For most domestic gardeners, choosing the best dual fuel generator might not be a regular consideration, but when it comes down to it, if you’re going to invest in a substantial bit of kit like a dual fuel generator, it’s worth buying the best. For commercial gardeners, they are probably the most important bit of kit in the van.
No matter where you are, no matter what the job, a decent dual fuel generator can keep you gardening for longer, whether it’s powering tools, charging them, or keeping lights on so you can finish landscaping jobs before the sun goes down.
In this article I want to share some tips for getting the most out of your generator, but also run through some of the best dual fuel generators we’ve found to save you time shopping around.
Best Dual Fuel Generators for 2023
1. Champion 100402 2000-Watt Portable Dual Fuel Inverter Generator
2. WEN DF475T 4750 Watt Portable Dual Fuel Generator
3. Pulsar G12KBN-SG Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator
4. DuroMax XP12000EH 12000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator
5. Westinghouse WGen3600DF 3600 Watt Dual Fuel Generator
6. Champion 100165 9375/7500 Watt Dual Fuel Generator
7. DuroMax XP4850EH 4850 Watt Dual Fuel Generator
Buyers’ Guide to Dual Fuel Generators
What are Dual Fuel Generators?
Dual fuel generators are portable electricity units powered by gasoline and propane. The fuel mixing makes them more efficient and cleaner than single source generators.
Obviously in an ideal world we’d have more efficient access to portable solar units to keep tools charged through the day, but for now the most efficient option for portable electricity remains the humble dual fuel generator.
If you’ve never used one yourself before, you’ll probably have benefitted from one without knowing. Any music festival, public fair, or outdoor event, uses generators to keep themselves live and running, and even food vans carry them.
For garden use, they are usually used to directly power electric tools, air compressor, and to power more efficient electric heaters and lamps for greenhouses where there is no mains power available.
How to Use a Dual Fuel Portable Generator
Dual fuel generators are incredibly simple to use. Older models need some strength to get them going, just like old fashioned lawn mowers, yanking at leads until you hear them tick into action.
Depending on the model you buy, there’s one critical thing to consider; charging or running use. Some dual fuel generators will power tools while they are running. Others only allow you to use the sockets when they have charged themselves up.
For me, the convenience of operational use is pretty essential because I’m nearly never organized enough to pre-charge my generator, but for those of you willing to run them for a while before use, the generators that run to charge, and then lend power are both quieter while you work, and more fuel efficient.
Other than that, the only other thing to do is plug in and get on with gardening.
What to Look for When Buying Dual Fuel Generators
Choosing a dual fuel generator might seem like a simple thing; there’s really not that many variables between types of dual fuel generators and brands, but there are a few really essential factors to consider when buying one.
The one that people tend to forget, and that should really be top of this list, is where is it manufactured for?
It’s not even a case of quality, it’s just functional - if you buy a dual fuel generator developed for European use you’ll get European plug sockets; if you buy a dual fuel generator for US use, you’ll have US sockets.
I know it seems simple, but you’d be amazed at how many complaints are submitted to manufacturers because people have bought the wrong model!
Anyway, with that simple choice done and dusted, here are some of more important factors to consider when you’re trying to understand quality and choose the best dual fuel generator for you.
When you’re looking for a dual fuel generator for the garden, it’s important not to overspend. You can spend thousands if you wish, and you’ll have an incredibly powerful gas guzzler that effectively wastes loads of energy.
As a guide, when you’re looking for a new dual fuel generator check out the peak power output, as well as the running power output.
They’ll be anywhere between 1,000-12,000 watts, so check the power requirements for your tools and work out the maximum you’ll need at any one time. That’ll give you the clearest possible guide of what you need.
For 99% of garden jobs, a low wattage generator is more than sufficient, whether you’re a domestic gardener or a commercial landscaper.
On the off chance that you’re a commercial gardener running entirely electric tools and working into the evening, then maybe a higher wattage is for you but personally I’d suggest getting your hands on a good set of dual fuel power tools which will be much less hassle and less wasteful in the long run.
Any combustion engine makes noise. There is no such thing as a silent gas engine because they fundamentally rely on dozens of tiny little explosions in sequence to produce energy.
Most dual fuel generators come with noise ratings in decibels in their specifications, so if you’re planning on buying one for home use, look for a generator that’s as quiet as possible, because regularly using noisy generators in the garden is a sure fire way to drum up tension with the neighbors.
Dual fuel generators are pretty basic machines, in that they will usually work with alternative fuels, but to get the best out of them they typically need a mix of gasoline and propane, but you can replace them with natural gas and biodiesel, or unleaded petrol.
If you’re lucky, when you’re choosing a new dual fuel generator, the model you’re after will list its power output for each possible fuel, because it does differ.
For example, a dual fuel generator running on pure gasoline might produce 5,000 watts, but the same generator on pure propane will produce 4,500 watts.
To run cleaner, unleaded with natural gas will give you more sustainable energy but there’s no magic bullet to make them better for the environment.
Any combustion engine releases carbon and pollutants, so the best way to keep your costs and impact down is to find a generator with higher fuel efficiency.
