As a household or business owner, you sometimes have to use appliances in off grid settings or during power outages. In your home, for example, you want to cook food, light your rooms, and heat your house, which can be a challenge if the grid is down. There are many situations which will have you looking for the best dual fuel generator you can buy...
Best Dual Fuel Generator: Our Top 3 Picks:
A generator is a highly technical product, and each model has unique features and specifications. As a result, choosing one that is suitable for your needs can be a challenge. This article provides an in-depth review of our top 10 generators to help you make an informed decision.
These reviews focus primarily on a generator's performance and runtime on gasoline and propane, respectively. We also discuss each unit's starting method, advantages, and features like total harmonic disruption, weight, AC and DC outlets, and noise ratings.
You can operate this model straight out of the box and quickly switch fuels with the fuel selector dial. On gasoline, the 192cc engine has an output of 3,400 starting watts and 3,100 running wats. The engine will also run for 7.5 hours at a 25% load.
If you use a 20-pound propane tank, the engine produces 3,060 starting watts and 3,100 running watts. On a 25% load, the engine will run for 14.5 hours.
Because the inverter produces clean power with a total harmonic distortion (THD) of less than 3%, you can use this generator to power your sensitive electronics. The generator’s outlets include a 120-volt 30A RV outlet, two 120-volt 20A household outlets, and a 12-volt DC automotive outlet with a dual USB adapter.
Like most other generators, this unit features a recoil starter that works with a pull cable. The Champion 3400-Watt generator also features an electric start system with a battery and Cold Start Technology. The latter ensures an effortless start, even in cold weather.
This model has a noise level of only 59 dBA at a distance of 23 feet, which is the same level of background music or a normal conversation. The quiet operation makes this generator ideal for camping applications or household use in sensitive neighborhoods.
The noise level depends on the load that the generator is running — the higher the charge, the louder the engine. The noise level is at its lowest when you run a quarter load while using Economy mode.
- 3-year limited warranty with lifetime technical support
- Easy to start in cold weather with electric starter
- High power output and suitable for various applications
- Handle, and wheels make the unit portable
- Clean power output for use with sensitive electronics
- Relatively heavy at 100 lbs
- No remote starting system
The Champion 3400-Watt duel fuel generator offers a decent amount of power but operates quietly. This model is user-friendly, reliable, and provide you with all the features you need for private power generation.
2. Westinghouse iGen4500DF Dual Fuel Inverter Generator - 3700 Rated Watts & 4500 Peak Watts - Gas &Propane Powered - Electric Start - CARB Compliant
The Westinghouse iGen4500DF features dual-fuel technology with an output of 120 volts. If you power this generator with gasoline, it produces a running wattage of 3,700 watts and a peak wattage of 4,500 watts. If you use propane as fuel, the generator produces 3,330 rated watts and 4,050 starting wattage.
The iGen4500DF has a fuel capacity of 3.4 gallons and can run for up to 18 hours on a full tank of gasoline. The engine has a gasoline consumption rate of 0.19 gallons per hour. If you power the generator with propane, it can run for up to 14 hours on a 20-lbs tank, as the unit has a propane consumption rate of 0.34 gallons per hour.
You can use this generator to power your sensitive electronics, as it produces a clean sine wave with a total harmonic disruption (THD) of less than 3%. The generator also features AC outlets that include a duplex 120V 20-A (5-20R) and one 120V 30A (TT-30R) receptacle. The two DC outlets are 5V USB ports that you can use to charge devices like phones or tablets.
The iGen4500DF is portable, which is a valuable feature for people who like to use it at different locations. The unit has an L24.5” x W17.5” x H20.5” encased design and weighs 98 lbs. The 5.5” wheel kit allows you to move the unit once it is on the ground effortlessly.
With the illuminated data center, you can monitor the iGen4500DF’s performance and status. This data center provides information on, among other things, the unit’s power output, voltage, fuel level, remaining run time, and lifetime run hours.
- Electric- and remote starting system
- 3-year limited warranty with lifetime technical support
- Relatively low 52 dBA noise output for its power
- RV ready with a clean power output
- Illuminated data display provides performance-related information
- Fuel efficiency is relatively low
- Heavy for a unit of this size
The Westinghouse iGen4500DF is a compact inverter generator that is ideal as a backup power source for households. The output of this model is also suitable for RV users and camping applications.
3. Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Generator-9500 Rated 12500 Peak Watts-Gas or Propane Powered-Electric Start Portable Generator, Blue
The Westinghouse WGen9500DF is a portable, yet powerful generator that is suitable for household settings as well as for specific commercial and industrial uses. This generator delivers an output of 120/240V and, on gasoline, a running and starting wattage of 9,500 watts and 12,500 watts, respectively.
If you run the 457cc Westinghouse OHV 4-stroke engine on propane, it will produce 8,500 rated watts and 11,200 starting watts, and it can run for up to 11 hours on a 20 lbs tank. On gas, the WGen9500DF has a running time of up to 17.5 hours.
The WGen9500DF offers three starting types, namely electric start, remote, and conventional recoil pull start. These starting types allow you to get the engine running, even if you don't have the battery or key fob, which are both included with your purchase.
If you are looking for a generator that can power sensitive electronics, this generator may not be ideal, as it has a relatively high THD of less than 23%. However, the high THD is the result of the generator’s high-power output. You will be able to power devices like a grinder, demolition hammer, and radiant heater without any problems.
This generator’s control panel provides a total of six AC outlets, namely two duplex 120V 20A 5-20R GFCI outlets, one 120/240V 30A L14-30R receptacle, and one 120/240V 50A 14-50R receptacle. The two DC outlets are 5V USB ports that you can use to power or charge devices like phones or tablets.
The dimensions of the Westinghouse generator are L27.2” x W26.5” x H26,” and it has a durable and stable open-frame design. The generator also features a 10-inch wheel kit and a folding handle to make it more portable. The unit weighs 202 lbs, however, which makes it difficult for some people to move alone.
- 3-year limited warranty and EPA and CARB compliant
- Powerful 9,500-watt engine
- A long-running time of 17.5 hours on gas
- Offers remote-, recoil-, and electric start
- Durable, long-lasting construction
- High total harmonic disruption of <23%
- Heavy with a weight of 202 lbs.
- High noise level of 73 dBA
The Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Generator has high-power delivery and is ideal for events and off-grid construction projects.
4. Duromax XP4850EH 3850 Running Watts/4850 Starting Watts Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator
The DuroMax XP4850EH is a dual fuel generator for households, RV travelers, and business owners who want to keep delivering during power cuts. Starting the generator is easy as it features a conventional pull-start recoil system as well as an electric start. The battery is included with the purchase.
This 120/240V generator delivers a running wattage of 3,850 watts and a peak wattage of 4,850 watts on gasoline. On propane, the rated watts and peak watts are 3,658 watts and 4,608 watts, respectively. The fuel tank has a capacity of 4 gallons, and the engine will run on gasoline for 10.42 hours and 8.92 hours on propane. These running times are at a 50% load.
There is a total of three AC outlets, including one duplex 120V 20A 5-20R GFCO outlet, and one 120/240V 30A L14-30R receptacle. The DC outlet is a 12V 8A output that you can use to charge batteries. The generator has a THD of <12%, which is relatively high and can damage sensitive electronics.
You can use this generator in camping and RVs settings and close to residential buildings, but it is on the noisy side with a has a noise rating of 69 dBA.
The DuroMax XP4850EH has an open frame with dimensions of L24” x W17” x H17” and is portable with a wheel kit and foldable handle. The unit is quite heavy at 125 lbs, which can limit portability somewhat.
A control center allows you to monitor the unit’s performance and status at all times. The control panel gauges include a voltmeter that shows the generator’s power output and a fuel gauge. The control panel also features a light indicator that shows you when the oil levels are too low.
- 1-year parts warranty, EPA and CARB-compliant
- Excellent value for money
- Suitable as a backup power source for households and businesses
- Durable open-frame construction with wheel kit and handle
- Electric and recoil start
- THD is too high for use with sensitive electronics
- Relatively heavy at a weight of 125 lbs
The DuroMax XP4850EH is one of the most affordable units in its power category. Despite the low price tag, the generator is as reliable and durable as its higher-priced counterparts.
5. Sportsman GEN4000DF, 3500 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts, Dual Fuel Powered Portable Generator
The Sportsman GEN4000DF is a compact generator that is a low-priced option for home- and RV owners who need a backup power supply for essential devices. This unit features dual-fuel technology and delivers an output of 120V.
