My mother loves wind turbines. Every time she drives through an area where these babies are spinning, she gets giddy, pulls out her camera, and snaps shot after shot of the fields full of these things.
Her neighbor has been living off the grid for years – relying solely on solar power and a home wind turbine. Running into him and chatting a bit the other week, she got all excited about the prospect of her own off-the-grid living dreams, which, of course, spilled over into conversations with me.
This made me curious.
What good would a wind turbine do? Could I really power things from home on one of these? How many would I need to run a whole household? Where in the world – literally – could they do the job and where would they be useless?
As I’ve done my research, I’ve learned loads on the topic that I wanted to pass along to you. Let’s explore deeper and find out what is the best home wind turbine kit for your residential electricity needs.
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How Does Wind Power Create Usable Energy?
One of the first big questions I had was how the heck do these things work? We’ve known about windmills forever – thank you beautiful Netherlands! – but it’s easy to assume that they’re not as efficient as regular power from a power plant.
So, digging into the question, this is what I learned about how wind turbines create energy that works to power electronics and appliances.
First off, wind energy is technically a type of solar energy.
I know. I was gobsmacked at this one, too.
But when you look at the facts, it does kind of make sense.
The sun unevenly heats the atmosphere, which concurs with the irregularities of the earth’s surface and the rotational movement/placement of the earth.
These three elements work together to create wind. This wind is then used to create a form of usable energy through several means.
It powers everything from sailing to generating usable electricity. The stuff used to create electricity or mechanical power – think kites and sails – is referred to as wind power or wind energy.
Wind energy is a source of kinetic energy, which is literally the energy of motion. Wind turbines take this kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into mechanical energy or power or electrical power via a generator.
And how the turbine does that is by turning the wind energy into electricity by using the aerodynamic force that the rotator blades create. These work similar to other things that look like them – airplane and helicopter propellers.
As the wind flows across these blades, the air pressure decreases on one side of the blade, which creates a different pressure across the two which results in drag and lift – again like flying machines.
When the rotors are connected to a generator – like through a drive turbine or shaft and gears – the energy speeds up the rotation and translates the aerodynamic force into the rotation of a generator’s components, which then creates the useable electricity.
Does Home Wind Power Actually Work? Does It Make Sense?
Like all alternate power sources, we have to ask…does this thing work?
And, if it does work, does it make sense for a homeowner who doesn’t have a farm to power or a tiny house to run?
We all have different needs and different uses of power so this can be a little tricky to answer with a blanket statement.
So, let’s instead take a look at circumstances and places when this does and does not work, and each draw our own conclusions for our own personal needs.
According to Mother Earth News, you need at least an acre of land for the wind turbine to do you much good.
While for much of this I tend to agree with them, I’ve seen some evidence of smaller turbines being useful for smaller properties.
I think it mostly depends on what wattage is behind the turbines, what you’re trying to power, and the actual size of the turbine itself.
For a large turbine, you certainly need more space – and I think that’s what the article I referenced above is talking about.
However, they bring up a really important issue that has to factor into your decision for use of a turbine: zoning and local homeowner association conditions. Many of these will prevent someone from using a larger turbine powerful enough to run much of the household in urban areas.
Also, the larger the open space that the turbine is located in, the higher the wind speed produced, which means higher levels of energy.
Buildings and gates, solid fences, et cetera create windbreaks that are great for keeping down certain issues in an urban yard but decrease wind movement that would allow you to power a home wind turbine generator.
But, if you can meet the zoning and homeowners’ association conditions, you may still be able to successfully install and use small wind turbine kits.
It is highly recommended, however, that if you do plan to work totally off the grid, you should consider combining wind power and solar power to fully power your home, especially in urban or low wind areas.
What Happens When the Wind Stops Blowing?
The next question I had when looking into this topic was what if the wind stops blowing?
We all go through periods of time when the air is just dead. Does that mean you have to rely on traditional electric or solar power when this happens?
For those in low wind areas, the lack of wind on some days is definitely one of the major reasons solar energy is also recommended as a source of power for the home.
Of course, even in high wind areas, there are still days that the wind dies, and this can cause problems if you’re in a hot environment or cold environment when you rely on electricity to control your home’s temperatures.
If you are properly set up, you can store energy from wind and solar power in generators and batteries designed to store energy for you. These can be linked into your home’s electrical system to power things when the wind dies down and the sun says good night.
Energy Generation and Requirements
The next question, then, is how much energy does a wind turbine produce, and what does my home require?
