Best Generator Transfer Switch Reviews

Updated October 15, 2020

If you’re considering investing in a backup or standby home generator, you may already be aware that you need an electrical transfer switch. A transfer switch for generator connects your generator to your home’s main electrical panel.

There are various options to choose from, depending on the type of generator you have. Installed standby generators which are designed to provide backup power for your whole house will typically use an automatic transfer switch.

Because automatic transfer switches are vital to the operation of a standby generator, they’re often included in your generator purchase.

However if you’ve purchased a smaller, portable generator to provide standby power as needed, you’ll probably need to purchase a generator switch panel separately. We’ll guide you through some of the important points to consider, and we’ve reviewed a selection of options to provide our recommendation of the best transfer switch for home generators.

Best Generator Transfer Switches

#PREVIEWProduct
1 Reliance Controls 31406CRK 30 Amp 6-circuit Pro_Tran Transfer Switch Kit
Best Overall
Reliance Controls 31406CRK Generator Transfer Switch
Hide other buying options

2 Reliance Controls 31410CRK 10-Circuit 30 Amp Generator Transfer Switch Kit
Best For Higher Budgets
Reliance Controls 31410CRK Generator Transfer Switch
Hide other buying options

3 Reliance Controls 20216 6-Circuit 20-Amp Indoor Generator Transfer Switch Reliance Controls 20216 Generator Transfer Switch
Hide other buying options

4 Connecticut Electric EmerGen EGS107501G2 10 Circuit Manual Transfer Switch Kit Connecticut Electric EGS107501G2 Generator Transfer Switch
Hide other buying options

5 Generac 6333 60-Amp Manual Transfer Switch for Portable Generators
Best For Low Budgets
Generac 6333 Generator Transfer Switch
Hide other buying options

6 Generac 6852 Home Link Upgradeable Transfer Switch Kit Generac 6852 Generator Transfer Switch
Hide other buying options

1. Reliance Controls 31406CRK Generator Transfer Switch

Highlights
  • 6-circuit 30 amp transfer switch.
  • For use with generators up to 7500W with L14-20 or L14-30 outlets. 
  • Complete turn-key kit including generator power cords. 
  • Features large toggle switches to control your appliances.
Best Overall
Reliance Controls 31406CRK 30 Amp 6-circuit Pro_Tran Transfer Switch Kit

This product usefully comes with all of the components you’ll need for installation, including generator power cords for L14-20 or L14-30 outlets. It also has a built-in junction box for hardwire installation, and the circuit wires are labelled to make connection quick and easy. 

This is a 6-circuit, 30 amp manual transfer switch, for generators up to 7500W, so it could work well with smaller generators for small homes, or if you’re looking to back up your home’s most essential appliances.

Specifications

Size:
7.5 x 7 x 4.5 inches
Voltage:
120/240V
Wattage:
Up to 7,500W

Pros

  • Wattage meters help monitor the load on the generator to prevent overload.
  • Built-in junction box for hardwire installation.
  • Circuit wires are clearly labelled for quick connection.
  • 5-year warranty.

Cons

  • Only for use with smaller standby generators.
  • 10 foot power cord may be too short, depending on the position of the switch.

2. Reliance Controls 31410CRK Generator Transfer Switch

Highlights
  • Designed for use with generators up to 7,500W with NEMA L14-20 or L14-30 power outlets.
  • Large toggle switches to control appliances.
  • Maximum of 10 single-pole or 5 double-pole circuits. 
  • Powder-coated steel cabinet.
Best For Higher Budgets
Reliance Controls 31410CRK 10-Circuit 30 Amp Generator Transfer Switch Kit

This manual transfer switch is designed for use with generators up to 7500W, with L14-20 or L14-30 power outlets. Large toggle switches allow you to control appliances, so you can transfer each circuit to generator power separately, as you need. 

The wattage meters on the switch panel let you monitor the load and it features six 15 amp single pole circuit breakers and four 20 amp single pole circuit breakers. This kit contains everything needs including the pre-wired transfer switch, 10 foot power cord, 30 amp power inlet box, wire connectors and an extra 20 amp plug.

Specifications

Size:
13.25 x 7 x 4 inches
Voltage:
120/240V
Wattage:
Up to 7,500W

Pros

  • Each circuit can be transferred separately.
  • Wattage meters to monitor the load on the generator and prevent overload.
  • Designed to allow quick installation, with features such as labelled circuit wires.
  • Built-in junction box for hardwire installation.

Cons

  • Wires are quite short, so plan your placement in advance.
  • Writing on the wires is very small, so you may need to mark them yourself to aid installation.

3. Reliance Controls 20216 Generator Transfer Switch

Highlights
  • For generators producing up to 5000W.
  • Maximum 6 single-pole circuits, max 1 double-pole circuit.
  • For generators with NEMA L14-20 power outlets.
  • Powder-coated steel cabinet.

