You’re caught in a conundrum.
Generators are crucial to powering through a power outage — especially if you live somewhere vulnerable to hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters that could strip power from the grid.
But generators can also run more than $1,000. You want to make sure that the one you choose is the best for your money, but you don’t want to spend so much time researching that you’re unprepared for the next storm.
Luckily for you, this article describes the best dual fuel generators at a variety of price points. You can find a quality dual fuel portable generator and get it going the next time the power goes out.
The Best Dual Fuel Generators – Powered By Propane & Gasoline
1. DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Our #1 Choice
All dual fuel generators can run on propane and gasoline, but this DuroMax portable generator cuts above the rest with its top-notch efficiency, longevity, and powerful performance.
While all the other generators on this list will provide you a high-quality performance, the DuroMax beats the competition.
The 457cc engine is powerful enough to charge anything you need in an emergency, from the refrigerator to the home air conditioner to high-amp power tools, giving you 120 to 240 Volts of power. In total, you get 12,000 watts of power from this compact machine.
List of Top Specifications :
- 457cc engine
- Up to 12,000 watts of power
- All copper internal windings for maximum longevity
- Handle kit with durable solid-fill tires can cover all terrain
- Voltmeter, circuit breaker, idle control, and low oil indicator featured on easy to read panel
- Keyed electric start (no cranking)
You can detect how much energy is running through the machine with the voltmeter. Other areas give you information on the circuit breakers, oil levels, and idle controls.
Most portable generators are loud and could harm your hearing, but the fully-isolated motor mounts along with the oversized noise reducing muffler make for quiet operation. The built-in spark arrestor allows for a smooth, seamless performance whenever the machine is on.
This DuroMax generator includes all copper windings and facilitates its longevity. Even so, the machine will come with a 3-year factory warranty, so you can rest assured your generator are protected should anything break down.
You can take the DuroMax XP12000EH over any terrain with ease, as the handle kit runs on rugged solid-fill tires. Whether it’s outside the home, on a camping trip, or helping out a neighbor, this generator has the power and mobility to get any electrical job done.
The engine is quiet and powerful. The copper windings aid the machine’s longevity, and the overall design of this generator is user-friendly. The key used to start the engine remove the need for cranking, allowing users with mobility issues to use the machine.
Capable of providing more than 10 days of sustained home energy after hurricanes, according to some users, as long as there was still fuel to power the generator.
The weight of the machine can make the bottom of the plastic tires go flat, which makes transportation easier if the generator is stored in one place for a long period. There is no loading indicator to show the load input versus output, making it difficult to track the necessary metrics to gauge sustainable energy with this generator.
2. Westinghouse WGen3600DF
- Push to start removes the need to crank
- 120 Volt duplex outlet, with an RV-ready 30 Amp outlet and another 30 Amp outlet
- 212cc 4-stroke engine powerful enough to make a household run smoothly
- Included remote lets you start the generator from a distance while still in range
- Able to plug directly into RVs and campers for power while in remote areas
The start button promotes a quick start-up, and the remote control allows you to turn on the engine even if you’re a few yards away. Westinghouse touts an incredibly easy switch between gasoline and propane — you can do so even when the engine is running, making using multiple fuels sources at once painless.
The engine has less strength than the DuroMax XP12000EH engine, but it’s still powerful enough to get any job done. Whether it’s powering outdoor lights for an event or keeping the home operating during a storm, the Westinghouse WGen3600DF portable generator offers maximum performance at an affordable price.
On full batteries, this generator sometimes surges electricity into attached appliances. Dishwashers, washing machines, and irons plugged into this generator might flare up and start unexpectedly. Also, propane won’t be enough to power a household for multiple days comfortably — gasoline would be better, which could be inconvenient if you don’t like using gasoline or if gasoline is expensive in your area.
3. Champion 7500-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Another contender on the list of best dual fuel portable generators is this 7,500-watt one from Champion.
It can last more than a day straight with enough fuel. From its strength, durability, and endurance, this generator earns the “Champion” title.
- Low oil shut-off sensor
- Electric start with a toggle switch. Batteries included in the package
- “Intelligauge” tracks voltage, running hours, and hertz so you keep an eye on output and maintenance needs
- 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine
- 120V/240V operation
- Oil included upon purchase
- Included propane hose
The powerful engine starts up 9,375 watts upon start-up and 7,500 watts at regular running time. Using propane, the starting watts are 8,400 which goes to 6,750 at running time.
