Want to find the best generator for each fuel type? From Diesel, Gasoline, and Propane to Natural Gas and Solar power, we got it for you.
- Things You Need To Know First
- Best Diesel Generator
- Best Gasoline Generator
- Best Propane Generator
- Best Natural Gas Generator
- Best Solar Generator
- To Sum Things Up
Things You Need To Know First
Generators are a very useful addition to our lives. They are good investments for future emergencies such as power outages. Office, apartment or even in an average home, generators will always be useful in an emergency.
Generators serve as backup power. In fact, sometimes they are the only source of power for certain activities such as camping, tailgating and the like. What’s important for you to know is that aside from the different types of a generator (conventional and portable), there are also different gas-powered generators.
Some generators are classified by their fuel type. Finding the best generator for each fuel type requires you to check their pros and cons. Today, we will be talking about generators powered by diesel, gasoline, propane, natural gas and solar power.
Here are several things we think you need to know!
Best Diesel Generator
To find the best portable diesel generator or the best diesel generator in general, you need to look into their features. There isn’t much difference in features when it comes to generators per fuel type.
However, there are very few features depending on the brand and generator model that sets them different from the rest. For instance, generators have different safety features. The most common safety feature is a circuit breaker protection.
This helps keep you and your generator from electric shock and/or overloading. A low oil shutdown feature is also a good addition. This feature automatically shuts down the engine upon detection of low oil pressure thus, lessening potential engine damage.
What To Look For
Top diesel generator reviews can help you know what to look for when buying. However, there is only so much knowledge reviews can give you. What you need are first-hand information and parameters.
First when buying a diesel generator, you have to check its power, performance, and capacity. Diesel generators are very sturdy and do not require too many features, which is why these three are among the most important aspects.
Does it have an 8-gallon fuel tank capacity? What is its running and starting watts? Is it equipped with a USDA approved spark arrestor/muffler? Can the engine withstand the rigors of long operation?
These are just some of the most important questions you need to ask before buying a diesel generator.
- Diesel generators are very low maintenance and fuel efficient. In fact, they can even run for years without maintenance.
- Again, diesel generators can provide more horsepower per fuel gallon in comparison to gas-powered generators.
- Diesel generators are very durable. They are sturdy enough to withstand regular wear and tear.
- Diesel is the most efficient generator fuel and the safer option to store for longer time periods compared to gasoline. This is because diesel requires a higher temperature to ignite.
- If not used regularly, diesel generators tend to break down.
- Diesel generators are significantly more expensive than most gasoline-powered generators.
- Diesel fuel that is stored for too long can potentially damage or degrade the workings of your generator engine.
For the best diesel generator category, DuroStar DS7000Q Portable Diesel Generator is our top pick. This generator model is equipped with a four-stroke, single cylinder, direct injection diesel engine.
It features an option between a remote start and / or an electric start for added convenience. On the other hand, the full power panel houses the keyed ignition, oil alert, voltmeter, circuit breakers, low fuel indicator and the power outlets.
As for durability and reliability, you get a maintenance-free alternator with an automatic voltage regulator. It is also equipped with a vibration isolation mounting between the engine/alternator feet and the base frame.
They work together to reduce vibration and improve overall durability. Moreover, its soundproof enclosure and super quiet muffler makes for a quiet operation and less engine noise.
Best Gasoline Generator
The best-rated gasoline generators are equipped with highly functional and straightforward features. Gasoline generators are not usually fuel injected, unlike diesel generators.
Contrary to the diesel generator’s direct injection fuel engine, a gas-powered generator features an OHV engine. They also have different throttle modes that increase fuel economy and keep the engine from constantly running at full speed.
And when it comes to portable gas-powered generators, you will commonly find models that have good inverter technology. Good inverter technology produces very little THD (total harmonic distortion), thus, a cleaner and more stable power output, suitable for even the most sensitive devices and appliances.
What To Look For
When in doubt, you can check the best generator reviews for reference. However, the most important thing is you know what you’re looking for. You should know what you need from a generator.
For gasoline-powered generators, those that come with features to improve fuel economy are highly idea. This is because gasoline is not as fuel efficient as diesel. A fuel stabilizer is also a good addition when buying a gasoline-powered generator.
- Gasoline is a fairly common type of fuel. It is very accessible among local gasoline stations, making it easy for you to refuel your engine.
