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Buying the right generator is an important task, whether you’re looking for backup power in a storm or if you want some off the grid connectivity when you’re in your RV.
Propane generators can be a fantastic choice considering that the fuel is somewhat easy to access.
Of course, there are a wide range of propane generators available on the market, something that can make a decision so much more difficult. So how exactly do you choose the best propane generators without slowly tearing your hair out?
Read on for our picks of the 5 best propane generators. We’ve also written a handy buyer’s guide to help you to narrow down your decision!
OUR TOP PICK
The Champion 3400 Watt Propane Generator is by far one of the best propane generators on the market.
Actually, scratch that - this is an inverter generator, which means that it can run on two different types of fuel at once.
So what’s there to love about this generator? Well right off the bat, it’s pretty handy that you can connect this generator up with another Champion generator in order to get even more power.
This means that if your power goes up you can power even more electronic devices without any problems.
The Generator comes with a push button electric start for easy set up, and there’s even a smart charger to ensure that your battery never gets low when you are using the generator.
If you’re worried about the noise that your generator will make then you will be happy to learn that the generator will only make around 59 dBA of noise, so it won’t disturb your neighbors or your TV!
Of course, it is not without its issues and perhaps the biggest problem is that it can sometimes leak gas, so this is something that you need to keep in mind.
- Ideal for camping or RV parks
- Can connect with other generators to provide even more power
- Electric start is easy to use
- Quiet operation
- Can sometimes leak gas
If you’re looking for the ultimate versatility in your propane generator then look no further than the DuroMax XP12000EH Propane Generator.
In fact, this generator could easily be used on a location from a camping site to a construction site without any trouble.
The generator can provide you with 9500 running watts and 12000 watts for starting. This is pretty impressive and is ideal for powering up even some of the biggest appliances and electrical items.
Like the option we mentioned above, the Duromax XP12000EH Propane Generator can run not only on propane but also on gas in case the first fuel source runs out.
With that being said, even if you have just one full tank of propane you can keep the generator running for 20 hours when it’s completely full.
If you fill it with gasoline you will get 10 hours on just half of the load.
In addition to this, the generator panel comes with 5 different outlets that you can hook up to your items.
There’s also a noise reduction muffler to ensure that the generator barely makes a peep, no matter where you are.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the generator is that the wheels aren’t the best quality out there, but this is such a minor issue that it’s barely worth mentioning. If you want a versatile, reliable generator then this is it.
- Long running time
- Electrical start
- 5 outlets
- Not the best quality wheels
If you’re looking for a propane generator with fantastic portability, look no further than the DuroStar DS5500EH.
This product is fairly small but can provide you with a lot of power, so it’s ideal if you need some portability but you also need a generator that can pack a punch.
Thanks to the portability of the generator it’s incredibly easy to move around. It also has dual fuel capability, so if you run out of propane then you can easily switch over to gasoline instead.
It’s even CARB and EPA approved! In addition to all of this, the generator can provide you with 5500 watts of power so it’s great if you’re using it for camping or short term use.
Of course, this isn’t the most powerful option out there, but it only weighs 127 pounds.
The generator has been well made with a metal construction, so it’s exceptionally durable for use outdoors. To make it even easier to transport there’s also a wheel kit and a folding handle.
Of course, it is worth noting that because of the power limitations this generator isn’t ideal for powering particularly large electronics or for powering an entire house, so it’s much better for powering smaller devices.
- Dual fuel capability
- Lightweight and portable
- Not great at dealing with large loads
Our next choice is the Westinghouse WGen 3600DF propane generator. This is an incredibly affordable generator that can be used for pretty much any purpose - it’s even totally ready for an RV as there’s a TT30R 120V 30A outlet.
If you want to switch fuel types, it’s possible to change the propane for gas even while the engine is still running.
It’s easy to use with just a push button and key fob start. With just a quarter of a load you can expect the generator to run for 18 hours.
In addition to all of this, the generator comes with a great control panel that comes with a 5-20R 120V Duplex Outlet.
It also comes with a TT-30 30 amp outlet for your RV and a L5-30 30 Amp outlet.
