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Selecting a Generator to Rent

Before renting a generator, make sure that you know your power requirements. You should know the proper voltage and maximum amperage needed, whether you need one or three-phase power and how long you will need to run the generator. Provide this information, along with a description of how you plan to use your rented generator, to your local, ARA-affiliated rental store professionals to enable them to help you rent the best generator for your purposes. Here are some factors that may affect which generator you decide to rent.

  • Type. Rental generators come in a variety of types. See Generators and Related Products for Rent for more information on types of generators available for rent.
  • Size. Generator rental options range from small, portable generators to large, trailer- or skid-mounted units. Larger units produce greater outputs — measured in watts or kilowatts (kw) — than smaller generators produce. It is important to rent the proper size generator for your application. To determine the size of generator that you should rent, add up the number of watts required for everything that you need to connect to the generator. To calculate wattage, multiply amps by volts. Keep in mind also that a motor may take three times more watts to start than to operate. In general, you should rent a generator that produces slightly more power than you require to prevent generator shut downs or the tripping of a circuit breaker. On the other hand, if your application requires a lot less power than the rated capacity that a diesel generator can provide, then the generator may fail to run at peak performance.
  • Power source. Sources of power for most rental generators include either gas or diesel. Some generators for standby power do run on propane or natural gas, though. Many of the small, portable generators run on gas, whereas diesel often powers larger units. Diesel generators generate good power output, but may cost more to run than a gas generator.
  • Environmental concerns. For some applications, reduced sound and emissions may be important. For example, a special event may require a quiet generator to prevent it from interrupting the festivities. Overall, most manufacturers of rental generators now design quieter and more efficient models than in previous years.
  • Safety features. Rented generators come equipped with many features to keep both individuals and the equipment safe. For example, ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection systems on generators help protect people from electric shock or electrocution by shutting the equipment down when it detects electrical current leakage. In addition, to prevent damage to the equipment, many generators shut down when oil levels get too low. Some generators also include circuit breakers to protect the generators and the tools they run against problems from overloading.
Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your generator needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.

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