With energy costs on the rise and the events of 2020 showing us that we can never know what’s on the horizon, more people are turning to alternative energy.
Once the purview of the rich and crazy, massive improvements in the technology and drops in price mean that almost anyone can buy and install a small home wind turbine for as little as a few hundred dollars. Once installed, a home turbine, sometimes also called a home wind generator kit, can continue generating power for decades, offsetting your electricity bill and providing power when you might otherwise not have access.
If you’ve never looked at the specifications for home wind turbines, our reviews consider several essential things:
The wattage is possibly the most important figure on your new investment. It’s the maximum power the turbine can potentially put out, and gives you a good ballpark figure for power generation.
When you’re buying windmill generators for home or external use, you’re probably going to take a look at their wind ratings, including things like cut-in speed and rated speed (all of this is explained later.)
But realistically, most modern turbines are going to be able to cope with local wind conditions, so you need to pay more attention to your local wind speeds.
No one wants to drop a significant chunk of money on something only for it to fail in the first year after purchase.
We make note of particularly impressive construction, paying close attention to components and materials that will last a long time or improve construction, as well as any long term warranty or other coverage.
Finally, we consider ease of installation and maintenance. Larger turbines might require specialist installation, for example particularly large towers. This may be another unexpected cost.
You also have to monitor your home wind turbine. Most offer an app or electronic controller that lets you see the statistics at a glance. If this is particularly impressive, we’ll let you know.
With that said, here’s our reviews for the best wind generator kits right now.
The Best Home Wind Turbines
Best overall turbine: 2000W 11 Blade Missouri General Freedom 2
Dimensions: 62 inch diameter
Cut-in speed: 2.5m/s
Rated speed: 6.7m/s
Cut-out speed: 55m/s
The General Freedom 2 is an animal, and our favorite product on this list. Given options, we would always consider whether this turbine was right for our property as a first choice.
First off, it has a low cut-in speed, and a very low average rated speed, which means that you’re going to hit a decent power output with lower wind speeds. It does this by using a massive 11 ‘Raptor 2’ blades, that are specifically designed for lower wind resistance, paired with a motor that uses 28 rare earth magnets and almost double the copper internal coils.
It’s also ridiculously tough, with a cut out speed of 55m/s (an absurd 125mph) on top of zinc galvanized components that should last 50 years under normal usage conditions. The case is polished aluminum, with two individual bridge rectifiers to convert the charge. It’s suitable for 12V, 24V and 48V battery banks, which aren’t provided, but gives you a lot of options.
It’s also attractive. That might not be reason number one to pick a home turbine, but it certainly helps to sweeten up any visitors. Available in black or white, the 11 blade design certain looks unique. Pair that with the impressive performance, low working speeds, and 3 year warranty coverage, and you’ve got a powerful and impressive workhorse that should be stop number one for anyone considering home power generation.
Best 400W Turbine: Pikasola 12V 400W
Dimensions: 51 inch diameter
Cut-in speed: 2.5m/s
Rated speed: 13m/s
Cut-out speed: 40 m/s
A relatively small, starter turbine, the Pikasola 400W is small but perfectly suited for external buildings or subsidiary battery use.
With a cut in speed of 2.5m/s (5.5mph) and a petite 23.4 inch blade length, this small and convenient turbine is a very good choice if you have low local wind speeds, or speeds that fluctuate wildly. Despite the fact that it’s small and reasonably light, it also has an equivalent cut out speed to the biggest blades on this list.
If the wind does pick up, electromagnetic braking locks off the turbine, keeping it stable and protecting. This impressive construction is extended throughout the rest of the product. The blades are nylon and 30% carbon fiber, which makes them waterproof, corrosion resistant, lightweight, but very durable, and able to operate from -40 to 80C. The die casting aluminum alloy cabin is also strong, while saving on weight.
Internally, there’s a three phase permanent magnet synchronous motor that uses neodymium rare earth magnets for maximum energy transfer. The body of the turbine rotates, with a yaw adjustment system that adjusts to ambient wind for efficiency and safety.
Also included is a solar and wind charge controller which helps to regulate power and charge your battery. It also leaves you space to link to a 500W solar panel, if you’re looking to expand your alternative energy needs.
As a budget model, there are some downsides. The turbine is pretty basic, with a few issues you might not otherwise see on more expensive models. Installation can be irritating, with a lack of documentation, and there are no explanation for the lights on the controller and no app based diagnostics tool.
But once you get past these teething problems, this is a good way to get into alternative energy. Cheap, but well made, this turbine offers a lot of potential for smaller properties. Pikasola also offer a 5 blade 400W model, for areas that have lower maximum wind speeds.
