Regardless of the job at hand, portable generators provide consistent power and performance, providing dependable power. Portable generators produce electricity by running a gasoline engine that turns an on-board alternator. The power outlets on the unit can be used by extension cords, electric tools, and appliances. Generally, the more powerful the generator, the more combinations of outlets are available.
Portable generators are not permanently installed, can be moved easily from place to place and must be manually started, unlike standby generators. Generators are rated by the amount of power they produce, called watts. The higher the wattage, the greater the number of items you can power. The two types of watts are running watts and starting watts:
- Running watts = The continuous watts produced to keep items running.
- Starting watts = The extra power needed to start large motor-driven appliances or multiple items.
Most portable generators are composed of the following primary components mounted on a metal frame:
- Internal combustion engine
- Fuel tank
Tips for Storage and Maintenance
You may need your portable generator at a moment’s notice, so make sure it is ready to go by regularly maintaining it.
- Short-Term Storage (2-3 weeks): Clean the unit after each use. Make sure you store it in a place where you can access it easily when you need it.
- Long-Term Storage (2-3 months): For longer-term storage, fill the generator’s tank with fuel and add gasoline stabilizer.
Use Fuel Stabilizer
Is your portable generator rarely used? Keep the fuel system clear of gum by storing it with an empty fuel tank or using fuel stabilizer. Run your generator for a few minutes to circulate the solution through the carburetor after adding the stabilizer. Fuel treatment can keep fuel fresh for up to 36 months.
Change Your Generator Oil
Keep enough oil in your portable generator to keep it running smoothly and extend its lifespan. If the oil level drops too low, many generators shut down automatically. You should always check the oil level whenever you add fuel by looking at the dipstick and filling it up to the full marker. How much oil you need, what type of oil to use, and how much you need to use depends on the type of equipment you use, the engine inside, and the exterior temperature. You can find the right oil by using our Oil Finder.
Regularly inspect replaceable parts
Your portable generator operator’s manual recommends regularly checking your carburetor, air filter, fuel filter, spark plug and fuel filter in addition to the engine oil.