10 Best Portable Fuel Generators Reviews and Buying Guide
Table of Contents
Why You Need a Portable Fuel Generator?
Are you planning to buy a portable fuel generator? You should remember that nowadays portable generators come with a dual fuel option. You have the flexibility to choose a fuel of your choice. You might have heard that diesel generators need frequent upkeep. If you wish to avoid it, you can use gasoline to power the generator. Also, you can find this fuel with ease too. Even, in the present situation power outages happen commonly. When you have this generator at home, you can quickly power it up until the power gets back. You can get a dependable source of power. You can expect it to deliver power with consistency.
As compared to solar-powered generators, gas generators can provide more power for longer to keep your devices running. With this knowledge, you might be interested to know about the best choices available in the market. Here is a brief summary of the best options available for you:
A Brief Summary
Portable fuel generators are different and have unique features than portable power stations. It can be powered by gas generators or propane generators other than solar panels, thus, fuel generators don’t need a long charging time.
Portable fuel generators have a long run time, which enables these portable generators to offer reliable power as a home backup battery. These are top created fuel generators on the market:
- The best generator for your home appliances: WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator from Westinghouse
- The best Generator with noise-reduction muffler: XP13000EH Portable Generator Dual Fuel from DuroMax
- Easy to Setup and Start Generator: WGen3600DF Dual Fuel Generator from Westinghouse
- The Best Generator with Zero Environmental Damage: XP5500EH Generator from DuroMax
- The best Affordably-priced generator: DF1100T 11000-Watt Portable Generator from WEN
- The Most Compact Generator: 200961 2500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator from Champion Power
- Generator with long run-time on full tank: DF475T Portable Dual Fuel 120V/240V Generator from WEN
- Generator with the best durability features: WGen 7500DF Dual Fuel Generator from Westinghouse
- The Best Generator for a job site: G12KBN-SG Heavy-Duty Portable Generator from Pulsar
- Generator that keeps you updated of the power details: 100891 9375/7500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator from Champion Power
Portable Fuel Generators Detailed Reviews
Now, you have the list of the best portable fuel generators. It is better to get into a detailed review of each of these generators:
1. WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator from Westinghouse
The sturdy and robust construction of this generator makes it last longer. Most parts of this generator are made using solid metal. Even though it is solid in looks, the portable fuel generator is compact in size. Of course, the generator is heavy. Nevertheless, it comes with never-flat tires along with handles made out of rubber foam. In turn, you can expect portability. The control panel in this unit is intuitive. Also, the placement of the control panel is good at the sides of the generator so that you can easily control it.
Also, on the sides of the generator, you can find the oil drain, a battery and even an oil filler cap. To check the amount of oil, it also has an oil dipstick.
If you are a person interested in traditional recoil start, you will love this generator for sure. The oil filter in this unit is easily accessible, thereby making it easy to clean. The generator also has a fuel valve, which you can close when you are not going to use the generator for some time. You can prevent carburetor-related issues the fuel valve can help. The generator also has a fuel gauge and a fuel cap.
- Dual fuel
- Selector switch to move from one fuel to another.
- Up to 12500 watts of power
- Remote, electric and recoil start options
- Powered by 457-cc 4-stroke OHV Engine
- Heavy Weight
- No indicator lights
2. XP13000EH Portable Dual Fuel Generator from DuroMax
This portable generator from DuroMax is a dual fuel workhouse. It is powered by a 500cc OHV Engine. You can use any one fuel for powering this generator. You can expect the power that a stationary home standby generator can produce from this unit. But, it has been designed as a portable package.
With a running power of 10500 watts and the ability to surge up to 13000 watts, this unit can power household essentials like large appliances including the central AC system in your home. The power panel in this generator is fully loaded and it has multiple outlets including a couple of 120V GFCI safeguarded household outlets. To keep your appliances safe and to prevent overloading, this generator comes with individual breakers. Above all, it has CARB and EPA certifications to use in 50 states in the United States.
