What Exactly Is a PTO Generator?

Most people have experienced a power outage at least once in their life. You're going about your business or trying to complete an important task. Suddenly, the power disappears, and your lights, tools and other electrical devices stop functioning. If you're lucky, the power clicks back on. But the reality is that, under certain circumstances, you may end up without power for an extended period of time. 

Some situations are less dire but also less convenient. Many times, you could be doing a project that demands remote power when battery-powered devices just won't cut it. In both of these instances, you need a secondary power source — preferably one that is convenient to use and reliable every time you need it. This is where power take-off (PTO) generators come in handy as your source of backup power. 

What Are PTO Generators?

A power take-off or PTO generator is a device that uses another power source, such as a running combustion engine, to generate and transmit electricity. PTOs are mobile, meaning you can take yours where you need access to electricity at any given time, as long as you have a way to transport it. In other words, PTO generators provide a power source wherever electricity may be needed. 

PTO generators use the spinning drive shafts of a tractor or other PTO-compatible vehicle to create usable electricity. The engine power of the vehicle, or engine speed, turns the PTO shaft like an alternator to generate an output of electricity that can power anything from an air compressor to the essential items you need during a power outage. Different PTO units have different output voltages to correspond with whatever you may need it for. 

Who Uses a PTO Generator?

Emergency crew members and agriculture workers use PTO generators. Farmland can stretch hundreds of acres away from the nearest source of electricity. Farmers need a way to bring electrical volt receptacles with them to use power tools when and where the need arises. 

A farmer's tractor can act as the engine for the PTO generator, giving the farmer access to power anywhere they can bring their tractor and the PTO generator. Need to repair the metal fence on the edge of your property? A PTO generator can provide the power you need. Did a piece of machinery break down in the field, and you need to weld a new part on? Power your welder anywhere on your property with the help of your PTO generator. 

Likewise, emergency workers may need to respond to situations far from the power grid. Emergencies can happen anywhere, so access to electricity can be the difference between a failed mission and a successful operation. Having a PTO generator and compatible vehicle gives the crew members access to volt outlets to power their essential equipment to perform their life-saving work. 

PTO generators are common in the emergency and agriculture industries because the need for portable power is great. These industries also commonly use vehicles that are compatible with PTO generators. This makes PTO generators the perfect electricity solution for these industries. 

What Are the Benefits of a PTO Generator?

Here are some of the benefits of using a PTO generator:

  • Portable power: PTO generators give you the ability to take power anywhere you need it. As long as you can transport the PTO generator and you have a compatible vehicle, you'll enjoy the convenience of electricity even in the most remote of places.
  • Flexibility: When you invest in a PTO generator, you're investing in something you can use in a variety of situations. PTO generators can power your next project, whether you're out in the field, on the job site or saving someone's life. But it can also power your home during a temporary power outage. PTO generators give you the ability to take power with you from one task to the next, making them one of your most essential pieces of equipment.
  • Low maintenance: Standard generators with their own engines built-in need high levels of care and maintenance to keep them running. This is especially true for gasoline or diesel-powered generators that sit in storage for extended periods, as the fuel can expire and the carburetors can become clogged with gunk. PTO generators lack an engine of their own, which means they require little maintenance and can last for years without malfunctioning. As long as you have a compatible vehicle, your PTO generator should work.
  • Lower costs: Since PTO generators rely on an external engine to generate power, they are less expensive to produce and more affordable to purchase. Plus, you can avoid having to buy any special equipment to run a PTO generator or maintain a standard generator. All you need is a compatible vehicle, and if you're in the agriculture or emergency industry, chances are high that you already have one available.

How Do I Size a PTO Generator?

You want to make sure you select the right size PTO generator for your needs. You need one that can put out the right amount of AC voltage to complete your task, but the PTO generator must also correspond with the vehicle you'll be using to power it. Use the following three steps to help you choose the right size PTO generator:

  1. Select your engine size: This is the first and most critical step in the process. You need an engine with a horsepower (hp) rating that will get the most out of the PTO generator's electrical output. Two hp is roughly equivalent to 1.5 kilowatts (kW) of power. Therefore, you'd need a 100 hp engine to generate 75 kW from your PTO generator.
  2. Select your engine speed: PTO shafts run at two common speeds — 540 or 1,000 rotations per minute (rpm). This step is easy since most modern engines can run at either speed. If you already own a tractor or other vehicle that can only run at one of those speeds, make sure you purchase the corresponding PTO generator.
  3. Select the electrical phase: PTO generators can produce single-phase or three-phase electrical currents. Single-phase electricity is commonly used every day, as it is the type of electricity that comes out of a residential wall socket. Three-phase electricity is better for commercial applications and can produce a stronger, steadier current for heavy machinery.

