Automatic vs. Portable Generators

What are the differences between an automatic standby (permanent) generator and a portable generator?

During a utility power outage, an automatic standby generator provides numerous advantages over a portable generator:

  • Automatic standby generators keep your home protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning which is a much greater risk with portable generators.
  • A whole home backup generator runs on your home’s natural gas or propane fuel supply, making it is less expensive to operate than portable generators that are powered by gasoline.
  • Standby generators eliminate the hassle of hauling a portable generator outside or running extension cords throughout your home.
  • They provide protection 24/7, whether you’re home or away.
  • The units turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.
  • Because an automatic standby generator is hard-wired into the electrical system of your home, appliances like furnaces, well and sump pumps, and lights will operate as well as items you designate.
  • With their sound-deadening enclosures, automatic standby generators are much quieter than portable generators.
  • Automatic standby generators do not require refueling. Portable generators require gasoline and need to be refilled. Electrical outages may render gas pumps inoperable, and gas may be unavailable. 
  • The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed standby generators as a safer way to provide backup power to a home than a portable generator, especially if you have family members who require oxygen or have other medical conditions.

Learn more about GE Home Standby Generator features here.