If you are using gasoline, the generator will deliver 3,500 rated watts and 4,000 starting watts. When you use propane, the 212cc OHV 4-stroke engine gives 3,100 rated watts and 3,600 starting watts. The running time at a 50% load is 10 hours on gasoline and 12 hours on propane.
The control panel features five AC outlets, which is a lot for a unit of this size. These outlets include two duplex 120V 20A 5-20A outlets and one 120V 30A TT-30R receptacle. The DC outlet is a 12V 8A receptacle that you can use for charging your devices’ batteries. Because the control panel features a TT-30R receptacle, it has an RV-ready classification.
The Sportsman GEN4000DF’s dimensions are L24.5” x W17” x H16.5,” and the unit features an open frame. The GEN4000DF weighs only 90 lbs and is one of the more portable units in this review guide.
A voltmeter allows you to monitor the generator’s power output at all times. The unit also features an automatic low-oil shut-off as well as a circuit breaker to prevent damage.
With a noise level of 69 dBA, this generator is quite loud, but you will be able to use it for camping and household power applications. Another drawback of this unit is that it only features a recoil start and no electric start.
- 1-year limited warranty
- Affordable price considering the power output
- RV-ready with five AC outlets
- Portable, compact unit that only weighs 90 lbs
- Suitable for a wide range of private power applications
- Doesn’t feature an electric start system
- Runs loudly at 69 dBA
- Relatively short running time
The Sportsman GEN4000DF is a reliable, albeit basic, generator for camping, home use, and basic commercial applications. This unit is ideal for someone who has a limited budget but doesn’t want to forgo quality and durability.
The Champion 8000-Watt delivers a voltage output of 120/240V. The 8,000 watts in the name refers to the running wattage it produces on gasoline. The starting wattage on gas is 10,000 watts. If you use propane, you can expect a rated- and starting wattage of 7,290 watts and 9,025 watts, respectively.
This model has a fuel capacity of 6 gallons and can run for up to 8 hours at 50% load on gasoline. If you use propane, the unit has a running time of up to 5 hours at 50% load when using a 20-pound propane tank.
The Champion 8000-Watt operates at a noise rating of 74 dBA, which is slightly higher than the noise level of a vacuum cleaner. The unit features a conventional recoil pull-start as well as an electric start that is easy to use. The Cold Start technology allows you to start the 459cc Champion engine effortlessly, even in freezing temperatures.
Another notable feature of this generator is its THD rating between 12% and 20%, depending on the load. This rating allows you to safely power devices like TV’s, computers, and kitchen appliances. If you want to power sensitive devices like a UPS-style battery backup, high-efficiency furnace control board, or pellet stove, however, you need a generator with a THD lower than 5%.
The control panel features a total of 6 AC outlets, namely two duplex 120V 20A (5-20R) GFCI, one 120/240V 30A (L14-30R) receptacle, and one 120V 30A (L5-30R) receptacle. These outlets are not RV-ready, but the L5-30P is compatible with a TT-30R adaptor.
This generator’s dimensions are L27.8” x W28.7” x H26”, and it features an open-frame, 9.5” wheel kit, and foldable handle. Because the unit weighs a hefty 209.4 lbs, it is not the most portable.
- 3-year limited warranty
- Features electric start with Cold Start technology
- High-quality and reliable dual fuel generator
- Suitable for a wide range of power applications
- No remote start
- Relatively low run time
The Champion 8000-Watt is a high-performing and durable dual fuel generator with professional features and a wide application range.
The DuroMax XP12000EH is a dual fuel generator for large households and businesses. This generator has an output of 120/240V. If you use gas, the generator produces 9,500 running watts and 12,000 peak watts. On propane, this model produces 8,075 rated watts and 10,200 starting watts.
At a 50% load, the 457cc DuroMax OHV 4-stroke engine has a run time of 9 hours on gas and 4 hours on propane. The unit features a traditional recoil pull-start as well as a convenient electric start. When it is running, the generator has a rated noise of 72 dBA, which may be too loud for quiet camping settings.
The XP12000EH has a relatively high THD of <12% and may not be suitable to power sensitive electronics like pellet stoves. You can, however, use it to power a computer, television, or your kitchen appliances.
