Best Tranfer Switches for Houses and Facilities

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 16, 2017
Transfer switches are irreplaceable when it comes to switching the load between two sources. Thus, these switches prevent the negative consequences of an outage or a power loss. We've listed the 5 most versatile transfer switches suit for various applications. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Backup source switch
Voltage
Max running watts
Max amperage
Circuits
Cabinet type
Dimensions
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

This device is packed in a small size case so that it doesn't take much space or be a hindrance. Also, it allows on the wall surface or flush mounting.

CONS

The power cord which comes with the transfer switch may be a little bit too short.

OUR VERDICT

The 31406CRK model is perfect for powering the critical circuits.  Thereby, this device offers a high quality at a very affordable price.

detailed parameters
Backup source switch

Manual

Voltage

120/240V

Max running watts

7,500W

Max amperage

30 Amps

Circuits

Maximum single pole - 6, 

Maximum double pole - 1

Cabinet type

NEMA 1

Dimensions

7.5 x 7 x 4.5 inches

Weight

14.5 lbs

Warranty

5 years

PROS

This switchgear utilizes the digital power management (PMM) technology in its operation. The PMM makes the generator power load distribute more accurately and efficiently among the consumers.

CONS

A bit bulky.

OUR VERDICT

If you're looking for a switch to maintain an uninterruptible power supply for your facility or an enterprise with many circuits, this option is hard to beat. High performance and protection level of this electrical device won't disappoint you.

detailed parameters
Backup source switch

Automatic

Voltage

120/240V

Max running watts

48,000W

Max amperage

200 Amps

Circuits

N/A

Cabinet type

NEMA 3R

Dimensions

30 x 13.5 x 6.3 inches

Weight

39 lbs

Warranty

5 years

PROS

The Generac 6376 is designed to supply a circuit of up to 60 Amps, thus, you can connect the whole main electrical panel to your generator via the switch to power each circuit in the house simultaneously.

CONS

The package does not include some of the basic accessories.

OUR VERDICT

If you're not sure about the circuits you want to power from an auxiliary source during an outage, the 6376 is just what you need as it offers a wide range of different circuit combinations.

detailed parameters
Backup source switch

Manual

Voltage

125/250V

Max running watts

7,500W

Max amperage

30 Amps

Circuits

Maximum single pole - 10,

Maximum double pole - 2

Cabinet type

NEMA 1

Dimensions

9.25 x 11 x 3.25 inches

Weight

13 lbs

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The 31410CRK model lets you power up to 5 240V devices or electrical appliances at the same time, which can be rarely seen in such switches.

CONS

Some wires have no labels on them, which may lead to confusion when doing the wiring.

OUR VERDICT

This model is a great solution for those who experience frequent power losses in winter. With the 31410CRK kit, you'll be able to supply electric power to several heaters at a time.

detailed parameters
Backup source switch

Manual

Voltage

120/240V

Max running watts

7,500W

Max amperage

30 Amps

Circuits

Maximum single pole - 10, 

Maximum double pole - 5

Cabinet type

NEMA 1

Dimensions

13.25 x 7 x 4 inches

Weight

13 lbs

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The high quality of the product is beyond any doubt and the manufacturer is so confident about the HTS15 quality that it offers a lifetime warranty on the device.

CONS

Powers up one circuit only.

OUR VERDICT

It is a perfect solution if you don't have to power a huge number of circuits when an outage occurs. The HTS15-MAN is an optimal and effective solution for the users not needing to power up many electric appliances during power outages.

detailed parameters
Backup source switch

Manual

Voltage

120V

Max running watts

1,875W

Max amperage

15 Amps

Circuits

One single pole

Cabinet type

Aluminum

Dimensions

5.5 x 3.5 x 3 inches

Weight

2 lbs

Warranty

lifetime

What is a Transfer Switch?

Probably, each of us has experienced a sudden power outage. However, nobody wants to get immersed in the darkness which is the most apparent consequence of an outage in case it occurs after dark. For example, if you have your power utility out for hours your foods in the fridge may get defrosted, and what is worse, some foods may go off. In case you use an electric burner for the cooking, you will have to go to bed with an empty stomach. The worst scenario is having your guests invited for a barbecue party that never happens due to no electric power supply.

