The Best Propane Generators of 2023

A power outage doesn’t have to mean sitting in darkness and having spoiled food in the refrigerator. Keep the electricity on in your home with one of these quality propane generators.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Apr 11, 2023 10:01 AM

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The Best Propane Generator Option

Photo: amazon.com

Power outages can threaten to spoil the food in the fridge and lead to life-threatening situations in cold temperatures. Having a powerful propane generator can produce enough juice to keep the lights on, keep food in the refrigerator fresh, and power a space heater or air-conditioning unit.

Portable propane generators also bring electricity to places that are off the grid, such as campsites. Unlike gasoline, propane doesn’t degrade, so it’s easy to keep a supply of propane tanks. This guide examines the important features and characteristics of solid or portable propane generators and reviews some of the top models on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DuroMax 5,500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Champion Power Equipment 3,500-Watt Generator
  3. UPGRADE PICK: DuroMax 5,500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
  4. BEST PORTABLE: DuroMax 4,850-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
  5. BEST FOR SMALLER HOMES: Westinghouse 12,500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator
  6. BEST FOR RV: DuroStar Dual Fuel Portable Generator
  7. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Pulsar Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Westinghouse 4,650-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
The Best Propane Generator Option

Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Propane Generators

Selections for the top solid or portable propane generators depended upon wattage, outlets provided, portability, operating volume, and special features. We only considered models produced by the best generator brands in the industry for continuous, reliable power output.

The featured list includes an array of load capacities to accommodate different power requirements from light to heavy. These generators come with multiple outlets that work with various types of electronics, whether it’s for powering large appliances or personal devices.

We prioritized units with fuel gauges for monitoring usage and generators with an electric start (as opposed to the standard pull start). Additionally, heavier models with built-in wheels and handles were favored over less portable alternatives.

Our Top Picks

The list below narrows the field of propane generators to some of the best models on the market. Whether shoppers prioritize portability, price, or some other feature, any of the generators below will help keep a fridge running, the lights on, and a heater or AC powered when a home is without power.

Best Overall

The Best Propane Generator Option: DuroMax 5,500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Photo: amazon.com

When using propane, the DuroMax 5,500-watt generator has 5,225 starting watts and 4,275 running watts—enough to power all the essentials easily, including a refrigerator, window AC unit, lights, and household electronics. It offers a versatile collection of receptacles, including two 120-volt ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets and a 120/240-volt 30-amp twist-lock outlet.

Adjustable settings allow the generator to be set to power a 240-volt outlet for larger appliances, such as a dryer or range, or supply peak power to its 120-volt outlets. This generator even includes a 12-volt DC charging post for charging a car battery.

A handy voltmeter lets the user know how big a load the generator is carrying. At 69 decibels, its noise is similar to the sound of a vacuum cleaner, which puts it in-line with the average generator. This model will run for about 8 hours at half load on a 20-gallon propane fuel tank.

Product Specs

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 5,225 watts starting/4,275 watts running using propane; 5,500 watts starting/4,500 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 69 decibels
  • Weight: 136 pounds

Pros

  • The adjustable voltage settings are suitable for multiple uses and applications
  • 3 outlets included to provide flexible options; standard and twist-lock outlets
  • Built-in voltmeter for additional operating information and monitoring power outputs

Cons

  • Some users reported difficulty starting this generator; has a bit of a learning curve

Get the DuroMax 5500-watt propane generator at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Tractor Supply Co.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Propane Generator Option: Champion Power Equipment 3,500-Watt Generator
Photo: tractorsupply.com

Propane generators are notably more expensive than gasoline-only generators, mainly because most propane generators are dual-fuel appliances. While this Champion product may not be as affordable as comparable gas-only models, it is less expensive than other dual-fuel generators while still offering peak power output. It puts out a respectable 3,950 starting watts and 3,150 running watts on propane, which is ample wattage to handle the essentials in most homes.

Another thing that makes this Champion dual-fuel generator worth considering is its diverse collection of outlets, including one 30-amp RV outlet, a 30-amp locking outlet, and two 20-amp household outlets. In addition, there’s a digital gauge that lets the user know how much load the generator is carrying and a switch for toggling between fuel sources. This generator weighs 108 pounds and runs at 68 decibels.