These two answers vary greatly upon a number of factors. For one, what are you planning to run on electricity produced by the wind turbine? A fridge requires a different amount of energy than a laptop.
Calculate your needs by looking up a wattage chart or use ours for understanding the basics.
- Ceiling fan: 10-50W
- DVD Player: 15W
- CB Radio: 5W
- Modem: 7W
- Laptop: 25-100W
- Drill (1/4 inch): 250W
- Toaster Oven: 1200W
- Blu-ray Player: 15W
- Tablet Recharge: 8W
- Satellite Dish: 30W
- Cable Box: 35W
- TV – LCD: 150W
- LED Light bulb (40-watt equivalent): 10W
- LCD Monitor: 100W
- Smart Phone Recharge: 6W
- Coffee Machine: 1000W
- Fridge (16 cubic feet): 1200W
The next question, then, is how much power does a given wind turbine produce? That’s highly based on the size of the turbine and the amount of wind that it receives. Much like a solar panel will still produce energy on a low sunlight day, small wind turbines for home produce lower amounts of energy on lower wind days.
How Does a Home Windmill Generator Compare to Solar Power?
If you live in a highly windy area, the wind turbine is going to be your best friend for producing off-the-grid power.
However, if you’re living in a less windy zone – say Florida or Maine – you’re better off doing a combination of wind and solar panels to be able to guarantee you’ll be fully powered any time of day or night.
Solar power has no moving parts, which means less maintenance and longer warranties. Solar power is typically less expensive to install and there are usually fewer restrictions for those wishing to install solar than there are for urban residents going with wind energy.
However, for low sunlight areas and off-season power, a combination really is your best bet. Wind power keeps charging at night after the sun goes down. The power can also be stored in batteries for later use, and wind energy also helps ensure you’ve got power during overcast weather.
Benefits of the Best Residential Wind Turbine
So, around here we’ve talked a lot about solar power for the home already.
It’s clean, energy efficient – when the proper setup is used – and easy to install.
So, are there any benefits of a wind turbine for home that might outweigh or partner with solar power?
There are several benefits to using wind energy for homes.
Clean, Renewable Energy
First off, and probably the main reason most people invest in wind power, is the fact that wind energy is a clean, renewable energy source.
Much like solar power, it uses an already abundant power source that doesn’t require any destruction of land, acrid smoke creation, or overuse of natural resources. Wind is always present on this big blue marble, whether it’s in the immediate area constantly or not.
Pocketbook Friendly Energy
Once the initial cost is accounted for – and admittedly, wind power is fairly expensive to get set up – home windmill power is free. You don’t have to plug into some electric company that charges you monthly fees to keep the lights on.
Instead, the wind provides all the free power possible to keep your A/C running in those heat waves.
Most People Can Install Them on Their Own
We’re talking smaller, residential turbines, not the monsters you see on the windmill farms in Indiana and Texas, but most people can install small wind turbines on their own.
The kits should come complete with all the necessary parts and thorough instructions for placement, how-tos, and answers for other basic questions.
Most people can install a small wind turbine in a few hours or less, depending on the exact model.
Are Residential Wind Turbine Kits Safe?
Of course, one of the most important questions is whether or not home wind generators are safe. Can they truly be secured safely, do they cause any health issues, are there other health factors to consider?
Some folks have complained of mild issues, such as headaches and nausea or slightly more severe issues with vertigo and anxiety caused by the sounds produces by wind turbines.
However, most of these complaints have been produced by neighbors who seem to dislike the turbines, rather than via any scientific studies.
Some folks have asked if there are any reasons for concern regarding cancer or other severe medical issues associated with wind turbines, but no studies have yet produced any cause for alarm over the medical safety of people living near a single turbine or even a large farm of wind turbines.
Studies show that there is no actual evidence that any of these common or uncommon ailments are linked to wind turbines.
As to safe installation, they can be securely installed if the conditions of the home and/or land are met by the prescribed information and setup.
The main challenge to safety that wind turbines may cause is if they have been damaged, one of the large blades may fall. If the blade falls, it may land on someone in the area.
Generally, this isn’t too much of an issue for residential turbines, as they aren’t massive enough to cause permanent injury, but precautions must be taken after storms or extreme windy conditions to ensure that the blades are not damaged.
Will Residential Vertical Wind Turbine Kits Work Where I Live?
Again, this is a case by case answer. Since I don’t know your neighborhood, I can’t exactly tell you how well they’ll work for you.
