Power Generator Fuel Options: Which is Right for You?

Power Generator Fuel Options: Which is Right for You?

Category: Kohler Power

Date: January 3rd, 2023

Most people shopping for generators consider the most established brands. While that is perfectly ok, it is also vital to consider the type of fuel a generator runs on. The most common generator fuels are gasoline, diesel, and propane (natural gas).

However, each fuel type has its advantages and downsides. Fuel preferences can also be influenced by geographical location, generator usage, and availability. This article discusses various generator fuels available in the market. Keep reading to ascertain the right one for you.

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators have since been the most reliable in various industries and applications due to their ability to withstand multiple tasks and demands. They are also highly versatile, durable, and efficient, with minimal maintenance requirements. In addition to being durable, diesel generators have engines designed to perform best under heavy loads. This feature makes them the most suitable for industrial and commercial applications.

Additionally, diesel is readily available and easily portable. It is also one of the cleanest burning fuels if the engine is appropriately set. Unlike gasoline, diesel is less flammable, making it the safest in terms of storage and transportation.

However, diesel generators are relatively expensive compared to gasoline and propane generators. A diesel engine also produces a lot of noise, making them unideal for residential areas. Although new diesel generators do not emit excessive smoke, an old one can produce heavy toxic smoke if poorly maintained.

Another drawback of diesel is its supply and cost. Although diesel is readily available, you must establish a reliable supplier, especially when dealing with industrial generators. This means an emergency affecting the supply chain can badly hit your operation. Regarding cost, it is vital to remember that diesel costs keep fluctuating, making it hard to budget an exact operation cost.


Gasoline Generators

Gasoline generators are the most common among homeowners thanks to the availability of petrol. Unlike diesel, gasoline engines require fewer manufacturing materials, making them lighter with a low-temperature starting performance. The low-manufacturing cost of gasoline engines makes gasoline generators the most affordable, hence the reason for their popularity.

Additionally, gasoline generators are relatively compact and easy to transport, making them ideal for homes and small businesses looking for reliable backup power sources. Besides, petrol is readily available with its prices constantly on the lower end, meaning it has a guaranteed lower operating cost.

Gasoline generators also produce less noise compared to their diesel counterparts. These features make them the most suitable for homes and areas with noise restrictions. Their lightweight feature also makes them highly portable, allowing users to transport them easily.

One major drawback of gasoline generators is low thermal efficiency and high fuel consumption. As a result, users require a large stock of gasoline on their premises, posing safety risks such as fires. Additionally, gasoline burns with high intensity, producing significantly higher amounts of heat. The intense heat produced strains on the generator’s internal components, hence calling for frequent maintenance.

Gasoline generators also produce more hazardous emissions than other generator types. As a result, users must stay vigilant in observing generator safety measures to prevent health risks related to generator emissions.


Propane Generators

Propane, also called liquid petroleum gas generators, are unique generators that require separate fuel tanks to run. Due to their complexity and installation cost, they are the most uncommon among industrial and home users. However, propane generators have their share of advantages. Unlike other types of generators with limited tanks, propane users decide on the tank size they install.

Additionally, propane is stable without stabilizers and enjoys a long shelf life. Also, propane produces fewer pollutants than gasoline and diesel, thus being considered the most environmentally friendly fuel. Besides, propane can run under various weather conditions, unlike diesel and petrol, which develop wet stacking problems in cold temperatures.

Another benefit of propane generators is efficiency, especially when compared to natural gas. Although they are as flammable as gasoline, they pose fewer safety risks since they do not experience cracked pipes or spillage.

That said, propane has its share of cons. For example, propane burns faster, producing a lower energy density. Its engine lifespan is also shorter compared to gasoline and diesel engines. You may also need to travel miles looking for propane if the suppliers do not offer delivery services.


Hybrid-Fuel Generators

Another emerging trend in the market is the increasing preference for hybrid-fuel generators. These are types of generators that operate on more than one type of fuel. They can be powered by gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas. This versatility enables users to navigate fuel crises or shortages. Here are the types of hybrid-fuel generators you can consider when shopping for a home or commercial generator.

Bi-Fuel Generators

A bi-fuel generator runs on two types of fuel, for example, propane and gasoline or diesel and propane. However, the fuels are not mixed but used separately, meaning the generator engine can switch from one fuel to another. Some engines have automated fuel switches, allowing the generator to switch to the most efficient fuel considering the task.

On the other hand, some generators require the operator to switch fuel at will when they run out of one fuel or need a more efficient one. It is vital to note that, as the fuels are different, the generator will have varied efficiencies depending on the fuel used.

Dual-Fuel Generators

Dual-fuel generators are often confused with bi-fuel generators since they both use two types of fuels. However, unlike bi-fuel generators, dual-fuel generators can use two types of fuels as a mixture. In the absence of one type of fuel, the generator engine can still run efficiently with one type of fuel. Some dual generators, however, will require one particular fuel to start before you can gradually add the second type of fuel.

Tri-Fuel Generators

These hybrid-fuel generators use multiple fuels to run. This feature allows users to stay in operation in a fuel crisis affecting a particular fuel type. The engines can switch from one fuel to another as the operator wishes or depending on the task. Most tri-fuel generators can switch from natural gas, propane, and gasoline. This adaptability allows users to fuel the most efficiently depending on the job.



Having read and understood the pros and cons of various generator fuels, you can easily choose the most appropriate, considering your power requirements. The emergence of hybrid-fuel generators guarantees an even better experience.

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