Best Home Wind Turbine For Electricity Generation in 2019
Wind turbines convert wind energy into usable electricity that is clean and contains no emissions. It’s a great alternative, renewable power source. There are some great options to choose from if you’re looking for a small wind turbine for your home or property. The best home wind turbine selections can be found in the table below. The table is followed by comprehensive reviews on each model, pointing out key features and, maybe more importantly, drawbacks and short comings they have.
Selecting the best residential wind turbine can be a difficult task. There is a buyer’s guide towards the bottom of this page that you can use during your selection process while trying to generate power through wind. It will walk you through sizing, placement, the installation process, and our thoughts on residential wind turbine kits. It should give you the knowledge and the confidence to select the best home wind turbine for your needs.
Our Top 5 Recommended Home Wind Turbines
8 Best Home Wind Turbine Reviews for 2019
Our selections for the best residential wind turbine list were chosen based on the following criteria: power output, performance, build quality, ease of use, and pricing.
ATTENTION: This is maybe the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a small wind turbine for home use. Please make sure to get a larger home wind turbine than you think you need. These turbines are sized according to their MAXIMUM power output. This is not what it will normally output. Even a 1000 watt wind turbine might only put out 200-300 watts at times due to slower wind speeds. Oversize now so you don’t regret it later!
The General Freedom II by Missouri Wind and Solar, our choice as the best home wind turbine, is made mostly of weather-resistant metal components and carbon fiber blades. It comes in two colors, gray and black. The blades are so rugged and well-built that they are guaranteed for life! You won’t find that on some of the Chinese plastic wind turbines available. Their website says they are “heavy duty machines built to last a lifetime”. This is a high-quality residential wind turbine.
There are a total of 11 blades. The increased surface area makes it spin easier in low wind conditions, boasting a 6mph cut-in speed. It’s also heavier than most, creating more momentum so it takes longer to slow when the wind dies out. They recently added a self-tightening cam lock washer so that the blades can’t come off during operation. This wind turbine self-regulates during high wind speeds, making it great for home use. .
Missouri Wind and Solar turbines are made in America!
Wind Turbine w/ permanent magnet generator
Missouri Wind and Solar is one of the premier brands in the USA for wind turbines, solar panels, charge controllers, and other accessories. The have great customer service, and their products are well-built and not cheap or flimsy at all. See other Missouri Wind and Solar Options
The Tumo-Int 1000 watt is part of a residential wind turbine kit. This model is advertised as good for low wind speed areas. It utilizes patented wind turbine blades with a twisted aerodynamic design, ensuring maximum power from the wind with minimal vibration and noise. These blades are made of a lightweight reinforced glass fiber material that also helps this turbine achieve its low cut-in speed of 2.5 m/s.
One of the best features of this Tumo-Int home wind turbine is that it comes with an MPPT controller included! The controller monitors the turbine in real time, gathering its highest generated voltage and current. This helps provide maximum power output while charging the battery. It’s a wind booster-type controller.
This home wind turbine kit includes the generator, blades, controller, and nose-cone.
Tumo-Int carries residential wind turbines, controllers, and dump loads from 300w up to 5kW. See other Tumo-Int Products
The AutoMaxx 1200W is another one of the popular home wind turbine kits. It comes complete with a matching MPPT charge controller and braking system. The integrated automatic braking system protects against a sudden voltage surge, wind gusts, and high wind speeds. This kit was made specifically with off-grid residential use in mind. It comes with a set of DIY instructions so you can set it up yourself.
As you can see, this residential wind turbine kit comes with pretty much everything you need to get started generating wind power in a stand-alone system. It’s made with a high quality polypropylene and glass fiber material. Components are also coated with a special UV-protective, weather resistant spray to protect it from the elements. There’s no need to have to size up individual components to build a DIY wind turbine kit.
Wind turbine, brake switch, amp meter, and MPPT charge controller.
Automaxx makes an entire family of WINDMILL home wind turbine kits, ranging from 300w to 1500w. They also sell a full line of hybrid pure sine power inverters and charge controllers. See other AutoMaxx Products
This Vevor wind turbine generator kit comes complete with an MPPT charge controller and braking system. It can be used in conjunction with solar panels for optimal power output even when wind is not adequate. Also known as model number NE-1200L, this wind turbine is made of high quality die-cast aluminum. The blades themselves are reinforced glass steel.
