This article is for those people who have enough hassle of using gasoline for their portable generator. Cheaper than diesel and cleaner than gas, propane is an ideal choice if you’re in need of a lower-maintenance backup power in the future.
Check out the list of 6 best portable propane generators, I’ll help you take a brief of which one suits your need the most.
- WEN DF475T – Best overall open frame generator
- Champion 76533 3800-Watt – Best for camping
- Westinghouse WGen3600DF – Best for emergency backup
- Duromax XP4850EH – Best for RV air conditioner
- Champion 100263 3400-Watt – Quietest
- DuroMax XP2000EH – Budget-friendly inverter generator
Reviews of Top 6 Best Portable Propane Generators For Home & RV Use
- Reviews of Top 6 Best Portable Propane Generators For Home & RV Use
- How to choose the best portable propane generator (buying guide)
- Who makes the best portable propane generator?
|WEN DF475T||View on Amazon|
|Champion 76533||View on Amazon|
|Westinghouse WGen3600DF||View on Amazon|
|Duromax XP4850EH||View on Amazon|
|Champion 100263||View on Amazon|
|DuroMax XP2000EH||View on Amazon|
WEN DF475T – Best overall open frame generator
- Can adjust the power frequency to different loads, saving more fuel and running more quietly
- Ensure the extreme safety while the unit is operating, making it safe enough to be used in forests
- Easy to track many indicators
- A bit noisy
- The instrument panel is easily bent
Take note of a slight difference between gasoline and propane starting watts.
It’s 4350W when running on propane, which is powerful enough to operate a freezer, fridge, along with with a whole house 15,000 BTU air conditioner without overloading or tripping any fuse.
I appreciate that the unit comes with an eco-mode switch to give extended life-span. At half load with a full 20-gallon tank, it can run steadily within 7 hours. There’s also a low-fuel auto shutoff and indicator lights to ensure no accidents occurred while the generator is operating.
That gives you more trust and love that WEN really designed their products with customers in mind.
|Fuel Capacity||4-gallon gasoline tank|
20-gallon propane tank
|Fuel Type||Propane & gasoline|
|Run Time (50% Load)||11 hours – gas|
7 hours – propane
|Item Weight (lb.)||105.8|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||3500W – propane|
3800W – gas
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||4350W – propane|
4750W – gas
|Noise Level (dBA)||75|
|Outlets||two 120V GFCI outlets (5-20R), a 120V/240V NEMA 30A twist lock (L14-30R), a 12V DC cigarette-lighter-style plug|
|Highlight Features||Eco-Mode switch, oil access cover, spark arrestor, low-oil, and low-fuel automatic shutdown, indication lights, and overload protection|
Whether it’s charging electronics at the campgrounds or running home appliances during a crisis, the incredible balance between performance and safety of WEN DF475T keeps it always the top-rated.
Champion 76533 3800-Watt – Best for camping
- Optimize the generator to easily start during cold weather
- Protect efficiently your appliances from a voltage spike
- Easy transporting and maneuverability
- Quiet compared to other generators of its size
- Don’t show the load so you can’t track and know when it needs more fuel
As the difference isn’t so much, I still prefer propane because it’s easier to use and maintain than gas.
The generator is powered by a reliable 224cc champion engine integrated a push-button electric start for easy use as well as Cold Start Technology to effortlessly start the unit during cold weather.
Champion 3800-watt comes with variable outlets, including an RV ready for multiple uses. But what I really appreciate is the Voltguard attached to each of them to protect your appliances from voltage spikes.
|Fuel Capacity||3.4 gallons|
|Fuel Type||Gas or propane|
|Run Time (50% Load)||9 hours – gas|
10.5 hours – propane
|Item Weight (lb.)||119.0|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||3800W – gas|
3420W – propane
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||4750W – gas|
4250W – propane
|Noise Level (dBA)||68|
|Outlets||60 Hz. Outlets – 120V 30A RV, 120V 30A locking, two 120V 20A household outlets|
|Highlight Features||Quiet operation, Reliable 224cc Champion engine with Touch Start, push-button electric start, RV ready, outlets all secured by Volt Guard|
Come with a 120V 30A RV outlet and enough powerful engine to run a 15,000 BTU vehicle AC, Champion 3800-watt is a great addition to your RV after the “break-in”.
Westinghouse WGen3600DF – Best for emergency backup
- Key fob and remote starter give more convenience when you want to start the unit
- Meet all safety requirements to be possibly shipped to 50 states in the USA
- Auto shut down when the oil level is low
- Detail manual
- Too short oil filler
- Gas gauge is hard to interpret
- Choke is difficult to find
With 4180 starting watts, the unit never missed a beat if even running a bunch of appliances at once. It’s powerful enough for 2 fridges, 2 TVs, 2 freezers, 1 coffee maker, and some lightbulbs.
