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Propane is inexpensive compared to gasoline and can be stored for up to a year, which makes it a very handy fuel for generating electricity off the grid. Although there are almost no generators that run solely on propane, dual fuel generators that run on either gasoline or propane are abundant, and there are even some tri-fuel generators on the market.
When choosing the best propane generators, we paid special attention to the starting and running power when using propane rather than gasoline, since this determines how many and which appliances you’ll be able to plug in. Running time on a standard propane tank and the number of outlets available were also important considerations in our review, since these can determine how well a generator will work for your needs. We compiled a list of 10 best models, and the Westinghouse WGen3600DF just tops them all.
This dual-fuel generator from Westinghouse is set apart by it’s incredibly easy to use push-button start and remote start via a key fob, similar to the starting mechanisms found on modern luxury cars. Once running, the generator is rated for 3,600 W on gasoline with a maximum surge power of 4,650 W and the four-gallon tank is able to run for 12 hours at half-load. The generator only offers two standard AC power outlets, but also comes with an RV-ready 30-amp outlet and a DC port for battery charging. At over 100 pounds and nearly two feet across on each side, the generator is certainly not easy to move around – especially when loaded with gas – but users appreciated the sturdy wheel design. Westinghouse also offers a three-year warranty on this unit, and the generator is CARB-compliant.
Performance on propane: When running on propane, this generator has a surge power of 4,180 W and a continuous power output of 3,240 W – enough to power a home full of appliances. On a standard backyard propane tank, the generator can run for up to 12 hours at half-power.
Outlets: (4) NEMA 120VAC 20A;
(1) NEMA 120VAC 30A, L5-30R Twist-Lock; (1) NEMA 120/240VAC 50A L14-50R Industrial-Grade Outlet; (1) 12VDC 8.3A
Noise level: 69dBA
Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: weather resistance outlet covers; push-button start
Getting a highly portable dual fuel generator can be quite difficult. Most of the models are in the market; this one included is quite heavy, which can make moving them from place to place extremely difficult. This is, thankfully, not the case for this model. It has larger than average tires that, when properly inflated, make moving the generator over any terrain very easy. The flip-up handle another nice touch. It is quite solid and locks into place when you lift the generator. This helps to make this model exceptionally portable once you have it unloaded from your vehicle.
This unit is also ready for any type of weather and power outage. Not only does it have plenty of outlets, but each one has its own weather-resistant cover. This makes it a lot safer to utilize if there is still any precipitation coming down.
No matter what type of fuel you choose to use with this model, you can rest assured that you will get plenty of power. You are also guaranteed to have an easy time getting the motor started, thanks to the included push-button start. Just make sure to keep the battery charged for this, as you will otherwise need to use the pull cord. While the generator is running, you can easily see how much power is being used thanks to the digital output gauge.
Though the amount of power generated by this appliance is really nice, it does come at a cost. This particular generator is quite loud. You will want to make sure to keep it away from any of your neighbor’s homes for that reason. This louder than average design also makes this a poor choice for any camping outing.
This smaller generator from FIRMAN looks at first glance like it’s larger cousin, but there are some important differences between the two. This generator is less powerful – it maxes out at 4,550 W of surge power and 3,650 W of continuous power on gasoline. The gasoline reservoir is also smaller, at only five gallons, but with the lower power output it is still able to run for 14 hours at half power. Plus, users love the integrated digital fuel gauge for keeping track of remaining runtime. At 112 pounds and paired with a sturdy set of wheels, the generator is relatively portable but still heavy and bulky for extended movement. In addition, although it comes with an RV-ready 30-amp outlet, note that the generator does not have a DC port for charging a battery.
Performance on propane: When running on propane, this generator is able to output 4,100 W of surge power and 3,300 W of continuous power. On a standard 20-pound tank, the generator is able to run up to about 15 hours at half power.
Outlets: (4) 120V 20A AC outlets, (1) 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, (1) 120V/240V 50A outlet, (1) 12V DC output
Noise level: not specified
Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: dual fuel; low oil shut-off, 3-in-1 digital meter, and automatic voltage regulation
If you are in the market for a powerful and easy to set up dual fuel generator, then this model should be high on your list. For starters, its powerful engine can really crank out a ton of power. When its running on gas, it can put out an astounding 12,000W on startup with 9,500W while running. As you would expect, it does lose a bit of power when it is being run on propane, but not nearly as much as some of its competitors. It is still capable of putting out 10,800W on startup and 8,550W while running.
