The thing about power outages is that they can strike at any day or night, whether you’re at home. A generator can be the key to keeping your home powered during these unexpected but not uncommon periods of downtime, but there are many different generator types. To help you figure out which type of generator will work best with your Ohio household, we’ve outlined the four most common types and their pros and cons below.

Generator basics

This Ohio state map gives you an idea of which areas are most prone to outages. Having a well-researched idea of where your home is most vulnerable will help you determine how much generator wattage you’ll need. Whether you need 10,000 watts or 5,000 watts depends on what appliances will be running during and after an outage (lighting, refrigeration, computers, and electronics). You may also consider buying a smaller backup system if your property is located far from any neighbors.

Portable generators

Suppose you live in Ohio, where common power outages, you’ve likely experienced more than one power outage. It’s also likely that if your area experiences frequent blackouts, your home is not equipped with battery backup. If you want to keep your home powered during unexpected outages or storms, a portable generator is what you need. Portable generators are usually on wheels and run off natural gas or propane.

Standby generators

If you’re prone to natural disasters or live in an area with long stretches of sub-zero winter weather, then it might be worth looking into a standby generator. A standby generator is fueled up and ready to go when your main power source runs out. They run on propane or natural gas (not gasoline). They also can keep your home running even after an extended blackout. Standby generators are usually located outside of your home but in more severe conditions can be placed inside.

Sizing your generator

When shopping for a home generator, one of the most important decisions is sizing it correctly. Your generator’s size depends on how much you’re going to use it and how long you’ll need it. If you intend to use your home backup generator occasionally—say, once or twice a year, or whenever there’s an extended outage—you can get away with a smaller unit that runs on natural gas.

Fuel considerations

Depending on your location, there are a number of different fuels that you can use with your emergency generator. It’s important to know what type of fuel is available in your area. So that you can make sure it will be possible to use it in an emergency. While gasoline and diesel are the most common fuels used by generators, some units will run on natural gas or propane as well.