8 Best Dual-Fuel Generators of 2020 – Reviews and Top Picks
Dual fuel generators offer features that a regular gas generator can’t. They are gaining in popularity due to their versatility while offering greater peace of mind during a major power outage. Did you know that there are over 200,000 miles of high-voltage electrical lines and over 5.5 million miles of local line just in the United States? These lines link thousands of generating plants to homes and businesses.
Therefore, when a disaster strikes and damages power lines and/or substations, it is even more important to have backup power. Owning a generator can make a difficult situation tolerable so you can stay warm, keep your food from spoiling, or cook meals to eat.
Generators aren’t just for emergencies, they are also great for camping, tailgating, and being on job sites to run all your power tools. This article will go over the best dual fuel generators, discussing pros/cons and offering a buyer’s guide to help you determine the best one that will last for many years.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites:
|Best Overall||Sportsman GEN7500DF||
|Best Value||Champion 76533||
|Premium Choice||DuroMax XP12000EH||
The 8 Best Dual-Fuel Generators:
1. Sportsman Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Best Overall
The Sportsman is a 7,500-watt generator with 6,000 running watts and a 13-HP engine. Runtime on a 20-pound gas cylinder, or 6.2 gallons of gas, is nine hours at 50% load. We found that this generator is a great option for the job site or an emergency power outage, since it will power plenty of appliances and devices.
This generator was easy to transport with its handles and large wheels and weighing only 135 pounds. The panel features seven outlets, a turn-key start, circuit reset, and voltmeter. We liked how easy this generator was to start and operate. On the downside, the outlets do not come with protective coverings.
Other features include a backup recoil start, circuit protection, automatic low-oil shutoff, and AVR automatic voltage regulation. Unfortunately, the battery, oil, and oil funnel are not included.
It is EPA approved and comes with a limited one-year warranty.
2. Champion 76533 Dual Fuel Generator – Best Value
The Champion is the best dual fuel generator for the money. It is a smaller generator but offers many positive features that will help get the job done. The engine is 224cc with 3,800 running watts. We liked getting nine hours of runtime on a full tank of gas and 10.5 hours of runtime on a 20-pound propane tank.
It starts easily every time with the push of a button and is quieter than the Sportsman. There are four outlets on the panel, a digital gauge, and circuit breakers.
Other nice features are a low-oil shut-off, backup recoil start, and safety fuel selector switch. We appreciate that the battery and a propane hose are included. It’s easy to transport with the large 10-inch wheels, fold-down handle and weight of 119 pounds.
It comes with a three-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support. This is a great all-around dual fuel generator for the money, but it doesn’t offer the wattage power or variety of receptacles like the Sportsman generator in the number-one spot.
3. DuroMax Dual Fuel Generator – Premium Choice
This generator offers power and a durable machine. It boasts a 457cc engine with 18-HP and 9,500 running watts. It can handle heavy loads and would be perfect for use with high-amperage power tools.
There are five available outlets with a 50-AMP outlet, making it great for home backup as well. It offers extra protection against power surges, and you have the option of operating at both 120 and 240 volts simultaneously. It does weigh more at 235 pounds, but the large wheels and double fold-down handles make it easy to move to different locations.
The noise-reducing muffler helps reduce how loud this generator is. Other features include a voltmeter, low-oil indicator, idle control, and circuit breakers. It is EPA and CARB approved, with a three-year residential and one-year commercial warranty.
If you need a powerful generator with multiple options, this one will do well; otherwise, the Sportsman and the Champion offer other great features at a more affordable price.
4. Pulsar Dual Fuel Portable Generator
This dual fuel generator has a 420cc engine that has 6,250 running watts with gas and 5,950 running watts with propane. There are six receptacles with one 12V DC output. We liked the Switch & Go technology, which allows you to switch from gas to propane while the generator is running, as this is a time saver.
It starts easily with the push of a button and offers a backup pull-start. We found that you can get up to 13 hours of runtime at 50%. There is also a three-in-one digital meter and a low-oil indicator with low-oil shutdown.
On the downside, this generator is heavy and loud when running, and you cannot use the 120- and 240-volt outlets at the same time. It is not EPA or CARB approved, but it does come with a two-year parts warranty and a one-year labor warranty.
5. Westinghouse Dual Fuel Portable Generator
The Westinghouse is a nice option for those who want a user-friendly generator. It has color-coded buttons and a fuel selector switch that makes it easy to operate. A unique feature it offers is a wireless remote start, along with a push-button start and a recoil start for backup.
Running watts while on gas is 3,600 and 3,240 when running on propane. It has to be mentioned that it does run for 18 hours at a 20% load. This is beneficial if you only need to run a few items in your home during an outage.
We like the option to switch from gas to propane when the unit is operating. There are four receptacles on the control panel, and they are covered for protection from the elements. It was a little louder and heavier than other generators offering the same power.
For those of you who like engines with low emissions, the Westinghouse is CARB compliant and EPA approved. It comes with a three-year warranty and lifetime technical support.
6. Firman Dual Fuel Portable Generator
The Firman comes with a large eight-gallon gas tank, so you can get 12 hours of runtime on one tank of gas. The larger gas tanks are beneficial during an outage, since you don’t have to worry about filling it so often. It is also powerful, with a 439cc engine and 8,000 running watts when using gas. When using propane, you get 7,250 running watts.
Even with the high number of watts, it runs quiet due to the whisper series muffler. It starts easily with the push button, and the 10-inch wheels and U-shaped handle allow for easier transportation from one location to another.
On the negative side, it is heavy, and there isn’t an AMP or Wattmeter to help keep an eye on these levels. We liked that it does come with a three-year warranty and is CARB certified.
