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How Much Does A Generator Cost?

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Key Takeaways

Key PointDetails
Portable Generator Cost$500 – $2,500 (unit only), $900 – $3,800 (connected to house)
Whole House Generator Cost$6,000 – $11,000 (installed)
Installation Cost$900 – $4,000 (portable), $6,000 – $11,000 (whole house)
Generator Size2 – 48 kW covering from one appliance to large luxury homes
Fuel Costs Per Day$10 – $70 (portable), $30 – $170 (standby)
Rental Cost$40 – $110 per day depending on capacity

$500 – $2,500 Portable Generator Cost (Unit Only)

Portable generators are typically the most budget-friendly option. They range from $500 to $2,500 per unit. These serve well for occasional power outages and can handle essential appliances.

$900 – $3,800 Portable Generator Cost (Connected To House)

Connecting a portable generator to your house can significantly increase the cost. The total setup, including connection, ranges from $900 to $3,800. This solution adds convenience and enhances safety.

$6,000 – $11,000 Whole House Generator Cost Installed

For a comprehensive setup, a whole house generator provides uninterrupted power for all home appliances. The total installed cost ranges from $6,000 to $11,000. This covers the unit and professional installation.

Average Generator Cost

Generator Cost By Size

SizeUnit Price RangeTypical Coverage
2 – 5 kW$250 – $1,400Portable: One appliance and a few lights.
7 – 10 kW$2,000 – $3,000Portable: 10 lights, refrigerator, sump pump, well pump, microwave, TV, laptop, coffee maker, and furnace fan.
13 – 16 kW$3,000 – $4,500Full home under 1,500 square feet.
17 – 20 kW$4,000 – $6,000Full 1,500 to 3,000 square foot home.
22 – 25 kW$4,500 – $12,000Full 3,000 to 5,000 square foot home.
30 – 48 kW$10,000 – $16,000Large luxury home or commercial applications.

Generator Installation Costs

Generator Installation Cost

FactorPortable GeneratorWhole House Generator
Generator Unit$500 – $2,500$3,000 – $6,000
Installation Cost To Hook To House$400 – $1,500$3,000 – $5,000

Total Cost Installed

  • Portable: $900 – $4,000
  • Whole House: $6,000 – $11,000

Cost Breakdown To Install A Generator

The installation cost of a generator depends on several factors, including the complexity of the setup, labor fees, and any additional parts required. Portable generators generally have lower installation fees compared to whole house systems, which require professional expertise and more robust infrastructure.

Portable Generator Cost Vs. Standby

Portable Generator Cost Vs. Standby

Cost (Unit Only)$500 – $2,500$2,000 – $6,000
Lifespan2,000 – 5,000 hours10,000 – 30,000 hours
Power Output2 – 10 kW7 – 22 kW
Fuel Cost$10 – $70 per day$30 – $170 per day
Fuel Needs12 – 20 gallons of gasoline or diesel per day20 – 75 gallons of liquid propane or 3,000 to 8,000 cubic feet of natural gas daily

Pros And Cons

  • Portable


    • Smaller and less expensive

    • Lower installation costs

    • Can power lights and essential appliances

    • Prevents food from spoiling during an outage

    • Easy to move around

    • Require minimal maintenance

    • Useful for camping, outdoor events, or construction site


    • Noisy
    • Significantly less powerful
    • Require manual start and refueling
    • Produces hazardous fumes
    • Requires space for storage
    • Can’t power sensitive electronics
    • Can’t power heating or air conditioning
    • Can’t run for more than two consecutive days
  • Standby


    • Can power a whole house

    • Quieter than a portable generator

    • Can run for days or weeks continuously

    • Starts automatically

    • Can power sensitive electronics

    • Can power heating, air conditioning, and hot water heater


    • More expensive
    • Requires professional installation
    • Permanently fixed in place
    • Requires regular maintenance
    • Requires propane or diesel fuel delivery or access to a natural gas pipeline

Generator Prices By Fuel Type

Generator Costs By Fuel Type

Fuel TypePortableWhole House / Standby
Gasoline$250 – $4,500
Natural Gas$900 – $4,300$2,000 – $6,000
Liquid Propane$250 – $4,000$2,000 – $6,000
Diesel$3,300 – $6,700$5,000 – $18,000
Solar$500 – $3,300

Gasoline Generator Cost

Gasoline generators are one of the most common types due to their availability and portability. They range between $250 – $4,500 for portable units. These are suitable for temporary outages and outdoor activities.

