It is necessary to have a generator to deal with power outages and keep your appliances and electronics running. But which type of generator is best to have? Here we are talking about gasoline and propane-powered generators.
A propane generator is less efficient than a gasoline generator, but propane is a cleaner-burning fuel. Also, propane is cheaper and easier to store. Moreover, propane generators operate quietly as compared to gasoline units.
According to a survey, in 2014, the U.S suffered more than 3,500 power outages because of the hurricane and other natural disasters. More than 14 million people got affected, but only 27 per cent of American homeowners were reported to have a backup power source; the remaining homeowners hadn’t anything to power their appliances. The main reason behind this fewer percentage was people having no generator in their homes. Also, those who had the generators were only gas-powered.
So, here, propane generators come handy as gas lines may get affected because of natural disasters, but this is not the case with propane tanks. Propane gas also doesn’t degrade over time; therefore, you can store the propane tanks as long as possible.
Conventional Propane Generators
1. Champion 76533 Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Overall Best
Dual Fuel: This Champion 76533 is a dual fuel portable generator that also runs on propane to meet your power needs. There is a safety fuel selector switch that allows you to switch to propane from gasoline.
Start System: This RV-ready generator features both the recoil and push-button electric start systems. The battery is included for the electric start system with a charger that charges the battery as the generator operates.
Engine: This CARB compliant unit is featured with a 224cc, 4-stroke OHV Champion engine protected with a cast iron sleeve.
Power Output: On propane, it generates 4275 watts of peak power and 3420 watts of running power.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: With a 20 lb. propane tank, you will get 10.5 hours of runtime at 50% load. The propane hose is included in the package to easily run the generator on propane.
Noise Level: The unit operates at 68 dBA from a distance of 23 feet.
Control Panel: Its control panel is very intuitive. There is an intelligauge along with a battery switch and electric start switch button.
The intelligauge helps you to keep an eye on the power output and maintenance intervals. It also shows volts, hertz, and remaining runtime in hours.
If we focus on the power outlets, then there are two 120V 20A household outlets, one 120V 30A RV outlet, and a 120V 30A locking outlet.
Safety Features: There is a Volt guard protection that keeps your appliances safe from power surges. Also, you have a low-oil shutdown sensor that turns the engine off because of lower oil levels.
2. DuroMax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Best under $500
Dual Fuel: It is a dual fuel portable generator that can also run on propane. There is a fuel switch button that allows easy switching from gasoline to propane.
Noise Level: It has a decibel rating of 69 dBA that makes it a little noisier than Champion 76533.
Start System: This EPA and CARB compliant unit supports both the recoil and electric key start systems.
Engine: It is powered by a 212cc, 7HP DuroMax OHV engine that features an air-cooled cooling system to prevent engine overheating.
Power Output: On propane, it generates 4608 peak watts and 3658 running watts. This output power is sufficient to handle both the heavy and light loads at the same time.
Runtime: The generator will give you 8.92 hours of runtime on propane at 50% load. This runtime is less than what Champion 76533 offers.
Control Panel: Its control panel has two GFCI protected 120V AC household outlets and a 120/240V 30A outlet. Also, there is a 12V DC outlet.
Its DuroMax M2 technology helps you to get maximum output power from each of the 120V outlets. There is a voltage selector switch that allows you to either operate your generator at both 120 and 240 Volts together or only at 120 Volts. Other than power outlets, there is a voltmeter, main breaker, engine start switch, and the low oil warning light.
Safety Features: The unit is featured with a low-oil shutdown sensor and a surge arrestor.
3. Pulsar PG5250B Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Perfect for Home & Travelling
Engine: This PG5250B portable generator from Pulsar is powered by a 224cc, 8HP, 4-stroke OHV engine protected by a powder-coated steel frame.
Dual Fuel: It is a dual fuel generator that also runs on propane to power your appliances during a power outage. The generator’s Switch and Go technology allows you to easily switch from gasoline to propane during operation.
Start System: It only has a recoil start system.
Power Output: This RV-ready generator produces 4750 peak watts and 3850 continuous watts.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: With a 20 lb. propane tank, you will get 15 hours of runtime.
Control Panel: Its control panel is featured with a smart fuel switch, engine switch, and a 3-in-1 hour meter that displays volts, frequency, and hours. If we talk about power outlets, then there are two 120V AC household outlets, one 120V 30A outlet, and a 120/240V twist-lock outlet.
Safety Features: There is a low oil indicator with an automatic shutdown feature that turns off the engine when it senses that the oil levels are extremely down. Also, there is overload protection that keeps your generator protected from damages.
Noise Level: It is a noisy unit that operates at 72 dBA.
4. Sportsman GEN4000LP Propane Powered Portable Generator – Lightest Propane Conventional Generator
Engine: The unit is powered by a 7HP, 4-stroke OHV engine that delivers maximum and reliable performance.
Noise Level: Its engine generates less than 68 dBA noise level that is acceptable.
Power Output: If we focus on its power output, then it generates 4000 watts of peak power and 3250 watts of running power.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: With a 20 lb. LPG cylinder, the generator gives 10 hours of runtime at 50% load. The company provides a propane fuel hose and a regulator, but you have to purchase the propane tank separately.
