How Much is a Generator? A Guide

Home generators ensure that you are always connected and the lights remain on. One of the biggest considerations when looking at different types of generators is the cost. There are numerous factors that go into the cost of a generator. So, how much is a generator? We’ll break down the cost of a generator by size, installation, maintenance, and fuel.

Cost by Generator Size

Unsurprisingly, the bigger the size of the generator, the higher the cost. Generator size typically determines the number of kilowatts that the generator can produce, which dictates the devices and appliances that you can plugin.

A standby generator size largely depends on the square footage of your property. A 1,500-square foot home, for instance, has lower energy needs than a 6,000-square foot home. You may spend anywhere from $2,000 to upwards of $16,000. 

Portable generators, on the other hand, are smaller, compact, and easy to transport. At the lower end, a portable generator cost can range from about $275 to $1,400. However, for increased generator power output, you may have to spend upwards of $1,500 to $3,000 for home backup portable generators.

Costs for a Standard Generator

Whether you just need extra power when you’re camping or on a job site or if you need a home backup generator for potential emergencies, a portable generator is a great option. Aside from the lower upfront cost, portable generators do not require installation, and maintenance is relatively easy, making the portable generator cost comparably lower than the standby generator.

For standby generators, you need to factor in the initial installation, ongoing maintenance, and larger fuel budget.


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Your total standby generator cost will include installation costs. Standby installation costs can range from $2,500 to $9,500, depending on the size of the generator you need. This includes:

  • Connecting to existing fuel lines or installing a fuel tank
  • Upgrading your electrical system
  • Installing a manual transfer switch
  • Getting the parts, materials, labor for installation

Before you even begin calculating the installation costs, you may need a permit to obtain a standby generator. Permit costs can range from $50 to $200 depending on your HOA or city codes.

The generator needs to sit on a concrete pad, which protects from any erosion or shifts in the foundation. Laying a concrete pad will cost from $1,000 to $2,500.

A transfer switch ensures a safe connection from the generator to your home’s circuit panel. An improper connection can spell disaster for your home and appliances. The process requires the work of an expert electrician and can cost upwards of $500 to $900.

A benefit of buying a portable generator is the lower installation costs. An electrician will typically charge $50 to $100 to place your unit in the desired location, connect it to your devices and get it turned on in about an hour. Similar to the standard generator, you may want to opt for a manual transfer switch instead of an extension cord. The installation price is around the same as a standard generator.  


Standby generators require regular maintenance to ensure proper operation when you need it. This typically occurs once a year, right before the season when you most likely need a backup power source. Annual maintenance for a whole house generator can cost $150 to $500.


Standby generators will automatically turn on for a few minutes throughout the week to move the fuel, oil up the engine, and perform any diagnostic checks. This means that even if you aren’t using the generator, you’ll need to refuel it regularly. Installed generators are usually hooked up to a natural gas line, which will tap into your monthly utility bills, but some generators use a different fuel source such as liquid propane, gas, or even both.   

Gasoline generators, diesel generators, and liquid propane generators only use their specific fuel type but a generator that can use liquid propane or gas is called a dual fuel generator. You’ll have to refill your fuel tank periodically to make sure you have a sufficient fuel source supply when you actually need it.

Find The Right Generator For You

Having a generator on hand is important, especially in times when power outages or natural disasters occur. Additionally, taking the time to learn how to use a generator during a power outage can be a real lifesaver.

At DuroMax, we have a generator to fit your budgets and functional needs. Our generators can be bought online or in stores near you to ensure you’re getting the best price. Explore our variety of DuroMax generators, engines, pressure washers, and more today.