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Propane vs Gas-Powered Portable Generators: Everything You Need to Know

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Portable generators are the go-to source of power for many people. They’re convenient, they’re easy to hook up, and they run on a fuel that you don’t need to worry about running out of. If you want more info about this energy source, we’ve put together this article for you!

One of the first things you’ll notice when you’re looking at propane vs gas generator is the similarity in their names. While they may seem to be interchangeable, there are actually a lot of differences between them. Many propane-powered generators can work on either natural or propane gas, but they also can run on gasoline if you need to. These generators are commonly referred to as Duel-Fuel. The engines are generally smaller and use both a spark plug and an ignition coil. Furthermore, other types of generators such as inverter generators are available, which also include advantages (see our article about the advantages of inverter generators) to a typical model of generator.

Propane Generators

Propane gas generators can generally run for up to 12 hours on a tank of fuel, depending on the brand and model. The biggest downside to this type of generator is that they’re typically not as quiet as other units and don’t work as well when you’re trying to silence them. Furthermore, propane normally isn’t as efficient as what one would experience from a gas model.

Propane generators are a great option for those who want the ability to run a generator during an outage, but who don’t want to invest in massive fuel tanks or worry about storing gasoline over long periods of time. They’re also usually very easy to transport, and they have the power necessary to run tools and things like refrigerators. Although slightly heavy, propane-generated units are generally cheaper than other types of generators.

Gasoline cansGas Generators

Gasoline-powered generators are similar to propane-powered ones in how they work. They’re also typically quieter than propane-powered generators, though they can still be a little loud depending on the model. This type of generator uses individual cylinders that can be filled with gas and recharged just like a car’s fuel tank. They are generally lighter than propane-powered units and have a lower weight capacity. Gas generators commonly output more wattage than what is normally experienced when propane is the primary fuel source. You can expect approximately 1000 more watts from a gasoline generator on a 10,000-watt generator.

Is a Gas or Propane Generator Better for a Power Outage?

If you’re trying to figure out whether to buy propane or a gas generator, part of the decision is going to come down to whether you think a power outage is something that’s likely to happen in your area (see types of generators for home). If you live in an area that has frequent storms, earthquakes, or hurricane threats, then a gas-powered generator may be the better option for you. If you don’t need the fuel capacity of a propane unit, then a smaller gasoline generator is a great choice for you. If your area is not as prone to loss of power as some others, a gas unit may be the better option for you because it’s easier to transport and it won’t explode if it gets too hot.

Gasoline electric generatorIs a Gas or Propane Generator Better for a Home?

When you’re trying to decide whether a gas or propane generator is the right option for your home, it’s worth thinking about the same things we discussed above. If you live in an area where the power goes out frequently, you may want to invest in a propane-powered unit because of its fuel capacity and ease of use. Propane units are also a great choice for people who need to fuel their generators indoors, as they don’t pose any explosion risks.

When you’re planning out your home, it’s a good idea to think about whether you need to run a large appliance when the power is out. If your home uses electricity as well as propane and gasoline generators, then you may want a smaller unit (see our review of the Generac iQ3500). A small gas or propane generator will be easier to transport if the power goes out, and you’ll also be able to run a much smaller load of things at one time.

How to Get a Gas or Propane Generator Running

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that there’s a huge difference between gas generators and propane units. One of the great things about propane units is that they are normally easier to organize, and you can hook them up to most gas lines. If you use propane canisters instead of gas cans, you have to make sure that the tank you choose will work for your unit.

Cabin gas and propane generators can also be used in your home to run the appliances you need during an outage. If you’re deciding between gas and propane, it’s a good idea to think about what you plan to run on your generator. You may want to make sure that any heavy load items will have enough power for them to run properly when the electricity is out. Remember, gas generators normally put out more surge and running wattage, although it isn’t a huge difference.

Final Thoughts

If we’ve learned anything from our discussion of propane vs gas generators, it’s that the great variety of models available for each fuel type has a lot to do with the specific needs and preferences of the people who use them.