Renting a generator can be a good idea if you are planning a large outdoor party and don't want power cords running into the home, or don't want to risk having circuits shut down because of all the equipment you need to plug in for that party. When you are ready to rent a generator, you may be surprised at the number of choices and options available to you, so note a few things to remember that will ensure you get the right one.

Ventilation and sound

Even if your planned event will be outdoors, ask for the generator to be turned on before you rent it and then consider the level of sound you hear. If it runs very loudly, this can be distracting to guests. If you can smell fumes as it runs in the rental agency, your guests will probably also smell fumes as well. You might opt for several smaller generators that can provide the power you need but which will run quieter and not be as distracting to guests.


If the generator will be used anywhere near any type of water, such as one for an outdoor event where you might have a large punch bowl or where the catering staff will be using water for cooking and cleaning, you want to ensure it has a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI. This is an added circuit breaker built into the generator itself so that it shuts down when it gets wet. This can reduce your risk of electrical shock or having the generator short out if there is a spill or if any cord gets wet while plugged in.

Power and wattage

You may know to look at the wattage of the equipment you'll be plugging into the generator and choose a rental that is powerful enough to accommodate, but consider if you might need even more power than you assume. The wattage required for electrical items that you may see on its labeling may refer to standard, average use and not any type of overuse. For example, the power needed for cooking equipment for your catering staff may be increased if they turn up the heat of an outdoor oven, and the power you need for outdoor heaters may be increased if you turn up those heaters. To avoid having your generator rental shut down during your party, go up a size or get more wattage than what you think you'll need.