Worried about blackouts, earthquakes, hurricanes or other disasters? Wondering how a portable generator works and if it might be helpful to you?

Here are some things to consider when shopping for a portable generator.

We Know: Fast Facts About Portable Generators

How are portable generators powered?

Most portable generators are powered by gasoline. Some generators can also be powered by propane or natural gas.

If you only need a little power for a short time, you can buy a power inverter that allows you to convert 12-volt DC power from your car battery to 120-volt AC power for appliances in your home.

How much do portable generators cost?

For a generator that is suitable for powering several appliances in your home for hours at a time, the prices range from about $1000 to deluxe models that cost $10,000.

What are the things to look for when buying a portable generator?

  • Find out how much wattage the generator can produce. That will help you determine how many appliances you can run, and if they can run properly. Too little wattage and your appliances won’t work well.
  • Ask about fuel consumption and fuel storage. The more efficient the generator, the longer it will run. (Make sure you find out how long the generator will run when it’s at full capacity. Then compare it to others running at full capacity, so you’re looking at apples to apples.) And find out how big the fuel tank is.
  • Once you know about wattage and fuel, you can begin to determine how long the generator will run.

Summary: You’re looking at power produced, fuel efficiency and storage, and running time.

Important things to remember from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  1. Never run a portable generator indoors or in an attached garage.
  2. Make sure the outdoor area where you run the generator is well ventilated.
  3. Don’t plug the generator into a wall outlet.
  4. Follow all the manufacture’s instructions about plugging appliances in and about how to operate the generator safely.

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