Friday, August 3, 2012

10 Reasons Why I Don't Own a Generator

When many people think about prepping for a disaster, buying a generator is usually at the top of their list.  I don't own a generator and don't plan to own one for these reasons:

  1. It requires the initial outlay of money for purchase, then there is time and effort needed for maintenance and upkeep for a unit you may not use for years on end.
  2. When you do use the generator during a power outage it will draw attention to what you have by the mass of have-nots (see reader's comment on the last post).
  3. You can only reasonably store so much fuel which will very likely run out before the power is restored during a long-term disaster.
  4. Having a generator makes people feel like they are prepared for anything--flip a switch and you can go back to living like you were before a disaster.  That is not necessarily true.  People are generally oblivious to the amount of power they use so a generator will probably not power your household as you think it will.
  5. On a similar vein, putting so much reliance on a generator often keeps people from making other plans for things such as hot water heating, cooking, lighting their household, preserving their food without refrigeration, etc.  The skills required to live without electricity should be learned and practiced.
  6. You know how many firearms/boxes of ammo you can buy with $5000?
  7. An electromagnetic strike can render your unit useless.  
  8. Generators can be dangerous.  People have been injured and even killed when improperly using their generators.  Everything from carbon monoxide poisoning from improper placement to getting zapped or toasting their breaker box from incorrectly connecting the unit.
  9. 99% of the disasters you can expect to be involved in are short term and/or you will have better options (like bugging out to a hotel or secondary location).  Statistically a generator is unnecessary based upon where I live.
  10. To date I have never had cause to use a generator.  While I am not saying there will never be a time when I could really use one, again, looking at the situation statistically, I don't need one.
Now there are a few situations when I think people should, without question, HAVE a generator:
  • Some people must have electricity for medical needs (ie: someone in the home is on a ventilator and will die if there is any interruption to their electricity service).  
  • I have friends who live in a very remote section of Washington state and even though they are on the power grid, they know, without a doubt, that their electricity will be down for a week or so at a time, multiple times, during each winter.  For them it just makes sense to not have their lives so often disrupted and to hook up a good sized generator to their homes.
  • In another case, I know people who are building homes in remote locations and a generator is a necessity.  While they eventually plan to have solar power or be hooked up to the grid, during building they have no other source of power and building a house with hand tools is unreasonable.


  1. If you own a car, you own a generator. Just buy a power inverter and a couple of deep cycle batteries for emergency use and you're set as long as there is gas left in your car. Just make sure you only use the inverter when the engine is running.

  2. Good point. I have often used that set up to charge my laptop while driving.

  3. Generators can cost as little as $300 and they can be powered by a gasifier. Which is a lot cheaper than solar or wind. Neither is dependable in some areas. I live in an area with little sunshine in the winter and very little wind. A gasifier and genny is the most reliable power supply I can have. Plus I can afford it unlike solar and wind.

  4. Good info. I don't have one either; it's primarily do to costs factors.

    A generator is considered by many to be a required addition to their prepping supplies. I don't know that I agree with that sentiment, however, I do have a few thoughts on your list.

    1. Initial cost - big deterrent to many.

    2. Drawing attention - If you're prepping solely for TEOTWAWKI, then you're right. However many people prep for other purposes too. Such as an extended power outage due to weather, etc.

    3. Limited fuel - true but that's true for every prepping item. You can only store so much of anything. But having something is better than nothing.

    4. Invincibility - true. Same goes for 4 wheel drive vehicles.

    5. Self-sustaniability - true; you've got to prioritize your preparations and make sure you have backup plans.

    6. Costs - Yes, prioritization is key.

    7. EMP - a generator is probably toast in the event of an EMP. You can try shielding it but it's only a guess as to whether it will succeed.

    8. Dangerous - Yes, you have to know what you're doing. But that goes for everything you do to prepare.

    9. Not needed - food stored in a freezer, electric heat, etc,

    10. Not needed - Agreed; it's not for everyone.

    Thanks for the post! Good info and insight.