Toward the end of the year, many people start preparing for the hurricane season. An important consideration is ensuring that you have reliable backup electricity for your home. A dual fuel generator is your best option for this purpose. The Westinghouse WGEN9500DF is a formidable portable generator that can run on gas or propane, with enough watts to meet your general home power needs.
Westinghouse has an incredible range of quality generators at very reasonable prices. Anyone familiar with my generator reviews will know how I feel about the brand. I think Westinghouse generators are awesome. Mostly because of the amazing value for money that you get. In my opinion, the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF can rank among any of the best dual fuel portable generators. While this is definitely an above-average machine, the price tag is pretty average. That, to my mind, is what true value for money is all about.
In 2021, I compared the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF to some of the best 10,000W hurricane generators. In this comparative review of affordable 10,000W generators, I pitted the Westinghouse model against DuroMax and WEN dual fuel models. While all these generators offer pretty good value, I feel that the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF came up tops.
This year, I’ll be reviewing the Westinghouse 9,500W/12,500W dual fuel generator in its own right. It is arguably the best value dual fuel generator for home backup power.
Westinghouse WGEN9500DF | Comprehensive Review
- Dual Fuel capability – runs on gas or propane
- Starting watts (gas): 12,500W; (propane): 11,200W
- Running Watts (gas): 9,500; (propane: 8,500W
- Electric start with wireless remote-control fob and a recoil starter
- GFCI protection for 20A outlets
- RV ready
- Transfer switch ready
- Compatible with the Westinghouse ST automatic transfer switch
- Outlets: 2 X duplex 120V 5-20R (20A); 1 X 120V/240V L14-30R (30A); 1 X 120V/240V L14-50R (50A)
- Total harmonic distortion (THD): <23%
- Engine displacement: 457cc
- Fuel tank capacity: 6.6-gallons
- Runtime (gas): 8-hours @ 50% load; 12-hours @25% load
- Runtime (propane): 7 hours @ 50% load
- Noise level: 74dBA
- Digital display
- CARB compliant
- Weight: 211 LBS
- 3-year limited warranty
With a 12,500W peak capacity and 9,500W continuous power, the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF is perfectly suitable to run all or most of your household electrical equipment with reliable 120V/240V electricity.
While the total harmonic distortion (THD) spec is not all that impressive when compared to inverter generators, it is more than acceptable for this type of conventional generator. You may want to consider using an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) for sensitive electronic equipment. This will ensure a safe, continuous electrical supply for your computer, TV, stereo, and similar devices, whether the utility power is working or not. It will also prevent an unwanted shutdown and reboot when the power goes down.
For a conventional, open-frame generator, the WGEN9500DF is an excellent machine, with proven reliability and durability. It will seldom reach the peak THD of around 23% because harmonic distortion is relative to output watts. Most of the time, you’ll only be using around 50% of the rated output or less. This means that the average THD should be around 5%. The voltage and frequency of a generator only start becoming dangerously erratic from around 75% of the running capacity.
When you’re using a large portable generator with watts to spare, THD isn’t really an issue. It all depends on how you use the power provided by the generator. If you’re using several air conditioners, refrigerators, and appliances like microwave ovens and washing machines simultaneously, you will experience high THD periodically as these appliances switch on and off. Most of the time, you should be fine.
Dual Fuel Generator
For many people, concerned about our environmental impact, propane is a preferable source of fuel for a portable generator. It is a cleaner-burning fuel with lower emissions than gas.
It also has some great practical advantages. If you run out of gas, you can use the propane tank from your grill to keep the generator running.
Gas has a limited shelf-life of around 3 months, whereas propane can be stored indefinitely. This is great for emergency preparations. You can stash enough propane for your generator, as well as cooking and heating equipment, for as long as you need to. It’s also a good deal safer to store than gas.
I think the best reason to use a dual fuel generator for emergency backup electricity, especially in the hurricane season, is fuel availability. In most disaster situations, gas can be difficult to obtain, and propane could be the only fuel available.
While propane may be more expensive in many areas and does not generate as much power as gas, it has its advantages. A dual fuel generator gives you the flexibility of choosing what type of fuel you would like to use in any given situation.
Westinghouse WGEN9500DF Engine
Westinghouse has been manufacturing portable generators for about a decade. In the general scheme of things, this is not a long time. It is, however, long enough to assess how reliable and durable they are. In this regard, Westinghouse engines have proven to be truly noteworthy workhorses.
The 457cc engine powering the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF is quite remarkable in all aspects. I rate it in a similar league to high-end machines, like Honda, without being as expensive. Their cast iron sleeve design is one of many reasons why Westinghouse engines outlast most cheap generators.
Being an open-frame generator, it’s quite a loud beast. Noise levels can be as high as 74dBA when running at maximum RPM. While this is not ideal, it’s pretty normal for this type of generator.
It’s a real winner when looking at fuel economy. With a fairly modest 6.6-gallon gas tank, the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF will generate 4,250W continuously for 8 hours on a tank of gas. Without any real compromise in your electricity usage, you should get around 8 to 10 hours runtime from a full tank for an average three to four-bedroom house with all the regular electrical equipment that we use around the home.
Using a 20-pound propane tank provides slightly less runtime than a tank of gas. You can expect 7 hours at 50% load on propane. For longer runtime, you can use a larger propane tank.
