10 Best Propane Generators You Can Buy in 2018 – Reviews and Buying Guide

If you’re looking for a generator for your home or for use on the go for an RV or worksite, consider a generator that runs on propane. Propane is inexpensive compared to gasoline and can be stored for up to a year, which makes it a very handy fuel for generating electricity off the grid. Although there are almost no generators that run solely on propane, dual fuel generators that run on either gasoline or propane are abundant, and there are even some tri-fuel generators on the market.

Choosing the best propane generator for your needs can be challenging, since there are a lot of generator options on the market that vary in portability, power, runtime, and usability. We reviewed the top 10 generators that run on propane by poring over customer reviews and technical specifications. We paid special attention to the starting and running power when using propane rather than gasoline, since this determines how many and which appliances you’ll be able to plug in. Running time on a standard propane tank and the number of outlets available were also important considerations in our review, since these can determine how well a generator will work for your needs.

Top 10 Propane Generators review 2018

The table below highlights the best portable propane generators currently on the market and summarizes the features that set them apart. Continue reading for detailed reviews of each generator complete with the pros and cons of each model. Our buying guide provides more information about how to choose the propane generator that is right for your needs. And in the end, we announce our favorite generators from the round-up.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. Westinghouse WGen3600DF (Editor’s Choice)
Dual-fuel generator with a sturdy design, both push-button and remote start, and enough power for a home full of appliances
WGen3600DF
2. Pulsar Products PG7750B (Best Value for Money)
Powerful and affordable generator with switch-and-go technology and a variety of outlets
PulsarPG7750B
3. FIRMAN H03652 (Best for Extended Runtime)
Portable generator with extended runtime on propane of about 15 hours at half power
FIRMAN_H03652
4. WGCT5300 (Best Tri-Fuel Generator)
Tri-fuel generator running on gas, natural gas, and propane and offering plenty of power, great for use during emergencies
WGCT5300
5. Champion 100263 (Best Inverter Generator)
Relatively lightweight inverter generator with more stable power output great for electronics
Champion100263
6. Champion 76533 (Best for Usability)
Great performance on propane and the Intelligauge display for easy tracking of performance and runtime
Champion76533
7. DuroMax XP4850EH (Budget Pick)
The most affordable generator with a great power output for the money and an impressive 20-hour runtime on propane
DuroMaxXP4850EH
8. Ford FG5250PBR
Powerful RV-ready generator with remote start, switch-and-go technology, and never-flat wheel design
FordFG5250PBR
9. FIRMAN H08051 (Most Powerful Generator)
Extremely powerful generator with an 8-gallon tank with integrated fuel meter, surprisingly easy to move despite weight
FIRMAN_H08051
10. DuroMax XP2000EH (Best Compact Generator)
Generator without wheels with smaller size and output wattage, but great for portability and runtime
DuroMaxXP2000EH

This dual-fuel generator from Westinghouse is set apart by it’s incredibly easy to use push-button start and remote start via a key fob, similar to the starting mechanisms found on modern luxury cars. Once running, the generator is rated for 3,600 W on gasoline with a maximum surge power of 4,650 W and the four-gallon tank is able to run for 12 hours at half-load. The generator only offers two standard AC power outlets, but also comes with an RV-ready 30-amp outlet and a DC port for battery charging. At over 100 pounds and nearly two feet across on each side, the generator is certainly not easy to move around – especially when loaded with gas – but users appreciated the sturdy wheel design. Westinghouse also offers a three-year warranty on this unit, and the generator is CARB-compliant.

Performance on propane: When running on propane, this generator has a surge power of 4,180 W and a continuous power output of 3,240 W – enough to power a home full of appliances. On a standard backyard propane tank, the generator can run for up to 12 hours at half-power.

PROS:
  • 4,180 W surge power on propane
  • 12 hour runtime at half power
  • RV-ready 30-amp outlet

CONS:
  • Only two AC ports

Overall rating

If you’re looking for a dual fuel generator that can deliver above-average power for below-average cost, this model from Pulsar Products is a great option. When running on gasoline, the generator delivers up to 7,750 W of surge power and 6,250 W of continuous power. The face of the generator has everything you need, including a digital power and runtime meter, four standard AC outlets, a DC port for battery charging, and an RV-ready 30-amp outlet. Although the generator weighs over 200 pounds and sports 10-inch wheels for transport – and thus is by no means compact – users appreciated that the carry handles fold down for storage when not in use. Users also loved how quiet this generator is relative to most comparable units with similar power ratings.

Performance on propane: This generator comes with switch-and-go technology to make it easy to switch between gasoline and propane without turning off the power. When running on propane, it delivers up to 6,250 W of surge power and 5,950 W of continuous power for about eight hours at half power.

