After being burned by Hurricane Sandy, I decided to upgrade my Briggs & Stratton Storm Responder (5500 Running Watts) to a something that is more powerful.
Based on my experience of waking up every day at 3am to wait over 1.5 hours to fill up two, 5 gallon gas tanks, I came up with a wish list:
- It has to be a portable generator as I do not have enough space to install a standby generator due to zoning and safety issues
- Generator must be able to run tri-fuel (gasoline, propane and/or natural gas), with natural gas being the primary fuel source.
- Although third-party conversion tri-fuel kits are available, I would prefer the factory OEM option to maintain warranty
- Electric start would be nice (for my wife) but I would want the recoil mechanism in place as a backup
- Not oversize the generator to conserve fuel consumption, in case I am forced to go with propane and/or gasoline
- Must come with pneumatic, not plastic, tires for ease of moving the generator around
- Prefer a unit with 50 amp interlocking connector, vs a 30 amp connector
- Prefer a name brand (i.e. Generac, Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Cummins Onan) to ensure parts/service availabilities in the future
- Budget is under $3,000
Will I be able to hit all or most of my targets? So far, I’ve identified Generac GP15000E and GP17500E but they are not ideal solutions to my needs.
Another possibility is the Generac XG10000E
Search goes on…
PS. If you can think of a particular brand/unit, please make sure to leave a comment below.
2 thoughts on “Searching for a Powerful Portable Tri-Fuel Generator”
Power back up becomes a matter of need: how much do you want to power and for how long.
Tri-fuel options seem attractive on the surface, but there is a large disconnect in energy output from gases (natural, propane) to gasoline. Gasoline is still king of the energy output mountain. Natural and propane gas do not come close. I have considered, and am still considering a natural gas backup system, but I decided on diesel for a portable selection.
Sandy solidified my urgency to purchase a portable unit. Diesel made sense to me, especially in the fuel storage aspect – it just keeps much longer. Also, properly managed, it can run on just about anything oil in an extreme emergency (I just switched from oil to gas for heating and have >200 gal in storage). Lastly, it is far more efficient in fuel economy – 11 hrs for 3.3 gals?
Hope it never comes to that point….
BTW, your specs for a portable generator in those power outputs with any fuel will drive your neighbors to the breaking point due to noise. My 5kW diesel already shakes the driveway on testing. And I bought it on research that diesels were “somewhat” quieter – well, 10 db might not make much difference in the +70 dB range.
I do agree with you that diesel is preferable to gasoline for its durability and fuel economy. But I have two issues with diesel:
1. At least in my situation, diesel was not readily available. Within the 20 mile radius, there were exactly two gas stations open during Hurricane Sandy and both of them only sold gas;
2. I have yet to find a diesel generator that can run both diesel and natural gas/propane.
Good thinking on that noise, though I don’t think I have to worry about the db levels as we all had our generators running!