Product Specs

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 3,950 watts starting/3,150 watts running using propane; 4,375 watts starting/3,500 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 68 decibels
  • Weight: 108 pounds

Pros

  • Very versatile for an affordable model
  • Digital fuel gauge for accurate readings of a user’s energy usage
  • Comes with 3 outlet types, including an RV outlet, locking outlet, and dual household outlets

Cons

  • Less power output compared to other units; may not be ideal for some users’ power needs

Get the Champion Power Equipment propane generator at Tractor Supply Co.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Propane Generator Option: DuroMax 1,300-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Photo: amazon.com

For sheer output, there are few dual-fuel portable generators on the market that can come close to the power of this DuroMax, which boasts an impressive 12,350 starting watts and 9,975 running watts on propane and 13,000 starting watts and 10,500 running watts on gas—that’s more than enough to handle the power needs of even larger homes. The DuroMax 1,300-watt generator has a panel with two standard 120-volt outlets, two 30-amp twist-lock outlets, and a 50-amp 240-volt heavy-duty outlet.

As with other dual-fuel generators, this model offers the versatility of running on propane or gasoline. Though it will run for up to 13 hours on a full propane tank, this large generator is also pretty loud; at 74 decibels, it emits noise that’s similar to that of a lawn-mower engine. At 248 pounds, it’s also one of the heaviest generators on the market; however, it does have wheels that allow for easier maneuvering.

Product Specs

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 12,350 watts starting/9,975 watts running using propane; 13,000 watts starting/10,500 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 74 decibels
  • Weight: 248 pounds

Pros

  • Suitable for ample power needs; can handle heavy loads of power needs at a time
  • 5 included outlets are suitable for a variety of socket types: standard, twist-lock, and heavy-duty
  • Built-in wheels enhance portability or allow the model to be transported when necessary

Cons

  • Heavy weight; even with wheels it can be challenging to relocate
  • Louder than other comparable generators; not ideal in busy neighborhoods

Get the DuroMax 1,300-watt portable generator at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., or Northern Tool + Equipment.

Best Portable

The Best Propane Generator Option: DuroMax 4,850-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Photo: amazon.com

Camping, RVing, and hiking trips can benefit from the powerful and portable DuroMax 4,850-watt dual-fuel portable generator. This model comes with a power output of 4,850 watts of pure power with gasoline and 4,608 peak watts with propane, and the dual-fuel technology allows for added versatility while in use.

The powerful MX2 Power Boost engine produces 120 volts of power for appliances, power tools, a sump pump, and devices, and the power panel has a toggle start, low-oil light, a voltmeter, a DC circuit protector, a 120/240-volt 30 amp plug, dual 120-volt 20A GFCI AC outlets, an MX2 Power Boost, and even a circuit breaker. As for runtime, this model produces 23 hours of power at a 25 percent load and 10 hours at a 50 percent load when gasoline is used, and 18 hours of runtime at a 25 percent load and 9 hours at a 50 percent load when propane is used. When the unit starts running out of fuel, rely on the automatic low-oil shutoff.

Though this model comes with ample power, the real convenience of this option is the wheel and handle kit for portability and transporting, an oil funnel, a spark plug wrench, DC charging cables, a propane regulator, and an owner’s manual.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 4,608 watts starting/3,658 watts running using propane; 4,850 watts starting/3,850 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 69 decibels
  • Weight: 132 pounds

Pros

  • Dual-fuel capabilities; runs for up to 23 hours when used with gasoline
  • Comes with a fully equipped circuit board for use with RVs or for home or camping appliances
  • Automatic low-oil shutoff prevents malfunction when the gasoline or propane runs out
  • Comes with a wheel and handle kit for ample maneuverability and portability

Cons

  • Heavyweight model may be hard for some users to maneuver

Get the DuroMax 4,850-watt portable generator at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., or Acme Tools.

Best for Smaller Homes

The Best Propane Generator Option: Westinghouse 12,500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator
Photo: amazon.com

Smaller homes that need a powerful generator that can take on appliances, household systems, devices, or just the lights can rely on the Westinghouse 12,500-watt dual-fuel generator. This model has dual-fuel technology and a power output of 12,500 peak watts and 9,500 running watts on gasoline and 8,500 peak watts and 11,200 running watts with propane with its heavy-duty 457-cubic-centimeter four-stroke engine with a durable cast-iron sleeve. This model can run for 12 hours on gasoline and 7 hours on propane.

This 211-pound Westinghouse generator comes with a built-in fuel gauge, automatic low-oil shutdown, a push-button electric start, a remote-start key fob, and GFCI outlets for versatility and reliability. The fully equipped and intuitive control panel has an L14-30R and 14-50R transfer switch and a variable-frequency transformer data center. For added convenience, this model also comes with heavy-duty never-flat wheels, a handle, and a lift bracket for jobsites, home improvement, or residential use.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 11,200 watts starting/8,500 watts running using propane; 12,500 watts starting/9,500 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 74 decibels
  • Weight: 211 pounds

Pros

  • Heavy-duty 457-cubic-centimeter 4-stroke engine with a durable cast-iron sleeve
  • Runs for up to 12 hours on gasoline and 7 hours on propane
  • Heavy-duty never-flat wheels, a handle, and a lift bracket for jobsites or residential use

