Compare Gas vs Propane Generator Costs
Gas Generator Overview
Gasoline is one of the two most popular fuels to power generators. There are many types of generators, both for home and commercial use, that are powered by gasoline, including camping generators, portable home generators, portable commercial or construction generators, and home standby generators that turn on automatically in the event of a power outage.
How Much Do Gas Generators Cost?
Basic portable generators for home, camping and construction site use range from about $500 to $4,000, depending on power.
Standby generators usually cost anywhere from $300 to $500 per kilowatt, including installation. Budget about $4,000 to $6,000 for a 12kW unit, $9,000 to $12,000 for a 25 kW unit and upwards of $20,000 for a 75 kW unit.
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Gas Generators Pros
- Less expensive - Gasoline generators usually cost less to purchase and install.
- Greater heat output - A gallon of gasoline puts out about 30 percent more heat than the same amount of propane. Unless propane is 30 percent cheaper in your local market, gasoline generators are cheaper to operate.
- More portable - Gas generators tend to be more portable. They are smaller and they usually have on-board tanks, rather than exterior tanks.
Gas Generators Cons
- Fuel degrades - Gasoline that is left in a generator tank for an extended period of time will degrade. The fuel needs to be replaced every so often, even if it hasn’t been used.
- Not as eco-friendly - Gasoline is a much dirtier fuel that has harmful effects on the environment.
- Not as convenient - You’ll have to make a trip to the gas station to get fuel for your generator, whereas the fuel is readily available with a generator that is hooked up to a propane tank.
Propane Generator Overview
Propane is the other fuel that is commonly used to power generators. There are just as many options with propane generators, including portable generators, industrial generators and home standby generators.
Smaller propane generators are hooked up to smaller, portable propane tanks, while larger versions can be attached to fixed propane tanks. The smallest propane generators can power just a few tools or appliances, while the largest can power an entire home or business.
How Much Do Propane Generators Cost?
Propane generators fall into the same basic price ranges, although propane models tend to be more expensive than similar gasoline models.
Propane Generators Pros
- Fuel won’t degrade - Propane has an extremely long shelf life. The likelihood of the fuel degrading is very low, even if the generator is used only occasionally.
- Greener choice - Propane burns much cleaner than gasoline. The fuel is friendlier to the environment.
- More convenient - If your generator is hooked up directly to a large propane tank, you won’t have to worry about refueling as often. You won’t have to deal with frantic trips to the gas station when the power goes out.
Propane Generators Cons
- More expensive - Propane generators are more expensive than similarly-powered gasoline generators.
- Lower heat output - Propane puts out about 30 percent less heat than gasoline.
- Not as portable - Propane generators tend to be much larger than gasoline generators. They are powered by piping in propane from an exterior tank, not an on-board tank. And some require a semi-permanent pad for proper use.