Matt Johnson

Can a Portable Generator Get Wet?

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Jul 10, 2022Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Camping may be a fantastic way to get away from it all and enjoy nature. But if you’re planning on taking a portable generator with you, you need to know if it can handle getting wet.

Most portable generators are weather-resistant but can still suffer damage if they get too wet. After all, anything that can create electricity should typically avoid water.

When exposed to the elements and water gets inside, it can damage the generator’s engine and electrical components, so it’s essential to take steps to protect your investment. There are also hazards involved with a wet generator.

We’ll take a look at what you can do to weatherproof your portable generator and whether or not it’s okay to get it wet.

Portable generators are perfect for camping, but there is one problem.

I’m an avid camper and love using my portable generator to power my camping equipment.

However, I once ran into a problem when my generator got wet. I was out camping in the rain, and my generator got soaked.

Unfortunately, portable generators can’t get wet. The water damage ruined my generator, and I had to buy a new one. These aren’t inexpensive, so it was quite a costly mistake.

Since then, I’ve been more careful to keep my generator dry, and I use a DIY enclosure to protect it from the elements. I’ll get more into that later.

I also ensure to keep it away from any water sources, such as rivers or lakes. After that costly mistake, I’m not taking any chances. By taking these precautions, I can enjoy the convenience of my portable generator without worrying about damaging it.

They’re lightweight and easy to carry around, making them ideal for camping and other outdoor activities.

A generator can be a great addition to any camping trip. It provides a convenient way to power lights, cook food, and charge phones. And, because they are now available in various sizes and designs, there is sure to be a generator that meets your specific needs.

For example, some generators are lightweight and easy to carry around, making them ideal for camping and other outdoor activities.

Others are designed to be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb the peace and tranquility of the outdoors. I like the quiet generators like the Honda EU2200i, which is only 48-57db and not loud at all.

Whichever type of generator you choose, you can be sure that it will provide you with the power you need to enjoy your time in nature.

There is one considerable downside- they can’t get wet.

As every adventurer knows, there is always a downside to everything. In this case, it’s that generators can’t get wet.

little rain is fine, but they won’t work correctly if they get soaked. If caught in a downpour, this can be a problem, but it’s also something to be aware of if you’re camping near a river or lake. A sudden storm could easily send a wall of water your way, so it’s always best to be prepared.

Thankfully, there are now waterproof generators on the market which provide a much-needed solution to this problem.

What happens if your generator gets wet?

Suppose you are on a glamping excursion and your generator is running great, powering everything from your lights to your hair straightener.

But then, unexpectedly, a rainstorm hits, and your generator is soaked before you can do anything.

What happens now? Well, unfortunately, if a portable generator gets wet, then it’s likely that it will be ruined.

Water can damage the engine; if the generator is soaked completely, it will almost certainly be irreparable. The onboard electrical components can also be damaged by water, so it’s best to avoid getting them wet if possible.

If your generator gets wet, it’s essential to act quickly. The first thing you should do is turn it off and unplug anything connected to it. Allow it to dry out before attempting to use it again.

In some cases, you may be able to fix a wet generator by disassembling it and drying the parts separately. However, this is a complex process that experienced mechanics should only attempt.

Something else to consider is the dangers of using a wet generator. Electricity can be hazardous, and if your generator is wet, it could pose a severe risk to your safety.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and not use a wet generator, even if you think it may still be working.

Will a generator get ruined if it gets wet?

It depends on the type of generator you are using and how wet it gets.

Many modern generators have water-resistant or waterproof features, which provide some level of protection against getting wet.

However, if your generator does get too wet, then it can result in corrosion, malfunctioning parts and even a complete shutdown.

It’s important to take proper precautions when operating a generator in wet weather and always consult the owner’s manual for more information about how to use it safely in such conditions.

Lets jump into some ways to protect your beloved power source.

Ways to keep your generator dry.

There are ways to keep your generator completely dry, even in the most adverse weather conditions. Here are a few ideas to keep your inverter generator dry as possible and prevent generator damage.

Generator enclosure is the best way to go.

Generator enclosures are an ideal solution for keeping it out of rain or snow and other bad weather, but not always feasible for camping. In fact, they’re usually professionally installed and not exactly “portable.”

Additionally, they’re capable of keeping the noise levels down, protecting internal components from dust and debris and providing secure storage. They’re even great at protecting against vandalism or theft.