However, I can give some clues based on your terrain and the general information that’s available on locations and windiness levels.
There are maps that show us where the best wind zones are, and I recommend pinpointing your location on one of them.
The top five wind-producing states, in order, are:
When you look at the map, you’ll notice that the Central Plains states in the United States and the northern end of the Midwestern states, along with the east side of Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and most of Texas and Oklahoma have the highest winds of the country.
This means that likely these will be the best states to use wind energy for powering a full electrical system.
However, many other locations can still use wind energy to power systems.
In fact, some of the quietest locations still produce enough energy to power a number of appliances and electronics through the storage of energy in batteries.
Couple this with solar power, and you’re more likely to be able to combine the power sources for full coverage for your home.
What are the Drawbacks of Residential Wind Turbines?
It’s easy to find a great deal on a budget wind turbine and think you’ll be happy with it. But the reality is, just like with all products, you will get what you pay for.
Low-cost turbines are higher quality now than they used to be even five years ago, but they’re still going to be more problematic than the good ones from reliable manufacturers with a good reputation. Cheap companies offer cheap warranties that may or may not be valid when you need them.
Also, you’ll want to beware of turbines that are on the approved lists for rebate programs.
Many of these are produced by lesser quality manufacturers who “test” the turbines themselves and rate them higher than they should be rated in order to be included in the list.
Wind turbines do not last as long as solar panels (which can last 20+ years).
They have many working parts and require fairly frequent maintenance. This means that high-quality is all the more important as the reputable manufacturers will produce wind turbines that won’t break down as frequently.
But even with good ones, you’re going to need to replace some parts from time to time.
To reduce the maintenance costs, it’s highly recommended for you to consider using a tilt-up tower for your turbine. This allows you to do some of the work of maintenance yourself, which will cut costs along the way.
For safety and savings, you’ll need to inspect your turbine annually – although, I recommend a bi-annual inspection instead – to verify everything is working properly, completely secure still, and not needing repair of any kind.
I would also recommend inspecting additionally after any severe storms or extremely high winds.
What Does A Wind Turbine System Kit Look Like?
There are several components to a full wind turbine kit. Most of them are parts you won’t mess with, but having an understanding of the full setup can help.
This is typically built of concrete and steel and supports the weight of the turbine.
Towers for a turbine can be lattice, concrete, tubular steel, or a combination of these options.
The blades of the turbine are made of composite fiberglass.
The hub is the part of the turbine that connects the blades to the main shaft.
The rotor is the hub and blades together as a composite unit.
This is the portion of the turbine that houses the electrical mechanical components of the turbine.
Main Shafts and Gearboxes
The drive shaft is the main shaft and is connected to the rotor and generator or gearboxes.
The generator is connected to the grid, or in the case of home use, a home power system.
Pitch Control Systems
This is the aspect of the turbine that allows the blades to turn in and out against the wind to speed up or slow down rotation.
Connects the nacelle to the tower and turns the nacelle for wind capture.
How We Chose the Best Residential Wind Turbine Kits to Review
We wanted to make sure we were only giving the absolute best residential wind turbine reviews, so we used several phases of research and study to find them.
First, we started by doing a general search for all the best turbines available This brought up a lot of websites that provided reviews of and information on a wide range of wind turbines and many other objects with propellers like wind turbines.
Because many of these articles had lists of fans included, we didn’t put a whole lot of stock in them and moved on to reviewing only high-quality websites and lists.
Culling out many of the non-turbine options, we had a list of about 70 potential wind turbine for sale across the world. Many of these were completely impractical for home use – some were kits for much larger scale turbines – while many were obviously poor quality with only a single review of one star only.
Cutting out the unrealistic and junker options, we had a list of about thirty left. From that list, we knocked out any that just didn’t meet our requirements and any that were unreasonably priced for the quality.
This brought us down to the manageable list of those we recommend below.
How To Choose the Best Residential Wind Turbine for Your Home Needs
You’re probably wondering what qualifications we used to determine the quality of wind power kits. Take a gander and decide for yourself as you look into this wind energy option.
Consider Height Restrictions
As mentioned above, many neighborhoods and urban areas have height restrictions for structures. If you live in the countryside, this probably isn’t too much of an issue, but if you live in the suburbs or an urban area, you’ll need to make sure that the wind turbine meets the height restrictions in your area.
You can check this by connecting with your local courthouse and zoning committees or neighborhood associations. These will tell you where to start your investigation into the height restrictions and similar zoning issues that may impede your desire to install a wind turbine.
