Battery Backup vs. Generator: Which Option is Worth Your Money?

On average, American households and businesses experience 1.3 power interruptions every year, affecting 145 million people. If you live in an area that sees frequent power outages, you understand the necessity of having a backup power source.

If you are one of the growing numbers of people considering an emergency power source, you’re probably trying to determine the differences between a home battery backup vs generator. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. Which one is best for you depends on your unique circumstances.

The information below details the pros and cons of each. Understanding these will help you select the best backup power supply for your home.

Home Generator and Battery Basics

Home generators are engines that supply power to your home. They run on fuels like natural gas, diesel, or propane. Gasoline is the most common fuel source of smaller generators.

A home battery backup system works much like other rechargeable batteries. When there is an electrical supply available, it charges the battery management system (BMS). An inverter converts the energy in the batteries to electricity inside your home, whenever you need it.

Cost and Size

These go hand in hand, because the bigger the backup source you require, the more it will cost. A generator you purchase at your local hardware store can be enough to run a few lights and keep your freezer and refrigerator running through an outage. These can be purchased for under $1,000. Larger generators will cost several thousand dollars.

By comparison, the jumping-off point for a whole home battery backup is approximately $6,000, not including installation costs. Depending on its size, to run your entire home you may be looking at $20,000 or more.

The flip side is that you will pay more upfront costs with a battery backup system but have no fuel costs down the road. For a small generator, this difference may be negligible. If you intend to run your whole home off a larger generator that needs a steady supply of natural gas, these fuel costs may be something to consider.

With both batteries and generators, you need to think about startup and running watts. Appliances take more energy to kick on than they do to run. You will want to make sure you have enough power from your backup sources to run the appliances and systems you need.


One of the downsides to a generator is that you must have a continual fuel source to run them. Many natural gas generators can be hooked up to an existing line. Otherwise, you will need fuel on hand to make sure they continue to run.

Backup battery systems do not rely on an external fuel source but charge by electricity. This also means that they cannot be charged or refueled during an outage (unless they use solar panels). If you are going this route, be sure to shop around to find the best solar generator or battery systems available for your home.

Operation and Maintenance

Generators running on combustion engines can be quite loud. One major advantage to battery systems is that they run quietly. You also don’t have to deal with exhaust fumes during operation. For this reason, they also are more environmentally friendly.

Also, like other engines, generators may need regular upkeep, including oil and spark plug changes. Of course, components of a BMS can wear out as well, but they won’t require regular maintenance.

Battery Backup vs Generator Final Thoughts

Now that you have an idea of the pros and cons of a battery backup vs generator, you can decide on what is the best emergency backup power for your home or business.

We hope this information was helpful to you. Be sure to check out some of our other posts on technology, entertainment, health, business, and many other topics.


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