Best Generators for Hurricane

As anyone who’s ever experienced a hurricane will know, they are frightening and destructive at the best of times.

However, these natural disasters are also a common cause of power failures, which can quickly turn an already alarming experience into a nightmare. 

Using a generator is typically the most effective solution to a home power outage. The problem is that while hurricanes are a common cause of power outages, they also provide some of the most challenging conditions to operate a generator in. 

In a hurricane, you will need a generator that is not only powerful enough to restore essential power to your home but durable enough to withstand the elements. It will also need to be designed in a way that prioritizes safety. 

Nobody wants to be ill-prepared when a hurricane hits, which is why we’ve made this list of the best generators for use during and after a hurricane. Our buyer’s guide will provide you with additional information to help you decide which generator is best for you. 

Please also see our FAQ section for information on the safety risks of using a generator during a hurricane, and how to do so safely. 

Bad weather forecast? Don’t waste any time - take a look at our top pick:

DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator

  • Powerful 12000-Watt motor 
  • Large 8.3-gallon fuel tank 
  • Dual fuel (gasoline and propane)
  • Uses MX2 technology 
  • Multiple power outlets 
  • Durable, all-metal construction 
  • Features voltmeter, low-oil sensor, and AC breaker
  • Idle control function 
  • Includes wheel kit, tools, DC cables, and oil funnel

OUR TOP PICK

DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Home Back Up & RV Ready, 50 State Approved Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator, Black and Blue

DuroMax’s XP12000EH is a powerful generator, with surge power of 12000 starting Watts and running at 9500 Watts. This should be more than enough to power the essential appliances in your home. 

The fuel tank of this generator has a high capacity of 8.3 gallons, meaning that it will run for many hours at a time without needing to be refueled. 

The motor can run on either gasoline or propane, which is useful as it gives you more options in an emergency, when obtaining fuel is likely to be much more difficult. 

The control panel features several power outlets to suit a variety of different appliances.

There are 2 standard outlets of 120 volts and 20 Amps, 1 120-volt, 30 Amp outlet with a twist lock, a 120/240-volt, 30 Amp with twist lock, and a heavy-duty outlet of 120/240 volts and 50 Amps, also with a twist-lock to prevent accidental disconnection. 

There are also outlets for DC charging. 

Using DuroMax’s MX2 technology, you have the option of running the generator at 120 volts and 240 volts at any one time.

Other features of the control panel include a voltmeter, a low-oil sensor, and an AC breaker.

All of these features help to make this generator as safe as possible by preventing overloading and motor failure.

The idle control function also reduces fuel wastage by automatically adjusting the power output according to the electrical load. 

The generator has a solid, all-metal construction, and weighs 224 lbs, so you can be confident that it will hold its own in strong winds. 

Despite its weight, you will still be able to transport this generator from storage to its running location thanks to the included wheel kit. 

Also included with this generator are an oil funnel, a toolset, a spark plug wrench, DC cables, and a product manual. 

Pros

  • Powerful 12000 starting Watts and 9500 running Watts
  • Large 8.3-gallon fuel tank
  • Runs on gasoline or propane
  • Uses MX2 technology for extra power
  • Various power outlets
  • Durable, all-metal construction
  • Features voltmeter, low-oil sensor, and AC breaker
  • Idle control function for fuel economy
  • Wheel kit included
  • Includes DC cables, oil funnel, toolset, spark plug wrench, and product manual 

Cons

  • Some reports of product damage on arrival

EDITORS CHOICE

Westinghouse WGen7500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator 7500 Rated & 9500 Peak Watts, Gas or Propane Powered, Electric Start, Transfer Switch Ready, CARB Compliant

Westinghouse is a well-known and well-loved manufacturer of generators and other electrical appliances.

The WGen7000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator is a testament to the company’s high standards. 

As a dual fuel model, this generator can be powered by either gasoline or propane for fueling flexibility. 

When running on gasoline, the generator can reach 9500 surge Watts and operates at 7500 Watts. On propane, the Wattage is slightly lower, at 8550 peak Watts and 6750 running Watts.

Both the gasoline and propane power ratings are high enough to produce a significant amount of power for your home. 

Thanks to the generously sized 6.6-gallon fuel tank, you’ll be able to run this generator for 16 hours on gasoline at just 25% load. 

The control panel itself is easy to use and features everything you might need to restore power to your home in an emergency.

Outlets include 2 12-volt, 20 Amp outlets, a 120/240-volt, 30 Amp, and 5-volt DC USB ports, all with covers.

The panel also includes a battery charging port, 20 Amp circuit breakers, a push start button, a shutoff switch, and a fuel selector switch. 

The generator also features a low-oil shutoff function as well as a built-in fuel gauge for engine protection. 

One of the biggest selling points of this generator for hurricane use is its remote start function. Using the remote key fob, you can start the generator from a safe distance of 109 yards (or 327 feet) away. 

