Updated: November 2017

Generator Transfer Switch Reviews:

When I moved into my current home in the Portland Oregon area the real estate agent pointed out the box on the wall in the garage and described it as a 'transfer switch' used for powering the house in case of a power outage. She mentioned using a standby generator and the transfer switch would power up my most of my house while the outage was going on. Growing up on California the power went out periodically but nothing too bad, so I was not used to things like backup generators or 'transfer switches'. Apparently, in some states, having a generator is a normal part of life and having a transfer switch built into your home is a good idea. We have never had to use it so far, but I must say that it is a nice feeling knowing that in case of a dire emergency we would still be able to use a generator and transfer power to the houses electrical system.

Choosing a transfer switch for generators - Transfer switches range in price from $100 to $1500. The transfer switch kits they sell will run basics like a furnace or your entire house. You'll see them offered for 6, 8, and 10 circuits with 30 amps, 50 amps, even up to 200 amps. The power inlet box varies as well with some handling up to 15000 watt generators - the majority are good with 7500 watt generators. How much do you need? Do you have a small cabin? 3000 Square Foot House? Will you need to run all your appliances or just some of them? An electrician can usually offer up advise on how much power is needed to run things like furnaces, refrigerators, small appliances, etc. Installing a transfer switch is something that only a certified electrician should do. The wiring needs to be done correctly. A transfer switch will either be manual or automatic. Many people prefer the automatic transfer switch vs manual simply because the ATS will start up the generator automatically when the power from the utility grid goes offline. The electric utility to the home is disconnected and at the same time the generator is connected to the houses main electrical power system/panel. You'll find that small businesses may use a transfer switch so that power is not lost when the electrical grid shuts down. Not all backup generators are designed to connect to a transfer switch so check with the manufacturers before implementing anything. You can browse the best selling transfer switches online here.

Best Transfer Switch:

RECOMMENDED - The most popular and top seller is the Reliance Controls 31410CRK Pro/Tran 10-Circuit 30 Amp Generator Transfer Switch Kit which goes for $500. Comes with Transfer Switch, 10-Foot Power Cord, And Power Inlet Box For Up To 7,500-Watt Generators. Owners like the 10 circuit prewired loadside reliance transfer switch with wattmeters - install it at the office or at home. Overall customer comments are nearly perfect for this transfer switch as they say things like "excellent product that was easy to install" and "a must have to safely restore power". In the feedback we read online, many owners mention watching the installation videos posted on the Reliance website. They are easy to follow as all wires are marked clearly. One owner says he is 'barely a handyman' and he was able to install it just fine. If anything seems beyond your set of skills, call in a professional electrician and get it done properly. There are lots of comparisons to the GenTran transfer switches but almost all feedback eventually points back to the Reliance models.

Manual Transfer Switch Kit:

The Generac 6294 30-Amp 6-10 Circuit Manual Transfer Switch Kit for Portable Generators sells for $340 and is considered a 'solid buy'. Connect the Generac unit to the existing load center like a subpanel. It is compatible with any generator up to 7500 watt continuous. Can accommodate from 6 to 10 circuits - so running things like a furnace, refrigerator/freezer, television, security system, etc. is very easy. GenTran also offers the slighly more expensive GenTran 301060 PowerStay 30 Amp Manual Transfer Switch. Both receive high praise from consumers and are worth consideration.