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Shopping Guide: How to Choose a Generator

From emergency and portable power generation to supplemental or temporary power needs, Sunbelt Rentals has a reliable generator for your job site or facility, along with a full line of accessories, cable and distribution equipment. We can make sure you have a dependable source of backup power to fully support your preparedness plan or help you meet outage situations. Our power experts will come to your rescue with primary or backup power generation that provides consistent and reliable power even under difficult conditions, or provide temporary power solutions for special events or live entertainment.

It’s important to know how to choose the appropriate generator that will effectively meet your requirements. To do that, consider the following:

Voltage needs: Inventory of all the power needs of your business or site to understand the correct generator voltage category necessary to safely power your electronics, machinery, and equipment. 

Fuel source: Determine if you need a diesel- or gasoline-powered generator. There are different benefits and cost structures specific to either type of fuel. 

Noise level: Learn about the noise ordinances in your area. This will help guide you in the choice of the best generator and muffler grade. Concerned about noise? Sunbelt Rentals offers noise reduction barriers to help contain sound levels. 

Service and maintenance: Renting a high-quality generator that meets your exact needs is easier when you work with an experienced equipment provider. Choose one that has knowledge of different generator brands, dedicated technicians who provide expert service and maintenance to keep your generator running at top performance level, and an inventory of power generation accessories.

What is a generator?

Generators make it possible to have power in remote locations or in the event your business or event experiences an outage. They can be used as a primary or backup power supply for commercial buildings or serve as a source of power at an industrial facility. In instances where unwanted noise can ruin an experience and where a reliable power source is required, generators can also serve as a quiet-yet-dependable source of power, such as at movie sets or live entertainment events. Additionally, a generator can simply power essentials for a short period or provide power for a larger, longer-term need. 

How does a generator work?

Conventional portable generators have fuel-powered engines that convert energy into power through an alternator. Inverter generators run similarly to conventional portable generators. These generators convert energy into DC voltage and then invert that voltage to alternating current (AC). In this way, an inverter generator will run higher or lower to meet the power demands placed on it. That improves efficiency and means you will use less fuel. Inverter generators produce lower emissions and are quieter than conventional generators. 

The amount of power that a generator can produce is rated in kilowatts (kW). It’s important to understand not only the wattage your job site or facility needs, but to remember that starting a tool or appliance requires more watts than running the device – up to three times the amount. Check for the generator’s rated power (the amount of power it can produce over time) and its maximum power (the most power it can produce in a short time).

What are the different types of generators?

Sunbelt Rentals offers a wide range of containerized diesel generators, towable generators, and gas-powered generators to meet your high-performance power needs.

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Category Specs

Ideal for a wide variety of applications, from outdoor   events to disaster relief – other examples: utility power or emergency power for critical facilities

  • Sound attenuation, with noise levels rated at 69 dBA or lower at full operating load
  • Programmable engine starting and shutdown, accommodates auto-dialers for remote operation and control
  • Parallelable to meet large-capacity requirements
  • Enclosed in a self-contained, 20' through 48' ISO container, mounted on a tandem-axle trailer chassis for over-the-road transport

500 kW

750 kW

1,000 kW

1,000 kW Dual Voltage

1,500 kW

2,000 kW







Category Specs

Ideal for temporary, standby, and emergency power requirements, or to power up essential items 





  • Sound attenuation, with noise levels rated at 60 dBA or lower at full operating load
  • Onboard fuel capacity of 24-hour run times
  • Multiple voltages are easily configured, simultaneous single and three-phase power output
  • Tandem-axle trailers equipped with surge brakes, designed for easy towing at highway speeds
  • Large fuel tanks provide extended run times at full load
  • Auxiliary fuel tanks are available for longer run times without refueling
  • Environmental package with complete fluid containment is available for most models


20 kW

36 kW

56 kW

100 kW

120 kW

150 kW

175 kW

200 kW

250 kW

300 kW

320 kW


Ideal for temporary, standby, and emergency power for business-critical operations or large outdoor events


  • Sound attenuation, with noise levels rated at 69 dBA or lower at full operating load
  • Programmable engine starting and shutdown, accommodates auto-dialers for remote operating load
  • Parallelable to meet large-capacity requirements


350 kW

500 kW Towable


Ideal for use on movie sets, TV broadcasting, or outdoor concerts

  • Sound-attenuated design provides "movie quiet" operation
  • Includes automatic overhead doors with sound baffles, a critical grade exhaust silencer, two layers of acoustic insulation, and engine-mounted isolators
  • Emergency shutdown protection
  • Auxiliary fuel tanks are available for longer run times without refueling 


1,400 AMP Movie Generator






Category Specs

Ideal for powering most standard 120/240V power tools, lighting equipment, fans and blowers




  • Super quiet mufflers help reduce noise levels
  • Circuit breakers provide overload protection and safeguard tools
  • GFCI duplex receptacles for outdoor operating safety
  • Automatic idle control to conserve fuel and lower noise levels 
  • Roll cage steel frames and shock mounting ensure dependable on-the-job performance 
  • Units are easy to transport and can be lifted by one or two persons 
  • Most models are skid mounted — some units are available with two-wheel dollies

2,500 Watt

3,600 Watt

5,000 Watt

6,500 Watt

7,500 Watt

1,000 Inverter 

2,000 Inverter

3,000 Watt Inverter

6,500 Watt Inverter

10,000 Watt Inverter

Use our convenient tool to easily calculate amperage, voltage, and fuel consumption on your next power project. GET THE CALCULATOR

Rent a generator from Sunbelt Rentals

You can rely on Sunbelt Rentals for all your power generation solutions, including generators and accessories. Count on us for 24/7 support – even in an emergency – as well as efficient service, equipment pickup, delivery, installation, and teardown.

Look to Sunbelt Rentals for these generator brands:

  • Cummins
  • Doosan
  • Honda
  • Kohler
  • Mi-T-M
  • MQ Power
  • Multiquip
  • Wacker Neuson

Need help scoping power requirements on your next project? Our experts are available 24/7, request a consultation or give us a call at 866-704-2501, or download the Sunbelt Rentals App on App Store or Google Play to quickly find, rent, and schedule generator delivery directly to your jobsite.


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