This manual transfer switch is suitable for smaller generators, with a limit of 5000W. Each of the individual circuits can be transferred separately, with simple toggle switches that will keep that circuit independently isolated from both power sources. 

There’s a maximum of 6 single-pole circuits/one double-pole circuit. The switch panel is housed in a powder-coated steel cabinet. Customers report that it’s easy to install and operate the panel, though it’s recommended that it should be installed by a professional.

Specifications

Size:
7.5 x 7 x 4.5 inches
Voltage:
120/240V
Wattage:
Up to 5000W

Pros

  • Easy to install and operate.
  • Each individual circuit can be transferred separately.
  • The 18 inch flexible conduit whip is easy to attach to the load center.
  • Resettable branch rated circuit breakers.

Cons

  • Limit of 5000W means this isn’t suitable for many whole house standby generators.

4. Connecticut Electric EGS107501G2 Generator Transfer Switch

Highlights
  • For use with generators up to 7500W.
  • 2 pole circuits allow for 240V circuits, or if not needed, the tie bar can be removed to allow for two single pole circuits. 
  • Can be used with any portable generator with up to a 30-amp output and NEMA L14-30 outlet. 
  • Built-in wattage meters to allow load balancing.

A rainproof power inlet box and transfer switch enclosure means that this manual transfer switch can be installed inside or outside. 

It’s designed for portable generators up to 7500W, with up to a 30 amp output.  This kit has the capability of 2-pole circuits and allows 240V circuits, but if these aren’t needed, the tie bar can be removed to allow for 2 single pole circuits. Wires can be fed out of the left or right side of the panel to make installation easier. The only downside is that several customers report that individual circuit switches have broken.

Specifications

Size:
11.5 x 20.5 x 14.5 inches
Voltage:
120/240V
Wattage:
Up to 7500W

Pros

  • Enclosures for the power inlet and transfer switches are designed to allow for installation indoors or outdoors.
  • Wires can be fed out of the left or right side, making installation easier.
  • Double rocker switches to ensure there’s no possibility of power back-feeding.
  • Detailed installation instructions and DVD supplied.

Cons

  • Several users report that individual circuit switches have broken or failed.
  • Some customers report difficulties contacting customer service.

5. Generac 6333 Generator Transfer Switch

Highlights
  • 60 amp single load double pole transfer switch.
  • For portable generators producing between 3000W and 25,000W.
  • Designed for use where the entire circuit in a main or sub-panel needs to be powered by a generator. 
  • Directly powers hard-wired appliances such as a well pump or septic pump.
Best For Low Budgets
Generac 6333 60-Amp Manual Transfer Switch for Portable Generators

If you’re looking for a manual transfer switch that will transfer the whole load of your home’s electrical panel to your generator, this 60 amp switch will work for generators from 3000W to 25,000W. It’s an economical option to transfer a whole circuit to generator power. It has an aluminium enclosure and can be installed flush or surface mounted. It includes two 60 amp circuit breakers, one for utility and one for generator power.

Specifications

Size:
11 x 4 x 13 inches
Voltage:
125/250V
Wattage:
3,000W up to 25,000W maximum

Pros

  • 60 amp single load double pole transfer switch.
  • For portable generators producing between 3000W and 25,000W.
  • Designed for use where the entire circuit in a main or sub-panel needs to be powered by a generator.
  • Directly powers hard-wired appliances such as a well pump or septic pump.

Cons

  • Includes two 60 amp circuit breakers (one for utility, one for generator power).
  • Economical option to transfer a whole circuit to generator power.
  • Aluminium enclosure can be installed flush or surface mounted.
  • 2-year limited warranty

6. Generac 6852 Generator Transfer Switch

Highlights
  • Compatible with portable generators starting at 5000W with a 30 amp L14-30 outlet.
  • Directly powers hard-wired appliances such as a well pump or furnace.
  • Interchangeable type circuit breakers make it possible to expand from 8 to 10 circuits in your switch. 
  • Includes one 30 amp 2-pole, one 20 amp 1-pole, five 15 amp 1-pole breakers.

This manual transfer switch offers the benefit that it’s upgradeable. If you later decide to change from a portable generator to an automatic standby generator (up to 11,000W), an electrician can change out the panel for an automatic switch upgrade panel. 

This HomeLink transfer switch has simple power indicator lights, to show whether you have utility or generator power present. It can also directly power hard-wired appliances. This 30 amp switch includes one 30 amp 2-pole, one 20-amp 1-pole and five 15-amp 1 pole breakers.

Specifications

Size:
25.8 x 18.7 x 7.8 inches
Voltage:
240V
Wattage:
Up to 11,000W

Pros

  • Can easily be upgraded if you move to a home standby generator (up to 11,000W).
  • Status lights show whether utility or generator power is in use.
  • Pre-wired for installation by your electrician.
  • 5-year limited warranty.

Cons

  • Installation requires a switch neutral kit, which is not included.
  • Limited to 30 amps.