You can control the fuel input present in the front of the generator. You have the option to set the fuel to propane, gasoline or you can also use it to run the fuel out of the carburetor for storage. It safeguards your investment by automatically shutting the generator when low oil is sensed.
This generator has been designed for easy and safe operation. You can start this generator as if you start your car with ease. Even, it comes with a recoil start for an emergency. It comes with an oversized noise reduction muffler with a spark arrester for silent operation.
- Dual fuel technology
- Comprehensive control panel
- Quiet running design
- Surge-arrest technology
- No remote start option
- Heavy Weight
3. WGen3600DF Dual Fuel Generator from Westinghouse
Are you looking to invest in a fuel generator that you can start using quickly? Then, this generator from Westinghouse can help. Yes, this generator offers a remarkably easy to set up and use feature. It comes almost entirely assembled in the box. You will have to only attach the wheel kit. Even, you can do this with ease. After filling it with either oil or gas, you can start powering your devices with this unit. For the first time, you need not have to buy the fuel as well. The reason is that the generator comes with the right amount of oil along with a toolkit and a funnel to help you quickly start it. Also, you can start it using the easy-to-use electric start or even recoil start.
It also encompasses an easy-to-use control panel. It encompasses a 5-20R 120V duplex standard household power outlet. Also, you will get a couple of outlets for use with a standard extension cord.
The generator comes with a 457cc OHV 4-stroke engine. It can deliver 11000 peak wattage and 8500 running watts. This wattage is applicable when you run the generator in gasoline. When you connect it to a propane tank, the generator will generate 9500 peak watts and a running power of 7500 watts.
- Super-functional and provides great power
- Affordable running as propane is an affordable fuel
- Dual fuel operation
- Easy to set up and start
4. XP5500EH Generator from DuroMax
Are you concerned about emissions from conventional generators? If so, this generator can be your choice. Do you know how? It has been designed to bring down exhaust emissions. The popular eco-head in this generator ensures that the emission is restricted.
Further, it is CSA and EPA certified and can run both in propane and gasoline. The autonomy of operation of this portable fuel generator reaches nearly 15 hours. When you use gasoline, it can run for up to 9 hours and when you use liquid propane, it can function for 8 hours at 50% load.
The generator uses a 4-cycle air-cooled engine. It carries spark ignition and 7.5 HP makes it reliable. The cast-iron sleeve it uses can bring you added benefits. The gasoline tank capacity in this generator is 4 gallons, which is far higher than similar models in the market.
You need not have to worry about any noise from this generator. The reason is that it uses a silencer built-in and it also has a flame arrestor. The generator has a convenient control panel with indicators. The presence of a circuit breaker and voltmeter makes this one of the best portable fuel generators.
- Electronic Start
- Informative control panel with fuel and oil sensors
- Dual fuel operation
- Cast-iron sleeve with 4-stroke motor
- Soft wheels for easy transportation.
- Quiet operation
- Environmentally friendly
- Compact housing with sturdy tubular frame.
- A bit costly
5. DF1100T 11000-Watt Portable Generator from WEN
Apart from high wattage output, this generator from WEN has been designed by the brand as a rugged machine. Also, this generator comes with the benefit of following hybrid technology and dual fuel. You can operate it either on propane or gasoline. You might wonder what makes this generator special among the other portable generators. It is its attractive pricing. You will find it hard to find a similar capacity generator with this price point in the market.
Naturally, you will look for durability before you choose any portable generator. You can stay confident about the durability assured by this generator. The reason is that it comes with a robust heavy-duty metal frame to ensure durability. If you have plans to transport the generator or when you wish to use it in a demanding job site, a good frame will certainly be a plus point. This generator wins in this way.
When you use gasoline for powering this generator, its watt capacity will be 8300 running watts and 11000 surge watts. When you use propane, the running power of the generator will be 7500W and surge power will be 9500W. Above all, this generator provides the option to easily switch between fuels by just turning a switch. The generator has EPA III and CARB certifications.