Best 1000W Turbine: Tumo-Int 1000W 3 Blade Turbine
Cut-in speed: 2.5 m/s
Rated speed: 12.5 m/s
Cut-out speed: 40 m/s
A 1000W turbine is the recommended minimum if you’re serious about offsetting energy costs and seeing real use out of your investment.
With a low cut-in and rated speed, especially for a model of this wattage, this turbine by Tumo-Int is designed around the needs of your standard user.
The aluminum alloy casing is light, cutting down on force and making installation much simpler, and money was spent on heavy duty bearings, cutting down on maintenance and chance of failure. The minimum recommended height is 20ft above the nearest obstruction, which on open ground is easily achievable.
With the jump to 1000W comes a step up in the amount of provided tech. First is automatic windward adjustment, letting the turbine orient itself into prevailing winds for maximum energy generation. This is paired with a manual controller, so you can adjust it from your home if necessary, or shut it down in the case of storms.
Dual overspeed controls, mechanical and magnetic keep your investment safe in strong winds, and the included 24V controller has overcharge protection, and can be tied into your local power services or used off grid. A fault alarm system lets you know in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, with a simple graphical display that’s easy to understand. You’re also covered by a solid 3 year warranty, and a 30 day money back guarantee.
When purchasing, make sure to select the correct option from 3 or 5 blades. You can find the distinction further down in our buyer’s guide.
Best general 2000W turbine: IstaBreeze 48V 2000W Turbine
Dimensions: 88 inch diameter
Cut-in speed: Unknown
Rated speed: Unknown
Cut-out speed: Unknown
A 2000 watt turbine is a good general purpose option for most properties. At maximum power, this can put out an admirable 2200W, which is going to take a significant chunk off of your energy bill.
We couldn’t find exact specifications for cut-in and rated speeds, but considering the size of the blades and the performance level, we’d estimate them to be roughly in line with our top pick, the General Freedom 2.
The 2.2m diameter blades are incredibly light, at only 780g per blade, bringing the total weight of the unit up to around 25kg (55lbs.) Even at full spin, it’s surprisingly quiet, at 40db, and carbon fiber reinforced plastic blades and and aluminum housing are incredibly tough.
Installation is relatively simple. The turbine itself installs directly into the mast with a plug connection, and the maintenance free sliding contact design means there’s no twisting wires in the housing, so it’s never going to damage itself from overturning, a problem some turbines have.
Bear in mind this isn’t actually a complete kit. You do need to purchase a battery, an inverter, a pole and tower and some cabling in order to install it, which is a little more than a lot of other options.
But once you’re installed, you can keep an eye on everything with the simple monitoring app that gives you up to date data, has a fault alarm, and a graphical display that shows at a glance displays battery data, and lets you control everything you need.
While it’s not quite as good as our top choice, there is a significant difference in price. Once you’ve added up the costs, you could be saving several hundred dollars, and if you’re on a budget, that can matter. If you need performance for the best price possible, we’d recommend this model.
Best Vertical Axis Turbine: Flyt Black Vertical Helix Turbine
Dimensions: 20 inch diameter, 41 inch height
Cut-in speed: 2.5 m/s
Rated speed: 13 m/s
Cut-out speed: 40 m/s
Vertical turbines are incredibly useful in situations when a normal turbine won’t do.
The first situation is when you’re limited on horizontal space. The barrel design of a vertical turbine means that they need significantly less working area for safety. Second, if you live in an area with highly variable winds, the 360 degree nature of a vertical turbine means that wind from any direction can provide enough force to generate power.
A vertical turbine is also safer, can be lighter, and tends to need a little less maintenance than an equivalent normal turbine. The big downside? Lower power generation. Which is why this turbine is only 400W, despite the fantastic spec list.
All speed ratings are exactly where you’d expect them to be, with a low cut-in of 2.5m/s (5.5mph.) The blades are glass and basalt, helping to contribute to the overall light weight of 13kg. It can operate in temperatures from -25 to 45C, and it’s fully water and corrosion resistant, meaning that this can be used in marine applications.
Despite the reasonably low 400W rating, this turbine still has decent performance, due to the patented permanent magnet AC generator with a special stator to reduce. Included in the kit are the blades, generator, shaft, and an MPPT controller, with the option for 12V and 24V.
Supposedly, this has a 20 year lifespan, but the warranty is incredibly comprehensive, lasting a full 25 years at 80% efficiency, and 5 years at 95% efficiency. Plus, there’s the option to link any existing or future solar panels straight into the system, giving you opportunities for further expansion.
