Do Portable Generators Have Batteries?

  • By: Umer.A
  • Date: January 2, 2022
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Yes! Portable generators come with batteries, but only those which need an electric start.

Conventional generators have a pull start mechanism, so they might not need the battery. However, electric start is the only reason why portable generators are becoming famous. They are easy to drag, carry around, and used to power up appliances in remote areas.

Let’s dive in further to have a complete look at the batteries in generators.

What do batteries do in generators?

Batteries are one of the integral components of generators. Therefore, they play a significant role in offering power to the portable generators at times of emergency when facilitating the power outage.

The primary role of batteries in an emergency generator is to start the engine automatically during a power outage. However, this is not the only function of batteries in a generator; they can:

  • Power up a digital control panel.
  • While the generator is running, the batteries can power up ancillary panes and small DC motors.
  • It can also charge redundant or secondary battery set in an enclosure.

How do I choose a generator battery?

Most generators come with standard lead-acid batteries. The generator battery types include the following:

  • Conventional batteries – consist of cells having individual caps for testing and filling the electrolytes.
  • Maintenance-free batteries – you cannot add any electrolyte or evaluate your battery.

Choose a good quality battery for your generators by keeping the following points in mind:

  • Check if the battery is compatible with your generator specs
  • Consider ambient air temperatures and the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Don’t install large power batteries than recommended.

Do all portable generators have batteries?

Most of the generators come with batteries that start with an electric button. However, some portable generators still come with a pull start mechanism. So it depends on the product you choose.

There is a diverse range of portable generators in the market, including the one that runs on gas, propane, diesel, or batteries charged with solar energy.

Can I run my generator without a battery?

The portable generators with batteries are similar to the car’s engine. They need fuel to run the engine like a battery within the generators. Therefore, the battery is a critical component to kick start the generators but not responsible for continuous generator operation.

Some generators feature essential electronic components that help them operate, so the generator won’t work if there is no battery.

How long does a portable generator’s battery last?

If you maintain the battery of your portable generator properly, it will last for around 2-5 years. But this depends on its usage, application, and charging setup.

How often should you charge a generator battery?

Make sure to maintain the long life of your battery by keeping it completely charged regularly. It is best advised to charge your battery once every month charged to attain maximum lifespan.

Can I use the car battery for the generator?

Yes, you can use a car battery for powering your generator. It depends on how to recharge your battery or if you have the trickle charger. The car battery results in the production of ac power, which is required by the generator. And the generator then converts ac into dc power for charging the generator.

How do you charge a generator battery?

This includes a battery connection with the unit and then plugging your charger within the wall. So, plug the opposite end with the unit’s charger to have enough utility power.

Finally, avoid overcharging and look at proper demonstration videos for charging the battery.

How to hook up a generator to a battery?

Inspect the battery. Fill the non-sealed batteries using distilled water to the mark. Make sure to get rid of any corrosion or spilled acids.

Fill your generator using gasoline. Make sure to check the oil level within the generator and then start it.

Next, attach battery charging alligator clips over the battery terminals. Attach a red charger clip over the positive terminal. After that, attach a black clip over the negative terminal of the battery. Use a three-stage battery charger offering a high charging rate.

Plug your battery charger within the generator’s output showing the battery is charging with its light on.

How do you maintain a battery from a generator?

To maintain the life expectancy of your generator’s battery, you should do the following:

Inspect its exhaust hole over the sealing cover. It should be unblocked to prevent any battery burst.

Make sure to check the level of the electrolyte. It should be higher compared to the pole plate top. If there is any abnormality, adjust the sulfuric acid or use distilled water.

Make sure to maintain the surface of the battery clean and free from dust. If you use the battery for too long, add some distilled water to prevent any oxidation of pole plates.

At times of using batteries in cold areas, make sure to offer thermal insulation. Perform periodic maintenance like filter and oil changes, ensuring maximum performance for several years.

Can a generator charge a 12-volt battery?

Yes, you can use your generators to charge your 12-volt battery if they come with 12-volt output. Generators are, however, not designed to charge the batteries completely. There are specific reasons for it, including the limited outlet of the generator’s dc, around 8-9 amps.


The batteries in your portable generators need to be correctly charged before the power outage. This way, you can maintain the life of your generator.