Best PTO Generator Guide {Updated [month] [year]}

PTO generators are quite popular as back up sources of energy for many domestic uses. This is especially so in the agricultural field where they provide energy in the event of a blackout for purposes of ranching, farming, milk harvesting, irrigation, and other agricultural uses.

What are PTO Generators?

PTO, in this case, means Power-to-Take-Off. In essence, this type of generator converts the energy produced by the output shaft of farming equipment into electrical energy. This means that when driving your tractor for cultivation purposes, apart from the obvious result of work made easier by the tractor, you get to recycle the energy to use it elsewhere on the farm. This comes with minimal energy loss.

With PTO generators, what was previously known as a piece of farm equipment quickly turns into a mobile power plant. With many farmers realizing that electrical energy is a must-have for intensive agricultural processes, the PTO generators are a lifesaver. Not only will they curb slow agricultural production during power outages, but they also facilitate the continuation of normal domestic processes by providing electricity.

Without a doubt, people have sought other options in place of the PTO generator. For example, the use of portable and portable generators. Despite this being plausible options, their use is a recipe for disaster. You could need to power them up regularly for them to work reliably.

Imagine scenarios where the power outages take a long while before happening. What happens then? Does the fuel sit for that long unused? Just like a car engine, visualize a scenario where the engine of the generator stays unused for long periods.

To avoid any of these scenarios comes the PTO generator, which eliminates all the mishaps by using the engine of the farming tractor. Agriculturalists probably use their tractors on a daily, a piece of equipment that is quite cared for, to say the least. It, therefore, makes it a perfect site from which you can leverage the use of the machine that is regularly used, to yield electrical energy too.

Additionally, tractors are already reachable which makes it easy to install and promptly outsource energy. This article will explore all about PTO generators, hereby offer a complete guide on PTO generators, and all that appertains their use.

How do PTO Generators work?

These engine-driven devices usually have a tumbling bar that links the tractors engine and the generator's engine after which steam is used to fuel the engine, which runs to then convert the mechanical engineering from the engine into electrical energy. They are normally compatible with three-point hitches and cross-country sing shaft device trailers.

When it comes to the design, they are specifically built to withstand the wear and tear of agricultural activities. This said these generators are quite sturdy and resilient. They come in a somewhat in-built manner so even in harsh weather settings and unforgiving scenarios in the farmland, they emerge strong.

When are they used?

More often than not, farmers purchase PTO generators for use during power breakdowns in the harsh unpredictable seasons of winter. This is because of ice storms that may damage electrical lines and transformers hence the need for a backup power source, especially in rural farm areas.

Though rare, power outages during catastrophes and even normal breakdown events necessitate the need for a backup power source to ensure production continues as usual.

How much do they cost?

A reliable PTO generator will range anywhere from $3000-$11500 depending on their power output. In comparison, however, they will generally be cheaper than self-contained home standby generators.

As a farmer, instead of investing in the costlier option of standby and portable generators, PTO devices will cost less and be way cheaper to maintain.

How much power do they give?

PTO generators give a wide range of power output from as low as 10kw to as high as 165kw power units. The smaller it is, the less power it generates, and the cheaper it is.

Why opt for a PTO generator?

There are 4 main reasons why all agriculturalist with tractors should consider PT generators:

1. They make power portable.

A PTO Generator, being mounted on a tractor will provide all areas of the farm with power, for so long as the tractor can access them. Take power anywhere on your farm, which means that when other tools break down and need repair, you could simply stop and use power from the PTO generator.

Since most farmers have more than one tractor, it means in the case or a repair, when there is a breakdown, the other tractor provides the power needed to reboot. It could also be needed for construction purposes in places of the farm that could be accessed only through the use of a tractor. With you, the MIG PTO generator will make it happen.

Before, farmers had to deal with the ups and downs of inconveniences in a harsh environment such as the farmland, where anything could happen to damaged machinery. Today, during harvest seasons and delicate planting seasons, the farmer can put away the worries and focus on production.

2. They are temporary sources of backup power to homes.

Apart from use in the agricultural fields, PTO generators yield enough energy to supply your home with electricity for domestic use in case of power outages whether prolonged or brief. With a PTO generator, even at times when you may need power the most in storms and tornados, you can always trust the generator to supply power even when the mainline fails. This if you have diesel fuel for your tractor, and it's running at the time.

This is made possible by an optional transfer switch that you could purchase with the generator. It is usually integrated with a compatible transfer switch which you hook on to the PTO and are ready to enjoy power from your PTO. As you say goodbye to production inconveniences on your farm, say hello to power for your home too!

3. They have Lower Maintenance and Operation Costs

With the PTO, you renew energy from an already running engine which means that you do not have to purchase more diesel or worry about another engine’s maintenance. Engines call for a lot of expenses from oil, repairs, diesel, and generally, more stress. To add on to this, thanks to the sturdiness of a PTO generator, they are rarely failing or get damaged, which reduces the regular maintenance cost by a wide margin.

Furthermore, unlike other generators that may be susceptible to damage after long spells of inactivity, wit the PTO device, you can be assured that as long as your tractor is running smoothly, your generator will, despite being inactive for a long time. When it comes to day-to-day use, after every 50 or so hours, most generators will require an oil change and filter inspection after 100 hrs while a tractor requires inspection after every 100 and 500 hours respectively. Talk about effectiveness and reliability!