- Voltage goes from 120V to 240V with ease
- Ideal for emergency backup and transfer switches
- A 6.5-gallon tank provides 8.5 hours of operation at half load.
- 457CC 4-stroke engine
- Cannot pull-start the generator on gasoline
6. 200961 2500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator from Champion Power
This 2500-watt inverter generator holds the pride of being one of the lightest in the industry. It features two fuels permitting the 79cc engine to operate either on propane or gasoline. The generator has 53 dBA for nearly 11.5 hours on gasoline. Otherwise, when you use the 20-lb propane tank, you can get to power the generator for 34 hours. You also get the option to increase the power of this generator with its operational parallel kit. You will have to buy the parallel kit separately.
It will not be an overstatement to say that Champion Power has followed an innovative design. Power on the go has never been easier with a conventional fuel-powered generator. Apart from the most dependable recoil start, this fuel generator offers Cold Start Technology. So, you can operate this generator even in cold weather.
This generator comes with a couple of capped 120V 20A outlets. Also, it comes with a couple of 2.1A USB outlets. With the help of these ports, you can recharge your laptop, phone and similar devices. This unit can function at a similar sound level like a dishwasher at 53 dBA.
You can confidently connect your sensitive devices to this generator. The reason is that the inverter in this generator produces clean power of less than 3% THD. The generator has been designed with the highest importance to safety as it comes with a low oil shut-off sensor.
- Smart economy mode to reduce electrical load.
- Dual fuel
- Quiet operation
- Parallel ready
- Clean power
- Lightweight design
- Starting the generator with propane is not easy
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7. DF475T Portable Dual Fuel 120V/240V Generator from WEN
When the 4-gallon gasoline tank is full of fuel, this dual fuel generator can work non-stop for a maximum of 11 hours. Just with a push of a button, you can make this generator operate. It produces 4750 surge or peak power, while the running power of this generator is 3800 when you use gasoline. When you use propane, the running watts will be 3500, while the surge watts will be 4350. The generator features a 12-Volt DC port, one 120/240-Volt twist-look outlet and a couple of 12-volt standard household outlets.
Of course, the generator weighs around 100 pounds. So, you might feel that it is not a portable fuel generator. Nevertheless, this unit comes with large rear wheels that make it relatively easy to move on flat surfaces. Further, it comes with a heavy-duty frame. This frame helps with lifting the generator in and out of a car, truck and other vehicles easily.
The generator comes with an electric start option. Also, it encompasses a four-stroke 224cc OHV engine. You can turn on the generator with just a turn of a key without having to struggle with a traditional recoil start. Further, this generator comes with a 4-gallon tank. This tank capacity ensures that you can run your appliances for 11 hours at half load run time. The engine that this generator uses can run up to 3600 RPM for a dependable power supply to all your powering needs.
For simplified storage and transportation, this unit comes with never-flat tires and also a fold-down handle. As the generator is a dual-fuel unit, you can choose either gasoline or propane to start this generator for powering your devices.
- 224CC OHV Engine
- Portability with never-flat tires
- Electric start option
- Dual fuel capacity
- 47-inch hose for LPG Connection
- Ideal for tailgating, camping, job site and emergency backup
- The position of the pull cord is not good
- It is hard to fill the fuel tank using a regular funnel
8. WGen 7500DF Dual Fuel Generator from Westinghouse
This generator from Westinghouse is a dual fuel, portable and smart switch-ready generator. You can operate this generator using both propane and gasoline fuels. The dual-fuel feature of this generator helps it become one of the cost-effective fuel generators in the market. Even, this feature carries power-saving efficiency to this unit. The running watts of this generator is 7500 and surge watts are 9500 when you operate it using gasoline.