- Gasoline-powered generators are relatively cheaper compared to other models.
- Gasoline tends to be more fuel efficient compared to propane and/or natural gas.
- Gasoline has a very short shelf life. This fuel type can easily break down or start absorbing moisture within a month’s time.
- Gasoline has a lower flash point of temperature making it easy to ignite and cause a fire when stored somewhere a little hot.
- Gasoline-powered generators tend to require more expensive.
Honda is generally a popular brand and has long been in the generator industry. Honda generators are known for their ultra-quiet operation and excellent inverter technology. For the portable gasoline inverter category, we have the EU2000i model.
One of the best features of this model would be its compact design and lightweight. It is highly portable and easy to carry around, weighing only a total of 45.6 lbs (pounds). But do not be fooled. This small but terrible model is actually very reliable.
With an engine displacement of 121cc and .95 gallon fuel tank capacity, it can deliver up to 8.1 hours runtime at ¼ load (25%). At rated load, it can still deliver a good 3.2 hours.
Finally, when it comes to features, it is packed with highly functional features such as the Eco-Throttle, Oil Alert, and Fuel Shutoff. These features help keep your engine safe from potential damages.
Best Propane Generator
Propane generators are also referred to as liquid propane or liquid petroleum gas-powered generators (LPG). However, what makes this type different from other fuel type generators; it runs on a tank separate from the generator itself.
This LPG tank can be the same tank you use for grills, fueling heaters and/or the like. Or, you can opt to use a stationary tank that you can simply via a service truck from time to time.
This type of generator is perfect for recreational purposes such as camping, RV power, or even emergency backup power.
What To Look For
The best propane generators are not always the one with the most features or the highest fuel tank capacity. However, it is very important to take note of the fuel capacity of your propane generator.
Check if it accepts a 20lb or 30lb LPG tank and so on. You cannot hastily buy an LPG tank and assume that it will be accepted by any propane generator model. Also, look at the durability of the generator from the engine to its frame or enclosure.
This is to make sure that your generator will be sturdy enough to withstand wear and tear or the rigors of a long operation.
- The propane type of generator and the LPG tank are both fairly accessible and easy to buy.
- This is the best generator option for you if you are not planning to use it as often.
- Again, it is highly ideal for recreational purposes and outdoor activities such as camping, RV power, and even home backup power.
- Propane does not easily degrade in storage. It has a very long shelf life. So, if you plan on storing reserves for emergencies, you will have no problem storing propane.
- It is not portable or is it the most compactly designed and lightweight due to the LPG tank.
- Propane is not as fuel efficient as the diesel or gasoline fuel type.
- It is not very ideal for those who use their generators frequently.
For the propane-powered generator category that is also portable, we recommend Powermate PM0133250. It is a portable generator that utilizes a manual or recoil start. It accepts either a 20 or 30 lb propane tank.
However, it is not included and should be bought separately. Its OHV engine is powerful enough to power multiple applications without compromising consistent power. When it comes to features, it is equipped with a low oil shutdown.
This automatically shuts down the engine upon detection of low oil pressure to avoid damages. It also shows voltage and frequency, records engine run time and tracks scheduled maintenance intervals thus, making usage more convenient for you.
Moreover, its outlets come with covers to keep debris out. As for power, it delivers a total of 3250 running watts and 4050 maximum watts. At half load (50%), it can give you a total of 11.8 hours runtime with a 20 lb LPG tank.
Best Natural Gas Generator
Natural Gas as a fuel type is usually available in large quantities even during emergencies or crisis and natural disasters. However, it is not as fuel efficient as gasoline or diesel.
The good part is, natural gas generators are among the most affordable yet effective fuels in the non-renewable resource category. When it comes to features, natural gas-powered generators don’t have much difference when it comes to other types.
Although a very common feature you might notice among natural gas-powered generators would be their capacity to be switched to use other fuel types. For instance, a natural gas-powered generator can also be switched to use propane.
What To Look For
When buying a natural-gas powered generator, look into the model first and see if it has other fuel type options. Although it is possible to get large quantities of natural gas, during emergencies, it might not be as accessible.
Also, this type is meant to operate quietly. So, check if the natural-gas powered generator you are planning to buy actually produces less noise. 40 to 60 dBA (decibels) can be considered quiet for generator operation.
- Natural gas is a relatively eco-friendly fuel type. It is among the cleanest fossil fuel types when burned. Thus, it only produces minimal carbon footprint or emissions.