Determine Where and How You Should Mount Your Turbine
Knowing where and how you want to mount your turbine will help you decide which option(s) are best for you.
If, for example, you know you plan to have a vertical wind turbine for home use, you know you’ll need to have the appropriate space for this.
Or, if you would prefer to have the turbine closer to the house, you may consider a roof-mounted wind turbine instead.
You’ll want to make sure your wind turbine comes with a strong warranty that covers parts and labor. Obviously, the longer the warranty, the better, but longer warranties will also generally raise the upfront cost of the turbine.
Just remember that as you shop and realize this is factored into the difference between that $400 wind turbine versus the $1000 turbine.
High-Quality Manufacture from a Reputable Company
There are knock-offs of everything these days, including wind turbines.
You’ll see some brand-new companies popping up with what appears to be the same exact model as another reputable option. But once you buy it, you realize it’s made of cheap materials and none of the pieces fit together!
Look into companies, read reviews, and make sure you know how they treat customers before making that purchase.
Reviews of the Best Home Wind Turbines
All right. Now you’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of wind turbines. You’ve looked through what they do, the parts of them, how to choose a good one, and when they don’t make a whole lot of sense versus when they do.
So, it’s time to take a look at the best options we’ve found for home wind turbine kits that you can install and maintain mostly on your own.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
We know you’re looking for high quality, powerful wind energy for home, and this is it.
The Missouri Freedom II Wind Turbine provides loads of power, lasts for decades, and requires less maintenance than most turbines. It’s a solid 5 out of 5 stars in our book.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Rated Power: 2000W
- Voltage: DC12-48V
- Cut-in Wind Speed: 6 m/h
- Maximum wind speed: 125m/s
- Inverter: Unknown
- Net weight: 59 pounds
This powerhouse windmill for electricity is our top choice for a number of reasons.
The first is that this baby is uber powerful. I mean – 2000 watts? That’s a ton.
It’s extremely well-built and has the warranty to back it up.
It’s designed to last at least 50 years under normal conditions. That means this sucker will keep producing power – with some replacements of parts, of course – for 50 years if it’s not overly beaten up by extreme weather.
The guarantee is for lifetime use on certain portions with winds up to 125 miles per hour. That’s intense.
The metal components of the system are fully hot-dipped, galvanized, and zinc plated to resist rust like nothing else. You won’t need to paint or coat this thing for that full 50 years.
The permanent magnet generator uses a 28 rare earth magnet rotor and skewed stator core to make this wind turbine turn easily, producing up to 2000 watts output. The Missouri Freedom II Wind Turbine has no cogging, and a cut-in wind speed of 6 miles per hour.
The keyed shaft and hub stabilizer include a self-tightening cam-lock washer that prevents the blade set from spinning off the shaft, and there are no slip rings to replace. The whole system uses wire tension to prevent twisting and helps to keep everything where it belongs.
This turbine is low wind speed rated for home, business, and remote use and comes with 7 or 9 blades or the Falcon 4 80-inch blade models.
Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
As I’ve mentioned multiple times above, your best bet for the most success in fully going off-grid for your power is using a combination of solar and wind energy to keep things going.
So, it seemed a natural conclusion to provide a review on the best combo kit I could find from a highly reputable manufacturer with a track record for great products that last.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Rated Power: 400W
- Rated Rotate Speed: 800r/min
- Nominal Voltage: DC12-24V
- Service Voltage: DC12-24V
- Battery Capacity: 200AH-400AH
- Output Voltage (AC): 110-220V
- Cut-in Wind Speed: 2.5m/s
- Rated Wind Speed: 10.5m/s
- Maximum wind speed: 35m/s
- Inverter: Pure Sine wave Inverter
- Net weight: 17.64 pounds
Since I gave you the breakdown on the wind turbine portion, let’s take a look at the solar portion of the kit.
Solar Power Kit Breakdown:
- Panel type: Monocrystalline
- Wattage: 200
- Charging hours: 8 to 10 hours
- Hours of Power: 8 to 12 hours, varying on wind power
- Number of panels: 2 100W panels
The Eco-Worthy 24 Volt/600-Watt Wind/Solar Power System is powerful, easy-to-install, and pretty much covers most of your basic power needs.
The kit includes the two solar panels, the wind turbine, a 9.44-inch cable, and an MC4 connector. You will need to provide your own 14awg electric cables to connect the panels and the wind turbine.
You’ll also need batteries to store all that power.
The pole is also not included, nor is the mount. This allows you to find exactly the right set up you need for your home.
