Whether it’s hurricane season or snow season, you want to have the peace of mind that a generator will carry you through the worst power outages. Multi-fuel generators are a backup power source that can support you when the lights go out. With a multi-fuel generator, you can use multiple fuel sources with a single generator.
The best multi-fuel generators will run on propane, gasoline, natural gas, or diesel fuel. Depending on which multi-fuel generator you have, you can choose your fuel source to suit your needs for any situation, including times when you might have noise restrictions, difficulty accessing fuel, and your power outputs. Look for dual-fuel generators made by companies such as Westinghouse, DuroMax, and Winco.
In this article, we’ll take a look at ten of the best multi-fuel generators for your home. But before we look at the list, we’ll discuss what a multi-fuel generator is and the pros and cons of using one. We’ll also talk about what to look for in a multi-fuel generator so you can find one that suits your specific needs. But first, let’s take a look at what a multi-fuel generator is.
What Is a Multi-Fuel Generator?
A multi-fuel generator is a type of portable generator that can run on multiple fuel sources. In other words, it means you can choose from a variety of fuels to use in the same generator, such as gasoline, natural gas, and propane.
For example, if you are home during a power outage, you might want to connect your generator to your home’s natural gas line. On the other hand, perhaps you go camping and would instead use propane to fuel your generator at the campsite. Then again, you might find you need to take your generator to a worksite where you need to use gasoline to power the same equipment. Similarly, you can do this with a single, multi-fuel generator rather than purchasing a separate generator for purpose or type of fuel.
Dual fuel generators are more common and affordable than tri-fuel generators. However, you need to choose the one that brings you the most peace of mind so that you can take care of your family in an emergency. Multi-fuel generators give you extra options to choose from, but you do need to know the pros and cons of each.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Multi-Fuel Generator?
Multi-fuel generators are an excellent piece of equipment to have on hand. But, of course, there are pros and cons to owning these types of generators.
One advantage is that you will have more freedom and flexibility to choose which kind of fuel you want to use in any given situation. For example, if gas prices are low, you may want to use gasoline. But during a hurricane, gas might be difficult to get, so you may prefer to use your home’s natural gas or even propane. If you use your home’s natural gas, you’ll want to consult with your gas company to make sure you hook up your generator correctly and safely.
Using propane as a fuel source may be considered safer than using gasoline. However, propane might not make as many watts as gasoline or diesel can. If you need higher wattage, you might want to use the gasoline or diesel settings on your multi-fuel generator.
Gasoline may be expensive if you will be using your generator for an extended period.
On the other hand, one disadvantage to using multi-fuel generators is that they are more expensive. You can choose single fuel generators for as low as $300, but multi-fuel generators might run more like $1500. They are also heavier and more difficult to transport.
What to Look for in a Multi-Fuel Generator?
To choose the best multi-fuel generator for your family, you’ll need to look at a couple of things.
- Type of fuel. First is what types of fuel do you want to use. Do you want a dual-fuel generator that uses two fuel sources or a multi-fuel generator that can use 3 or 4? Second, what kind of fuel access do you have? If gasoline is easy for you to access, you might not need to worry about a natural gas generator. However, if your home already has natural gas, it would be an easy choice to use a generator that works with natural gas as its fuel source. Propane is a safe fuel to use than gasoline.
- Noise requirements. Generators can be very noisy, and while some types are quieter than others, some types of fuel are also quieter than others. In addition, some generators are available with sound dampening casing while others are not.
- Power Output. How much power does your family need to keep the household running? Do you just want to power a couple of lights for comfort, run your fridge to keep your food cold, or power your entire house?
- Additional considerations. Do you need a generator with wheels to make it more portable? How many electrical outputs do you need? Do you want a high-tech generator that works with a phone app, or do you prefer a more basic one? You may want to look at the fuel cost for the generator you are choosing and compare it to your need for watt output.
How to Determine What Size Generate You Need?
Generators create electricity which is measured in watts. Every appliance you run has its own specific amount of watts that it needs to power and run. You can figure out what size generator you need by understanding how many watts the appliances you want to use will need. Here’s how:
- Make a list of all of the appliances you want and need to use during a power outage.
- Figure out the starting and running watts of each item. Running watts are how many watts the appliance needs to run, and starting watts are the extra boost of power that an appliance might need to get started up. For example, your refrigerator might need 1200 watts to start up but only 750 watts to stay running throughout the day. On the other hand, your coffee might only need 1000 watts to brew a pot of coffee.
- Add up all of the running watts needed, and then add up all of the starting watts that are need to run appliances simultaneously. If an item does not have any extra starting watts, then use its running watts instead.
- Once you’ve added up all the starting and running watts, you can look for a generator that produces enough energy to meet those needs.
- If your energy requirements are too high, you can adjust which appliances you run simultaneously. For example, you might need to alternate using your washer and dryer instead of running them simultaneously so you can purchase a smaller, less expensive generator.
Once you know how large a generator you’ll need, you can choose a multi-fuel generator that suits your purposes.