Generator Transfer Switch Buying Guide

Type

An emergency generator can provide power to your home when the mains supply cuts out, but the type of transfer switch you put in place will determine how the move to generator power is handled.

Manual

A manual switch is simpler to install, and cheaper. However, the downside is that someone needs to be at home when the power cuts out to flick the switch and switch your home to generator power. If you’re out at work, or travelling, that could mean a lengthy delay before you discover the outage, by which time you could have issues such as spoiled food. 

Automatic

Automatic switches are more expensive, but they offer the best standby power option as they detect a mains outage and automatically switch the power source to your generator. When your utility power is restored, they’ll automatically switch back again. This gives great peace of mind, especially if you’re frequently away from home. 

Outlets

If you’re buying a manual transfer switch, you’ll need to match it to the largest outlet on your generator. 

30 amp transfer switch

For many portable generators, the largest outlet is 30 amps. This means that for a 30amp generator you’ll need a 30 amp transfer switch. 

Generator Transfer Switch Installation

Although many reviews of manual transfer switches will be from customers who’ve installed the switch themselves, it’s always recommended to have your switch installed by a qualified professional. 

If you decide to go ahead with the installation yourself, you should have it certified by an electrician afterwards. This certification will not only give peace of mind, but may also be needed for your home insurance. 

Automatic transfer switch installation is complex and should always be completed by a qualified installer. Aside from safety reasons, you may void the warranty if you try to install the switch yourself. 

Installation Cost

As with any electrical work, the cost of installation depends on the complexity of the work. A licensed electrician may cost anything from $250 – $750 to install a manual transfer switch, depending on your location and their hourly rate.

An automatic transfer switch installation is much more involved. It is usually done at the same time that your home standby generator is installed, as many generators are supplied with the transfer switch. A good rule of thumb is that the entire installation is usually around the same price as the generator itself. 

Uses

Generator transfer switches are primarily used for connecting your home to generator power, but can also be used for your RV.  

RV Generator Transfer Switch

A generator can be a useful way to power your RV, if you’re at a remote campsite without a power supply you can hook up to, or if that power fails. There are manual or automatic transfer switches, to change your supply from shore power to generator and avoid relying on the power supply in your RV and draining the batteries. 

Whole House Transfer Switch

A whole house transfer switch is the link between your backup or standby generator and your home. It ensures that there’s a connection from your generator and your home’s circuits, so the generator can step in and provide power when your mains supply fails. 

Generator Transfer Switch Kit

There are a few components needed in order to install a generator transfer switch, and these may be sold individually or sometimes a full kit will contain all the elements you need. Check the description of the switch you’re buying to be sure whether it includes all that’s required.

Generator Switch Box

A generator transfer switch is usually within an enclosure, or box, which may look very similar to your home’s electric circuit board. 

Generator Transfer Switch Panel

Depending on the particular model, a manual transfer switch may have one or a number of circuit switches that control whether that individual circuit is on mains power or generator power. There may also be wattage meters so you can prevent overloading. An automatic transfer switch doesn’t need these manual toggle switches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How To Wire a Generator Transfer Switch?
A:

The wiring for a manual generator transfer switch will depend on the model. Instructions should be provided, and there are useful instructional videos online.

However, it’s highly recommended that your manual generator transfer switch is installed by a qualified professional. An automatic transfer switch definitely requires professional installation, for safety and to avoid voiding the warranty.

Q: How Does a Generator Transfer Switch Work?
A:

A transfer switch can switch an electrical load between two sources – your regular utility company supplier, and your home standby or backup generator. The way a transfer switch works depends on the type of switch.

An automatic transfer switch senses when the utility supply is down, and tells the generator to start.

As soon as the generator is ready to provide power to your home, the switch breaks the connection to your usual supplier and connects your generator to your home’s main electrical panel instead. The generator is isolated from the utility company’s lines, for safety.

When the utility power is reinstated, the transfer switch will revert back to your mains supply. There will be a minimum time that the mains power needs to be back on before the change happens, to make sure the mains supply is stable.

With a manual transfer switch, the homeowner needs to physically toggle switches on the transfer switch panel to move one or more circuits across to generator power.

Q: How to Install a Generator Transfer Switch?
A:

For safety reasons, to avoid voiding the warranty and to comply with home insurance requirements, generator transfer switches should be installed by a qualified professional.

Some manual transfer switches are reported as easy for a homeowner to install, but you should have the installation certified by an electrician to ensure everything is compliant with relevant codes, for safety and for your insurance.

Our Verdict

If you have a portable backup generator for your home, choosing the right transfer switch is an important step in getting your overall setup in place. If you have a standby generator, you likely already have an automatic transfer switch fitted. We’ve focused on manual switches, and the key to your decision here will be the size of your generator and getting the right switch to match the largest outlet – this is typically 30 amps. 

For an easy to install and comprehensive solution, we like the Reliance Controls 31406CRK which comes ready with power cords for L14-20 or L14-30 outlets. It’s designed to be easy to install, and can be used with portable generators producing up to 7500W.