Best generators for power failures

Don't Waste Your Money

UPDATED 5/17/13:

It's the start of the 2013 severe weather season in the Cincinnati area. And that could mean a blackout if winds and rain topple power lines.

So we have a timely new report on which generators are best if your power goes out.

After the Hurricane Ike power failure 5 years ago, more and more people are convinced it's worth buying a power generator.     

Vincent Pici said "once you lose power the first time for any period of time, you don't need any reasons to get a generator. You're going to get one."

New Comparison Lists Winners

But which ones are worth the money?

Our partners at Consumer Reports magazine just tested 14 power generators, ranging from $700 to more than $3,000.

Testers found that with small portable generators, run time depends on the type of fuel they use.

Dave Trezza of Consumer Reports "we found that most gasoline models were about the same, running anywhere from eight to ten hours, depending on your power demands. However, when we looked at propane models, they went through a tank of propane in about four to six hours."  

So be aware you'll need plenty of fuel on hand.

And if you want to power the whole house, you'll need a transfer switch to hook to your  electric box: It can cost $500 - $900.
Stationary or built-in generators are more convenient, the magazine says. They run on natural gas or propane and start automatically.

"If you want to power your whole house, a large stationary generator would be better, cause it'll power things like your stove, your dryer, your central A/C system, stuff like that,"  Trezza said. 

Top Rated Generators

Among whole house stationary generators, Consumer Reports named the Generac CorePower a Best Buy. It costs $1,800,  plus installation.

On a budget? Then consider a portable generator.

Consumer Reports recommends the portable Generac GP5500.    It will power your fridge, TV, and lamps for $670.

Also top rated was the Troy-Bilt XP 7000 at $900.

As always, don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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