an apartment, for example), it’s unlikely that a generator will work for you. Why not?  Mostly, it has to do with logistics.

A standard generator is about as big as a stove, and weighs twice as much.  And you can’t run it inside the building due to emissions, noise, and perhaps fire danger.  But, if your apartment is on the ground floor, and you have a large enough patio area with storage, you might be able to count on a generator to power your home appliances in an emergency.

If you live in an average American house (3 Br., 2 Ba.), your power consumption needs will probably be 8-10,000 Watts. An average 8 kW gasoline-powered generator will supply most of your needs if you conserve power by not running all your appliances at once. But, there are other issues to consider.

Can you handle the weight?

First off, is the weight of the machine, typically over 200 lbs. Even with handles and wheels this is one hefty piece of machinery to move around. Can family members move it without your help?  Can you move it even with everyone helping?

How much gas can you store, and where?

The real issue here is how long will you be without power and how much gasoline can you store and how much gasoline can you store safely?

Using a Stanley 8,000 Watt Generator as a typical example . . .

  • 8,000 continuous Watts, 10,000 Watt surge capacity
  • At full load, gas consumption is ¾ gallons per hr.
  • 12 gallon tank = 18 hrs. run time at 50% load
  • Once broken in, should be run for 15-20 minutes every couple of months.

Let’s say you run the generator at half load for 6 hours a day and are without power for twelve days. You will consume 48 gallons!  Where will you store a dozen five-gallon red gas cans?

How much can you afford?

The cost for the Stanley generator is between $1,350 and $1,500. Other units can be purchased for as little as $675 – $900, depending on where you live. (Different states have different emission requirements, which change the prices.)

What are better options? 

A better solution might be a smaller generator, say 2,500 Watts.  (Some can run in series, adding the output.)  These smaller units weigh less and are more portable.  They can be run for shorter periods to power only the refrigerator/freezer and charge up a laptop computer, etc.

The real solution will be a personal one and require some advance planning.

If you’re ready to do more research, you can skip over to Serious Survival Equipment and start there. It will give you a better idea of costs, safety features to consider, etc.

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team


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