One thing most people consider when they are shopping for a portable camping generator is the type of fuel it burns. Well, there’s actually a great variety when it comes to fuel types.
Generators can be powered by natural gas, diesel, propane, gasoline, and even solar energy. Even though all these energy sources have their pros and cons, if you’re looking for that extra bit of value, then going for a propane generator is highly recommended if you want to take it with you when camping.
Propane generators offer two distinct advantages over the other options. First, they are highly portable. They also come with additional safety. After all, propane is considered a clean source of energy. It’s a nontoxic substance that has a lower carbon footprint compared to most fuel sources out there.
Besides, propane can also be kept in storage without degrading in quality. This isn’t something you get with diesel or gasoline. In case you’re one of those people who use generators sporadically, you’d get more value from propane compared to any other fuel. It’s also important to note that propane generators make less noise.
This makes them the ultimate choice for recreational uses including camping. The units are also a good emergency backup for any residential and commercial building.
Best Propane Generator Reviews
In case you’re in the market for a new propane generator, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a great variety of models to consider. We know how hard it can be to go through each option so we went out and did all the research for you.
As a result, we came up with 10 picks that we believe are the best propane generators right now.
The Firman H03652 is a recoil start generator that offers a starting output of up to 4550 watts. The unit also delivers 3650 watts of running power. It comes with an efficient cooling system that ensures the engine runs smoothly even for longer periods.
The Firman H03652 is relatively quieter compared to other models in its category. The unit comes fitted with a Whisper Series muffler that works well to ensure the generator doesn’t make more than 67 Decibels of noise. This is actually lower compared to the decibel standards recommended by the National Park Services.
The spark arrester in the Firman H03652 is approved by the USDA Forest Service. This kind of accreditation isn’t easy to come by and it’s the perfect testament of the immense quality you get from this generator. You’ll also love the fact that setting up this unit is extremely easy. You won’t have any issues starting it. With just a simple press of a button, the Firman H03652 will be up and running instantly.
Although the unit is primarily marketed as a propane generator, it can efficiently run on gasoline as well. This kind of versatility can come handy, especially for people on the move. The Firman H03652 features a 5-foot extended gas hose in case you need to fix it on a large propane tank. The unit will deliver power for a good 14 hours.
You’ll also get an automatic voltage regulator that maintains steady output from the power stream alternator. The Firman H03652 is designed ergonomically and it’s highly portable as well.
In case you’re looking for a smaller and more portable propane generator that you can bring with you everywhere you go, then the DuroMax XP2000EH is definitely a great choice. The unit can hit up to 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts.
At just 47 pounds, it’s a lightweight option that you can carry anytime. The generator also comes with an integrated handle that makes maneuverability and portability even easier. Despite its compact lightweight design, the DuroMax XP2000EH also comes packed with loads of power. In fact, the unit can be an invaluable asset during an emergency situation. It can easily keep the lights on and operate a few household appliances for some hours.
The generator also comes with enough power to operate a majority of power tools including electric chain saws, a portable table saw, and others. If you are a handyman who gets lots of offsite jobs, the DuroMax XP2000EH would be the perfect power source for all your projects. The unit is also designed for easy and safe operation.
It comes with a user-friendly recoil start and high leverage handles for easy transportation. The fuel economy on the unit is also worth noting. The DuroMax XP2000EH will actually run for 24 hours non stop on a 20 lbs propane tank. The unit also comes with a 3-year warranty from the manufacturer.
The Champion 100263 is designed to combine versatility and convenience, and it does it well. Whether you want something to power your RV or a unit to do off-site projects, you have a great choice in this product. The Champion 100263 comes with an electric start that makes startup easy.
There’s also the cold start technology included. This ensures that during cold weather, the generator will automatically power itself on, reducing the risk of possible damage due to harsh weather. Champion 100263 also takes safety to a whole new level.
The unit, despite its powerful output, can safely charge and power a wide range of devices without damaging them. The generator also features a low oil shut-off system that adds to overall safety. The Champion 100263 is a dual fuel generator with the option of using either gasoline or propane.
It doesn’t need a lot to set up. In fact, you can actually start using it straight out of the box. It produces a starting output of 3400 watts and output of 2790 watts on running. On a standard propane tank, the unit will give you up to 14.5 hours of runtime.
One thing that really sets the Sportsman GEN4000LP apart from most generators in its category is versatility. This unit can literally do anything.
From powering your RV to powering your devices, it has enough capacity to meet all your needs. It can also be a great backup generator during emergencies. The unit comes with a 6.5 HP OHV engine for maximum performance. Even though most generators with such a powerful engine tend to cost relatively higher, the Sportsman GEN4000LP is actually very affordable.