Natural Gas Generator Cost

Natural gas generators are more efficient and eco-friendly. These generators cost between $900 – $4,300 for portable units and $2,000 – $6,000 for whole house units. They’re suitable for homes with access to a natural gas line.

Liquid Propane Generator Cost

Liquid propane generators are versatile and can be used both for portable and standby solutions. The cost for portable propane generators ranges from $250 – $4,000, while whole house units cost between $2,000 – $6,000.

Diesel Generator Cost

Diesel generators are known for their durability and efficiency. Portable units range from $3,300 to $6,700, while whole house units can cost between $5,000 and $18,000. These are often used in commercial settings and large residences.

Solar Generator Cost

Solar generators are gaining popularity due to their eco-friendliness. These generators cost between $500 and $3,300. They are most effective in areas with abundant sunlight and are generally used for smaller power needs.

Generator Rental Cost

Cost To Rent Portable Generator

Power CapacityRental Price Per Day
1 – 2.5 kW$40 – $55
3 – 4 kW$50 – $65
5 – 7 kW$70 – $90
8 – 10 kW$80 – $110
100 – 300 kW Towable$300 – $500 per week
500+ kW Towable$700 – $1,100 per week

Renting a generator is a cost-effective solution for temporary needs. The cost varies depending on the power capacity and the rental duration.

Generator FAQs

Can Portable Generators Run A House?

Yes, portable generators can run a house, but with limitations. They are generally designed to power essential appliances such as refrigerators, lights, and sump pumps. To run an entire house, a standby generator would be more appropriate.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Generator?

Cost To Run A Generator Per Day
Fuel Source7 kW15 kW20 kW
Natural Gas$10 – $20$22 – $32$30 – $40
Liquid Propane$60 – $70$145 – $165$150 – $170
Diesel$32 – $40$90 – $110$100 – $120
Gasoline$55 – $70

The cost to run a generator depends on the fuel type and the generator’s size. It’s essential to factor in these costs when planning for emergencies.

How Long Can A Generator Run Continuously?

Time A Generator Can Run

TypeContinuous Hours
Portable8 – 14
StandbyUp to 500

Portable generators can run for about 8 to 14 hours continuously, while standby generators can operate for up to 500 hours.

How Much Fuel Does A Generator Need?

Generator Fuel Consumption

Fuel Type5 – 7 kW15 kW20 kW
Gasoline0.75 GPH
Liquid Propane1.42 GPH3.16 GPH3.45 GPH
Natural Gas118 CfH133 CfH330 CfH
Diesel0.60 GPH1.22 GPH1.60 GPH

Fuel consumption varies based on the generator size and type. Calculating fuel needs is crucial for ensuring continuous operation during outages.

How Long Does A Generator Last?

Generator Lifespan By Type

TypeLifespan In YearsHours of Runtime
PortableUp to 102,000 – 5,000
Standby15 – 3010,000 – 30,000

Generators have varied lifespans depending on the type and maintenance. Portable generators typically last up to 10 years, while standby generators can last between 15 to 30 years.

What Size Generator Do I Need?

Generator Size Calculator For House

Type of LoadWattage7 kW20 kW48 kW
Two Lighting Circuits200 W✔️
Four Lighting Circuits400 W✔️
10 Lighting Circuits1000 W✔️
Refrigerator / Freezer1200 W✔️✔️✔️
Sump Pump1000 W✔️✔️✔️
Well Pump1000 W✔️✔️✔️
Furnace Fan500 W✔️✔️✔️
Garage Door Opener850 W✔️✔️✔️
Microwave Oven1000 W✔️✔️✔️
Electric Oven2000 W✔️✔️
Radio150 W✔️✔️✔️
Television300 W✔️✔️
Laptop50 W✔️✔️
Desktop Computer200 W✔️✔️
4-Ton Central Air Conditioner8500 W✔️✔️
Washing Machine1200 W✔️✔️
Electric Clothes Dryer3000 W✔️
Coffee Maker900 W✔️✔️
Gaming Console100 W✔️
Jacuzzi Bathtub1500 W✔️
Hot Tub6000 W✔️
EV Charging Station7200 W✔️

Selecting the right generator size depends on your power needs. Use the above calculator to estimate the required generator size based on your home’s appliances and electrical loads.

Getting Estimates From Generator Installers

When planning to install a generator, it’s crucial to get multiple estimates from qualified installers. This will help ensure you receive competitive pricing and quality service. Be sure to check credentials, reviews, and ask for references.

In summary, a generator is a significant investment that ensures the continuity of power during emergencies. The costs vary widely based on the type, size, and installation requirements. Evaluating your specific needs and consulting with professionals can help you make an informed decision.

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