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How Much Do Home Generators Cost To Install?

Typical Range: $1,416 - $7,787

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Updated August 18, 2021

Reviewed by Salvatore Cutrona, Licensed Master Electrician
Written by HomeAdvisor.

Home Generator Costs

Most homeowners pay between $1,416 and $7,787 to install a generator in their home. While the project can cost as little as $400 and as much as $9,500, the average installation price including all variables is $4,542.

When you lose power due to bad weather or a natural disaster, you will realize why home generators are becoming increasingly popular. It can provide light, heat and electricity until the power is restored. A wide range of types and options make it affordable for all budgets and needs. Here are a few factors that will influence the price of adding a unit in your home.

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National Average $4,542
Typical Range $1,416 - $7,787
Low End - High End $385 - $11,537

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 3,182 HomeAdvisor members in .

Generator Prices by Type

The type of home generator you buy will be the biggest cost variable. Small, portable models can cost as little as $300. Large, permanent, diesel-powered alternatives are priced as much as $15,000 to generate enough electricity for a large home.

Generator Costs
Gasoline$500 - $3,000
Natural Gas$1,900 - $5,000
Diesel$3,000 - $15,000
Liquid Propane$500 - $6,000
Solar$300 - $5,000

Gasoline Generator Costs

Gasoline generators are the most cost-effective option at $550 to $3,000. Because gas is easily available in most regions, this is a popular choice. However, gasoline is difficult to store. It has a short shelf life and issues in cold weather.

the average cost to install a generator is $4,550 or $400 to $11,500

Natural Gas

While you may dislike the higher price at $1,900 to $5,000, natural gas generators can be more convenient. They don't usually require fuel storage because they can be hooked up to the utility grid. This type also works well in cold climates. However, it uses more fuel than other types.

Diesel Generator Costs

Diesel generators cost $3,000 to $15,000 and are commonly used to power an entire home. These large units run more efficiently than natural gas or gasoline. The more power you need, the more beneficial a diesel model becomes.

Liquid Propane Generator Costs

Liquid propane burns clean and has an indefinite shelf life when stored correctly. However, these models don't last as long, and the fuel can be difficult to store. Expect to pay $500 to $6,000 for these models.

Solar Generator Costs

Solar generators cost $300 to $5,000. Sustainability is a big benefit to solar backup systems. These don't require a constant fuel supply. However, small units cannot store large amounts of energy and may be affected by limited sun exposure in a storm.

Generac Whole House Generator Costs

Generac is a leading brand in home generators with models starting at $2,050. They specialize in permanent, whole-house models. After products are installed, they turn on automatically when the power goes out. They run on natural gas or liquid propane, and are normally tap into local utility lines.

Large units are beneficial in areas with frequent power outages and extreme weather. The exact capability depends on your home and needs:

Costs of Generac Generators
Power CapabilityStarting PriceTypical Coverage
7.5 KW$2,0501 appliance or up to 8 circuits
10 KW$2,8002 appliances or up to 16 circuits
14 KW$3,700Full 1,000 - 3,000 square foot home
18 KW$4,250Full 2,500 - 3,000 square foot home
20 KW$4,800Full 3,000 - 5,000 square foot home
22 KW$4,900Full 5,000+ square foot home
30+ KW$11,000+Commercial Applications

Whole House or Major Appliance - How Much Power Do You Need?

The most important cost factor when installing a home generator is how much electricity it can produce. You can choose to install a permanent generator unit that creates electricity for your entire house, so that when it kicks on, it feels as if there is no difference between your home with regular power and your home with backup power.

However, adding a stationary unit can be expensive, and costs up to $15,000. To cover your basic needs, you may choose to go with a smaller, less powerful (and less expensive) model that will only power your major appliances. A portable unit still provides heat, hot water, and the ability for your refrigerator to keep your food from spoiling.

The level of comfort you desire at the time of an outage will dictate how much power you want from your generator. Running all your electric appliances at the same time will require a standby unit at or above 20 KW depending on the size of your home. Running only a single or select few major appliances may only require a portable alternative that can be turned on and off as needed.

Finally, it's important to consider your area's typical weather conditions. Those in areas with frequent and long-lasting outages should consider investing in a powerful generator. Homeowners in hurricane-prone regions should look for larger and greater KW option than those in the relatively calm mid-Atlantic region.

Consult with an Electrician When Choosing a Generator

Average Generator Installation Costs

Installing a permanent home generator ranges between $500 and $3,000. This is in addition to the cost of the unit itself. Portable units are mobile, and don't require more installation costs.

