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Do You Need A Manual or Automatic Transfer Switch for Your Generator?

If you live in an area where outages are common, you would want a power backup. Generators are one of the best options when looking for power backup. You can either buy a new one or get used generators for sale. If you’re going to purchase a wired generator for your home or office, you need to decide whether you want one with a manual switch transfer or an automatic one. Knowing the difference between both can help you make a better choice. 

Here’s our guide to automatic and manual transfer switches. 

Why do you need a transfer switch?

Before we discuss whether you should go for automatic or manual transfer switches, you need to understand the purpose of a transfer switch. A transfer switch panel supplies power to an electrical circuit from multiple sources. It prevents the generator power from going back to the primary power grid. So, without one, your generator will not be able to power your home or office properly. The transfer switch is essential to stopping your generator from supplying power when the electricity comes back. 

What is a manual transfer switch?

As the name suggests, a manual switch works only when you go and turn it on manually when the power goes down. You will also need to turn it off when the power returns. 

There are some pros and cons of using a manual transfer switch. These are:


  • It is a cost-effective option compared to automatic ones. 
  • You have complete control, so you don’t have to rely on a machine. 


  • Manual switches mean more work for you as you will have to turn them on and off every time.
  • You have to be around every time the power goes out. 
  • If you forget to turn off the switch, your generator will power the grid instead of your home or office. 

What is an automatic transfer switch?

An automatic transfer switch means you don’t need to do anything. The switch will turn on and off as the power comes and goes automatically. So, your home will have power, and essential equipment will run even if you are not there. 

There are pros and cons of using an automatic transfer switch too. These are:


  • It is easy to use. You don’t need any technical knowledge or skills. 
  • Your power backup runs even if you are not there. 
  • The downtime between switches is minimal.


  • It is more expensive than the manual ones.
  • You can use it only on generators that are permanently mounted on the ground. 

Which is the best option for you?

The benefit of a manual switch is that it is less expensive and is easy to install. It is also smaller in size, so you need less space. So if you have budget and space constraints, go for a manual switch. 

However, if you don’t want to do the work yourself and keep things running even when you are not home, an automatic switch panel would be better. 

About Nebraska Generator Service LLC

If you are looking for a generator rental in Omaha, Gibbon, or the Nebraska region, Nebraska Generator Service LLC should be your one-stop solution. Our services include remote monitoring and emergency service calls, maintenance, and repairs. You can schedule a free assessment today by filling out our online contact form. Contact us at (402)800-0748 for any questions.

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