Best Generator For Food Truck Reviews

Updated October 12, 2020

Food trucks have gained popularity thanks to the demand from events, trade shows, and other consumer activities that rely on outdoor venues, such as music festivals. While regular food carts are still a viable option, you can potentially gain bigger opportunities by investing in a more mobile and versatile food truck.

When looking at the ideal size of a food truck for your snack business, you’ll need to consider power requirements for appliances that you’ll need on hand. While you can operate some kitchen appliances off your food truck’s engine, it might not be as economical as getting a dedicated portable electric generator.

To solve this problem, we’ve chosen some of the top generators for food trucks, taking into consideration their power capacity, size, fuel efficiency, and even sound output. Here’s our list of the best generators for food trucks on the market today.

Best Food Truck Generators

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1
Best For Higher Budgets
1Honda EU7000iAT1 Food Truck Generator
Honda_EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt Super Quiet Portable Electric Generator
Best For Higher Budgets
Honda EU7000iAT1 Food Truck Generator
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2 Westinghouse - iGen4500DF Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator Westinghouse iGen4500DF Food Truck Generator
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3 DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Best Overall
DuroMax XP12000EH Food Truck Generator
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4 Briggs & Stratton 30675 Q6500 Inverter Generator Briggs & Stratton 30675 Food Truck Generator
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5 Pulsar PG2300iS Portable Gas-Powered Quiet Inverter Generator
Best For Low Budgets
Pulsar PG2300iS Food Truck Generator
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6 CAT RP6500E Gas Powered Portable Generator CAT RP6500E Food Truck Generator
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1. Honda EU7000iAT1 Food Truck Generator

Highlights
  • 7,000-watt capacity
  • Switchable between 120V and 240V
  • Compact design
  • Large 5.1-gallon fuel capacity
Best For Higher Budgets
Honda_EU7000iAT1 7000 Watt Super Quiet Portable Electric Generator

Honda is a reputable Japanese brand that has a long track record of producing vehicle engines. This means that their EU7000iAT1 portable generator also embodies the same quality that their vehicle engines are known for. Outputting up to 7,000 watts at peak and with 5,500 watts rated capacity, this generator can provide power for your electronics and appliances if you don’t have a lot to run. It supports adjustable voltages between 120V or 240V, which gives it a rated max output of 58.3A at 120V.

This is the generator with the longest endurance among the rest on this list, as it has a large 5.1-gallon fuel capacity—allowing it to run for up to 18 hours at ¼ its rated capacity, and up to 6.5 hours at its rated load. You also won’t have to worry about noise as this only generates up to 58 dBA at its rated load.

Specifications

Size:
33.4in x 27.6in x 28.4in
Voltage:
120V/240V
Wattage:
7000W max, 5500W rated
Noise Level:
58dbA (full load), 52dbA (1/4 load)
Output:
58.3/29.1A max, 45.8/22.9A rated (120V/240V)
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Long-lasting with up to 18 hours of use
  • Low-noise, ultra-quiet operation
  • Inverter technology allows safe operation for sensitive equipment
  • Switchable output voltage for more versatility

Cons

  • Might not be suitable for extra hot climates
  • Recoil starter can be challenging to use

2. Westinghouse iGen4500DF Food Truck Generator

Highlights
  • Dual-fuel type operation
  • Remote start capable
  • Digital display for fuel and output levels
  • Ultra-quiet operation

This is a great dual-fuel portable generator, as it allows you to use both gasoline fuel as well as propane fuel to run it. A 3.4-gallon fuel tank can be filled with gasoline, which will allow the generator to run at a maximum of 4500 watts and running wattage of 3700 watts.

For more extended use, you can seamlessly change to propane gas on the fly via the receptacle, which will allow the unit to run at a reduced maximum of 4050 watts and 3330 watts constant power. This is great if you’ll be running the generator for a long time, as it will be a much more economical way to fuel your generator with minimal difference in power output.

Perhaps what makes the Westinghouse iGen 4500 stand out from the rest on this list is its remote start functionality. It comes with a key fob that allows for push button start thanks to the electric starter, and it also maintains a low minimum of 52dBA of noise.

