Should I get a natural gas home generator or one that runs off propane or diesel?

Have been thinking about a Generac home generator for the essentials. Most of them in our area are natural gas powered, a few in rural areas I’ve seen with a propane tank nearby and today even saw one with a diesel tank attached. My property has nat gas service….but if the SHTF, how long will the gas flow? Am I better off with a propane or diesel powered version?  Enquiring minds wanna know! Opinions? Either way, eventually when the fuel stops, obviously the generator dies too, just wondering which would last the longest.


  • Comments (6)

    • 2

      Hey Steve, great topic! I edited the title of this post to be more descriptive of what you are looking for. 

      In the news roundup earlier this week, there was an article about some Generac generators being recalled because people were pinching their fingers in the bar used to transport the generator. Just something to consider, but it looks like the affected models with that design are not going to be on the market much longer.

      As for your question, I’m going to defer it to the experts here on the forum who actually own a generator, I don’t yet. My initial thought though is that we want and use a generator to give us power without reliance on the grid right? So why connect yourself and rely on the grid of natural gas that might get shut off? With propane/diesel you are only limited to however much you can store.

      My final answer is, it depends on your use case and what you feel is better for you. Maybe you feel like the natural gas grid is stable and secure and a cheaper and longer lasting source than the tanks of propane you would be able to store.

      • 3

        Thanks Gideon! As a matter of fact I HAVE one of those portable Generac generators that got recalled…which led me to the thoughts of a permanently installed version. 

    • 3

      I’ll give you my opinion.  I used to have a mostly whole house, natural gas generator with all the bells & whistles.  It would automatically run once a week and had an automatic transfer switch that would automatically start the generator during an outage and automatically transfer to the generator once it was up & running.  It would also automatically shut everything off & switch to the grid when power was restored.

      Thru the years, it developed all sorts of problems & I also had to replace the transfer switch… which is very expensive.  I found that I just couldn’t always count on the generator during an outage.  Most of the time I could… but not always.  After the last problem, I said no more.  I went and bought a 7500 watt portable unit.  The following links will explain my setup and how it was used last winter.

      Long story short, after all I’ve been thru and learned, I have some suggestions for you.  As opposed to one, large, fixed mounted  whole house unit, I suggest getting two portable multi fuel models.  Or you might do like me and use just one unit and not be too concerned about powering everything.  If you don’t power AC units, that saves a lot of load.

      Portable units give lots of advantages in that you can use the generator in other ways, such as camping, power tools outside or taking the generator, like I did, to help others.  I have a bi fuel unit, that runs on gasoline and LP gas.  They also sell tri fuel units, that can also run on natural gas too.  Next one I get will be a tri fuel for even more flexibility.  Many times when there is an electrical outage, say after a storm, the natural gas keeps flowing.

      Hope this helps.




      • 3

        I don’t know a lot about generators, but a tri fuel is a really good idea! During snowmageddon last year in Northern California, people ran out of propane and companies couldn’t get to tanks to fill them.

        I bought a gas generac generator for heatwaves and PSPS (could be one where the handle pinches- the handle is a wtf) but do wish I hadn’t panic purchased and taken more time to look into a tri-fuel model.

      • 3

        I have the 7400 watt Generac portable now ( its been recalled for stupid design) and was planning on using it just for the essentials…some lights, fridge and coms….but I’m getting up there in years approaching 70 (OUCH it hurts to admit that!) and dragging that beast out and setting it up is a PIA especially in bad weather. 

      • 2

        Ha! I’m not 70 (won’t say my age but was super stoked to get the shingles vaccine 😉) I woke this morning thinking I need to get a box to cover my generator. Do I make one or buy one (I thought to myself)? Mine stays under a tarp outside because, yeah, it’s heavy!!! I have the 9200e. Just went out and stuck my fingers in the parts. It’s not under recall. LOL