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Propane vs Natural Gas Generators

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In the event of a power loss, a propane or natural gas generator is an ideal option for emergency backup power.

Fossil fuels like natural gas have been around for a long time. Deep subterranean reservoirs are a common place to find it. It has no color or smell, and more than 70% of its composition is methane.

Natural gas is used to produce propane. It's a byproduct of the refining of crude oil and natural gas. It's compressed into a liquid state and transported about in mobile tanks.

A thorough understanding of the pros and cons of each type of fuel will help you determine which one is most suited for your situation.

If you're trying to figure out which type of gasoline is ideal for your needs, keep in mind the following considerations:

Propane or Natural Gas: Which Is Easier to Get?

Propane and natural gas are delivered in very different ways.

Your location will determine what kind of fuel you have access to and how much it will cost you. 

Propane is often stored in huge tanks that must be refilled on a regular basis. Natural gas, on the other hand, is brought to homes via pipes, which ensures that it is always available.

Since there are no gas connections, propane tanks must be refilled, although they offer the advantage of being portable. In rural areas where natural gas isn't readily available, propane is an excellent alternative.

Natural gas, on the other hand, is always available because it is piped straight into the houses of its customers.

Propane or Natural Gas Generators? Which Runs the Longest?

If you have a steady supply of natural gas or propane, your generator will stay operating until that fuel supply runs out or the generator breaks down.

With a gas line that runs from a meter into your home and never runs out, you never have to worry about running out of natural gas. However, you have to live “on the grid”.

That won't be an issue if you use propane, and you can somewhat live off the grid. A 500-gallon propane tank can operate a generator for up to two weeks, depending on the power load. However, you must ensure that you have enough propane on hand at all times.

When a power outage or storm causes you to run out of propane, it may be difficult to get your tank refilled.

Propane or Natural Gas: Which is Safer?

Propane is less dangerous than natural gas, despite its larger weight. Despite the fact that natural gas is lighter and dissipates more quickly in the environment, it is still difficult to locate and correct gas leaks because of the extensive infrastructure that comes with gas pipes.

Gas leaks and accidents can occur if gas pipes are not properly maintained. Accidents are less frequent with propane since propane is kept in a tank rather than an underground pipe system. Even if it does leak, it will have a much smaller impact than natural gas if it does so.

The fact that gas leaks are difficult to detect means that they are a major public health concern. Because of this, firms add ethyl mercaptan to both propane and natural gas in order to detect leaks (in the event that they occur).

Natural Gas Generators versus Propane Generators: Which is More Affordable?

Let's begin by looking at the price per gallon of each fuel. A 1,000-cubic-foot supply of natural gas currently costs $4.50, the equivalent of 12 gallons of gasoline. A gallon of natural gas costs roughly $0.35.

However, a gallon of propane costs about $2.50, which is about seven times the price of natural gas.

Let's take a closer look at efficiency before we declare a winner here.

Because propane is more dense than natural gas, you'll use less of it to power the same appliances, which means you'll save money in the long run.

A cubic foot of propane produces 2,516 British Thermal Units (BTUs). Only 1,030 BTUs per cubic foot of natural gas are available.

Natural gas is cheaper per gallon than propane, you'll end up using more of it.

You also need to have the infrastructure in place because natural gas is transported to your home through a pipeline. If you don't, you'll have to fork over a lot of money for both installation and maintenance.

Fortunately, since propane comes in portable canisters that can be refilled on-site or delivered to your home, none of that is necessary.

Each type of generator has a different price tag. Between $1,900 and $5,000 is the price range for natural gas generators. Propane generators range in price from $500 to $6,000 on average.

You may save money in the long run if your home is already connected to a gas line or if you don't mind making an initial expenditure.

Advantages of Each

In terms of backup generators, they're both excellent possibilities, but which one is best for you depends largely on your unique circumstances:

Here are my thoughts on how to maximize the benefits of each one:


There is no way to get natural gas to the generator portably. A subterranean fuel line provides the gas for NG-powered generators.

To have these gas pipes buried beneath your house in some localities can be expensive and difficult to obtain a permit for. It's possible that even individuals who already have gas lines may need to alter their gas meters to deliver the amount of fuel they require for large residences.

You cannot always get gas anytime you need it. An earthquake, hurricane, or other catastrophic event might destroy or cut off your access to essential fuel supplies underneath the foundation of your home.

You can't do anything about it until the township addresses the problem, which you can do if you own your own liquid propane tank. If you use LP, you can have your fuel supplied by truck in advance of a major storm warning, ensuring you have a full tank.

Whilst still powerful LP generators, on the whole, are quieter than NG-powered generators when running. For many households, the quietness of these standby units and the lack of noise pollution is a major plus.

If you store LP safely, it can last indefinitely, whereas hydrocarbons in NG begin to evaporate, making it less efficient or even hazardous to your generator.

