Best Dual Fuel Generator Reviews and Guide

Whether you live in a storm-prone area, enjoy camping or need a portable power source for some other reason, a household generator is an investment you’ll be glad you made. If you’re currently in the market for a generator, consider purchasing a dual fuel generator, which can use either gasoline or propane as its fuel source to provide power for your home, workshop or other location. Dual fuel generators offer versatility, reliability and value that single fuel generators simply can’t match. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages of dual fuel generators and see which models received our seal of approval.

Single Fuel and Dual Fuel Generators – What’s the Difference?

As the name implies, single fuel generators rely on a single fuel source to generate electric power, which may be gasoline, diesel, propane or natural gas. Single fuel generators offer simplicity, but few other advantages over dual fuel generators.

Dual fuel generators typically run on a combination of gasoline and propane, which allows for extended use: when one fuel source runs out, you can simply switch to the other source until you’re able to refuel. Dual fuel generators also allow you to select the most efficient fuel source for your circumstances, such as a change in altitude.

Benefits of Dual Fuel Generators

Dual fuel generators offer a long list of advantages over single fuel generators:

Versatility

In short, dual fuel generators give you options. If you happen to be in a remote area far from a gas station, you can rely on propane to power your generator until you can replenish your gas supply. If you’re in a highly populated area or residential neighborhood, you may want to use propane as your fuel source, since it tends to produce less noise than a gas engine.

Quality Performance

Dual fuel generators are just as powerful and efficient as single fuel generators—if not more so. They deliver consistent, powerful performance regardless of weather conditions or other factors, and they give you the flexibility to choose the fuel source that fits your needs in any given situation. Best of all, they offer extended run time compared to single fuel generators, since you can move to your second fuel source when the first one runs out.

Affordable and Easy Maintenance

Maintenance of dual fuel generators is relatively simple, and they’re easy to transport to the shop when they need inspection or repairs. They’re also far less expensive to purchase, operate and maintain than whole-house generators, which come with additional costs like permits, site maintenance and installation.

Longevity

Dual fuel generators are designed to stand up to the elements, and they’re manufactured from durable materials to ensure a long life. Additionally, most models also include a multi-year warranty to protect your investment in case of malfunction or parts wearing out.

Consistent Power Supply

With two fuel sources to draw from, dual fuel generators give you peace of mind when relying on them to run critical appliances during a power outage. For example, if a hurricane knocks out electrical power to your home for several days or more, you can count on your dual fuel generator to keep your essential home health equipment, refrigerator and air conditioner running seamlessly. While some appliances may simply be a matter of convenience, for other vulnerable users, they’re a matter of life and death.

Convenience

Being able to choose from two types of fuel means you’re far less likely to run out of fuel with no way to replenish your supply. If you’re in a remote area, you may not be able to find a nearby source of propane, but chances are you’ll still have access to a gas station. On the flip side, if you’re going to a really remote area, you can stock up on propane tanks to ensure you don’t run out.

Challenges of Dual Fuel Generators

The primary disadvantage of dual fuel generators is cost, since they tend to be more expensive than a comparable dual fuel generator. However, the value you get from the versatility and convenience of the dual fuel generator will more than pay for itself over time. Simply do some comparison shopping when purchasing your generator and select the unit that will most economically meet your needs.

Factors to Consider as You Shop for a Dual Fuel Generator

With dozens of models from which to choose, it’s important to carefully consider how you plan to use your generator before making your purchase. Weigh the following factors to help you make the best choice for your needs.

Budget

First, decide not only how much generator you can afford, but how much it makes sense to spend. There’s no point in dropping thousands of dollars on a massive generator when a modestly-sized one will do. However, you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible value for your money, which may mean you need to spend a little extra up front to ensure your investment continues to perform for years to come.

Fuel Storage Conditions

Optimal conditions for storing propane are quite different from those for storing gasoline. Gasoline tends to have a short shelf life in warm climates, where high temperatures can cause it to evaporate quickly. On the other hand, propane doesn’t perform well in temperatures below 40 degrees, since cold conditions cause the gas to contract; the resulting loss in tank pressure may prevent your generator from starting. Take your area’s climate into account when choosing a generator and your primary fuel source.

Power and Size

Consider where and how you’ll be using your generator when determining the optimal combination of size and power for your needs. Extra power can be nice to have, but if you won’t be maximizing the generator’s capacity on a regular basis, the extra weight and increased storage space required for a larger generator can create an inconvenience. Think about which tools and appliances you may need to power simultaneously and ensure that the generator delivers sufficient wattage to support them, but also factor in portability and size when making your final decision.

