Generators vs. Batteries for Home Power Backup

If you live in an area that sees regular power outages due to storms or just unreliable utilities, it’s a good idea to have some kind of home power backup system in place. What is the most ideal backup power source for you?

The ongoing debate between generators vs. batteries has merits on both sides of the argument. Fuel-powered standby generators have traditionally dominated the market for backup power supply equipment, but with the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, some might look for a safer alternative that does not rely on combustion.

Backup batteries have seen greater popularity in recent years as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional batteries.

Both of these options generally perform the same function, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Here’s a look at some of the issues you should take into consideration when conducting your search.


Any fiscally-conscious consumer is going to want to get a sense of how much they can expect to pay for their home power backup equipment. Battery backups will generally cost more money upfront; however, you must consider some of the hidden costs as well, such as ongoing fuel costs for generators. In the long run, those fuel costs may result in you spending more to operate the generator.

Backup batteries require you to pay for the system and the installation. Usually, you can expect to pay $10,000 to $20,000 for a standard full-home battery backup system.

Generators capable of powering a whole home will usually run $7,000 to $15,000, depending on the model and your location; however, costs could increase based on the amount of fuel needed to run the system and the size of the generator.

Ongoing maintenance

Battery backups require little in the way of maintenance. They run by themselves, are quiet while running, do not create emissions and do not need to be regularly inspected and repaired.

Generators are loud, emit exhaust and do require ongoing maintenance to stay in good, usable condition for a long time.


Battery backups can be mounted either to a floor or wall, which makes them easier to install than fuel generators. Either installation will require you to hire a professional to ensure the job is performed correctly, but generator installation also requires that a concrete slab be poured. The generator will also need to be connected to a fuel source and have a transfer switch installed.

Power output and reliability

Standard generators will far outperform batteries when it comes to how long they can power your home. So long as you have sufficient fuel, you can run a generator continuously for up to three weeks at a time if it’s absolutely necessary.

You won’t get the same performance out of a backup battery. You’ll be able to run a few hours at a time—maybe more if you have a solar panel system that also powers them or if you have multiple batteries in the same system.

For more information about generators vs. batteries for your home power backup needs, contact us at Healthy Communities.

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