Better combustion. When it comes to pollution, LP is frequently a better choice than NG because of its lower toxicity. The reason for this is because LP has approximately double the BTU or heating efficiency of NG, which can also extend the life of your generator a few years longer.

Natural gas generators are typically more expensive, on average. Propane is usually less expensive. In spite of the lower initial cost, some consumers prefer the reduced fuel costs of natural gas units.

Natural Gas

In the past, gas has been more affordable than propane. People who have access to a natural gas line that runs beneath their homes are more likely to use natural gas generators. As prices fluctuate, it's difficult to say for sure, but this is frequently the case.

Unlike propane you don't have to worry about running out of gas because you always have a consistent supply of natural gas unless an emergency happens.

Maintenance expenditures are reduced. Tank service or cleaning is usually required every few years for those using propane tanks. When it comes to underground plumbing for natural gas generators, municipalities take care of it.

Minimal space and setup is required. There must be enough space for homeowners to install propane tanks on your property. Those who already have natural gas connections beneath the home can easily set up a standby unit.

Environmental Impact

Also, consider the environmental impact of these two options. Both propane and natural gas are considered to be fossil fuels. Propane, on the other hand, is a hydrocarbon.

A hydrocarbon is an organic chemical substance entirely composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms, as you would have guessed.

Propane, does not pose a significant environmental threat. However, natural gas is also a better option than diesel for example. 

Natural gas burns greater volume per hour than propane so might seem worse for the environment, but produces fewer BTUs per hour.

Because of this, it's critical that you examine the costs of these two types of fuel for yourself and the environment. 

Best Propane Generator (Our Top Pick!)

Westinghouse Propane Generator WGen9500DF

Generators manufactured by Westinghouse are mostly used in industrial settings due of their high power ratings.

Gas or Propane can be used to power the Westinghouse WGen9500DF Portable Generator. 

It has a peak power rating of 12500 watts and an operating power rating of 9500 watts when powered by gas. It has a maximum output of 11200 watts and a continuous operating power of 8500 watts when powered by Propane. The generator's 457 cc Westinghouse 4-stroke engine powers this whole thing.

On the subject of connectivity, this generator has a plethora of outlets, including:

  • Standard Household Receptacle GFCI 120V 5–20R 120V L14-30R Transfer Switch.
  • One 120/240V 14–50R RV-Ready.
  • You can start the generator by pressing a button or by using a remote key fob (up to a distance of 260 feet). This generator comes with a three-year warranty.

Great Features

11200 watts of peak output power (with Propane).
457 cc four-stroke engine.
A guarantee of three years.
Contains a variety of ports.
Ideal for heavy-duty applications.
It is equipped with a convenient remote start feature.
Rubber covers are on each and every one of the containers.
For maximum power output, a powerful engine is needed.
Propane generators can be pricey.

Best Natural Gas Generator (Our Top Pick!)

Generac Power Systems RG02224A

Whether you have just a few things to back up or a whole house, Generac make great generators. Allowing homeowners and their families to live comfortably and uninterrupted during power outages.


With less than 5 percent total harmonic distortion (THD), True Power Technology provides the best-in-class power quality for the smooth operation of sensitive devices and appliances.

Introducing the Evolution Controller, an innovative and user-friendly device. Displayed on the Evolution controller are multilingual, two-line LCD text displays with lighted buttons in a variety of colors. USB flash, smart battery charging and voltage adjustment are just some of the features that have been added.

With a five-year limited warranty and the option of an extended warranty, Generac stands behind their creative product design, high quality, and first-class dependability. (An extended warranty can be purchased in addition to the standard warranty.)

Aluminum Enclosure is great for coastal and salt-air homes because of its increased durability and corrosion resistance.

All backup generators perform a quiet test every week to make sure they are working properly. It is now possible to set your Protector Series home generator to do its self-test on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis thanks to Quiet-Test.

Generators of the Protector Series feature built-in Mobile Link Connectivity for remote monitoring and management. With a smartphone, tablet, or PC, you can keep tabs on the status of your generator from anywhere. Make sure you're up to date on what's going on. Contact authorized service providers for rapid and aggressive service.

Improved stub ups and access to electrical connections reduce installation expenses. With the use of quick connections for the control lines. Reduced installation expenses due to easier client connection access.

Final Thoughts

We can see from the article above that natural gas and propane share many commonalities. Natural gas, on the other hand, has a few distinct characteristics from propane. A fuel that works well for one person may not work well for another.

Think about your energy requirements as well as how much you hope to save and what kind of equipment you want to power with a generator before making a purchase.

About Tom Bell

Hey, I’m Tom, the owner of Generator Reviews! I built this website to help you get the very most out of your generator and select the correct one for your personal circumstances. This site contains reviews of virtually every generator, detailed buying guides, as well as maintenance advice to help you keep yours in tip-top shape!


Generator.Reviews is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me to maintain this website and keep the reviews coming your way!

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