Comparison: Standby Vs. Portable Generators for Home

Last updated on August 16th, 2021 at 03:34 pm

Although, the task for both, standby or portable generator, are same—but reaching down to the chore of selection, we must take an insight over the subtle types, their working, some reasons that will tell you why you should and why you should not choose the other. knowing all these perks and downside of these models will help in near future at the time of purchasing, thus understanding which one’s suite your situation, and which one’s just not eligible. 

Electric Start Gas Powered Portable Generator

What is the Core Difference? Standby & Portable Generator 

Whilst the working legibility of both the generator is same, the outcome is same but the difference lies in the input of fuel. This is how they are integrated;

  • Portable Generators: Draws fuel from the storage tank they have. 
  • Standby Generators: Draws fuel directly from the source (building gas resource etc.)


Avoiding the hassle of extensive installation is a requirement of anyone that is willing to put generator in the place. Let’s case study the methodologies in both sort of generators;

Installing the Standby Generator

The features whilst the mounting process are;

  • They are permanently installed onto your home 
  • As they require plug ins and right electrical connections—the certified electricians are needed.

Installing the Portable Generator 

The portable generators are helpful as;

  • They don’t require any hassling installation, bring it in and power on the house. 
  • As they can be stored anywhere in the site. 


The starting of the generator may or may not increase your reconsideration over the hassling of getting up and switch or start the power. Thus, for both, it is;

In Standby Generators

The starting of the standby generators;

  • Is automatic—they themselves turn on when the power goes out.
  • Don’t require any pulling of string.

In Portable Generators

The starting of the portable generators;

  • Is manual—they don’t turn on themselves when the power goes out.
  • They are required to pull the strings.  


The maintenance of the generators depends on the type and the fuel consumption commodity—but enlisting the portability and standby series, this is how it goes;

Maintaining the Portable Generator 

As the fuel is sourced from the storage tank, they might make mess whilst refilling and as for the maintenance of portable household generators;

  • Regular or routine check-ups for maintaining, is required.
  • The maintenance is manual.
  • For longer life, they are required to be checked periodically. 

Maintaining the Standby Generator

The standby generator is pricier and comes in durable construction and as for the maintenance, they go as;

  • The maintenance is totally automatic (unless there is no discrepancy in working). However, you have to schedule regular generator maintenance.
  • The remote monitoring system helps the user to glimpse out the condition without even touching the model. 

Fuel Source 

The fuel is the main concern that puts in the “portable vs standby generators” difference. The source and fuel type used in both are;

Fuel Source—Portable Generator

  • They come with the tank storage, that keeps the requiring fuel in it. 
  • As the power is drawn, the fuel gets consumed from the storage.
  • It needs constant refilling when the generator works constantly.
  • Larger the capacity than the larger will be the burden over your pocket. 
  • The requirement of refilling puts in the power interruption. 

Fuel Source—Standby Generator

  • The generator is connected to the building’s natural gas source.
  • There is no need of refilling as compared to the portable generator.
  • No power interruption because of no refilling. 

Fuel Type 

Although the fuel type might be same in the generator because how do automatic standby generators work is same to that of portable generators—rather than the aesthetics of fuel source, the types commonly used in both are;

Fuel Consumption in Portable Generators

There are certain sorts of fuels over the portable generator can run off;

  • Gasoline
  • Propane
  • Diesel
  • Steam

All the above fuel—the portable steam generators give off the budgeting experience. As for being the finest emergency portable generator, the gasoline ones are the most recurring because, it is common to find and the efficiency is much good. 

Fuel Consumption in Standby Generators

Although, the connection to the fuel source of the standby power generators is direct, thus the variation may occur from the portable industrial generators;

  • Natural Gas
  • Liquid Propane Line

The gas standby generators are much smoother and the economical features are likewise eminent. 


The capacity comparison of both—portable and standby generator will allow you to reconcile your need and match it over the model you are willing to choose. Thus, the capacity or power size ranges in both are;

Portable Generator

As for the fact, portable generators are not used continuously, and they stay in storage when not being used, thus, unfortunately, under sizing the generator is a common practice among people—because of the detrimental myth, they are not running all the time, so why would waste time on the suitable size? Here is the range for houses;

  • 4 to 7 kW—for smaller places
  • 7 to 30 kW—for bigger consumption (portable industrial generators) 

Standby Generator 

The sizing of the standby generator is done by kilowatts (kW)—that is certainly a unit of power. Knowing the range, because of engineering veracity, it varies;

  • 5 kW to 50 kW (home, or light commercial range)
  • 50 kW to 3 Megawatts (industrial and heavy commercial use)

How to Determine the Right Capacity according to Requirement? 

While the most integrated hustle for this job is call inn, certified electrician performing the calculation, looking over the place’s peaks & details that effects the selection, and calculating everything already for you. This might be the best so far option to avoid discrepancy but the guidelines down below will offer some great starting points;

Take an Account of Your Requirement

Just wandering about the model, checking the color, and seeing the design is not the best idea one can come up to buy the generator. Taking a look around and putting in your requirements will help you and your dealer better understand what you really need. Consider these;

  • Enlist the items that you need your generator to power (cut off the too rare one, they adjust inn).
  • Note the starting and running wattage required by the relevant devices. 
  • Now, calculate the total power required to operate these enlisted items (measure in KW or KVA).
  • Get in the generator that meet the requirement.
  • If it is much greater, go for the standby otherwise portable will do.

Price Range

The price range of these generator might give you the limitation of staying where you are comfortable the most, these are;

Portable Generator: typically priced between 450—2000$

Standby Generator: typical range; 2500—11000$

What affects the costs?

The capacity of the generator plays a keen role in the costing—this is certainly the main factor, larger capacity generator will require such construction, hustle in making, and material input. Thus, as one’s requirement of running items increases, the relevant models are likewise pricier. 

Advantages of Choosing the Right Generator

the wrong model in the place that doesn’t meet up your need might put different sorts of menace—if too much power is supplied, there would be excess fuel consumption (wastage of energy), and if capacity is lower than the requirement it might cause you certain shutdowns. The benefits of choosing the right generator are;

  • No surprised system failures
  • Increased life expectancy of the generators
  • The performance will be much smoother
  • The fuel bills will not be unfair
  • No shut offs (certainly because of overloading)



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I am William Parker, an RV lover, an adventurer - in short, Beaver Instincts. I am also a professional content creator who knows fairly well how to compare different products, services and sites.

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