If you’re looking for a smaller turbine that’s hardy and incredibly well made, we’d recommend paying a little extra and buying a Flyt Vertical.
Best 5000W Turbine Kit: DSDD 5 1000W Turbine Kit
Wattage: 1000W x 5
Cut-in speed: 2m/s
Rated speed: 13m/s
Cut-out speed: 50m/s
If you’re serious about replacing your energy needs, you need to be serious about what you’re buying. A large kit like this might be a heavy up front investment, and take a large amount of set up time, but once it’s operational you can relax and generate your own power for years to come.
Each one of the five included turbines is relatively petite, with a small max diameter of just 1.2m (4ft.) Cut-in speeds are very low, but the rated speed is precisely where you’d expect it to be. A glass fiber design keeps weight down while keeping the blades strong, and permanent magnets and a special stator reduces initial torque, obviously contributing to that impressive cut-in.
The kit comes with a controller that’s rated for all five turbines, but can’t be linked to more, so five per kit is the limit. Bear in mind that each home wind turbine will require a large amount of open space around itself, so take that into account when assessing installation.
Best Combined Kit: 600W Flexible Solar Panel and 400W Turbine Kit
Wattage: 400W on turbine
Dimensions: 47 inch diameter
Cut-in speed: 2.5m/s
Rated speed: 10.5 m/s
Cut-out speed: 35 m/s
Combined solar and wind power is increasingly popular, because the two tend to compliment each other. Sunny days tend to be still, and windy days cloudy, plus wind turbines can continue to work for the hundreds of hours per year that the sun is down.
But actually setting up a hybrid power kit can be surprisingly complicated, because you need to make sure that you buy a turbine and solar panels that all use the same power transfer controller and voltage. Anything different and you’re looking at two controllers, two installations, and two sets of fees.
In our opinion, the best way to get started with green power is a hybrid kit, like this one. It pairs a small 400W turbine with 5 120W solar panels, for a combined peak wattage of 1000W.
The turbine is solid, with the standard 2.5m/s cut-in, but a decently low 10.5m/s (23mph) rated speed, which is surprisingly low compared to a lot of others on our list.
Construction and assembly is good across the board, with a hermetically sealed internal compartment that keeps all the working parts locked away from the elements.
The solar panels are equally good, using monocrystal solar energy collection systems on a 6.5sq.ft panel that can be curved up to 30 degrees.
Together, the kit is perfect for summer houses, workshops, your home, or even on a cabin as an off-grid power source.
Finally, the whole kit is supported by a 25 year 80% power guarantee warranty, with 5 years on 95%.
The Best Wind Turbine from Home Buyer’s Guide
Buying a home wind turbine kit is a long term investment. Whether you’re planning on using it to offset your electric bill or power barn lights or other external property, one of the things that’s going to be on your mind is how much it’s going to cost, and how quickly you’re going to make your money back.
How does a wind turbine work?
Home wind turbine kits and other windmill generators for homes work by converting wind energy directly into electricity.
They do this by using the force of the wind to turn the rotors of the turbine, which turns the central shaft which is linked to a generator.
The energy from this generator can be linked directly to your power grid, letting you draw from it as it works, but most of the kits that offer the best wind turbine from home will also come with a battery that lets you store power as it’s generated, for later use.
What affects how much power your turbine generates?
How much power your turbine is going to generate, and therefore how much money you are going to save, depends on three main factors.
Home wind turbine kits without any wind are just a useless lump of plastic on your roof. Wind speed is incredibly important, and there are a few things that you need to look out for, which we’ll detail later.
The higher a turbine, the more efficient it will be, both because of atmospheric factors, and because there’s also less likely to be a nearby obstruction that interferes with clean wind speed. Obstructions several hundred meters away can affect wind speed on your property, so try and make sure that your turbine is higher than all intervening obstacles.
A good general rule is to install your wind turbine 150m away from any potential obstructions and high enough that the bottom of the blades are 9m above anything that could affect the wind.
Larger blades (also called rotors or vanes) will generate more power. A larger turbine will cost more up front, but if you have the wind speed to turn it, will save you far more money in the long run.
But larger turbines might also have a higher cut-in speed, so it’s important to measure your local wind speed, and ensure that you’re buying something appropriate for your area.
Understanding wind speed rating
Is your property suitable for a wind turbine?
This is the main thing you need to consider when buying a wind turbine or home wind turbine kit. If your local area doesn’t get the necessary amount of wind, then a turbine is not useful to you.
Your local wind speed
The local wind speed is a measure of how fast the wind in an area is blowing. The reason that this is important is because wind turbines are designed to operate within a certain wind speed threshold, and anything outside of this isn’t likely to generate as much electricity.
