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How to Pick the Perfect Manual Transfer Switch. Expert advice on what makes the best manual transfer switch for your needs


Manual Transfer Switch Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Manual Transfer Switch

Product Expert
Manual Transfer Switch Buyer's Guide

A manual transfer switch is installed beside the main electrical panel and connected to the circuits you'll want running during a blackout.

When the power goes out, you simply crank up the generator and run a single power cord from it to a transfer switch.

Once the generator is running, you can choose which circuits to energize by simply flipping the switches.

The best way to size a manual transfer switch is to size your power cord first. If you need a 30-amp cord, you need a 30-amp transfer switch.

Think about it. The more powerful your generator; the more circuits you can power. Most 5,000 watt generators can restore power to six circuits. You should get a 10-circuit switch if you have a larger generator.

Most transfer switches come pre-wired with the circuit breakers already selected. If you have a unique installation, you should purchase a transfer switch with interchangeable breakers, so you can modify it exactly to your needs.

Wattage Meters
Most manual transfer switches also include built-in wattage meters, which keep track of what's being powered. Without them, you can overload the system, damaging your generator and appliances.

Mounting Kits
You have two options when installing a manual transfer switch. The easiest and least expensive way is to install it on the wall like a painting. This option works well in garages and unfinished basements.

If style matters, you can buy a mounting kit to recess the manual transfer switch into the wall. You simply inset it into the drywall between two studs.

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