Using a transfer switch is an effective way out. Just connect it to your portable generator used as a backup source to ensure powering the most critical circuits in your house in case of a power outage. Also, think of an alternative power supply like solar panels.
We've picked 5 models of transfer switches for this review, which are really worth considering when choosing such a device.

What Features to Compare

Switching to the Backup Source

To pick the right switchgear, first, you need to get familiar with its main specifications. To start with, transfer switches have two ways of switching to the backup source: manual and automatic.
In most cases, manual electric transfer switches are cheaper, smaller, and easier to install. However, when using them it takes more time to switch to the supplementary power supply. The automatic ones do the switching in a few seconds or quicker, which is crucial for certain establishments like hospitals, where lives of patients often depend on an uninterrupted operation of the medical equipment. In such cases, an automatic switching equipment is the only choice.

Wattage, Amperage

The next two crucial values for our switching apparatus are the maximum power (Watt) of the generator used and its maximum amperage. The peak power consumption defines the number and electrical load of circuits you can power simultaneously via the switch. The same applies to the maximum amperage. For example, if you own a big facility, and power outages are a frequent issue, you will need a more powerful generator as well as a piece of switching equipment with a high amperage rating to establish an uninterrupted power supply. The number of circuits to supply is another concern. Note that the transfer switch may be connected to more circuits than your generator can power at a time, and being able to cut off and turn on again the non-critical ones prevents the generator from overloading. To enable that your switch must have enough branch-rated circuit breakers.

Cabinet Type

Pay attention to the adequacy of protection of the transfer switch body to the environment you are going to install it in. The NEMA standards were developed for evaluating this correspondence. The NEMA 1 devices are designed for indoor usage and come with an antisplash protection. While the conformity with the NEMA 2 also implies the equipment suitability for indoor usage plus a limited waterproof. If the switch conforms with the NEMA 3 it means it was designed for an outdoor use and is protected from dust, rain, and sleet. Such switches are also protected from getting damaged caused by icing.

...Read more ...Read less

Reliance Controls Corporation 31406CRK

A Great Device by a Trustworthy Manufacturer

Overcoming a power outage is not a big deal nowadays. This transfer switch by Reliance Controls, a company which name speaks for itself, is one of the best devices you can find in the market that relates to this kind of equipment. It was designed to provide a continuous supply of the circuits connected whenever you experience issues with the mains. The 31406CRK model is a perfect choice, delivering the level of quality Reliance Controls customers are used to. Convenience and simplicity of use are its characteristic features you'll enjoy along with the favorable price.

Review of Reliance Controls Corporation 31406CRK Transfer Switch

Convenience Above Everything

This transfer switch is capable of operating with any power generator with an output of 7,500W and lower, which is sufficient for feeding not only low-powered appliances but also high power ones like air conditioners. The only thing you need to do beforehand is to determine the exact electric appliances you want to supply an auxiliary power to in case an outage occurs. With that, the total capacity of the appliances selected must not exceed the backup power source output. For the convenience of wiring, the branch-rated circuit breakers and circuit selector toggle switches are marked with A, B, C, D, E, F letters and the sticky label above these letters allows you to sign, which appliance circuit is connected to each breaker. This kind of precaution by the manufacturer prevents confusion with appliances power on/off. The toggle switches can be set in three positions: the bottom position to power the connected appliances from the utility source, the top position to power them with the generator, and the middle position to entirely cut off the appliances connected.

Reliance Controls Corporation 31406CRK Transfer Switch in the use

A Few Words on Protection

The construction of this switching device is well-thought-out. Being designed for mainly indoor usage in a house or a small office, it has a protection level adequate to its intended working conditions. It sports a comprehensive protection from any kind of dirt. Furthermore, choosing this model you get a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer. In addition, you will be able to make use of the two watt-meters on the panel of the switch. One of them displays the total power consumption for the A, B, and C circuits, whereas the other one shows the same value for the D, E, and F circuits. Using these watt-meters greatly helps you monitor the generator current operation parameters and prevent its overload.

