Rent Or Buy A Portable Generator? Which Is The Best Option?

Portable generators, let’s admit it, aren’t cheap. A basic 2 kW inverter can price just over $1000. Generators are high-end devices that necessitate accurate construction, a broad variety of advanced design elements, high-end technology, and efficient engines, which all add to the ultimate cost. So it’s confusing to rent or buy a portable generator. As a result, it can be worth the investment to think about portable generator options for purchasing and some useful tips off the shelf.

The webpage will always assist you in locating the greatest versions at the most competitive costs. It’s possible that it won’t be enough to meet your budget. As a result, there are two alternatives to explore.

  • You are purchasing a used or low-cost unit.
  • Renting a portable generator is another option.

As you may know, several organizations rent out heavy machinery, including portable generators, which are among the most in-demand gadgets in this industry. Whereas the low price of a generator rental ship could be appealing at first, it is not always the best option!

The cost, timeframe, and obligation must be considered when renting or buying portable generator items.

The rental cost structure of Sunbelt (above) and Home Depot (below)


The price is the most basic thing on this list, but it is also the most important. After all, we’re taking the time with this; how does renting contrast to purchasing a unit?

The first thing to remember what to either rent or buy a portable generator is that Honda generators make up the vast percentage of portable generators available. Even though Honda’s portable generators are some of the most costly, their machines and motors are quite dependable, so rental companies choose them over other manufacturers.

We’ll examine how to rent or buy a portable generator and the costs of a few different units. The purchase price is based on the lowest current overall price in the dataset:

UnitRated Watts (W)Rent Per Day ($)Rent Per Week ($)Cost To Buy ($)
Honda EU1000i90040105890
Honda EU2200i1600552001129
Honda EB3000c2600632521899
Honda EU3000is280078312 1999.99
Honda EB50004500892502349.00
Honda EG65005500833321500

The economic advantage of rentals goes off over time, as you can see upon first look, which brings us to the following subject.


We’ll just estimate how long you’ll have to rent generators before spending adequate funds to buy one in this phase.

UnitRated Watts (W)Daily Rentals UntilFull Cost CoveredWeekly Rentals UntilFull Cost Covered
Honda EU1000i900228
Honda EU2200i1600216
Honda EB3000c2600308
Honda EU3000is2800266
Honda EB50004500269
Honda EG65005500185

As we can see in the table above, renting generators daily takes a  minimum of 23.8 days, and renting generators every week typically takes seven weeks until you have paid the complete purchase price of a completely new generator.

In a nutshell, we’re done — if you’re going to use a generator for a longer period than estimated above, you could always buy one, and conversely, correct? In some circumstances, yes, but in others, no. Let’s have a look at why that is.


For the extremities, the sentence above is true: Those who would use a generator only once in their lives or those who would use it regularly.

We must evaluate the liability for casual users to rent or buy a portable generator. Which is more annoying: risking a (relatively small) money on a generator that will never be used? Or do you wind up wasting money on rent when you could have purchased your generators a long time ago?

Consider the following two circumstances:

1) A week-long RV excursion for a leisure RV hobbyist every few years. He even purchased his travel trailer and is now in the market for a 2 kW power generator.

At first look, this individual should purchase the inverter, as the 5th trip will reimburse the cost of the inverter. After all, he’d already purchased a van! But if he only travels every two years. How confident are you that the technology won’t be obsolete by his fifth journey in ten years?

If he isn’t fully dedicated to the RV experience, he shouldn’t invest in something he intends to pay off in 10 years or less.

2) Every year for Christmas and New Year, a middle-aged father is joined by his parents and siblings. He acquired a mobile house for the guests to save money on lodging, but he is hesitant to buy a generator if he only uses it for two weeks annually.

This guy has already purchased a mobile home that will not be moving anytime soon. His family will not. As a result, he will almost certainly keep paying the rental for at least two weeks each year, bringing the price of a proposed generator within 2-3 years. He’s also restricting the mobile home’s utility by depending on a third party, the leasing company, to use it. More tourists may come all year round, and he may even put up an Airbnb in the mobile home.

He’ll be using portable generators a lot more, not less.

Finally, we must examine whether or not a security deposit will be needed when renting a portable generator. If your rental equipment is damaged, you may have to pay far more than the original rental rate and, in some instances, even more than the price for a new device because the dealership is likely to maintain the deposits or pay you for the repair!

If you purchased the item, the company’s warranty might have addressed such probable damage.

This is a difficult question because your circumstance may be significantly more complicated than ours. The basics, however, are the same. To make an informed conclusion, thoroughly consider the issues mentioned in this article.

If you anticipate a return on investment within a timeframe similar to the duration of a product warranty, the buying is virtually risk-free. Check out the advice on how to a portable generator to see which one is right for you.


To provide you with a clearer view, we’ve compiled a list of the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing and renting and a few other considerations.

Buying Pros & Cons:

  • Product selection
  • Long-term cost savings
  • Instant accessibility
  • Warranty
  • Expensive at first
  • Maintenance responsibilities

Renting Pros & Cons:

  • No maintenance is necessary if used only once every few years
  • Limited product selection
  • It doesn’t pay you in the long run
  • May not be accessible when most required
  • You could end up paying for numerous new units without owning them
  • There is no guarantee

If you read this piece half a century later and the costs are no longer applicable, you are free to follow along and perform the arithmetic. The procedure will continue!

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Skyler is an outdoor adventurist and avid RV-Fan. He loves to explore the world and all its beauty, but he's just as happy relaxing at home with his family. His favorite pastime is taking weekend trips in his RV with his wife and kids, where they can get away from it all and enjoy nature. He’s also a self-proclaimed expert on all things portable generators and can often be found reviewing the latest models on our website.

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