The provided tail ensures the turbine is automatically turned toward the oncoming wind. The 3-phase AC permanent magnet generate provides smooth power generation. This kit also comes with easy DIY installation methods.
Wind turbine, generator, charge controller, product manual, DIY installation methods
This residential wind turbine (1-AR40-10-12) has a lightweight design and is easy-to-install with its integrated plug and play controller. It produces 40kWh per month with average speeds of 13mph. The Air 40’s blades are designed to be durable, yet quiet and able to maximize their wind capture. Some advanced features include electronic torque control for overspeed protection and a microprocessor-based smart controller.
Primus makes the Air 40 specifically as an off-grid system. It comes with a cast aluminum body and 3 composite blades. Best of all, it’s manufactured here in the USA like a couple of the other best home wind turbine options on this list!
Wind turbine and integrated controller.
Along with several options for home wind turbine kits like the Air 40, Primus also provides some pole and tower options for them. See other Primus Products
Best Home Wind Turbine Kits Under $500
The wind turbines for sale above offer some great choices. The links pointing to each brand’s other products will show options for smaller and larger wind turbines as well as higher and lower costs. They’re a great place to start in order to find a lower cost, small wind turbine for home use. However, in addition to these options, the following are the best home wind turbine kits under $500.
These are affordable units that pull in good reviews. They aren’t as high quality and don’t include all the bells and whistles, but I get it, not everyone wants to spend more than a few hundred bucks on a small home wind turbine kit. Here are the top 3 affordable home wind turbines.
The Windmill DB-400 is the best small wind turbine for home under $500, but please note, it is made specifically for off-grid applications. It comes with an integrated charge controller built right into the wind turbine and designed for this model so that it gets the most out of it, but also prevents overcharging. Windmill says that this kit has an easy DIY set up and can be combined with solar panels for additional electricity generation if desired. The DB-400 has blades made of polypropylene and glass fiber material and has a protective UV coating as well as protection against saltwater corrosion. It has an automatic braking system to protect it from high wind speeds, and the suggested battery capacity of 50A or more.
Wind turbine with built-in charge controller, manual brake switch, voltmeter display box, hardware, and tools.
This wind turbine might look a little funny at first when compared to the rest of the models on our list. The picture is correct however, this is a vertical axis wind turbine (lantern style). Although they are less efficient than their horizontal counterparts in most applications, it fits well in urban settings, low wind speed applications, and boat or marine usage. The reason for this is because the new aerodynamic nylon fiber blades reduce resistance torque of the generator. Maybe more importantly, as the best vertical wind turbine under $500, it handles the turbulent air in these types of applications better than many horizontal axis wind turbines.
What else are vertical axis turbines good at? They typically have lower noise, lower start-up wind speeds, smaller size, and low vibration.
The Happybuy 400’s kit comes in white or red and includes a charge controller. There’s an integrated automatic braking system which is an effective regulation of current and voltage.
Wind turbine and small charge controller.
This Happybuy 400w is the most affordable small wind turbine kit that receives any good reviews from its customers. In fact, it’s so affordable and so well-received by its users that we felt obligated to add it to our list as one of the best 12v wind generators.
This horizontal “brother” to the vertical model above includes a built-in 20A hybrid charge controller matched to the turbine specs so it gets maximum output, but prevents overcharging. This small wind turbine kit gets a daily maximum of 1.4 kW. It’s another one of these residential wind turbine kits that also includes an automatic braking system that protects itself from high wind speeds. Whereas the vertical turbine above was best for urban environments, this horizontal model is just the opposite. It needs higher wind speeds to operate and should be used in a wide-open rural setting for optimal performance.
Wind turbine and hybrid charge controller
Best Residential Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide
Before we go any further, I want to say a bit about home wind turbine reviews at Amazon. Some of them actually appear on the surface to have a very poor reputation. You’ll notice this even with some of the best residential wind turbine choices. When reading the reviews, and I encourage you to read them, please pay particular attention to the issues the consumer had with the product. Often times, the wind turbine itself gets blamed for the failure of the overall project. Keep in mind that even when you select to use residential wind turbine kits, they can be very complex technically to a novice. That’s compounded even further when you’re buying the components separately.
