Best Portable Generator Covers While Running Outside

Portable generators are amazing machines that can provide shocking amounts of power in remote locations. They’re ubiquitous in industries across the globe. The chances are you’re never that far from one pumping life into an otherwise cold and dark environment.

Due to their portability, volume, fumes, and versatile industrial applications, they’re only ever used outdoors, but are they really all that equipped to bear the elements day in day out?

Leaving your generator out during heavy rainfall is equivalent to throwing into a pool and expecting it to work fine once retrieving it.

Snow will first disrupt a generator’s functionality by drastically lowering the temperature, then melt, flooding it as the rain did. Even strong winds can stunt a generator’s performance and shorten its lifespan.

So, we’re going to be discussing five of the very best covers you can buy to keep your generator running smoothly outside.

We’ll even power through an in-depth buyer’s guide and FAQ section to make sure you know exactly what you need.

OUR TOP PICK

GenTent 10k Generator Tent Running Cover - Universal Kit (Standard, GreySkies) - Compatible with 3000w-10000w Portable Generators

Keeping the lights on at our number one spot is an awesome product designed to give you full weather protection, leaving your generator to do what it does best.

First thing’s first, what generators does it fit? The 10k’s welded waterproof shielding should fit any open framed portable generator between 3000 and 10000 watts. That’s a fantastic range, but take note, under no circumstances should it be used to cover a fully enclosed generator.

The waterproof, tear-resistant vinyl tent canopy gives you almost 100% coverage. The top ¾ of the tent stands out slightly, depositing water droplets a safe distance away from the base of the generator.

Withstanding winds up to 70mph, hurricane precipitation of 12” per day, and protecting your generator from a total of 18 inches (55lbs) of snow, the super heavy-duty double-layered vinyl couldn’t be more effective.

Installation takes around ten minutes. It comes with adapter clamps that fit quickly to frames of any shape. Simply place the dome tent frame over the top then finish with the vinyl cover.

No fabric ever makes direct contact with your generator, and the vented dome with welded seams keeps the weather out while letting fumes and heat pass through.

Refueling is also a breeze thanks to the easy access panel.

Pros

  • Double layered, tear-resistant vinyl tent covers most of the generator
  • Completely waterproof
  • Protruding upper section deposits rain a saif distance from the generator
  • Vented dome
  • Welded seams
  • Withstands 70mph winds
  • Protects against hurricane precipitation
  • Protects against 18” of snow
  • Easy access refueling
  • Fireproof
  • Fits a wide range of generator sizes

Cons

  • A little more expensive than our other picks
  • Not suitable for enclosed generators

EDITORS CHOICE

Champion Storm Shield Severe Weather Portable Generator Cover by GenTent for 3000 to 10,000-Watt Generators

Ensuring your generator is nice and cozy at our number two spot is another heavy-duty option, perfect for keeping the power on when a storm comes grumbling over the horizon.

This Champion tent has the same capacity as our number one pick, fitting generators between 3 and 10k watts. It’s also the exact same installation process: clamp, frame, and cover - no tools necessary.

It’s pretty much the same layout here as well. You have the natural flow, a vented peak that allows fumes to escape, the gently jutting upper sides to distance runoff, and a quick use easy access flap for checking up on things or refueling.

It also has the same protective qualities… 70mph winds, 12” of rain per day, and 18” of snow.

You get the same dual cast fiberglass rods for framing, and the seethrough electrical panel skirt. You can also expect a heavy-duty double-layered vinyl construction with welded seams.

Separating our top two choices here are some fairly trivial things. Firstly, this cover is a bright industrial yellow, whereas our top pick is grey.

Secondly, the Champion tent is 1lbs lighter. That’s pretty much it. There may be slight deviations in shape between the two models, as this cover is designed with Champion generators specifically in mind.

Pros

  • Same vinyl construction as our top pick
  • Fits perfectly on Champion portable generators
  • Fits a wide range of generator sizes
  • Good placement of runoff
  • Handles 70mph winds
  • Protects against 12” of rain per day
  • Keeps generator running in up to 18” of snow
  • Slightly cheaper than our top pick at the minute
  • Vented peak
  • Easy access panel
  • Completely waterproof

Cons

  • Most expensive on our list when not on offer
  • Might not be quite as versatile fit-wise as our top pick
  • Not suitable for enclosed generators

BEST VALUE

IGAN Generator Tent Running Cover, Ultra Heavy Duty Tarpaulin Enclosure, Portable All-Weather Generator Rain Shelter for Most 3500w-12000w generators, Black-1

Saving you from building a dog house for your portable generator at number three is a tent with a distinctly different approach to our top two weather warriors.

