Best Propane Generator Reviews

Updated October 29, 2020

Whether you’re researching a replacement for your existing generator, or about to purchase one for the first time, you may be considering generators that run on propane. A propane powered generator has both pros and cons when compared to a generator which runs on gasoline. We’re here to help you understand more about propane generators, so you can make an informed choice.

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the points to consider when making your choice, whether that’s a propane generator for home or a portable propane generator for camping trips or outdoor activities. Our propane generator reviews can also give you more information about some of the available options.

Best Propane Generators

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1 Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start Champion Portable Inverter Propane Generator
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2 Westinghouse WGen2000 Gas Powered Portable Generator
Best For Higher Budgets
Westinghouse WGen2000 Propane Generator
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3 Pulsar 7 Dual Fuel Portable Generator Pulsar 7 Propane Generator
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4
Best For Low Budgets
4Firman H03652 Propane Generator
Firman H03652 Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Best For Low Budgets
Firman H03652 Propane Generator
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5 DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Best Overall
DuroMax XP12000EH Propane Generator
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6 Firman H08051 Electric Start Gas or Propane Dual Fuel Portable Generator Firman H08051 Propane Generator
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1. Champion Portable Inverter Propane Generator

Highlights
  • Can run on gas or propane.
  • Convenient electric start. 
  • Can be linked to another unit to increase the wattage output.
  • Runs up to 14.5 hours on propane (7.5 hours on gasoline).

This is a dual fuel generator that can run on either gasoline or propane, right out of the box. You need to be aware that the performance will vary depending on which fuel you choose.

Opting for gasoline, it will produce 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts, with a runtime of 7.5 hours at quarter load. Choosing propane gives you a longer runtime – 14.5 hours at 25% load – but a reduced starting wattage of 3060 watts and 2790 running watts. 

You have the option to connect with another inverter generator for increased power. There’s a useful Economy mode to reduce the electrical load and provide quieter operation, and an easy push-button electric start. Whichever setup you decide on, the generator operates at a quiet 59dB making it ideal for camping, or to use around the home or worksite. The wheels and foldaway handle make it easy to move the unit around.

Specifications

Size:
25.1 x 17.3 x 18.3 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
3400 peak watts (gasoline) / 3060 peak watts (propane)
Noise Level:
59.0 dBa
Output:
Gasoline: 3400 peak watts / 3100 running watts Propane: 3060 peak watts / 2790 running watts
Power Source:
Dual fuel to run on either gasoline or propane

Pros

  • Produces clean power for sensitive electronics.
  • Features an Economy mode for quieter operation and fuel savings.
  • Has a wheel kit for easy portability.
  • Operates at 59dB.

Cons

  • No hour meter to keep track of run time for maintenance.
  • No remote start.

2. Westinghouse WGen2000 Propane Generator

Highlights
  • 2000 running watts.
  • 4 gallon fuel tank.
  • Four 5-20R 20A 120V outlets with durable rubber covers.
  • 26 hour run time at 25% load.
Best For Higher Budgets
Westinghouse WGen2000 Gas Powered Portable Generator

This great value generator produces 2000 running watts (2500 peak watts), and can run for up to 26 hours at 25% load on one four gallon tank of gas. 

The output means it’s best suited for camping trips or DIY or small worksite projects rather than as a backup home generator. 

There’s a main circuit breaker if you were to overload the generator. The robust open frame is geared towards outdoor use, though at 97 pounds you’ll probably want to order a wheel kit to move this generator around. Operation is very simple, with a manual recoil start, and there are four household 120V outlets which handily have durable rubber covers. 

Bear in mind that this generator doesn’t have an inverter, so the THD (total harmonic distortion) is too high to safely power sensitive electronics.

Specifications

Size:
23.23 x 17.52 x 18.7 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2000 running watts
Noise Level:
68dB
Output:
2500 peak watts / 2000 running watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Comes with oil, tool kit and manual to get started immediately.
  • Hardened steel frame with roll bars.
  • Intuitive control panel with main circuit breaker and engine switch control.
  • Great value option.

Cons

  • No wheel kit included.
  • No electric start.

3. Pulsar 7 Propane Generator

Highlights
  • Dual fuel – can run on gasoline or propane.
  • Electric push start with recoil backup.
  • Produces up to 6250 rated watts.
  • Robust frame.

A key benefit of this generator is the dual fuel option, allowing you to choose whether to run on gasoline or liquid propane. 

You can even flip between the two during operation, simply by turning a switch on the control panel. The power output varies slightly depending on the fuel you use, producing 6250W running watts on gasoline and 5950W on propane. 

This makes it ideal for worksites, from construction or renovation projects to food trucks, or as a home backup generator. Running on gasoline, the runtime is around 13 hours at 50% load on a full 6.6 gallon tank. There’s a good selection of outlets, with four 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A and one 120/240V 30A and also one 12V DC outlet. 

This open frame generator is sturdy for outdoor use and does have a wheel kit for portability, but is heavy at 195 pounds.  The control panel is easy to use with an hour meter, low oil indicator and push button start.