Things like local wind conditions, siting location, and matching voltages all play an important role in how to build a wind turbine for home use. It’s vital that you get these things correct or even the best home wind turbines won’t perform the way you expect. This is the very reason that we encourage you to not only look at our list of the best home wind turbines in the table above, but to carefully read through the entire buyer’s guide towards the bottom of this page.
What is a Home Wind Turbine?
Wind turbines have actually been derived from windmills used long ago as powdered grain mills and water pumps. Today, wind turbines look like high tech windmills and spin much more efficiently than their predecessors. By the wind spinning the rotor, electricity can be generated and used for many things. It can also be stored in batteries for use later.
More specifically however, a home wind turbine is a small wind turbine for home use or private use, whatever you want to call it. We aren’t talking about the behemoths that have rotor blades the size of football fields, but something more portable.. Typically the best home wind turbine has rotor blades that are closer to a few feet in length. These wind power generators are most often used to supplement power in your home or around your property, but on occasion completely replace incoming grid power.
Wind Turbine Components
Home wind turbines consist of a rotor, generator, some gears, a tail, and typically a tower or pole of some sort for mounting. Let’s look at each wind turbine component individually:
Rotors for residential wind turbines most often contain between 3 and 6 blades. The blades are shaped in such a way that the wind spins them without much effort. Rotors very in size and shape depending on the size and manufacturer.
Not shown in the image above, the gearbox is between the rotor and the generator. It converts the slow moving input shaft from the rotor to a much faster moving output shaft that turns the generator.
The generator is where the magic happens. This is where the faster output shaft comes in and the kinetic energy from the wind is turned into electricity.
You’ll find a brake on many of the best residential wind turbine models. This brake is used to stop the rotor from spinning during major storms and periods of extreme winds. This is done to reduce the risk of damage to the turbine.
The tail on a home wind turbine is used to keep the rotor facing into the oncoming wind for the most efficient energy production
The tower, or pole, is the component that gets the rotor far enough off the ground so that it sees much faster, stronger winds that we normally feel down at ground level.
How does a Wind Turbine Generate Electricity?
As the rotor faces into the wind, the air passing over the rotor blades forces them to turn due to their airplane wing-like shape. It’s this spinning that produces electricity within the generator. However, the rotors spinning is far too slow to generate electricity, so it actually first passes through a set of gears, or a transmission, speeding the rotation up 80 to 100 times faster. The output shaft then drives the generator at this speed, producing the electricity. That is then transferred back down to the ground via cables in or around the pole. The stronger the wind, the more electricity that is produced. Here’s a quick video that describes the process.
Things to Consider When Buying a Home Wind Turbine
Wind production and the power output you need are two of the most important things. Of course, performance, physical size, build quality and materials, ease of use, and pricing should also be considerations when buying a residential wind turbine. In fact, these are exactly the criteria we used during our extensive research for the Best Home Wind Turbine list above.
Will a Wind Turbine Work in My Area?
The first thing you should determine is if residential wind turbine will even work in your locale. Of course to make this work, you’ll need wind.
What wind speed is needed for a wind turbine?
Most home wind turbines require 5-6 mph winds (called the cut-in speed) before they even start generating any power. And then, it’s VERY little power until higher speeds are reached. Please be realistic with your expectations based on wind speeds at your property. This is the largest source for pain after a consumer’s purchase of a home wind turbine. They over-estimated the amount of wind they get and they’re disappointed with the power output.
The amount of wind is so critical because of the cubic relationship it has with the energy produced. Here’s an example of how to better understand the relationship:
(Wind Speed)3 = Energy Produced
As you can see in this equation, even slightly more wind speed will product much more power. For instance, a 10 mph wind will create less than 1/3rd the power that a 15 mph wind would on a home wind generator.
Not sure what kind of winds you get on your property? There are a few of ways to check wind speed and direction. The first, and probably most accurate, way is to utilize a home weather station. A weather station can be sited far enough off the ground to get true readings where the wind turbine will be up in the air. Not to mention, the addition of the weather station will likely help you locate an optimal site location and assist you in troubleshooting if you have issues during the home wind turbine installation or later down the road.