You’ll find this in the specifications from most manufacturers, but if it’s not there, an easy way to gauge efficiency is to assess runtime versus tank capacity.
If a generator has a 4.5 gallon tank, and runs 8 hours, it’s more efficient than a generator with a 6 gallon tank that runs 8 hours. Manufacturers will all claim high efficiency, but runtime vs capacity is the only real way to make a true judgement.
Safety Guidance for Dual Fuel Generators
Fill up properly
When your generator has stopped running, and fuel is nearing the empty line, you need to refill, but NEVER rush it. Adding cold fuel to a hot generator can cause fires and sparks. Wait at least 15-20 minutes before refilling after your generator has powered down, and ensure tools are disconnected.
Only use clean fuel
Don’t cut corners with red-diesel or old stale fuel. Old fuel or cheap alternatives reduce the life-time of your dual fuel generator, which can get clogged by saturated oils on working parts, and will guarantee you need to clean the generator internally and externally from soot more regularly.
Using clean fuel is better for your health if you’re working nearby, as well as the health of your tools, so this isn’t somewhere to try and cut corners.
Choose the right cord length
Two reasons to choose the right cord length for a dual fuel generator: Noise levels, and engine fires.
Obviously, if you’ve followed all the above guidance, engine fires are highly unlikely, but you don’t want to be caught off guard if the worst should happen, so you should always keep a proper distance of at least 20ft from a running generator to prevent hearing damage over longer term use.
Also, cord’s over 100ft will reduce the power output, as electricity generated live reduces over distance making them less efficient. there’s no danger in longer cords, but it’s not a great idea if you’re working long hours from the same generator.
Best Dual Fuel Generator Reviews
Our Top Picks for the Best Dual Fuel Generators
Best Dual Fuel Generator for 2023
The Champion 100402 2000-Watt Dual Fuel Portable Inverter Generator might not pack much power, but it’s the best dual fuel generator for gardeners we’ve found, with the brilliant advantage of being versatile enough to power most appliances if you ever needed it in an emergency too.
It runs quieter than almost any other garden power tools, and is incredibly easy to move around even when full thanks to its low fuel capacity.
Obviously if we were reviewing generators for homes this would be a negative, but I really like this nifty generator for gardens and light use.
Best Value Dual Fuel Generator
WEN DF475T Portable Dual Fuel Generator has durable wheels and comes in at a good price too. Most generators on the market are either in the 1-3000W range, or 9-1200W range, so finding a decent quality dual fuel generator on this sort of budget is a rare find.
Most consumer reviews say the same thing too - it’s reliable, and truly portable. Obviously with a full tank it’s not something you’ll be lifting in and out of the van every day, but it’s rollable, and liftable when empty.
Premium Choice Dual Fuel Generator
The Pulsar G12KBN-SG Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator is definitely a premium choice but it’s good value too, coming in much cheaper than most models with similar wattages, while also having versatile and adaptable power choices, with power outlets that give you a choice of how much power you want to be using, because not everything needs 12,000W all the time.
For a serious commercial landscaper this is more than worth the money you’ll spend on it, and it’ll last a lifetime, with a proper warranty that most generators annoyingly don’t include.
Dual Fuel Generator FAQs
Is a dual fuel generator worth it?
In the face of disaster, you need a back up. That goes for the garden as well as the house. Dual fuel generators give a peace of mind that is worth every penny.
Even outside of disasters, they’re an essential bit of kit for serious commercial gardeners, especially as summer turns to fall, and you’re working in the evening as the days start to shorten.
How long will a tank of propane last in a dual fuel generator?
Generally a dual fuel generator run on gasoline is more efficient than propane, but for the average dual fuel generator, 20lb of prone will last around 5 hours. This is affected by the output watts, and factors including maintenance.
How long will a tank of gasoline last in a dual fuel generator?
5 gallons of gas should last around 8 hours in a dual fuel generator. Obviously there are limited variables, such as the maximum and running wattage of the generator, and factors like cable length, eternal temperature and generator age will impact the running time, but 5 gallons will usually last around 8 hours in an average generator.
When do I need a 12000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator?
A 12000 watt generator is capable of running an entire house, including electric heaters, fridges, ovens, lights, TVs, and more.
They are essential kit for homes regularly hit by power outages, but for most light use they are surplus to requirements and can easily be replaced by lower wattage generators for general garden or event use.
This article has been provided by Julian Howard, the Compressedairman. Julian is knowledgeable about all things machinery for garden use.
He is passionate about helping people live productive lives. Julian’s compressor information site provides all the information you need to know about air compressors and compares the best air compressors you can buy.
Get Yourself a Reliable Dual Fuel Generator
OK, so dual fuel generators are a bit of a minefield for newcomers, and I admit there’s a lot to take in, but once you get your head around the basics, it’s a pretty simple choice.
How much power do you need? How much do you want to spend? How often are you realistically going to be using your generator?
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all dual fuel generator, so once you’ve answered those questions above it’s not that hard to find the best dual fuel generator for you.
For me, it’s all about portability and efficiency, but for most commercial landscapers the best dual fuel generator is going to be something with a bit more power; either way, hopefully that round up gives you a good idea of where to start, and you’ll be gardening late into the summer nights in no time!