Cons

  • Some users have reported some poor construction and manufacturing defects

Get the Westinghouse 12,500-watt propane generator at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best for RV

The Best Propane Generator Option: Durostar Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Photo: amazon.com

With its ability to pump out 11,400 running watts on propane, this dual-fuel generator from DuroStar can handle all of a larger home’s primary appliances and also provide enough juice to power bigger appliances, such as a dryer or electric range. It’s equipped with two GFCI 120-volt outlets, one 50-amp twist-lock outlet, and RV-ready 30-amp and 50-amp outlets. It also includes a voltmeter and 12-volt DC charging posts.

The DuroStar’s control panel makes operation easy: A toggle switch allows the user to select gas or propane fuel, while a voltmeter displays the generator’s current load. This model includes some handy additional features, such as a push-button electric start and large pneumatic tires for maneuvering the generator into position. This generator will run for up to 14 hours on a full propane tank and has a noise level of 74 decibels.

Product Specs

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 11,400 watts starting/9,025 watts running using propane; 12,000 watts starting/9,500 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 74 decibels
  • Weight: 238 pounds

Pros

  • Suitable for large appliances; great for use during unexpected power outages
  • Long runtime of up to 14 hours on a full tank of propane
  • Electric start button and toggle switch built-in for easy operation
  • Built-in wheels for simple maneuvering or transporting if necessary

Cons

  • Loud operation volume at 74 decibels; may not be ideal for some users’ preferences
  • Limited portability; large, heavyweight construction may be difficult to lift or move

Get the DuroStar portable generator at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., Acme Tools, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Propane Generator Option: Pulsar Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator
Photo: amazon.com

If shoppers are searching for a reliable generator that can stand up to heavy-duty tasks, they can look no further with the Pulsar heavy-duty portable dual-fuel generator. This tough pick has a power output of 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 running watts on its 8-gallon gasoline tank and 10,800 starting watts and 8,550 running watts on propane. This model also has a 457-cubic-centimeter single-cylinder construction with a four-stroke air-cooled overhead-valve (OHV) engine, all of which are easy to operate with an electric start.

The outlets include four 120-volt 20A AC outlets, one 120-volt/240-volt 50-amp outlet, and one 12-volt DC outlet for tools, devices, and appliances. Plus, this model comes with a low-oil shutoff, a three-in-one digital meter, and automatic voltage regulation for safety and convenience. The drop-down handles and 10-inch wheels also allow for easy maneuvering around the house, garage, or campsite. Finally, a propane hose is included with purchase.

Product Specs

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 10,800 watts starting/8,550 watts running using propane; 12,000 watts starting/9,500 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 74 decibels
  • Weight: 209 pounds

Pros

  • 12-hour runtime on gas; ideal for emergency power during an unexpected power outage
  • Easy electric start and low-oil shutoff for added security and simple operation
  • Automatic voltage regulation integrated to avoid surges or potential malfunctions
  • Handles and wheels are built-in for simple maneuvering or transporting if needed

Cons

  • Noise level of 74 decibels may be too loud for some users

Get the Pulsar propane generator at Amazon.

Also Consider

The Best Propane Generator Option: Westinghouse 4,650-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Photo: amazon.com

The Westinghouse generator has integrated dual-fuel technology that produces a modest 4,650 starting watts and 3,600 running watts with its 4-gallon gasoline tank or 4,180 starting watts and 3,240 running watts on propane, which makes it ideal for camping and RVing. Those using it at home during a power outage will find that it can power the essentials, such as a fridge and lights, plus a small window AC unit or space heater.

This four-stroke OHV generator has a 5-20R 120-volt Duplex outlet, an RV-ready TT-304 30-amp outlet, and L5-30R 30-amp outlet. The benefit to its lower power output is longer runtime; the Westinghouse will get 14 hours of runtime on gas and 10.5 hours on propane. Plus, this model has a durable cast-iron engine sleeve, automatic low-oil shutdown, a propane hose, an oil funnel, tool kit, and an easy-to-use electric start. At 120 pounds, it’s one of the lighter generators on the market and can be maneuvered with its handle and never-flat wheels.

Product Specs

  • Type: Dual fuel
  • Wattage: 4,180 watts starting/3,240 watts running using propane; 4,650 watts starting/3,600 watts running using gasoline
  • Noise level: 68 decibels
  • Weight: 120 pounds

Pros

  • Durable construction can handle more rugged environments or outback areas
  • Long runtime of up to 14 hours; perfect for camping, hiking trips, and RVing
  • Lightweight and on wheels; easy to move around or transport if desired

Cons

  • Some assembly required; not ideal for novices and may require professional help to put together

Get the Westinghouse 4,650-watt propane generator at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a Propane Generator

While power output is perhaps the most important attribute of a propane generator, factors such as portability, noise level, and outlet types are also important to consider when shopping for one of these appliances.

