A “standby” generator is another name for a generator that you have permanently installed in your home. Angi (formerly Angie’s List) reports that the unit itself can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000. You also need to factor in the installation costs that can add another $400 to $11,000 to the cost of a home generator.
The average national cost for a standby generator is $5,000, with a median installation cost of $4,520 for a total just under $10,000. You can expect to pay more if you live in a large metropolitan area than someone in the suburbs or a rural community.
Chicago has the highest total cost for purchasing and installing a generator among major cities in the United States. Homeowners living in or near the country’s third-largest city can expect an average price tag of $10,280. Kansas City comes in lowest of several major metropolitan areas with a total cost of $6,330.
Home Generator Options by Budget
If you can only afford to spend $1,000 or less on a generator, you will need to settle for a portable model that operates from solar energy, gas, diesel, or propane. Since portable generators have a much lower power capacity than standby generators, you should only plan to use yours when you lose electricity at home or when you go camping.
Angi reports that people with up to $5,000 to spend can buy a large portable generator or a small standby generator. Should you choose the second option, make sure it has at least 16 kilowatts of power to provide electricity to your home in an emergency. You can skip consideration of a portable generator and buy a standby unit with up to 22 kilowatts of power when your budget is at least $10,000.
People who live in a home that is 5,000 square feet or larger should plan to spend between $15,000 and $25,000 to install a generator that provides power to the entire home. The lower end of this price range will get you a generator with up to 35 kilowatts of power, while the higher end will provide up to 40 kilowatts of power. These options can be especially ideal if you plan to live off-grid or frequently lose electricity.