If your area often encounters natural disasters like hurricane or cyclone that leaves you in a blackout, a generator is the first thing you need. Getting a generator can be a daunting job as there are a lot of crucial considerations you’ll have in the checklist. If you’re an RV owner or planning to go camping with the generator often, the question becomes even more eminent.
The first thing you have to look at is the type of fuel the generator consumes to run. There are two options for you here, either you can go with a propane generator or go for the diesel-powered one. Depending on what purpose you may have for the generator to serve, you must choose the right one. Stick to the article if you’re planning to get your first generator and confused between propane vs diesel generator options.
Propane vs diesel generator: what are the differences?
Both the propane vs diesel generator have their points of advantages and disadvantages to care about. Here are the things you should know about them both; how they work and where they get you benefits or may fall short:
About propane generator
Here is what you should know about how the propane generators work and how they can be good or bad as your backup companion:
How does it work?
The propane generators convert the propane into electric power, and you can use it as AC electricity. It’s a hydrocarbon gas that is flammable, and the generator burns the gas to generate the energy it provides. The propane generator contains a mixture of water and ammonia, which will get hot and raise to a burning point.
You can see the burning ammonia comes out of the exhaust of the generator. During the process, the generator exhausts the heat and ammonia and delivers the energy to the outlet you’re drawing power from. A portable propane generator usually can provide you several hours of energy; usually, it’s 2-3 gallons of propane for an hour.
Advantages & disadvantages
Propane generators are the most popular option among the people who want more stable power and better output. Here are the advantages you will get if you use a propane generator as your next purchase:
- Stable energy: Unlike any gasoline generators, the engine of a propane generator won’t degrade over time. You can use the generator without being worried about the “Shelf life” as long as you’re using a good quality storage tank.
- Keeping it clean: Propane generators are mostly popular as clean-burn fuel because they don’t produce pollutants like gasoline or diesel. The amount of CO (Carbon Monoxide) with a propane generator will be half the amount of the diesel generator.
- Spill-free: You will use the propane generator with a separate cylinder, equipping it with a safety valve. There are almost no chances of spill-out for the fuel, and unlike the gasoline or diesel generators, its safety valve will trap fumes.
- No cold problems: It’s harder to operate gasoline generators in a cold-weather where the propane generators have no such issues. If you’re getting the generator for a cold area or emergency use, a propane generator will do the job.
However, propane generators have their disadvantages alongside the advantage which you have to know before buying one:
- Long miles: You may have to run long miles for a refuel cylinder of propane if you have to run the generator for days. If you’re facing a disaster, it’s not a proper solution to drive around miles away and looking for propane.
- Short life span: Propane engines usually come with shorter lifespans compared to other fuel options. The same goes for the burning cycle; propane generators tend to have a faster burn cycle for the fuel with a lower energy density. With only about 26 Megajoules per liter of propane, it falls behind the diesel engines with almost 35 MJ/L.
About diesel generator
Here are the things you need to know about diesel generators if you’re planning to get your first generator:
How does it work?
The working process of a diesel generator has four stages; between the intake and exhaust, it does compression to produce energy. Its energy conversion technology of the generator depends on the chemical energy the diesel has. The generator works on the global energy principle as it says that energy cannot be destroyed; it transfers from a form to another.
When the generator’s combustion chamber rotates altogether, it produces the mechanical energy and triggers the ignition. The fuel will have a spontaneous ignition after the injection into a 750° celsius compressed air charge and produce energy. 3 strokes go on during the process, The intake or the suction stroke followed by the power stroke or the energy stroke, leading to the exhaust stroke.
Advantages & disadvantages
Diesel generators are the best option if you work rough and need a robust machine to support you:
- Less maintenance: Diesel generators are the best when it comes to maintaining the machine, especially maintenance costs. If you have to use it in a rough area or have less access to professional service centers, go for the diesel generator.
- Sturdy build quality: Diesel generators are sturdier than the propane generators, both in the engine and the exterior. You can expect more lifespan from a diesel generator; go for it if you have a tight budget to buy the first generator.
- Better mobility: If you have to move a lot with the generator, don’t hesitate to take the diesel generator instead of a propane generator. The propane generator will have two separate units; the cylinder and the generator itself, while the diesel generator is only the generator itself.
- Fuel efficient: You will get much better fuel efficiency with a diesel generator than a propane generator. You can contact over 35.7 megajoules per litter while the propane can give you only about 26 MJ/liter.
There are some disadvantages of using a diesel generator instead of propane or gasoline generators, such as:
- Lowder: The diesel generators are far louder than the propane generators as a counterpart, which can be a bummer.
- Not readily available: Diesel is not a readily available fuel in hand as you won’t store diesel in a high amount because of security reasons. If you don’t have a refueling station nearby, it can become a headache to refuel your generator to drive it to the station.
Propane vs. diesel generator – which one is better for you?
A diesel generator is an engine with a combination of a combustion chamber and a piston engine. If you need a sturdier operation from your generator and have to move around a lot, getting a diesel generator will be the best option to go with.
On the other hand, propane is a type of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, is one of the most common fuel choices for powering generators. If you don’t have to move around a lot and can set the generator in a place, getting a propane generator can provide stable energy for you.
Getting a generator is the only option you have if you’re living in an area with more natural disasters. When choosing between the propane vs diesel generator, people who want to have higher output energy usually choose propane as their fuel. It is also better to go with propane if you need more stability in the machine.
However, you should go for the diesel generator if you need a more sturdy service than stability. It’s also true if you need more energy output at less cost with 35 MJ/L. Whether you go for the propane or diesel generator, keeping good maintenance is a must thing to keep in mind.