If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve lost power in your home, you know the havoc that a lack of power can cause. There has been an influx in the number of home generators in use for that very reason. However, if you’ve never looked into getting one before, you’ll likely be quickly overwhelmed. The different types and options available today mean that there are generators to meet any budget and power need, but that variety also makes pricing (and understanding costs) more complicated. Learn more about the specifics that influence generator costs, and you’ll be more equipped to find exactly what you need.
Generator Prices by Type
The single factor that impacts how much you’ll spend on a generator is ‘type’. The least expensive models – small, portable options – often run as low as $300. While the most costly alternatives – diesel-powered models – can cost as much as $15,000 but provide enough energy to power a large home.
Gas-powered generators are the most cost-effective and range from roughly $500 to $3000. Many homeowners opt for gas-powered because gasoline is readily available in most areas. Keep in mind, though, gasoline can be difficult to store and may be difficult to use in extremely cold weather.
Natural gas are typically a bit more expensive than traditional gas, but what they do have to offer is added convenience. These models generally run between $1,900 and $5,000, don’t require fuel storage, and can typically just be hooked up to your home’s utility grid. The one drawback is that these models tend to use more fuel compared to other types.
Although pricier, diesel generators can be used to power your entire home. They are more efficient than gasoline or natural gas and can easily meet your power demands. Diesel generators typically range in price from $3,000 to $15,000.
Liquid propane generators are more moderately priced and burn clean. This option also has an indefinite shelf life if stored correctly; however, they don’t typically last as long as other generators. Propane models typically run $500 to $6,000.
A frontrunner in today’s market with the current focus on energy-efficiency, solar systems don’t require a constant fuel supply and are an asset to solar backup systems. Unfortunately, though, small units cannot store large amounts of energy and may be impacted by limited sun during a stormy season. Solar generators typically cost between $300 and $5,000.
Generator Costs by Power Capability
Power capability is another key consideration when it comes to answering how much does a generator cost. The more power capability you need, the more you’ll pay. So it’s important to determine how much power you need and what your upfront budget is. Average costs by power capability are as follows:
- 7 KW Generator (enough to run 1 appliance or as many as 8 circuits) – $1,900
- 11 KW Generator (enough to run 2 appliances or as many as 16 circuits) – $3,000
- 16 KW Generator (enough to fully run a 1,000 – 3,000 sq. ft. home) – $3,700
- 17 KW Generator (enough to fully run a 2,500 to 3,000 sq. ft. home) – $4,500
- 20 KW Generator (enough to fully run a 3,000 to 5,000 sq. ft. home) – $4,900
- 22 KW Generator (enough to fully run a 5,000+ sq. ft. home) – $5,800
- 30+ KW Generator (reserved for commercial applications only) – $12,000
Whole House or Only Major Appliance
A major factor to consider when you’re determining budget is how much electricity you need. If you choose to install a permanent unit, it will automatically turn on in the event of an outage, and you’ll notice no difference from when your home is running on regular power. However, this option can be expensive, running upwards of $15,000.
If you want to keep your costs more affordable and can make do with less power, you may opt for a unit designed to power your basic needs. These units are typically made to meet the demands of major home appliances, such as a heater, hot water tank, and refrigerator.
Cost of Small Portable Generators
The most common option for most homeowners, particularly if they’re installing a unit after being established in their home is a small, portable unit. These generators are typically much less expensive and typically run between $300 and $1,200. This option also cuts out most, if not all, installation costs.
For emergency and backup power, the size of the portable generator that you need depends on the size of your home. Only consider buying the trustworthy brands, such as Kubota, Yanmar or Kohler. Kubota has a wide range of engine units you can choose from. Before you go to the store, you can go to the company’s website to learn more about the models they offer.
Average Generator Installation Costs
Installing a permanent home generator is an effective option if you want to be able to power your entire home or if you want to avoid any of the additional work that may be required with a portable unit. But the first question most people want answered is how much does it cost to install a generator.
Permanent units are not only more expensive but also carry installation costs that may run anywhere between $500 and $3,000, which includes everything from assessing your home energy needs to preparing the installation site and obtaining any necessary permits.
Money Saving Generator Care Tips
Even after investing in your generator, you’ll incur some maintenance and utility costs associated with your unit. To keep your costs as low as possible, you should take proper care of your generator, including:
- Removing any debris that collects on, in, or around the unit.
- Learning your generator and noting any changes in its weekly runtime.
- Calling a repairman to address any issues and perform routine maintenance.
- Turning the unit off during major storms or outages when you don’t need it.
- Topping off your tank and/or pre-buying fuel when prices are low.