7. WEN Dual Fuel Portable Generator
The WEN is a heavy-duty, powerful generator that would be great as an emergency backup. It has a 457cc engine with 8,000 running watts on gas and 7,500 running watts on propane. The runtime is 8.5 hours at 50% load.
The panel has six outlets and a 12V DC cigarette lighter-style plug. Simply plug your transfer switch into the NEMA 30-AMP twist lock in times of need. It has an automatic voltage regulator and overload protection. It starts easily with a key, and there is a backup recoil start. It has a switch to convert from gas to propane and an hour meter to help with scheduling routine maintenance.
We noticed that it burns through oil fairly fast in the beginning but seems to slow down when used at a later time. It is noisier compared to the Firman but runs strong. It is CARB compliant and comes with a two-year warranty.
8. All Power Dual Fuel Portable Generator
This generator offers 8,000 running watts on gas and 7,000 watts when running on propane. It has a 420cc, 15-HP air-cooled engine with a noise level at 76 decibels. There is an electric key start with a backup recoil start.
It runs for 11 hours at 50% load since it has a large eight-gallon capacity gas tank. There are six sockets on the control panel, along with an hour meter. On the downside, the flat-free tires are a bit small for its 235-pound frame, and the generator doesn’t appear to be as durable compared to others on this reviews list.
It comes with a maintenance-free battery and a low-oil shut-down safety feature. In order to switch it from gas to propane, you have to turn off the generator, switch it over, and then start it up again. It is EPA approved, with a limited two-year residential warranty and a 90-day warranty for commercial use. Note that this is not CARB compliant, so it cannot be sold in the state of California.
Dual fuel generators are a great option for providing continuous power and greater peace of mind during power outages. There are a few things to consider when buying one of these generators. We’ve included the following buying tips to make it easier to make a decision about which one is right for you.
Benefits of a Dual Fuel Generator:
Versatile: You can choose between gas or propane and adjust for your needs. If you just want to run a few power tools, then the propane will provide adequate power. When needing to power your house, the gas option is the best route.
Cost-effective: Propane is cheaper and cleaner to burn than gasoline.
Increase storage time: Propane can be stored indefinitely, so when the lines are long at the gas station, you can use the propane you already have on hand.
Continuous power: You can easily switch between both fuels, giving you more runtime on your generator.
Features of a Dual Fuel Generator
Power output: The higher the wattage, the more power a generator will have. On dual fuel generators, the propane option will produce less power than gasoline.
Running watts vs starting watts: The running watts is what the generator will use to keep everything operating. The starting watts are how much power the generator needs to get going, but it can’t sustain those watts (which are higher) for a long period of time.
Electric start: Most will offer a turn-key start (one on our list has a remote start), as well as a backup pull-start.
Low-oil shutoff: When the oil level gets below the minimum level, it will shut down to prevent damage to the engine. Some will have a low-oil indicator light to let you know that it needs attention before the engine shuts down.
Runtime: This describes how much time they will run at 50% load with a full fuel tank. The larger the tank, the longer the runtime will be. Propane won’t have as long of runtime as gasoline, usually an hour or two less.
Control Panel: When the outlets are covered, it will protect them from water, dust, and other debris. Four or more outlets allow for the best wattage use because the load is spread out. So, the more outlets you have, the more opportunities to operate more objects. Keep in mind that the more you plug in, the more power is needed, which means the generator will use up fuel at a faster rate.
Wheels: Many portable generators will come with a wheel kit, which allows you to maneuver the unit to different areas. Generators are heavy and much easier to move around with wheels and handle. Duel fuel generators will typically weigh less than a gas-only generator offering the same power.
Fuel gauge: This is useful, especially if you are using the generator in an emergency situation. You can keep an eye on the levels and reduce the risk of running out of fuel.
Tips and Considerations
Safety: Look for models that offer overheat protection, low-oil shutoff, and overload protection. These safety features are in place to protect you and keep your generator running at its best.
Maintenance: In order to get the best performance from your generator and keep it running for a long time, there will be maintenance involved. Change the oil after 100 hours of use, and keep an eye on the filters and change them when dirty. Don’t forget to follow the owner’s manual for recommendations on your specific generator.
Illegal Backfeeding: This is a dangerous practice and can cause serious injury (and death), so take the time to have a transfer switch professionally installed, which will allow you to plug your portable generator directly into your household electrical supply.
EPA & CARB compliant: Carbon emissions are governed by the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the former having stricter standards that have to be met in order to pass and be labeled as compliant.
Noise: All generators are noisy, though some are louder than others. The more power they have, the louder they are. Running a generator at 50% will help reduce the noise significantly. Some models will offer mufflers for extra noise reduction.
Cost: Generators are not cheap and for good reason: They supply power when needed and can essentially save you in an emergency when power is essential. They come in many price ranges, and it’s up to you to pick the one that will cover most of your needs.
Though there are many choices for duel power generators, we hope that our review list helps you make an informed decision for a generator that will provide for your specific needs.
Our top-rated generator is the Sportsman, offering features that will help run your house with ease during a power outage. If you don’t need as much power/watts, then the Champion is a great all-around generator with an affordable price tag. If price isn’t a deterrent, the DuroMax is our premium option, with its high-powered engine and durability for any task at hand.
When choosing a generator, keep all the features and options in mind and know what your requirements are so you can make a good investment that will perform effectively and remain reliable for many years.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites:
- The 8 Best Dual-Fuel Generators:
- 1. Sportsman Dual Fuel Portable Generator – Best Overall
- 2. Champion 76533 Dual Fuel Generator – Best Value
- 3. DuroMax Dual Fuel Generator – Premium Choice
- 4. Pulsar Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- 5. Westinghouse Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- 6. Firman Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- 7. WEN Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- 8. All Power Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- Buyer’s Guide
- Features of a Dual Fuel Generator
- Tips and Considerations