Noise Level

It’s no secret that generators can be loud—just walk around a residential neighborhood after a major storm and the roar of multiple generators in operation is unmistakable. If you have nearby neighbors or expect to use your generator in a crowded campground, look for a model with noise levels of 65 decibels (dB) or less; a few ultra-quiet models manage to stay below the 50 dB mark.

Safety

Fires and exhaust fumes are the two major safety concerns related to generators. When operating your dual fuel generator, be sure the unit is placed in a well-ventilated area. Store gasoline and other flammable fuels away from potential sources of heat and sparks. Always supervise children when the generator is in operation, and keep fuel stores well out of their reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size generator is best for me?

Your ideal generator size is largely determined by the overall power load you need it to support. Think about the essential appliances you’d want to use during a power outage and add up their total wattage; this number will give you a good sense of the minimum wattage you’ll need in your generator. You’ll also want to account for the size of the generator’s fuel tanks to estimate how long you’ll be able to run the generator before needing to refuel.

Will a dual fuel generator harm my sensitive electronics?

Generally speaking, most generators are safe to use with electronic devices, since they typically incorporate features to prevent power surges that could damage internal circuits. However, we recommend using a high-quality surge protector with delicate appliances like computers, smartphones, TVs and microwaves to guard against the occasional influx of power, which occurs just as frequently with standard home wall outlets as it does with generators.

What’s the best fuel source?

The best fuel source is likely to vary from situation to situation. If you have easy access to a gas station and noise and fumes aren’t an issue, gasoline can be a more efficient fuel source. However, if you’re looking for a cleaner-burning fuel that produces fewer emissions, or if you need a fuel source that’s easy to store, propane is your best bet.

Dual Fuel Generators: Our Top Picks

We compared more than a dozen dual fuel generators and identified the top performers. The models below vary in size and features, but each one will provide you with a reliable, convenient source of portable power.

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

This small but mighty generator features a 3400-watt inverter and 192cc engine, delivering up to 7.5 hours of power using gasoline and another 14.5 hours on propane. An intuitive dial lets you switch seamlessly between the two power sources, while an electric starter ensures a smooth start, even in cold weather.

The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel Inverter is RV-ready, equipped with 120V 30A RV, 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter and two 120V 20A household outlets for a clean, safe power source for your sensitive electronics. This standard equipment has the power to run two 15,000 BTU air conditioners, and an optional parallel kit allows you to expand available power even more by connecting two 2800-watt or higher inverters.

Its quiet operation—around 59 dB at 23 feet—roughly matches the noise level of a standard conversation. The unit also features a low-oil shut-off sensor that will automatically power off the generator when oil levels get low.

Specifications:

  • Gasoline starting watts: 3,400
  • Gasoline running watts: 3,100
  • Propane starting watts: 3,060
  • Propane running watts: 2,790
  • Engine size: 192cc
  • Gas tank capacity: 1.6 gallons
  • Noise level: 59 dB
  • Weight: 96 pounds
  • EPA certified and CARB compliant

Pros:

  • Reliable source of clean, safe power with VoltGuard surge protection for sensitive electronics
  • Quiet operation
  • Multiple outlet types provide for versatile use
  • Comes fully assembled with foldaway handle and durable wheels for easy transport
  • Three-year limited warranty and lifetime technical support

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Relatively small fuel tank capacity requires frequent refueling
  • Expensive for its size and power

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Pulsar Products PG10000B16 Dual Fuel Generator

This large dual fuel generator provides serious power for large applications, such as maintaining basic household operations in case of a storm or other outage. Its patented Switch and Go technology allows you to switch between gasoline and propane power while the generator is running, and it’s capable of producing 12 hours of gas-fueled power at half-load. Four 120V household outlets, one 50A RV outlet, one 120V/240 V 30A twist-lock outlet and one 12V DC port ensure compatibility with nearly any appliance, tool or other device you want to connect.

The Pulsar Products PG10000B16 is designed for durability and convenience, with a rugged steel frame, 10-inch never-flat wheels and a sturdy folding handle. It features an electric push start with recoil back-up, low-oil sensor, circuit breakers, overload protection and an hour meter so you can monitor your usage and fuel supply.

