How Much Propane Does a Generator Use? [The Correct Answer]

Have you ever been without power and wished you had a generator to provide electricity? 

Generators can be a great power source during a power outage, but it’s essential to know how much propane a generator will use. 

We’ll look at the many kinds of propane generators, how much propane a generator uses, and the variables that can impact propane usage in this post.

The typical portable generator will use about 2-4 gallons of propane gas per hour, while a larger, stationary generator can use up to 10 gallons of propane per hour. However, this can change depending on the size of the generator, load it’s carrying, temperature, and many other factors that we’ll cover in this article.

Let’s dig in.

What is Propane?


Propane is a type of hydrocarbon gas used as fuel for many types of engines, including generators. 

It is a by-product of the processing of natural gas and the refining of crude oil. It is also made from agricultural waste products, including animal waste and vegetable oil.

Propane fuel burns cleanly and produces fewer emissions than other fuel sources, like gasoline. It is often used for grilling. Propane is also a non-toxic and non-polluting fuel, meaning it is safe to use around children and pets.

Types of Propane Generators

On the market, there are various propane generators. The most popular kind is a portable generator, frequently used while camping, as an RV generator, or as a backup generator.

These portable generators are perfect for short-term power requirements because they are compact, lightweight, and portable. They lack the strength and efficiency of larger, stationary generators, though.

Larger, stationary propane generators are usually used as backup power sources in homes and businesses. 

These generators can be connected to a home’s existing electrical system and are usually more powerful and efficient than portable generators.

Portable propane inverter generators provide a higher level of efficiency and quieter operation. Inverter generators are powered by a small motor, such as a Honda or Briggs & Stratton, and they can run on both propane and gasoline. 

Since they provide a consistent electricity source with no noise, inverter generators are perfect for powering delicate electronics like PCs and laptops.

Factors that Affect How Much Propane a Generator Uses

The amount of propane a generator uses is affected by several factors. The size and type of generator, the load it is running, the efficiency of the engine, and the temperature are all factors that affect propane usage.

Let’s dive into more detail.


When it comes to propane usage, the size of the generator is an essential element. Power output determines the size and rating of generators.

More propane will be needed for a larger generator to provide the same amount of power as a smaller generator. This is so that the more significant generator, which will have a larger engine, can run on more gasoline.

The generator’s size should be determined by how much power is required to drive the load.



The engine’s efficiency is also a factor in determining propane consumption. Generators that have higher efficiency ratings require less fuel to produce the same amount of power as those with lower efficiency ratings. 

This is because they are more efficient at turning fuel into usable energy. It is essential to choose a generator with a high-efficiency rating to ensure the most efficient use of propane.


Another important consideration in estimating propane usage is the load the generator is powering. Generators are made to power certain kinds of loads.

More propane will be needed if the generator is being utilized to power a heavier or more demanding load. Getting a strong generator that can manage the load without using too much fuel, typically at least 3000 watts, is critical.


The environment’s temperature can also influence how much propane is used. To generate the same amount of electricity as warmer temperatures, colder temperatures need more fuel.

This is because colder air is denser and needs more fuel to burn. It is essential to choose a generator that is rated for cold temperatures so that it does not consume more fuel than necessary.

How Much Propane Does a Generator Use?

The exact amount of propane a generator uses depends on the factors discussed above. 

However, a typical portable generator will use about 2-4 gallons of propane per hour, while a larger, stationary generator can use up to 10 gallons of propane per hour.

It’s important to note that these estimates are just that—estimates. The actual amount of propane a generator uses will depend on the size, load, and type of fuel being used.

Benefits of Propane Generators

Propane generators offer several benefits over other types of generators. 

  1. A propane generator are very efficient. They can produce more electricity per gallon than a gas generator.
  2. They are cleaner and produce fewer emissions than gasoline generators.
  3. Propane is less expensive than gasoline and has a longer shelf life.
  4. A propane generators is quieter and can be used indoors.
  5. They are easier to start and require less maintenance.

Drawbacks of Propane Generators

While propane generators offer several benefits, there are also some drawbacks. 

  1. Propane generators are more expensive than gasoline generators.
  2. They require a specialized tank for the storage of the fuel.
  3. They are not as portable as gasoline generators, making them less suitable for camping.
  4. Propane generators produce fewer watts of electricity than gasoline generators, limiting their uses in specific applications.

Safety Considerations

Propane is a flammable gas, so using a propane generator requires special safety considerations. 

The generator should be located in a well-ventilated area, and all connections should be checked for leaks. Additionally, reading and following the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use is essential.

Calculating Running Costs

calculating costs

The price of the fuel must be taken into account when calculating the running costs of a generator. The price of propane will vary depending on the generator’s size and the power it is supplying.

To estimate the cost, you’ll need a few things. The first thing you’ll need is wattage.

You can use this to figure out how much fuel was utilized. For instance, if you operate a 4,000-watt generator for 4 hours, the fuel consumption will be 16,000 watts.

The cost per gallon of fuel must then be determined. You can get this information by phoning your local propane supplier or looking it up on the label of the propane tank.

The cost per gallon of fuel will vary depending on the supplier and the current price of propane.

Once you have the cost per gallon of fuel, you can calculate the total cost of running the generator. Simply multiply the cost per gallon of fuel by the amount of fuel used. 

For example, if your cost per gallon of fuel is $3.00 and you are using 16,000 watts of fuel, the total cost of running the generator will be $48.00.

Final Words

Propane generators are an excellent option for providing temporary or backup power. They are clean-burning, widely available, and relatively inexpensive. 

However, it’s essential to understand how much propane a generator uses and the factors that affect propane consumption. 

By understanding these factors and calculating running costs, you can decide which generator is right for you.

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