Gas vs Diesel Generator – Which is Best?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider purchasing a gas or diesel generator. You can benefit from a generator if you enjoy camping and would like to have a backup source of energy for which to run some appliances.

Unfortunate Power Outages

You also will benefit from a generator if you live in a region where you frequently experience power outages. There are some states with neighborhoods have underground wires. In these cases, you wouldn't experiences as many outages. But if you're not in one of those, most neighborhoods with above ground wires may experience outages in storms.

So why can power outages be so miserable for homeowners?

It can be extremely frustrating to be in a power outage situation. And there are many reasons.

  • Perishables groceries in your refrigerator could go bad, such as milk, eggs, cheese, meat, and cheese can go bad.
  • Some individuals sore important medication in the refrigerator. This could lead to medical emergencies if medication is not available.
  • If a power outage occurs during hot weather, body overheating may become an issue. This is especially important when it comes to young children and the elderly.

All in all, when the power goes out there is cause for concern. Not having access to cooling appliances can be detrimental.

Gas Generator vs Diesel Generator

So what type of generator is best for you? Is there a few major difference between gas and diesel generator options? Let's explore the options for these two and help you decide which is better for your needs.

gasoline cans for a generator

The Gas Generator

The gas generator runs off of gasoline that you can buy from the pump. They range in price from a few hundred dollars up to about $1000 depending on the size and wattage.

Reasons to Buy A Gas Generator

  • Extremely Convenient Fuel Source: This generator can be fueled up just as you fuel up your law mower or trimmer. Simply take a gas can down to your local gas station to obtain your fuel. 
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    Lower Cost: Gas powered generators are generally more cost effective than diesel generators. So if you have a smaller budget, this may be your best option.
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    Lighter: The weight of the gas generator is usually less than a diesel generator. This should be kept in consideration if your main purpose for the generator is camping or using it in your RV.

Reasons a Gas Generator May Not Be For You

Gas generators definitely have quite a lot of pros but there are a few con's that we need to discuss.

  • Not As Efficient: If fuel efficiency is a concern, you'll want to know that gas is less efficient than diesel.
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    More Maintenance: Gas generators require more routine maintenance than diesel generators. It is imperative to stay on top of routine maintenance check-ups for your gas generator. Maintaining your generator will cost money if you do not know how to service them yourself. Additionally, if you don't know how to service the generator yourself, you could experience some downtime. This is obviously fine if you are not in a situation where you are running it continually. If you are in a situation where the generator must run for days on end then the downtime for repairs can be a hassle.
  • Fuel Has Short Shelf Life: Gasoline has a shorter shelf life than other generators. So if you have gasoline on hand, it may not be usable. 
  • Highly Flammable Fuel Source: All generators must run on a flammable fuel source. However, when you compare gasoline versus diesel, you'll find that gasoline is much more flammable.
diesel for a generator

The Diesel Generator

This generator has quite a lot of positive attributes that make it quite desirable to the masses. They range in price from $3,000-$15,000 depending upon size. 

Reasons to Buy a Diesel Generator

  • Convenient Fuel Source: This generator can be fueled up using diesel which can be obtained at most gas stations.
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    Built to Last: Most diesel generators are extremely sturdy. They are known to be built to last years. So diesel generators are great options if stability and sturdiness are what you're looking for.
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    Less Maintenance: Diesel generators require less maintenance than gas generators.
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    Least Flammable Fuel Source: As stated above, all fuel is flammable. But diesel is definitely less flammable than gasoline. This is important if fuel storage safety is a concern.

Reasons a Diesel Generator May Not Be for You

  • Louder: All generators emit some noise. But diesel generators are known to be louder than others. 
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    More Maintenance: Gas generators require more routine maintenance than diesel generators. It is imperative to stay on top of routine maintenance check-ups for your gas generator. Maintaining your generator will cost money if you do not know how to service them yourself. Additionally, if you don't know how to service the generator yourself, you could experience some downtime. This is obviously fine if you are not in a situation where you are running it continually. If you are in a situation where the generator must run for days on end then the downtime for repairs can be a hassle.
  • Fuel Has Short Shelf Life: Just like gasoline, diesel has a shelf life. It's shelf life is longer than gasoline (a few years) but it will still "go bad".
  • Heavier: Most diesel generators are heavy. Much heavier than their gas powered counterparts. This point is something to keep in mind if you're looking for a generator that needs to be moved around often.

Our Final Verdict

There are many pros and cons to both the gas and the diesel generators. You will need to assess your situation and consider the terms of use. Understanding the reason for use will help you determine which generator is best for you.

images from flickr found here and here