Before You Buy

Checklist for Things to Know Before You Buy

If you're new to the generators market, you might find the buying process daunting. But you can take control by getting organized. Use this generator checklist to help you to make the right decisions when buying a home standby generator or a portable generator to protect your home and family.

In researching the right generator for your home, here's a useful checklist:


    • Establish your budget. Generator prices fall across a wide range, so determining how much you'd like to spend is important.


    • Understand electrical terms. You'll see a lot about watts, volts, amps and more. View our glossary for definitions.


    • Determine wattage needs. You'll need to know how much power you need for the items you care about.


    • Decide: Home Standby or Portable? Considering your budget, convenience and power needs, choose which type of generator you want. Visit the Home Standby vs. Portable page for further details.


    • Take care of home power issues. Locate your existing electrical service panel and gas line to target any potential problems before buying a generator.


    • Perform product comparisons. Compare power outputs, run times and prices as well as what's included in those prices, such as accessories, warranties, support and installation.


    • Shop with a trustworthy source. Rely only on known retailers, registered dealers and reputable websites such as


    • Determine financing options. Some retail stores offer financing options for generator purchases.


    • Consider included costs. Does the generator come with a warranty and maintenance package?


    • Consider additional costs. How much more will it cost for installation by a qualified professional? Will you need an accessory like a cover for protection from the elements?
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