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Generator vs. Backup Battery: Which Emergency Power Source Should You Choose?

For years, generators have been the only available power supply backup, so homeowners only had to choose between brands, with Kohler residential generators being the most purchased. However, safety risks associated with generators, such as CO poisoning and fire, led to the invention of a safer alternative, backup batteries.

But while generators and backup batteries serve the same purpose, they are different devices with different potentials. This guide will compare how each device works (the backup batteries and generators) and highlight their pros and downsides to help you choose the most appropriate one.

Backup Batteries

Backup batteries are designed to store energy that can power up your home in case of a power outage. Some battery systems are designed to harvest energy from the electrical grid and solar energy systems, making them environmentally friendly. Additionally, backup batteries are automated to kick-start up on sensing power outages and vice versa.

Home Generators

The alternative to backup batteries is generators. Unlike batteries, generators run on fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas to power your home. But similar to a backup battery system, most home generators are automated to kick start when they detect a power outage and run until the power is restored.

However, various factors determine the power backup you install at your home. Check out how backup batteries compare to generators.

Generators Vs. Backup Batteries: How To Choose The Most Suitable


Both backup batteries and generators are reliable power backups, but which is suitable depends on individual needs. For example, generators are often the best options for homes with high wattage requirements or those that are prone to prolonged power outages.

On the other hand, backup batteries have limited power storage, thus making them unreliable for homes with high wattage needs. However, they are best at providing uninterrupted power backup. Most users barely notice a power outage, meaning batteries can kick start within a fraction of a minute, unlike generators which may take up to a minute leading to devices switching off and on.


You won’t have to worry about maintenance if you are considering a backup battery for your home power backup supply. Backup batteries have little maintenance requirements, with most guaranteeing over ten years of perfect condition.

Generators, however, require frequent maintenance to ensure they are in perfect condition. For example, you must provide regular checks on the fuel, oil, coolant, piping, wiring, etc. These maintenance requirements can be costly and should be considered when choosing a power backup for your home.

Fuel Cost

Backup batteries that harvest energy from renewable sources, such as solar energy, can run fuel free. On the other hand, generators rely on fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas. Considering a backup generator, including fuel expenses in the generator cost is prudent.

It is also worth noting that backup batteries that harvest energy from the electrical grid add to your electricity bill. Therefore, installing solar panels to power your batteries is prudent.  

Whether a generator or a backup battery is a suitable power backup will depend on your power needs. However, upfront costs, installation fees, and maintenance costs can also determine what power backup you will install.

For your backup power needs, look no further than Power Systems West, visit us today at

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