The 8 Best Manual Transfer Switches
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in December of 2018. The safest way to use your portable generator during power outages is by hooking it up to a manual transfer switch. This versatile device lets you select which appliances you want to run, and it safeguards against harmful electrical overloads. Here we rank them for durability, ease of use, capacity, and price. No matter which one you choose, be sure to have it installed by a licensed electrician. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 02, 2021:
We decided to do away with the Arnber Industries Universal, noting that it seemed to be experiencing some availability issues, and we also added a couple new options to our list.
The first, the Square D QO1DM, is a four-space unit from a well-known industry name, which features a convenient integrated inlet that comes pre-wired.
The second, the EZ Generator Universal, is an affordable option designed for single-circuit applications. Once you get past its Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle coloring, this offering presents a simple way to prepare your most essential loads – things like well pumps, gas furnaces and sump pumps – for the eventuality of a power outage. It’s a nice choice because it can easily be fed by any portable generator, even if its a small solar generator.
March 18, 2019:
The National Electrical Code is the benchmark for safe electrical design, and it directs you to use a manual transfer switch with your portable home generator. Since this device requires you to manually switch from generator power to utility power (and vice versa), it’ll keep your appliances from being fried when the power comes back on; plus, it’ll prevent the back-filling of power lines, which could injure nearby utility workers. Here we provide several viable choices, including the Reliance Products 30 Amp and Reliance Products 31410CRK, which power six and 10 circuits, respectively – both of which also provide the necessary inlet box for connecting to generators. The two Generac models that made our list can conveniently be reconfigured or expanded, potentially saving you money in the long run, as your needs change. No matter which one you go with, be sure to have it installed by a knowledgeable, licensed electrician.