Should You Get a Gasoline or Diesel Generator? 7 Questions to Ask

A few blogs ago we talked about the differences between portable and standby generators.

But there’s another consideration that should cross your mind if you’re shopping for a good source of backup power — and that is the type of fuel your generator uses.

Today we look more closely at the differences between generators that run on gasoline and those that use diesel fuel.

Here are 7 key questions to keep in mind as you weigh your options.

#1: How long do you need backup power?

Do you anticipate mostly short, sporadic power outages, or using your generator for just a few hours at a time?

Or do you need something that will last for several days at a time, such as a job site in a remote area with little or no reliable source of electricity from the grid?

Generally, a gasoline power generator is good for short-term use, while diesel generators are ideal when you need power for a more extended period of time.

#2: Do you need a portable unit?

Are you getting a generator mainly for backup power for your home or business, or do you plan to travel with it?

If you need something you can easily carry to the lake, the tailgate party, or other outings, you want something that doesn’t weigh too much.

Gasoline generators tend to weigh less than diesel. In addition, gasoline is generally easier to find when it’s time to refuel.

#3: How much noise does it make?

Do you need to be able to hear people talking, or hear yourself think? Will there be other people sleeping nearby while you’re running the generator?

Some diesel generators tend to be noisy, although more up-to-date models run quieter than in the past.

#4: How much maintenance do you have to do?

Gasoline runs hotter than diesel, which may lead to more wear and tear and the need for more frequent repairs.

A diesel powered generator, on the other hand, generally runs longer before maintenance is required.

Any generator you choose will require regular maintenance. Be sure to change the filter regularly, and run the engine until it’s empty if the generator hasn’t been used for an extended period of time.

#5: How fuel efficient is it?

Diesel burns more efficiently than gasoline. It burns half the fuel and and costs less to operate over time.

Sometimes diesel combustion is more difficult in cold weather, but an up-to-date model is less likely to have this problem.

#6: How safe is it?

A gasoline generator uses a spark plug to ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber, which may raise the risk of accidental fire for some models compared to a diesel generator.

Diesel fuel also has a higher flashpoint so is harder to ignite if it spills.

#7: How much do you want to spend?

Diesel generators are more expensive than gasoline generators upfront.

However, greater fuel efficiency and less frequent maintenance may reduce the long-term costs of ownership compared to a gasoline generator.


Have questions about selecting and maintaining the right generator for you?

Get in touch with us at Complete Electrical. We want you to have the right source of power for your needs!

One thought on “Should You Get a Gasoline or Diesel Generator? 7 Questions to Ask

  1. It’s good to know more about diesel and gas powered generators. We want to get one for our home, and diesel honestly sounds like the best option. Having that extended amount of time would be great in an emergency.

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