If you’re confused then there’s even an in depth user manual to help you out. It can sometimes experience surges however, so it’s worth keeping this in mind.
- Fantastic control panel
- Ideal for RVs
- You can switch between fuel types even when it’s still in operation
- Push button start
- Can sometimes have surges
As you may have noticed, Duromax is a big name when it comes to generators - that’s why they’re on our list twice!
This is a dual fuel hybrid generator that you can use with propane and gasoline.
The generator can be used for a range of different purposes thanks to its high power.
It has a 208cc engine that is capable of generating 3658 running watts in addition to 4608 starting watts when running on gasoline.
This is ideal for running all of your most important electronics. This number increases when you run the generator on propane.
The generator has a 3.96 gallon tank and this means that you could easily expect for it to run for up to 8 hours with gas and 9 hours on propane.
It’s somewhat heavy but moving it is still easy thanks to the wheels and the collapsible handle.
- Ideal for any purpose
- Electric start
- Doesn’t come with any outlets
Best Propane Generators Buying Guide
Why should you buy a propane generator instead of gasoline?
There are a number of reasons why investing in a propane generator is a smart move. For starters, if you aren’t near a gas station then you don’t need to worry, unlike with a diesel or gas fueled generator. You can usually buy propane from your local provider so long as it’s open.
Not only that but propane doesn’t decrease in quality as time passes. This means that you don’t need to rush to use the fuel by a particular time. You just need to have a decent storage tank, rather than getting stabilizers which could cost you a significant amount of money.
Oh, and did we mention the maintenance? No? Well that’s because it barely exists. The alternative fuel choices require you to clean out the exhaust and the engine, whereas with propane you don’t have this issue. They are so much easier to maintain and will take far less time.
Furthermore, when you use a diesel or a gasoline generator you need to be especially careful during the cold weather - not ideal if you run out of power during a winter storm. You don’t need to worry about this with a propane generator - the cold never bothered it anyway.
You may also get more bang for your buck with a propane generator. Propane can give you double the amount of energy per cubic meter that you would get with normal gas fuel.
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve seen the 5 best propane generators, you may be wondering how you can make your decision. After all, there’s so much selection available that you may not be sure how to make a choice for your unique needs and circumstances.
In this situation, knowledge is power, so here’s everything that you need to know about buying the best propane generators for your needs.
Output - Watts
The whole point of a generator is to give you power, so that you can run your electronics and appliances even if you don’t have access to your standard power grid for whatever reason.
With this in mind, the key consideration that you need to make when it comes to buying a propane generator is the power output that it can offer you.
It’s essential that you consider whether it’s possible for the generator to give you the power that you need in order to run your accessories and appliances successfully.
So how exactly do you know how much power you need?
The first thing to do is have a look at the amount of power that you are going to need to power the largest appliance you own. This could be something like a refrigerator, for instance. Then, you need to get a generator that can give you a minimum of that amount of power.
Of course, it’s certainly much better to invest in a generator that can give you even more power than this, just to ensure that there are no problems and to make sure that it’s possible to use all of your electronics at once if need be.
But wait! That’s not all you need to think about. Let us introduce you to the spanner in the works - running and starting watts.
In short, starting watts are the amount of power that you need in order to get the appliance to start running if it has a motor. Running watts, on the other hand, are the amount of power that you need to keep the appliance running on a continuous basis.
It goes without saying that starting watts are generally much higher than running watts so it’s critical to ensure that your generator is capable of dealing with this. It’s even more important if you plan on running a number of different appliances at one time.
Amount of Noise
Picture this - you’re on your RV park, powering up your portable WiFi and your TV.
Life is good and you’re watching the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show, or rewatching Friends for the millionth time.
Then it happens.
You hear banging on the door to your RV, and you answer it to find your neighbor on the RV park screaming at you because your generator makes as much noise as an elephant stampede. If you wanted to damage your reputation, this is how you do it.
You can avoid this problem entirely with a little bit of thinking - no, not all generators are excruciatingly noisy. You need to think about the noise level, as there are some places that will have rules and restrictions about how much noise you can make.