The other popular way to check wind speeds in your area is via NOAA’s website. NOAA provides average wind speed maps for around the country. You can also find average wind speed maps on individual states. Maps like the one pictured below can show you if you’re in the right part of the country, but they won’t really help determine if your property is conducive to producing the kind of winds needed for a home wind turbine to be successful.
As you can see, the Great Plains and ridgelines have great wind production, but you’ll want to dial into a state map for other zones. A wind atlas is another source for trying to find more localized wind stats. The good news is that there are plenty of areas around the country that provide enough wind for a small wind turbine kit.
Yet another source of wind data might be a local airport. Make sure if inquiring from an airport that you find out what height off the ground the data was taken at. Depending on where the readings were taken, they may or may not do you much good.
I have seen mention on blogs about using an anemometer or portable weather station for this task. You really should avoid this if at all possible. The readings you get near the ground aren’t going to be the same as what is 20, 30, 40 feet off the ground. Even if you could get measurements up that high, you don’t just want an instantaneous reading, you want an average over time.
Lastly, don’t forget to check local zoning to make sure there are no zoning or permit laws that will prevent you from putting up a small wind turbine for home use.
What Size Wind Turbine Do I Need?
The next task is to determine what size residential wind turbine kit you’ll need, assuming there is enough wind to make one feasible. Residential wind turbine size will depend mainly on your application. More specifically, what are you trying to power?
According to energy.gov, a typical home uses approximately 10,766 kWh annually. This would require a very large, and expensive, wind turbine of 5-15kW to make a substantial impact towards that number. For this reason, it’s rare that someone uses a wind turbine to power their entire home 24/7.
More commonly, the best home wind turbine options for residential use come in sizes between 400 watts and 2kW (2000 watts). Home owners often use the turbine as supplemental energy rather than as the primary source of power for their home.
As I mentioned towards the top of the page, keep in mind that even the best residential wind turbine manufacturers publish power ratings for high wind speeds. During lower wind speeds, or even average wind speeds, it will likely be producing much less than the rated power. For this reason, and for room to grow in the future, it is highly recommended that you oversize your turbine and plan to buy something that is rated for more power than you need.
There are some calculators on the internet for sizing wind turbines. I actually believe they are more confusing and not even worth using. If you’d interested in checking one out, here’s a calculator I call the “what size wind turbine do I need calculator”.
Ultimately, most home wind turbines are rated based on power output, but that definitely doesn’t mean that each 400w turbine is created equal. They will all have different performance characteristics. Some of the most important include cut-in speed, rated speed, and survival speed.
Speed Rating Definitions
Cut-in speed is the minimum wind speed required for a wind turbine to generate power. There is a lot of attention paid to, and marketing around, cut-in speed. Keep in mind the cubic relationship we talked about above. Based on this, even though the 6 mph cut-in speed is reached and your new toy starts to spin, it doesn’t mean your producing any meaningful amount of electricity.
Rated speed is just that, typically the speed at which the “rated power” is achieved. Since there is no real standard for this speed of evaluation, it can be confusing. Just keep in mind that the rated power is based on the rated speed, so if you don’t get enough wind for the rated speed, you won’t product the rated amount of power.
Survival speed is the maximum wind speed the wind turbine was designed for before it will be damaged. Much of this rating has to do with the materials the turbine is made of. More on that in the next section.
Build Quality and Materials
Survival and longevity of a wind turbine rely heavily on the build quality. The best home wind turbines are made of high-quality, rugged materials. Similarly, a home wind turbine cost is often determined by these same material selections.
What are wind turbine blades made of?
Blades on small wind turbines for home use are manufactured out of many different materials. These included glass fiber reinforced polyester, fiberglass, aluminum, and carbon fibre wind turbine blades. They are the best materials for a wind turbine blade due to their strength to weight ratio. Lighter materials are desired due to the height above the ground that is needed to achieve higher wind speeds, but to survive those winds, stronger materials are more desirable.
Ease of Use / Wind Generator Kits
Next on our important things to consider when searching for the best residential wind turbine is ease of use. This is especially true if you’re working on your first wind turbine project. You can buy home wind turbines as separate components, or you can buy home wind turbine kits. These residential wind turbine kits come with many of the components that are needed to build and entire system. They also ensure each component included in these home wind turbine kits is sized correctly to match each other (i.e. all components are 400w or all components are 1kW, etc). This can greatly simplify the selection process for a newbie.
