Cover for Generator While Running Outside

Portable generators are not just helpful but also costly machines. Do you own a portable generator? Then you should take proper care.

You see, caring for your generator involves changing the air filters and oil filters, changing the engine oil and servicing, and taking care of it while running outside.

You might also be interested in: How long can a generator run?

Unfortunately, many generators today don’t come with a cover to defend them from snow, fog, winds, and rain while running outside. Bearing that in mind, we have collected the best information you need to know on selecting the best generator covers.

What is a generator cover?

You have a new portable generator, and you want to keep it in great condition. So, what’s the ideal way to cover and protect your generator? Most brands manufacture generator covers specific to their model numbers. Those are intended to keep the unit protected during storage and keep your other possessions from touching the residues and oil that accumulate on your generator.

Depending on the size of your generator, it may be challenging and time-consuming to bring it around to where you need it. Perhaps, you may have a place for it but need to safeguard it against the elements.

Let’s be honest. When you need it in emergencies, it is often raining. You should keep your generator from exposure to moisture, particularly the electoral outlets. Take note that the protective nylon cover you may have bought with it won’t do the trick as it was intended to cover while running.

Generators are important in the event of a power outage, producing electricity that offers heat and light. However, it’s only helpful if it is ready to go when a disaster occurs. One of the best ways to guarantee your generator keeps in top working condition is to protect it with a generator cover that will protect it from weather, which can shorten its lifetime.

A generator cover is composed of durable waterproof materials like tarpaulin, vinyl, 600-denier polyester, and more. Several covers offer protection from the elements while the generator isn’t in use, but others are intended to defend the generator while it is running.

This post will cover what features are important to keep in mind when looking for the best generator cover while running.

Important things to keep in mind when buying a generator cover

When looking for a portable generator cover, deciding whether to go with a more advanced model that protects the generator while it is running or a simple storage cover is a crucial decision. Find out more about these two types and other critical aspects, like functionality, size, and material.

The type of generator cover

Keep in mind that generator covers are available in a broad spectrum of types. Picking the perfect one is the key to making sure it will protect your generator without impeding its operation.

You will find two basic types of generators covers, including:

  • Operational covers that protect the generator while it is running.
  • Storage covers that are intended only for protecting the generator when it’s not in use.

You see, both operational and storage covers are made for either closed-frame generators or open-frame generators. The former features a housing, which surrounds the generator motor and its various internal working parts. On the other hand, the internal parts of an open-frame generator are exposed to the elements.

Most covers today specify which kind of generator they are compatible with. However, they also have distinct qualities that make them simple to tell apart. For instance, many enclosed inverter generator covers are much form-fitting to accommodate the rounded shape that is unique to an inverter generator.

Meanwhile, open-frame generator covers are often boxier to fit around that square-shaped frame surrounding an open-frame generator. This style of generator cover has Velcro straps holding the cover safely to the metal tubes, which make up the unit’s frame.


Ventilation is an important feature of an efficient generator cover. You see, an operational cover must have openings that enable air to flow around the unit and let the engine’s intake and exhaust work appropriately.

The cover must safeguard but also offer sufficient ventilation to stop the generator from overheating during its operation or accumulating condensation when in storage.

Most operational covers feature skirts, which can be pulled up when the unit is operating and lowered for optimal protection when it’s not operating. What’s more, storage covers must have vents that avoid condensation from accumulating inside the cover that could also cause rust and corrosion.


For a generator cover to be efficient enough, it should be made from waterproof material that is robust enough to endure the elements without blowing or tearing loose. Materials like vinyl, polyester, nylon, and tarpaulin are good options for materials.

Most storage covers these days are made from 600-denier polyester that can endure tearing and could also hold up to UV rays. These polyester storage covers are often lined along with PVC or other water barriers, which makes the cover waterproof.

Nonetheless, vinyl is an appealing choice for operational covers because it has fire-resistant qualities. Moreover, a tarpaulin is naturally waterproof and durable as well.

The frame material of the generator is essential to how well the cover withstands strong winds or even the snow’s weight. The best covers utilize stainless steel poles, which will not corrode and rust and are powerful enough to endure foul weather.

Coverage and size

Size is key to buying the perfect cover for your generator. A decent cover will safeguard your unit without negatively affecting its overall operation. A storage cover must fit snugly to the unit, but an operating cover must fit over the unit while also leaving sufficient space to enable enough airflow between the generator and the cover to stop overheating. With that in mind, a generator cover must be two to three inches bigger than the dimension of the unit itself.

Meanwhile, coverage differs from generator covers. A storage cover must enclose the entire unit from top to bottom to safeguard it from the elements.

Also, an operating cover will work more like a tent, which covers the unit while leaving a substantial amount of space between the unit and the cover to enable airflow. This type of cover often has a retractable skirt, which stays in place when the unit is in storage. It also retracts to let enough airflow for exhaust and intake while the generator is running.

Functionality and installation

Remember that generator covers are utilized for safeguarding your unit from bad weather. Most operational covers are made to be permanently installed, so you don’t need to think about connecting the cover when harsh weather arises.

An operational cover must safeguard the unit, but it must also let you run it without removing the cover itself. That means the control panel of the generator must stay accessible while the cover is in place.

In addition, other storage covers are equipped with plastic buckles, which enable you to install them in just seconds. Most also feature flaps that open to let access to the unit’s handle, allowing you to move the generator without having to detach the cover.

Frequently asked questions

Are you still thinking about whether a generator cover is necessary or how you can properly use it? Read further for some of the most commonly asked questions about a generator cover.

Is a generator cover necessary?

That really depends on your situation. Do you store your generator in a shed or garage when not in use? Then a cover may not be needed. Nevertheless, if your unit lives outdoors, a generator cover is essential to safeguard it from rain that can cause corrosion and rust that could substantially shorten its life.

Is it necessary to cover a generator in storage?

It is not as important as covering a generator that is located outside. However, covering a generator that is stored in a garage or shed is still a great idea. That’s because it will safeguard it from dirt and dust that can possibly damage your generator.

Are Running generator covers considered a fire hazard?

That depends. A storage generator cover presents a fire hazard when it is put onto a generator that’s in operation. An operational cover that’s made for use while the generator is running is often composed of fire-retardant materials and features a wide buffer between the unit and the cover material.

Can you cover a generator while running?

You can do that only if you buy a generator cover that is specifically made to cover the unit while it is operating. I don’t suggest trying to put a storage cover on your generator while it is running as it can cause accidents and damages.

When is it too risky to use a generator outside your home?

Always keep in mind not to use your generators outside in any form of bad weather without proper coverage. Suppose you have decent coverage. Always check the limits of the cover provided by the manufacturer. Make sure you shut down the unit right away and try to find a better cover as soon as those limits are challenged.


Covering your generator while it’s running is important, not only will it help protect it weather and rust, it will also increase its lifetime. Such a cheap investment, one would be a fool not to get a cover for your generator.

Keep in mind that there are two different types of generator covers:

  • Cover for generator while running – Protects your generator from bad weather.
  • Storage generator cover – Helps protect your generator from dust while in storage.

A generator storage cover is not intended to be used while the generator is running as this will result in a fire hazard. Always read the product description to make sure the cover is made to fit the make and model of your generator.

Are you looking to soundproof your generator? Then I suggest you have a look at our post How to make a generator quiet?