Best Off Grid Generator

Living off-grid doesn’t mean you can’t have a power source to run your appliances; you just need a generator.

When picking the best off grid generator for your homestead, you will want to consider how much power you will need, what type of fuel it will use, and how much space you have to store it.

We’ll be delving into the ins and outs of inverter generators and conventional generators, which are suitable for homesteading. And we’ll be providing you with suggestions as to which generator might suit your situation the best.

  • DuroMax XP12000EH
  • WEN 56225i
  • Pulsar G12KBN
  • Generac 7127 iQ3500
  • Briggs & Stratton 030713

Before we get into generator suggestions, let’s start with some of the main questions and considerations for choosing a generator.

Why have a generator for off grid living?

It may seem a little strange to go and buy a generator when you want to be completely energy-independent, but there are some significant reasons for backup power. The number one reason to invest in a generator is simply for your convenience.

Solar, wind, and hydro energy can be your primary source of power. However, a generator guarantees that you won’t get caught short if any of these greener methods happen to fail. For example, cloudy days can stop solar panels from gaining as much energy; completely still days mean won’t kick wind power into action. 

There’s also the possibility of days when you will need to do maintenance or repairs on your self-sufficient energy source, which could leave you without power for a few days if it isn’t a quick fix. 

Types of Generators

The two types of generators you may be considering are conventional or inverter. So let’s look at the pros and cons for each type:

Conventional Generators

This type of generator has been around for the longest time and is ideal for powering large items. 

Pros for Conventional Generators

  • Initial cost – it is often considerably cheaper to buy a conventional as opposed to an inverter.
  • Fuel tank size – a large tank means you will need to refill it much less frequently.
  • Powerful – conventional generators produce more power due to their larger fuel tank.

Cons for Conventional Generators

  • Noisy to run – the sound created by a conventional generator can fall between 65 to 75 dB, which is around the same volume as a washing machine.
  • Unstable power – is often termed “dirty electricity” because it is inconsistent and could cause power surges that are unsuitable for powering smaller appliances such as televisions or phones.
  • AC power only – the power produced is not processed to become stable AC current.

Inverter Generators

This slightly newer type of generator is great for modern living as its AC power gets turned into DC power before becoming a much more stable AC current that is suitable for powering more sensitive things with microprocessors.

Pros for Inverter Generators

  • Portable generator – as inverter generators are smaller (with smaller fuel tanks) you can move them around easier than most conventional generators.
  • Fuel efficient – designed to adjust the engine speed depending on what they are powering at that time, the inverter generator uses its fuel much more efficiently.
  • Quiet to run – as well as being smaller, they are also quieter than conventional generators, measuring in at around 60 dB.
  • Stable power – due to the conversion of AC into DC before being converted back to a stable AC current, this backup generator is a much smoother electricity source.
  • Dual-action – if you purchase two identical inverter generators, they can be run in parallel with one another, giving you more energy but in a fuel-efficient and quieter format.

Cons for Inverter Generators

  • Initial cost – inverter generators are more costly than conventional, so they are a much more significant investment.
  • Fuel tank size – with around 4 gallons being the standard tank size for inverter generators, they will need refilling more regularly than the conventional generators, which have anywhere between 9-12 gallon tanks.

What fuel is best for my backup generator?

Once you’ve chosen whether you want a conventional or inverter generator, then you’ll want to look into which fuel is best suited for your needs. You can run generators on these fuel types:

  • Diesel
  • Gasoline
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Hybrid – bi-fuel/dual-fuel

Each has its pros and cons, so depending on your preferences, you can choose from the following generator types:

Diesel Generator

Pros:

  • Easy to obtain diesel from the gas station
  • Relatively cheap to run
  • Least flammable of all fuel types

Cons:

  • Short shelf life – around 18-24 months
  • Diesel tanks need to be almost full to be efficient – about 70-80% full, if below 40% and the engine can begin to smoke