10 Best Multi-Fuel Generators
In the following chart, we compare different models of dual and tri-fuel generators. We will list the type of fuel it can use, its starting and running watts, the model’s weight, price, and any special features you might want to use.
|Model||Type of Fuel||Running Watts||Weight||Price||Features|
|Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator||Gas, Propane||12,500 Starting 9,500 Running||220 Pounds||$1,049.00||Remote Start|
|DuroMax XP5500EH Electric Start||Gasoline, Propane||5500 Starting4500 Running||142 Pounds||$649.00||CO2 detector with automatic shut-off|
|Pulsar G12KBN Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator||Gasoline, Propane||12000 Starting 9500 Running||209 Pounds||$1049.99||Electric or recoil start|
|WEN DF475T||Gasoline, Propane||4750 surge watts, 3800 running watt)||105 pounds||$539.79|
|Durostar DS10000EH||Gasoline, Propane||10,000 Starting 8,000 Running||232 Pounds||$1,199.00||Heavy duty and home outlets|
|Champion Power Equipment||Gasoline, Propane||4275 Starting3420 running||119 Pounds||$598.83||Electric start, wheel kit|
|Durostar DS5500EH||Gasoline, Propane||5500 Starting, 4500 Running||129 Pounds||$612.06||Durostar DS5500EH|
|DuroMax XP13000HX||Gasoline, Propane||13000 starting 10500 running||240 pounds||$1699.99||CO2 alert with automatic shutdown|
|Winco Tri-Fuel Generator||Gasoline, propane, natural gas||9000 Starting 8000 Running||274 Pounds||$2,967.00||Electric Start|
|Winco Tri-Fuel Generator (larger model)||Gasoline, Propane, Natural Gas||12,000 starting 10,800 running||440 pounds||$4,412.00||Electric Start|
10 Best Multi-Fuel Generators
1. Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment. Rated Amazon’s choice, this generator runs on both gas and propane. It comes with a remote start and weighs around 220 pounds. Although this generator is heavy and loud, it comes at a welcome price of about $1000.
2. DuroMax XP5500 DuroMax brings a very budget-friendly option with the DuroMax XP5500. With a price point of just $649.00, this generator makes duel fuel generators available to most budgets. It runs on either gasoline or propane and comes with a built-in CO2 detector which will automatically shut off the machine if CO2 levels become dangerously high.
3. Pulsar G12KBN. This heavy-duty generator weighs in at 209 pounds for a reasonable $1049.99. It runs on either gasoline or propane and features both electric and recoil startup.
4. WEN DF475T. The most budget-friendly option, WEN’s dual fuel generator, comes in at just $539.79. This lightweight generator weighs just 105 pounds, making it a great choice if budget or portability are your biggest factors. It provides 4750 startup wats and 3800 running watts on gasoline, but slightly less if using propane for fueling.
5. DuroStar. The durostar gives you plenty of watts for your dollar, with up to 10,000 starting watts and 8,000 running watts for just $1,199.00. Not a lightweight generator, this model will provide lots of watts for your household and has multiple types of outlets built into the power panel.
6. Champion. If you need a lightweight, reliable generator, consider the Champion. This 119-pound generator is small enough to be portable but still provides plenty of watts for your essential household appliances. The best yet is the price, at just $598.83.
7. Durostar DS 5500 EH. For the best bang for your budget, look at the Durostar DS 500 EH. You’ll get a lightweight, portable generator for around $600, giving you peace of mind for not a lot of cash.
8. DuroMax XP13000HX. Although high in the price range for dual-fuel generators, the DuroMax Xp13000 HX might be worth it for the whopping 13000 starting watts and 10500 running watts. The best part about this generator is its CO2 detection technology which automatically shuts off if levels get too high.
9. Winco Tri-Fuel Generator. If budget isn’t an issue, you may want to look into a tri-fuel generator such as this one. It runs on gasoline, propane, or natural gas, but it will cost you at almost $3000. However, it offers plenty of power with 9000 starting watts and 8000 running watts.
10. WinCo Tri-Fuel Generator. If you need even more power, look at the Winco Tri-Fuel Generator with 12,000 starting watts and 10,800 running watts. This large, heavy generator should power most of your essential home appliances, and it runs on gasoline, propane, and even natural gas. The benefits are worth the cost at $4,412.
There are many options for multi-fuel generators depending on your budget, energy needs, and fuel sources.
How do you switch from one fuel source to the other?
In most cases, switching between fuel sources is as easy as flipping a switch and connecting your fuel source. For example, you can see a video of the Champion generator here https://youtu.be/olRvvKBIyN0.
Can I use a conversion kit with my current, single fuel-source generator?
You can purchase conversion kits for your single fuel generator, such as this one. However, they are not always the best choice. When possible, buy a generator that was built for multiple fuels.
Which generator fuel is the most efficient?
Diesel fuel tends to be the most efficient type of fuel for a generator. However, propane burns cleaner. In an emergency, the convenience of a dual fuel generator will give you options if one type of fuel is hard to find.