Start System: This EPA approved unit only has a recoil start system. But will require less or no effort.
Control Panel: Its control panel is very simple. You have only two 120V AC household outlets, one 120V AC outlet for RV, and a 12V DC outlet for battery charging.
Safety Features: There is an automatic low-oil shutdown sensor along with an auto fuel shutoff safety valve. The power outlets are overload protected. Also, you have a spark arrestor and an automatic voltage regulator.
5. Generac 6001 Propane Powered Portable Generator – Most Powerful
Engine: This propane powered portable generator from Generac has a powerful 389cc OHV engine.
Power Output: This CARB compliant produces 6875 peak watts and 5500 running watts.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: The best thing about this generator is its integrated propane tank holder that is located at the backside of the unit. This holder can support both the 20 lb. and 30 lb. LPG cylinders. With this fuel tank size, you will get 5 to 7 hours of runtime at 50% load.
Start system: It comes with a recoil start system.
Power Dial: This power dial features all the starting and shutdown functions in one simple control.
Control Panel: Its control panel is featured with four 120V AC 20A household outlets and a 120/240V 30A outlet. All these power outlets are protected with covers. You can also link your generator to a manual transfer switch with the help of a 30A outlet.
Other than power outlets, there is an engine switch and an hour meter that automatically tracks maintenance intervals.
Safety Features: The safety features include a low-oil shutdown sensor and circuit breaker protected outlets.
Best Propane Inverter Generators
1. Champion 100263 Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator – Powerful Propane Inverter Generator
Dual Fuel: This RV ready portable inverter generator from Champion features dual fuel option that allows you to run your generator on propane.
Start System: It comes with both the recoil and electric start systems. For an electric start, there is a convenient 3-position ignition switch that includes a battery.
Noise Level: It is an inverter generator, so its decibel rating is low. The unit has a noise level of 59 dBA from a distance of 23 feet.
Engine: It is featured with a 192cc 4-stroke Champion engine protected with a cast iron sleeve.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: With a 20 lb. propane tank, it offers 14.5 hours of runtime at 25% load. Thanks to its economy mode that saves fuel and helps you to get this excellent runtime.
Power Output: The unit provides clean and reliable power. On propane, it produces 3060 peak watts and 2790 running watts.
Parallel Ready: This unit is also parallel capable that allows you to connect another Champion generator to drive more power.
Control Panel: Its control panel has a 12V DC outlet, one 120V 30A RV outlet, and two 120V AC household outlets. Other than power outlets, there is an economy switch, engine switch, three light indicators, parallel connection outlets, fuel selector dial, and circuit breakers.
Safety Features: The generator features a low-oil shutoff sensor and overload protection.
2. DuroMax XP2000EH Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – Excellent Runtime
Engine: It is powered by an 80cc 3HP air-cooled engine that is less powerful than the Champion 100263.
Start System: It only features a recoil start system.
Dual Fuel: It is a dual fuel generator that can also run on propane to meet your power needs.
Power Output: It has a less powerful engine, so it generates 1900 watts of peak power and 1520 watts running power. This output power is quite low as compared to Champion 100263.
Fuel Tank Size and Runtime: With a 20 lb. propane tank, you will be able to get up to 21 hours of runtime at 25% load. Its economy mode saves fuel, offers excellent runtime, and keeps the noise levels down.
Parallel Ready: This unit is also parallel ready that allows you to connect another XP2000EH to produce more power.
Noise Level: This EPA and CARB approved unit produces 61 dBA noise levels.
Control Panel: There are three LED light indicators for low oil, overload, and output. There is an eco-mode button along with an engine switch. Also, you have a fuel selector knob and parallel operation outlets. Moreover, there are two 120V AC household outlets.
Safety Features: Low-oil shutdown sensor and overload protection are available.
Here we are going to tell which of the things you must look at before purchasing the best propane powered generator.
Inverter or Conventional Generator
The first thing that you need to do is to decide whether you want an inverter or a conventional generator.
Inverter generators provide clean and reliable power. They take care of your sensitive electronics. They are fuel-efficient. Also, they make less noise. But they are expensive and fail to produce a higher power output.
On the other hand, conventional generators are not fuel-efficient and are noisy as well. But they are the least expensive and produce a higher power output.
Power output is the most important thing to consider. It is necessary to have a generator that can easily power all of your essentials without overloading. So, in order to get the right generator with the right power generating capacity, calculate the total wattage of the appliances that you want to power during an outage. After adding the wattage, make sure to add at least 300 to 400 watts to the total wattage to support those appliances that are motor-driven.
Normally people purchase 20 lb. propane tank to run their propane-powered generators. With a 20 lb. propane tank, you normally get more than 10 hours of runtime at 50% load if you are using a conventional generator. But in case of an inverter generator, you will surely get more than 14 hours of runtime.
Also, propane gives more runtime as compared to gasoline, so you are going to get a good runtime with any propane-powered generator.
We all know how much noise pollution is affecting our environment and health. Therefore, it is necessary to always select those units with lower decibel ratings.
It is not true that only inverter generators operate quietly. There are some propane-powered conventional generators as well that make less noise.
The automatic low-oil shutdown sensor and overload protection are the most common and important safety features. So, make sure that these two are available in your generator.