What drew me to Westinghouse WGEN3600DF in the first place is its remote starter and key fob. Thanks to them, starting my generator is now simply through one press and in many cases, you can control it from distance. So convenient!
Installation of this beast is also easy. Everything is partly set up, all you need to do out of the box is attaching the wheels and handle, which may take about 5-15 minutes.
|Fuel Capacity||4 gallons|
|Fuel Type||Gasoline & propane|
|Run Time (50% Load)||12 hours – Gas|
About 20 hours – 20 lbs propane tank
|Item Weight (lb.)||109|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||3240W – propane|
3600W – gas
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||4180W – propane|
4650W – gas
|Noise Level (dBA)||73|
|Outlets||1x TT-30 30A 120V; 1x L5-30 30A 120V; 2x 5-20R 20A 120V Outlets|
|Highlight Features||Electric Push Button and Remote Start, EPA, CARB, and CSA Compliant, RV ready TT-30R 120V 30A outlet,|
Safe, enable to run multiple devices with no fluctuations, and user-friendly, Westinghouse WGEN3600DF is the best bet for emergency backup.
Duromax XP4850EH – Best for RV air conditioner
- Run smoother than other counterparts in its field
- Built-in variable safety features to avoid no accidents, damages, and risks to you and your appliances
- Quiet muffler
- Full power panel with volt meter
- Hard to find the battery cable
Nicknamed the “beast”, it’s enough to handle the variable load, from light to heavy, from a home air conditioner to heavy-duty power tools while the noise level is really gentle – 69 decibels.
A big thank you to the four point fully isolated motor mounts and durable frame. What it allows, is giving quitter and smoother operation to perfectly suit for home or camping use.
While keeping a competitive price, I appreciate that the generator still meets all kinds of safety aspects, from the air-cooled engine to avoid overheating, the low oil auto-shutoff to prevent damage and the circuit breaker, oil warning light, or voltmeter.
|Fuel Capacity||4 gallons|
|Fuel Type||Propane or gasoline|
|Run Time (50% Load)||10.42 hours – gas|
8.92 hours – propane
|Item Weight (lb.)||127|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||3850W – gas|
3658W – propane
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||4850W – gas|
4608W – propane
|Noise Level (dBA)||69|
|Outlets||Two 120-Volt, 20 Amp, 3 prong outlets|
|Highlight Features||EPA and CARB approved, heavy duty frame with four point fully isolated motor mounts, full power panel, low oil Indicator lamp, and shutoff, flexible line|
Truly, if safety is your biggest concern when choosing a portable propane generator with an open frame, Duromax XP4850EH is a bargain for the money.
Champion 100263 3400-Watt – Quietest
- Easy to start, use and control your generator in one spot
- Deliver decently quiet operation to avoid disturbing others
- Can connect to another Champion 3400-watt for doubled power output
- LP regulator is prone to break
- Don’t have an hour meter
The same with its engine.
You might think it’s inferior to other counterparts in this list with only 3400 starting watts and less powerful 192cc engine. Nope! The unit comes with a parallel ready feature that you can hook up two Champion 3400-watt for a total power output of 6800W.
What’s worth mentioning here is the noise is thanks to the decrease in engine size and fuel tank, this little devil keeps its noise level at only 59 decibels, which is amazingly quieter than others.
|Fuel Capacity||1.6 gallons|
|Fuel Type||Gasoline & propane|
|Run Time (25% Load)||7.5 hours – gasoline|
14.5 hours – propane
|Item Weight (lb.)||99|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||3100W|
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||3400W|
|Noise Level (dBA)||59|
|Outlets||a 120V 30A RV, plus two 120V 20A household outlets and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter|
|Highlight Features||Convenient Electric Start with 3-Position Ignition Switch, Ultra-Quiet Operation, Clean Power for Sensitive Electronics, RV ready|
If you’re looking for a wonderful generator that both you and your neighbors fall for, Champion 3400-watt is worth a try.
DuroMax XP2000EH – Budget-friendly inverter generator
- The lightest and most compact design in this list for portability and transportation
- Give the longest runtime compared to other counterparts in its field
- Very affordable
- Not as quiet as other 2000W generators
- Don’t have a small container of oil
For that reason, the price is incredibly affordable – a mere $480 – to be a perfect choice for low power needs. Like when you just want an additional, clean source to charge small appliances such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
DuroMax XP2000EH is sure the best choice since its latest inverter technology can lower the total harmonic distortion to under 3%, which is amazingly clean for any vulnerable electronics.
