How To Choose The Best Propane Generator

If you’re in a hurry and want to know which is the overall best propane generator we found, check out the Westinghouse WGen 12000DF Ultra Duty Portable Generator.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We may get paid an affiliate commission if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of the links on this web page. This does not affect your purchases or the price you may pay, but helps support our team continue to provide you with the best and most up to date information.

Finding the best propane generator that is powerful, portable, and quiet is a challenging task. 

Most generators cannot run on propane. But there are dual fuel generators that let you use both gas or propane. 

You can also convert your gas-powered generator to run on propane with a propane conversion kit.

Everyone started modifying their gas generators to take advantage of the lower fuel costs, longer run times, and less toxic fumes when using propane.

So the manufacturers got wise and decided to capitalize on it.

This does make dual fuel generators more expensive than gas generators with the same watt rating. 

But keep mind that there are more parts, and they’ve done the labor for you.

The nicer brands even ship you a propane generator hose so that you can get started right out of the box.

We will be reviewing the following best propane generators:

If you would like to read each of the reviews on how we came to our decision, you can jump to them using the table of contents below.

Or read on to understand how you can determine which is the best propane generator for yourself.

Table Of Contents hide

Why A Portable Propane Generator May Be Right For You

There are benefits and drawbacks to having a propane generator versus gas or solar generator. 

The differences between any sort of combustible fuel and solar power are distinct, so we’ll leave that for another article. 

There are also standby propane generators for home use that use propane or natural gas, and portable propane generators that are not permanent fixtures.

What we’re going to go into here is why a portable propane generator may be a better choice for you compared to gas or diesel. 

You can check out our article on standby whole house generators here if that’s more appropriate for your needs.

First, running on propane is cheaper. 

The average gallon of gas in the US as of the publishing of this article is around $2.179. Whereas a gallon of propane is about $1.80. Diesel is even more expensive now. 

It also burns cleaner, which is great for the environment, but it also leaves fewer carbon deposits in your generator. 

So your generator will need less maintenance, last longer, and cost you less money to own. 

Burning propane also produces less toxic and noticeable fumes. 

This is especially considerate if you’re running your generator at a campsite or RV park and don’t want to overwhelm your neighbors. 

One drawback is that propane provides less power than gas. 

That’s because the combustion of propane provides less British Thermal Units or BTUs. 

You may be familiar with this unit of measurement when working with air conditioners, stoves, and other appliances. 

You will also see the power rating on the front of the generator be lower for propane compared to gas. 

Another drawback is that propane tends to be less accessible than gas or diesel.

But, in a state of emergency, it may be easier to find propane than it would be to wait in line at the gas pumps. 

What To Look For In The Best Propane Generator

As we said, propane produces less power compared to gas. The product description will give you both the gas and propane watt ratings.

Check to see that the propane rated power output still meets your minimum wattage needs.

If you’re not familiar with watts, it is the unit of measure of electrical power.

Calculating the total watts you need is a simple process. Just take all of the devices you need to run, and then add up all their wattages. 

You can find the wattage for each appliance on the tag or label near where the power cord meets the device. 

If you don’t see the wattage, they should have the Volts (V) and Amp (A) rating. 

You can calculate the watts by taking these two numbers and multiplying them together to get the total starting watts needed. 

Watts = Volts x Amps

There are two watt ratings on the generator: starting and running watts. 

The generator shouldn’t operate at it’s starting watt level for an extended period. 

It’s the max peak level it can reach to turn all the devices on before it idles down to keep them running. 

The watt ratings on your devices are also starting watts, so you don’t have to worry about not having enough running watt power. 

If the generator has enough power to start them all, it will have enough power to keep them all running.

Ideally, the best propane generator will have an electric start

We know how “manly” it feels to pull-start a motor. But, it gets old after the first couple of times.

And if you’re not a man, then you’re already smart enough to know that looking “manly” is a waste of time.

It’s 2020, folks. We can start our generators from our iPhones now. 

If you want to take it to the next level, get a remote start. No longer do you have to go outside or walk extended distances to push the burdensome electric start button. 

