Why Choose a Standby Generator vs. Portable Generator for Your Home

Kohler generator installed outside a home

Deciding to purchase a home generator is a significant decision. Little Rock, AR, is no stranger to major storms — including tornados — which can cause significant power outages. In many ways, a generator can be an excellent home improvement investment for you and your family.

Portable and standby generators are the most common types of generators for homeowners. However, what are the benefits of standby vs. portable generators?

Let’s review the pros and cons of both. After that, we’ll help you understand which generator is best for you.


When deciding on the best standby generator for home use, it’s essential to consider the installation process. Licensed electricians permanently install a home standby generator outdoors. Standby generators are also built with insulated weatherproof housing, which reduces noise.

Staley Electric has installed many backup generators in Little Rock, AR, and the immediate area. Give us a call for generator options and installation today.

On the other hand, portable generators require no installation. Since portables aren’t stationary, you’ll have to ensure you have a place to store the generator properly.


Standby vs. portable generators: which models are more user-friendly? For the most part, standby generators are stress-free to use. Standby models always turn on automatically, so you don’t have to worry about powering your home when the power goes out.

Portable generators aren’t as simple. To start a portable generator, you’ll need to fire it up with a pull cord every time. These models also need to be wheeled out of storage, then connected to an automatic transfer switch in order to be used during a power outage. 

Note: Portable generators cannot be connected directly to your home’s power supply!

Fuel Type

Standby and portable models vary significantly in the fuel they use. Standby generators run on liquid propane or natural gas. With a whole-house propane tank, a standby model can typically operate for days or weeks on end without needing to be refueled.

On the other hand, a portable generator runs on gasoline and needs to be refueled often. It’s also worth noting that these types of generators require large amounts of fuel mixed with fuel stabilizer during an extended power outage.


So, which is the best standby generator for home use? When deciding which size generator is best for you, it’s vital to consider the size of your home and the appliances you’d like to power.

Standby generators are often sized to provide backup power to an entire house. They can power lights, refrigerators, and even water heaters. Standbys can also power wattage appliances such as your AC unit and electric stove.

However, portable generators can only power select items. These items need to be plugged into extension cords, which will also have to be plugged into the generator.

You might think that having a large generator is the best way to go, but you should consider which generator will meet your needs while also cutting down on the amount of fuel you would need to keep stored.

Price Ranges

When considering the benefits of standby vs. portable generators, your thoughts probably wander to your wallet. How much do generators even cost?

It’s important to note that standby generators tend to be pricier than portables. The cost of a standby generator can range from $8,000 to $12,000. Don’t forget that you have to factor in the installation costs on top of that.

When deciding which model is the best standby generator for home use, it’s worth considering these costs, as well as the overall expense of fuel.

On average, portable generators cost between $400 and $1,500. Since portables don’t require installation, there’s no need to worry about expenses for installation fees.

Standby vs. Portable Generators

Certain generators have safety features that can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some new models include a built-in sensor that triggers the generator to immediately shut off if carbon monoxide is detected at dangerous levels.

Additionally, professional consultation is crucial in determining which size generator is best suited for your home. If you’re still trying to decide on the best standby generator for home use, electricians can size a generator to make sure it properly fits your home and needs.

The electricians at Staley Electric can help. Staley Electric is an authorized Kohler dealer servicing Little Rock, AR, and the surrounding areas. Contact us with any questions!

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Staley Electric Services, LLC, Electrician, Little Rock, AR
Staley Electric Services, LLC, Electrician, Little Rock, AR