The unit also brings with it an array of safety features. First, it’s fitted with an automatic low oil shutoff system. You also get circuit protection features so that you can connect even sensitive devices without worry. The power output of this unit is something to behold. The Sportsman GEN4000LP offers up to 4000 watts in maximum output and a rated output of 3250 watts.
This simply means that the generator can run for at least 10 hours on a 50% load. Sadly, unlike some of the other products we have reviewed above, the Sportsman GEN4000LP doesn’t support dual fuel. It only runs on propane and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, some people wouldn’t mind the versatility that comes with dual-fuel capabilities.
The noise levels produced by the unit are also very low. The Sportsman GEN4000LP produces just 68 dB making it one of the quieter options on the market. Although the unit may not offer the versatility of a dual-fuel generator, it’s a worthwhile consideration. The features it brings including high-end performance and affordability make it one of the best propane generators.
In case you’re looking for a generator that delivers great overall value and quality, then the DuroMax XP4850EH is definitely worth a shout. DuroMax is one of the most reputable brands in this space and its generators have a great reputation for quality, performance, and efficiency.
The DuroMax XP4850EH isn’t any different. First, the unit is very affordable and this makes it a great choice for homeowners looking for an emergency backup or something to use sporadically. The DuroMax XP4850EH is constructed to offer excellent durability.
The unit is also versatile thanks to its dual-fuel feature. You can either use gas or propane. The engine power isn’t that bad either. The DuroMax XP4850EH offers up to 7 HP in engine power. The unit also offers an outstanding 4850W peak power output. This is enough to power anything. The DuroMax XP4850EH can also run for 8 hours on a 50% load with gasoline and up to 10 hours with propane.
The unit is made to last for years. Its rugged steel frame and large solid rubber wheels make the generator well suited for heavy-duty use. The DuroMax XP4850EH doesn’t make a lot of noise. Even though there are no visible sound insulation features like the ones found in high-end brands, the noise generated by this unit is very low.
The Westinghouse WGen3600DF is one of the most powerful generators on the market at the moment. The unit is designed to deliver a perfect combination of reliability and longevity. It also comes with an overhead valve technology that allows the engine to run at lower temperatures.
This plays a critical role in enhancing the overall fuel economy. There is also an automatic low oil shutdown feature. The feature is triggered when the engine starts to overheat or when fuel levels are dangerously low.
It’s one of the key safety features on the Westinghouse WGen3600DF and it goes a long way in protecting the generator from possible damage. The unit also supports dual fuel. While operating on gas, the Westinghouse WGen3600DF will offer up to 3600 watts of running power and a peak voltage of 4650 W.
The output is relatively lower though when you’re using propane. The generator chucks out 4180 W in peak voltage. Despite this, using propane offers one additional benefit. It will run for longer hours compared to gas.
Although the Pulsar PG5250B is mostly known for its higher voltage output, it has a lot of other great features too. To start off, we loved how portable this unit is. You can easily move it around with ease anytime you want. The generator also comes with dual fuel support.
What makes it different from other dual-fuel generators is the fact that you can actually switch between two different fuels while the generator is still running. You just need to tap a switch and that’s it. The Pulsar PG5250B is an ideal generator for outdoor use, especially due to its lightweight and portable design. But it can also be used in residential and commercial settings as a power backup.
The Pulsar PG5250B is designed to offer a maximum output of 5250 watts on gasoline and 4750 W on propane. The unit is capable of running for up to 15 hours straight. The engine is also designed with a vibration-absorbing feature that reduces the noise levels.
The feature helps add to the stability of the unit. We also liked that the engine and other sensitive parts have been enclosed in a high gloss tubular steel frame for extra protection. You’ll love the fuel gauge mounted on top of this unit that lets you know when it’s time to refill.
The Champion Power Equipment 76533 ranks in our top ten list simply because of its outstanding convenience. It’s such a versatile unit that can be used on the road and at home as a backup power option.
The unit comes with an innovative fuel selector switch that allows you to change between gasoline and propane effortlessly. The generator is able to produce up to 4750 W in starting power with a 3.4-gallon gasoline tank. The same tank will also offer up to 3800 W of running power.
The output is relatively lower on propane. You will only be able to get up to 4275 W in starting power and 3240 W in running power. The Champion Power Equipment 76533 can run for 10.5 hours with propane and 9 hours with gasoline.
The generator produces about 68 dB (A) in noise. For a conventional generator, this is actually very low. It also comes with the Volt Guard surge protection technology to ensure safe use all the time.