You can find local weather data in various ways. Firstly, there are various online tools, such as Windfinder or this map from Climate.gov that allows you to enter your location and see local data.
Second, once you have a base understanding of the local weather conditions, you should get an accurate measurement of your property’s wind speeds.
You can measure your local area’s speed with an anemometer, which looks like a pole with four cups on. It spins in the wind, and can detect the maximum speed, average speed and general fluctuations in your area.
You’ll need an average wind speed of 5 m/s (11mph) for most turbines to work.
Understanding wind speeds and your turbine
When looking at what turbine to buy, you need to consider the cut-in speed, rated peak speed, and cut-out speed of each particular model.
The cut-in speed is the wind speed at which a wind turbine can start to generate electricity. Any winds below the cut-in speed won’t turn the turbine fast enough or with enough force to generate power.
Rated peak speed
The rated peak speed is the average wind speed at which your turbine will be generating maximum power. There’s normally a little leeway both ways, but this is a figure that you should pay close attention to when measuring your local wind speeds.
The cut-out speed, also called maximum wind speed rating, is of particular importance for the long term health of your turbine. All turbines have a maximum wind speed that they can safely operate at, and any faster risks damaging the turbine.
This is the cut-out speed, and various turbines will solve this problem differently, whether with internal braking or by twisting the turbine out of the angle of the wind.
The Best Wind Turbine From Home FAQs
How much energy can you get from a home wind turbine?
We’ve already discussed how the amount of energy a small wind turbine can generate varies wildly between different areas with different wind speeds.
According to the 2017 report from the US Department of Energy, small wind turbines across the country can have a capacity factor (the amount of energy a turbine generates, compared to its theoretical maximum) of between 2% and 36%, with 16% being the average.
This means if your turbine operates only on the average figures, a 1000W (1kW) turbine with the average 16% capacity factor will generate over 1400 kW of power in a single year.
What is a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT)
Higher quality home turbine kits will come with a MPPT regulator, that maximises the amount of power delivered from the turbines to the battery.
Put as simply as possible, a wind turbine can operate at a much higher voltage than the batteries it’s charging, and an MPPT acts as a converter and makes sure that the maximum power is delivered to the battery.
While you don’t need an MPPT with your turbine, it’s preferable, as they increase the amount of power your turbine will generate, and therefore the money you’ll save.
What is cogging?
A lot of home wind turbines that use magnetic components might suffer from something called cogging, and you might see turbines that specifically advertise that they use a no-cogging motor.
Cogging, put simply, is torque created from the interaction between the magnets of the motor, which naturally have a preferred position where their poles are interacting, the magnetic fields hold it in place, basically.
This means that a turbine that suffers from cogging has to overcome this torque to start spinning, putting increased wear on the motor and pushing up the cut-in speed. Choose a non-cogging turbine if possible.
What’s are the different types of turbine?
In general, you’re likely to see 3 different types of windmill generators for home use. 3 blade, 5 blade, and vertical low profile.
3 blade turbines are generally better for high winds, and perform best in areas with a high average wind speed.
5 blade turbines are better for areas with low winds, because they have a lower rotation rate and more stable power generation.
Vertical turbines are also good for low wind areas, and are excellent if you don’t have the option to mount your turbine on a high pillar or lack horizontal room.
Can I connect my wind turbine to the utility grid?
The best wind generator kits can be connected directly to your home’s electricity utilities, and can help to mitigate your costs and cover some of your energy needs.
However, it’s worth considering whether it’s right for you to connect your wind turbine to your power grid. Some turbines might not generate enough power to make the extra costs of linking it to the utility network worth it. It’s generally worth lining your turbines to the power grid if:
- The local wind speed is high, with an annual wind speed of around 5m/s (around10mph)
- Local electricity is particularly expensive
- There are cost benefits or grants available from local authorities that offset costs
Will a wind turbine stand up to strong winds and other weather conditions?
Even though wind turbines might look surprisingly flimsy, they have an impressive ability to stand up to strong winds and other weather issues.
The lowest cut out speed from the turbines on our list is 35m/s, which translates to 80mph, with most models being capable of even stronger winds. And remember that the cut out speed is the speed at which a turbine stops working, not when it’s likely to take damage.
As long as you correctly install your turbine, unless you regularly face hurricane force winds, don’t expect weather to cause problems with your turbine.
Most turbines and other windmill generators for home are also made with temperature resistant and corrosion resistant components, considering that they’re going to be exposed to the elements. As long as they are looked after, most home turbines will last for a decade, if not longer.