Manual transfer switches are generator accessories that are meant to be used as a safe way to provide power to an application (home, business, etc). This type of switch is the exact same as the automatic transfer switches in basic functionality, however they require you to transfer the generator power and utility power on your own.
An Interlock kit isn’t quite the same as a manual transfer switch since it will technically backfeed the panel. What you’ll do is install this kit into your main panel so that you’ll be able to lock out either the utility power or generator power. After installing the kit you will need to have a dedicated breaker that will be your source of providing power to the panel from the inlet box. The final piece, other than the gen itself, is going to be the inlet box which will be connected to the generator through a power cord. All of these items together will allow you to have a safe alternative to back up power that doesn’t have to be automatic. There are a lot of advantages to having an interlock kit such as space and the cost, but there are also disadvantages. One of the major problems with an interlock kit is that you will have no idea of when the utility power has returned. You might be able to get something aftermarket to sense it, the interlock kit itself doesn’t have any way to do that though. Another downside to the interlock is that since you are using a portable generator it won’t benefit you in inclement weather. Portables don’t have an exterior enclosure like the home standby generators do so you can’t use them in rain, snow, or any weather that could damage the generator. There are positives and negatives to using the Interlock kit instead of a transfer switch so if you aren’t sure which is best then just give us a call.