Most generators sit outside the home on a previously prepared concrete area. They are added as permanent fixtures and will need electrical wiring and gas hookup. For this reason, you should invest in professional installation. Although it may seem expensive in the short term, adding it yourself without prior experience could be costly and dangerous in the long run.

Most installations are charged on a per-project basis. However, some contractors charge according to individual factors, such as:

  • Assessing energy needs, usually free with installation.
  • Site preparation and concrete pad construction: $50 to $75 per square foot.
  • Adding a fuel tank or connection to existing utility lines: $50 to $100 per hour.
  • Improving electrical panel, transfer switch and new wiring: $65 to $85 per hour.
  • Permits and permissions: $50 to $200 per permit.
  • Materials and equipment: $300 to $2,000.

Potential Installation Drawbacks

Noise is the biggest potential disadvantage of installing a home generator. Decibel levels are typically measured at 25 feet, which is not always adequate for tight city properties. At that distance, a typical home generator reaches between 60 and 70 decibels. For reference, that's between the decibel levels of an average conversation (60 dB) and the background noise in a restaurant (70 dB). The noise level should be a core consideration when choosing a unit to include in or by your house.

Safety considerations also matter in your project. Most building codes require these units to be at least five feet away from a house opening. Accommodating these restrictions in a tight lot may require additional consideration and installation cost.

Transfer Switches for Generators

It will take an electrician three to four hours to install a transfer switch, and will cost about $200 to $400 in labor. They can be added with manual or automatic functionality.

Hire an Electrician to Install your Generator

Cost of Home Standby/Backup Generators

Small, automatic generators can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. A large unit above 20KW, designed to completely power a large home of more than 5,000 square feet, can run more than $20,000.

Size is the biggest factor in determining how much your automatic unit will cost. Take time with your contractor to properly size it to your needs.

Despite the cost, many homeowners are realizing that investing in one is a necessary step to ensure their home's safety. The days when occasional power outages could be endured with candles and ghost stories are growing short. Backup generators are designed for these types of power outages to ensure continued power and heat in your home.

Random thunderstorms and freak accidents that threaten to cut power for a few hours are now only one potential danger to your home. Shifting weather patterns are causing severe weather in areas where homeowners are unaccustomed to them. Power supply shortages and power grid failures are becoming an increasingly common problem.

Emergency generators are designed to run only the heating, refrigerator/freezer, and basic lighting in your home. Stoves and hot water tanks require a lot of power to operate. Some can supply power to both appliances individually, but not simultaneously. High-quality ones also run a lot quieter.

Small Portable Generator Prices

A portable unit is priced between about $300 and $1,200. This will depend on its power and size. It's the better option if you cannot afford the cost of a full-house backup energy source.

Portables are much less expensive than permanent models and can avoid the need for installation entirely if you choose to use them as a standalone unit with extension cords. However, they have much less power and typically power only one or two appliances, like a refrigerator, during an outage.

If power outages are infrequent in your area, and your main concern is singular - like heat or food spoilage - then you may consider investing in a portable one. It's also a good temporary option if you need to have backup power in place while waiting on the installation of a permanent unit.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Portable generators are usually easy to run. They don't always need professional installation either. On the other hand, both maintaining and installing a permanent emergency unit should be done by a pro for safety and functionality.

A professional can help you understand what power and size you need and recommend options that best fit your power needs. Pouring the concrete pad, connecting it to your utility grid, and wiring it to your home are best left to a professional.


How much does it cost to run a generator?

Installed home generators draw a lot of power and gas and therefore are expensive to run. During an extended power outage, you may spend up to $30 per day on gas alone.

Only use it when the power is out, and it is your only power source. On standby/test mode, running it in case of an unexpected outage will run you no more than $5 per month.

What's the estimated cost to wire a house for a generator?

An average electrician's rate is between $65 and $85. The overall cost to install a subpanel and wire the house runs between $500 and $900. That includes the installation of a transfer switch, which connects the generator to your existing wiring while keeping everything safe.

What do I need to know about generator maintenance after installation?

A generator needs regular maintenance to be reliable year after year. Schedule a professional inspection at least once per year. Generator maintenance and repair costs between $75 and $300, depending on what minor damages need to be fixed.

How long do generators typically last?

Most units last at least 20 years in normal conditions. Frequent use can reduce the life expectancy, sometimes significantly. You can also extend its life with regular service. Look for extended warranties to maximize your investment.

Get a quote from a generator installation pro
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