Specifications:

  • Gasoline starting watts: 10,000
  • Gasoline running watts: 8,000
  • Propane starting watts: 9,000
  • Propane running watts: 7,000
  • Engine size: 420cc
  • Gas tank capacity: 6.6 gallons
  • Noise level: 74 dB
  • Weight: 213 pounds
  • CARB compliant

Pros:

  • Extended run time
  • Provides plenty of power
  • Large fuel tank
  • Excellent value

Cons:

  • Loud operation

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Champion Power Equipment 7500-Watt Dual Fuel Generator

Like the 3400-watt version, the Champion Power Equipment 7500-watt dual fuel generator provides a reliable, robust source of portable power perfect for home, workshop and job site needs. Its 439cc engine generates sufficient power to operate multiple major appliances such as air conditioning, refrigerator, TV and lights simultaneously.

You’ll get about eight hours of run time on gas and 5.5 hours on a single propane tank, and the Intelligauge control panel allows you to easily monitor hertz, voltage and runtime hours to plan your usage and refueling. It includes four 120V 20A household ports, one 120V 30A locking port and one 120/240V 30A locking port; the integrated VoltGuard surge protector prevents damage to delicate devices.

Specifications:

  • Gasoline starting watts: 9.375
  • Gasoline running watts: 7,500
  • Propane starting watts: 8,400
  • Propane running watts: 6,750
  • Engine size: 439cc
  • Gas tank capacity: 6 gallons
  • Noise level: 74 dB
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • EPA certified

Pros:

  • Affordably priced
  • Three-year warranty with reliable customer support
  • Durable steel frame and never-flat wheels ensure both longevity and portability

Cons:

  • Mediocre fuel efficiency, especially with propane
  • Loud operation
  • Not CARB compliant

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DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Generator

The DuroMax XP12000EH produces a whopping peak power of 12,000 watts on gas fuel and 11,200 watts on propane. This easily eclipses most of its competitors. This performance ensures sufficient power for maintaining critical household functions in the event of a power outage. It still has capacity to run your air conditioning, fridge, TV, lights and other devices with no hiccups.

The Idle Control feature reduces the engine’s RPMs when not in use, which enhances fuel efficiency and reduces noise when only intermittent power is needed. MX2 Power Boost Technology maximizes the power produced by each of the 120V receptacles, with the option of operating the unit at both 120V and 240V simultaneously or at 120V with full power. This versatile generator includes two 120V household GFCI outlets, one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 240V 30A outlet and one 240V 50A outlet, as well as a voltmeter and 12V DC ports for charging external batteries. The panel also includes a voltmeter and 12V DC charging posts for charging external batteries.

Specifications:

  • Gasoline starting watts: 12,000
  • Gasoline running watts: 9,500
  • Propane starting watts: 11,400
  • Propane running watts: 9,025
  • Engine size: 457cc
  • Gas tank capacity: 8.3 gallons
  • Noise level: 74 dB
  • Weight: 260 pounds
  • EPA certified and CARB compliant

Pros:

  • Powerful engine
  • Extended run time
  • Large fuel tank
  • Heavy-duty steel frame with four-point isolated motor mounts and mufflers to reduce noise
  • Includes electric start, automatic low-oil shutdown, overload protection and circuit breakers to prevent breakdowns

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Inconsistent customer service

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Sportsman GEN4000DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator

The Sportsman GEN4000DF is a dependable compact generator best suited for modest demands like camping, tailgating, home workshops and powering the bare essentials during a blackout. Its 212cc, 7 HP engine delivers 10 hours of run time on gas and up to 12 hours on propane.

An easy-to-read voltmeter makes monitoring usage and power output easy, while overload protection and automatic low-oil shut-off features prevent unwanted power interruptions. For added value, the generator comes with propane hose, tool kit, funnel and battery charging cables.

Specifications:

  • Gasoline starting watts: 4,000
  • Gasoline running watts: 3,500
  • Propane starting watts: 3,600
  • Propane running watts: 3,100
  • Engine size: 212cc
  • Gas tank capacity: 3.6 gallons
  • Noise level: 69 dB
  • Weight: 90 pounds
  • EPA certified and CARB compliant

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Good fuel economy

Cons:

  • Lacks electric start
  • Noisy for its size
  • Does not include wheels or mobility kit

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Final Thoughts

With severe weather and interruptions to the power grid becoming commonplace, a portable generator is a wise investment for any household. This goes especially if you enjoy camping, tailgating or DIY tasks in the yard or workshop.

Dual fuel generators offer flexibility and value that single fuel generators simply can’t match. They’re available in models to fit virtually any budget and power demand. Once you’ve determined which features and capabilities are most important, you’re sure to find a good match on the list above.

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