The Volt Guard included in the machine is a built-in surge protector that prevents overloads, maintaining consistent energy output while this machine is on. The 439cc engine powers refrigerators, large lights, RVs, and more with its built-to-last strength.
The engine is powerful enough for emergencies, camping, or use in RVs. The engine starts up and runs near 10,000 watts on gasoline and nearly as efficient on propane. The electric start button makes turning on this machine a breeze, and the cast iron sleeve around the generator protects it from damage. You get a high-performing portable generator under $1,000.
Not only that, but the front panel is hard to turn on unless you can find the power button from memory or have a flashlight. Since generators are often bought as emergency devices, the poor in-machine lighting could make for delayed start-ups.
Finally, the fill tube for the engine oil is in an awkward position. It’s under the unit, meaning you’ll have to have a flashlight to find it even in daylight. If night descends and you have to put more oil into the machine, you could miss the tube and spill.
4. WEN DF1100 11,000-Watt 120V/240V
With perhaps the highest running surge watts among the generators on this list, the WEN DF1100 portable generator has an impressive engine that can take care of your home, camping, or tailgating needs.
- 11,000 surge watts, 8,300 running watts on gasoline
- 9,500 surge watts, 7,500 running watts with propane
- Voltage typically between 120V and 240V
- 457cc 4-stroke OHV engine
- Tank holds 6.6 gallons and provides 8.5 hours of half-load running time
- The generator has four 120V outlets, one 120V/240V and 50A outlet, one 120V 30A twist-locking outlet, and a cigarette lighter plug of 12V
- Also, this generator comes with motor oil and a warranty of two years
While a bit pricier than the other portable generators on this list, the WEN DF1100 provides maximum power in a solid machine. The running times on a single tank at half-load is enough to finish most tasks a family will need to get done in a day during an emergency.
The six total outlets let you plug in a variety of machines to the generator and get the energy flowing to your most important appliances.
And, of course, you have the option to choose with fuel method suits you the best at the moment. The generator runs best on gasoline, but the propane option on this generator runs nearly as well as gasoline-powered generators from other brands.
Whether it’s for work or play, casual vacation or an emergency, the WEN DF1100 portable generator provides long-lasting power wherever you need it, whenever you need it.
5. Pulsar PG10000B16
A much more affordable option, the Pulsar PG10000B16 overs a comparable amount of power to the WEN DF1100 and other generators on this list.
The machine provides half a day’s worth of energy still using the propane or gasoline options.
- 10,000-watt peak, 8,000-watt running time on gasoline
- 9,000-watt peak, 7,000-watt running time on propane
- The Pulsar “Switch and Go” operation allows for seamless transitions between propane and gasoline while the machine is still running
- The 6.6-gallon tank provides 12 hours of continuous operation at half-load on gasoline
- Push to start button to turn on the machine easily
- Seven outlets total: Four 120V AC outlets, one 120/240V twist-lock outlet, one 50 Amp RV Port, and one 12V DC trickle charge output
- 420cc 4-stroke air-cooled OHV engine
- Protective steel frame with strong, all-terrain, never-flat wheels
From the fold-down handles to the sturdy wheels, you can cart this engine from home, through a forest path, or around a tailgating site. You can plug up whatever appliance you want, whether it’s a flat-screen TV, fridge, or even the whole house.
The Pulsar PG10000B16 is built to be a dependable energy source for all purposes. Never lose power even when the fuel’s low using the Switch and Go technology to replace propane with gasoline and vice versa — even when the generator is running.
While no oil is included, this generator comes with a propane hole and a one year warranty. Foldable handles make for easier storage. The wheels won’t lose their shape even when stored for years. The 3-in-1 meter gives pertinent information about this machine, and there is a low oil indicator. The machine shuts down when there’s little motor oil to prevent engine damage.
The weak choke linkage could easily break within the first few weeks of using this machine, which could impact the generator’s performance. It may not be suitable for RVs, and should you have any issues, customer service with Pulsar, some have said, isn’t very helpful.
6. Firman H03652
The Firman H03652 is one of the cheapest portable generators on this list and also the one with the longest battery life.
It’s affordable for most families or young folks and portable enough for avid campers.
