7 On Your Side: Tips for buying a generator

Consumer Reports tested more than 40 generators and found which give the best performance, so you have power when you need it.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Earthquake preparedness is on everyone's mind right now and being prepared often means you might consider a generator. 7 On Your Side partnered exclusively with Consumer Reports for some tips.

Having a portable generator in your earthquake kit is a good idea. Consumer Reports just tested more than 40 and can tell you which generators offer the best performance, so you have power when you need it.

Andrea Colao purchased her first generator after losing power for about a week, three times in a row.

"It was so cold, the house was down to 50 degrees. I had no water, no electricity, no heat, no way to cook, and I said, 'We're getting a generator,'" Colao said.

Consumer Reports tests portable generators and says you want one with about 5,000-7,000 watts of power.

Mike Dilauro from Consumer Reports said, "That will give you enough to power your essentials like a refrigerator, a well or sump pump, a furnace, as well as a computer, a microwave, and some lights."

Testers check to see how much power is actually delivered and the quality of that power.

"You want a generator that can deliver the power it claims, maintain voltage, and handle power surges from appliances that cycle on and off like a refrigerator or an air conditioner," Dilauro said.

It's also better for computer and other electronic devices. For $4,000, a top-rated Honda EU Series EU7000 generator delivers the smoothest and the quietest power.

However, Consumer Reports found plenty of less expensive generators. They may not be as quiet, but can handle surges in power even better. Among them are the $900 Troy-Bilt and also for $900, a Generac, which testers say is very easy to start.

And remember, whichever generator you choose, you'll need anywhere from eight to 20 gallons of gasoline to keep it running 24 hours a day. And because gasoline can go bad, be sure to add fuel stabilizer to your gas.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
Related Topics:
shopping consumer reports 7 On Your Side disaster earthquake
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