On the other hand, if you’re an old pro at building complete systems, a small wind turbine kit might not make sense. Another reason you probably wouldn’t want a home wind turbine kit would be if you already have a few of the components you need and you’re just trying to fill a gap or upgrade something.
It’s clear there are uses for both separate components and full residential wind turbine kits. If you’re unsure about what to get, or are just downright lazy, the kits are for you! We think they give a novice the best chance at success.
Home Wind Turbine Cost
The home wind turbine cost will obviously play an important role in your selection. As stated above, build quality and material selection are important, but be aware, higher quality materials will also mean higher cost. A home wind turbine is an investment, and a long-term investment at that. The best home wind turbines are not cheap, so plan to spend accordingly. And, if you can’t afford it, you’re better off to wait until you can, rather than skimping on your project.
As a reminder whether you’re buying the wind turbine as a component, or as an entire residential wind turbine kit, you’ll need to remember to leave room in your budget for poles and accessories. Poles are rarely included in the sale of a home wind turbine. This is because all applications call for something different. Some areas require taller poles, others require larger diameter poles, so on and so forth. It’s a common mistake to forget to leave this extra money in your budget.
Who is a Home Wind Turbine (or small wind turbine kit) For?
There are many reasons someone might be interested in buying a home wind turbine. For starters, anyone that wants to utilize clean, renewable energy they can generate for themselves. It helps the environment and there’s a sense of price in producing it yourself! Some people just like to be self-sufficient.
Likewise someone that needs power in a very remote location like the top of a mountain or on an island might see the benefits of wind energy. It could be very costly, or not even possible, to get grid power in these areas. Often paired with solar panels, home wind turbine kits are a savior in this application.
Did you know that in many cases, the electric company will actually pay you money if you supply more electricity than use from the grid? This is another reason to have a wind turbine. You can make money! Everyone likes making money. To be honest, in most cases you’re just reducing your own electricity bill unless you have a huge wind turbine, but hey, saving money isn’t bad either.
The Best Residential Wind Turbine Siting Locations
Unless properly siting strategies are followed, even the best home wind turbine won’t generate any power. If you’ve read this far, you know that higher wind speeds are critical to the success of a residential wind turbine, and unless you know what you’re doing, odds are you won’t get the average wind speeds that are required to product good amounts of power.
Not unlike the real estate business, when siting a home wind turbine kit, what matters most?
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
Good siting locations for home wind turbine kits include:
- Areas of high sustained winds most of the time
- Wide-open spaces with few buildings or obstructions
- Flat or plateaued areas, tops of hills, or coast lines tend to work very well
- If there are obstructions, mount far above them! The taller the better in most cases
Here’s a good video from Missouri Wind and Solar that does a good job of explaining some good siting locations and where NOT to mount a home wind turbine.
If you still want more information on siting, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has published this Small Wind Site Assessment Guideline. It’s an extremely detailed and comprehensive site assessment guide for wind turbines. Fair warning, it does get into the weeds quite a bit.
Residential Rooftop Wind Turbine
I often see consumers searching for or asking about a residential “rooftop” wind turbine. From what we’ve already learned, we know that finding siting locations that see high sustained winds are critical to power generation. Since air right above and near rooftops is more turbulent and not that far off the ground, wind speeds tend to be lower there. In addition, air will likely be slowed by more obstructions like trees and other buildings on a rooftop. Feel free to take some wind speed measurements and pull out the calculator again, but I think you’ll find out that it just doesn’t really pay to mount a residential rooftop wind turbine.
Not that you need additional reasons, but besides the weaker wind flow, a residential rooftop wind turbine can also cause unwanted noise and vibration on the structure. At best, this is an annoyance, and at worst, this can cause severe damage over time to your house. If you choose to do rooftop mounting, please at least make sure you use rubber dampening material to reduce the noise and vibration.
How to Build a Wind Turbine for Home Use
If you’re new to the benefits of wind energy, I recommend considering home wind turbine kits. These kits have all the major wind turbine components included, and they’re pre-matched up according to size. It takes all hassle out of sourcing parts separately, but does also hinder the selection process if you want something specific.
