Some of the leading brands of home generators available include:
All Power America
Briggs & Stratton
Champion Power Equipment
Home generator types tend to break down into two categories: portable and whole home generators.
Whole home generators are the units with the most variation from the initial unit price to the final total, including installation. The variation in costs stems from the variety of accessories that may or may not be necessary and the complexity of installation. Typically, the installation process for a whole home generator entails:
A home estimate – in which the electrical capacity of the home is determined and based on that, an electrical contractor or inspector will determine the best generator unit size for your home’s needs.
Electrician's report – used to narrow down the types of generators that your home can handle along with an understanding of the planned uses for the generator.
Architect/Engineer’s drawings – drafting plans for placing the whole home generator, including the wiring and/or fuel component placement.
Upgrades (if necessary) – to your home's electrical system are discussed to accommodate a whole home generator.
Installation – by a licensed/certified electrical contractor (along with any necessary upgrades).
The wide disparity in costs from region to region and from product to product associated with installing a whole home generator make it impossible to generalize. The fees for an electrician’s report, architect’s services, engineer or inspection reports as well as the labor costs for installation can vary widely.
Whole home generator manufacturer’s rarely list prices for retail comparisons, but they routinely offer better, wholesale prices directly to contractors. (In some cases where a contractor is a “certified” installer of a select brand, additional savings may be available.)
It is recommended that for something as complex as a whole home generator purchase and installation, homeowners should get 3-4 estimates and require tha those estimates be itemized and clearly indicate a breakdown of materials, labor costs and any fees associated with warranties or post-installation service or maintenance.
As with whole home generators, there is a wide variety of portable generators with an equally wide variety of applications and features. When considering and comparing portable generators, be sure to research and compare the following features:
Load capacity (how much power will you need?)
Performance duration (how long will you need it?)
Ease of installation
Compatibility with home electrical systems (take into consideration all power needs)