Gasoline Generator

Pros:

  • Easy to obtain from gas stations
  • Great for portability of smaller generators

Cons:

  • Short shelf life – 12 months
  • Highly flammable
  • Dangerous to store gas in large quantities
  • It can be pretty expensive and fluctuate
  • May not be available if power outages occur

Propane Generator

Pros:

  • Improved shelf life compared with other fuels
  • Easy to store
  • Clean burning
  • Propane generators are often quieter

Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • May not function well in freezing cold weather
  • May cost more for installation and maintenance
  • It may not be as long-lasting as other fuel generators

Natural Gas Generator

Pros:

  • Clean burning
  • Can function in cold weather

Cons:

  • Not an off-grid fuel source
  • May not function well in hotter weather
  • May not be as long-lasting as other fuel generators

Hybrid Generator

Pros:

  • It gives you options and a backup in case one fuel type isn’t available
  • Opportunity to choose your preferred fuel sources

Cons:

  • Check the cons for the varying fuel types, as these still apply when running hybrid generators

What size generator do I need for off grid?

When it comes to size, this will depend on your needs for the generator. Is it just a backup power source, or will it be regularly used for everyday living?

How many watts a generator produces is how they are marketed. So it would help if you worked out what your wattage needs will be so you know which one to purchase. You can do this by using a wattage worksheet like this one here. Many electronic motors will need much higher wattage for their initial startup – this can be two or three times more than the running wattage – so take this into account when working out which generator to buy.

Often, for homesteading, these power sources are just used as backup generators or charging batteries when other forms of power can’t fulfill the wattage needs. Solar, wind, or hydro-power are much more conducive to off-grid living.

Best Off Grid Generators

As we discussed above, the needs you have will dictate which generator is best for you. But here are a selection of popular off-grid generators to get you started.

DuroMax XP12000EH Gas/Propane Generator

https://www.amazon.com/DuroMax-XP12000EH-000-Watt-Portable-Generator/dp/B01M0N8256/

[amazon fields=”B01M0N8256″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=”1″ image_align=”center”]

Running Wattage:  9,500 Watts

Surge Wattage:  12,000 Watts

Runtime: 8 hours

Tank Capacity: 8.3 Gallons

Weight: 224 lbs

The DuroMax generator is a great option for those looking for a hybrid generator with a good capacity for more extended use. With a large 12000-watt surge wattage and a great 9500 watt running power, this is the ideal choice if you’re hoping to run a lot of appliances or power tools – there’s a lot of building involved in setting up your homestead!

Pros

  • Dual-Fuel generator means you have options
  • Large capacity tank
  • Great wattage capability

Cons

  • A little more on the pricey side
  • May not be the most fuel-efficient
  • May be a little tricky to set up
[amazon link=”B01M0N8256″ title=”Check Amazon For The Latest Price” link_class=”my-button”/]

WEN 56225i Gas Powered Portable Generator

https://www.amazon.com/WEN-56225i-2250-Watt-Portable-Generator/dp/B07MN11GV8/

[amazon fields=”B07MN11GV8″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=”1″ image_align=”center”]

Running Wattage: 1800 Watts

Surge Wattage: 2250 Watts

Runtime: 6 hours at Half-Load

Tank Capacity: 1 Gallon

Noise Level: 53 dB

Weight: 48.5 lbs

This smaller, portable generator from WEN would be ideal as a standby generator for emergencies. It does have a smaller wattage output, but is suffice for charging batteries and running small electricals. It’s also a nice, quiet generator – perfect for minimal disturbance.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Automatic fuel shutoff
  • CARB Compliant
  • Safer for small electronics

Cons

  • Relatively small wattage output – may not suit everyone’s needs
  • May be tricky to start up
[amazon link=”B07MN11GV8″ title=”Check Amazon For The Latest Price” link_class=”my-button”/]

Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator

https://www.amazon.com/Pulsar-Portable-Generator-Electric-G12KBN/dp/B07HCYW5GF/

[amazon fields=”B07HCYW5GF” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=”1″ image_align=”center”]

Running Wattage: 9500 Watts

Surge Wattage: 12000 Watts

Runtime: 12 hours at Half-Load

Tank Capacity: 8 Gallons

Noise Level: 76 dB

Weight: 209 lbs

Another large capacity generator with dual-fuel functionality, the Pulsar G12KBN. With an electric start for ease of use and an air-cooling system for safety, all protected by the heavy-duty, powder-coated frame. When at half-load capacity, this generator will run for 12 hours on gasoline, giving you plenty of electricity to keep things ticking over until your solar, wind or hydropower is back in action.

Pros

  • 1-year warranty (limited)
  • The option of two potential fuel sources
  • Large capacity tank

Cons

  • Gasoline may provide the most power hours compared with LPG
  • Quite loud when running (louder than standard washing machine motors)
[amazon link=”B07HCYW5GF” title=”Check Amazon For The Latest Price” link_class=”my-button”/]

Generac 7127 iQ3500 Gas-Powered Portable Inverter Generator

https://www.amazon.com/Generac-7127-iQ3500-3500-Portable-Generator/dp/B07H8S6L5G/

[amazon fields=”B07H8S6L5G” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=”1″ image_align=”center”]

Running Wattage: 3000 Watts

Surge Wattage: 3500 Watts

Weight: 109.1 lbs

For a small and portable generator, the Generac 7127 is great. With a quiet motor – “around 5 dB quieter than leading competitors” – and easy to transport design, this is great for work or play. It is on the lower end of the power spectrum, but as it is an inverter generator, the Generac is ideal for smaller appliances and charging batteries in emergencies.

Pros

  • “Ultra-quiet”
  • Small and portable
  • USB ports for easy charging
  • LCD screen to show remaining time

Cons

  • Quite expensive for the wattage it provides
  • Low wattage level may not suit all needs
[amazon link=”B07H8S6L5G” title=”Check Amazon For The Latest Price” link_class=”my-button”/]

Briggs & Stratton Gas-Powered Portable Generator

https://www.amazon.com/Briggs-Stratton-30713-5000W-Generator/dp/B07539JGHP/

[amazon fields=”B07539JGHP” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image=”1″ image_align=”center”]

Wattage: 5000 Watts

Runtime: 12 hours at Half-Load

Tank Capacity: 7.5 Gallons

Weight: 187 lbs

Despite the large 7.5 gallon tank, this Briggs & Stratton generator actually provides a lower wattage level, meaning that fuel should last longer. It would be great for short, backup amounts of usage with solar, wind or hydropower as your main source of energy, as it can successfully power large appliances or power tools at the flip of a switch to change the Voltage setting.

Pros

  • Easy to start
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Overhead Valve helps the generator to run cooler

Cons

  • Need to buy a grounding rod separately
  • Runs at full throttle at all times – no idle down feature
  • Could be noisy when running
[amazon link=”B07539JGHP” title=”Check Amazon For The Latest Price” link_class=”my-button”/]

Conclusion

After looking at these 5 generators, it’s difficult to choose an overall winner due to the differing needs for homesteaders. If you’re using a form of green energy to power your off-grid living, then having a backup is definitely a wise idea.

[amazon box=”B01M0N8256″ template=”horizontal”]

The [amazon link=”B01M0N8256″ /] has a great wattage output which is ideal for powering large appliances such as fridges, freezers and ovens etc. in the case of other energy sources failing for some reason. The dual-fuel aspect of this generator is also great for giving you options depending on your fuel preference.

A close second is probably the [amazon link=”B07H8S6L5G” /] – a smaller wattage and smaller size, but great for emergencies providing the ability to charge phones, laptops and other batteries due to the inverter generator technology.

If you’ve got a suggestion for a great generator that has served your homestead well, then please do comment below and let us know.

Leave a Comment