Amazingly, this machine is still able to run for a good long time even while putting out these outstanding amounts of power. Even if you have this model on half a load consistently, you should still expect it to easily run for about 12 hours at a time, regardless of its fuel source. Of course, since propane is a bit more efficient, it can usually run longer on this type of fuel than it can off of its 8-gallon gas tank.
This generator also comes loaded with tons of features. It has a low oil shut-off and an easy to read voltage output regulator. Best of all, it comes with a plethora of outlets that make it easy to hook up pretty much anything, regardless of what you want to power. Its foldout handles are a nice touch for storage, but they do make moving this generator a little bit tougher. This is mostly because this machine is quite heavy, so even wheeling it between locations might be a bit tricky, even though it comes equipped with good wheels.
This compact dual fuel generator from Champion is incredibly expensive for the amount of power it delivers, but the advantage gained in portability and quietness when running can be worth the extra money. The generator outputs up to 3,400 W of surge power when running on gasoline and 3,100 W of continuous power, although the runtime is limited to 7.5 hours at one-quarter power since the gas tank is relatively small. The face of the generator offers both an RV-ready 30-amp outlet as well as a DC port for battery charging, although there is no meter for keeping track of used wattage or fuel levels. At under 100 pounds, users appreciated how portable this generator is – although the wheels can clog up on muddy ground. The generator comes backed by Champion’s three-year warranty and lifetime technical support from the company.
Performance on propane: The generator performs relatively well on propane, offering about 3,100 W of surge power and 2,750 W of continuous power. In addition, since the unit is not limited by the gas tank, it can run around 12 hours at half power on a standard propane tank.
More features: folding handle with never-flat tires
This dual fuel generator from Champion was designed with safety and usability in mind. It offers a locking fuel selector switch that ensures you won’t accidentally switch fuels when plugging in appliances, as well as an electric motor start switch and a built-in surge protector for the outlets. On gasoline, the generator outputs 3,800 W, can surge up to 4,750 W, and can run for up to 9 hours on a full tank. Although having only two AC outlets can be somewhat limiting, the generator also comes with a 30-amp RV-ready outlet. Users’ favorite feature is the Intelligauge display, which gives an easy-to-read continuous measurement of the wattage being drawn from the generator so that it is easy to track performance and remaining runtime. Champion offers a three-year warranty but backs up this product even further with lifetime technical support from the company.
Performance on propane: You can draw out up to 4,275 surge and 3,420 continuous watts from this generator if you run it on propane. Thus, there is not a much difference between the generator’s performance on gas and LPG.
Why is it special?
Competitive power output
Three-year warranty with lifetime technical support
More features: EPA compliant, built-in low oil shutoff
If you’re looking for a generator that can run on propane but don’t want to spend a fortune, this budget unit from DuroMax is an excellent option. The 4,850 W of surge power output on gasoline is better than some more expensive generators, as well, although the continuous output drops significantly to 3,850 W. Like more expensive generators, it comes with a DC outlet for charging a battery and two 20-amp AC outlets. However, although it has a 30-amp outlet, it is not of the RV-ready variety and will need some modification to work with most RVs. Users appreciated being able to monitor the voltage via the analog display, although they noted it could be hard to read, especially when using the generator at night. For portability, users liked that the generator comes with thick rubberized wheels, although the 130-pound weight does not make moving it easy.
Performance on propane: One of the best aspects of this generator is its runtime on propane – up to 20 hours at half power on a standard 20-pound propane tank. In addition, output power only drops to 3,450 W when using propane instead of gasoline.
Outlets: (4) 120V GFCI outlets (5-20R), a 120V 30A twist lock outlet (L5-30R), a 120V/240V 50A outlet (NEMA 14-50R), a 12V DC cigarette-lighter-style plug
Noise level: not specified
Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: overload protection; electric start
One of the biggest issues with some of these larger contractor style generators is that they can be extremely hard to maneuver from place to place. This is due to their larger engines and heavier bodies. That is, thankfully, not the case for this particular model. It has oversized wheels, which make it much easier to wheel into position. It also features a foldout handle that locks into place securely. Even if you have a large distance to go before you set this model up, it shouldn’t be too difficult, thanks to these features.
