Closeup on the blades and hub of a small wind turbine

As wind energy becomes a more popular source of electricity, choosing a suitable small home wind turbine is more crucial than ever.

However, before deciding which power rating you want, you must know what you’ll use your small wind turbine for.

Small wind turbines generally range between 400 watts (W) and 20 kilowatts (kW), depending on what you are using the turbine for.

Three of the most popular ratings for small home wind turbines are 1kW, 5kW, and 10kW, depending on how much power is needed.

This article will discuss small wind turbines of 1kW, 5kW, and 10kW and the best ways to use them. We’ll also provide some popular wind turbines in each size.

1kW Small Wind Turbines

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical home uses about 10,649 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, or about 877 kWh a month.

When working at a 42% capacity factor (the average for recently-built wind turbines), a 1kW wind turbine can produce approximately 3,679.2 kWh per year, roughly 306.6 kWh per month.

Since a kW turbine produces less energy than the typical household consumes, you should only buy this size small wind turbine if you’re using it to lower your electric bill.

Popular 1kW Horizontal-Axis Turbine: Aeolos-H

Horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) are the ones you most often see when you think of a wind turbine.

HAWTs are also known as “propeller-style” turbines, as the blades rotate like a propeller since the rotor axis lies on a horizontal plane.

Closeup on a small home wind turbine from behind

A popular 1kW horizontal-axis small wind turbine is the Aeolos-H 1kW Wind Turbine. This turbine has a low cut-in speed of 5.6 mph (2.5 m/s).

The cut-in speed of the turbine is the slowest the wind needs to blow for the turbine to generate electricity

The Aeolos-H 1kW is terrific for homes, boats, and small farms when used as a residential turbine.

Popular 1kW Vertical-Axis Turbine: Windspire Wind Turbine System

Vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) rotate on a vertical or near-vertical axis. They’re less popular than HAWTs due to the slower cut-in speeds.

However, VAWTs can be a great wind turbine choice because they’re easier to install and transport.

The top of a vertical-axis small wind turbine

A terrific 1kW VAWT is the Windspire 1kW Wind Turbine System. This turbine is a great option, as it can be mounted on the roof and the ground.

Comparison Between Popular 1kW Wind Turbines

Let’s compare some of the specifications of the Aeolos-H 1kW Wind Turbine and the Windspire 1kW Wind Turbine System. 

The rated wind speed refers to the wind speed at which the maximum output of energy is reached. 

The cut-out wind speed refers to the speed at which the turbine stops producing electricity, and the peak output is the maximum amount of power that the turbine can produce.

Wind TurbineHorizontal or VerticalNumber of BladesRated Wind SpeedCut-in Wind SpeedCut-out Wind SpeedRated Wind Speed
Aeolos-H 1kW Wind TurbineHorizontal326.8 mph (12 m/s)5.6 mph (2.5 m/s)100.7 mph (45 m/s)1.2 kW
Windspire 1kW Wind Turbine SystemVertical925 mph  (11 m/s)8 mph  (3.6 m/s)35 mph (15.6 m/s)1.4 kW

5kW Wind Turbines

At a 42% capacity factor, a 5kW wind turbine can produce about 18,396 kWh a year, or about 1,533 kWh a month.

This is greater than the average U.S. household, so if you connect your wind turbine to a utility or electric grid, you can sell any excess energy you produce back to the company.

Popular 5kW Horizontal-Axis Turbine: Bornay Wind 25.3+

Promo photo for the Bornay Wind 25.3+ small wind tubine against a gray and white gradient
Courtesy of Bornay

One popular 5kW HAWT is the Bornay Wind 25.3+. It has a lower cut-in speed than both 1kW wind turbines listed at 4.5 mph (2 m/s) with a much higher cut-off speed. So, it generates electricity for much longer than other wind turbines.

The Bornay Wind 25.3+ has several applications, including:

  • Giving electricity to rural homes
  • Pumping water
  • Telecommunications
  • Connecting to the grid

Popular 5kW Vertical-Axis Turbine: VisionAir 5

A great 5kW VAWT is the VisionAir 5 from Urban Green Energy.

Despite having a faster cut-in speed and slower cut-out wind speed to the Bornay Wind 25.3+, the rated wind speed and peak output are the same.

Promo photo of the VisionAir 5 small wind turbine
Courtesy of Linquip

The VisionAir 5 perfectly balances strength, elegance, lightness, and momentum, making it one of the best VAWTs in its class.

Comparison Between Popular 5kW Wind Turbines

Let’s look at how the Bornay Wind 25.3+ and the VisionAir 5 differ.

We’ve already stated that the cut-in to cut-out wind speed range for the VisionAir 5 is much smaller than the Bornay Wind 25.3+ and that the rated wind speed and peak output are the same.

Small Wind TurbineHorizontal or VerticalNumber of BladesRated Wind SpeedCut-in Wind SpeedCut-out Wind SpeedPeak Output
Bornay Wind 25.3+Horizontal326.8 mph (12 m/s)4.5 mph (2 m/s)67.1 mph (30 m/s)6 kW
VisionAir 5Vertical326.8 mph (12 m/s)7.1 mph (3.2 m/s)44 mph (20 m/s)6 kW

10kW Wind Turbines

10kW small wind turbines produce much more electricity than the typical household, with 36,792 kWh a year (3,066 kWh) at a 42% capacity factor. If you have a 10 kW wind turbine, you could live completely off-grid or not rely on the utility company at all.

You can also use a 10kW wind turbine for an entire on-grid community to help everyone within that community lower their electric bill.