On the other hand, if you’re up for the challenge, building the best home wind turbine money can buy is a very rewarding project. You can hand-pick the best of the best when it comes to the turbine and all the accessories and components needed to make things happen. Continue reading for more help on building your own DIY wind turbine kit.
Turbine Parts and Functions
So, if you decide against the small wind turbine kit, what else do you need to build a complete system? The turbine parts and functions can be confusing so let’s go through them one by one in detail so we’re on the same page.
A charge controller is necessary when a wind turbine is charging batteries. It monitors battery voltage and turns on a “dump load” if the voltage starts to get too high. Search Charge Controllers on Amazon
You might also see the terms “diversion load” or “divert load”. These can be used interchangeably with dump load, and all of them are used in the same fashion. Wind turbines are designed to work under a load, meaning they are powering batteries or charging the grid. In the situation where batteries are full, the generated electricity from the turbine must be diverted, or dumped, so that they are not overcharged as this could cause catastrophic damage. Search Dump Loads on Amazon
Charge Controller/Dump Load Combo Unit
Depending on what you’re looking for, sometimes you can find a charge controller that includes a dump load. This can make things both easier to design and a cleaner finished product.
See Examples at Amazon below
A brake switch is basically and on/off switch for a wind turbine. When a big storm comes in, you want to flip the brake switch so that the windmill rotors are not allowed to spin freely and self-destruct. Search for Wind Turbine Break Switch on Amazon
Everyone knows what batteries are. The key is to make sure you choose the correct batteries for your system, and that they are wired correctly. Search Wind Turbine Batteries on Amazon
A power inverter takes the DC voltage produced from the home wind turbine and turns it into AC voltage for tying back into the grid. Search Wind Turbine Power Inverters on Amazon
Home Wind Turbine Installation
Ok, so we’ve covered all the best home wind turbine components above and now you’re ready to install. Where to we start? After you have selected the perfect siting location, you’ll need to get everything mounted and wired up before raising the turbine.
Depending on the mounting solution you’ve chosen, you’ll need to make sure you have an adequate foundation, likely cement. Once the base is secure and you have a safe plan in place, you can raise the wind turbine and support it once up. Make final connections on the wires, and you should be good to go.
These videos from Missouri Wind and Solar are a great primer for all the common installation questions that come up.
Some examples of questions they answer in video-form are:
- How to grid-tie your wind turbine
- What size cable and fuses should I use?
- What is a break switch and how is it used?
- How to build a 64ft tilt up wind turbine tower
In all, they have over 100 helpful videos for installation tips and techniques. This is an amazing resource we recommend that you review before building a turbine system that supplies wind power for your home.
Horizontal vs Vertical Wind Turbines
When you consider the different types of wind turbine generators, you can select from a horizontal axis wind turbine or a vertical axis wind turbine.
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines
Horizontal models are the top wind turbine design for generating the most electricity per a given amount of wind. Horizontal axis wind turbines are more commonly used in open-air applications where wind is plentiful and straight and not blocked by trees, homes, or other structures.
Vertical Axis Wind Turbines
Conversely, a vertical axis wind turbine has a place, generally in urban environments or anywhere that sees more turbulent, lower speed winds. In these cases, vertical axis wind turbines spin more freely, and because of their design, they gather air coming in from 360 degrees making it a more efficient wind generator in this instance. Horizontal axis wind turbines are not good for these urban applications, mainly due to their heavier weights.
Above we recommended not to rooftop mount a wind turbine. One exception to this rooftop rule is a vertical axis wind turbine. Because they can pick up air coming from different directions, the slower wind speeds and turbulence will not affect them as much as their horizontal cousin. Residential vertical wind turbine kits work well for this application.
On-Grid vs Off-Grid Wind Turbine Systems
The difference between on-grid vs.off-grid systems just refers to what you’re using the electricity generated by the wind turbine for. If you have a stand-alone system that augments the electricity on your property, or provides electricity in a remote part of your property where there isn’t any currently, this would be considered “off-grid”, meaning it’s not connected to the main electrical grid where the electrical company’s power travels. The vast majority of small wind turbines for home use are off-grid.
Conversely, some users of wind turbines and/or solar panels do connect to the main grid, thus hooking up an “on-grid” system. In many cases, the electrical company will actually pay you (or provide rebates on your bill) if you provide power back into the grid! Depending on your setup, this could be a great way to make a few extra bucks!