Detailed review of Reliance Controls Corporation 31406CRK Transfer Switch

Equipment You Can Use the Switch With

Сoncluding the examination of this model, we would like to provide a few examples of the devices, which you can power up with the 31406CRK. This switching unit features six single-pole circuits and allows you to unite the C and D poles into one double pole circuit to power an appliance working from a 240V supply. Thus, you can wire a refrigerator, an electric burner, a sump pump, or a TV to the A, B, E, or F circuits with the C and D circuits connected to a more power hungry appliance like a well pump.

Reliance Controls Corporation 31406CRK Transfer Switch application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Reliance Controls Corporation 31406CRK
Reliance Controls Corporation 31406CRK
 

Generac RTSW200A3

Switch Magic

It is well-known that the work of big companies and enterprises depends on a stable power supply. Unfortunately, the actual operation of the power grid is not always that reliable. And the worst case scenario of a power outage in real life implies the loss of all unsaved data on the enterprise computers as well as the failure of critical circuits. The Generac RTSW200A3 transfer switch is the device that allows averting such consequences. The concept of its operation is pretty simple: one switch inlet is wired to the mains, and the other to a backup power generator. If an outage occurs resulting in no electricity supply from the power grid, this Generac switch automatically enables the power supply from the auxiliary source for the consumers connected. With that, when the main network power supply is restored, the switchgear automatically switches the equipment back to the mains. Just think of the conveniences this device by Generac brings. First of all, using this electric switch makes a power outage get by almost noticed. Secondly, you don't need to reach for the RTSW200A3 to switch back to the primary source after the supply is restored.

Review of Generac RTSW200A3 Automatic Transfer Switch

Superb Protection

Some users may not like the size of this model. However one needs to understand that the bulkiness of this piece of equipment is caused by the implementation of the circuitry to control the device operation along with high-power switches. The model has an enclosure with a high-quality of build and assembly. The case is covered with powder paint and all connections are pressure sealed in conformance with the NEMA 3R standard making the switch suitable for both indoor and outdoor installation. In addition, RTSW200A3 offers a protection from the snow and rain as well as icing. These features greatly add to the model usability and make it a splendid option for use in the Northern regions of the US.

Generac RTSW200A3 Automatic Transfer Switch in the use

A Capacity That Exceeds Your Expectations

The RTSW200A3 is compatible with circuits powered from the generators with up to 48,000W output. It implies the ability to power up a great number of electrical appliances via this transfer switch. All in all, having such a powerful switching device with an auxiliary power source makes an outage not an issue at all. Like other advanced electric equipment of this type, this switch uses the digital power management (PMM) technology to perform its main function. Owing to the PMM implemented the power draw from the generator distributes more evenly among the connected equipment. Add a tempting 5-year warranty for such a great device and you get a no brainer when it comes deciding on a specific model.

Detailed review of Generac RTSW200A3 Automatic Transfer Switch

Summing Up

As it stems from the written above this power switch turns out to be one of the best options among the automatic models available for ensuring a reliable power supply to your appliances. Whether you decide to use the RTSW200A3 in a small shop, restaurant, or a private company, you will hardly regret your decision. As a useful addition that expands the rich functionality of this Generac device, even more, you can purchase the Smart Management Module to control the automatic switch at a distance. The module allows you to redistribute the load on the power source caused by the consuming appliances remotely as well as keep track of the current device parameters and perform other operations.

Generac RTSW200A3 Automatic Transfer Switch application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Generac RTSW200A3
Generac RTSW200A3
 

Generac 6376

Light in the Dark

The Generac is a top-tier brand among other manufacturers when it comes to power generators for houses. So, they are always on the cutting edge in the field of electrical equipment manufacturing, including power switches. The 6376 model refers to a portable transfer switch type, which conditions its compactness. Nevertheless, this compact device is a guiding light in the dark when you encounter a power outage. Probably, the only product downside is the absence of bundled inlet box and a power cord. On the other hand, the model advantages and high quality make it a solid performer, which is very difficult to compete with.

Review of Generac 6376 Indoor Manual Transfer Switch

A Caring Maintenance of Your Generator

As analogous electric devices, this switch offers an electric protection of a certain level. And considering its suitability for a garage or basement installation due to the small size it was logical for the manufacturer to equip the switch with anti-dust and anti-dirt protection. With that, the Generac also took care of your generator maintenance. To help you avoid your generator overload, this power switch offers two watt-meters, each showing the power consumption for one output phase: A and B. These meters will come in handy to control the power draw. To run the generator in a normal operation mode and avoid its overload, please ensure that total power demand of the appliances energized does not exceed the generator capacity.  If you use one of the circuits to feed power hungry appliances such as freezers or well pumps, you will probably need to switch the phase connection from your generator from time to time to balance the load. As a general protective measure, we recommend to always keep the power consumption differential within the 1,000W limit for the phases.

