Portable Generator Cost

The average cost of installing a portable generator is $2,000‚Äč.

How much does it cost to install a portable generator?

Portable generators are useful for emergencies or for providing power to an outdoor event, camping trip or tailgate. For this example, we'll look at the cost of a standard 8kW generator, which is typically around $2,000.

Cost breakdown

  • A major cost factor is the voltage of your generator. Consider what you will use the portable generator for; if it is for your home, think about the appliances and devices that will require voltage at the same time. Generators that are used for events typically don't need as high of voltage. The three most common types of portable generators are as follows:
    • 3kW - 3000 watts: This is a smaller generator used for an apartment or for outdoor events. These models average $800-$1200.
    • 8kW - 8,000 watts: This is typically enough to power a standard size home in an emergency. These models average $1300-$1900.
    • 10kW - 10,000 watts: This should provide enough power to run most things in a larger home during an emergency. These models average $2000-$3000.
  • No matter the size of your generator, you'll need a transfer switch, which connects the portable generator to your home circuit box and keeps things safe and working. A transfer switch typically costs $500-$900.
  • You'll also need enough gas or propane 1 to power your generator. It will take an average portable generator 8-22 gallons of gasoline to run continuously for 24 hours, which can cost $16-$44, assuming a $2 average per gallon of gas. Propane-powered models will use four to eight 20-pound propane 1 tanks, for an average cost of $60-$120, assuming the average cost of $15 per propane 1 tank. The cost of fuel is dependent on your region and the state of the economy.
  • Labor: Although most people choose to install the portable generator on their own, you can hire a professional electrician for $65-$85 per hour, for one to two hours.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • You may need to spend an additional $50-$80 on extension cords to connect the generator with the appropriate appliances.
  • Not all portable generators come with wheels. They can add up to $150 on some models.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Make sure to follow all safety instructions when running a generator, as they can cause carbon monoxide issues if not used properly.
  • Portable generators use gasoline every time they are used, so budget accordingly for the cost of fuel.
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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Propane: A hydrocarbon gas used as a common fuel source

Cost to install a portable generator varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Beaufort, SC
-14%
Boca Raton, FL
0%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Corpus Christi, TX
+4%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Epsom, NH
+18%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Lake Worth, FL
-2%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Middleburg, FL
-19%
Naples, FL
-3%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
New York, NY
+77%
North Port, FL
-20%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Ocala, FL
-25%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palm Coast, FL
-32%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Port Saint Lucie, FL
-18%
Portland, OR
+11%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Sarasota, FL
-8%
Savannah, GA
-12%

Labor cost in your zip code

Last modified:   See change history
Methodology and sources