When you want to power your campsite, light up a work site that doesn’t have power, or get your house back up and running during a power outage, generators can always save the day. A dual fuel generator does the same job as a single fuel unit. The generator runs on propane or gasoline, allowing you to choose the fuel based on your needs; like power requirements, noise restrictions, and availability in your area.
The best dual fuel generator options have several electrical outlets, a range of power outputs, and wheels for added portability. This article explains some of the key features of quality generators and will help you to find a suitable model for your home.
- BEST OVERALL: Westinghouse WGen7500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- RUNNER-UP: WEN DF475T Dual Fuel 120V/240V Portable Generator
- BEST BUDGET: Durostar DS5500EH Portable Generator
- UPGRADE PICK: DuroMax XP12000EH Generator
- BEST SMALL: Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator
- BEST QUIET: Champion Power Equipment 100402 2000-Watt Dual Fuel
- BEST FOR CAMPING: DuroMax XP5500EH Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready
- ALSO CONSIDER: Ford 11,050W Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Before You Buy a Dual Fuel Generator
Before you buy a dual fuel generator, you’ll need to consider a few things to ensure the investment will meet your needs.
First and foremost, keep in mind that you cannot run a dual fuel generator indoors. They produce toxic fumes. Instead, you must set them up outside in a sheltered location to provide electrical power to appliances through an extension cord.
The best multi fuel generator uses both gasoline and propane to provide electric power to your home, campground, or work site. These generators skew larger and less portable than single fuel generators. Transporting two different types of fuel, if you decide to, can also be a hassle. If portability matters a great deal to you, consider a portable generator that runs on gasoline or diesel.
If noise levels make a difference, dual fuel generators run quietly in propane mode. However, if you run out of propane and have to switch to gasoline, the generator will make much more noise. If you really want a silent-running generator, an inverter generator may make a better choice. This style has an enclosed body and supplies power using a computer-controlled inverter instead of a noisier alternator.
However, if you see yourself using two types of fuel on a regular basis and can deal with a little extra weight and noise, read on to find the best dual fuel generator for your home.
What to Consider When Buying a Dual Fuel Generator
To find the best dual fuel generators for your home, campground, or work site, keep these important considerations in mind, including fuel efficiency, fuel tank capacity, power output, control panel configuration, and several additional factors detailed below.
Dual fuel generators have an isolated gasoline tank with a fuel capacity that ranges from as small as 2 gallons to more than 10 gallons. The larger the fuel tank on the generator, the longer the generator can provide gasoline-based power. But, as tank size increases, so does the size of the generator itself.
Fuel capacity has no bearing on how much propane you can use with your dual fuel generator. Propane gas is stored under pressure in canisters, which attach to the generator with a hose and pressure regulator for direct fuel consumption.
The power output on dual fuel generators is measured in watts (W). Manufacturers’ specs include peak power output and running power output. Peak power output refers to the maximum number of watts the generator can provide at any one time. Running power output equals the average number of watts produced during use.
Dual fuel generators produce a power output from 1,000 watts to over 12,000 watts depending on the size and function of the generator. Some manufacturers may further break these numbers down into propane peak and running power outputs and gasoline peak and running power outputs.
The breakdown of these numbers matters because gasoline produces a higher wattage than propane. Still, many manufacturers of dual fuel generators do not differentiate between the two fuels when they report peak and running power output. Instead, they report the highest numbers using gasoline, which leaves you to estimate the range for propane.
Recoil Cord vs. Electric Start
You can start your dual fuel generator with an electric start switch or a recoil cord.
- Electric start generators store extra electricity in an internal battery, which it then uses to start automatically when you press the button or flip the switch. An electric start makes ignition much easier than a recoil cord does, but it requires stored electricity in the generator. Without a charged internal battery, you cannot use the electric start.
- Recoil cord is an old but reliable technology that has been a feature of generators, lawn mowers, chainsaws, and many other fuel-powered tools for years. This method of starting the generator requires you to quickly and steadily pull the recoil cord to kick-start the engine. While it will take some effort, and possibly more than a few pulls to get the generator started, you won’t have to rely on electricity. This allows you to start up the generator any time, even if it has been stored in the garage or shed for a few years.
Operating Noise Level
Operating any power tool or accessory will produce some sound, but some of the best dual fuel generators have a very low noise output and still produce enough power for your purposes. The operating noise level is measured in decibels (dB). To understand the range of sound produced by a generator, consider these common sounds and their equivalent operating dB level:
- Refrigerator: 50 dB
- Hair dryer: 70 to 90 dB
- Motorcycle: 95 to 110 dB
A dual fuel generator will produce 50 to 90 dB of noise, depending on the size of the generator, the type of fuel (remember that gasoline runs louder than propane), and the power output of the unit. Most generators will fall between 65 dB and 75 dB, which compares to the noise output of a hair dryer on low.
