ROMEOVILLE, Ill. - Several years ago, emergency generators were simply too expensive for the average homeowner. Now, prices are falling and generators are becoming much more common in some regions - especially in hurricane country.

Many homeowners acknowledge that they need a generator, but they still think the price isn't right. Contractors can pass along the following tips from Jon Hoch, founder of, to let their customers know that they can find an affordable generator.

1. Comparison Shop
Many Americans miss the mark when it comes to comparison shopping, noted Hoch.

"The biggest savings comes from comparing brands - not stores," said Hoch. "In some cases, it's not worth your time and gas money, driving across town to save a few bucks."

Hoch recommends learning all that you can about products before you buy and that includes using the Web to comparison shop. There are many Websites, like, which can help you to compare prices between brands.

For example, he discovered that four nearly identical generators can vary in price by up to $200.

2. Consider Reconditioned Models
Homeowners can save additional money by purchasing reconditioned instead of new generators, said Hoch.

Reconditioned generators are returned to the manufacturer by one of their retailers for a number of reasons. Most are returned with no apparent defect and little sign of use. Many, in fact, have never been used. Others show some minor use or wear.

The manufacturer tests and, when needed, services these products, guaranteeing they meet 100 percent of new product performance specifications.

"Think about it," said Hoch. "Even the most basic generators are designed to last hundreds of hours. A reconditioned generator may have been used a few hours, but it costs considerably less."

3. Buy Online
Internet retailers offer three cost advantages:

First, they can ship orders directly from the factory to the customer's door. By eliminating the need for warehouses and stores, they can pass considerable factory-direct savings on to the customer.

Secondly, you can save up to 7.5 percent (depending on your state) by simply not paying state sales tax. For example, Illinois residents would save an extra $33.75 in tax on a $500 generator.

Finally, many Websites are now offering free shipping on all generator orders.

"Instead of lugging it home from the store, you can reinvest the time and energy into more important things," said Hoch.

4. Pay By Check
Yes, credit cards are convenient. And, the frequent flyer miles or the 1 percent cash discount is tantalizing.

But most consumers don't realize that merchants already increase their prices by at least 2 percent in order to cover the credit card fees.

So instead of giving 2 percent of the sale to the credit card companies, some merchants, such as, are actually passing the savings on to the consumer if they pay by check instead.

The discount can really add up, especially on larger purchases like home standby generators. For example, you can save between $50-$350 on your purchase by simply mailing a check.

"Do the math," said Hoch. "You can save hundreds of dollars by simply licking a 39 cent stamp. Sounds like a good trade to me."

Electric Generators Direct is an online emergency generator store owned and operated by Power Equipment Direct Inc. For more information, visit

Publication date: 09/11/2006