There are five AC outlets on the XP12000EH’s control panel, including a Duplex 120V 20A (5-20R) GFCI, a 120/240V 50A (14-50R) receptacle, a 120V 30A (L5-30R) receptacle, and a 120/240V 30A (L14-30R) receptacle. The control panel also has one 12V 8A DC outlet that you can use to charge your batteries.
The XP12000EH's dimensions are L40" x W29" x H27.5", and it has a portable design with an open-frame design, a wheel kit, and a folding handle. The unit's weight of 260 lbs restricts its portability significantly and makes it difficult for one person to move.
The control panel features a voltmeter for power output monitoring, a low oil level light indicator, and a built-in fuel gauge. The generator also has an overload circuit breaker and automatic low oil shut-off to protect it against friction damage.
- 3-year factory warranty, EPA and CARB-approved
- Affordable price for a high power output
- Conventional recoil pull-start as well as electric start
- 5 AC outlets and one DC outlet
- No remote start
- Low fuel efficiency and short run time
The DuroMax XP12000EH is a powerful dual fuel generator and suitable for several applications. You can use it in your business or household, and you can use it to provide your RV with power.
8. Westinghouse WGen3600DF Dual Fuel (Gas and Propane) Electric Start Portable Generator - 3600 Rated Watts & 4650 Peak Watts
The Westinghouse WGen3600DF has a specific design for RV traveling and backup power delivery for cooking, heating, and lighting. This unit produces an output of 120V, and the generator's running and peak wattage on gasoline is 3,600 watts and 4,650 watts, respectively.
On propane, the generator provides 3,240 rated watts and 4,180 starting watts. The unit has a 4-gallon fuel capacity. The 212cc Westinghouse OHV 4-stroke engine’s running time on gas is 18 hours, and the running time on propane can be as long as 20 hours at 25% load.
The WGen3600DF has a noise rating of 69 dBA, which may limit its application range. The unit uses a conventional recoil pull-start system, but it also has an easy-to-use electric start with a battery included. You can even start this generator remotely, which is adds to the convenience of using this generator.
One drawback of this unit is that it has a relatively high THD of less than 23%. As a result, it can damage sensitive electronics. However, the control panel is RV-ready with a 120V 30A TT-30R receptacle. Other AC outlets include one duplex 120V 20A5-20R and one 120V 30A L5-30R receptacle.
This unit has an open-frame design with the following dimensions: L24” x W23” x H21.5”. The design features an 8” wheel kit and a folding handle, and it weighs 109 lbs so that you can roll it along the ground. It may be too heavy for some people to lift and transport it alone, however.
The WGen3600DF control panel features a built-in fuel gauge, overload protection, and automatic low oil shut-off. Accessories you receive with your purchase include oil, a funnel, a key fob for remote starting, a propane hose, a tool kit, and a battery charger.
- 3-year warranty, EPA, CSA, and CARB compliant
- Several high-value accessories included
- Remote and electric start function
- Compact, portable design
- THD is too high for sensitive electronics
- No data center
- Noise rating may be too high for some settings
The Westinghouse WGen3600DF has a reasonable price for a generator in the 3,500W to 4,000W price range. This unit is also fuel-efficient and offers excellent value for money.
The Firman Power Dual Fuel Generator is capable of running appliances up to 7,500 Watts, with a starting power of 9,400 Watts when gas-powered, or 8,450 Watts Starting and 6,750 Watts running power when fueled by LPG.
This robust and durable dual fuel generator is quieter and more efficient than many rivals thanks to the Whisper Series muffler. It offers a 12-hour run time on an 8-gallon tank, and it is easy to move around thanks to the heavy-duty tires and the padded handle. The roll cage frame will protect the generator for long-term use.
This generator is ideal for use as a power source for campers and caravaners, and it can also be handy for emergency use at home or at a small workshop. Be aware that it is a fuel generator, and therefore needs good ventilation when in use.