The benefit of this angular design is that each of the four sides can be rolled up individually, giving you full access to any part of the generator.

IGAN have designed this to fit most open frame generators between 3500 and 12000 watts, and they provide a list of incompatible generators just to make sure it’s right for you.

Another benefit of this kind of enclosure is that it’s suitable to use whilst running your generator and while it’s in storage. It’s also just as easy to assemble as our top picks.

After connecting the stainless steel frame, it can be placed on top of your generator to provide that critical distance between surface and material. Then you simply cover the frame with the tent.

The fabric is a padded waterproof tarpaulin. Its thickness and weight prevent any wind disturbance, and the easy access panel on the top lets you refuel without having to remove the whole thing.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a ventilation system, so the flaps must be rolled up to reveal your generator's exhaust and intake.

Pros

  • Thick, weighted tarpaulin cover
  • Completely waterproof
  • Protects against strong winds
  • Doubles as storage cover
  • You can roll up individual sides
  • Easy access panel on top
  • Fits a wide range of generators between 3500 and 12000 watts
  • Stainless steel frame
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • No ventilation
  • Not suitable for enclosed generators

RUNNER UP

IGAN Small Inverter Generator Tent Cover While Running, Fits for Most 1000~2300 Watts Generators, Portable All-Weather Heavy Duty Tarpaulin Rain Shelter, Black

Taking your generator camping in our fourth place is a cover with 100% shielding, that pegs to the ground like an honest to goodness tent.

Designed to fit smaller fully enclosed generators between 1000 and 2300 watts, this diminutive drizzle stopper sits on a domed frame fitted to a floor-bound base with non-slip rubber feet.

It has a similar translucent TPU electric panel as our top two picks, that gives you clear visuals on the functioning of your generator. The cover itself is made of a heavy-duty waterproof tarpaulin, perfect for keeping the weather at bay.

You can also expect a quick access flap for powering on, shutting down and refueling if you’re out and about for the long haul.

What we love about this cover is the sloping rear roof canopy that facilitates the air circulation of your generator without opening it up too much to the elements.

It’s not as foolproof as our top picks and their vented domes, but for housing an enclosed generator, this is one of the best designs available.

Pros

  • TPU electric panel window
  • Full coverage
  • Sloping roof canopy allows ventilation without creating entry for weather
  • Pegs to the ground for security in strong winds
  • Heavy-duty, waterproof tarpaulin
  • Quick access panel for powering and refueling
  • Easy to set up frame
  • Perfect for enclosed generators

Cons

  • Suits a very small size range of generator
  • Not fireproof

RUNNER UP

Plug Pads GenHousing - Portable Running Generator Cover/Tent/Shelter/Enclosure for 1000-2500 watt Inverter Type Generators - Waterproof - Easy Setup

Standing up to the storms of our final spot is another oblong design with a great price tag for those who just need a bit of light protection.

This cover is made out of a high-quality waterproof canvas that’s suspended above your generator using a collapsable, easy to install stainless steel frame.

This cover also comes with a steel mounting platform for your generator to sit on, allowing airflow from beneath and keeping it away from puddles and snowdrifts

As far as ventilation is concerned, you have a zippered intake window at one end and a zippered exhaust window at the other.

They have to be open for your generator to run properly. This is a little disappointing as it leaves your generator susceptible to directional rain and snow, and strong winds. Normal rainfall shouldn’t be a problem though.

The fixed ventilation windows make this cover ideal for smaller enclosed generators. Open frame generators have a different intake/exhaust layout and won’t be compatible with this cover.

It’s a really simple, affordable design for generators between 1000 and 2500 watts. We feel like you’re mostly paying for the frame here which a lot of people won’t even need. The cover itself is nowhere near as advanced as our top picks.

Pros

  • Easily installed
  • Stainless steel frame
  • Comes with collapsible stainless steel platform
  • Waterproof canvas cover
  • Protects against standard rainfall and snow
  • Ventilation windows keep your generator breathing
  • Can be used in storage
  • Ideal for enclosed generators

Cons

  • Not suitable for extreme weather conditions
  • You’re paying for more frame than cover
  • Limited size range

Best Portable Generator Covers Buying Guide

Generators can be baffling contraptions in their own right. Throw accessories into the mix and you’ve got the perfect storm of confusion.

So, let’s look at some of the things you should consider before finalizing any purchases.

Your Generator

Getting to know your generator is the best way to understand what they’ll need in a cover.