PROS:
  • Excellent power output for reasonable price
  • Digital display and four standard AC outlets
  • Quiet compared to similar generators

CONS:
  • Runtime is short compared to other generators

Overall rating

This smaller generator from FIRMAN looks at first glance like it’s larger cousin, but there are some important differences between the two. This generator is less powerful – it maxes out at 4,550 W of surge power and 3,650 W of continuous power on gasoline. The gasoline reservoir is also smaller, at only five gallons, but with the lower power output, it is still able to run for 14 hours at half power. Plus, users love the integrated digital fuel gauge for keeping track of remaining runtime. At 112 pounds and paired with a sturdy set of wheels, the generator is relatively portable but still heavy and bulky for extended movement. In addition, although it comes with an RV-ready 30-amp outlet, note that the generator does not have a DC port for charging a battery.

Performance on propane: When running on propane, this generator is able to output 4,100 W of surge power and 3,300 W of continuous power. On a standard 20-pound tank, the generator is able to run up to about 15 hours at half power.

PROS:
  • 14-hour runtime at half power
  • RV-ready 30-amp port
  • Three-year warranty

CONS:
  • No DC port for battery charging

Overall rating


4

WGCT5300 – Best Tri-Fuel Generator

In addition to running on either gasoline or propane, this tri-fuel generator from Smart Generators is able to run on natural gas – meaning you can hook it directly to your home’s natural gas line to function as a limitless electricity source during an emergency. If this is your primary use, the portability is not a concern – which is good, since this generator weighs over 200 pounds, making it difficult to move even with the wheels. The generator’s face offers little in the way of frills – simply four standard AC outlets, plus two additional 120 V ports. The generator offers plenty of power no matter what fuel you are using – 5,300 W surge power and 4,800 W continuous power when running on gasoline or 5,000 W surge power and 4,560 W continuous power when running on natural gas. Although the generator does not have surge protection, the integrated inverter produces clean sine waves to power sensitive electronics in your home like computers.

Performance on propane: This generator is unique in that the performance does not fall when using propane compared to gasoline – the surge power remains at 5,300 W maximum and the continuous power at 4,800 W.

PROS:
  • Tri-fuel generator
  • Four standard AC outlets
  • No power drop on propane

CONS:
  • Expensive

Overall rating

This compact dual fuel generator from Champion is incredibly expensive for the amount of power it delivers, but the advantage gained in portability and quietness when running can be worth the extra money. The generator outputs up to 3,400 W of surge power when running on gasoline and 3,100 W of continuous power, although the runtime is limited to 7.5 hours at one-quarter power since the gas tank is relatively small. The face of the generator offers both an RV-ready 30-amp outlet as well as a DC port for battery charging, although there is no meter for keeping track of used wattage or fuel levels. At under 100 pounds, users appreciated how portable this generator is – although the wheels can clog up on the muddy ground. The generator comes backed by Champion’s three-year warranty and lifetime technical support from the company.

Performance on propane: The generator performs relatively well on propane, offering about 3,100 W of surge power and 2,750 W of continuous power. In addition, since the unit is not limited by the gas tank, it can run around 12 hours at half power on a standard propane tank.

PROS:
  • Excellent portability
  • RV-ready 30-amp outlet and DC port
  • Three year warranty and lifetime support

CONS:
  • No fuel or power meter
  • Wheels can clog on muddy ground

Overall rating

This dual fuel generator from Champion was designed with safety and usability in mind. It offers a locking fuel selector switch that ensures you won’t accidentally switch fuels when plugging in appliances, as well as an electric motor start switch and a built-in surge protector for the outlets. On gasoline, the generator outputs 3,800 W, can surge up to 4,750 W, and can run for up to 9 hours on a full tank. Although having only two AC outlets can be somewhat limiting, the generator also comes with a 30-amp RV-ready outlet. Users’ favorite feature is the Intelligauge display, which gives an easy-to-read continuous measurement of the wattage being drawn from the generator so that it is easy to track performance and remaining runtime. Champion offers a three-year warranty but backs up this product even further with lifetime technical support from the company.

Performance on propane: When fueling this generator with propane, performance only drops slightly to 3,420 W continuous power and 4,275 W surge power. On a typical 20-pound propane tank, the generator can run up to 10.5 hours at half power.