The sturdy metal construction, featuring a cast iron sleeve, combined with its weight of 192 lbs, ensures that this machine will be able to withstand a great deal.

The included wheel kit, meanwhile, means that this generator remains portable despite its heavy construction.

Pros

  • Dual fuel (gasoline and propane)
  • 16-hour run time on 25% gasoline load
  • Various power outlets
  • Includes circuit breakers and fuel selector switch
  • Features low-oil shutoff and built-in fuel gauge 
  • Remote start function 
  • Wheel kit included
  • Durable 192 lbs metal construction

Cons

  • Wheels are cheaper quality than the generator itself 

BEST VALUE

Durostar DS10000E Gas Powered 10000 Watt Electric Start Portable Generator, Red/Black

Durostar’s DS10000EH is a fantastic choice of generator for hurricane-related power outages. 

With 10000 peak Watts and 8000 running Watts, you’ll have no trouble powering all your essential household appliances back up. 

On the control panel, you’ll find 2 household outlets of 120 volts each, a 120-volt, 30 Amp outlet with twist lock, a twist-lock 120/240-volt, 30 Amp outlet, a 120/240-volt, 50 Amp twist-lock outlet for heavy-duty appliances, and 12-volt DC battery charging outlets. 

Durostar’s MX2 technology means you can run the generator simultaneously at 120 volts and 240 volts. 

In terms of safety features, the DS10000EH uses surge arrest technology to protect the generator’s engine in case of a power surge. It also has a low-oil sensor, an AC breaker, and a voltmeter. 

This generator runs on gasoline only, which does not offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of fueling. However, this is made up for by the 8.3-gallon fuel tank, which allows for extended run time. 

The all-metal construction of the DS10000EH, complemented by durable copper windings, comes to a total weight of 260 lbs, so even very strong winds will have a hard time displacing this model.

Don’t worry though - this generator comes with a wheel and handle kit to help you move the machine when needed. 

Also included with the purchase of this generator are an oil funnel, spark plug wrench, DC cables, a toolset, and a product manual.

Pros

  • Multiple power outlets
  • MX2 technology for more power
  • Uses surge arrest technology
  • Features AC breaker, low-oil sensor, and voltmeter
  • Large 8.3-gallon fuel tank
  • Durable, 260 lbs metal construction
  • Includes wheel and handle kit
  • Oil funnel, DC cables, toolset, spark plug wrench, and product manual included

Cons

  • Some customers find this generator very noisy

RUNNER UP

WEN DF1100T 11,000-Watt 120V/240V Dual Fuel Portable Generator with Wheel Kit and Electric Start - CARB Compliant, Black

WEN generators have proven themselves over the years to be durable, reliable, and powerful pieces of equipment, and the DF1100T is no exception to this rule. 

This is another dual fuel generator that runs on gasoline at a starting 11000 Watts and 8300 running Watts, or on propane at 9500 starting Watts and 7500 running Watts.

The 6.6-gallon tank allows for 8 hours of run time on a half load. 

There is also a low-oil shut-off system in place to protect your engine. 

The control panel provides more than enough power outlets for your emergency needs.

With 4 household outlets at 120 volts each, a 120-volt, 30 Amp outlet with twist lock, a heavy-duty twist-lock outlet of 120/240 volts and 50 Amps, plus a 12-volt DC plug. 

This generator is easy to start with an electric key system.

Along with the generator itself, you’ll receive a wheel kit which, combined with the generator’s fold-down handles, facilitates portability. This is especially useful given the generator’s 214 lbs construction. 

You will also receive a bottle of oil and a connector hose with this generator. 

Pros

  • Dual fuel (gasoline and propane)
  • 8 hours of run time on half load
  • Low-oil shut off function
  • Plenty of varying power outlets
  • Electric key starting system
  • Solid 214 lbs construction
  • Included wheel kit and fold-down handles
  • Oil bottle and connector hose included 

Cons

  • Some reports of battery failure 

RUNNER UP

Rainier R12000DF Dual Fuel (Gas and Propane) Portable Generator with Electric Start - 12000 Peak Watts & 9500 Rated Watts - CARB Compliant - Transfer Switch Ready

Rainier might be a less well-known brand than some of the other featured on this list, but don’t let that put you off.

Rainier’s R12000DF generator model is one of the best options on the market for use during and after hurricane weather. 

This is an exceptionally powerful dual fuel generator, with 12000 surge Watts and 9500 running Watts on gasoline, and 10800 peak Watts and 8550 running Watts on propane. 

The 6.6-gallon tank allows for up to 17 hours of run time to see you through long power outages.

The control panel has 2 120-volt, 20 Amp household outlets, an L5-30R 120-volt, 30 Amp outlet, an L14-30R 120-volt, 30 Amp outlet, a heavy-duty 120/240-volt, 50 Amp outlet, and 2 grounding ports.

All of these outlets can be used quickly and easily thanks to the simple electric start switch. 

Safety features include low-oil and overload protection alarms to alert you to potential issues during operation. 