- 12 hours of run time on an 8-gallon tank
- 10" never-flat wheels
- Multiple outlets for different appliance types
- Cool and efficient
- Whisper Series muffler for quiet operation
- Portable and easy to move thanks to the padded U-shaped handle
- Robust roll cage
- Runs on Propane or LPG
- Volt Lock Automatic Voltage Regulator
- Comes with spark plug wrench, cover, standard wrenches, oil and an oil funnel
- Fuel generator so must be used outdoors
- Lower output when relying on LPG
- The battery will only stay charged if the unit is used regularly
This is a low-cost dual fuel generator with a surprisingly good output for the size. The muffler reduces the noise output, and the dual-fuel option makes this useful for a range of applications.
The generator itself is durable and easy to use, however, to ensure the battery retains its charge users must either run the generator at least once a fortnight or keep it connected to a trickle charger. This is frustrating for those who want to have a generator that they can use for emergencies only.
If you are on a budget and want something that is beefy enough to power your refrigerator, freezer, lights, and oven in an emergency then this is a good choice. It is more than up to the job of keeping an average household going during a power outage and can even support the odd extra such as the coffee maker or toaster too.
This handy portable generator is a good choice for both domestic use and for use while on the road.
10. Pulsar 12,000W Dual Fuel Portable Generator with Electric Start and Switch & Go Technology, CARB Approved PG12000B
The Pulsar PG1200B dual fuel generator is a high-performing backup power source to keep appliances running in the event of a power outage. On gasoline, this unit delivers an impressive 12,000 peak watts and 9,500 rated watts. On propane, the generator’s 457cc, OHV engine produces 10,800 peak watts and 8,550 rated watts.
At a 50% load, this generator can run for up to 12 hours on 8 gallons of gasoline and up to 11 hours on propane, providing power for prolonged events, projects, or blackouts without the need for a refill.
In addition to a conventional recoil pull-start system, this unit also features an electric start that is reliable and easy to use – even in cold weather.
The PG1200B’s control panel features four 120-volt outlets, namely one 120/240V twist-lock outlet, one 120/240V 50A RV-outlet, and one 12V DC output. This panel also features a 3-in-1 digital meter so you can monitor the generator’s performance at all times.
The dimensions of the PG1200B are W28.5” x L22.2” x H21.8”, and it weighs 209 lbs, which is too heavy for one person to lift and transport alone. The open-frame design features a wheel-set with 10” never-flat tires and convenient drop-down handles so you can roll it on the ground.
Additional features of the PG1200B include an overload circuit protection to keep your unit and appliances safe from power spikes as well as an hour meter that indicates the duration of use. The unit has a noise rating of 74 dBA, which may be too loud for specific settings.
If you want to switch between gasoline and propane, you can use the easy-to-use fuel switch, which allows for a seamless transition between fuel types.
- 3-year warranty
- CARB Compliant
- High power delivery at a reasonable price
- Recoil- and electric start
- Switch & Go technology to switch between fuel types
- High noise rating
- Heavy, makes maneuvering difficult
There is a lot to love about the Pulsar PG1200B, with the most prominent advantages being the high power production, durability, and high-quality components.
What Are The Advantages Of Dual Fuel Generators?
Why should you be interested in purchasing a dual fuel generator when you can buy a single fuel generator for less money? After all, gasoline seems readily available and works perfectly fine when it comes to generating electricity. You might be surprised to learn that there are quite a few benefits to using a dual fuel generator. Here are five key benefits of using a dual-fuel generator.
The most obvious benefit is the versatility to choose between the type of fuel that you want to use or that is available. It's the same reason why a vehicle that can take diesel or gasoline has a slight advantage over a gas-only vehicle. What happens when that gas is no longer available? How often does our country experience gas scares or shortages? If, for whatever reason, you cannot get access to gasoline you are going to be in big trouble if your car only takes gas. The same goes for your generator.
Of course, this also works in reverse for those that might typically only use propane. Propane can be more difficult to locate in some towns. Having a generator that relies entirely on propane will mean that you cannot enjoy the luxury of electricity when there is no propane. It's a very simple concept, yet it's completely overlooked by those who invest in single-fuel generators.
- Effectiveness vs Economical Impact
Gasoline and propane are very different substances and are not equal in terms of efficiency or effectiveness. Gasoline is more effective than propane when it comes to generating electricity. Its effectiveness can be measured in BTUs per gallon. Thus, if you are interested primarily in energy efficiency, such as during a prolonged power outage, then using gasoline would be the best option.