The quietest dual fuel generators belong to a relatively small group of products that utilize dual fuel technology and inverter technology to create a dual fuel inverter generator.
Dual fuel generators are heavy and broad and may include hoses or tanks that make them difficult to carry and move around. In recognition of this portability shortcoming, some manufacturers of dual fuel portable generators (and generators in general) now include wheel kits with their products so that you can tilt the generator back and roll it to the desired location.
You can also purchase a wheel kit separately to add to your existing generator or replace an older wheel kit that doesn’t work well anymore. Either way, a wheel kit makes transportation of portable dual fuel generators much easier.
Lift Hook Bar
Lift hook bars come in most handy on job sites where workers use them to attach the generator to a hook-and-pulley system and raise or lower it from floor to floor instead of carrying it up or down stairs or ladders. In industrial settings, this feature helps raise the generator onto a walkway or platform.
A lift hook bar will increase the weight (and likely the price) of the generator, so don’t look for a generator with this feature unless you truly plan to use it.
Size and Weight
The overall size of the dual fuel generator can be measured in inches and usually includes the length, width, and height of the generator, with most models falling between 22 by 22 by 22 inches and 35 by 30 by 30 inches. They typically weigh between 100 and 250 pounds.
If you plan to move the generator frequently, size and weight should figure prominently into your decision. Make sure it will fit in your car or truck and that the weight and dimensions allow you to take it where you need it to go. Don’t go so large that you can’t move it, and don’t go so small that the generator doesn’t provide the power you need. Remember: larger, heavier motors are also the most powerful.
Our Top Picks
The top dual fuel generators below get top marks for quality, price, and user satisfaction. Each has been selected for their quality, features, and power output as well as the top dual fuel generator reviews. Give them a look to help you find the best dual fuel generator for your home.
For the best dual fuel 7,500 watt generator, the Westinghouse Dual Fuel Portable Generator offers 9,500 watts of peak power on gasoline and 6,750 and 8,550 watts, respectively, on propane. It provides fail-safe ignition with an electric start on the keypad, a key fob with a remote start button, and a backup recoil cord start.
This generator operates at just 74 dB and runs up to 12 hours on a full 6.6-gallon tank of gasoline. It has two GFCI 120-volt standard household outlets, one 120-volt transfer switch outlet, and one 120/240-volt RV outlet. Each includes a rubber cover for added safety, and a wheel kit and lift bracket add mobility. The dual fuel generator measures 27 inches by 24 inches by 3 inches and weighs 230 pounds.
- Fuel Capacity: 6.6 gallons
- Wattage: 6,750 to 9,500 watts
- Noise Level: 74 dB
- Outlets: 4
- Efficient fuel burning
- Fail-safe ignition system
- Wheels enhance mobility
- Louder than other options
On a full 4-gallon tank of gasoline, WEN’s dual fuel generator operates nonstop for up to 11 hours at about 75 dB. With a push of the electric start button, it produces 3,800 running watts or 4,750 peak power or surge watts on gasoline. On propane, the running watts drop to 3,500, and the surge watts decrease to 4,350. It includes two 120-volt standard household outlets, one 120/240-volt twist-lock outlet, and a 12-volt DC port.
At about 100 pounds, WEN’s dual fuel generator may not seem like a portable option, but the large rear wheels make it relatively easy to move over flat surfaces. The heavy-duty frame facilitates lifting the bulky product into and out of a truck, car, or other vehicle. Labelled as our second-best dual fuel portable generator, this pick can hold its own in emergency or situations where ample power is required.
- Fuel Capacity: 4 gallons
- Wattage: 3,800 to 4,750 watts
- Noise Level: 75 dB
- Outlets: 4
- Affordable unit
- Long runtime on a full tank
- Impressive safety features
- Works well in bad weather
- Wheeled design enhances mobility
- Oil drain plug in an awkward position
DuroStar’s Electric Start Dual Fuel Generator provides an affordable option for the RV or campground. It produces 4,500 watts of running power and 5,500 watts of peak power on gasoline. The manufacturer’s specs don’t include its power output on propane. This generator runs at a 69-dB noise level.
At 129 pounds, this dual fuel generator measures 25 by 22 by 22 inches and has a 3.96-gallon fuel capacity. A metal frame and a wheel kit increase mobility. Durostar’s generator starts with the push of an electric button or a few pulls of the backup recoil cord. It includes two 120-volt standard household outlets, one 120/240-volt twist-lock outlet, and a 12-volt DC charging port.