This model weighs 200 lbs and has a durable metal construction for withstanding harsh weather conditions. The generator includes a wheel kit and foam grip handles for portability. 

Pros

  • Powerful 12000 Watt motor
  • Dual fuel (gasoline and propane)
  • Up to 17 hours of run time
  • Various power outlets
  • Low-oil and overload protection alarms
  • 200 lbs metal construction
  • Includes wheel kit and foam grip handles 

Cons

  • Some reports of build quality defects 

Best Generators for Hurricane Buying Guide

Durability

One of the most important features of a generator for use in or following a hurricane is durability. Your generator needs to be able to withstand heavy winds without sustaining any damage. 

Usually, especially when it comes to portable generators, lightweight models are favored over heavy builds.

However, during hurricane season, it’s best to have a heavier generator that is less likely to be overturned by the wind. This can make portability more difficult, but included wheel kits and handles can help to minimize this issue. 

You should also look for heavy-duty, all-metal construction to ensure maximum durability.

Wattage 

The Wattage you will require from your generator will ultimately come down to how much power you want or need to restore to your home. This, in turn, may be dictated by the size of your house. 

For example, if you own a sizeable home and want to restore enough power for all your kitchen appliances and power sockets, it stands to reason that you will need quite a powerful generator. 

On the other hand, if your house is smaller and you really just want to be able to power up the essentials (think stove, refrigerator, and a few lights) you should be okay with a slightly less heavy-duty model. 

As you can see, our list features generators that operate at a variety of Wattages, from 7000 to 12000, so you should be able to find a generator that caters to your power requirements. 

Startup System

The startup mechanism of a generator plays a large part in dictating how easy the generator is to use, and how safe it is for use in hurricane season. 

The safest possible way of starting your generator during a hurricane is to do so without touching it, so generators that can be started and controlled remotely really are your best bet in hurricane weather. 

This isn’t just because it saves you from having to go outside and get wet - although that is a bonus - but more importantly, because it means you don’t have to touch the generator itself, which is significantly safer. 

Your other options when it comes to generator starting are electric or pull startup systems. As you can see, the generators on our list use electric start systems rather than pull-to-start. This is because electric startup is a much faster and more efficient process, which is desirable in an emergency. 

Fuel

The generators on our list are either single fuel or dual fuel models. This means that they either operate exclusively on gasoline, or on gasoline and propane. 

Dual fuel models are especially useful during hurricane season because when power outages occur, fuel consumption increases and gasoline becomes more difficult to purchase. Having the option of propane fueling, therefore, can be really helpful. 

During and after a hurricane, it’s a good idea to have a generator with a large fuel tank that allows for many hours of run time. This will keep your appliances powered for long periods of time and save you from needing to go outside in foul weather to refuel constantly. 

Safety Features

It’s always important to put safety first when operating a generator under any circumstances, but generator safety becomes even more crucial during hurricane season. 

Of course, safety features themselves can only do so much - you also need to know how to use your generator safely in adverse weather conditions (see FAQ section). However, by prioritizing the following features, you will be giving yourself the best chance of a safe and minimally stressful operation process. 

We’ve already talked about how a remote-starting generator can be the safest option during a hurricane because it reduces the amount of physical contact you need to make with the machine. 

Aside from remote starting, most essential safety features of generators are either built-in or found on the control panel. 

Features such as surge arresting technology, voltmeters, low-oil shutoff, AC breakers, and built-in overload protection help to protect your generator from short-circuiting or engine failure. Alarms for these features help you to monitor your generator from a safe distance.

Twist-locks help to prevent accidental disconnection, which is especially important during unpredictable weather. Outlet covers are also useful features for keeping both the outlets and yourself protected during operation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use my generator safely during a hurricane?

If at all possible, you should avoid using a generator during any kind of storm.

Severe weather can increase the risk of electrocution and other electrical malfunctions, making using a generator much more dangerous. 

However, if there comes a point where you can’t make do without power, ensure that your generator is positioned at least 30 feet away from your home. Failure to do this may result in carbon monoxide poisoning.

You should never plug your generator directly into your home power outlet. Doing so may result in a transfer of electricity to your power grid and the homes of other people connected to it. This can cause fatal electrocution. Instead, you should use a thick, heavy-duty, undamaged extension cord that has been specifically manufactured for outdoor use. 

You should also never use a generator during any kind of stormy weather without the appropriate protective covering. You will need to have a storm-proof generator running cover or, ideally, a structurally sound and waterproof enclosure to keep your generator and fuel supply safe.

When operating your generator, make sure never to touch it with wet hands, or anything else that has been exposed to water. Also, ensure that you are physically grounded to an area that is completely dry.

Always turn your generator on before plugging in any appliances.

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    I'm an environment and energy blogger who teaches outdoor and energy enthusiasts how to be better informed when it comes to purchasing or maintaining a generator, solar panel system, or anything else related to your energy needs.