How to Choose the Right Generator for Your Business

Posted: 2021-01-05

Power outages can happen anywhere, at any given time. Even developed countries like the United States can experience major blackouts. One example is the Northeast blackout in 2003, a widespread power outage throughout Northeastern and Midwestern United States. The outage affected more than 45 million people in eight U.S. states and 10 million people in south central Ontario, Canada. This outage led many business owners to install backup generators in their electrical wiring systems.

Having a consistent power source is essential to your business. When the power goes out, you lose revenue. Without a backup power supply, your work will be put to a halt, affecting your bottom line. Therefore, you need to install a backup generator to ensure your business is unaffected by power outages. But how do you choose the right one? Here are some factors you might want to consider before buying a gen set for your business.


In any equipment purchase, considering your budget allocation is the first step to finding the right system; buying a generator is no different. Therefore, it is crucial to have a budget in place to know what specific generators to look into. While having consistent power is essential to your business’s success, you still have to consider the cost implications and benefits before making the purchase.

Generator Type

Generators can be classified into two types: portable and standby. A portable unit is powered by gas or diesel and can provide temporary electrical power. It uses a combustion engine to generate electricity and can be wired into a facility’s sub panel. This type of generator is perfect for remote job sites as it can power tools and lights.

On the other hand, a standby generator is an electrical system that operates with an automatic transfer switch that commands it to provide power to a device in case of a power loss. It operates automatically and offers permanent power protection. It runs on either propane or natural gas and will operate on whatever fuel type you have in your workplace. Standby generators are used in safety systems for elevators, standby lighting, medical and life support systems as well as fire protection systems.

Power Requirements

Generators are available in various sizes and setups, so determining how you are going to use them will give you an idea of what particular generator you need for your business. What is the total amount of power and wattage do you need to run all of your systems and applications? Do you require backup power to maintain productivity at an industrial plant? Or do you need a portable unit to power your industrial tools and remote operations? It’s best to make a list of all the necessary processes and their corresponding power requirements to identify what generator meets those needs.

Fuel Options

Depending on the type, generators have varying fuel sources. Most commercial generators run on diesel, mainly because diesel has better efficiency and is safer to use compared to other fuel options. If you are going to use the generator in remote areas, you will find diesel more accessible than others. It’s also easier to store and cheaper than natural gas — that’s why it’s the preferred choice in most commercial applications.

Contrarily, gasoline gums up your carburetor and is difficult to store in large quantities. During a crisis, you may also find it hard to access gasoline as fuel stations are likely to be without power and their resources are depleted.

Another way to fuel your generator is propane, also referred to as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This fuel type requires a tank that is separate from the generator itself. The tanks can be the same kind used for heaters and grills. Propane tanks are usually refilled by a service truck.

Safety Features

The factors mentioned above should be taken into account before deciding on a backup power supply. However, the one thing you can’t ignore is safety. It’s best to look for a generator that has an automatic CO shut off feature that turns the system off if the unit detects high levels of this dangerous gas. Also, look for a gen set that has an automatic start sensor, which ensures automatic backup during an emergency.