However, while propane is not as effective as gasoline, it burns much cleaner and its impact on the environment is much smaller. Those who are willing to sacrifice a few BTUs will reduce their carbon footprint and still enjoy the electricity they are accustomed to. This is ideal when you are camping or know that you will have access to more propane when needed.
By using a dual-fuel generator you are given the option between these two settings. You can choose to increase efficiency with gasoline or lower your economic impact by using propane. It's a choice that you won't have if you're using a single-fuel generator.
A generator is a hard-working machine that's designed to last a long time. They are usually designed with ruggedness in mind so that they can withstand harsh weather and other challenge environments. But one damaging element that can never fully protect against is the gasoline itself. Gasoline actually has a short shelf life and the longer its around the more damage it can do to a generator. Especially if it's on the inside.
This means that the high-efficiency high-risk nature of gasoline is best reserved for emergencies. Meanwhile, a secondary fuel source is more ideal for prolonged or more relaxed periods of use. You're only real options are to purchase two separate generators or a single dual-fuel generator. A simple decision for most.
There's also the durability of the fuel source itself that needs to be considered. Fuel is not immortal and different fuel sources have different lifespans. Traditional gasoline begins to undergo the phenomenon of phase separation after sitting for too long. The ethanol will actually separate itself from the gasoline and then sink. Once this happens, the fuel is essentially useless and can harm anything that uses it.
Experts recommend not using gasoline has sat for more than 3 months. Meanwhile, a tank of propane can have a lifespan of 12 years or more. Investing in a generator that can use both fuel sources means you'll always have a power supply even if one or the other has expired. It also means that if gasoline has gone bad inside of the generator tank you can still use the propane side.
- Working With The Weather
The temperature has an impact on the efficiency of a generator. In particular, it affects the propane itself. Cold weather conditions cause the volume of the liquid propane to shrink. This results in reduced pressure inside the tank. If temperatures are cold enough, this could have a negative effect on the generator. It may even cause the generator to stop working on the propane side.
Luckily, a dual-fuel generator can overcome this problem by allowing you to use gasoline instead. Gasoline doesn't face the same temperature problems as propane and is a more reliable source of energy during the coldest times of the year. And when summer rolls back around you can switch back to propane and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Peace Of Mind
The final major advantage is the peace of mind that comes from having options. Many people invest in generators as a form of survival or protection. They are meant to make them feel safe should they ever lose access to electricity. Investing in a dual fuel generator increases this feeling of safety because you aren't reliant on a single fuel source.
After all, you're already reliant on the electricity itself. Simply adding another step in the process doesn't exactly help. A dual fuel generator breaks the tradition of being reliant on a single fuel source. You can choose whichever fuel is available, whichever you like more, or whichever is cheapest. It's entirely up to you and there's no wrong answer.
What Size Generator Do I Need?
Understanding the major advantages of a dual fuel generator is a great first step. From there, it's time to start thinking about exactly which generator is right for you. Generators come in a wide variety of sizes and you must choose a generator that's big enough to supply the energy you need without being excessive. The size of the generator not only impacts its power output, but also its purchase price, maintenance requirements, and running time. These factors should be carefully considered before making a purchase.
- The Cost
The first thing most of us think about when we go to make a purchase is the cost. There's good news and bad news when it comes to dual fuel generators. The bad news is that a cheap generator is not worth the time. The good news is that a more expensive generator can last a very long time. This is especially true of dual fuel generators because you can use propane for prolonged uses to reduce the wear and tear on the appliance.
As it relates to the size of the generator, a larger size is going to equal more money. A larger generator can hold more fuel and produce more power, which also means it's going to cost more. The key is finding a generator that provides enough fuel to cover your needs without going too much larger and wasting money.
This is another simple factor that should be considered when choosing the appropriate size. A larger tank means the generator can run for a longer period. This can be very important if you're planning prolonged camping trips or you're planning for a survival situation where there will be long periods between fuel access. Obviously, a larger sized tank will be better in those situations although more expensive.
What if the generator is only used periodically and you're never too far from a fuel source? Then there's no need to invest in a larger, more expensive unit. Find a unit with a running time slightly above what you need.
Certain generators seem almost maintenance-free while others require oil changes, new spark plugs, and more on a regular basis. This is primarily determined by the fuel source. A diesel generator, for example, requires very little maintenance. A gasoline generator requires quite a lot. And, unfortunately, a dual-fuel generator tends to require the most.
