Best Home Standby Generators From Consumer Reports' Tests

You'll pay a premium, but a whole-house generator can provide endless power for anything under your roof

A standby generator sitting outside a home

When the power goes out, a generator is the best tool to help you keep the lights on—and your fridge running and your phone charged. A home standby generator—also known as a stationary generator, a home generator, or a whole-house generator—is the gold standard in backup power.

The luxury of uninterrupted power doesn’t come cheap. The home standby generators in our ratings range from $2,000 to $4,400, and you could easily spend that much or more on installation. 

More on Generators

"A home standby generator is the single best tool available to use as a source of backup power," says Misha Kollontai, CR's test engineer who oversees generator testing. "But because of the costs, including installation, it's also important to get a model that delivers steady, reliable power."

Our tests find crucial differences between models, even within a single brand. Start with our generator buying guide to zero in on the style that’s right for you. And browse our generator ratings, which includes portable and inverter models in addition to home standby generators.

How CR Tests Generators for Performance

To test how a generator will perform when you need it most, our engineers load up every model with a variety of essentials you might want to power during an outage, including a space heater, refrigerator, or window air conditioner.

We make sure the generator can handle the load it promises and also determine what happens when a sudden spike in voltage hits, like if your fridge's compressor kicked on when the generator was already close to capacity. The best models take that in stride, while others bog down or even stall. We also look at how efficiently a generator uses fuel and how long it runs on a single tank of propane gas. 

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of the best home standby generators in our ratings.

Best Small Home Standby Generator

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Power delivery
Power quality
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Power delivery
Power quality
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Best Large Home Standby Generators

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Generator Tips

Damaging storms can happen at any time. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, host Jack Rico learns from Consumer Reports’ expert Paul Hope how to avoid being left in the dark during a power outage.

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