Home Generator Options: Which Is Right for You?

The best home backup generator options for power outages, explained.

Regardless of where you live, power outages happen. Securing your home with a backup power generator allows you to be prepared for peace of mind in any event. There are backup power options to fit a variety of home sizes at almost any budget.

The three different types of home generators include select circuit generators, managed whole home generators and whole home generators. All provide the same benefit — ensuring that your house has power when needed — but each of these options fits different needs.

Select Circuit Generators

A select circuit generator is one of the best home generator options for smaller homes that only need to power the essentials during a power outage. This type of generator is connected to specific circuits in your home, which you will select at the time of installation. In most homes you can select up to 10 circuits.  For example, a microwave, air conditioning unit, sump pump, and garage door opener could be predetermined to be automatically powered by the generator when an outage occurs.  

This size and type is ideal for those who know their outages are temporary. Even though this size can run as long as any other generator, it powers less, so they are best for lasting up to a few days. Because of the smaller power load, only a 10kW or 12kW size unit is needed, which are more cost-effective but large enough to power your essentials.

Managed Whole Home Generators

A managed whole home generator system is a generator that is paired with a power management system. There are different types of power management systems. Some have  predetermined circuits that automatically manage the home's needs. Others allow you to modify the circuits as needed using a mobile app during an outage.

The Briggs & Stratton Symphony II Power Management System automatically manages the power load, allowing up to eight high-wattage appliances to be pre-selected and prioritized during installation. The system automatically determines which circuit needs power over others based on the priorities set, and protects a circuit from an overload or short circuit. This option is great for those who want to power more than the basics without the worry of overloading their generator. Having this power management system with your home generator will get you through several days without power with assurance that you’ll have access to multiple electronics and appliances to make your life comfortable.

Another option is the Briggs & Stratton Amplify Power Management System, which puts the power in the homeowner’s hands. After you select up to 32 high-wattage appliances, the Standby Generator Management mobile app lets you prioritize what’s running and when. Amplify is compatible with any 12, 17, 20 or 26kW Briggs & Stratton whole home generator manufactured after October 2019, and is suitable for any size home. This system reduces the initial investment of a home generator, allowing you to purchase a smaller generator and manage priorities rather than the size of your whole home might have required.

Whole Home Generators

Whole home generators are the ultimate hassle-free home generator power option for homeowners who want the entire home to function seamlessly and continually during a power outage — as though the power never went out. The system provides more consistent and reliable power by powering every circuit in the breaker panel for a home. Whole home generators may be the best option for long-term power outages, specifically in hurricane- or wildfire-prone areas that can lose power for days or even weeks at a time to ensure a truly uninterrupted life.

Regardless of which option you choose, all of these backup generator options are effective and useful in the event of a power outage. To do some preliminary research into the size and option best for you, use the calculator or contact a Briggs & Stratton generator dealer near you.

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Our Whole-House Generator Sizing Calculator allows you to select what you want to power in your home and directs you to the appropriate-sized generator system.