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How Long Do Portable Generators Last?

Portable or Standby generators can be a fantastic tool to have on hand at your disposal, especially during a severe storm. Over here in Kansas City our severe weather season starts up around March and extends all the way to early June. While some of these storms are tornado producing most of the time we just get strong winds, rain, and hail. Occasionally during these storms the power will go out. (Sometimes due to the high winds damaging the power lines.) In most cases the power is only out for a few hours, and in extreme cases maybe a couple of days.

The best solution for a scenario like this is to have either a portable or a standby generator hooked up to your home. The problem though is that generators can be quite expensive, especially if you opt for a standby or a larger wattage portable unit. I’m talking thousands of dollars here. The question is, do you want to spend that kind of money for peace of mind? And, if you do spend that much money how long is the generator going to last you in the long run? Is it still going to be working for you ten years down the road? Twenty? Thirty? Let’s take a look.

How Long Will Generators Last?

From our research here at ToughAssTools we have found that most generators last between ten-thousand to twenty-five thousand hours of usage. Now, if you’re like me that number doesn’t sound like anything. Ten-thousand hours doesn’t help me. So, in order to make this a bit more digestible we’re going to illustrate a scenario so that we can come close to estimating how long your generator will last you.

First we need to determine how many times your home will lose power in a year and how long that power loss will be. In this example we’re going to high ball it and say that you will lose power for ten solid days out of the year. Now let’s do the math. Ten ┬ádays a year times twenty-four hours a day equals out to two-hundred and forty hours per year.

Ok, so now that we’ve got our yearly hour usage let’s look at the estimated operating hours a generator can last. We’re going to take the lower of the two numbers we mentioned earlier. In this case we’ll take ten-thousand operating hours. Now, let’s do the math again. Ten-thousand hours divided by two-hundred and forty. Our result is forty-one. So, in this example the generator would last up to forty-one years.

Please note that for the most accurate lifetime hours of your generator it is best to consult your products instruction manual or to call the manufacturer directly. Remember, each unit is different.

Points of Note

Now that number we gave you above of forty-one years may seem extraordinary. Well let me tell you that it is obtainable. There are just a few things that you need to do to ensure that your generator can reach that ripe old age.

The first is to NOT buy the cheap generators. Do not buy from an unreputable brand and do not purchase a generator that’s price seems to good to be true. Remember, these tools can be quite expensive but by paying that extra dollar you are also getting a premium product. Here at ToughAssTools one of our top generator picks is the Westinghouse WGen model generator. This unit comes in quite a few different wattage sizes to adapt to your needs and has a one-hundred and thirty year old company standing behind the product. We did a review on this generator which can be found by clicking here.

The second part that you can do to ensure your generator lasts is to ensure that you are doing the proper maintenance and care for your generator. This may seem like such a simple concept but you would be surprised by how many people either forget or just never bother with routine maintenance. For more information on how to maintain your generator please click here to be taken to our Generator Maintenance Guide.


If you are in the market for a generator then I suggest you check out our Best Generators Guide by clicking here. Within this guide we go through what generator application you need, what size you need, and provide some of the top brands and models for each category.

After purchasing your generator you may find yourself unsure on how exactly to be safe when installing and running your new tool. The best option here is to read through your instruction manual, but we also offer a Generator Safety Guide here at ToughAssTools which can be found by clicking here.

Lastly, please note that this article is designed to give advice and is for informational purposes only. We here at ToughAssTools are not liable for any property damage, fire damage, personal damage, or any injuries from installing or running a generator.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson


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