Specifications

Size:
24.5in x 17.5in x 20in
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
Gasoline: 4500 watts (peak), 3700 watts (rated) Propane: 4050 watts (peak), 3330 watts (rated)
Noise Level:
52dbA
Output:
37A peak/30A running (gasoline) 34A peak/28A running (propane)
Power Source:
Gasoline, Propane

Pros

  • On-the-fly dual-fuel compatibility
  • Compact, modern design
  • Built-in 5V DC USB ports
  • Remote electric start system

Cons

  • Power output might be limited

3. DuroMax XP12000EH Food Truck Generator

Highlights
  • Produces up to 9500W running watts (using gasoline).
  • Transfer switch ready. 
  • Electric start. 
  • Quiet for a generator in this power range.
Best Overall
DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator

This DuroMax generator offers a good value alternative to some of the bigger name brands. It’s a dual fuel option that can produce up to 9500W running watts on gasoline. The wheels and handle mean you can move it into position as needed. It’s transfer switch ready, and there are a range of 120V and 120/240V outlets, plus a DC outlet, with an individual circuit breaker for each outlet. 

There’s idle control to reduce fuel consumption and noise when the generator isn’t in use. A downside of using this generator for home backup is that the high THD means it’s not suitable for powering sensitive electronics.

Specifications

Size:
30 x 29 x 26 inches
Voltage:
120/240V
Wattage:
8075W running watts (propane) / 9500W running watts (gasoline)
Noise Level:
72dB
Output:
8075W running watts / 10,200W peak watts (propane) 9500W running watts / 12,000W peak watts (gasoline)
Power Source:
Propane or Gasoline

Pros

  • Can be run on either gasoline or propane.
  • Idle control to save fuel and reduce noise when the generator is not in use.
  • Portable, with heavy duty frame and solid-fill wheels.
  • Range of 120V and 120/240V outlets, plus a 12V DC outlet.

Cons

  • High THD means it’s not suitable for powering sensitive electronics.
  • No remote start.

4. Briggs & Stratton 30675 Food Truck Generator

Highlights
  • Compact, light, travel-friendly design
  • Long 14-hour runtime
  • Low noise output
  • Fuel efficient

This generator is a great budget option that still ticks all that you need to get your food truck going. This affordable portable generator has a 6500-watt peak output and a 5000-watt stable running output. It comes with four 120V-20A sockets that can power your sensitive food equipment and computers, thanks to its inverter technology. Apart from this, the Briggs & Stratton 30675 also comes with two 5V DC USB outlets and a 120V/240V, 30A locking socket for use with your truck.

The compact size of the generator allows it to fit easily inside a vehicle during transport, and it has telescoping handles that you can use to get it in position when you’re ready to use it. It has a low 66dbA noise level at 25% capacity, but it could get quite noisy at full load.

Specifications

Size:
25.53in x 21.12in x 21.43in
Voltage:
120V/240V
Wattage:
6500 peak, 5000 running
Noise Level:
66dbA
Output:
120V, 20A x 4, 120V/240V 30A x 1
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Trolley design allows for easy transportation
  • High running watts rating
  • Has multiple 120V and 120V/240V outlets

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with electric starter
  • Can get quite noisy at full load

5. Pulsar PG2300iS Food Truck Generator

Highlights
  • Small footprint
  • Compatible with sensitive equipment
  • Parallel capable generator
  • Low noise
Best For Low Budgets
Pulsar PG2300iS Portable Gas-Powered Quiet Inverter Generator

The Pulsar PG2300iS is a lighter and more compact alternative for lower-scale applications. It features a peak output of 2300 watts and 1800 watts running capacity, with a maximum current of 15A. This generator has a variety of outlets: a 12V DC 8A cigarette outlet for light appliances, a USB port that outputs 5V DC at 1.5A for smartphones and small components, and two 120V AC 13A outlets for bigger appliances.

It has a built-in auto voltage regulator, as well as a stable sine wave regulator that allows it to run sensitive equipment such as computers and TV displays. It has a low 59dbA noise output during operation. If you need more power than what one unit can provide, you can run two of these generators in parallel for that extra headroom.

Specifications

Size:
19.7in x 11.22in x 17.91in
Voltage:
120V AC
Wattage:
2300 watts peak, 1800 watts running
Noise Level:
59dbA
Output:
15A
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Lightweight design ideal for small food trucks
  • Great endurance for the size
  • Comes with various AC and DC outlets
  • Parallel connectivity for extended power requirements

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy duty food trucks
  • No electric starter

6. CAT RP6500E Food Truck Generator

Highlights
  • Heavy-duty build quality
  • Rugged tires for uneven terrain
  • Wide range of outlets
  • Comes with electric starter for easy starts

A well-known brand in the heavy equipment industry, Caterpillar, also popularly known as CAT, also has an entry that’s a suitable generator for heavy-duty use. The RP6500E outputs 8125 watts at peak start, with a stable 6500 watts running capacity. It features a set of 6 outlets: four 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A outlet for higher-current appliances, and a 120/240V 30A outlet for bigger appliances. While it does not have a wider variety of outlets such as a USB or a cigarette outlet, it compensates with its all-business durability and ease of operation: it has an electric starter, while its pull starter is also easy to operate.

