GenTent Versus Pop-Up Canopy for Generators

When considering options for protecting your running generator during storms, a DIY generator tent using a pop-up canopy may sound like a good choice. You might already have one stored in your garage that you bring out for visits to the beach or outdoor parties. If you're considering this protection measure for your generator, here are a few factors to consider and how the GenTent matches up. 

Fit and Space Needed

GenTents fit over 3,000 generators that range in power from 1,000 to 28,000 watts. The system includes adaptations for round or square vertical posts. It even works on fully-encased inverter generators using a strap system. These running tents fit many generators without adding too much to your machine's size. Most generators fit our 24 x 36 inch GenTent. Our GenTent XL for larger generators is 28 x 42 inches.

Pop-up canopies do not fit most portable generators. Their large size means they provide a covering for your generator while running but don't give the necessary protection because rain, wind and snow can come in from the sides. They also require a large area in a driveway or yard because most canopies are 120 x 120 inches. 

Installation Process

GenTent Safety Canopies follow a simple, three-step installation process that takes about 15 minutes. You attach the hardware to your generator, assemble the frame and add the tent covering. After installation, the cover remains on while you run or store your generator.

Pop-up tents also have an easy installation process. You can set up this tent in minutes, though you may need assistance from another person due to the tent's size. One downfall is that the tent must be taken down and put back up every time you operate your generator, and they are typically more difficult to take down.

Wind Protection

Third-party testing has confirmed that the strong frame and durable vinyl material that GenTent canopies use can withstand winds up to 70 miles per hour. Pop-up shelters blow away or become damaged in much lower winds. Even when appropriately anchored, a canopy might only withstand winds up to 20 miles per hour.


With military-grade vinyl and sealed seams, the GenTent canopy keeps moisture from reaching your generator, even during severe weather that deposits up to 12 inches per hour. A pop-up canopy can protect generators from light rain, especially without wind, but the large open area lets rain reach electrical components during severe weather. 

Snow Load

GenTent canopies can hold up to 55 pounds of snow, or about 18 inches, without sustaining any damage. The sloped design also keeps high levels of snow from accumulating. Snow can gather more easily on the larger top of a pop-up canopy. These shelters aren't designed to withstand heavy snowfall and can sustain damage or collapse with 3-inch snow layers.

Carbon Monoxide and Heat Safety

With an open, vented design, a GenTent allows a generator to run without collecting carbon monoxide (CO) and tripping generator CO shutoffs or alarms. The cover prevents overheating by allowing proper air circulation around the inlet and outlet ports. While a pop-up tent has a large area, allowing air circulation around a generator, no independent tests confirm whether it provides any real safety for a running portable generator.

Flame Retardancy

GenTent running covers are rated flame retardant (National Fire Protection Association code 701). The cover material and other components used are flame retardant. Most pop-up canopies do not carry this flame retardant rating, meaning they provide less safety from fire or extreme heat. 


If you own a portable generator, you likely want to keep this portability with any cover you install. A GenTent canopy stays on all the time, allowing you to run and store your generator without removing it. Pop-up tents provide a portable generator canopy, but you must set up and take down the cover each time you move the generator.


GenTent covers vary in price from $149 to $185. Pop-up canopies might cost as little as $80, but for higher-quality materials, you may pay up to $300.

Product Support

With any product, including a generator cover, you might have questions or need support as you use it. GenTent has a dedicated customer support team you can reach over email ( or phone (781-334-8368). Your customer support for a pop-up canopy depends on where you buy the product. Often, you may receive little assistance.

Protect Your Generator During Severe Weather

Pop-up tents may protect running generators during light rain and snow but lack the engineered and patented solution GenTent uses to keep your generator safe. If you need the best available protection, find the best fit for your generator online today with a GenTent canopy.