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Best Generators for Food Trucks

food truck at night powered by a generator

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Food trucks are growing in popularity, especially in the United States. This is a great business idea, and many people love grabbing a bite to eat from food trucks. However, like any other business, running a food business on wheels isn’t easy. You will encounter some unique challenges that the owner of a regular restaurant doesn’t have to face. For instance, you’ll need to power your food truck with an external electrical source since you won’t be hooked up to the grid. Thus, in order to run your food truck business, you would have to invest in a portable generator that can power your truck.

Generators are available in different varieties, but not all of them are suitable for food trucks. Thus, when you are in the market searching for a generator to power your food truck, you might feel like a lost ball in the weeds. Don’t worry! We are here to help. We have done the research work and compiled a list of best generators for food trucks.

This should help you find a model that suits your needs and your wallet. We have also discussed some important things that you should consider when shopping for a generator for a food truck.

Products Reviewed in This Article

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our Top 3 Best Generators for Food Trucks Compared

Model
Duromax XP12000EH 12000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator W Elec. Start 50-State
Our Top Pick
DuroMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator-4400 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready, 50 State Approved, Blue and Black
Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator - 3500 Starting Watts with PowerRush Technology
Power
12,000 Peak Watts / 9,500 Running Watts (Gas)
4,400 Peak Watts / 3,500 Running Watts (Gas)
3,500 Peak Watts / 3,000 Running Watts
Fuel Type
Fuel Type: Gas & LPG
Fuel Type: Gas & LPG
Fuel Type: Gas
Tank Size
Tank Capacity: 8.3 gal.
Tank Capacity: 3.96 gal.
Tank Capacity: 2.37 gal.
Run Time
Run-Time @ 50% Load: 9hrs (Gas)
Run-Time @ 25% Load: 11.46hrs (Gas)
Run-Time @ 50% Load: 8hrs
Noise Level
Noise Level: 74dB
Noise Level: 69 dB
Noise Level: NK
Weight
Weight: 260 lbs
Weight: 128 lbs
Weight: 74.3 lbs
Model
Duromax XP12000EH 12000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator W Elec. Start 50-State
Power
12,000 Peak Watts / 9,500 Running Watts (Gas)
Fuel Type
Fuel Type: Gas & LPG
Tank Size
Tank Capacity: 8.3 gal.
Run Time
Run-Time @ 50% Load: 9hrs (Gas)
Noise Level
Noise Level: 74dB
Weight
Weight: 260 lbs
Learn More
Our Top Pick
Model
DuroMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator-4400 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready, 50 State Approved, Blue and Black
Power
4,400 Peak Watts / 3,500 Running Watts (Gas)
Fuel Type
Fuel Type: Gas & LPG
Tank Size
Tank Capacity: 3.96 gal.
Run Time
Run-Time @ 25% Load: 11.46hrs (Gas)
Noise Level
Noise Level: 69 dB
Weight
Weight: 128 lbs
Learn More
Model
Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator - 3500 Starting Watts with PowerRush Technology
Power
3,500 Peak Watts / 3,000 Running Watts
Fuel Type
Fuel Type: Gas
Tank Size
Tank Capacity: 2.37 gal.
Run Time
Run-Time @ 50% Load: 8hrs
Noise Level
Noise Level: NK
Weight
Weight: 74.3 lbs
Learn More

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Generators for Food Trucks Reviews

Our Top Pick DuroMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator, Blue and Black

The DuraMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator has 3,500 running watts and 4,400 starting watts. This generator is powered by a heavy-duty 7-hp 208cc OHV engine that can handle a large amount of load. On the panel, there are both 120V and 240V outlets that you can use simultaneously to power multiple devices. This generator is powerful enough to run a 13,500 BTU AC, which makes it a great option for food trucks.

DuroMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator-4400 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready, 50 State Approved, Blue and Black

Fuel-efficiency on the DuroMax XP4400EH Generator is decent as it comes with a 4-gallon fuel tank that would keep the engine running for up to 8 hours on half load. This means that you won’t have to worry about refilling the generator again and again. The DuroMax XP4400EH features dual-fuel technology, which means that it can run on gasoline or propane. This gives you the freedom of fuel choice.

