Should I Buy Or Rent a Gas, Diesel, Or Propane Generator?

To buy or rent a generator can be quite an investment. There are different types–gas, natural gas, propane and diesel; all have pros and cons. Here is a short list of things to consider…

Diesel Pros

  • Fumes are less toxic
  • Less parts to repair–no spark plugs or carburetor
  • Burns 30% to 50% less per kilowatt than gas
  • Fuel has a lower BTU rating so it runs cooler
  • Built to require less maintenance
  • Not an explosive fuel, so it is safe to store
  • Fuel has a long shelf life in storage
  • Fuel is easily available
  • Fuel not as flammable as others

Diesel Cons

  • Tend to be more expensive than others
  • Oil changes are required
  • Loud, usually needs a sound-proof enclosure
  • Contributes to air pollution
  • High odor factor
  • Generally heavier

Gasoline Pros

  • Gas is widely available
  • Inexpensive
  • Light weight for easier portability
  • Fuel is cheaper than others by the gallon

Gasoline Cons

  • Gas is very explosive
  • Gas is very flammable
  • Fuel has a short shelf life
  • Unstable fuel
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Burns more per kilowatt
  • Runs hot
  • Fuel may not be available during severe weather catastrophes

Propane Pros

  • Fuel is stable
  • Generators under 30kw are inexpensive

Propane Cons

  • Propane tanks are not available at all stores
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Burns more per killowatt
  • Fuel is explosive
  • Fuel is flammable

Natural Gas Pros

  • Fuel is stable
  • Burns Clean
  • Pipelines are underground so it is not affected by power outages
  • Homes with natural gas connections have unlimited supply
  • Generators under 30kw are inexpensive

Natural Gas Cons

  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Burns more per killowatt
  • Extremely explosive fuel
  • Highly flammable fuel

Newer models of generators accommodate for multi-fuel systems. This enables a homeowner to go from one type of fuel to another all on the same portable generator. Conversion kits can be bought for this specific purpose, also. Buying this type of model could be invaluable in times when there are fuel shortages due to natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes. It is definitely something worth considering.