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Portable or small stationary generators in the 5-kilowatt-and-under category are primarily bought for standby or emergency power to the home, for recreational use, for construction work and by farmers.

Standby units come in 1,200 to 5,000 watts, with the 2,000- to 3,500-watt models the most popular. Some gasoline-powered units are compact with low noise level, and put out 750 watts of power.

Prices vary depending upon the options; some emergency power kits include a generator and accessories to put a complete emergency power system together. The system may include a generator, gasoline storage cans, power-transfer switch, power attachment to the house wiring and a housing or cover. Battery-powered electric starting may be added.

Other accessories include dollies to move the units, covers, low-noise mufflers, conversion kits that allow the units to run off liquid propane or natural gas, battery chargers and spark arrestors.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document