If you’re serious about tailgating, RV cooking, or camping then you need a good propane generator.
Without the safety net of your home’s power supply, you need a portable generator that you can depend on for electricity as and when you need it.
Portable generators are available in a range of power options, but propane fuel is a no-brained for me.
Sure, you can use gasoline, diesel, or even solar power, but propane is one of the easiest, cheapest and safest modes of power.
Compared to a lot of other fuel sources, propane is considered as a clean burning fuel due to its relatively low emission output.
It also stays in good condition for a long time, unlike fuels like gasoline or diesel. This means if you only use your generator once in a while, propane is usually the best option to go for.
They’re also quiet, which makes them a great choice for camping, tailgating, or even as an emergency backup.
In this article I’m going to outline the best propane generators for you, as well as what to look out for, and the best ways to use them.
Right out the bat, this little beauty provides 4000 watts of electricity out of two 120 volt outlets. This makes it excellent both on the road, but also for emergency home use.
But what do these power numbers mean? In real terms this about ten hours of uninterrupted electricity from this little box.
It runs from a 20lb propane tank exactly like the kind you’d see hooked up to an outdoor BBQ grill.
DuroMax 18 HP Dual Fuel Generator
This is one seriously powered generator, packing in 10,000 watts of electricity and an 18 horse power engine.
It offers double the run time of other generators do its dual tank installation system, allowing you to run it off two propane tanks at once.
It’s all cased in a cast iron sleeve for maximum durability, but at only 72dB it’s also one of the quietest generators on this list.
DuroMax XP5500EH 5,500 Watt
What makes the Duromax interesting is its build around its OHV (Overhead Valve) motor engine. Overhead valve engines tend to be far more efficient in their fuel use, thanks in part to the placement of their intake and exhaust valves.
The 7.5 horse power motor in this generator can crank out between 4,500 and 5,500 watts of power. This might seem a little more modest than some of the other generators on this list, but it lasts for much longer.
Further to its fuel efficiency, the Duromax is a generator that at its heart is smooth and quiet. This is done with its steel cage and isolated engine mounts, as well as its mounted muffler.
The generator includes two 20-amp and 120 volt outlets for household use, making it a great backup power source for your home appliances should your mainline fail you.
While at the lower end of the power spectrum, the Generac 6954 can generate about 12 hours of power while only running at about 50% capacity.
And while it might not have quite the same force as some other generators, its flexible outlets make it easy to use with almost any appliance you have on the road with you or at home.
This propane generator features two regular 120v outlets, and a twist lock socket of 120/140v that allows you to swap out appliances, lights and heating.
It comes wheel mounted, making it excellent as a portable generator and easy to take on the road.
The Generac 5978 is a strong, durable, easy-to-use generator that gives you pretty much everything you could want in a generator.
This is only one of the most user friendly septic generators you’ll see on the marketplace.
It has an automatic shutdown feature for when you’re running low on fuel.
It has a huge fuel capacity, allowing the generator to run for over 12 hours, depending on the size of propane tank you install.
Its brilliant durability is largely down to its steel framing, which comes in the form of 1.25-inch thick pipes. This skeleton frame is really impressive, and acts as a guarantee that it’ll last for years.
On first sight you’d be forgiven for thinking that this will be a loud generator. It’s a big monster of a machine, and in most instances this can only mean one thing: Noise.
I’m really please to say however that this simply isn’t the case with the Generac 7117. In fact, it’s one of the quietest generators on this list.
Despite its size, it’s only about half the weight of other similarly sized models, while still offering a mightily impressive 800w of power.
Its LED display keeps you up to date with its performance, notifying you of the power output and remaining propane fuel in the tank. It also has built-in automatic shutdown for safety, and to help protect the generator itself.
This generator has a 4500 watt start rate, and then a 3650 watt running rate.
Just like any good generator, it runs at a quiet volume. Its very low 68-decibel noise output is thanks to its ‘Whisper’ series muffler.
Running off 5 gallons of fuel, it can provide an incredible 14 hours of power.
It has a one-touch ignition system that runs off its remove start key fob. It has a data display and low oil indicator light to show you just how much fuel you have left, and alert you when you’re running low.
How does a propane generator work?
Propane generators work much in the same way as many other types of power generators. They use propane as a fuel to then generate electricity, to then be used with appliances on the road, or as an emergency backup system (source).
Power is generated by using a motor to run off propane, before then converting that power into electric energy.
Because propane is a burnable source of energy, electricity can easily be generated by burning the propane which in turn creates heat and energy.
What are the advantages to propane generators?
Propane is a clean burning fuel (source) by virtue of the fact that it emits far less carbon monoxide than charcoal or wood. This makes it far less harmful for the environment than other fuel sources.
Check out our guide to the best propane tank gauge units.
Not only this, but it’s also far quieter when burning and safer to use.
Solar powered generators are increasingly popular, but these leave you at the mercy of sunlight and weather, meaning that they’re often only useful during the summer months.
Propane also doesn’t deteriorate in the same way that gas and diesel do. Propane essentially has an infinite shelf life, which means that you can buy in bulk for future use. This makes it extremely cost-effective and reliable.
What are the disadvantages to propane generators?
The main disadvantage is that propane can be a bit harder to find than other types of gas or petrol. However anyone with a propane gas BBQ grill will know where to get them.
Are propane generators more efficient?
In terms of pure power, propane generators aren’t as strong as gas or diesel powered options.
However, propane generators are much more fuel efficient in terms of return on amount used.
When compared to petrol or diesel, propane burns significantly less.