The controller that’s included is a 12V/24V autodetect controller used for connecting the battery to the solar panel/wind turbine setup. Always connect the battery controller first before the other controller. Full instructions are included with the kit.
Note: The kit will generally ship in two installments from the American warehouse, and the hybrid controller will be included with the turbine package.
Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
If you’re looking at a smaller investment at the moment to see how you’ll do with a wind turbine, you’ll want to look into the Automaxx 400W Wind Turbine Generator kit.
This is decently powerful at 400W, and costs way less than the super high-quality competitors.
Admittedly, it’s a budget-friendly kit, so that means it’s not likely to last as long or handle as extreme weather and winds as others, but it’s still a darn good option for getting into wind power.
- Rated Power: 400W
- Rated speed: 46 ft/s
- Voltage system: 12V
- Cut-in wind speed: 6.7mph
- Suggested battery capacity: 50A or larger
- Net weight: 16.8 pounds
If you’re working with a budget, this is definitely your best bet for an easy-install wind turbine for home use. It’s fairly powerful, comes with a 1-year warranty, and cranks out 400 watts of energy to keep things running.
This particular wind turbine has been designed for both land and marine use, with an integrated automatic braking system to protect it from too high wind speeds. It’s also specifically designed to be installed by the average DIY-er, meaning you don’t need a lot of knowledge and skill to get this in place and working for you.
And, since it’s designed for both marine and land use, the materials are protected against saltwater corrosion and UV rays with a special protective coating. The charge controller is built into the turbine itself, which means you really do get the most out of this economic model.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
For a wind turbine kit that will work in lower wind-rated areas, you’ll want to check out the Tumo-Int 1000W 3-blade kit. This sucker is dang powerful with up to 1000 watts of power coverage for your home, all in a four-pound package.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Rated Power: 1000W
- Max Power: 1050W
- Start-up wind speed: 2.5m/s
- Rated wind speed: 12.5m/s
- Survival wind speed: 40m/s
- Inverter: Pure Sine wave Inverter
- Net weight: 4 pounds
The 1000W kit requires minimal energy to start up – only needing 2.5 m/s wind speeds. It has a permanent magnet triple-phase AC generator and is super easy to install.
Since this is so small, lightweight, and surprisingly quiet, the Tumo-Into 1000W 3-blade kit is ideal for residential areas. This is especially true because of that low wind speed needed to power it.
Of course, in super low wind areas, you won’t get the full 1000 watts of power from it, so we also highly recommend pairing this with a good solar power system to make sure you keep things going all day and night.
The package comes with the generators, blades, controllers, screws, bolts, and the nose cone required to set up the kit. You only need to purchase your own post/pole.
Note: This is not a wind turbine for areas with intense wind speeds, and definitely not recommended for anyplace that regularly or even occasionally, experiences hurricanes or tornadoes.
This wind turbine has a 1-year warranty for maintenance.
Overall Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Not every home is a permanent fixture like a house.
You might have a tiny home, RV, or generally just live on the road a lot.
For those of us who are on the go, there’s the portable wind turbine. It’s budget-friendly and extremely easy to transport.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Voltage: 12V
- Wattage: 15W
- Weight: 3 pounds
There’s admittedly not as much information on portable wind turbines like the Pacific Sky Travel Wind Turbine as other turbines, but for those of us who’ve used them, we’ve found them to be effective for powering small electronics and appliances – think lights, laptops, et cetera – while on the road.
They can also be paired with solar power for a more effective system.
But one thing I love about these portable wind turbines is that they’re really great for families with kids ten and under.
They not only provide you with up to 15 watts of power, but they help expose the kids to the use of green energy that they can interact with.
These wind turbines are only 3-pounds, and very small so the kids can help set up camp every time by setting up the turbine. How awesome is that?
The Best Wind Turbine for Home Helps Your Off-the-Grid Lifestyle
Getting off the grid is totally doable, especially when you use home windmills for electricity and solar power combined. Wind turbines are most effective in windy regions, of course, but can work in most areas as long as the terrain is correct – i.e. no tall buildings and trees blocking wind from most directions.
Find the best quality turbine you can afford and install following the instructions included with your kit. Mostly this will involve putting the rotor together, mounting the turbine on the pole or post, and anchoring the post/pole into position for a secure fit.
Keep the pole and wind turbine maintained all year – I recommend a biannual check along with checks after heavy winds and intense storms – and have some replacement parts on hand for quick maintenance and repairs.