How Long Does a Generator Last?

Want to know more about generators before you go shopping? Generators can be a matter of life or death, so knowing how long they’ll last is essential.

A typical portable generator can last 1500-3000 hours. However, some factors affect how much use you can expect from them. Home standby generators that cost tens of thousands will run for 10 to 20 years.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about things like:

  • How to calculate a generator’s runtime
  • How different generators last
  • How often you’ll need to replace generators

Using a wrong generator can damage or destroy it, so knowing what to expect before shopping is essential. Keep reading so you’re not caught off guard.

Old Cast Iron Diesel Generator

How Long Does a Generac Generator Last?

Generac generators are typically long-lasting, and a good portable model can last up to 3000 hours of use. The example shown in the image above is over 50 years old, although they don’t make them like they used to.

Another reason for their shorter life, like many things, is efficiency. Due to a tighter and more effective output, modern generators are put under great demand.

Generator Run Time Calculator

The easiest way to calculate a generator’s run time is by using this equation: [Average Gallons Per Hour] x [Gallons Per Tank]. For example, if your generator uses one gallon per hour and has a six-gallon tank, you can expect six hours of performance.

How Long Will a Whole House Generator Run on Natural Gas?

Whole-house generators are significantly more durable than regular portable generators so you can get more active use. In theory, a whole-house natural gas generator can run almost indefinitely.

However, many manufacturers recommend limiting the runtime to about 500 continuous hours before stopping it from doing maintenance. This is slightly less than three weeks of running.

The 500-hour limit isn’t universal, however. Some manufacturers make generators for long-term use, which can last several years. With maintenance, they may last even longer.

Continual generators are too expensive for most household needs, especially if you don’t have enough natural gas to use through power outages. However, they’re a good option for people who want to live as far off the grid as possible while still having a lot of electricity.

How Long Do Portable Generators Last?

Portable generators last between 1000 and 3000 hours, depending on the model, how heavily you use them, how well you maintain them, and whether you store them properly.

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Portable Generator?

The life expectancy of a portable generator is how many hours of runtime you can expect from it under ideal conditions. Ideal conditions include performing maintenance exactly as the manufacturer recommends.

Models have different life expectancies, but most portable generators will last between 1000 and 3000 hours (about 41-123 days of running). Anything below this range is too low to be a decent generator, while anything higher indicates a particularly high-quality product.

exhaust pipe of a portable gasoline generator

How Often Do You Need To Replace a Generator?

How often you need to replace a generator depends on how much you use it and how well you maintain it. Most generators are durable and don’t degrade very fast as long as you keep them in a dry area without many temperature changes.

Generators may need maintenance after a long storage period, but you can realistically expect them to last for 10 or 20 years under optimal conditions. If you use your generator heavily, you may need to replace it as often as every year.

Take a look at the different types of generators below. The cost reflects the power and the number of years you’ll be able to run them.

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MARBERO 88Wh Portable Power Station 24000mAh Camping Solar Generator(Solar Panel Not…
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  • 💡EMERGENCY LIGHTS: This portable generator is built with a 3-level brightness LED flashlight, which could emit 2 lighting modes (steady light…
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Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W…
  • SPEED UP YOUR RECHARGEABILITY: It takes only 2 hours to recharge 80% battery of the power station through the wall outlet and 60W PD USB-C port…
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A-iPower Portable Inverter Generator, 2000W Ultra-Quiet RV Ready, EPA Compliant,…
  • Produces 2,000 starting watts with 1,600 running watts of clean and safe power for sensitive electronics such as phones, televisions, laptops,…
  • Complete with A-iPower’s “Low idle” technology for an extended run time of 4 hours at 100% load and 7 hours at 50% load
  • Equipped with a low oil alert light and low oil automatic shutdown, helping keep your generator performing year after year


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