- 4,550 surge watts, 3,650 running watts on gasoline
- 4,100 surge watts, 3,300 running watts on propane
- Five-gallon fuel tank provides 14 hours of running time
- 208cc engine runs cool due to Phoenix Fat Head Block
- Cast iron cage and never-flat wheels for maximum portability
- Free three-year warranty upon purchase and 5.5-foot propane hose
While a bit weaker in performance than other generators, the Firman H03652 still packs a punch. It’s strong enough to handle large appliances, camping needs, and emergency energizations in the case of a storm. It also comes with a free hose and a long-lasting warranty should something go wrong upon using the machine.
The long run-time is perhaps the best quality of this generator. For those hoping to ration their fuel efficiently during a storm or to cut down on their carbon footprint, the Firman H03652 provides the longest continuous runtime of all the generators here.
Cheap, and thus affordable for most people. Also, the battery life is incredible compared to other portable generators. The machine won’t run hot thanks to the Phoenix Fat Head Block, so you don’t have to worry about extraneous heat making the engine too hot to handle. Even when kept in storage for years, the wheels won’t flatten.
7. Duromax XP4850EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- 4,850 starting watts, 3,850 running watts on gasoline
- 4,608 starting watts, 3,658 running watts on propane
- 212cc OHV at seven horsepower engine
- Nearly 11-hour battery life at half-load on gasoline and nearly 9-hour battery life at half-load on gasoline
- 120V/240V option to run simultaneously, or 120V at full power
- Air-cooled engine
Easy to start up, the Duromax XP4850EH portable generator can power all your electronics and appliances efficiently. Using gasoline in the tank, you can get nearly half a day’s worth of electricity anywhere you need it.
If you’re in the middle of the forest but want to power up your phones, cooking equipment, or other items, this generator can do that with ease. You might find it difficult to power up your house for half the day, especially if your house is more than a story tall.
The oil drain plug is at a difficult location. It’s over the horizontal frame support nearly less than an inch apart from the rubber vibration damper. You’ll have to finagle either a hose or a funnel some to ensure you don’t spill oil deep into the machine or the flow beneath it.
Another issue to point out is that the warranty might not cover everything that could break down in the machine. For example, one customer stated that they had an issue with the regulator and that DuroMax told the customer to purchase and replace the part themselves, even though the customer was under warranty.
Just be prepared in case your machine should stop functioning properly, and you’re caught without that specific warranty coverage.
8. Sportsman GEN4000DF Gasoline & Propane Generator
Finally, the Sportsman is another mid-budget portable generator that provides substantial power in its tiny frame.
This machine can power your home in an emergency, vacation, or for pleasure.
- 4,000 surge watts, 3,500 running watts on gasoline
- Six outlets total: Four 120V outlets, one 120 RV outlet, and one 12V DC outlet
- Regulator hose kit included in the box
- 212cc OHV engine
- The 3.6-gallon tank runs for 10 hours when filled with gasoline or propane at half-load
- 69 decibels upon operation
- EPA approved
With an efficient fuel economy, the Sportsman GEN4000DF is best for those who are worried about their gasoline usage, especially if they’re far away from gas stations or near hurricane-prone areas. The engine is not the strongest on the list, but it will accomplish almost any electrical job.
The six outlets allow you to hook up multiple appliances to the machine as well. At various voltages, you can operate different electricity-using with different energy needs machines at once.
This is perhaps the most fuel-efficient generator on the list. At just 3.6 gallons of gasoline, you get 10 hours of run time at watt levels comparable to other portable generators. This is another great contender for an emergency generator if you want to use your fuel wisely during a storm. The engine isn’t too loud and should be operable near other people without disturbing them.
However, this is another case of the oil connection is too difficult to access. You’ll have to buy a flexible funnel to refill the engine oil without making a mess. This generator also doesn’t have wheels, so you’ll have to haul it around manually.
The engine cannot be converted to take natural gas, in case you wanted to use a cheaper fuel source for this generator.
How to Get the Most From Your Generator
1. Safety :
While a generator provides portable electricity wherever you take it, you should not take it indoors for more than a few minutes. The generator is a gas-powered engine much like a car, and so operating the generator indoors puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Always run your generator in an open space with plenty of ventilation — or keep it exclusively outside.
If you must run your generator indoors, proceed with caution. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the generator and take it outside immediately.