Another nice feature of this generator is its electric start. Once it is primed, you simply need to press the button and allow the device to do the rest. Of course, this does mean that you will need to keep the battery charged by running the generator once every few months or so. Otherwise, you will need to start it with a pull cord.
It is very easy to set this generator up, regardless of what type of fuel you are using. The setup for propane hookup is easy to access and utilize, and filling the gas tank is quite simple as well. The oil is also easy to access, which makes keeping the engine especially easy to maintain.
The biggest issue with this model is that, while it has plenty of outlet options, the larger two are difficult to access unless you have a straight plug. The oversized tires make it so you cannot plug in a right-angle plug completely.
More features: 4-in-1 data minder measuring Volts, hertz, hours and a low oil indicator
This generator from FIRMAN is designed to provide a tremendous amount of power and sustain it for hours on end. The generator has a peak output of 10,000 W and a continuous output of 8,000 W when running on gasoline, making it the most powerful generator in our roundup by a longshot. Plus, thanks to the eight-gallon tank, the generator can perform at half power for up to 12 hours. Although the generator weighs in at 235 pounds, it is balanced on the frame such that users found that it was surprisingly easy to move for short distances. In addition, while this generator is significantly louder than less powerful models, it’s also quieter than other gasoline-only generators in the same output class. Another feature that users appreciated is the integrated fuel gauge, which makes it easy to track how much longer the generator will run.
Performance on propane: The performance suffers notably when using propane if you are ever planning to run this generator at the upper reaches of its output, but still, it is much more than many other generators on our list. On propane, the generator offers a peak output of 9,050 W and a continuous output of 7,250 W and will run for about eight hours on a standard propane tank at half power.
Runtime: 8 hrs on gasoline / 20 hrs on propane (1/2 load)
Outlets: (2) 120V household GFCI
Noise level: 61 dB
Warranty: 3-year residential / 1-year commercial
More features: the manufacturer provides hoses and all connections
The only generator without wheels in our roundup, this dual fuel generator from DuroMax is much smaller than the other generators we reviewed – both in size and output wattage. The generator maxes out at 2,000 W of surge power and outputs only 1,600 W of continuous power, which means that most household and RV users will be running this generator at close to maximum output most of the time. Furthermore, the small size means a small fuel tank: it will only run for 6.5 hours at half power, and only a few hours at full output. The generator weighs only 53 pounds, less than half of the larger generators in our review, but this is still a heavy weight to carry for any distance – especially if you’re carrying a propane tank on the other arm. The generator also has no 30-amp outlet and no electronic start, so starting the unit can be a pain.
Performance on propane: The generator output rather low on propane, 1,800 W of surge power and 1,400 W of continuous power. However, since the propane tank is not limited by the smaller gasoline reservoir, the generator can run up to 16 hours at half power on a standard 20-pound tank. So if you don’t need much power, this will be perfect for you.
What makes it special?
Smaller and lighter than competing propane generators
What cons did we find?
Low continuous power output, especially on propane
Heavy to carry without wheels
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve been introduced to the ten best portable propane generators currently on the market, how do you choose between them to find the right one for your needs? Our buying guide summarizes some of the important things to consider when choosing a generator.
Why choose a generator running on propane?
Compared to gasoline, propane is significantly less expensive as a fuel source to power your generator. It is also easier to store for long periods – whereas gasoline goes stale and can ruin your carburetor after a few months, propane will last for up to a year and won’t damage your generator since it is not left inside the generator’s fuel reservoir. This makes propane a great choice if you’re preparing for an emergency and don’t want to have to repurchase a fuel supply every few months.
The downsides to running a generator on propane are that it is bulkier and less efficient than gasoline, it results in lower surge and continuous power outputs compared to running on gasoline, and it will not power your generator at all in temperatures well below freezing.
How do you intend to use your generator?