If you need help selecting a PTO generator size, you can also reach out to experts who can help guide your decision. You want to get the most out of your PTO generator, and making sure you're selecting the right size for your engine is the key to doing that. The right size PTO generator will help you accomplish your tasks without being underpowered or underutilized. 

How Do I Choose the Best PTO Generator?

Like any buying decision, you want to make sure you're getting the best PTO generator possible. Here are some factors you must consider when choosing the right one for you:

  • Cost: While they're more cost-effective than other generators, PTO generators will still be an investment for your farm or as an addition to your emergency equipment arsenal. Compare prices and consider your personal budget before making your purchase. If you choose the best PTO generator you can afford, its ability to help you perform your work will more than pay for itself over time.
  • Quality: PTO generators rarely break down, but you still want to make sure the one you're choosing will last for years to come. Look up reviews and read descriptions online to get an idea of the quality level of each product. Put this information up against its asking price to help you get one step closer to choosing the PTO generator that's right for you.
  • Power output: The best PTO generator for you may be different from the best option for someone else. A large part of the decision-making process comes down to the tasks you'll be doing and the amount of power you'll need to complete them. Be sure you're choosing a PTO generator that can produce the electrical output you're looking for.
  • Peace of mind: One of the intangible factors you must look for in a PTO generator is its ability to give you greater peace of mind. Sometimes, this could mean spending a little more money to get the PTO generator with hundreds of five-star reviews instead of the more affordable model that received several two- and three-star reviews. You want to know that your PTO generator will work when you need it to. Be sure to consider your peace of mind throughout the process.

What Are the Best PTO Generators on the Market?

Start your search by checking out some of the best PTO generators on the market. The following options blend quality and performance to give you the results you're looking for. 

1. Winco W75PTOS-17

People recognize the Winco brand as one of the most reliable PTO generator manufacturers on the market. The W75PTOS-17 has several special features, but these features do lead to a higher selling price that you'll have to consider. Also, note that this PTO generator weighs just over 1,000 pounds, which is something you'll have to factor in during transportation. It may be heavy, but it has the electrical output needed for various agricultural and emergency service jobs.

Here are some of the most noteworthy features of this excellent PTO generator:

  • 1,800 rpm
  • Three generator phases
  • Created and designed in the United States
  • A brushless alternator
  • Voltmeter
  • Rated at 78,000 watts of electricity
  • 120 volts
  • A horsepower of 156 to work
  • Operates at 60 hertz (Hz)
  • 250-amp circuit breakers

2. IMD 16002P

The IMD 16002P is one of the best PTO generators available because of its highly competitive price. This machine comes with two outlets to tap into its 16,000 rated watts and 60 rated amps. It also consists of aluminum, copper and steel, so you can be sure you're getting a strong product that will be able to withstand even the toughest jobs at remote locations. This one is perfect for the rugged life of a farmer or emergency worker.

Here are some of the highlights of the IMD 16002P that could make it the one you've been looking for:

  • Offers extreme durability
  • Has a brushless alternator
  • Offers continuous electrical output
  • Uses a standard sizing for its input shaft
  • Is easy to operate
  • Only weighs 266 pounds

3. DB Electrical GFD0002

If you need even more portability, the compact DB Electrical GFD0002 PTO generator is your solution. Coming in around 16 pounds, this generator suits a variety of Ford tractor models. It won't put out as much power as the other larger options here, but it's an affordable option. Its specs include:

  • 6 volts
  • 12 amps
  • External regulator
  • External fan

4. Winco W10PTOS

This PTO generator from Winco maintains the company's reputation for reliability in a smaller form factor. With this generator, you can generate the electricity you need for a variety of applications, including powering tools around your farm or backing up power during an outage. Wherever you need power, you can bring the Winco W10PTOS along and enjoy the brand's reliability for years to come. 

Other notable features of the W10PTOS include the following:

  • Has a brushless alternator
  • Needs 20 hp at the PTO shaft for proper operation
  • Can produce clean electricity for sensitive electronics
  • Has a mainline circuit breaker to protect itself and electronics from overloading
  • Features a large voltmeter for easy monitoring of power usage

Contact Ingram's Water & Air to Get Your PTO Generator Today

Choosing the right PTO generator for your needs is an important decision, and Ingram's Water & Air is here to help make it as easy as possible. Whether you work in the agriculture industry or the emergency response sector, we have the PTO generators you need to accomplish your essential tasks. 

We also know that knowing the exact specifications you're looking for in a PTO generator can be a lot to keep straight. That's why we offer our professional and helpful customer support to walk you through the process. 

We encourage you to browse our easy-to-navigate website today to find the equipment you're looking for. Shopping online for water and air equipment is easier than ever. Let us help you find the perfect PTO generator for your agricultural or emergency service needs!

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