Specifications

Size:
31.5 x 21.3 x 23 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
6250 running watts (gasoline) / 5950 running watts (propane)
Noise Level:
72dB
Output:
7750 peak watts / 6250 running watts (gasoline) 6250 peak watts / 5950 running watts (propane)
Power Source:
Gasoline / Propane

Pros

  • Flexibility to switch between gas and propane at the flick of a switch.
  • Comes with no-flat tires and fold-up handles for portability.
  • Range of six outlets.
  • Runs for up to 13 hours at half load.

Cons

  • Heavy to move around (weighs 195 pounds).
  • No remote start.

4. Firman H03652 Propane Generator

Highlights
  • Dual fuel – can run on gasoline or propane.
  • Quiet operation (67dB). 
  • Range of outlets, including one TT-30R outlet, making it RV ready. 
  • Robust construction including an 8” wheel kit.
Best For Low Budgets
Firman H03652 Dual Fuel Portable Generator

This generator is an attractive choice for RV users, with an RV ready outlet. It’s also dual fuel, meaning that it can run on gasoline or propane, depending on preference and what’s available. You can switch between the two fuels simply by turning a dial on the control panel. 

You’ll get the maximum power output when you run the generator on gasoline, with 4550 peak watts and 3650 running watts (or 4100W/3300W using propane). A full 5 gallon tank of gasoline will give 14 hours of runtime at 50% load. 

There are a range of outlets, including the TT-30R for your RV. This is a solid choice for outdoor use, with robust construction and wheel kit, and a 5-foot propane hose is included to connect to a nearby tank. We also like the automatic voltage regulator to ensure a consistent power output.

Specifications

Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
3650 running watts (gasoline) / 3300 running watts (propane)
Noise Level:
67dB
Output:
4550 peak watts / 3650 running watts (gasoline) 4100 peak watts / 3300 running watts (propane)
Power Source:
Gasoline / Propane

Pros

  • Runs for up to 14 hours on a 5 gallon gas tank at 50% load.
  • Automatic voltage regulator to ensure clean, consistent power output.
  • 3-in-1 data panel measuring Volts, Hertz, and hours.
  • Supplied with a 5-foot propane hose.

Cons

  • No electric start.
  • Heavy to lift to transport (112 pounds).

5. DuroMax XP12000EH Propane 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.

6. Firman H08051 Propane Generator

Highlights
  • Dual fuel – can be run on gasoline or propane.
  • Robust open frame design.
  • 120/240V output.
  • Produces 8000W (running watts) output when run on gasoline.

This is a powerful portable generator for a worksite or for use as a backup home generator if your mains power fails. It offers the flexibility to run on either gasoline or propane, and a simple turn of the dial allows you to switch between the two. 

Running on gasoline, it produces 8000 running watts (7250W running on propane). A full 8 gallon tank of gas will give you a 12 hour runtime at 50% load, making this a fuel-efficient option. Operation is simple, with a push button electric start (the battery is included), built-in fuel gauge and a 3-in-1 display to quickly view the hours, Volts and Hertz. 

There are a total of five outlets, including one 14-50R outlet which can be used for your RV, and a twist lock L14-30R outlet meaning it can be connected to a breaker box to power your home. This is a portable generator and it comes with a wheel kit, but bear in mind that at 212 pounds it’s very heavy to lift off the ground.

Specifications

Size:
32.1 x 22.2 x 24.4 inches
Voltage:
120/240V
Wattage:
8000 running watts (gasoline) / 7250 running watts (propane)
Noise Level:
74dB
Output:
10000 peak watts / 8000 running watts (gasoline) 9050 peak watts / 7250 running watts (propane)
Power Source:
Gasoline / Propane

Pros

  • Can run for 12 hours at 50% load on a full 8 gallon tank of gasoline.
  • Electric start.
  • Comes with a 5-foot propane hose.
  • 3-in-1 data panel measuring hours, Volts and Hertz.

Cons

  • No remote start.
  • Comes with a wheel kit, but at 212 pounds is heavy to manoeuvre.

Propane Generator Buying Guide

Type

If you’re keen to choose a propane powered generator, you have a few main types to choose between – a conventional or an inverter propane generator. Read on to understand the difference, and which may be best for you:

Conventional Propane Generator

A conventional generator works by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. First of all, the generator converts the chemical energy in fuel – in this case propane, into mechanical energy (heat and force) through a process of combustion. 

That mechanical energy rotates an alternator, creating a magnetic field for electromagnetic induction which turns mechanical energy into AC electrical power. However, the power that’s produced is not always stable. 

Propane Inverter Generator

An inverter generator follows the same principle as a conventional generator, but with a few additional steps. Inverter generators take the AC (Alternating Current) power produced and send it to a rectifier, which converts it into DC (Direct Current) power. A computer inside the generator inverts it back into AC power again. 

Although both types of generator complete the same task of generating AC power, the extra steps an inverter generator goes through results in a cleaner supply, with less distortion. This is important when powering sensitive electronics, such as laptops, that can be damaged by fluctuations in the power supply. 

Propane VS Gasoline Generator

Whether a propane or gasoline generator is best for you depends on a number of factors. 

