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Portable Generators vs. Whole-Home Generators

Dec 6, 2021 | Tranmer Electric

While it is generally known for comfortable weather, Central Connecticut still gets its fair share of winter storms and power outages. These outages typically only last for a few hours, but a severe weather event can leave you and your family in the dark for days on end.

The best way to protect you and your family from going without power is to purchase a quality generator. However, choosing the ideal generator for your home can be a challenge.

When it comes to making your final decision, you will have your pick between portable and whole-home generators. Each type has its share of pros and cons. Understanding the differences between both generator types is the first step to choosing the right solution for your home.

Benefits of a Whole-Home Generator

A whole-home generator is one of the best emergency power sources on the market today. This device is connected to your home’s electrical system. They are installed outside your home.

The device operates on one of several fuel sources. These include:

  • Natural gas
  • Propane
  • Diesel-Home heating oil

The type of fuel source chosen for your generator will depend on where you live and what is most readily accessible. Natural gas and propane generators tend to be the most popular, but all are practical options if fuel is available.

Whole-home generators are popular for two key reasons: convenience and power production.


Since a whole-home generator is wired directly into your home, it does not require you to connect it in the event of an outage. It will automatically detect an outage and turn on to begin supplying your home with power. When your primary electrical service is restored, it will cycle off and return to standby mode.

It is safe to remain outdoors, as it has a metal housing that protects it from the elements. You do not have to move or reposition it between uses. The whole-home generator remains in a fixed location at all times.

Power Production

As the name implies, a whole-home generator powers your entire residence. While a variety of sizes are available, our team at Tranmer Electric will help you choose the ideal model for your Connecticut home. Your generator will be able to power all of your appliances, including your HVAC system. Other than hearing your generator cycle on, you will likely not even realize the power is out.

Downsides to a Whole-Home Generator

There is only one serious drawback to whole-home generators, cost. They are a substantial investment when compared to their portable counterparts. The exact cost of your whole-home generator will vary based on home size, but they are often 5 to 10 times as expensive as portable generators.

Benefits of a Portable Generator

As noted above, whole-home generators are extremely expensive. On the other hand, portable generators are a much more economical solution that is great for the budget-conscious.

Portable generators come in a variety of brands and sizes, depending on need. They often feature a set of wheels on one side so that you can quickly relocate it as needed. Most portable generators are fueled by gasoline, gas grill size propane tank. But some larger models are powered by diesel.

Other than being budget-friendly, portable generators are easy to maintain and transport. This gives them added utility, as you can use them on camping trips as well as for power outages.

Shortcomings of Portable Generators

Unlike whole-home generators, portable generators cannot power your entire residence. You will be able to power a handful of small appliances and can even run a water heater for hot showers. However, running your HVAC cooling system requires a larger portable generator.

The other downside to portable generators is that you must connect them whenever an outage occurs. You have to position it in a well-ventilated area and plug in any devices you want to power. You will also need a professionally installed transfer switch if you’re going to operate your water heater or items in your home that are not plug-and-play compatible such as lights and HVAC heating equipment.

Affordable Electricians in Connecticut

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of generators, then you need to reach out to Tranmer Electric. Our professional and courteous team of electricians can assess your home electrical needs and provide a quote on both generator types. We can even install accessory devices such as transfer switches and wiring.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you.

Tranmer Electric, LLC has been the leading electrical company serving Connecticut for over 17 years. Our reputation for everything electrical is the key to success and we bring it to you at an affordable price. With hundreds of satisfied customers, we take pride in the level of excellence we bring to each and every project no matter the size.