How Much Does a Whole-House Generator Cost?

Normal range: $1,514 - $8,385

The average U.S. homeowner spends about  $4,903 to install a new whole-house generator. Depending on the size, assembly, brand, and fuel type, most spend between $1,514 and $8,385.

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Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Reviewed by Salvatore Cutrona
Updated October 11, 2022
A portable inverter generator
Photo: Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Whether you live off the grid, frequently lose power, or depend on electricity for your medical needs, a generator is an important household tool. You can expect to pay between $1,514 and $8,385 for a whole-home generator. Knowing how much you’ll spend on this useful piece of equipment can prove challenging, so follow this guide to learn the whole-house generator cost.

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your area
How we get this data
Normal range for U.S.
$1,514 - $8,385
  • Average
  • $4,903
  • Low end
  • $357
  • high end
  • $12,500

Whole-Home Generator Cost Factors

The cost of your home generator will depend on the type you choose and its particular installation requirements.

Type of Whole-Home Generator 

There are several types of generators worth considering when determining whether a whole-house generator is right for you. These include portable or backup generators and standby generators. Standby generators include partial or critical system generators and whole-house generators.

Generator TypeGenerator CapacityAverage Cost
Portable generators1kW – 7.5kW$500 – $2,000
Partial generators9kW – 20kW$2,000 – $6,300
Whole-house generators22kW – 48kW$5,000 – $18,000
  • Portable: Portable generator prices range from $500 to $2,000. These units cannot power an entire home, but they’re a good choice if you need emergency power during outages caused by weather, such as winter storms or hurricanes. You can choose from units that run on diesel, gas, or propane.

  • Standby: Standby (partial or whole-house) generators cost $2,000 to $18,000. Depending on the generator size, you may be able to power a few small appliances or your entire house. The largest units can power your entire home and its appliances as if you were using electricity from the power grid. 

Size of Whole-House Generator 

The size of your whole-house generator plays the largest role in determining the total cost of your system. Refer to this chart to help you estimate the total cost of your whole-house generator by size and capacity.

Size in kWAverage Cost RangeHome Size
1 – 6kW$500 – $1,800Small portable system suitable for key back-ups
7.5 – 10kW$2,000 – $3,500Large portable system suitable for critical systems
14 – 18kW$4,000 – $5,500Medium-size standby suitable for critical systems
20 – 24kW$5,000 – $6,500Whole-house system for smaller homes; partial system for larger homes
26 – 32kW$6,500 – $15,000Whole-house system suitable for medium and large houses
36 – 38kW$14,000 – $16,000Whole-house system suitable for larger homes
45 – 48kW$16,200 – $21,000Whole-house system for very large homes with high energy-demands

Whole-House Generator Installation Cost

There usually aren’t installation costs associated with portable generators. However, a standby generator’s installation cost averages $4,520, which includes permits, assembly, placement, and wiring.


Portable generators don’t generally require permits or planning permission, but permanently installed standby units may. Depending on your area, you can expect to pay $50 to $200 for permitting.

Concrete Pad

Because portable generators can be placed almost anywhere outside the home, they don’t require a dedicated spot. You can position them on the driveway, a back patio, or even in the grass.

Larger standby or whole-house generators require a spot of their own. They’re a permanent addition, so you’ll need to pour a concrete pad, like the one your air conditioner sits on. It typically costs $50 to $75 per square foot for site preparation and concrete pouring. Assuming you need to pour a 3-foot-by-6-foot pad, you can expect to pay about $1,000.

Fuel Source

Portable generators use diesel, gas, or propane as fuel. With these generators, there is no need to install a fuel source; instead, you’ll purchase fuel from a gas station or similar as needed.

Permanently installed standby generators require dedicated fuel sources. If you don’t already have a natural gas line or propane tank, you’ll need to install one. Deciding which fuel source to use depends on availability, budget, and personal preference. 

Natural gas is not available in all areas, but in those areas where it is, it’s piped in for a constant supply. Propane, on the other hand, is delivered by truck and available almost anywhere. You’ll need to place a propane tank on your property and receive regular deliveries. While natural gas offers a more convenient setup, it burns faster than propane and so it’s not as efficient. If you don’t already have a natural gas or propane supply, you can expect to pay $15 to $25 per linear foot to install a natural gas line.

Transfer Switch

Transfer switches detect when you’ve lost electricity and move the power load of your home from the electrical grid to your backup generator. Portable generators don’t require transfer switches, but you can install them if you don’t want to deal with extension cords. Instead, your portable generator connects to your electrical panel.