Wattage Output

The sole purpose of a generator is to supply power when there are no conventional means of power available. They step in to fill the gap when there’s a power outage or at campgrounds with no electrical hookups. With that in mind, the output of the generator is crucial.

Generators are rated by how much wattage they produce. Most generators capable of functioning off a propane fuel tank have a wattage range of 1,800 for compact models to more than 10,000 for larger units. Most generators have two ratings: starting wattage and running wattage.

The starting wattage is the amount of power a generator can supply in short bursts. This is to account for most electrical appliances, which typically require a higher starting wattage but significantly fewer watts to run.

The total consumed wattage of most homes’ major appliances is around 5,000 watts. This is enough power to run a 600-watt refrigerator and a 1,500-watt space heater or a 1,000-watt window air conditioner as well as an 80-watt 42-inch LED TV, 100-watt computer, and most lighting in the home—especially if the lights are low-wattage LED bulbs. The best way to determine how much wattage it takes to run a home is to add up the wattage of all essential appliances and electronics.

While some generators are powerful enough to run home HVAC systems, keep in mind that most homes are not wired for this setup. One would need to have the home specially wired by an electrician to allow the generator to plug into a home’s entire power grid.

Dual Fuel

The vast majority of propane generators are dual-fuel generators. This means they can run off either a 20-gallon propane fuel tank or unleaded gasoline. Some can even switch fuels while running. One advantage of a propane generator is that propane fuel can be stored for long periods of time without degrading.

This allows the user to keep a supply of tanks on hand in case of a power outage, which is a lot easier than making a run for gasoline in the midst of a widespread power outage or dangerous ice storm.

Exhaust and Safety

Propane is a clean-burning fuel, which means it puts out far fewer pollutants than gasoline. This also means there are fewer fumes to worry about in the yard or at the campsite. This does not mean a propane generator is safe for use in an enclosed space.

Although propane generators produce little carbon monoxide compared to gasoline-powered generators, carbon monoxide is released when propane burns and can fill up an enclosed space. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, dangerous and deadly. With that in mind, never use a propane generator in an enclosed space.

Portability

Because of the exhaust generators produce, they are safe only when used outdoors at least 20 feet from any structures. For this reason, most have large handles and wheels, or other features, to make them portable.

This does not mean that generators are lightweight: Most propane generators weigh more than 100 pounds. Lightweight models with outputs of around 2,000 watts can weigh as little as 45 pounds, but heavy-duty generators that put out more than 10,000 watts can weigh over 300 pounds.

Noise

Generators are notoriously loud with decibel ratings that indicate their noise level. Most generators run at about 70 decibels, which is similar to the sound of a car engine. Ultraquiet generators run at around 55 decibels.

Keep in mind that a generator running at full capacity will be louder than the same generator running at 50 percent of its maximum load. Every 10 increments on a decibel scale are equivalent to 10 times the sound. Therefore, a generator running at 70 decibels is 10 times louder than a generator running at 60 decibels.

Outlets

As is the case in our homes, outlets are the means through which appliances access the power created by a generator. All generators feature standard 120-volt outlets, with most having between two and four. Generators with outputs of 4,000 watts or more will also have 240-volt twist-lock outlets for large appliances, such as clothes dryers and electric ranges.

Some models also include 12-volt outlets, which are outlets similar to cigarette lighters in vehicles. RV-ready outlets feature special 30-amp or 50-amp outlets for powering a travel trailer or motor home.

FAQs

If you’re wondering about how much fuel a propane generator uses or how safe it is to use a propane generator, read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these machines.

Q. How much propane does a generator use per hour?

A propane generator uses about 2 to 3 gallons of propane an hour depending on the load. This equates to a total runtime of about 8 to 10 hours on a full 20-gallon tank.

Q. How loud are propane generators?

A propane generator’s noise level is related to the amount of power it produces. Generators that produce 6,000 or more watts run at around 70 to 80 decibels, whereas a smaller generator that produces around 3,000 watts will run at 50 to 60 decibels.

Q. Is propane more dangerous to run than gasoline?

Propane generators are actually safer than gasoline generators. They produce fewer toxic fumes and do not pose as great a fire hazard as gasoline, which can spill. Propane is not susceptible to spills because it is contained in a pressurized canister.

Q. How can I safely use a propane generator?

To use a propane generator safely, make sure to set up the generator in an open space away from any enclosures, including an open garage.

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