How you plan to use your generator largely determines what specifications and features you should be looking for when choosing a specific model. Operating a generator to power your house when the power goes out is very different, both in terms of the output wattage required and the desired runtime, from powering an RV or a campsite. Also consider, for your intended application, for how long you will need to run your generator continuously in the most extreme cases – and how much power you’ll need in these cases. One of the advantages to using propane is that you can buy an extremely large tank, whereas gasoline is limited by the fuel tank built into the generator.
What are your power needs?
How much power your generator will need to provide depends on what appliances you’re planning to run off of it. If you are planning to use your generator to power your whole house in an emergency, you’ll want to find a high-powered generator that can output at least 5,000 W, and even more if you have a water pump or energy-hungry heating system. On the other hand, a smaller generator that puts only 3,000 W can be enough if you are trying to power an RV or a campsite. If you know that you are planning to run your generator primarily on propane, make sure you consider how much power the generator you choose can output on propane rather than gasoline.
Runtime is also important depending on your application. If you are planning to power your house and want things to run close to normally, you’ll need a generator with a long runtime of 10-12 hours at half power. However, if you are operating an RV and only need power for a few short bursts of time, for example in the morning and evening, then runtime may not be a major consideration. Consider that runtime is often measured at half power or less, so the amount of wattage your generator outputs can be a consideration in how much runtime you’ll actually get.
Conventional vs. inverter generator
Both conventional and inverter generators output AC power – the same type of power that comes from your wall outlet – although the mechanism differs enough that there are some significant differences in how conventional and inverter generators operate in practice. Inverter generators are typically designed to be more compact and lightweight and less noisy than conventional generators, which can be an advantage if you are hauling your generator from place to place rather than keeping it in a fixed location or using it in a public campground.
However, this also means that inverter generators typically have smaller fuel reservoirs – and accordingly shorter run times – as well as lower power outputs, even though they tend to be more fuel-efficient than conventional generators. Although most users will not take advantage of this design feature, inverter generators can be run in parallel to increase your power output, while conventional generators limit you to whatever wattage they are rated for.
What to look for in a portable generator that runs on propane?
Beyond wattage, there are a number of convenience and safety features that differentiate portable generators from one another.
Not all portable generators are designed to be equally portable. While some weigh around 100 pounds and come with a set of burly wheels to allow you to roll it from place to place, more powerful generators and tri-fuel models can easily weigh over 200 pounds and can be nearly impossible to move even with wheels. Small generators may be more compact, but without wheels, even these miniature units can quickly weigh you down. Consider how frequently you plan to move your generator between locations, or whether it is more likely to sit in one spot outside your house for its lifetime.
An increasingly common and much-loved feature on generators is an electric start, which replaces the traditional pull cord. Electric start generators are extremely convenient to turn on, requiring little of the hassle that has always been associated with generators. Some units even come with a remote start function, perfect for RV use since you can turn on the electricity in the morning without venturing outside.
Safety is also an important concern with generators. Generators that feature a low oil alert and automatic shutoff are common because running out of oil can cause irreversible damage to your generator and potentially present a fire hazard. Some generators also come with surge prevention to protect your sensitive electronics, like computers, from being fried and to reduce the risk of electrocution when plugging into the generator.
Finally, look for a variety of outlets when choosing a generator. Many modern models come with an RV-ready 30-amp outlet, which can be hugely helpful if you plan to use your generator with an RV. In addition, although you will find only two standard AC outlets on many generators, having four or more can free up valuable space to plug in numerous small electronics as opposed to one or two large appliances.
Our overall favorite portable propane generators on the market today are the WGen3600DF from Westinghouse, the H03652 Hybrid Series generator from FIRMAN, and the PG7750B from Pulsar Products. These three generators cover the range of output power, from around 3,000 W on the FIRMAN to almost 6,000 W on the Pulsar Products generator when running on propane. The Westinghouse and FIRMAN models were set ahead by their three year warranties and their extremely long runtimes at half power of 12 hours and 14 hours, respectively. For the A-iPower SUA12000ED, users greatly appreciated the impressive output and long runtime, all at an attractive price. Overall, we felt that the Westinghouse Wgen3600DF was the best portable propane generator thanks to its combination of portability above and beyond either of its competitors, an RV-ready 30-amp outlet, and a DC power outlet for battery charging that the FIRMAN generator lacked.