- This type of fuel is cleaner and most importantly, less expensive than other non-renewable fuels.
- It does not produce any foul smell or exhaust.
- It is readily available, especially in large cities with pipelines.
- Natural gas cannot and need not be stored. Thus, you might find yourself lacking fuel if you’re not prepared for the emergency.
- Natural gas is extremely explosive and may cause fire hazards.
- Natural gas generators tend to be more expensive compared to other fuel type generators.
- This generator type is not as eco-friendly as solar-powered ones.
Having listed down different generator types and products, for this category, Cat RP12000E Gas Powered Portable Generator has made it to our list. This generator model comes with a lot of inclusions such as a tool and maintenance kit.
This can help significantly reduce installation and/or maintenance costs. Its ergonomic design, wheel kit, and removable lifting eye also make it relatively portable despite its size.
As for features, you get an Idle Control feature which helps preserve the engine and improve fuel economy. Its powerful 670cc V-Twin OHV engine, on the other hand, comes with a pressurized oil system.
When it comes to power and performance, it can deliver a total of 11.7 hours runtime at half load (50%). And, with a total power output of 12000 running watts and 15000 starting watts, you definitely won’t miss out on anything.
Moreover, it produces a clean power output suitable for sensitive devices with only 5% total harmonic distortion.
Best Solar Generator
Solar-powered generators are among the most innovative creations of today’s technology. Not only are they very convenient, they are also very eco-friendly. In fact, they can be considered one of the most environmental-friendly generators.
This is also the perfect generator type for you if you want to cut on fuel costs and don’t want to rely on fuels anymore. A definitive feature that sets this generator type different from others would be its rechargeable nature.
You can recharge it via a wall outlet, car adapter charger and/or the solar panel. However, most, if not all solar-powered generators do not come with a solar panel. The solar panel itself is sold separately.
What To Look For
When looking to buy a solar-powered generator, check its inverter technology. Does it produce low total harmonic distortion? Is it safe even for sensitive devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets and the like?
Also, does the model include the essentials? Does it come with the cords, charger, adapter and all the necessary items to get it running? Most importantly, does it come with a guarantee or warranty?
It would be ideal if you could buy a generator that also comes with a warranty. So, should you encounter any issues or factory defects at all, you’re safe from worries.
- Again, this generator type is very eco-friendly. It does not produce any harmful emissions nor does it make use of non-renewable resources.
- In the long run, solar-powered generators can be very efficient and cheap. You don’t have to rely anymore on fuel whose price can vary.
- Solar-powered generators produce clean and stable energy even for sensitive devices. They can be as reliable as the other fuel generator types.
- It is very easy and convenient to recharge.
- Solar powered generators can get pretty expensive depending on the model, brand or features.
- This generator type is not as powerful as the conventional fuel-powered types.
- The solar panel is sold separately. This might be a little inconvenient if there are no trustworthy stores within your vicinity that sell solar panels.
Although Suaoki is not as popular as other leading brands such as Yamaha and Honda when it comes to portable generators, it produces some pretty excellent solar types. For this category, we recommend Suaoki’s Portable Power Station 150Wh solar generator.
This model prides itself on its ultra-quiet and gas-free operation. It features a battery management system or BMS. This feature will allow you to control voltage and temperature as well as other safety features.
It also works as a torch should you need it for emergency lighting. These are just some of the key features of this model. The best part is, it all comes in a compactly designed, small and lightweight unit which you can easily store away or carry along with you.
In addition, Suaoki offers a very friendly customer service and an 18-month warranty. So, rest assured that should you encounter any issues at all, as long as it is within the warranty period and coverage, all is good.
Suaoki only ensures the best after-purchase care and satisfaction for its customers. With that said, you can get all these for a very reasonable price that does not break the bank.
To Sum Things Up
At the end of the day, the best generator of each fuel type for you depends on your budget and needs mostly. It also depends on what you will be using the generator for as well as the frequency.
Again, if you will only rarely use your generator, the propane type is highly ideal. If fuel efficiency is what you are looking for, then the diesel and gasoline type might be the one for you.
But, if eco-friendly is your preference, then the solar panel powered generator might be the best option for you. It is eco-friendly and very low cost in the long run as it does not rely on fuel anymore.
It can also be recharged conveniently, making it very reliable when you need it the most.