We also would like the generator to have a fuel-off switch to let us run out any remaining gas in the lines before storing it. 

It’s good to get the propane out of the lines for basic safety, and it also helps your carburetors from gumming up if you ever use gas as a source of fuel. 

We also would like a low-oil shutoff feature to keep the motor from burning up when we forget to top off the oil. 

Finally, and even more important to us, and your neighbors, is the noise level.

This article’s mission is not to find the quietest propane generator. However, we did find one that is pretty quiet. 

So keep in mind that these do make a significant amount of noise. Aside from the one quiet propane generator, we did find; we don’t recommend you use these while RVing or camping. 

You may want to avoid these as well if you intend to run them for extended periods near your house or your neighbors’ home if you have a small lot. 

If you are looking for the quietest portable generator, a generator especially for extended whole house use, RV use, or camping, and are not concerned whether or not it uses propane. You can check out our recommendations here for the best quiet generator.

How Does The Best Propane Generator Work

The best propane generator works like any other generator, except it uses propane as its fuel source. 

As we mentioned, most generators that run on propane are dual fuel. So there will be a switch on the generator that will allow you to choose between gas or propane. 

Simply flip the switch from the gas option to the propane option, and now you’re ready to go. 

If you use both fuel types, then it’s important to run the gas out before plugging in the propane and starting the motor.

To do this, start the generator using the gas setting with the choke pulled. 

Then turn the switch to fuel off or the propane setting, depending on your generator, and the gas will burn itself out. 

Once the generator shuts itself off, the generator will now be safe to use propane. 

Everything else should work as normal. 

Start your generator before connecting and starting your devices.

You can plug your devices or appliances directly into the generator. 

If it’s RV ready, it will come with a 30 Amp or 50 Amp port so you can connect your RV directly to it as well. 

If it’s an inverter generator, it will be safe to use with your more delicate electronics and may even come with USB ports that you can plug directly into the generator if you don’t want to wait to charge up a battery bank. 

More Questions About The Best Propane Generators

Are Portable Propane Generators Any Good?

Yes! They’re just as good as any other generator. The difference is they produce less power. But they run longer than gas or diesel. 

Keep the lower watt rating in mind when calculating your total wattage needs, and make sure it is enough for the amount of power you need.

As we mentioned before, there aren’t really any portable propane generators that only use propane. 

They’re usually dual fuel generators, so you will always have the ability to use gas when you wish, if you need more power, for example, or run out of propane. 

Are Portable Propane Generators More Efficient?

Yes! You could run your generator up to three times longer using propane compared to gas under the same load.

Considering propane is cheaper than gas, it will also be more efficient on your wallet. 

But, it comes with the drawback of having less available power with which to work. 

Unfortunately, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. 

How Many Hours Will The Best Propane Generator Run?

Well, that depends on the generator and how much power you’re drawing from it. 

Every generator will burn more fuel faster or slower, depending on the load you have it under. 

When you’re reading the product descriptions of the generator, they will usually tell you the run time under a 50% or 25% load. 

If you run your generator at 100%, well, then it will be half the time as the 50% load. 

Is It Cheaper To Run A Portable Generator On Propane Or Gas?

Propane! At least it was at the time we published this article. 

Currently, the average gallon of gas in the US as of the publishing of this article is around $2.179. 

Whereas a gallon of propane is around $1.80, and diesel is even more expensive now. 

Which Is Better – Gas, Diesel, Or Propane Portable Generators?

Propane doesn’t pack as much power as gas or diesel. The reason is there are not as many BTUs in propane as there is gas or diesel. 

It’s not as easy to get propane as it is to find gasoline or diesel. It’s not a big deal getting propane if you’re already used to getting it, but it’s not as prevalent as gas. 

The advantage is propane is much cleaner to use, store, and refill. You don’t have to worry about it spilling or leaking out onto the floor. 

Nor must you suffer breathing the fumes. 

It also burns cleaner which helps your generator last longer. It also has less of an impact on the environment. 

Propane stores much longer than gas. You don’t have to worry about the gas gumming up your carburetors or going stale. 