The durability-related features of this fuel generator make it the best choice for using it in outdoor conditions. To make transportation effortless from your home to outdoor space, this generator comes with wheels and a handle. When you use propane to power this generator, the running watts are 6750, while the surge power is 8550 watts. With the former fuel, you can operate this generator for 11 hours, while in the case of propane, it can run for 8 hours continuously to operate your devices.
Westinghouse has designed this generator in such a way that it will shut down automatically when the oil level goes down. This is an essential feature that will ensure that the engine will not wear out when you operate the generator without knowing that the oil is low. When the generator operates for long without fuel, it will produce more heat, which is risky. Further, you can easily run this generator as it comes with a push-button smart switch. This feature also ensures that you can start this generator even when it is cold outside.
- Safe GFCI Outlets
- Smart switch ready
- High run time
- Remote start option
- Dual fuel
- Durable construction
- Loud noise
9. G12KBN-SG Heavy-Duty Portable Generator from Pulsar
With a starting power of 12000 watts and 9500 running watts, this generator is a conventional type generator from Pulsar. If you are looking for the best portable generator for a large household or your job site, this dual fuel generator can meet your requirement.
The generator features an air-cooled four-stroke engine with an electric start option. In case, you use gasoline, this generator can provide you with 12000 watts of surge power and 9500 running watts. In case, you use LPG, this generator can produce 10800 starting watts and 8500 running watts. This capacity makes this generator the best choice for your job site. It encompasses four 120V outlets, a 12V DC output, a twist-lock outlet.
It has an 8-gallon fuel tank that offers 12 hours of continuous power at half load. Apart from longer run times, the large tank in this generator permits you to store more fuel. So, you need not have to keep running to the fuel station again and again. In case, you look for a power output of only about a quarter of its capacity, the unit can provide you with a run time of up to 24 hours.
- High power output
- Ideal for running power tools at a job site
- Electric start and pull-starting mechanisms
- 10-inch sturdy wheels and drop-down handles
10. 100891 9375/7500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator from Champion Power
This ultra-power generator from Champion Power features dual fuel with an electric start. It comes with a 439cc engine and can run either on propane or gasoline. It can provide 5.5 hours of operation on Propane or up to 10 hours of run time on gasoline. Further, the generator features Cold Start Technology and Volt Guard technology.
Irrespective of whether you need a fuel generator for powering your next project or home, this generator can make a convenient choice for you. Further, you can easily keep an eye on the power output and track maintenance intervals with the Intelligauge Technology. You can keep track of run-time hours, hertz and voltage with this technology. Further, it comes with a low-oil shut-off feature and encompasses 1.2 quarts of 10W-30 oil.
- Easy assembling
- Cold start technology to function even in cold weather conditions
- Comes with a cord for easy pulling
- Produces less noise than other portable generators
- Helps to Keep Track of Power
- The outlet looks flimsy
What is Portable Fuel Generator?
Compact, small and easy to carry or cart around portable fuel generators are powered typically by propane or gasoline. You can source both propane and gas from gas stations. As they are compact in size, you can easily store them in the garage or shed until you need them to power your home or work area.
When you are camping, you can take a compact camping generator along. In these instances, you can use them for powering your mobile devices. Even, you can keep the lights on. Nevertheless, you cannot expect these generators to produce power as large as standby generators. But, you can find these generators coming with different watt capacities. So, you can choose the right size based on your powering needs. Above all, due to their reduced capacity and size, they cost very little as compared to conventional standby generators.
In most instances, you can power these fuel generators using two different fuels. Yes, you can use either propane or gasoline. You can use the convenient option based on a given condition. For instance, in some places and in some seasons, you can find it hard to buy gasoline. In these instances, you can use propane to power these generators.
How Do Portable Fuel Generators Work?
When an emergency occurs, it is better to be prepared to handle it. You might be living in an area that suffers rare blackouts. Otherwise, you might be living in an area that is prone to storms or tornadoes. In both cases, having a portable fuel generator will help. It will keep your business or home up and running until the power supply is back.