Open Frame Vs Enclosed

Much like generators themselves, running covers mostly come in two formats: coverage for open frame generators, and coverage for enclosed generators. It’s important you know how to identify which is which. Failing to do so could end in disaster. So, how can you tell?

Normally, it’s easy enough. If the cover is appropriately advertised, it will state what sort of generators they’re for, but if it doesn’t, take a look at the ventilation system.

If the cover has a ventilation window at both ends, it’s a sure sign it’s to fit over an enclosed generator. Covers for enclosed generators also tend to be much smaller than open frame designs.

Covers designed for open frame generators will have more flexibility in regards to ventilation zones. They may even have single universal ventilation zones like our top two picks.

Size

You’ll need to know the wattage of your generator and it also helps to know the exact dimensions so you can match them up with a running cover.

The cover doesn’t just need to fit over your generator, there should also be plenty of space between them.

It’s important there are no contact points between the generator and the fabric. This can be a fire hazard and leave your generator vulnerable to condensation and low temperatures.

Installation

Ideally, you’ll find a cover that has a frame that’s quick and easy to assemble.

This way you can set it up as fast as possible and shield your generator from the elements. It also adds up to less hassle on your behalf so you can get on with the task at hand.

We recommend a cover with a ten-minute max set up for ultimate efficiency.

Functionality

A really good running cover doesn’t just keep the weather out of the loop, it keeps you in the loop. You need to be able to see and have access to the electric panel of the generator.

Normally this is achieved with a transparent panel that can be easily opened and closed.

You also need to be able to power on, shut down, and refuel the generator without having to take the cover off, opening it up to the harsh system destroying elements. This requires some form of quick access panel.

Weatherproofing

Rain

All running covers should be waterproof as a rule, otherwise, what are they for? But some will be more suited to dealing with light showers while others will be able to withstand storms.

Look for layered covers made of vinyl or nylon. Think about actual tents and what materials are used to keep campers dry and warm.

Snow

Snow can be a hazard due to the weight of a build-up and the drop in temperature.

A strong frame is required to take its weight, while a decent gap between the cover fabric and the generator acts as a thermal layer, protecting the generator from cooling.

Wind

The last thing you want to happen is your cover taking to the skies as soon as a gale whips across the scene.

You should check how a cover ties down to your frame to make sure it can withstand strong gusts.

Your Weather

Running covers come with different levels of weather protection. Having a think about the climate of your area and where you use the generator will give you clues on how heavy-duty your cover needs to be.

If you operate in snow most of the year, you’ll know you need something with adequate temperature and weight handling capabilities. If it rains sideways more often than not, you’ll need a cover that shields your whole generator.

Coverage

A good cover will shield as much of the generator as possible without hampering functionality.

We recommend looking for covers with integrated ventilation rather than open ventilation. Your generator will be more protected this way.

Weight

Generators - even portable ones - are heavy enough as it is, so adding to that weight with a hefty cover might not seem that appealing.

That said, the heavier the cover is, the more weatherproof it will be.

Multi-Purpose

You may want a cover that can be used while your generator is running or in storage.

It’ll save you a bit of money, and time on setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Run a Portable Generator in the Rain?

Uncovered, no. The rain will damage the system and increase the chance of electrocution.

If they are adequately covered, running them during rainfall shouldn’t be a problem.

Can You Cover a Generator While Running it?

Only with specialized covers like the ones on our list.

Unless a manufacturer explicitly states that a product is a running cover, then do not under any circumstances use it as such.

Are Generator Running Covers a Fire Hazard?

They can be, yes, but it’s much more likely if they’re not properly set up.

There should be no point of contact between the fabric and the generator. The best covers will have flame-resistant qualities and treatments to reduce the chances of a fire.

When is the Weather too Dangerous to Use a Generator Outside?

You shouldn’t use generators outside in any form of bad weather without adequate coverage. If you do have coverage, take note of the limits of the cover set by the manufacturer. As soon as those limits are challenged, shut down the generator immediately and try and find better cover.

If there are no specific guidelines provided, use your own judgment, but air on the side of caution.

Final Thoughts

A running cover is an essential bit of gear for anyone who owns a portable generator, especially if you live in an area with changeable weather conditions.

We’d recommend buying one as soon as you get your generator just so you’re prepared for anything.

Do keep in mind though, that there is no such thing as total weatherproofing.

As soon as running your generator becomes dangerous due to the weather conditions, power down, and wait for a clear spell.

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    I'm an environment and energy blogger who teaches outdoor and energy enthusiasts how to be better informed when it comes to purchasing or maintaining a generator, solar panel system, or anything else related to your energy needs.