If you plan on staying in the same location when you are using your generator, you should check what restrictions exist and then ensure that the generator that you buy is much lower in noise than this.
You will find that the vast majority of inverter generators will make around 60dB of noise which is barely anything. It’s even quieter than your gran who feels the need to shout in every conversation. Older propane generators can sometimes make a lot more noise than this, to the point that it hurts your ears.
It’s worth noting that something that’s around 80dB will be ten times louder than something that’s 70dB which can make a huge difference. So, ensure that you make a choice based on your needs, or you’ll be kicked off your RV park quicker than you can say ‘my generator is really loud.’
Sure, this guide is about purely propane generators, but it is worth noting that there are generators out there that can run on gas and on propane which is pretty handy if you happen to run out of one fuel source and you can’t access one type of fuel on short notice locally.
If you happen to invest in one of these generators, also known as an inverter generator, you will need to make sure that it’s easy to switch between the two options. You can often find generators that allow you to switch between two fuel types just with the simple push of a button.
This is incredibly handy as it means that the power won’t get interrupted when you are using the generator. It is important if you are using an inverter generator that both of the fuel types are totally filled and ready to use beforehand. It’s not going to work the way that you want it to otherwise.
The chances are that you aren’t going to have your generator out in one place all the time, in which case you need to put some thought into how portable the generator is. You also need to think about how much it weighs.
For starters, getting an exceptionally heavy generator means that it will be cumbersome and difficult to move from one place to another. This is a little problematic if you’re alone and out of power as you will have nobody to help you.
In addition to this, being able to move your appliance around easily means that you can power up different electronics when you need to. Running back and forth from the generator can get a little tiring after a while so this will prevent you from doing that.
Thankfully the vast majority of propane generators that are released onto the market now are designed to be more lightweight and portable than ever before. They still may weigh a little bit but moving them around shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Some of them even come with wheels and with telescoping handles to make moving them around on the ground even easier so you don’t need to lift them at all.
Generators can cost a lot of money, so you want to make sure that you are protected in the event that anything ends up going wrong. This means making sure that the manufacturer provides excellent customer service and great warranties.
If anything goes wrong, it’s important to ensure that your manufacturer can be easily reached over the telephone or online, and you will also want to make sure that the customer service can solve any problems that arise.
As far as warranties are concerned, you should ensure that you are covered for a certain amount of time and that it covers key parts. Read the warranty agreement before making your purchase.
As with any electrical product, safety is one of the top priorities. You should keep an eye out for good safety precautions. For instance, look for generators that come with a low oil alert, or an option that has automatic shutoff.
This is important because you could really damage your generator if you keep it running when it’s out of fuel, and this could even cause a fire if you’re not careful.
In addition to this you should look for a generator with surge prevention as this will help to ensure that all of your electronics are well protected when they are hooked up to the generator.
If you want to prioritize any feature other than the power, then the safety of the product should be the first thing that you think about.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you safely operate a propane generator?
Before you operate your generator, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the safety precautions and instructions.
First of all, make sure that you are running the generator in a location that is well ventilated as toxic gas emissions can come out with the fumes. It’s also important that you keep the propane tank far away from any flames or heat.
The last thing to consider is whether the propane hose has any leaks, as you could cause an explosion or fire if the hose is leaking.
What are the disadvantages of getting a propane generator?
While propane generators are certainly very beneficial, they are not without their own challenges. For instance, it can be a little bit harder to find propane on occasion.
It’s not as easy to access as the other two fuel types and buying tanks can cost quite a bit of money. You may have to drive for quite some time to get your own gas tank.
Not only that, but propane generators generally don’t tend to last as long. If you’re looking for a generator with the longevity factor then diesel is the best choice so long as you keep it well maintained.
The chances are that you would need to buy a new propane generator much sooner than you would replace an electric or gasoline option.
Otherwise, propane is a solid option for anyone looking to buy their own generator.
So those were the 5 best propane generators on the market. If you’re looking for a reliable generator, look no further than these options.
Of course, you should make sure that you thoroughly assess the various options to ensure that they fit your needs before you hit that buy button!