- Minor headache
- Shortening of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
2. Refill It Properly :
Always wait at least 15 minutes before refilling your generator with fuel. The fuel tanks are near the top of the engine so gravity can transport the fuel to the carburetor. If the engine is still hot, it can ignite. And any extra gas in the tank is just more fuel for the fire. Be especially cognizant at night when it’s dark. Always use a flashlight to ensure you’re pouring gas into the right hole and avoid potential fires.
3. Use the Proper Cord Lengths :
Some generators are loud, making normal conversation difficult unless you want to shout to the person you’re speaking with. Most people opt to get extension cables and use their appliances far away from their generator. That’s typically fine as long as the cords don’t exceed 100 ft. After that, the drop in voltage through that time can cause the appliance motors to burnout.
4. Do Routine Generator Check-Ups
If your generator’s been sitting in your shed all year, you want to make sure it’s still in top condition in case you’d have to use it tomorrow. Perform regular check-ups on your generator, ensuring no pests have made the unit their home and that a water leak didn’t ruin the internal operations.
Especially if you’ve spent more than $1,000 on your generator, performing regular check-ups ensure the longevity of your investment and performance in case you need to use it in an emergency.
5. Keep Your Generator Safe
Especially in the time of a crisis, someone might want to steal your generator to use in their own home. While some of the generators on this list are affordable, you still don’t want to lose the investment you put into it. Make sure you chain your generator next to something sturdy to prevent theft, especially if you plan on using the generator overnight or while you and your family are out of the house.
6. Only Use Fresh Fuel
Stale fuel is a common reason why a gas-powered small engine won’t start up. Add a fuel stabilizer to the gasoline you pour in to diminish gas breakdown, along with varnish and gum accumulation.
Many manufacturers and most repair shops suggest emptying the tank and letting the carburetor run dry once you think you won’t use the generator for a while (e.g., once storm season is over. When it’s time to pull out the generator again, only use fresh, stabilized gasoline.
7. Ensure You Don’t Run Out of Fuel
Most portable generators will tell you when there are low motor oil and fuel. But if you ignore the signs and find the generator shutting off, especially when you were using the generator to power your home, the electrical load from your house can drain the magnetic field in the coils of the generator. Once drained, the generator will start up once fuel’s been put back into it, but it won’t generate power. Only a specialized repair shop can fix the generator, costing you not only money but precious time in which you could have used the generator.
Emergency Generator Tips
If your power went out and is expected to stay out for a while, it’s time to break out the trusty portable generator. But you wouldn’t want to find your generator’s broken upon the first inspection. Use these few tips to ensure you get the best experience possible using an emergency generator.
1. Opt for Propane Over Gasoline
Gasoline will be more of an efficient fuel source out of the two, but it’s also more trouble. Storing gasoline is difficult without a stabilizer. Without adding a stabilizer, the gasoline could go stale and harm your machine if you decide to use it. Besides, you might not have enough space to store lots of gasoline, unless you have a spacious shed and can put a few gasoline barrels in them.
Propane is a lot easier to handle than gasoline. Propane doesn’t go bad, and refueling propane is easy — just replace the empty tank with a full one. Propane also doesn’t gum up the carburetor, unlike old gasoline.
2. Buy a Generator a Local Technician Can Service
Unless you are a small engine mechanic or can become an expert from YouTube, you might not be able to diagnose what’s wrong with the machine if it stops working, let alone fix it. If a technician in your area can’t service your generator, then you’ll either have to drive long distances to get it repairs or get stuck with a broken, expensive generator. Be smart and plan for the worse.
Dual fuel generators are great for those who want to be flexible with their energy sources. Propane is an easy and safer fuel source to travel with compared to gasoline, and gasoline might not be available for miles depending on where you live. Especially in the case of an emergency, a generator giving you options are a great way to stock up on multiple fuel sources before disaster comes.
The generators on this list are some of the best on the market. Some go for a thousand or two while others cost only a couple hundred bucks. All of them, though, are efficient at what they do: providing long-lasting and high amounts of energy at any time and anyplace.
Portable generators can not only make you and your family’s life much more bearable during a storm, but it can be used in the next camping trip or tailgating event.
Take stock of what your budget is and what your needs are, then pick one of the portable generators on this list. You don’t want to be caught in a bad power outage without one.