You can treat your gas for it to last longer if you remember to do it. But it’s not as convenient, and not a permanent solution.

Is There A Honda Propane Generator?

No, but you can convert a gas honda generator to run on propane with minimal effort. 

We know if you have a EU2200 or EU3000, there are honda propane generator conversion kits available. 

They come with easy to follow instructions and only call for some basic tools to get the job done in less than 30 minutes. 

Will A Propane Generator Start My RV Air Conditioner?

Yes! If the propane starting watt rating meets the minimum watts needed by your RV air conditioner. 

We’ve seen portable propane generators with watt ratings lower than the minimum needed by the air conditioner get it started and keep it running. 

Although these were experiments, and we don’t recommend relying on this. It could damage your air conditioner, the generator, or both. 

One solution is to get an Easy-Start if you can only afford a smaller generator, and you need it to start your air conditioner.

Installing an Easy-Start on the air conditioner is a module that makes it “easier to start.” 

It does this by stepping down the amount of starting watts your generator must provide to turn the air conditioner motor over.

Can You Run A Portable Propane Generator In Parallel?

Most conventional portable propane generators are not able to connect in parallel. 

There are inverter portable propane generators that can, though they are typically less powerful than the single conventional generator. 

But the benefit of having two smaller generators would be the reduction in noise. They are also lighter, easier to store, and setup. 

You can also run one generator when you need less power. 

This means less work having to get both out and setup. And you also use less fuel when you need less power. 

So it may be worth your while to get two smaller propane generators you can connect in parallel as opposed to getting a single larger conventional propane generator. 

Our Choices For The Best Propane Generator

The Best Propane Generator For Home Use

Westinghouse WGEN 12000DF Ultra Duty Portable Generator – 12000 Rated Watts & 15000 Peak Watts Gas – 10800 Running Propane & 13500 Peak Propane – Dual Fuel – Electric Start With Remote – Transfer Switch & RV Ready – CARB Compliant – 74 dBA

Check Price On Amazon

If you’re familiar with generators, our first choice for the best propane generator that is powerful enough for home use should be no surprise.

The Westinghouse WGen Dual Fuel provides you with 15,000 starting watts and 12,000 running watts under gas power.

As we talked about before, when switching over to propane you lose a substantial amount of power. 

You can see this here when the starting watts drops down to 13,500 and the running watts to 10,800 when powered by propane.

But it will be hard to find another portable propane generator that provides the same amount of power, or the reliability and the ease of use as this Westinghouse.

It comes with an electric start and remote so that you can easily start the engine from the comfort of your home. 

If you’re using propane, you will have to make sure it’s switched to that fuel source first. Then connect the tank and open the line.

But once you have it set up, you won’t have to venture out into the elements again to start it or turn it off. 

It does come with a transfer switch option (sold separately) if you want to use this as a standby generator for home use.

The switch will change over to generator power whenever the grid power goes down. 

It will then automatically switch back to the grid, and shut the generator down once the grid power returns.

The fuel-off switch will protect the inner workings by running out any remaining gas before shutting down. 

And the low-oil shutoff will protect the motor from burning up if we forget to top off the oil.

This generator also comes RV ready with a 30 Amp and 50 Amp outlet. This is great if you want to charge up your battery bank before going out for the day or maybe a weekend. 

But, we don’t recommend taking it with you on the trip. 

First, it weighs 352 lbs. Good luck trying to get it in your RV. 

It is easy enough to move around with the handle and the wheels when you need to get it in and out of the shed or garage. 

Or push it up into your pick up truck bed with a ramp. 

There are also truck bed cranes now that make getting a heavy generator in and out of the bed easy.

But it isn’t designed to take with you while camping or RV-ing. 

Second, because it is not a quiet generator. 

It operates at an average level of 74 decibels (dBA), which is too high for extended recreational use. 

Typically, we would want the generator to make 60 dBA or less if we’re going to take it to a campsite or use it while RVing. 

It’s also not an inverter generator. But it still produces a clean sine wave at less than 5% harmonic distortion, which makes it safer to use for your alternating current (AC) electronics. 

You can plug them into the generator via the two 120V AC outlets or the 5V USB ports.

