If you’re running a food truck business, then you’ll be fully aware of the need for electricity. After all, you’ll need plenty of appliances running in order to offer up your food.
However, since you’re in a vehicle, there aren’t any electrical outlets to plug them into since. So what can you do? The answer is generators.
Food trucks have been using generators for ages, because they offer them a source of mobile power. However, there are countless different generators available, yet not all of them will be suitable for a food truck.
That’s where we come in! In our handy guide below, we’re going to give you a detailed breakdown of the best generators for food trucks.
With each one, we’re going to explain what it can offer you and your food truck, as well as look at the pros and cons for picking each of them.
By the end, you should be able to make a more informed decision on the next generator for your food truck and get your business running at full power. Read on!
Best Generators For Food Trucks
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
For our number one spot, we would recommend this powerful and efficient mobile inverter generator from Honda. They are available to buy from Amazon.
You’ll know the name Honda from their famous work in the automobile industry, but they also make incredibly successful generators.
One of the reasons for this model’s success is that it’s very fuel efficient.
Due to Honda’s own Eco-Throttle System, the generator can run between 6.4 and 16 hours on just a single tank (5.1 gallons) of fuel, varying due to the load.
Better yet, the generator has an “Oil Alert” that shuts the engine down when it’s approaching low oil to protect the generator.
However, there is also a clear and understandable fuel gauge to tell you the fuel status at any time, so it should rarely get to that point.
Additionally, the generator has electronic fuel injection in order to make your fuel go further.
This makes it use the fuel more efficiently, lessens the chances of carburetor problems that are caused by fuel, and even eliminates engine choke.
With all these in place, the generator should have a long, hard-working life.
You can use the generator to power units that have a large wattage requirement, thanks to the voltage selector.
You can choose to either use both 120 volts and 240 volts, or just use the 120 on its own. For extra power, you can even connect two EU7000iS generators together, due to a parallel kit.
With the power of two, you can potentially get up 14000 watts going, which should be more than enough power for your food truck. Movability is also key to the Honda EU7000iS.
For one thing, it has handles that fold easily, allowing you to use them when you need to move it, but also have them out of the way for compact storage purposes.
On top of that, its wheels allow it to be transported around easily. Movement is key when you’re running a portable business like a food truck, because you will regularly need to relocate the generator.
Finally, you might be worrying that with all its power, the generator is going to be extremely noisy. This isn’t the case.
The EU7000iS works between 52 and 58 dB(A), which is so low that it should be quieter than people talking.
A noisy and overwhelming generator can keep people away from a food truck, but this will keep the customers flowing.
- Potential 16 hour running time
- Easy to move
- Extremely quiet – only up to 58dB(A)
- 7000 watt
- 3 year warranty
- Extremely expensive
When it comes to getting a portable generator, power is going to be a very important factor. The XP12000EH from DuroMax is our pick for the most powerful generator for your food truck.
You can buy one from Amazon. Let’s begin by looking at the power: you get 12,000 starting watts, and then 9,500 watts when the generator is running.
This is a much higher wattage than other generators, and it will allow you to power everything you could need.
Lighting, fans, even a refrigerator – whatever your food truck has, this generator should be able to run it.
This enormous amount of power is aided by DuroMax’s own MX2 technology, which allows their generators to get the very most from each of the 120 volt receptacles.
You can use the voltage selector to operate both 120 volts and 240 volts at the same time, or just run the 120 volts at full power.
With this level of choice, you can cater the generator to your food truck’s current power needs. The generator uses dual fuel technology, too.
Specifically, this means that you can fuel the generator on either gasoline or propane. With the choice to use either, you can pick which one is best for you and your food truck at any time.
On top of that, the generator will automatically detect when it is running low on oil. When it sees this, it will shut itself down, protecting the generator.
This is a very useful tool that will keep the generator in healthy running condition, meaning that you won’t have to shell out the money for a new one.
Finally, the generator has a noise level of 74dB. It would be nice if it was quieter.
74dB isn’t as loud as something like a motorbike, but noises over 70dB can damage hearing if they’re continuous near you for a prolonged period of time – so be careful.
- Extremely powerful
- Can use either gasoline or propane
- Choose your voltage use
- Decently priced for such a high wattage
- 3 year warranty
- Noisy at 74dB
- Wheels can go flat
- It’s a heavy unit
Most people will be conscious of the price tag on these generators. Given that our top pick is extremely expensive, this is especially understandable.
Thankfully, there are plenty of good value generators for your food truck, which offer good quality for an affordable cost.
Our pick for the best value generator is the Wen 56475. You can buy one from Amazon.
While a lot of mobile generators will often cost around $1000 or more, you can typically get this for under half that, making it extremely good value.
As a result of the affordable price, you can expect that the generator isn’t going to be the most powerful one on the market.
However, that isn’t to say that it offers poor wattage, because it doesn’t. From a 223c engine, this generator will give you 4,750 starting wattage, while the running wattage is 3,750.
For those that don’t know, the “running wattage” refers to the electricity that would be needed to run all of your appliances continually.
On the other hand, “starting wattage” refers to the additional electricity that is needed for around 3 seconds in order to start typical electric motors (motors in common appliances, such as refrigerators).
Though the wattages may not be as high as other generators, they should be enough to run lighting, refrigerators, and even a TV with ease.
You may not have a TV in your food truck, but it’s a good example to show how much you can run by comparison! Anything less will be easy.
