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21.Portable Generators Buyer's Guide

So, you are looking for dependable power for your remote cabin, your worksite, or for backup during a power outage. Head straight for the Generator Buyer's Guide to learn about common uses, how much power you will need and other information to match you up with the best generator for your needs.
The most economical way to supply power during a power outage is to use a portable generator of the appropriate wattage for your needs (at least 4000 Watts for starters) and run extension cordsinto the house to power chosen appliances. A safer system is to have an electrician install a powertransfer switch, connected to the house's main electrical panel. Just fire up the generator, run a single extension cord into the transfer switch and power the circuits you need through the main circuit breaker. This eliminates the risk of electrical “back feed” injuring utility workers repairing downed power lines.
A small portable gasoline-powered electric generator can provide power for TVs, small kitchen appliances, hair dryers, power tools, lights and other comforts of civilization when you are out roughing it in the woods.
Portable generators can be put to work on construction sites that have no electrical service, providing clean, reliable power to operate saws, drills, air tools, air compressors, heaters, paint sprayers and other AC-powered tools. Most are gasoline-powered, a few run on diesel, and some models have multi-fuel capabilities, running on gasoline, propane or natural gas. These are generally full-featured machines with engine idle control, GFCI receptacles and 120 Volt full power switch.

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