Extended power outages that followed Hurricane Sandy needn’t lead to spoiled food and nights by flashlight. Consumer Reports’ tests of 14 generators show that you can start powering a houseful of lights and appliances for less than $700. But as Consumer Reports also found, some important components cost extra.
Consumer Reports focused on moderately priced portable and stationary models that deliver 5,000 to 7,000 watts, enough for most needs. Portables cost the least and can be stored in a garage or shed when you don’t need them. Generac’s GP5500 5939, a Best Buy at $670, powered refrigerators, well pumps, and other home gear almost as well as the pricier, top-scoring Troy-Bilt XP-7000 30477, $900.