It also highlights a parallel ready feature and an eco-mode technology that enables to adjust the power frequency to fit different loads. And as a result, it extends the generator’s lifetime and consumes fuel more efficiently.
|Fuel Capacity||0.924 gallon|
|Fuel Type||Propane or gasoline|
|Run Time (50% Load)||6.5 hours|
|Item Weight (lb.)||53|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||1600W – gas|
1520W – propane
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||2000W – gas|
1900W – propane
|Noise Level (dBA)||61|
|Outlets||2 120V household GFCI outlets.|
|Highlight Features||Produces stable, clean power suitable for sensitive electronics, parallel feature, Eco-mode feature, up to 6.5 hours of run time at 50% load|
Duromax XP2000EH, highlighting a perfect compromise of affordability and performance, is a perfect go-to of your tight budget.
How to choose the best portable propane generator (buying guide)
Whichever types of generator, considering its power output is always a priority. To get the exact number, it’s essential to determine your power needs:
- Is it for home power backup plan or outdoor camping?
- Do you want it to power central air conditioning system, HVAC or a single RV AC?
Check out product description printed on the AC where it will give you hints about BTUs or size in tons. If you don’t know, 1 ton of capacity = 12,000 BTUs, requiring a generator with at least 3500 starting watts.
Amongst three types of AC I’ve mentioned above, take note that HVAC thirsts power the most. Consider what else of other appliances needed running in your house/RV to find a suitable generator.
The term “portable” will be flexible according to different purposes of use.
For example, if it’s used as a a home power backup, a larger-sized generator is allowed because central AC or HVAC needs more power, hence, the unit must come with bigger engine and fuel tank.
Meanwhile, a generator for RV use should be compact to fit the vehicle’s storage space.
I highly recommend measuring these areas to get the exact number; hence, the list will be narrowed down. Also take note that it should be positioned that is suitable with the local noise, flood, and electric codes.
While a propane generator costs around $xxx to $xxxx, there might be some hidden costs you have to incur before allowed using it, such as licensed electrician fee to do the electrical work or fuel cost.
Portable propane generators run more silently than the gas-powered models, usually within 57 dBA to 80 dBA.
If you’re sensitive to loud noise, consider a generator built with well sound-isolated material. They will keep a noise level somewhere between 55 dBA and 62 dBA (measured from 23 feet away).
You can easily identify this element by looking at the product description or other customers’ review.
Who makes the best portable propane generator?
Like other brands in this list, WEN is a well-known name with many years of experience in producing generators. Their portable propane lines are noticeable for meeting all safety requirement, keeping their customers rest assured.
On the other hand, Champion’s generators focus on RV usage, which is the reason you will find an RV ready outlet with voltguard or other supportive features for this function. The best thing that you can find on their portable propane lines is no sacrifice of silence and powerful performance.
Next is Westinghouse who is a top-leading brand in generator niche specialized in an emergency home backup. Their products’ biggest selling point is user-friendliness and convenience to excel customer’s experience during any power outages.
Last up is Duromax – a renown brand for their products’ affordability. But with the portable propane generator line, it’s also powerful and safe to use. What I love the most in their products is the smooth and quiet operation. Too good to be true!
Are propane generators more efficient?
Nope! Propane generators are in reality is less efficient than gas-powered models. The actual reasons for making it widely favorite are cleaner burning to easier storage, maintain, and use.
During storms, this turns out to be more helpful since this time, gas will be hard to find.
Are propane generators reliable?
Yes, they are.
Propane generators don’t damage the engine if not used frequently like it is with gasoline. Not to say that it’s hard to spill out and in the worst case, if spilled out, propane will be evaporated immediately, preventing fire flames or explosions efficiently.
How long will a generator run on 20 lb. propane tank?
In general, it is within 7.5 to 10.5 hours depending on the loads, how fuel-efficient of the generator, and your maintenance.
Can you plug a generator into a wall socket?
It’s risky when plugging directly a generator into a wall socket as there’s no protective fuse or circuit breaker in this case.
It will cause overheat and overload to the wiring, which ends up with a fire in your house while releasing toxic CO in the air to cause death on animals and humans.
Is it safe to run a propane generator indoors?
Not really. The biggest risk here is the accumulated carbon monoxide, leading to deadly levels. For that reason, generators are advised my most manufacturers to be used outdoors.
Is propane generator quieter than gas?
Yes, it is. As propane is a clean-burning fuel so when running a generator, it doesn’t leave as much carbon deposits in the engine, making it run more smoothly.
During the list of 6 best portable propane generators, might you wonder why I didn’t include any propane-powered only model, right? Well, simple! Propane is prone to be frozen during cold weather, which means it’s useless in the winter. Choosing a dual-fuel type will give more flexibility in your usages.
Whichever you choose, always ensure it satisfies your power needs. Wish you the best while searching for the most suitable model. Thanks for reading!