Generac 6376 Indoor Manual Transfer Switch in the use

More Power — More Capabilities

Evaluating the performance of this particular device, it is safe to say that its ability to feed the circuits from generators with up to 7,500W output offers a great opportunity of keeping a large variety of critical appliances powered up from your auxiliary source. In most cases, people are seeking the capability of the switch to power up their fridges in case of an outage so that to keep the foods from defreezing. It is also common and rational to look for a switchgear capable of supplying power reliably to a heater during the wintertime, and this model can do just that. Moreover, with such switch capacity along with the most crucial equipment, you can even connect your TV, radio, or a PC to your power generator.

Detailed review of Generac 6376 Indoor Manual Transfer Switch

And One Last Thing...

Summing up we want to touch upon the subject of the available combinations of connected circuits for this switching device. The main option is to use six single pole circuits for connecting appliances of a medium power consumption rate. Alternatively, you can use two model in a twin double pole circuits mode to connect appliances, which require higher voltage for the operation. There is also an option of expanding the total number of single poles to 10 for the Generac 6376.

Generac 6376 Indoor Manual Transfer Switch application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Generac 6376
Generac 6376
 

Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK

Electricity Transients Are Not an Issue

This switching apparatus by the Reliance Controls Corporation provides a great opportunity of using all your appliances if you experience frequent outages. Thus, the 31410CRK model is good for its small size and it doesn't take much space in your house, garage, basement, or wherever you place it. Considering the wave of positive responses to this device, it can definitely be considered one of the best transfer switches in terms of efficiency compared to numerous competitors. Because, to be honest, the capability of using a 7,500W generator as a source to power your appliances up enables you to enjoy not only a general illumination but to have a fully functioning fridge, water pump, TV, PC, and many other household devices.

Review of Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK Transfer Switch Kit

Appliances Are Never Too Many

Anyway, let us single out and highlight the features that make the 31410CRK model stand out from the rest of its kind. Some switch models have a small number of available circuits under the hood to distribute the power supplied. This design may result in a situation when you have supplied an electric power to all the critical devices but ended up being unable to turn on a standing lamp or an electric kettle to boil some water. The 31410CRK switch offers enough circuits for connecting up to ten 120V devices simultaneously. However, in winter you will probably need to feed an electric power to more powerful appliances, such as heaters. Most probably you have several rooms in your house, each of which may have a dedicated heater installed. That's why the manufacturer designed this transfer switch to provide a supply for up to 5 devices requiring a 240V power.

Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK Transfer Switch Kit in the use

Keeping You Generator Protected

Since your generator is used as an auxiliary power source, you need to be very careful not to overload it during the use. The generator overload consequences may be massive, with an inappropriate operation of some appliances powered by the generator to be among the least devastating. In worse cases, the devices may fail, the wiring of the generator may burn through or the generator itself taking fire in the worst case. To prevent such an incident, this switch model comes with two watt-meters each displaying the current power demand for its phase group: the first one for A, B, and C phases, and the second for D, E, F phases. Using these watt-meters, you can easily detect a potential overload and instantly prevent it. However, for maintaining a comprehensive security, we recommend to always have a fire extinguisher at hand.

Detailed review of Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK Transfer Switch Kit

More Included — Less to Worry About

As a conclusion, we would like to highlight the great package bundle of this device. The manufacturer has given a proper consideration to the product installation and put efforts to make the procedure as less troublesome as possible. That is why this transfer switch comes with a 10-foot power cord, a 30A power inlet box, wire connector, and an extra 20F plug end. By the way, the device and accessories come with a DVD containing a full installation procedure guide.

Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK Transfer Switch Kit application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK
Reliance Controls Corporation 31410CRK
 

Heezy LLC HTS15-MAN

For Powering the Most Critical Appliances

Now we are looking at the HTS15-MAN model by HeezyLLC. This transfer switch appears to be a very solid performer. Though it can't boast a capacity sufficient for supplying high electric power to a large number of appliances connected, it does the job. As practice shows, far not every user has a high capacity power generator and needs a powerful switch, that's why the HTS15-MAN model, which operates with low-capacity generators of up to 1,875W output may be a very balanced choice. The capacity this switchgear offers is enough to retain the coziness of your house during a power outage. This model enables you to turn on your electric burner, water heater, or well pump to provide your family with a dinner or a hot bath even when the mains supply is off.  By the way, you can supply electricity to one or two low-consumption appliances directly from the generator bypassing the switch.

Review of Heezy LLC HTS15-MAN Generator Transfer Switch

Rich Functionality Is a Comforts Insurance

What we think will definitely come to your liking is a clear and easy to understand the functionality of the switch. Indeed, all the controls are located on the front panel of the switch. You will find a toggle switch, using which you can switch between the device operation mode. These are operation from the mains, from a generator, and off mode. In addition, when the generator is powering the circuit, you can cut off the power supply to the appliances connected using the circuit breaker. There is also a handy indicator which lights up when the generator is used as a power source. The casing of the switch has an inlet to insert the wire from the generator.

Heezy LLC HTS15-MAN Generator Transfer Switch in the use

Do It Yourself

Installing the switch may turn out not an easy task. Mainly, it all comes to a necessity to resort to a specialist help. What is advantageous about this model installation, you can easily mount it yourself following the detailed instructions you'll find in the supply package. Moreover, you can find the video on the official manufacturer website with a detailed installation procedure shown. Also, this switch comes with all the necessary elements to mount it on nearly any surface: a brick or a concrete wall, or even a drywall.

Detailed review of Heezy LLC HTS15-MAN Generator Transfer Switch

A Lifetime Warranty

It is natural that consumers take the warranty coverage into consideration when buying a certain device. The Heezy LLC company is so confident of the quality of their HTS15-MAN model that they provide a lifetime warranty, leaving no doubts when it comes to purchasing this transfer switch.

Heezy LLC HTS15-MAN Generator Transfer Switch application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Heezy LLC HTS15-MAN
Heezy LLC HTS15-MAN
 

FAQ:

Q: What does a short warranty term imply?
A: Well, the five reviewed models are not the only power transfer switches, and some analogs have a short warranty. The point is that the device itself encounters numerous electricity transients and mains outages that result in wearing out its wiring and all the crucial elements. Therefore, you can't rely on a switch with a short warranty coverage because there is always a risk of the switchgear failure when the current operating conditions exceed the design parameters even marginally.

Q: Manual or automatic?
A: It depends on your expectations. Of course, a manual switch is not what you're looking for when purchasing a power switch for a big facility. On the other hand, an automatic switch is not a must to power your house if you don't have any appliances that can't survive an outage or a transient.

Q: How do I prevent the backfeeding?
A: All the transfer switches we've picked for the review are open transition devices, meaning they prevent the backfeeding. Setting them to the 'off' position (with a circuit breaker) cutts off the power supply from both mains and an auxiliary source to connected devices. Nevertheless, closed transition switches with backfeeding have their special application.

Q: How do I know what appliances should be connected to a double pole?
A: 
Always read the label on the electrical equipment you're connecting to the circuit. In general, all the appliances, which generate or absorb the heat (burners, freezers, etc.) or provide a mechanical force (water pumps, vacuum cleaner) have a high power consumption and work with high voltage supply (240V). Other devices like your TV or PC will get enough power from a single pole circuit.

Q: What tools do I need to install a transfer switch?
A: 
In most cases, you will need a power cord, an inlet box, a wire connector, and a plug end. Some switches have the inlet box built in. Thoroughly read the package description and look for the availability of these items as you may need to purchase something additionally. And, of course, you will need your household tools for the installation.

Q: What about the device safety and protective measures?
A:
 According to common knowledge, you must not expose your switch to water, dust, or dirt if has no appropriate protection (pay attention to the NEMA standard). It is also suggested to name each circuit so that you don't get confused about the wiring, even if your model is automatic. Don't install your switch with the reach of small children. Always keep track of the power demand when the generator is running as you need to prevent its overloading.


Sources:

Other reviews
Publish Date: 2017-08-16 15:39:01