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Can a Portable Generator Be Left Outside?

can a portable generator be left outside

A portable generator is an essential piece of equipment that can provide backup power during emergencies or outdoor events. However, one question that often arises is whether a portable generator can be left outside. The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the generator’s design, the weather conditions, and the location where it is placed.

Can a Portable Generator Be Left Outside?

A portable generator can be left outside if it has covering to protect it from rain. It should also be on a flat surface.

Some good places to store a generator are in outdoor sheds, crawl spaces under house (if it stays dry), and garages.

The key is to find a spot that stays dry and has a decent amount of air flow.

While you can store your generator outside under the right conditions, you should not leave it outside while it is in use.

Below I will go into more details:

Are portable generators outdoor proof?

To begin with, it’s important to note that most portable generators are designed to be used outdoors. They are equipped with weather-resistant enclosures and are made to withstand exposure to rain, snow, and other elements. However, this does not mean that they can be left outside indefinitely.

Weather conditions

One of the primary factors to consider when deciding whether a portable generator can be left outside is the weather conditions in your area. If you live in an area with frequent rain or snow, it is best to store your generator indoors when not in use. While your generator can definitely withstand some light rain drops, exposure to a lot of water can damage the generator’s electrical components and lead to corrosion.

In addition, generators that are left outside in extreme cold temperatures may experience problems starting or may not start at all.


As I mentioned above, you should make sure that your portable generator is covered when you leave it out side. You also want to make sure that the ground you put it on does not flood easily. If any part of your generator gets submerged in water, it will likely cause it to breakdown.

A good option is to put your generator in a storage shed like the one below.

Empty gas

It is best to empty the gas out of your generator before you plan to store it. Over time, your generator might leak some gas into the ground, which can cause a mess and hurt the environment.

Also, if you keep gas stored in your generator for an extended period of time, the gas might become stale, which can causes operational problems for your portable generator.

Lastly, removing the gas from the generator will lower the chances of a fire hazard.


Another factor to consider is the location where the generator is placed. If you plan to leave your generator outside, it should be placed on a level surface that is well-ventilated and away from any combustible materials. This will help to prevent the generator from tipping over and also reduce the risk of fire.

As a reminder, you should never use your generator inside your apartment.

It’s also important to ensure that the generator is placed in a secure location. Portable generators are often targeted by thieves, so it is crucial to keep them in a locked area or use security measures such as chains and padlocks. If possible, consider installing a security camera to monitor the generator’s location.

To learn more, check out my guide on how far away should your generator be from your house.

More things to keep in mind

When using a portable generator outdoors, it’s important to follow all safety precautions and manufacturer guidelines. This includes using the generator in a well-ventilated area and avoiding running it near open windows or doors. In addition, always use the generator’s grounding rod to prevent electrical shock and never overload the generator beyond its maximum capacity.

Finally, it’s important to perform regular maintenance on your portable generator to ensure that it stays in good working condition. This includes changing the oil and spark plugs, checking the air filter, and inspecting the generator for any signs of wear or damage. By taking care of your generator, you can help to extend its lifespan and ensure that it is always ready to use when you need it.


In conclusion, a portable generator can be left outside, but there are several factors to consider. The generator’s design, weather conditions, location, and safety precautions all play a role in determining whether it is safe to leave a portable generator outdoors. By following these guidelines and taking proper care of your generator, you can help to ensure that it stays in good working condition and is always ready to provide backup power when you need it.