I had lunch today with one of my old prepper buddies and we started talking about generators. We have very different ideas on the subject, and I'm not sure that either of us is completely right. I've got a 8,500/12,500 watts Generac unit and he has two of those small, gas sipping, super quiet Honda units that push about 1,600 watts.
By my thoughts, I can run much of my house at one time... well pump, water heater, refrigerator, freezer, a few lights, TV set, and a couple of fans or a space heater depending on the weather. That's very convenient, and easy to work with. There are some downsides. It uses a lot of gas - about 5 gallons in a 7-8 hour stretch. It's noisy - it can be heard from the street. It's overkill if we don't need that much stuff going at one time, such as when we are asleep. Did I mention it uses a lot of gas?
Those units that my buddy has can run a few select things, like the refrigerator or a few lights and a fan or two. He has city water, a gas water heater, and a wood stove, so those are not even in the equation. They sip gas, about 4 hours on a gallon. They are whisper quiet - we've had a conversation at normal voice levels while standing beside one running. The cons are that he has to turn things off and on to run multiple items, and they are expensive, about $1,000 each.
I guess, based on our individual needs and expectations, what we have works, but wouldn't work as well for the other. I would like to have a couple of those small units to supplement my large one. I could use one to run the freezer out in the shop, and the other to run the refrigerator and my CPAP machine at night, then go to the big one during the day. Long term, I'd like to put a small solar system on the shop with a couple of deep-cycle marine batteries hooked up to an inverter. That might actually be more cost effective than buying the small gennies.