4. Lower upfront costs

Since the PTO generators generally use your tractor’s engine, you can opt for a higher-powered generator for a lower price compared to other generator types. In fact, in comparison to diesel generators, PTO generators will cost about 50% less. To illustrate this, a standby generator for your home that yields 20kW of electricity will cost around $7000, while the PTO generator of the same wattage will cost around $3000.

Remember that with the PTO, you could move around with it, and it also costs less to maintain, if that’s not a good deal, then we don’t know what is! As farmers, you have huge advantages over other civilians without tractors that could yield complementary energy from their homes. It will save you cost, bring extreme versatility, and be as reliable as a generator could be.

Popular Choices.

Now that the advantage of PTO generators is invaluable to a farmer, here are some popular models. The type of PTO generator chosen comes down to power output and brand. For the most reliable options, Winco a renowned manufacturer of generators has to be the best brand.

Winco, LE Center, Minnesota, as developed a generator manufacturer since 1927 devised PTO generators to offer a credible energy source to farmers. They manufacture, wound, assemble, and test all generators in the US which makes spare parts available in the blink of an eye. They are famous for high-performing generators, sturdy devices, professionalism, and they also offer credible warranty in case of a generator failure. Take a look at available options on Amazon:

1. Winco 50FPTOC-3 - 50 kW Tractor-Driven PTO Generator-1,000 RPM

It requires a 100 HP tractor engine to operate and can be used to produce energy for agricultural tools and in the ranch. It gives 50kW on standby and 42kW when used continuously. To connect to the T bar drive shaft, it uses six 1 3/8 ‘’ to link the generator to the tractor. It is a rotating field brushless type of design and has a very strong motor making it extremely durable.

2. Winco 85 kW Tractor-Driven PTO Generator (Single Phase)-1800 RPM

This PTO generator requires a 170 hp tractor to give maximum energy. It yields 85kW continuous power and requires a 3 1/2" Frequency Meter to give the right power output. It provides clean power that can be used on the farm as well as for domestic purposes. It also comes with optional accessories, a manual transfer switch included.

3. Winco 75FPTOC-4 - 75 kW Tractor-Driven PTO Generator 3-Phase (120/208V)

It requires a 50-HP tractor engine to operate. It is also convenient for use for agricultural activities. Made of rugged cast iron gear casings, steel PTO guard shields, and heavy-duty bar and shell, it promises durability and strength.

4. Winco Tractor Driven PTO Generator - W145FPTOS-4, 145 kW, 3-Phase, 120-208 Volt

This one has to be the best in the industry, providing up to 145kW of electricity. It can be used as a backup generator or main power supply for agricultural uses like farm buildings, dairy operations, and hog confinements. It has an unsurpassed motor horsepower, which gives the high output. It also has a frequency meter that tracks energy produced and used. Finally, it is just as durable and robust as its counterparts, assuring a return on investment.

PTO Generators in Farming:

Different farming activities could benefit from a reliable source of power. These include Irrigation, Ranching, Dairy services like machine milking, Hog continents, and Poultry houses. As with any industry, unpredictable weather patterns may be detrimental to the success of businesses, hence the need for a reliable source. Imagine a situation where perishables are harvested and there is a power outage for a couple of days. The loss is simply unthinkable!

Some More Advantages of PTO Generators:

  • Second-hand generators are available for farmers who find new ones too expensive.
  • Due to their resilience, second-hand generators will also be as effective as new ones.
  • Since they are portable, they could be used even on remote farms apart from the main farmland.
  • They can also be hired to bring income.
  • They are reliable mini power plants that barley have any additional maintenance and running costs.

Steps to Choosing the right PTO Generator:

1. Check the engine size, indicated to as HP. Ensure that the generator chosen matches the horsepower given by the tractor. A tractor engine produces half the HP in kW, meaning a 100HP engine will give 50kW power.

2. Look at engine speed indicated as RPM. It should be compatible with the PTO shafts. Most run at 1000 and 540, though old ones may have fewer options.

3. Select the electrical phase. It may either be a three-phase or a single-phase generator. The single-phase matches electricity coming from a socket on the wall. For a Voltage of 208 or 480, the 3 phase is required.

Taking Care of a PTO Generator:

A PTO generator could stay efficient for a lifetime without any need for repair or maintenance. To get the best from your generator, ensure that you:

  • Keep track of operational hours. A new PTO generator will last up to 12000 without maintenance
  • Replace bearings when worn out. They are located at the generator’s rear.
  • Avoid cleaning with water regularly, now unless it's dirty. The operation will not be affected by regular use.
  • They last longer at cooler temperatures so avoid overheating instances.

Setting up a PTO Generator:

  • Ensure that the bolts are stable and wide since a large power supply may result in a twisting force.
  • Make sure that the PTO level to ensure optimal operation.
  • If you could make a shelter for the generator to shield from harsh weather, that will increase longevity. Ensure that it’s well ventilated to avoid overheating.
  • Do not rely on the tractor tachometer to keep track, and in the purchase, ensure it measures AC volts and hertz.
  • As you apply an electric load, make the tractor engine lug. This can be done by increasing the lug till 62hz on the generator, while the required normal is 60hz. From here, slow the tractor RPM till the output voltage drops to normal which is around 54-57 Hz.
  • With this you’re now ready to generate power for your farm!


In a nutshell, PTO generators are the best option you could go for as a farmer who owns regularly operating tractors. With the right choice of PTO generator for your intended use, you are guaranteed a smooth future during power outages for domestic and agricultural business use. For farmers who live in rural areas especially, with constant power outages, it is relatively inexpensive insurance!

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