- Fuel Capacity: 3.96 gallons
- Wattage: 4,500 to 5,500 watts
- Noise Level: 69 dB
- Outlets: 4
- Multiple startup options
- Analog meter displays voltage stability
- Wheel kit improves portability
- Noisy even when under load
The features on this premium dual fuel generator warrant its bigger price tag. On a full 8.3-gallon tank of gasoline, the DuroMax Portable Dual Fuel Generator produces 9,500 watts of running power and 12,000 watts of peak power at a 72-dB noise level. (The manufacturer’s specs don’t include power outputs on propane.)
DuroMax’s generator starts with an electric ignition or a backup recoil cord. For added safety, it shuts down automatically when the oil runs low. This 234-pound generator measures 30 by 29 by 26 inches, and it sits in a steel frame on two heavy-duty wheels to aid in transport around the campsite, work site, or home. It includes two 120-volt standard household outlets, one 120-volt twist-lock outlet, one 240-volt twist-lock outlet, and one 240-volt heavy-duty outlet.
- Fuel Capacity: 8.3 gallons
- Wattage: 9,500 to 12,000 watts
- Noise Level: 72 dB
- Outlets: 5
- High power output
- Large fuel capacity
- Automatic shutdown when low on oil
- Wheels improve mobility
Though a small dual fuel generator, Champion’s compact model makes for easy transport and storage with enough power output for small devices and appliances. At 122 pounds and just 26 by 25 by 23 inches, the unit includes a wheel kit and lift bars for added mobility.
On a full 3.4-gallon tank of gasoline, the generator runs for up to 9 hours while producing just 68 dB of noise. This little unit packs 3,800 watts of running power and 4,750 watts of peak power on gasoline or 3,420 and 4,275 watts on propane. When the oil runs low, the machine shuts off automatically.
The device offers an electric or pull-cord start and includes two 120-volt standard household outlets, one 120-volt twist-lock outlet, and one 120-volt RV outlet.
- Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gallons
- Wattage: 3,420 to 4,750 watts
- Noise Level: 68 dB
- Outlets: 4
- Relatively quiet operation
- Compact profile
- Includes wheel kit and lift bars
- Oil changing can be difficult
- Doesn’t run well in high temperatures
Pulsar’s dual fuel generator makes a great choice for heavy-duty use at home or at the job site as it is considered one of the most reliable dual fuel generators on the market. It operates at 9,500 watts of running power and 12,000 watts of peak power on gasoline or 8,550 and 10,800 watts on propane. On a full 8-gallon tank of gasoline, it runs continuously for up to 12 hours. Though it is not the best dual fuel whole house generator, it has a high enough power output for large appliances.
It weighs a whopping 209 pounds and measures 28.5 by 26 by 25.5 inches, but the thick steel lift frame, fold-out front handles, and a rear-wheel kit facilitate transport. The dual fuel generator includes four 120-volt standard household outlets, one 120-volt twist-lock outlet, one 12-volt DC port, and one 120/240-volt industrial grade outlet.
- Fuel Capacity: 8 gallons
- Wattage: 8,500 to 12,000 watts
- Noise Level: 63 dB
- Outlets: 7
- Excellent power output
- Durable build
- Plenty of power outlets
- Propane smell can be quite strong
Considered the best quiet dual fuel generator, Champion’s inverter generator is an ideal option for quiet campsites or homes with neighbors close by because it produces just 53 dB of sound while in operation. That’s about the same as the hum of a refrigerator.
A 1.1-gallon tank allows it to run continuously for up to 11 hours. On a 20-pound propane tank, it will run for 24 hours straight. It produces 1,600 watts of running power and 2,000 watts of peak power on gasoline or 1,440 and 1,800 watts on propane. This 48-pound model includes two 120-volt standard household outlets and one 12-volt DC outlet making it one of the best dual fuel home generators for low-noise output.
- Fuel Capacity: 1.1 gallons
- Wattage: 1,440 to 2,000 watts
- Noise Level: 53 dB
- Outlets: 3
- Runs for 11 hours on gasoline, and 24 hours on propane
- Lightweight design
- Quiet operation
Get out of the house and into the great outdoors with the DuroMax, one of the best portable dual fuel generator models for camping. It’s designed with a thick steel lift frame and a rear-wheel kit for easy transport. The unit produces just 69 dB of noise, so it won’t disturb the peace around the campsite.
On a full 4-gallon tank of gasoline, the 142-pound generator runs for up to 9 hours and produces 4,500 watts of running power and 5,500 watts of peak power. On propane, it puts out 4,275 watts of running power and 5,225 watts of peak power. This generator comes with two 120-volt standard household outlets and one 120/240-volt twist-lock outlet to run 240V appliances or tools.
- Fuel Capacity: 4 gallons
- Wattage: 4,275 to 5,500 watts
- Noise Level: 69 dB
- Outlets: 3
- Impressive power for its size
- Rear wheel kit and lift bar for easy transport
- Includes voltmeter
- Some users reported issues when using with RVs
The Ford Dual Fuel Portable Generator can be switched easily back and forth from propane or gasoline without having to shut down the power. It produces 9,000 watts of running power and 11,050 watts of peak power on gasoline or 8,100 watts of running power and 10,050 watts of peak power with propane. The 6.6-gallon fuel tank gives you up to 10 hours of continuous operation at just 74 decibels of noise.
