Portable generators are one of our most useful modern tools. They allow us to provide AC power in any location to meet any of our needs. We can bring power to outdoor parties, camping, RVs, and even keep the lights on in our home when the power company can’t.
This kind of flexibility provides us tons of options, but how can one machine do so many things? The answer is in the accessories. There are many useful accessories for a portable generator that make it perfect for any situation.
There are many portable generators on the market that include convenient handles to carry them around. Some of those are very light, but when discussing generators, “light” often means more than 45 pounds. While this is much lighter and more portable than a large traditional generator, it can still be more than is comfortable for the average person to carry. Purchasing a wheel kit will allow you to attach 2 or 4 wheels to the bottom of your generator. This makes it much easier to move any generator to exactly where you need it to go.
Unless you plan to take your generator on long adventures through the woods, there is no need for inflatable wheels and all of the maintenance that comes with them.
Wheel kits come with all the hardware that you need to attach the wheels to the generator. They are usually very easy to install. Some don’t even require any tools, because they may use wing nuts and bolts.
Like all engines, generators do best when they are sheltered from the elements. One option is to store your generator in a shed or garage, but that can be a real pain. Having to move the generator can be a really big hassle, even with wheels. Without wheels, it's a literal pain and may even require two people.
A simple cover is an easy way to keep your investment protected, but easy to access. When the time comes to fire it up and provide power when the electric company can’t, just whip off the cover and your generator will be ready to go.
Imagine the kind of storm that knocks out power. It might be crazy high winds, insane amounts of snow, or intense heat. Whatever the case, it’s unlikely that you’ll lose power on a day when you want to go outside. It makes sense, then, to limit the time you need to spend out there when trying to get your generator going.
Adding a remote start to your list of portable generator accessories is an easy way to make life more comfortable. While some remote starters may come with a long cord connecting the remote to the starter, most are wireless. That means you can just point the remote out the window, and with one push of a button, your generator will roar to life.
While many of the generators on the market today are already incredibly quiet, there are times when you may want to further reduce the sound of your engine. Of course, it may also be that your generator is not one of the newest and quietest models available, and you simply want to bring the roar down to a whisper.
In either case, adding a muffler is one more of the many useful accessories for portable generators. They are usually simple to install, just be sure to buy the right muffler for your generator model.
You might think this useful portable generator accessory is an obvious one, but you’d be amazed just how often having an extra extension cord or four comes in handy. Just picture your family huddled around the generator fighting over the standard two AC outlets, and you’ll have a very clear picture of how useful this accessory really is.
A few good extension cords allow you to move farther from the generator itself. If they have multiple female ends, the extension cords can also add more opportunities to plug-in electronic devices like phones, laptops, and tablets. Do be sure to get extension cords with the appropriate amps for your generator, though. The amps are usually listed right next to the large round outlet on the generator. Most are 30-amp, 40-amp, or 50-am.
Automatic Voltage Regulator
Speaking of delicate electronics, an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) is a great way to ensure that those devices receive a safe and steady flow of electricity without any surges or lulls in their power supply. This is one of the most useful accessories for a portable generator. Like most accessories, it will make your generator more versatile and convenient, since you won’t need to worry about frying your devices when you need to use your generator to charge them.
This is, by far, one of the simplest accessories to add to your portable generator. It’s just a liquid that you add to the fuel in your tank to prepare it for storage. When you add a fuel stabilizer, there is no need to drain the fuel. It keeps your gas going, even after your generator has been stored for some time. This is perfect for when you keep your generator stored throughout the chilly late fall months, but still want to be able to get it running when a snowstorm hits in January.
If you’re using your generator during hurricane season in Florida, you can probably skip this accessory. But if snowstorms are one of your concerns, a battery warmer and oil heater are the way to go. They are often sold together in cold-weather kits and are a very easy way to extend the life of your generator. It will keep your oil viscous instead of thickening and will ensure your battery is ready to rumble to life at a moment’s notice.
It’s a good idea to keep some basic supplies handy. You never know when your generator will need a new spark plug or a filter swapped out. Changing either of those is pretty simple, so long as you have what you need on hand. No one what’s to have to run to the store during a power outage just to pick up a spark plug.
All the basics can even be purchased together in one simple maintenance kit. Take the time to find the one that is right for you, for the most part, they’re all fairly similar. A kit will typically contain spare spark plugs, an air filter, and the oil necessary for regular oil changes. Many kits include oil filters, as well.
While you should check your user’s manual for specific maintenance instructions and perform the recommended maintenance regularly, keeping a kit on hand is great in the event of an emergency. It’s like a first aid kit for your generator. You hope to never need it, but when the engine won’t start, you’re glad to have the spare spark plugs on hand.
A transfer switch is used with a generator that is acting as back-up for whole-house or RV power. If that’s the purpose of your generator, then this is the single most useful accessory you can invest it. It’s also one of the only accessories that really should be installed by a professional.
Automatic Transfer Switch
If you don’t want to have to do anything when the power goes out, an automatic transfer switch can make that dream come true. It will automatically switch to generator supplied power when your primary power source fails. The fanciest of these can even be programmed to your exact specifications.
Manual Transfer Switch
While not automatic, this transfer switch is still as simple as the flick of the switch. It makes it easy for anyone to swap to generator power whenever the need arises. Of course, you’ll also have to flip the switch back when your main power returns.
The versatility of portable generators is astounding, but you’ll need some extras to get the full benefits. The most useful accessories for a portable generator include cold-weather and maintenance kits, wheels and a cover, a remote start, mufflers, extension cords, fuel stabilizer, and an automatic voltage regulator. You’ll also be glad you invested in a transfer switch if you’re using your generator primarily as a back-up power source for your home or RV.
Portable generator accessories are easy to find and usually easy to install. They will make your generator more specifically suited to your unique needs and can even extend the life of your engine. It’s just one more way to protect your investment.
The right combination of accessories for portable generators is unique to each person and their plans to use their portable generator, but it's always worth the time. They can make using your generator more convenient and user-friendly. Having the right accessories can make your portable generator work for you in exactly the way that you need it.