When the grid goes down, whether due to natural or man-made causes, having a generator can be a convenient way to produce your own energy safely. But how does a generator work? And can it provide enough power to keep the lights on after a storm? The answer depends on your energy needs and expectations. We've been testing 16 portable power plants for 73 hours, and the Jackery Explorer 1000 is the best option for disconnecting from the grid or preparing for an emergency. The trick is to understand the available power of the generator and know that you may need to unplug certain appliances, such as the microwave, if you are going to operate a space heater.
To ensure safety, it's also important to use a surge protector like Accell Home or Away (also known as Tripp Lite's Protect It 3-outlet surge protector). You can power the refrigerator, power tools, and computers (for example) by connecting long extension cables to the generator. Keep in mind that higher-priced recreational inverter generators cost as much as a portable generator, which can power many more devices. If your only option is a recreational generator, here's what you need to know to operate it safely and meet some of your energy needs.
On the TV show “Consumer 101”, Consumer Reports expert Paul Hope shows host Jack Rico how to avoid being left in the dark during a power outage. The Ego Power+ Nexus PST3042 portable power plant delivers power similar to that of the Honda EU2200i without any of the drawbacks of a gasoline engine. If you experience frequent and prolonged power outages, consider a large inverter or a home standby generator, also known as a whole-house generator.