Portable generators work by turning on an onboard alternator into electricity. This electricity is used for powering your home or work area. They come with an engine and outlets that will let you connect extension cords for powering your appliances. When connected to your home circuit, they will work in close monitoring of your property’s voltage supply. Whenever the power goes off, they will automatically turn on to make sure that your devices do not lose power. As you wish to know how does a fuel generator work, it is better to understand the components of this generator:
Components of a Portable Generator
In general, portable generators come with five common components. Here are they:
1. Internal Combustion Engine
This component of a generator is its soul. The reason is that this is where fuel is injected into its chamber. As soon as fuel reaches the chamber, a spark creation happens. In turn, the fuel power turns into mechanical energy.
The alternator is a component that further uses two parts for the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy. The first part is a rotating component. This is generally referred to as a rotator. It is responsible for the creation of a magnetic field around a combination of wound coils. The other part is the wound coil. This coil is responsible for the generation of excess electrons.
Yes, you have guessed it right. A starter is responsible for starting your generator. It is sometimes powered by a DC battery. Otherwise, you will find a pull cord mechanism in some generators. You will have the option to use either one of them in some generators.
4. Fuel Tank
Portable fuel generators are powered either using propane, diesel or gas. Some of them come with the facility to use two fuels. It means that you can use either propane or gasoline at a time to power this type of generator. So, one of the key components of a portable generator is a fuel tank. But, make sure that you do not keep the generator idle for too long. It is better to make sure that you use it at least two times a year to ensure that it will supply you with the required power as and when you need it.
Last but not the least component in fuel generators are the outlets. The configuration and number of outlets a generator can have will rely on the model and make. The more expensive a generator is the more combination of outlets you can find.
What Are the Benefits of Portable Fuel Generators?
If you are wondering whether or not to buy one of the best portable fuel generators, you should understand the benefits. In turn, you can decide whether it is right for you or not:
Portable generators run either on gasoline, petrol or diesel or even propane. This will differ based on the model you choose. They are mostly energy efficient as compared to other types of generators available in the market. Some models can produce double the output as compared to other generator types. This happens due to the efficiency of the engines they use.
Some fuel generators are designed to produce a considerable amount of power for a long period. This is due to the fuel consumption and efficiency of the engine. This is one of the reasons to opt for this type of generator when you wish to achieve an uninterrupted supply of power.
Some portable fuel generators come with an additional set of features. For instance, some come with cold start technology. This feature will ensure that you can easily restart the generator even when the climate is cold outside. Some also offer automatic low oil shut-off features. With this feature, you can ensure that no damage can happen to the generator when it runs with low oil. It will automatically shut off when it detects the fuel tank has low oil.
Peace of Mind During Emergencies
With a portable generator in your home, you can stay with complete peace of mind. The reason is that you have an alternative source of power to handle any emergencies with ease. At times, longer hours of rain can take off the power supply for a longer period. In these instances, when you have a fuel generator, you can keep your home illuminated.
How to Choose A Portable Fuel Generator?
When you intend to choose the best portable fuel generator, you will have to consider the following factors in your shopping:
1. Identify your Size Requirement
The first factor to determine is the size of the portable generator that can meet your needs. When talking about the size, you should consider the starting watts and running watts of the generator. You should first identify your needs. Running watts otherwise called rated watts of a generator will show you the continuous watts required for keeping your appliances running. Starting watts are additional watts your appliances need for the initial two to three seconds of switching on. For instance, motor-driven appliances like a circular saw or a refrigerator need these watts that the generator can produce to the maximum.
You can identify your wattage needs from the tips given below:
- Identify the items that you wish to power at the same time using the power generated by the fuel generator.
- For each of these appliances that you wish to power, list the running watts and the extra starting watts they need. You can get to know the watt requirements of different devices from the user manual of the appropriate appliances. You can also get to know the wattage requirement of appliances from their data plates.
- Now, get a total of these running watts. You should make sure to shortlist only generators that offer at least these total running watts you need.