The DuroMax Hybrid XP4400EH is one of the more portable options on our list. But it offers more than that. First, the unit is powered by a 7.0 HP engine.
The generator also comes with dual fuel capabilities and you can switch between gas and propane anytime, even when the unit is running. The generator also comes with a flexible fuel line that can be used to attach it to a larger propane tank. It offers longer runtime as well.
This generator is also designed to start effortlessly. We like that setting up the unit took very little time. The output is also quite commendable. It offers up to 4400 W in starting power and 3500 W in running power.
A 4-gallon gasoline tank will keep the unit running uninterrupted for a good 8 hours. The runtime is even better with propane. The DuroMax XP4400EH offers up to 20 hours on a full 20 lbs propane tank.
The Generac 6729 is a gas-powered standby generator that has a lot of great positive reviews online. The unit comes with a number of notable performance features. First, it can easily fork out up to 10 KW in output power.
This should be good enough to power a home or a standard commercial establishment. However, even though this is primarily a gas-powered unit, you can still run it on propane.
It comes with a smart transfer switch that automatically starts the generator during an outage. We also loved that the power output is very stable. One thing that really makes the Generac 6729 a great choice is the price. Even with its outstanding power output, it’s affordable.
This generator features a strong and durable construction. If you’re looking for a generator that will give you long term service without costing you a lot of money, then the Generac 6729 is definitely a good option. It’s one of the best propane generator models, especially for the money.
How to Choose the Best Propane Generator
There are so many different propane generators on the market. Each of these products is designed to suit the diverse needs of different people. However, before you buy any unit, there are a few factors you may want to keep in mind.
Here are some of the most important ones:
In case you’re buying a propane generator for outdoor use, then portability is a crucial factor. Offsite locations with rugged terrain can be challenging and the last thing you want is a heavy unit with poor maneuverability. This is especially important if you want to take the generator with you to put it outside of your camping tent.
However, large voltage generators may not be able to offer you the portability you want. This is because naturally large voltage units will need bigger propane tanks and this adds to the weight. But you don’t need a high voltage unit for an offsite job.
A light model that can give you an uninterrupted supply of power for 8 working hours should do. Most generators that fall under this category tend to be extremely portable as well.
It’s also important to consider the amount of noise that the generator makes. After all, you don’t want a unit so loud to the point of becoming unbearable.
Besides, most neighborhoods these days have local noise ordinances. You cannot just plug in a loud generator and expect everybody to be okay with it. A good rule would be to make sure that the unit you buy makes as little noise as possible.
Noise levels in generators are measured in decibels. You’ll never be able to find a generator that makes zero noise. Most actually range between 50 decibels and 80 decibels. You must make sure you buy a unit on the lower side of that range.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of receptacles and plugs. Standard propane generators will have at least two AC outlets. However, some advanced models will have up to four. The AC outlets are designed to connect external devices including electronics.
However, if you’re buying the generator for your RV, it’s recommended to focus on RV read units only. These generators are designed to fit right into an RV and deliver great value for users.
Durability is the measure of strength and longevity. The best propane generator models are supposed to withstand normal wear and tear for a long time even in cases of heavy-duty use.
There’s no single measure of durability. In that case, you’ll need to look at each unit before you buy and assess its overall construction. This will help you decide which unit is more durable.
When we talk about size in generators, we don’t mean the physical length and width. The size is simply the amount of power the generator can generate at any given time. Portable propane generators come in a wide variety of sizes.
You can get units offering as low as 800 watts in voltage and others that can deliver up to 12000 Watts. The wattage you decide to go for should always be according to your needs. Remember that the higher the wattage the more expensive the generator will be.
You shouldn’t invest money in high voltage units that you don’t need. Before you make any purchase, carefully assess your power needs and decide just the right amount of voltage required. This will help you pick the best generator.
Portable propane generators are priced differently based on the features that they offer. However, don’t focus too much on the price.
The aim should be to, first of all, get a unit that meets your power needs. If it’s a little more expensive than you expected, consider checking out other units from different brands that have the same features.
How Does a Propane Generator Work?
There’s no big difference between how propane generators work and how other generators work. There’s just one notable distinction.
Instead of using traditional carburetors, most propane units feature specialized carburetors, specifically designed for burning propane gas. In addition to this, propane generators don’t have fuel tanks where you can pour in liquid fuel. Instead, you’ll connect them to a propane tank using a gas hose.
Other than that, the operation of a propane generator is pretty much the same as your traditional unit. A generator simply burns fuel to produce electricity. You can burn diesel, gasoline or any other recommended fuel. But for propane generators, you’ll have to burn propane gas.