PROS:
  • Competitive power output
  • Intelligauge display
  • Three-year warranty with lifetime technical support

CONS:
  • Only two AC outlets

Overall rating

If you’re looking for a generator that can run on propane but don’t want to spend a fortune, this budget unit from DuroMax is an excellent option. The 4,850 W of surge power output on gasoline is better than some more expensive generators, as well, although the continuous output drops significantly to 3,850 W. Like more expensive generators, it comes with a DC outlet for charging a battery and two 20-amp AC outlets. However, although it has a 30-amp outlet, it is not of the RV-ready variety and will need some modification to work with most RVs. Users appreciated being able to monitor the voltage via the analog display, although they noted it could be hard to read, especially when using the generator at night. For portability, users liked that the generator comes with thick rubberized wheels, although the 130-pound weight does not make moving it easy.

Performance on propane: One of the best aspects of this generator is its runtime on propane – up to 20 hours at half power on a standard 20-pound propane tank. In addition, output power only drops to 3,450 W when using propane instead of gasoline.

PROS:
  • Up to 20 hour runtime on propane
  • Inexpensive

CONS:
  • No RV-ready 30-amp port
  • Analog voltmeter can be hard to read

Overall rating

Better known for their cars, Ford lent their name to this well-designed dual fuel generator. The generator has a surge wattage on gasoline of 5,250 W and a continuous power output of 4,750 W, which makes it one of the most powerful generators in our roundup. Users also loved the remote start technology, which is great if you are camping and don’t want to leave your RV to turn on the electricity. Like many other dual fuel generators, this unit only offers two standard AC outlets but does come with an RV-ready 30-amp outlet. Although the generator weighs in at 108 pounds – more when the six-gallon fuel tank is full – it is easy to transport thanks to the sturdy never-flat wheel design.

Performance on propane: This generator features switch-and-go technology, meaning that it is possible to switch seamlessly between gasoline and propane without turning off the generator. When running on propane, the generator delivers 4,750 W of surge power and 3,850 W of continuous power and can run a little over 12 hours at half power.

PROS:
  • Powerful
  • Remote start and RV-ready outlet
  • Never-flat wheel design

CONS:
  • Only two standard AC outlets
  • No battery charging port

Overall rating

This generator from FIRMAN is designed to provide a tremendous amount of power and sustain it for hours on end. The generator has a peak output of 10,000 W and a continuous output of 8,000 W when running on gasoline, making it the most powerful generator in our roundup by a longshot. Plus, thanks to the eight-gallon tank, the generator can perform at half power for up to 12 hours. Although the generator weighs in at 235 pounds, it is balanced on the frame such that users found that it was surprisingly easy to move for short distances. In addition, while this generator is significantly louder than less powerful models, it’s also quieter than other gasoline-only generators in the same output class. Another feature that users appreciated is the integrated fuel gauge, which makes it easy to track how much longer the generator will run.

Performance on propane: The performance suffers notably when using propane if you are ever planning to run this generator at the upper reaches of its output, but still, it is much more than many other generators on our list. On propane, the generator offers a peak output of 9,050 W and a continuous output of 7,250 W and will run for about eight hours on a standard propane tank at half power.

PROS:
  • Extreme power output
  • Surprisingly easy to move around despite weight
  • Eight gallon tank with integrated fuel meter

CONS:
  • Relatively short runtime on standard propane tank
  • Louder and heavier than smaller generators

Overall rating

The only generator without wheels in our roundup, this dual fuel generator from DuroMax is much smaller than the other generators we reviewed – both in size and output wattage. The generator maxes out at 2,000 W of surge power and outputs only 1,600 W of continuous power, which means that most household and RV users will be running this generator at close to maximum output most of the time. Furthermore, the small size means a small fuel tank: it will only run for 6.5 hours at half power, and only a few hours at full output. The generator weighs only 53 pounds, less than half of the larger generators in our review, but this is still a heavy weight to carry for any distance – especially if you’re carrying a propane tank on the other arm. The generator also has no 30-amp outlet and no electronic start, so starting the unit can be a pain.

Performance on propane: The generator output rather low on propane, 1,800 W of surge power and 1,400 W of continuous power. However, since the propane tank is not limited by the smaller gasoline reservoir, the generator can run up to 16 hours at half power on a standard 20-pound tank. So if you don’t need much power, this will be perfect for you.

PROS:
  • Smaller and lighter than competing propane generators

CONS:
  • Low continuous power output, especially on propane
  • Heavy to carry without wheels

Overall rating

Buying Guide

Now that you’ve been introduced to the ten best portable propane generators currently on the market, how do you choose between them to find the right one for your needs? Our buying guide summarizes some of the important things to consider when choosing a generator.

Why choose a generator running on propane?

generator running on propane

Compared to gasoline, propane is significantly less expensive as a fuel source to power your generator. It is also easier to store for long periods – whereas gasoline goes stale and can ruin your carburetor after a few months, propane will last for up to a year and won’t damage your generator since it is not left inside the generator’s fuel reservoir. This makes propane a great choice if you’re preparing for an emergency and don’t want to have to repurchase a fuel supply every few months.

