Understanding The Difference Between Portable, Standby, And Solar Generators

In recent months, you might’ve heard about the need for generators, especially during the Texas Energy Crisis, which was responsible for the loss of about 40% of the power supply due to a snowstorm, thus leaving millions of people without power for days. With such a crisis came the demand for power generators, which made customers’ energy bills rise – essentially creating a gaping wound in the financial repercussions of the winter storm.

So now, there’s a new debate on what types of generators are more effective, should there be another energy crisis in the future. It’s here that we introduce the candidates: portable generators, standby generators, and solar generators. Which is the better generator?

In this article, we’ll explore all 3 options, and then draw conclusions on how to approach each of them. 

Portable Generators (Short-Term Option)

In short: Portable generators can only work in the following scenarios:

  • When you need immediate power to critical loads, OR
  • When you don’t mind having a cheaper option for generators

However, portable generators have their own cons as well:

  • Requires manual setup
  • Can take time for it to fully turn on (especially during a power outage)
  • Can be noisy at times, AND
  • Strings along ongoing fuel costs

There are also portable generators that are suitable for welding.

Standby Generators (Long-Term Option)

Standby generators also go by the name of “pad-mount generators,” since they’re made to be permanent household fixtures installed outside the home on concrete padding. But are they a good solution?

Let’s look at the benefits of standby generators: 

  1. These generators will turn on automatically during a power outage, not requiring a good amount of time to do so.
  2. They will run continuously, since they’re powered on a home’s natural gas or propane.
  3. These generators are easier to refuel, unlike portable generators.

Now, let’s look at the concerns for such generators:

The unit size you’ll need will depend on your home’s square footage. (So, you can’t just install ANY standby generator.)

These generators tend to cost more than portable models when it comes to installation, since they’ll need to be installed outside the house on concrete.

Solar Generators With Backup Batteries (Long-Term Options)

“Solar is considered one of the cleanest energy solutions to date,” says Esther Carter, a tech writer at Dissertation Help and Writemyaustralia.

“Therefore, there are people turning to solar-powered generators, in case of any power outages. Solar generators are supposed to help generate free energy from your solar panels, which can be bought and installed with a backup battery system. The only major downside though, is that most household solar panel systems get their energy from the main power grid; so, if the main power grid is offline, then the panels won’t work to produce energy again until the utility is back online, which is why you’ll need a backup battery for it.”

With that in mind, let’s go over the pros and cons of solar generators.

The pros?

  • A long-term solution that powers your critical loads indefinitely
  • Generates energy at little to no cost to you
  • The cost of back batteries are cheap
  • Storage is cost-efficient, since it’s competing with standby generators

What about the cons?

    • Won’t work if its main source (i.e. a city power grid) is offline
  • Requires a backup battery system (which seems counterproductive to its purpose)


Ultimately, whichever generator you choose to use depends on your home and or your situation. Also, while no one can predict the next big power outage – similar to the Texas Energy Crisis of 2021 – it’s still important to keep generators in mind, especially when it comes to worsening weather conditions and higher demand on power grids as they are today. With a good generator – any of the 3 options that we’ve discussed in this article – you’ll be able to make better decisions, when it comes to powering your home or facility.

Author bio:

Lauren Groff is a writer and editor at Top essay writing services and Write my essay. She is also a contributing writer for Student Writing Services. As a business development manager, she has overseen various online projects.

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