You can have a small impact on the required maintenance by choosing a smaller unit. Small, portable units tend to require less maintenance. However, that maintenance can be more difficult than a larger unit because it's difficult to navigate between crowded components. At the end of the day, this shouldn't play a major role when it comes to choosing a size but should be considered nonetheless.
This relates primarily to the transportation of the generator. The obvious difference here is that a larger generator is going to be more difficult to transport and set-up at new locations. Smaller generators are much easier to fit in the trunk of the car and take down the road. A very large dual-fuel generator might not fit in a car at all, which means you'll need a truck or van just to get it around. That can become a problem if the generator is for emergency situations.
Carefully consider where this generator will be used before purchasing. Is it going to maintain a stationary position around the house? Then feel free to invest in the biggest, heaviest unit that they have. Is it going to fit in the car with the family and be used to charge cell phones while camping? Then a much smaller, portable option is ideal.
Which Is Better: Gas Or Propane?
Having an option between gas and propane is great, but how do you know which one you should use? We've already discussed some of the major differences between these two fuel sources. For the sake of clarity, let's review them so that you can make a more informed choice when choosing your next fuel.
Gasoline wins in the efficiency department. It's capable of creating greater amounts of energy with lesser volume. But you should not assume that this increased efficiency means that it is better for the environment. That brings up the second point:
- Environmental Impact
Propane is the clear victor when it comes to eco-friendliness. Propane is a very clean-burning fuel that has a much smaller impact on the environment than gasoline. This also applies to the various processes required to produce, store, and ship gasoline in most countries.
If you're purchasing a generator for a survival bunker or you want it on standby for a natural disaster, then you need to have fuel nearby and ready at all times. The shelf life of that fuel will determine how often it needs to be replaced. Gasoline should be stored for no more than 3 months. That means every three months you'll need to use or dispose of the gasoline and then purchase more.
A canister of propane can last between 12 and 17 years. This makes it a much more viable option for the scenarios listed above. It also means you'll spend less money replacing the unused fuel over the years.
Can A Dual Fuel Generator Run On Natural Gas?
In most cases, the answer is no. The average dual fuel generator is designed to run on gasoline and propane. Adding natural gas is slightly more difficult because of major differences in the fuel types and their operating temperatures. There are tri-fuel generators on the market that do allow for this. And you may actually be able to find a diesel/natural gas dual-fuel generator if you're willing to pay more.
Disadvantages Of Dual Fuel Generators
To be fair, we should cover any of the disadvantages of dual-fuel generators. The problem is that there's not much wrong with them. You could compare them to a single-fuel generator and say that they are more expensive, thus at a slight disadvantage. Or you could compare them to a tri-fuel generator and say they are lacking a third fuel source, thus at a disadvantage again. But these are minor disadvantages. On its own, a dual-fuel generator is a great tool to have.
When selecting the best dual fuel generator, power delivery is a crucial consideration. If a unit doesn’t produce sufficient wattage, it limits the number of appliances that you can power simultaneously.
Higher power delivery is not always better, however. You may be tempted to select a generator with a wattage rating that is higher than your needs. Still, these high-power units often lack the sophistication of smaller, high-quality units. These models also tend to have a higher price per watt.
If you need a high-quality dual fuel generator that can meet the average household’s backup power requirements, we recommend the Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel generator as our top pick.
This generator offers high-value features for the household and small business, including long-running times, a low noise rating, and a low total harmonic disruption for powering sensitive electronics. The control panel of this model also has sufficient outlets that include a USB outlet.
Another advantage of the Champion 3400-watt is its electric start system with integrated Cold Start technology. If you don’t want to struggle with a stubborn recoil pull-start in the icy cold, this unit is worth considering.
If you need an industrial power delivery, consider the DuroMax XP12000EH or the Westinghouse WGen9500DF. These units may not have the clean power sophistication of the Champion 3400-Watt, but they are rugged and reliable. These dual fuel generators can also power several pieces of equipment at once.
Our #1 Recommended Dual Fuel Generator is…
When it comes to versatility the Champion 3400-Watt Portable Generator gets our vote. Not only is it the best dual fuel generator that we have reviewed, it's built for RVs, is rugged, reliable and environmentally friendly. A great all-rounder!