All these bells and whistles do come with a higher price tag. 

But, we have no problem paying for the convenience and the reliability we get with Westinghouse. 

If anything goes wrong, they have an excellent customer service team and a three-year manufacturer warranty. 

PROs
  • Highest starting and running watts from propane source
  • Electric and remote start
  • Clean sine wave, less than 5% harmonic distortion
  • Fuel-off switch
  • Low-oil shutoff
  • RV ready 30 Amp and 50 Amp outlets
  • Built-in wheels and handles
  • Transfer switch compatible
  • Dual fuel – Gas and Propane
  • Comes With 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit
  • Three-year manufacturer warranty
CONs
  • Heavy – Weighs 352 lbs
  • Cannot connect in parallel
  • Loud – 74 dBA 
  • Pricey
Check Price On Amazon

The Best Quiet Inverter Propane Generator

Champion 3400 Starting / 3100 Running Watts Gas – 3060 Starting / 2790 Running Watts Propane – Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator With Electric Start – Parallel Compatible – 59 dBA

Best propane generator quiet inverter
Check Price On Amazon

If you’re looking for a propane generator that you can take with you on RV or camping trips, then this Champion is the one for the job. 

It’s again a dual fuel generator, so it can produce 3400 starting watts under gas power and up to 3060 starting watts under propane. 

While you do lose a substantial bit of power under propane, it will run for 14.5 hours at 25% load when using a 20-pound propane tank compared to 7.5 hours when using gas. 

If the 3060 starting watts under propane power seems too little, especially if you’re trying to power two RV air conditioners, then you can get a second one and connect it in parallel to double the output to 6120 starting watts. 

This should be more than enough to get most air conditioners started while having enough power to supply some other small appliances or devices. 

It is an inverter generator with less than 3% harmonic distortion so that you can use it with your sensitive electronics. 

It also comes with two alternating current (AC) outlets. You can charge your electronics directly without having to wait to charge up your battery bank.

There’s an RV ready 30 amp outlet. But If you have a 50 amp RV, you can get a parallel connector switch with a 50 amp outlet. 

But, even combined with a second unit, it may not be enough running watts to power more than half of the total capacity of your RV, as most 50 amp RVs need at least 12,000 watts.

For you 50 Amp RV-ers out there in need of a generator that can power your entire rig, then you should check out this article here for more appropriate recommendations. 

There is a fuel-off switch function that lets you keep the lines and carburetors clean, as well as a low-oil shutoff to protect the motor when there’s not enough oil.

Being that it is a smaller generator with a built-in inverter, it naturally produces much less noise than other propane generators at just 59 dBA. 

Keeping it far enough away from camp or the RV and you and your neighbors should hardly notice it. 

That, combined with it weighing less than 100lbs, and the built-in wheels and handles make it taking it with you on any trip easy, and thus the best propane generator for RV use or camping.

It’s not the most expensive generator, nor is it the cheapest. 

But to protect your investment, Champion also provides you with a three-year warranty for added peace of mind.

PROs
  • Quietest propane generator on the market at 59 dBA
  • Electric start
  • Clean sine wave inverter, less than 3% harmonic distortion safe to use with sensitive electronics
  • Fuel-off switch
  • Low-oil shutoff
  • RV ready 30 amp Port
  • Built-in wheels and handles
  • Parallel compatible
  • 50 amp Port available with a parallel kit (Sold separately) 
  • Lightweight – Weighs less than 100lbs
  • Dual fuel -Gas and Propane
  • Propane generator hose included
  • Three-year manufacturer warranty
CONs
  • Pricey
Check Price On Amazon

The Best Propane Generator That’s Affordable

Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator – 9500 Rated Watts & 12000 Peak Watts – Gas & LPG – Electric Start – Transfer Switch & RV Ready – CARB Compliant – 76dB

best propane generator affordable
Check Price On Amazon

Ok, so you’re not looking for the quietest or the most powerful generator. You just need a portable propane generator that has enough power to get most jobs done, and won’t break the bank. 

