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What Generator is Right for You?

By January 7, 2023 No Comments
What Generator is Right for You?

As we enter into the winter months here in Pennsylvania we can face our share of power outages due to a number of reasons. Whether it be freezing rain, ice storms, snow, whatever the reason staying prepared is a necessity. Loss of power is never a good thing.

When making the decision to provide backup power, it is very important to consider what you’ll be powering. Because generators are often thousands of dollars, making the right choice can often seem like a daunting task.

We have compiled this helpful comparison of portable and home standby generators to help make the important decision process easier.

Portable Generators

At times when power isn’t readily accessible, these generators can be used when needed and then easily removed. Portables are ideal for use when traveling, in areas without proper electrical infrastructure, or when utilities are temporarily shut off for maintenance.


  • Portables are often much cheaper than standby generators.
  • If the correct connections are set up, some portables have the capability to power almost as much as standbys.
  • The units come with built-in outlets for extension cords in case an automatic transfer switch hasn’t been installed.


  • Standby models run on some kind of fuel supply, which is typically propane. In order to stay prepared, users have to keep a stockpile of gasoline and fuel stabilizer on hand. Although there are some models that can run on natural gas or liquid propane.
  • The units will have to have some sort of weather protection set up when in use.
  • Portable generators are often much louder because they are not encased in the same way standbys are.
  • Their power capabilities typically are much lower than standby generators.

Manual Transfer Switch

At Northern Electrical, we offer a wonderful solution for customers who want to be prepared for an emergency, but do not want to make the significant investment into a standby generator.

The installation of a manual transfer switch is a great solution for the customer that has a portable generator and would like to be able to back up a couple circuits in their home in the event of a power outage. Some of the common items that this option can backup are:

  • Refrigerators
  • Furnaces
  • Hot water tanks
  • Common area lighting
  • Microwaves
  • Outlets

We offer two models, a 30-amp and a 50-amp option.

Standby Generators

Standby generators are a great option to stay prepared for any emergency. Because they are much more permanent than portables, they are always ready for surprise power outages. Due to their permanent nature, standby generators kick on automatically when the power goes out, unlike portables.


  • Standby generators tend to have more running power and are more reliable due to their power capabilities and sturdiness.
  • They are typically strong enough to power an entire home’s electrical system.
  • They turn on automatically when the power goes out.
  • Because of their fuel tank, these generators run for days or even weeks without refueling.
  • Typically, they are much quieter than portables. This is because the units are often placed into an insulated structure that protects them from the elements.
  • Because they are already covered, weather protection isn’t necessary.


  • The standby units are typically much more expensive than portables. Their price range falls around $2,000 to $5,000.
  • Because the installation is done by a professional, the installation costs can be higher as well.

Professional Generator Installation

If you choose to install a standby generator in your home or business, you’ll need a trusted team of professionals. Northern Electrical has the team of experts you’re looking for.

Contact us today with any questions or concerns you may have. We’re looking forward to assisting you with your next commercial or residential power project.