Firstly, consider the availability of the two different fuels. Gasoline is widely and readily available, but is harder to store and in emergencies such as power outages, can be in high demand. Propane can be stored indefinitely, but if you’re away camping and need a top up you may find propane harder to source than gasoline. 

In terms of runtime, a gasoline generator will have a built-in fuel tank and the size of the tank will determine how long you can run the generator for. Running a generator on propane, however, means you’re only limited by the propane tank you have, and these are available in many sizes. 

Propane generators aren’t as efficient as those that run on gasoline, however propane is a cleaner fuel to use, which benefits both your generator and the environment. 

If you’re still torn between the two options, one solution is to choose a dual fuel generator, which gives you the flexibility to use either fuel. 

Convert Gas Generator To Propane

Whilst you’ll find many ‘how-to’ guides online detailing how to convert your gas generator to run on propane, we’d advise against this. It could be dangerous if not done correctly, and you’ll also likely void any warranty on your generator by doing so. It’s far better to select a propane generator up front than try to make these changes later – or go for a dual fuel model. 

Power

Propane generators can vary significantly in power output and the output you need greatly depends on how you intend to use it. To calculate the power you need, total up the watts needed for each of the appliances you plan to run from the generator. Remember that some items need an extra boost of power to start them up (starting watts), before this amount reduces during standard operation (running watts).

Bear in mind that if you want to use appliances with a high starting watts requirement, you may need to disconnect other items temporarily. Once you’ve added the number of watts you need, we’d suggest adding a 20% buffer.

4000 Watt Propane Generator

A 4000W generator is an ideal size for camping trips or outdoor activities and projects. A generator of this size could also work as a backup for some of your appliances in the event of a home power outage, but it’s too low to power everything in your property.

5000 Watt Propane Generator

Just a little more powerful than a 4000W option, 5000W generator is capable of running a number of smaller items such as fans and heaters, so it’s a great size as a camping generator or RV use. If you want to run an air conditioner unit in your RV, check the watts carefully. 

10000 Watt Propane Generators

When you boost the power up to 10000W, you can expect to be able to power several large appliances in the home, such as your refrigerator and washer/dryer. 

12000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator

A 12000W generator should be able to manage most of your household requirements during a power outage, depending on the size of your home. Remember to check the starting watts required for your main appliances to be sure you’re covered. 

Noise Level

If you intend to use your generator for camping, you probably want a quiet propane generator. Generally, the decibel level of a propane generator is the same as that for a conventional gasoline generator, so the choice of fuel doesn’t make much difference to the volume. 

Propane inverter generators are typically quieter than conventional generators, because of the way they work, so that may be your best solution. 

Applications

Propane generators have many uses, from powering a food truck at a festival or tools on a worksite to home use. Here are some of the most popular:

For Home Use

A propane generator can be a handy item to store in the garage for outdoor projects. Larger propane generators can give you peace of mind that you have an emergency source of power to keep your main appliances running if there’s an outage.

For RV and Camping

If you like to enjoy some home comforts on your RV and camping trips, such as air conditioning, heat and even a television, a portable propane generator provides your own power source, without having to hook up at a campsite. 

Size

The size of generator you choose is important, as the larger and heavier it is, the less portable it will be. That’s fine if you want a backup home generator that won’t move from its spot, but not if you want a generator for outdoor activities.

Small Propane Generator

For camping, tailgating or other outdoor uses, opt for a compact small propane generator. These can be small in size and are typically below 100 pounds in weight. Generators with wheels and carry handles make transport easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Long Will Generator Run On 20 lb Propane?
A:

The runtime of a generator depends on its output, its efficiency, and on the load (the amount of demand being placed on the generator). You’ll often see that the specification of a generator includes information on how long it will run on a half or even quarter load.

Because of these variables, there’s no set answer to the question of how long a 20lb propane tank will last. As a rough guide, a generator which produces 5500 running watts should last around 4.5 hours at half load on a 20lb tank.

Q: How Much Propane Does a Generator Use?
A:

The amount of propane a generator uses depends on the output, the engine efficiency and the load.

An advantage of using propane is that unlike gasoline, which is supplied from the built-in tank, you supply propane from a separate, larger tank, for a longer runtime.

Q: What Size Propane Tank For 20 kw Generator?
A:

There’s no set size of propane tank you need to use for a 20kW generator; it comes down to how long you want to run the generator for. You’ll need to check the details of each generator model to see how many cubic feet it uses per hour.

As an example, a gallon of propane is 36.39 cubic feet, and a 20kW generator may use around 100 cubic feet per hour.

Our Verdict

Although propane is less readily available than gasoline, a propane generator is a cleaner option and you can increase the runtime significantly as you’re not limited by the size of a built-in fuel tank. This is particularly useful for commercial applications, where you want the maximum uninterrupted use, or if you’re using the generator as a home backup. 

If you’re looking for a portable option for camping or occasional use, we’d recommend a dual fuel option, which gives you maximum flexibility. Our pick of the options we reviewed is the Firman H03652 Dual Fuel Portable Generator, which is also fairly heavy for a portable generator but has a wheel kit, and is RV ready.