Yes, there are many types of generators, from small portable models designed to charge electronics to bigger units that can power appliances like a full-size refrigerator, window air conditioning unit or even a furnace.
This article focuses on the latter—big generators designed for backup power in the aftermath of a disaster like a hurricane.
To find the best generators to power your house after a hurricane, we started with our parent readers—and we found two dozen who live in hurricane country along the Gulf Coast and Florida. These families have purchased a variety of generator brands—we asked them what was the most reliable and easiest to use.
We quickly learned that dual fuel generators are the best bet. Why? It’s important to have options after a natural disaster: you may have access to gasoline . . . or not. Propane as a backup is important, as those cylinders may be more available than gas.
Then we interviewed contractors and other professionals who rely on generators for more day-to-day use.
We took these suggestions and then did several more hours of research, comparing lab tests of generators (looking at noise levels and more).
For the best generator for those in hurricane country, we’d recommend Champion’s 3800-watt dual fuel model with electric start. It combined the best performance with features that make it easy to use. Here’s more:
What We Liked
• Runs 9 hours on full tank (3.4 gallon tank for gasoline).
• Easy to start with electric switch . . . or you can start it manually (but only if you use propane).
• 3800 watt capacity can run major appliances like an A/C or fridge.
• Performs well on propane.
• Instructions are easy to follow.
• Built-in surge protector.
• Never flat tires.
• Gauges track run-time hours and voltage.
• Large number of outlets: 1 120v 30A RV outlet, 1 120V 30A locking outlet, 2 120V 20A household outlets
What Needs Work
• Trickle charger needed to keep the battery charged (sold separately).
• Too loud for camping. This generator is rated at 68 decibels at 30 feet.
• Lots of maintenance required—changing the oil could be easier. This is true for most dual fuel generators, however.
• Must drain gasoline when you switch to propane.