Popular Mechanics; Courtesy GenTent
A generator is one of the best investments a homeowner can make, especially if you live in an area prone to weather disasters and power outages. Generator accessories like the ones listed below can make your machine even more useful and easier to use when the time comes, as well as increase its overall lifespan. Whether you’re using your generator exclusively for emergency preparedness, as a power source for construction or contracting projects, or taking it with you to power a campsite, you’d benefit from an accessory or two.
The best generator accessories
what to consider
Think about what you plan to use your generator for, as well as where you will be using it. If it’s for home use in an emergency, you’ll likely find the maintenance and safety accessories useful. Or, if you know you will be out and about, such as camping or RV-ing, an extra fuel tank or battery charging cables can give you the best bang for your buck.
how we select
We used our own experience using generators when camping and RV-ing to help determine which accessories would be most useful to users, and we also researched various online resources to get a better idea of what the most popular products are right now. We did our best to select products that would be useful for both standard generators and inverters and chose items that should be available for both types. We also kept in mind the different functions that buyers would use their generators for and tried not to focus too much on a specific usage category.
If you’re thinking about buying a generator or need a new one, check out our picks for the best home generators and the best backup generators.
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best extension cord
25 ft heavy duty generator extension cord
- Flat shape easier to go under doors
- Includes carrying strap
- heavy construction
- Length: 25 feet
- Form: Apartment
- Maximum power: 30 watts
Not all extension cords can or should be used with a generator, which is why you should consider a sturdy, low-gauge option like this Yodotek model. Its 10 gauge wire should suffice for most power outages, boasting an impressive maximum wattage of 3750 watts. It also includes a triple output connector, which can really come in handy for powering multiple items.
The bright yellow color should be easy to locate in an emergency, and the flat shape can squeeze into areas where bulkier, rounder cables might not fit. Plus, a handy organizer strap makes it easy to unplug when not in use and keeps it rolled up and tight for easy transport.
best transfer switch
10 circuit, 30 amp generator transfer switch kit
- Can also be used with whole house generators
- Can save valuable time in a power outage
- Probably requires professional installation
- Dimensions: 7 x 4.5 x 13.75 inches
- Mounting type: Surface
- Generator Size: 7500 watts
A transfer switch allows you to switch the power source of your appliances from your home’s mains to the generator. So instead of struggling to run extension cords through your fridge and freezer, just plug your generator into the transfer switch, turn it on, and flip the transfer switches to generator power.
While this is a relatively simple process, you will still want to carefully read and review the operations manual that came with your switch. It will need to be installed near the service panel in your home, so unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s best to have a professional handle the installation process.
best fuel stabilizer
Storage Fuel Stabilizer
- Low price
- Works with ethanol blended fuels
- Capacity: 16 ounces
- Fuel life: 2 years
- Treatment Capacity: 40 gallons
Unused fuel in your generator can go bad in just a few months, which can come as an unpleasant surprise when you try to start it in an emergency. A fuel stabilizer like this keeps gasoline fresh and effective for up to 2 years, so you don’t have to worry about frequent fuel draining and refilling just to be prepared.
For under $20, this bottle can handle up to 40 gallons of fuel, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your generator is always ready to go when you need it.
Best Wheel Kit
Wheel kit with folding handle
- easy to install
- Reduces the chances of back and shoulder injuries
- wheel diameter: 8 inches
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Brand Compatibility: Champion
A portable generator isn’t the easiest thing to carry around, so a wheel kit like this one can be extremely useful. With just a few nuts and bolts, you can easily attach a pair of folding wheels and handles to significantly improve your machine’s mobility and carrying capabilities.
However, you will need to choose one that is compatible with your specific machine: This one is for Champion 2,800-4,750 watt generators manufactured after 2013, so check your make and model before purchasing.
Best Digital Hour Meter
Digital LCD waterproof hour meter
- long service life
- very small size
- Comes in three colors
- Battery life: 5 years
- Reading Limit: 99,999 hours
- Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.4 x 0.6 inches
Keeping up with scheduled oil changes will extend the life of your generator and ensure it is always running efficiently. This compact digital gauge connects to your machine’s spark plug and provides a real-time count of how many hours it has run, letting you know exactly when it’s time to change the oil.
This Runleader meter is cheap, comes in three colors, and the battery lasts for 5 years. Considering the low cost of an hour meter – and the high price of a new generator – there’s really no reason not to buy one of these budget gadgets.
Best Maintenance Kit
Portable maintenance kit for 992cc engines
- Includes everything you need
- Increases the chance that your machine will be properly maintained
- Uses: Replacement of air and oil filter, spark plugs
- engine size: 992cc
- Brand Compatibility: generic
Regular maintenance is essential to keep your machine running smoothly, and a dedicated maintenance kit makes this process even easier. This Generac kit includes oil and air filters, as well as two spark plugs, a wrench, oil funnel, a sample of fuel stabilizer, and some suede parts for cleaning.
Depending on the type and size of your generator, different kits may be more helpful, so take the time to consult your generator’s owner’s manual for information on specific maintenance procedures and schedules.
Best Working Generator Cover
Universal Kit Generator Cover
- 1 year warranty, compatible with wide range of brands
- Durable construction
- Dimensions: 36 x 18 x 24 inches
- Material: marine grade vinyl
- Weight: 6 pounds
While standard generator covers are certainly great for protection during storage, you should remove them completely before starting the generator. A “working” cover like this one from GenTent does both, protecting your valuable generator from rain, snow and wind, while providing the airflow needed to operate your generator safely and effectively.
A sliding cover will come in really handy during a power outage associated with heavy rain, allowing you to immediately start the generator and turn on your appliances without having to wait hours for the rain to stop. Just make sure you choose one that fits your generator properly.
Best heavy duty padlock
motorcycle lock chain
- Fabric sleeves protect the generator
- Includes 4 keys
- Length: 48 inches
- Material: manganese steel
- Weight: 5.17 pounds
A generator is already an expensive piece of equipment, but during a natural disaster, they become even more valuable. Give your machine a little extra security by securing it to a fence or post with a sturdy lock.
The 10mm links on this motorcycle lock are made from manganese steel and are wrapped in a water resistant nylon sleeve to protect your generator from scuffs and scratches. No lock is 100% burglar proof, but this sturdy chain should be enough to deter any potential thief. Considering the cost of your generator, a reliable lock like this will definitely be worth the investment.
Best Generator Charging Cable
Generator DC charging cables
- Low price
- Compatible with many inverter generators
- compact size
- Length: 10 foot
- Wire gauge: 16
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
A dead battery is no fun, especially if you’re alone with no other cars to jump on. These charging cables will allow you to charge your battery using your inverter generator, and the 10-foot length should have no problem accessing hard-to-reach RV batteries.
Whether you’re a frequent RV-er, camper, or tend to work alone in secluded job sites, this charger can pay for itself in a single use. This BougeRV product is designed for Honda generators, but should be compatible with most inverter generators with a T-plug. In any case, as with any generator accessory, check with the manufacturer before purchasing.
Best Additional Fuel Tank
Dual system with tank cap
- Industrial strength components
- Integrated carry handle
- Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.7 x 9.5 inches
- Capacity: 6 gallons
- Weight: 7.25 pounds
A supplemental fuel tank will extend the runtime of your generator, reducing the time you would spend refueling your machine.
Also, unlike the tank contained in your generator, you can easily check the fuel level simply by lifting it up and feeling the weight. This Bergs System tank is capable of supporting two generators at the same time, and while the price is a little high, the heavy construction and high-quality brass fittings should last you a long time. A convenient carrying handle also makes it easy to carry.
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