Since whole-house units are permanent and hardwired to your electrical panel, they require transfer switches to function properly. It will take a local electrician about four hours to handle this wiring, so you can expect about $1,200 of your generator installation cost to go toward transfer switch installation.

Generator Costs by Brand

There are a variety of generator brands offering both partial and whole-house generators that offer homeowners a range of options that will meet their needs.

BrandType (Partial or Whole House)Cost
ChampionBothStarting at $1999.99
Briggs & StrattonBothStarting at $3149
GeneracBothStarting at $5997
CumminsBothStarting at $3707
HondaPartialStarting at $1310

Additional Costs to Consider

If you’re calculating every whole-house generator expense, there are several additional costs you’ll want to keep in mind before you sum up your total estimated price.


Anticipate an additional $80 to $300 in maintenance costs for generators. You’ll need to hire a generator service pro near you to inspect it before winter and summer to ensure that it will run problem-free in the off-chance of a power outage. 

Fuel Types

On average, you’ll spend about $90 to $220 daily to run a 15-to-20-kW whole-house generator. But not all fuels are alike and, depending on the brand and fuel you choose, you might find yourself spending far more than you expected in fuel costs. 

Here is how much each fuel type costs per year or unit:

  • Natural gas: $2,000–$21,000 per year

  • Liquid propane: $2,000–$21,000 per year

  • Diesel: $3,000–$20,000 per year

  • Gasoline: $500–$3,000 per year

  • Solar generators (unit price): $2,000–$25,000

  • Battery back-up (unit price): $10,000–$25,000

Solar generators may have a high upfront cost, but they pay for themselves down the line since they produce electricity from solar rays. Meanwhile, battery backup units not connected to solar energy will add up over time because they use electricity from your utility company. 


Enhancing your whole-house generator can help make your system run more efficiently and even decrease energy costs. Here are two ways you can boost your system’s performance.

  • Wireless monitoring: For approximately $200 to $400, you can moderate your generator’s status even while you’re not home. If your system fails, this enhancement will notify your smartphone or computer with a report of the status of your generator.

  • Smart load management: You’ll pay around $150 to $300 to upgrade your system with smart electrical load management. This enhancement is an application that can help lower your generator’s downtime and energy by allowing you to select essential circuits for your generator while excluding less important ones during a power outage.

Electrical Upgrades 

There are several electrical upgrades your local electrician might need to make during the installation of a whole-house generator. If you need to upgrade your electrical sub-panel, set aside anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for the upgrade. 

Installing a generator that doesn’t have easy access to your electrical panel can prove to be a more costly installation. Your generator installation pro will take longer to make the required changes to accommodate your generator, including installing a dedicated circuit for your generator. The cost to install a circuit for your generator is between $550 and $1,000 on average.

Cost to Install a Home Generator Yourself

Technician services outside AC units and generator
Photo: LifestyleVisuals / E+ / Getty Images

For those who don't want to fuss with complicated DIY installation, portable generators are your best bet. In most cases, you’ll move your generator outside of your home, fill it with diesel, gas, or connect it to propane, and turn it on. In the case of solar-powered generators, you’ll simply charge your batteries at the first sign that you may need to use your generator.

However, it’s best to have professionals install a whole-house generator. There are several safety risks involved with installing a generator, including electrical shock, fire, and carbon monoxide exposure. It’s safest to hire a local generator installer to wire the generator to your utility grid and connect it to a fuel source.

Cost of Installing a Whole-House Generator Yourself vs Hiring a Contractor

The installation cost for a whole-house generator ranges between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on the size and complexity of the project. You should not attempt to install a whole-house generator yourself. The complexity of this project requires a generator installation pro to do the job. 

Not to mention, preparing the job site for the concrete pad installation requires extra labor that can turn your generator installation into a drawn-out and costly project.  

Five Ways to Save on Whole-Home Generator Costs 

If you want to install a whole-home generator but don’t want to break the bank, follow these tips to cut down on costs. 

  1. Choose a partial-home generator.

  2. Decrease your energy consumption to lower the generator capacity.

  3. Invest in a solar generator.

  4. Rent to own a solar generator through a local solar company.

  5. Hire an electrician to connect your whole-home generator to specific circuits using smart load management.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can determine what size generator you need by listing the various appliances it will power during an outage. Write down the start-up watt usage of each, and then add them all together. You’ll then want to purchase a generator that can handle this load or greater.

A 7,500-watt generator will run your refrigerator, freezer, well pump, and lighting circuits without a problem. However, you’ll need an extra 3,000 to 4,500 watts to run your water heater and another 5,000 to 25,000 watts to run your electric furnace. In these instances, a whole-home generator is your best bet for running your critical equipment.

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