Now that you know the general metrics of 10kW small wind turbines, let’s look at some prominent horizontal and vertical-axis models.

Popular 5kW Horizontal-Axis Turbine: Ryse E-10

The Ryse E-10 HAWT is a fantastic 10kW wind turbine for on-grid and off-grid systems.

With a modest cut-in speed of 4.5 mph (2 m/s), this small wind turbine is extremely quiet, ranging from 60 decibels at 262.5 ft (80 m) to 33 decibels at 590.5 ft (180 m). 

Closeup on the motor and blades of the Ryse E-10 HAWT small wind turbine
Courtesy of RYSE

According to the company website, the Ryse E-10 can displace greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 60 acres (242,811 square meters) of forest yearly.

Popular 5kW Vertical-Axis Turbine: Aeolos-V

A popular 10kW VAWT is the Aeolos-V 10kW. This turbine can be used for 300 volts (V) off-grid or 380 V grid-connected applications. This model is often used in buildings, small farms, schools, supermarkets, and other low-noise areas.

Aeolos is a highly reliable wind turbine company, and the Aeolos-V 10kW has a generator efficiency of over 96%. 

Comparison Between Popular 10kW Wind Turbines

Let’s discuss the differences between the Ryse E-10 HAWT and the Aeolos-V 10kW.

Both small wind turbines are from well-regarded manufacturers, so they’re guaranteed to be effective.

In addition, the Aeolos-V 10kW has a breakneck cut-off wind speed, so it generates power for much longer than every other turbine listed. 

Small Wind TurbineHorizontal or VerticalNumber of BladesRated Wind SpeedCut-in Wind SpeedCut-out Wind SpeedPeak Output
Ryse E-10 HAWTHorizontal320.1 mph (9 m/s)4.5 mph (2 m/s)67.1 mph (30 m/s)20 kW
Aeolos-V 10kWVertical324.6 mph (11 m/s)5.6 mph (2.5 m/s)122.7 mph (55 m/s) 12 kW

Size and Power Comparison of All Small Home Wind Turbines

Finally, let’s compare every small wind turbine, both horizontal-axis, and vertical-axis, listed in this article. 

The rated wind speed ranges from 20.1 mph (9 m/s) and 26.8 mph (12 m/s) between all six turbines.

The cut-in wind speeds range from 4.5 mph (2 m/s) to 8 mph (3.6 m/s), and the cut-out wind speed ranges from 35 mph (15.6 m/s) to 122.7 mph (55 m/s).

Small Wind TurbineHorizontal or VerticalNumber of BladesRated Wind SpeedCut-in Wind SpeedCut-out Wind SpeedRated OutputPeak Output
Aeolos-H 1kW Wind TurbineHorizontal326.8 mph (12 m/s)5.6 mph (2.5 m/s)100.7 mph (45 m/s)1 kW1.2 kW
Windspire 1kW Wind Turbine SystemVertical925 mph  (11 m/s)8 mph (3.6 m/s)35 mph (15.6 m/s)1 kW1.4 kW
Bornay Wind 25.3+Horizontal326.8 mph (12 m/s)4.5 mph (2 m/s)67.1 mph (30 m/s)5 kW6 kW
VisionAir 5Vertical326.8 mph (12 m/s)4.1 mph (3.2 m/s)44 mph (20 m/s)5 kW6 kW
Ryse E-10 HAWTHorizontal320.1 mph (9 m/s)4.5 mph (2 m/s)67.1 mph (30 m/s)10 kW20 kW
Aeolos-V 10kWVertical324.6 mph (11 m/s)5.6 mph (2.5 m/s)122.7 mph  (55 m/s)10 kW12 kW

How to Find a Certified Small Wind Turbine

When investing in a small wind turbine, you want the assurance that the turbine is safe and guarantees excellent functionality and performance. A rule of thumb is to go for a certified small wind turbine.

When looking for a certified small wind turbine, here are some resources to help you.

  • The Small Wind Certification Council: It provides independent, accredited certification of small wind turbines and consumer information. It will also help you familiarize yourself with the common small wind turbines and their electricity output requirements.
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL’s) National Wind technology Center: It provides information about NREL’s small wind turbines testing and development. NREL and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) collaborates with The Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. in New York, Kansas State University, and Windward Engineering, LLC in Utah to test small wind turbines and ensure they meet national and international standards.
  • The Interstate Turbine Advisory Council (ITAC): It provides a list of small and mid-size wind turbines that qualify for incentive funding from ITAC state and utility member programs. With this list, you can rest assured that rate- or taxpayer funding is “supporting the installation of a device with an excellent record of durability, safety, and warranty service, as well as reasonable acoustic and performance characteristics.”

Can you Mount a Wind Turbine on Your Building?

While you can mount your wind turbine on the rooftop, it’s worth noting how these devices operate.

Wind turbines vibrate and transmit these vibrations to the structures upon which they are mounted. These vibrations can cause noise pollution in your building.

Moreover, the wind resource on the rooftop experiences high turbulence and can shorten your turbine’s life or reduce the amount of energy it generates.

The additional cost to mitigate the above concerns and the low power production, makes rooftop mounting less cost-effective. Consequently, it’s best to mount your small wind turbine to a tower connected to the ground.

Final Thoughts 

Using wind power in addition to or instead of the utility grid is becoming more and more popular.

Before buying a small wind turbine, check the rules and regulations in your area and the specific turbine size you need.

Small home turbines generally range from 400W to 20kW. Some of the most popular small wind turbines are rated 1kW, 5kW, or 10kW.

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