Making a decision based solely on price is sometimes misleading. So we’ve done our best to look at different propane generators not only based on price but the cost per watt of output. 

Out of all the generators we analyzed, we found that the Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator currently has the lowest cost per watt that we could find. 

This means you still get a decent amount of power without having to spend a lot of money out of pocket.

At the time of writing this article, the cost per watt is around $0.08 when using gas. It bumps up a little to $0.09 if you factor in the reduced 10800 starting watts you get when using propane. 

You may be thinking, “What do I have to give up to have such a low cost?” 

First, it is especially loud at 76 dBA so that we wouldn’t recommend it for extended home back up, RV, or camping use. 

You may get some complaints from your neighbors if you try. 

But it comes with all the basics like a low-oil shutoff and a fuel off switch. One nice bonus despite the low price is the electric start. 

But, there have been some complaints that the electric start doesn’t work. So be sure to test it as soon as you get it. 

The user interface isn’t all that clear. But you can figure out which plug goes in which socket based on the prong configuration. 

It has four AC outlets for direct connection. But, this is not an inverter generator. 

We don’t know what the harmonic distortion is, so we wouldn’t recommend using it with your sensitive electronics.

But if you need a cheap generator on the job site or to run some power tools for an afternoon, or charge up your battery bank before you hit the road, then the Pulsar can get the job done. 

It’s a bit heavy at 209 pounds, but it comes with never-flat wheels and handles for easy maneuvering.

If you do find any problems with the generator, the manufacturer provides a one-year warranty. 

It’s not much, but you get what you pay for. 

PROs
  • Low cost per watt
  • Fuel-off switch
  • Low-oil shutoff
  • RV ready 30 Amp Port
  • Built-in wheels and handles
  • Dual fuel – Gas and Propane
  • Propane generator hose included
CONs
  • One-year manufacturer warranty
  • Pull start
  • Loud – 76 dBA
  • Harmonic distortion unknown
  • Cannot connect in parallel
  • Heavy – 209 pounds
Check Price On Amazon

The Best Small Propane Generator

Champion Power Equipment 100402 2000-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator, Parallel Ready – 53 dBA

Check Price On Amazon

The Champion Power Equipment 100402 2000-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator is the smallest propane ready generator on the market that we could find.

It’s 20.5 x 12.6 x 16.9 inches and weighs just under 50 lbs, making it easy to carry and store in tight spaces. 

It is a dual fuel portable generator. Despite its smaller size, it still provides 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts under propane use. 

It’s half the size of the Champion inverter generator, but also has half the power. 

But if there’s still not enough power, you can connect it in parallel with a second unit. This should allow you to at least start an air conditioner on your RV or run a few smaller appliances throughout the day. 

It has an easy fuel-off switch to run out the gas before storing or transferring to a propane source. 

It also comes with a low-oil shutoff to protect the motor from burning up without enough oil. 

Being that it’s so small, you can easily fit two in the space where one of the larger generators would fit. 

Another perk of having two smaller generators is that you don’t have always to use both when you don’t need it. 

You use less fuel when running less power and also make less noise. 

Each unit registers between 53 and 61 dBA depending on the load, which is just slightly higher than a normal conversation from a few yards away. 

It also comes with a built-in inverter so that you can charge your more sensitive electronic devices without fear of damaging them. 

Because of its size, there wasn’t room to put an electric start. So you will have to practice your pull to get it going.

If you find anything wrong with it out of the box, make sure you send it back within the return window. 

But, there is a three-year manufacturer warranty to protect you as well as great customer service from Duromax. 

PROs
  • It’s small – 20.00 x 10.50 x 18.00 inches
  • It’s lightweight – just over 50lbs
  • Dual fuel – Gas and Propane
  • Can connect in parallel
  • Quiet – Between 52 and 61 dBA depending on the load
  • Inverter technology makes it safe for sensitive electronics
  • Includes propane generator hose
  • Three-year manufacturer warranty
CONs
  • No electric start
  • Pricey
Check Price On Amazon

Other Considerations

Generator Tents

There are some drawbacks to using portable generators compared to fixed standby units. Primarily it’s dangerous to run them in less than ideal weather conditions. 