This dual fuel generator can be started with an electric push start or a recoil cord backup and has four 120-volt standard household outlets, one 12-volt twist-lock outlet, and one 120/240-volt RV outlet with rubber covers for added protection. The generator measures 32 x 23 x 23 inches and weighs 196 pounds, but can be easily moved around with the rugged lift bracket and wheel kit.
- Fuel Capacity: 6.6 gallons
- Wattage: 8,100 to 11, 050 watts
- Noise Level: 74 dB
- Outlets: 6
- Push start or recoil cord options
- Lift bracket and wheel kit included
- Plenty of outlets
For a generator that runs efficiently and provides a constant stream of power for multiple devices, consider the Westinghouse dual fuel generator. If your requirements are higher than average, the Pulsar dual fuel generator can provide an average-sized household with the power it needs during an outage.
How We Chose the Best Dual Fuel Generators
The best dual fuel generators provide reliable backup power to the home with either gasoline or propane and ensure your home can keep running if the electricity goes down in the area. As a starting point, we only considered units from established generator brands known for reliable manufacturing.
Our list of recommendations for the best dual fuel generator pays close attention to fuel efficiency, tank capacity, noise level, and power output. We made sure to include a range of options to suit specific situations, such as large-capacity generators for high-power demand, portable and compact units for camping and RV trips, as well as light-duty models for power outages and emergencies.
The top generator picks include various safety and convenience features that make certain models stand out among others. Several units on the list run relatively quietly with a noise output between 53 and 69 dB. Since generators can get quite heavy, most options on the list include built-in wheels and lift bars to make transport easier. Our selection process also prioritized models with a built-in voltmeter, automatic shutdown, and versatile start options.
The Advantages of Owning a Dual Fuel Generator
Gasoline and propane each have their pros and cons as generator fuels. Gasoline is easier to find, but propane costs less. Propane is a better fuel source in hot summer weather, while gas burns better in the cold. A dual fuel generator lets you weigh some of these pros and cons and choose a fuel based on your immediate circumstances.
When you use both fuel sources, one after the other, you may double your generator’s runtime. This lets you run to the gas station to refuel while the generator keeps providing power on propane.
To recap, with a dual fuel generator, you can:
- Choose your fuel based on cost or availability.
- Switch between propane and gasoline depending on the ambient temperature.
- Extend the total runtime of your generator by using a full tank of gasoline followed by a full tank of propane.
Before buying, consider these frequently asked questions about dual fuel generators from setup to operation.
Q: How does a dual fuel generator work?
A dual fuel generator operates in the same way as a single fuel generator, except that it can burn both propane and gasoline to produce electrical energy. The generator converts the mechanical energy produced by the burning fuels to force the movement of electrical charges and generate electricity.
Q: Can you run a dual fuel generator on natural gas?
While some single fuel generators can be adapted for use with natural gas, this isn’t the case with dual fuel generators. Unless specially designed, dual fuel generators do not run on natural gas and cannot be adapted for this purpose.
Q: Is it cheaper to run a generator on gas or propane?
Propane gas is less expensive than gasoline, nearly impossible to spill, and burns cleaner, resulting in less wear on the engine over time. Save some money in the short and long term by investing in propane gas whenever possible.
Q: How long will a dual fuel generator run on propane?
The type of fuel doesn’t determine runtime; rather the fuel efficiency and fuel tank capacity of the specific product do. However, on average, a standard dual fuel generator runs about 8 to 10 hours on propane.
Q: What is the most powerful dual fuel generator?
If power is the goal, then the Pulsar Heavy Duty Dual Fuel Generator is one of the best options to help ensure the campsite or the home has power for hours.
Q: How do you hook up a dual fuel generator to your house?
Dual fuel generators are not difficult to set up in your home if you have the proper instructions. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to power your home with a dual fuel generator:
- Before using your generator, a transfer switch will need to be installed by an electrician. These switches connect your generator to your home’s breaker, powering a certain number of circuits.
- Place your generator outside or on an even surface about 20 feet away from your home.
- Ensure that you have enough gasoline or propane to run the selected circuits.
- Start your generator and then plug in the appliance or circuit that will draw the most watts, followed by any other appliances or tools.
- Refuel as needed.
Q: Are dual fuel generators quieter on propane?
Generators that run on gasoline are typically louder than ones that run on propane since it requires less energy to burn propane fuel.
Q: How do you properly recycle an old dual fuel generator?
As is the case with most outdoor tools and large household appliances, they should be taken to a local recycling plant to be recycled.