Steel enclosures also reduce the risk of electrocution due to their heavy-duty construction, making them a great option for home or workplace safety.

Generator covers are a great option for rain or snow.

One option is to purchase a generator cover to protect your generator from severe weather. Generator covers can be found at most outdoor stores, and they will protect your generator in the rain, snow, and other elements.

These are generally a plastic covering that keeps your equipment dry while your generator runs.

While it’s best that you find a generator cover specifically for your model of generator, often times other generator covers and protective covers will do just fine.

If you don’t have a generator cover, a homemade tarp cover can be a suitable alternative. Ensure the generator is completely covered, but able to let the exhaust air out and air intakes unobstructed and allow carbon monoxide to escape. Tarps are good option as they can be easily found at your local hardware store, but they typically don’t do much for wind blown rain.

Again, we can’t stress this enough, remember to keep the area well ventilated, though.

Create a Hasty Generator Cover with a Tarp
One way to keep your generator from getting wet is by creating a cover with a tarp. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it has to be well-ventilated and capable of preventing water from pouring on it.

Use a pop-up canopy to keep your generator running safely.

Using a pop-up canopy to protect your generator from wet weather is a great way to ensure safe and efficient operation.

We’ve found a durable, 10′ by 10′ pop-up canopy is more than enough space for your generator. Plus, any remaining space can be used to keep other outdoor stuff dry in the rain (with the exception of flammable materials).

To use the canopy correctly, make sure that the generator is placed in a level area away from standing water or puddles.

Place the pop-up canopy over the generator and make sure it’s securely fastened. Secure all of the cords leading to and from the generator, as well as any other components, before turning it on.

Finally, test the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) regularly for proper operation.

Keep your portable or inverter generator elevated.

If you’re camping near a body of water or an area where water levels may rise or pool, it’s also a good idea to keep your generator elevated. While it sounds obvious that you’d want to avoid floodwaters, we’ve seen many generators destroyed from sitting in an area that will naturally collect water.

This can be done by placing it on a table or platform. Whatever you do, be sure it’s level and sturdy.

One of our favorite platforms is wooden pallets. They’re cheap, portable, and can support most generators.

All-weather inverter generators.

Another option is to purchase a waterproof or wet weather generator. These are becoming more and more popular and for a good reason. Waterproof generators can get wet without damage, however, can’t be completely submerged.

If you’re serious about keeping your generator dry, then a waterproof model is the way.

No one wants their generator to get wet, but it can happen even if you’re careful. The good news is that there are ways to protect your generator, and if worst comes to worst, waterproof models are also available.

Safety tips for using your generator in wet weather.

When using a generator in wet weather, it is important to keep safety precautions at the forefront of your mind. Here are some tips to ensure safe operation—

Always use a generator outdoors.

Never, under any circumstances, use a generator indoors. There are enclosures, such as a generator tent, that can help protect the generator, but never put it indoors.

Set on your generator on a platform.

Make sure your generator is set up on a dry, level surface away from water sources like puddles before your generator starts. You’ll want to avoid setting it on wet ground if at all possible.

Prepare to use a generator.

Be sure to plug in all appliances and extension cords before turning on the generator. This will prevent the risk of electrical shock when you run the generator.

Avoid enclosed spaces.

Do not use the generator in an enclosed space as this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. When you use your generator, you want to ensure there is enough ventilation while not getting your generator wet.

Ensure there is a ground fault circuit interrupt.

Test the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) regularly for proper operation, as it will help protect against electrocution if the extension cord becomes submerged or wet. The electrical panel on the generator usually has a way to test the GFCI.

Turn it off!

If your generator does come into contact with water, turn it off immediately and do not touch any parts that may have been affected until they have had time to dry out completely. Wet generators pose a shock and electrocution hazard.

Check the manual.

Always consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions related to operating and maintaining your generator safely in wet conditions or adverse weather conditions.

Using a generator to power your appliances, gadgets, and other equipment is great for camping or glamping. They’re even great at home in the event of a power outage. However, be sure to always use your inverter generator safely.

So make sure you keep your generator dry at all times!

So can a portable generator get wet?

The answer is technically yes. However, we don’t recommend leaving a generator in the rain as wet conditions can damage the generator. We suggest you purchase a waterproof generator or use a generator cover to protect your inverter generator from the elements and severe weather.

As a camper, your biggest concern should be safety. Always allow for good ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide from building up and if your generator gets wet, unplug it and allow it to dry completely before using it again.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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