This generator is more suitable for rugged environments, but make sure that sound is not an issue—due to its open design, it has a higher sound output compared to other similarly sized generators.

Specifications

Size:
32.87in x 27.4in x 24.72in
Voltage:
120V/240V
Wattage:
8125 watts peak, 6500 watts running
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • High-capacity 7.9 gallon fuel tank
  • Solid, rigid steel frame minimizes vibrations
  • Low-maintenance design
  • Equipped with electric and recoil starter

Cons

  • Heavier and bulkier than other products
  • Can be quite noisy

Food Truck Generator Buying Guide

Fuel Source

When looking for a generator for your food truck, consider the availability of the types of fuel when you’re on the road. Since you’re likely going to move between different places, gasoline would be an easily accessible resource as you’ll encounter a refilling station at just about every corner of a city. That’s well and good, since most generators run on gasoline fuel anyway.

However, you can also consider purchasing a dual fuel inverter generator that can run on multiple types of fuel, which include propane. This is more suitable if your food truck business already uses propane to cook food—chances are, you’ll be lugging around a tank or two anyway. An added benefit is it can also be more economical. 

Runtime

Your food truck business directly relies on the length of time that you’re able to keep your appliances running—and your food products cooking. Most generators have a longer, more efficient operation time when they’re running at less than their full capacity, so also consider getting one that has a bigger output than what you require.

A generator’s fuel capacity also plays a factor in this. While they might be bulkier, some larger generators would save you the hassle of having to refuel every several hours and causing unnecessary downtimes.

Size

You’ll have to consider the storage space available in your food truck to fit your generator. Of course, you can leave your generator outside of your space while in operation, but you have to make sure you have enough space to store your generator securely while you travel between different sites.

Try to strike a balance between the physical size of your generator pick and its rated capacity—there are some ultra-compact designs that offer ample output that’s fit for your business. 

Portability

Portability might be one of the last things you would consider when picking a generator for your food truck, since you’re not really going to need to bring it too far out once you set up for the day. That being said, still try to consider those that have ergonomic handles and easy-cart wheels so you won’t have to overexert when you bring it out and tear your food truck down for the day.

Noise 

Compact generators for food trucks usually generate an acceptable level of noise. This is often even less of a consideration as you’d usually find yourself setting up on a busy street or a noisy event such as a concert or a festival, but you still need to make sure your generator is within acceptable noise levels. Or else, you risk not hearing your customers well over the aggressive roar of a poorly insulated generator.

Food Truck Generator Installation

Some food trucks might come with a built-in generator that rests under their belly, but external generators for food trucks are often a more viable solution, especially if you just repurposed your van or RV into a makeshift food truck.

Most generators can directly hook up to a main power line, while others also have 120V/240V outlets that can take extension cables and appliances directly. Consult with your electrician if you’re in doubt, but most manufacturers also include a quick-start guide with their generators.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Size Generator Do I Need For a Food Truck?
A:

Evaluate what sorts of electronics you’ll need to run on your food truck. Some of the most common appliances you’ll have to use include:

  • Lights and sounds
  • Toasters and warmers
  • Coffee machines
  • Microwave ovens

Depending on your goods, you might also need to consider higher-output generators to power things such as an ice cream machine, blenders, refrigerators, air conditioners, or specialized dessert machines such as slushie machines.

Our Verdict

Choosing the perfect generator for your food truck business depends on a wide range of factors. The kind of food or beverages you’ll be serving, the venue where you’ll station your food truck, and even how long you’re expecting to have your food truck operational all matter when choosing the right kind of generator.

Consider larger-capacity generators that have power surge protection for sensitive electronic equipment if you’re expecting to use it for food trucks that have high-powered appliances like ice cream makers, specialized coffee machines, refrigerators and freezers, and even electronic kiosks and cash registers.

If you’re focusing on simple kitchens that primarily serve fried and cooked food items with gas stoves, then a more basic generator will suffice to power your lights and some smaller appliances. Ultimately, your pick should be able to power your food truck for an entire shift without needing to be refueled to maximize your profits and avoid downtimes.