Types of Wind Turbine Towers
There are 3 types of wind turbine towers: lattice towers, poles, and guyed poles. Each has its own pros and cons for supporting a wind generator..
Lattice towers: Can be assembled on site and can be climbed, but require a large base
Poles: Smallest footprint, but requires strong, possibly deep, concrete foundation
Guyed Poles/Mast: Easiest/cheapest to set up, but requires largest footprint
Wind Turbines vs Solar Panels
This is the battle between the top two renewable energy sources in the United States: Wind Turbines vs Solar Panels. Both are clean sources of energy that reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In addition, both can be implemented on small scales at your home or somewhere on your property as a great backup power source. They can save you money on your electric bill and minimize the negative impact you have on the environment.
Strong Points for Wind Turbines
Wind turbines can generate electricity day or night
Wind turbines produce more electricity than solar panels
Wind turbines can be placed offshore
Strong Points for Solar Panels
Solar panels don’t rely on needing wind & are a more predictable power source
Solar panels don’t make noise
Solar panels are more effective in urban centers due to obstructions of the wind
Ok, so they’re both great at certain things, but also both have drawbacks making them less than optimal in all circumstances. So, which is better, wind turbines or solar panels?
Long story short, we need them both, and we use them both. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that in 2017, 21% of all energy consumption came by way of wind energy and 7% was solar.
Even on a small scale like your home or property, consumers benefit from having both sources producing. There are many reasons this rings true, but probably the most obvious is that wind turbines can product when solar panels cannot, during the night. The opposites is true as well, when there is a nice, sunny, calm day out, solar panels will produce when a wind turbine will not.
Lucky for us the consumer, there are kits available for connecting both residential wind turbines and solar panel production together for either storage or on-grid solutions. The picture below shows an example of such a setup.
I recommend a setup like this, especially if you live in an area that gets high winds at times, but they are not sustained winds all year around.
Here’s a great little kit from ECO-Worthy that includes (2) solar panels and a small wind turbine kit. In total, it’s 600 watts (2x 100 watt solar panels and 1x 400 watt wind turbine) and includes a waterproof hybrid wind and solar PWM controller with over-load protection.
I’m curious, which do you think is better in the solar vs wind energy debate?
Cheap Wind Turbines
I said it before and I’m going to say it again, don’t buy a cheap wind turbine. This project is a long-term investment and if that’s not what you’re looking for, you should consider another project all together. There’s a phrase I heard somewhere that rings true…”In wind turbines, go big or don’t go at all”. Plan on buying quality equipment and siting it correctly or you won’t be happy. A cheap wind turbine is worthless!
If you insist on spending your money on a cheap wind turbine, this 400w option from VEVOR is about as cheap as they come:
Going back all the way to the top of this page, I talked about some of the poor reviews on even the best home wind turbine options for sale at Amazon. After reading this guide, you should be able to tell from their writings and pictures that many of them didn’t set up the turbine correctly. Don’t get me wrong, some of them have legitimate issues like a rotor blade breaking, but at least now you’re equipped to know.
Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit
Did you know that you may qualify for a large tax credit that will help you offset the cost of building a home wind turbine?
According to the IRS form 5695…
“You may be able to take a credit of 30% of your costs of qualified solar electric property, solar water heating property, small wind energy property, geothermal heat pump property, and fuel cell property. Include any labor costs properly allocable to the onsite preparation, assembly, or original installation of the residential energy efficient property and for piping or wiring to interconnect such property to the home. The credit amount for costs paid for qualified fuel cell property is limited to $500 for each one-half kilowatt of capacity of the property.”
Disclaimer: This is not tax advice. We strongly suggest that you discuss any tax laws with a tax professional.
Depending on how much time has passed since this page was last updated, the laws may have changed, however some sort of tax credit for renewable energy sources are common. Make sure you check for the latest from the IRS before you start your project.
Buyer’s Guide: The Best Home Wind Turbine Wrap-up
We hope you’ve enjoyed, or at least got something out, of our best home wind turbine buyer’s guide. We spent hundreds of hours doing research to gather and share all of this information. We do the best we can, but do sometimes make mistakes. If you happen to notice anything, or just have suggestions to improve, please let us know by contacting us via the link at the bottom of the page.