The generator has a 4 gallon tank. When this is fully filled up with gas, the generator should be able to give you up to 10 hours of power – when running at half load.
This is a respectable runtime and should be enough for a day’s shift with your food truck.
On top of that, the generator has a low-oil shutdown mode, where the machine will recognize when it is running low on fuel and will automatically turn itself off. This helps the generator to avoid damage.
- Great value at a low price
- Respectable wattage
- Up to 10 hours of power at half load
- Easy to move around
- Other generators offer higher wattage power, but they are more expensive
Now that we’ve looked at specific pick categories, it’s time to look at a couple more generators that are just solidly good choices.
The Westinghouse iGen4500DF is a very popular mobile generator and comes at a decent price that is justified by the quality. You can buy one on Amazon.
When it comes to power, this generator has peak wattage of 4500, while its Rated Watts is 3700.
You might notice that this is actually less powerful than the previous generator we looked at, which was around half the price. Why does this still earn its place on our list, then?
Well, it’s because of its efficiency and features. From its 3.4 gallon gas tank, it can give you a running time of up to 18 hours.
This is much longer than the previous generator, despite being only slightly less powerful, which is impressive.
This should be more than enough for a day of running your food truck, and then some. Not having to refuel will allow you to focus more on the business.
On top of that, the generator has a special economical mode that allows it to run on maximum fuel efficiency, making use of every bit of fuel you’ve put into it.
Better yet, you can choose what fuel you use. The generator takes either propane or gas to power it.
The fact that you can choose which you use allows you to pick the one that works best for you, while still leaving the room to change things up down the line.
Finally, the generator is extremely quiet. Its lowest noise level is about 52dB(A), which is a moderate amount of noise and shouldn’t damage any hearing.
Strictly speaking, this will be quieter than a typical conversation, so customers will not be annoyed by the noise at all.
- Impressive runtime of up to 18 hours
- Respectable wattage
- You can choose between gas or propane
- Fuel efficient
- Decently priced, but there are admittedly cheaper generators that offer higher wattage
This is another fine choice for your food truck’s generator, though it’s one of the slightly more expensive ones. However, as we’ll explain, it has plenty of benefits. You can buy one on Amazon.
The generator offers a starting wattage of 4500, while it has 3700 running watts.
These are the same specifications as the Westinghouse iGen4500DF, and this level of power should be enough to keep your food truck’s appliances comfortably running while you work out of it.
On top of that, the generator has a run time that goes up to 16 hours. However, this is when it’s at a quarter load.
With that being said, it should still give you enough power to run your food truck’s appliances for a working day.
You can track the fuel level, run time, and many other details with the generator’s easy to understand display panel.
From there, you can see how long it has been running and what level of fuel it’s on, giving you an idea of when it might run out and need to be refueled or turned off.
The generator also has automatic shutdown technology for when it detects harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
This is a very handy tool, because carbon dioxide would be dangerous to you and your customers, so it’s important that the generator shuts down when it detects carbon dioxide.
However, the CO sensor hasn’t worked for some customers. As for its noise level, the generator runs at just 61dB.
This is by no means the quietest of the models we’ve looked at, but it is a respectable level and shouldn’t annoy people or damage hearing.
- Run time of up to 16 hours – but at quarter load
- Respectable wattage
- Carbon monoxide detection shutdown
- Modest amount of noise
- Quite expensive, considering that cheaper generators offer similar output
- Carbon monoxide sensor doesn’t work for some customers
Best Generators For Food Trucks Buying Guide
Now that we’ve looked at a range of the best generators for food trucks, it’s worth looking at the sorts of factors and specifications that you should try and look for in the generator that you end up buying.
You will have noticed that some of these factors appeared in many of the product breakdowns.
Your Voltage Requirements
When buying a generator for your food truck, it’s important to think about the voltage that is needed for your appliances.
Most generators will offer a standard 120 volt 20 Amp receptacle, but others have been known to offer other Amp amounts.
A few of the generators in our “Best Of” list allowed users to use both 120 volts and 240 volts at the same time, or just the 120v at full power.
It’s very important to think about a generator’s noise levels, too. This is for three reasons, the first being that a generator that is too loud can damage the hearing of both you and your customers.
Noise that is above 70dB can damage hearing if it’s endured for a prolonged amount of time. As a result, you will want to avoid generators that exceed that.
Secondly, a noisy generator will simply irritate your customers, which could keep them away from the food truck.
Finally, locations will often have sound restrictions put in place. If the place you’re catering from has a sound limit, you will want to have a low volume generator so that you can continue to do business there.
Some generators allow you to choose the type of fuel, often allowing either propane or gas.
This lets you pick whichever is best for you, which is helpful because it means you can stick to the cheapest, easiest to source, and most economical fuel choice for you.
Similarly, you will want a generator that is fuel efficient. Fuel can cost a lot of money, and you want a generator that gets the most power out of its gallons.
Finally, you will want a generator that is easy to move. Generators that have handles and aren’t overly-heavy will make moving from location to location much easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Wattage Range Is Best For A Food Truck Generator?
Generally speaking, a food truck will need at least 3000 watts in order to run the most essential basic bits of equipment: blenders, refrigerators, microwaves, etc.
However, it’s always a good idea to have a higher wattage if you can. A generator offering between 4000 and 7000 watts is helpful, because it will help you run multiple appliances more easily.
If you run a food truck, then you’ll want a generator that can power your appliances for enough time. For buying inspiration, use our guide to the best generators for food trucks!