But doesn’t the power usually go out when the weather turns sour? 

If you’re using a generator while camping or RV-ing, the last thing you want is to run out to shut off the generator every time the weather changes. 

You also don’t want to be without power just because a little bit of rain starts to fall. 

These generator tents are great portable solutions you can take with you or use at home to keep your generators safe when the weather goes bad. 

You will still need to take the proper precautions not to hurt yourself when working with a generator in a storm. 

But at least there is an affordable option on the market now that is as portable as your generator.

Noise-reducing Enclosures

These options we provided above are not the quietest generators on the market. So you may need some help to reduce the noise they produce.

There are generator enclosures on the market that can reduce the noise level by 10 to 20 dBA. But they are very expensive.

You could build your own if you’re motivated enough not to spend a lot of money.

Safety

If you’re new to working with generators, then there are some basic safety precautions you should take to stay safe. 

The first is to never backfeed your generator to the grid. This could cause you and anyone working on the power lines serious harm. 

Make sure you work with a professional when connecting your generator to your home for backup power. 

Second, the generator is a motor. When you burn combustible fuels like gas or propane, one of the byproducts is carbon monoxide gas.

This is odorless and lethal. Make sure you use them in well-ventilated areas and do not use your generators indoors. 

If it’s wet out, make sure you are dry and disconnect everything before working on your generator. 

We expect you will be using these generators with propane to avoid the dangers of working with gas. But if you do ever switch to gas, make sure not to refuel when the engine is hot. 

The heat or any spark from static electricity can easily ignite the vapor and cause an explosion. 

Wipe up spills, and store all gas tanks out of reach of children. 

Be sure to run out the gas using the fuel-off switch before switching back to propane use.

Theft

Portable generators are, unfortunately, prime targets for theft. They’re valuable, made to move, and normally left unsupervised. 

There’s not a lot you can do to prevent theft. But we can at least make it difficult for any would-be thieves to run off with them. 

First, get a thick cable and heavy-duty padlock that are difficult to cut. Then secure your generator to a tree or a fixed post nearby. 

Another precaution you can take is to etch your name in an inconspicuous location on the generator. This will help to identify the generator as yours in the event you can recover it. 

You should also take a photo of the serial number for further verification. 

There are magnetic GPS locators now that you can snap on to your generator where you won’t see it so you can locate it. 

Please don’t go looking for it yourself. Call the authorities and report it stolen and give them the coordinates of its location. 

You can then prove ownership with the photo of the serial number as well as showing where you etched your name on the generator.

Propane Generator Hose

Some dual-fuel generators will come with a hose for you to connect it to a propane tank, while others won’t. 

Be sure to read the product description to understand what comes with the purchase. 

Check to see if you need to get any more parts to get it up and running. 

Propane Generator Conversion Kit / Adapters

If you already have a gas generator and would like to convert it to propane, there are some solutions out there if you’re willing to get your hands dirty. 

There are conversion kits for many different generator types.

One of the most popular is the conversion kit for Honda owners because Honda doesn’t have a propane option for its generators. 

It’s not difficult to make the conversion. But you will need some basic tools and the ability to follow instructions. 

Good luck. 

Debrief

Well, there you have it, friends. Our top choices for the best propane generators available today. 

Again, they are not the most powerful generators available if you’re looking for something like a standby whole house generator. 

Nor are they quietest for more discreet frequent use when RVing or camping. 

But, they are great options for infrequent recreational use or extended use for work on a job site. 

The noise they produce should be negligible compared to the other equipment making noise around you. 

If we had to choose just one as the best propane generator for emergency preparedness, we would go with the Westinghouse WGen 12000DF Ultra Duty Portable Generator. 

It will do almost anything you need it to, and you can depend on the brand to make sure it works when you need it. 

If the price is too high for the larger unit, we recommended they do have smaller propane generators that cost less but come with the same quality and reliability. 

If you find there’s something we left out or have any recommendations you would like to share with the class, please leave them in the comments below. 

We always appreciate it when you help provide more value to our community. 

Until next time preppers. 

–Team AppliedSurvial

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.