The engine meets all the emission standards and is 50-state legal, being both CARB and EPA certified.
A four-point mounting system is used to secure the engine and alternator to the steel frame. This means vibration is not an issue and the entire generator should last for many years without a problem.
Being such a robust machine makes this a pretty heavy brute, weighing a hefty 211 pounds. Heavy-duty components aren’t exactly lightweight. A wheel kit and fold down handles provide some relief when it comes to portability.
Convenient Control Panel
The tough metal control panel is nicely configured and easy to use, complete with all the outlets and user-friendly gizmos we expect from a modern generator.
You select the fuel source using a large, clearly marked dial. Switching the generator on is about easy as one could hope for. You switch the engine run/shutoff switch to the on position and press the large stater button. The choke is automatic, so there’s no risk of flooding the engine. Once the engine is running, a green LED on the starter switch lets you know that the generator is ready for use.
It has 4 X 20A 120V (5-20R) outlets with GFCI protection. The Westinghouse WGEN9500DF also has two transfer switch ready 120V/240V outlets – L14-50R and L14-30R. This means you can easily connect the generator to your home electric panel using either a 30A or 50A transfer switch. You also have the option to use the Westinghouse ST Switch, which I’ll be discussing in more detail later.
All the outlets are protected by push-to-reset circuit breakers and a main 2-pole breaker. Plastic covers prevent moisture and dirt from damaging the outlets. A VFT digital meter displays output voltage, frequency, and runtime.
The guys at Westinghouse have done an amazing job of researching what generator users want to make our lives easier. To this end, they have incorporated a bunch of really cool features. Several upgrades have been implemented over the years, making the Westinghouse WGEN series among the most user-friendly on the market.
Going outside to start your generator in the midst of a raging storm is not something anyone wants to do. As a result, wireless remote controls have become quite common for many of the top portable generator brands.
The Westinghouse WGEN9500DF comes with a factory-paired remote-control fob. This allows you to start or stop the generator from about 100 yards.
When you store a generator for long periods, disconnecting the battery is essential to prevent discharge from deleting battery power and causing damage.
Usually, this requires tools and can be a hassle. To make things easier, Westinghouse has installed a simple battery connector that allows you to disconnect and reconnect the battery in a matter of seconds without using any tools.
The Usual Stuff
Apart from the less common handy features, the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF has all the features that are common on most portable generators. This includes a fuel gauge on the gas tank and low-oil shutdown.
Westinghouse ST Switch
The final, and truly amazing feature that deserves credit is the Westinghouse ST switch. For the uninitiated, this may seem like a bit of a gimmick without much value. I beg to differ and will be explaining why this unique generator feature can really enhance your use of the generator.
An automatic transfer switch is common for most high-end whole-house standby generators. It’s not something you expect to find on a portable generator.
An automatic transfer switch does all the work for you. When the utility power goes down, the generator will start automatically and the power supply to your home is transferred from the main electrical supply to the generator. When normal electrical supply is restored, the process is reversed – switching the generator off and returning to utility power.
Large standby generators are equipped with high-amperage transfer switches that can handle all the power needed for your home. These can be 100A or more. In contrast, the Westinghouse ST switch can only handle 20A and is not connected to your electrical panel. The ST switch has a box with two 20A household outlets that will supply power automatically during an outage. This has some wondering if it’s worthwhile spending the extra cash.
When you think about it, there are actually some great advantages. If the power fails when you’re not at home, you won’t be able to start your generator. This may also be the case if you’re asleep.
In most homes, there are certain electrical appliances that we would prefer to remain powered up all the time. A refrigerator is one of these. You don’t want your food to spoil simply because you weren’t able to switch your generator on in time.
Your home security system, or essential medical equipment, would be another reason to choose an automatic transfer switch. All of these can be connected to the ST Switch outlets permanently. This means that when the electrical supply to your home is interrupted, these essential items will remain powered up.
The Bottom Line
In the world of dual fuel generators for home backup electricity, I reckon the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF is one of your best options. Dual Fuel generators are a little more expensive than models that run only on gas, but the advantages can certainly be worth the cost. The Westinghouse WGEN9500 would be a cheaper alternative if dual fuel is not important to you.
You’ll probably be paying around $1,200 for the WGEN9500DF. Okay, spending this amount of cash is a decision no one takes lightly. There are cheaper options and some that are more expensive. Though any generator with enough watts to supply all your household electrical needs is never going to be cheap. Even more so, if it’s a dual fuel generator.
You may save a hundred or two, buying a similar generator from another brand. Which begs the question: is the Westinghouse WGEN9500DF worth it? I believe it definitely is.
I’ve developed a huge respect for Westinghouse generators because of their impeccable design and build quality. This alone makes any Westinghouse generator great value for money. In the realm of high-quality portable generators, they aren’t particularly expensive.
In the end, the extra bucks will come back to you with interest. You won’t be paying for costly repairs a few years down the road, as you would with most cheap generators. Probably the fuel savings will amount to a lot more than the difference in price between the WGEN9500DF and its cheaper rivals.
The Westinghouse brand enjoys a stellar reputation, earned over more than a century of electrical innovation. They offer an outstanding 3-year warranty on this generator and have established an extensive dealership network throughout the US. The Westinghouse WGEN9500DF is a generator I can recommend without any hint of hesitation.