Standby vs. Portable Generator: Which Should You Choose? - PGA Inc.


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Standby vs. Portable Generator: Which Should You Choose?

Standby generator in front of Wausau, WI home's porch.

When it comes to ensuring that your home is prepared for power outages, one primary concern is deciding between standby vs. portable generators. This might seem like a minor choice, but it significantly impacts your safety, convenience, and home’s electrical system. In today’s blog, we’ll dive deep into the pros and cons of each type and help you determine if a portable or standby generator is the best fit for your needs.

The Basics: Understanding Types of Generators

Standby generators, as the name suggests, are permanently installed into your home’s electrical system. They automatically start when there’s a power outage, ensuring uninterrupted power. They usually run on propane or natural gas, making them efficient and reliable.

On the other hand, a portable generator is more flexible. It’s not permanently attached, allowing you to move it to various locations. They’re typically gasoline-powered, although some may run on other fuel sources.

Key Differences: Standby vs. Portable Generators

There are some significant differences between standby and portable generators that you should be aware of before making your decision. Let’s go over everything you need to know in more detail below.


One primary factor you should consider when choosing between a portable or standby generator is the installation process. While a standby generator requires a more detailed setup, usually by professionals like the Wausau electricians at PGA Inc., a portable generator is more plug-and-play.

That said, the generator install process for standby units ensures seamless integration with your home’s electrical system, including a transfer switch that automatically starts the generator during power outages.

Fuel Source and Efficiency

Standby generators mostly run on propane or natural gas, a factor that plays a significant role in their fuel efficiency. They’re designed to run for extended periods without frequent refueling. In contrast, the portable counterpart usually requires gasoline, which might need regular refilling, especially during extended power outages.

Safety Concerns

Safety is paramount when considering a portable or standby generator. Standby generators have an edge as they are often situated outdoors, reducing risks related to carbon monoxide poisoning. Portable generators, on the other hand, if not used correctly, can emit carbon monoxide within closed spaces, posing significant health risks. Always ensure adequate ventilation if you opt for a portable variant.

Capacity and Power

Considering generator size is crucial. While a standby generator offers more power and is designed to handle most, if not all, of a household’s needs during a power outage, portable generators might only provide backup power to select appliances. Understanding your home’s energy requirements will guide you in making an informed decision.

Making the Decision

Given the pros and cons, the choice between standby vs. portable generators heavily depends on the needs of homeowners. If you’re looking for a robust, long-term solution that can power your entire home and prioritize safety, a standby generator might be your best bet. They’re a worthwhile investment, especially if power outages are a frequent occurrence in your region.

Conversely, if you need something more mobile, perhaps for camping trips or occasional use, a portable generator might serve you better. They’re less expensive upfront but might end up costing more in the long run in terms of fuel and maintenance.

Install a Standby Generator With Our Experts

The decision between standby vs. portable generators isn’t one to take lightly. By assessing your home’s energy needs, understanding the inherent risks, and weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision.

If you lean towards a standby generator, always remember that they require professional installation. In such cases, consider reaching out to PGA Inc. Our expert generator installers near Wausau, WI will ensure a safe and efficient setup. Stay prepared and ensure that your home remains a haven, even during unforeseen power outages.

Hopefully, you now know if a portable or standby generator is the better solution for your home. If you’re ready to install a standby generator, turn to PGA Inc. today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to assisting you!

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