It’s also important to note that some units have dual-fuel support. Even though they are marketed as propane generators, they may actually be able to use gasoline as well. If you don’t mind using two fuels for one unit, then you’ll love the versatility of dual-fuel generators. However, some people just love propane.
Advantages of Propane Generators
Using a propane generator can offer a number of great benefits. First, propane, unlike most generator fuels, is sold in secure cylinders.
This ensures that there’s no chance of any spills whatsoever. But in the off chance that there’s a spill, propane evaporates quickly. You don’t have to worry about a cleanup or a hazardous situation in your home or wherever you are using the generator.
In addition to this, the engines in many propane generators are usually quieter. Propane is also considered one of the cleaner forms of energy out there. It can generate electricity with a relatively low carbon footprint.
In case you’re eco-friendly about the kind of fuel you use, then you won’t get a far better option in clean energy than propane.
Here are some other advantages to keep in mind:
- Propane doesn’t go bad. It can be kept in storage for a very long time and still be good enough to use when you need it. This makes it an ideal backup in case of power failure.
- Propane is one of the most eco-friendly fuels in modern generators right now. Due to its clean burn, it produces fewer emissions and causes less pollution compared to fuels such as diesel and gasoline.
- Sourcing for propane fuel tanks is easy. Whether you’re on the road or at home planning a barbecue, you can always find propane tanks readily available locally. This makes propane generators more convenient to use.
- Propane is relatively cheaper to run compared to other fuels. A full tank of propane can produce more runtime for your generator compared to any other fuel. In other words, you’ll be able to run the unit on less fuel for a longer period of time.
- The safety of propane is relatively better compared to a majority of fuels on the market. It has zero hazards and it’s a hands-free fuel. This means that you won’t have to come into contact with it as you refuel your generator.
Best Propane Generator Brands
The portable propane generator market is filled with many brands. But we all know that there are a few that stand out from the rest.
Well, we did some research on this and shortlisted five brands we think are the best.
Champion is known for its high performance and durable generators. The company produces products for the average customer as well as commercial units that can be used in heavy-duty settings.
Westinghouse is a notable name when it comes to portable generators. The company has a great history of making high-quality units for different markets.
Sportsman has a line of incredible outdoor power equipment. The company has also been doing this for years and literally has a product for every need.
When it comes to dependability and affordability, there aren’t many brands out there that really beat DuroMax. The company has also done well to make its propane generators very quiet.
Pulsar rounds up our top five list and it has definitely earned its place among the best. The company is known for its reliable generators. The units from this brand are also innovatively designed to ensure portability and ease of use.
Inverter Generators vs Conventional Generators
Generators are divided into two broad categories. The first one is the inverter alternator category and the second one is the conventional category.
There’s a difference between the two. For starters, inverter generators are fitted with a noise insulation casing while conventional generators come with an open frame.
As a result, conventional generators tend to make more noise compared to their inverted counterparts. In addition to this, conventional generators are relatively more affordable. They can also offer better power output compared to inverter units.
Safety is one of the most important things you have to keep in mind when you buy a generator. Propane generators are generally safe, especially because the fuel can stay for years without degradation. Modern units come with innovative new technology designed to enhance safety.
There are models on our list above that feature low oil shut off technology and surge protection systems to ensure you’re safe all the time.
Are propane generators actually more efficient than other types of generators?
Not really. The BTU produced by propane units is actually less compared to gasoline and diesel units. The only upside here is that propane as a fuel is cheaper. This means that it costs less to run a propane unit over time.
Can I rely on propane generators?
Yes, they are highly reliable. As we have noted above, propane can be stored for long periods. This makes it a reliable fuel, especially as a backup. Besides, propane is readily available everywhere.
Are propane generators better than gas generators?
Yes, they are and here’s why. First, propane is easy to store and can last for a long time without going bad. Secondly, propane is cleaner compared to gas. Finally, although the initial startup cost of buying a propane unit is higher, overall, you’ll save a lot of money in efficiency.
Do propane generators make less noise than gas generators?
Yes, at least that has been our experience. Gasoline and diesel engines tend to make more noise. However, each product comes with its own unique noise cancellation technology. Make sure you look carefully before you buy.
Getting a quality portable propane generator that really meets your needs isn’t that hard. There are many brands and models out there.
However, there’s actually one model that really stands out, and that’s the Firman H03652 Generator. This unit offers excellent output, hitting up to 4550 watts in starting power and 3650 in running power.
There are also a few additional accessories in the package including a 5-foot long gas extension hose. The unit offers great value for money and its dual-fuel capability makes it quite versatile too. It’s definitely worth a look, especially for buyers who are looking for superior quality.