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In Consumer Reports' tests of generators, we recommend two stationary models, the Kohler 8.5 RES-QS7, ,200, and the Generac Core Power 5837,

In Consumer Reports' tests of generators, we recommend two stationary models, the Kohler 8.5 RES-QS7, $3,200, and the Generac Core Power 5837, $1,800, which we named a CR Best Buy.The Kohler delivered smooth, steady power and offers 7,000 watts with natural gas and 8,500 watts using propane.Eleven percent of all respondents said their homes were uninhabitable for three or more days, and 4 percent were still not able to live at home several months after the storm, when we conducted our survey.

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In Consumer Reports' tests of generators, we recommend two stationary models, the Kohler 8.5 RES-QS7, $3,200, and the Generac Core Power 5837, $1,800, which we named a CR Best Buy.

The Kohler delivered smooth, steady power and offers 7,000 watts with natural gas and 8,500 watts using propane.

Eleven percent of all respondents said their homes were uninhabitable for three or more days, and 4 percent were still not able to live at home several months after the storm, when we conducted our survey.

Armed with these lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, in this special report we offer advice to help you prepare for the worst, steer clear of avoidable problems, and cope with the aftermath of a storm or other disaster.

The Generac performed capably for roughly half the cost of the Kohler.

It offers 6,000 watts using natural gas and 7,000 watts using propane.

You avoid the hassle and risks of running extension cords between the generator and the items you're powering.

,800, which we named a CR Best Buy.The Kohler delivered smooth, steady power and offers 7,000 watts with natural gas and 8,500 watts using propane.Eleven percent of all respondents said their homes were uninhabitable for three or more days, and 4 percent were still not able to live at home several months after the storm, when we conducted our survey.

A transfer switch connects a generator directly to your electrical panel and is the best and safest way to use one.

The moderately priced portable and stationary generators we tested deliver 5,000 to 7,000 watts, enough for most needs.

A generator of that size can power the following: But if you need enough power to run a central air conditioner (5,000 watts), water heater (3,000 watts), or such large appliances as a range (5,000 watts), washing machine (1,300 watts) or dryer (5,000 watts), consider a 10,000- to 15,000-watt generator.

And homeowners with stationary generators fared better than those with portable models, in part because they did not have to depend on buying gasoline at a time when it was in short supply.

(Stationary generators run on natural gas or propane.) One-third of the non-apartment dwellers we contacted had a generator at some point during the storm, although 22 percent of those were purchased after Sandy made landfall. Of those who owned generators, most had portable models—only 12 percent owned stationary generators. More than 20 percent ran out of fuel, 10 percent weren't able to power what they needed, and 9 percent had trouble starting the machine.

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