- Now, choose one appliance from the list of appliances you wish to power from the portable fuel generator. This should be the appliance with the highest number of additional starting watts. Add this number to the total running watts you got from the previous step. You should shortlist a generator that can produce at least these many starting watts.
2. Consider the Run Time
When you compare portable generators, you will find that they specify the run time at half load. You should shortlist a generator that offers the longest run-time at half load. When the generator can run for longer, you need not have to refuel it again and again. Let us consider that a generator assures at least 10 hours of operation at half load. With this generator, you can stay confident that you can get the generator to power your appliances the entire night without forcing you to get up in the middle to refuel it.
3. Consider the Outlets
In addition to the number of outlets, you should also check whether a fuel generator can provide you with the right kinds of outlets. For instance, let us consider that you plan to power a window AC using a portable generator. In this case, you should look for a generator that comes with a 30amp outlet with a locking facility. In this way, you should consider the outlets in a generator based on the appliances you wish to power.
You wish to buy a fuel generator, isn’t it? Most fuel generators weigh more. But, if you plan to use it for camping and at a work spot, you should check one thing. Even though the generator weighs more, it should have never-flat wheels and folding handles that will help you easily pull the generator. After pulling to the required place, you can just fold away the handle.
If you put more weight on the portability, consider solar generators kits or camping solar-powered generators, with camping solar panels instead. These solar battery chargers come with lightweight solar panels that are more light and easy to move, which can be more suitable for RV or traveling uses.
5. Cord Set
Some portable fuel generators come with a heavy-duty generator cord set. The good thing about choosing a generator with a cord set is that it will provide you with four standard household outlets on the end of a single cord. In turn, you can eliminate the need of using multiple extension cords. This will be a beneficial feature to consider when you compare generators.
6. Selecting Fuel
When it comes to residential applications, it would be logical to buy a generator that uses natural gas as the fuel. The second choice would be a propane-based generator. In case, you go for a generator powered by propane, you should ensure that you keep the tank at least half full to quickly power in the case of a power outage. Diesel generally has restricted use in the home backup generator category. Nevertheless, it is commonly used in commercial applications, institutions and industries.
As you plan for a portable generator purchase, you should remember that gasoline is mainly used. The reason is that it cannot bring the efficiency that larger generators need. It cannot match the efficiency of diesel when it comes to traditional generators. As it is highly inflammable, you should give the utmost care in its storage.
7. Identify the Noise Level
In general, diesel-powered generators are known for noisier operations. Of course, gasoline and propane-powered generators too make noise but are lesser than diesel generators. Just in case, you plan to use a fuel generator in an area with noise restrictions, you should do one thing. You should check whether the generator uses technology to reduce noise. Nowadays, many generators are coming with a silencer to reduce the noise. The noise level is denoted in dBA or decibels in most generators these days. Look for this information and choose one of those that produce lesser noise.
8. Look for Additional Features
Portable fuel generators these days come with some attractive set of features. So, it is better to look for some of the added features listed below:
- A Lift Hook Bar: This feature will be particularly helpful in industries as they will have to lift the generator at times.
- Wheel Kit: Not all generators come with standard wheels. As you are particular about portability, you should check whether the price of the generator includes the cost of the wheel kit.
- Automatic shut-off: Nowadays, most portable generators come with a low-oil shut-off feature. This feature will safeguard the generator from damages caused when it operates with less fuel. Not just this auto feature, it is better to check whether an automatic carbon monoxide shut-off feature is present. Whenever carbon monoxide is deducted around the generator above a particular limit, the generator will automatically shut off when it has this feature.
Now, with these many portable fuel generators reviewed, you might wonder which one to choose. It all depends on your requirements. However, here are some choices:
- Easy to start generator: WGen3600DF Dual Fuel Generator from Westinghouse
- The best generator for your job site: G12KBN-SG Heavy-Duty Portable Generator from Pulsar
- The best generator for home use: WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator from Westinghouse.