Home Backup Battery vs Generator

There are many types of power-generating systems. 

This article will clarify the differences between batteries and generators according to your needs and living accommodation.

Battery-based power like Portable Power Stations and Solar Generators stores energy from the grid or solar panels to power your home during a power outage. Conventional and Inverter Generators provide the same power as batteries except that the energy is generated from their internal combustion engines.

What are battery-based generators and generator batteries?

Battery-based Generators are known as Portable Power Stations and Solar Generators.
Battery-based generators are power banks on steroids.

They can be charged through your home 120-volt regular outlets (commonly known as 110v outlets) but, more importantly, can also charge from solar and wind turbines when the power goes out.

On the other hand,

Generator Batteries are the small batteries found in Conventional and Inverter Generators which use gasoline and propane to run their engines. These batteries do not provide you with power but rather power the ignition start of the generator (much like your car) instead of using a starter rope.

Conventional and Inverter Generators use 12-volt batteries. Generator batteries are pretty small and will usually be about the size of a brick you can hold in your hand (the size of a motorcycle battery). 

Keep in mind these small batteries come in different sizes depending on your generator’s type and brand.

Standby generators use the biggest size, which is a standard car battery.

Your generator’s battery will need to be connected to a trickle charger for 24 hours every 3 months to ensure it is always ready to start your generator, especially if you put it away in storage.

As the battery ages, you might need to trickle charge it more often (once a month) due to its decreased ability to hold a charge for a long time.

Usually, generators charge their battery while in operation (some don’t, though!), so it is always best to trickle-charge your batteries to extend their useful lifetime. A generator that doesn’t run long enough or is put away for too long will have a depleted and possibly damaged battery due to a low charge.

Batteries should always be stored fully charged and replenished every 3 months to maintain optimal performance.

Will batteries replace generators?

Batteries will not replace generators as they have different applications depending on their use and where you live.

Can a battery-powered generator (vs. a conventional generator) run a house?

A battery-powered generator can run a house. But it will be expensive and need ample roof square footage to install solar panels to keep it charged.

In conventional and inverter generators, gasoline and propane produce power; the energy receptacle is the gasoline jerrycan or propane tank. You might need as many batteries as gasoline jerry cans or propane tanks.  


conventional generator will always be better for large loads and high-demanding appliances for as long as your gasoline stock can last. 

A power station will generally power a few lights, cellphones, laptops, a TV, and even a heater but will need at least a day to recharge itself from a solar panel.

So assuming you need a backup for a power outage, a conventional generator will cover your major needs at home.

A Portable Power Station or an Inverter Generator can also feed the more sensitive and usually low-power demanding electronics.

What generator size do I need for my house?

A whole-house power backup will require a generator rated between 5,000 and 10,000 running watts. An average of 7,500 running watts is recommended as it will simultaneously power your fridge, chest freezer, well & sump pumps, house lights, TV, and charge phones & laptops.

Below, we will compare Conventional Generators, Inverter Generators, and Portable Power Stations for 5000 watts output which should be enough to power your whole-house essentials.

Home backup systems comparison

Comparison of a 7500 watts generator

Conventional GeneratorInverter GeneratorBattery (Power Station)
WeightHeavyLightVery Heavy
EfficiencyLow EfficiencyHigh EfficiencyMedium Efficiency
CleanlinessMessy and pollutingMessy and pollutingClean
PriceAffordableExpensiveRather expensive
NoiseNoisyIt gets noisy at full loadSilent
Fuel typeGasoline or PropaneGasolineSolar, wind, & wall outlets
Reliability during blackoutsNeed to make sure the generator is well maintained & fuel is availableNeed to make sure the generator is well-maintained & fuel is availableHassle-free and ready to go
Whole-House CapabilityYesYesYes
This table compares all aspects of conventional, inverter, and battery generators.

What is a reliable home gas-powered generator, and how to choose one?

A reliable home generator should have the following:

  • Enough power output (7500 running watts)
  •  At least five 110-volt outlets
  •  Provide clean power (THD less than 5%)
  •  Have a large fuel tank (ideally dual fuel, gasoline, and propane)
  •  Be on a set of wheels to quickly move around in emergencies

Other conveniences include low noise level, electric start for easy operation, EFI Electronic Fuel Injection to eliminate the need for a carburetor, and carbon monoxide detection.

If you plan to connect your portable generator to your home, a wireless remote start is a good option, allowing you to start the generator from the comfort of your home during bad weather.