The downsides to running a generator on propane are that it is bulkier and less efficient than gasoline, it results in lower surge and continuous power outputs compared to running on gasoline, and it will not power your generator at all in temperatures well below freezing.

How do you intend to use your generator?

Using generator

How you plan to use your generator largely determines what specifications and features you should be looking for when choosing a specific model. Operating a generator to power your house when the power goes out is very different, both in terms of the output wattage required and the desired runtime, from powering an RV or a campsite. Also consider, for your intended application, for how long you will need to run your generator continuously in the most extreme cases – and how much power you’ll need in these cases. One of the advantages to using propane is that you can buy an extremely large tank, whereas gasoline is limited by the fuel tank built into the generator.

What are your power needs?

How much power your generator will need to provide depends on what appliances you’re planning to run off of it. If you are planning to use your generator to power your whole house in an emergency, you’ll want to find a high-powered generator that can output at least 5,000 W, and even more if you have a water pump or energy-hungry heating system. On the other hand, a smaller generator that puts only 3,000 W can be enough if you are trying to power an RV or a campsite. If you know that you are planning to run your generator primarily on propane, make sure you consider how much power the generator you choose can output on propane rather than gasoline.

Runtime is also important depending on your application. If you are planning to power your house and want things to run close to normally, you’ll need a generator with a long runtime of 10-12 hours at half power. However, if you are operating an RV and only need power for a few short bursts of time, for example in the morning and evening, then runtime may not be a major consideration. Consider that runtime is often measured at half power or less, so the amount of wattage your generator outputs can be a consideration in how much runtime you’ll actually get.

Conventional vs. inverter generator

Both conventional and inverter generators output AC power – the same type of power that comes from your wall outlet – although the mechanism differs enough that there are some significant differences in how conventional and inverter generators operate in practice. Inverter generators are typically designed to be more compact and lightweight and less noisy than conventional generators, which can be an advantage if you are hauling your generator from place to place rather than keeping it in a fixed location or using it in a public campground.

However, this also means that inverter generators typically have smaller fuel reservoirs – and accordingly shorter run times – as well as lower power outputs, even though they tend to be more fuel-efficient than conventional generators. Although most users will not take advantage of this design feature, inverter generators can be run in parallel to increase your power output, while conventional generators limit you to whatever wattage they are rated for.

What to look for in a portable generator that runs on propane?

Portable generator

Beyond wattage, there are a number of convenience and safety features that differentiate portable generators from one another.

Portability

Not all portable generators are designed to be equally portable. While some weigh around 100 pounds and come with a set of burly wheels to allow you to roll it from place to place, more powerful generators and tri-fuel models can easily weigh over 200 pounds and can be nearly impossible to move even with wheels. Small generators may be more compact, but without wheels, even these miniature units can quickly weigh you down. Consider how frequently you plan to move your generator between locations, or whether it is more likely to sit in one spot outside your house for its lifetime.

Electric start

An increasingly common and much-loved feature on generators is an electric start, which replaces the traditional pull cord. Electric start generators are extremely convenient to turn on, requiring little of the hassle that has always been associated with generators. Some units even come with a remote start function, perfect for RV use since you can turn on the electricity in the morning without venturing outside.

Safety

Safety is also an important concern with generators. Generators that feature a low oil alert and automatic shutoff are common because running out of oil can cause irreversible damage to your generator and potentially present a fire hazard. Some generators also come with surge prevention to protect your sensitive electronics, like computers, from being fried and to reduce the risk of electrocution when plugging into the generator.

Outlets

generator-outletsFinally, look for a variety of outlets when choosing a generator. Many modern models come with an RV-ready 30-amp outlet, which can be hugely helpful if you plan to use your generator with an RV. In addition, although you will find only two standard AC outlets on many generators, having four or more can free up valuable space to plug in numerous small electronics as opposed to one or two large appliances.

Our Verdict

Our overall favorite portable propane generators on the market today are the WGen3600DF from Westinghouse, the H03652 Hybrid Series generator from FIRMAN, and the PG7750B from Pulsar Products. These three generators cover the range of output power, from around 3,000 W on the FIRMAN to almost 6,000 W on the Pulsar Products generator when running on propane. The Westinghouse and FIRMAN models were set ahead by their three year warranties and their extremely long runtimes at half power of 12 hours and 14 hours, respectively. For the Pulsar Products generator, users greatly appreciated the digital display to track runtime and output wattage. Overall, we felt that the Westinghouse Wgen3600DF was the best portable propane generator thanks to its combination of portability above and beyond either of its competitors, an RV-ready 30-amp outlet, and a DC power outlet for battery charging that the FIRMAN generator lacked.

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