One of the best things about this generator is that it has features that would prevent damage to the parts from long periods of use. For example, the engine of the generator is air-cooled, which reduces the chances of overheating. Circuit breakers and voltmeter are also installed to prevent overloading. When it comes to noise, the DuroMax XP4400EH operates at 69 decibels, which is a little loud.

PROS

  • Quite powerful
  • Air-cooled engine prevents overheating
  • Comes with a 4-gallon fuel tank that delivers run-time of 8 hours at half-load
  • Both 120V and 240V outlets available
  • Can power heavy-duty appliances

CONS

  • Little noisy

CHECK PRICE HERE

DuroMax XP12000EH 12000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator

If you need a powerful generator to run your food truck business, the massive DuroMax XP12000EH 12000W Dual Fuel Generator should be on your shortlist. This generator is powered by a 457cc DuroMax engine that provides a maximum of 12,000 watts power and 9,500 watts of running power. This means that you can run an air conditioner, multiple microwaves, and multiple refrigerators on this generator. It is worth noting that this generator is quite large, which means that you must make space for it in your food truck beforehand if you are thinking about buying it.

Duromax XP12000EH 12000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator W Elec. Start 50-State

Like the DuroMax XP4400EH, this model also features dual-fuel technology, which means that it can run on propane or gasoline. Since the generator is very powerful, low fuel-efficiency is a given. The gas tank is nearly eight-gallons, but the run-time is still only eight hours when operating at half-load. This can be an issue for some food trucks.

At up to 74 dB, the DuroMax XP12000EH Generator is quite loud, which could create an uncomfortable environment for the customer. The panel of the generator matches its high power output. It comes with multiple three-pronged outlets and two 240V/120V four-pronged outlets that you can use for heavy-duty appliances. A 12V DC outlet is also there for battery charging. Overall, the DuroMax XP12000EH is a real-work horse that’s designed for those who need for running heavy-duty appliances in their food truck.

PROS

  • Impressive 9,500 watts of running power
  • Two 240/120V four-pronged outlets for heavy-duty appliances
  • Dual-fuel technology allows you to use propane or gasoline to power the generator

CONS

  • Low fuel-efficiency
  • Quite large

CHECK PRICE HERE

Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV-Ready Inverter Generator – 3500 Starting Watts with PowerRush Technology

The Generac GP3500iO is a lightweight and compact portable inverter generator that you can use to power your food truck equipment. This generator is powered by a 212cc Generac OHV 4-stroke engine that delivers a 3500 watts peak voltage and 3000 watts running voltage. One of the interesting things about this unit is that it is parallel capable, which means that it can be linked with a compatible or similar unit for more power.

Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator - 3500 Starting Watts with PowerRush Technology

The Generac GP3500iO comes with Generac’s PowerDial – a simple dial that includes three operation settings. The fuel capacity of this generator is 2.37 gallons and the maximum run time is about 11 hours. This means that you won’t have to worry about stopping your operations for refueling the tank during busy times.

The control panel of the Generac GP3500iO has three 120V AC outlets. Two 5V USB ports are also there that you can use to charge your smartphone. One of the interesting features of this generator is the data center that provides information about lifetime run hours, allowing you to monitor the activity and status of your device. In addition, the light indicator shows if the oil level in the tank is insufficient.

PROS

  • 3,000 watts running voltage
  • Good run time of up to 11 hours
  • Three 120V AC outlets
  • Two 5V USB ports for charging smartphones and other devices

CONS

  • Not too fuel-efficient
  • No electric start

CHECK PRICE HERE

PowerSmart Generator 900 Running Watts/1000 Starting Watts, Gas-Powered Portable Generator PS50A

If you are looking for a low-power generator at an affordable price, consider the PowerSmart Generator. For a small generator, the PowerSmart Generator has sufficient power. It is easy to start and dependable. There are no complex details to confuse you. Follow the fuel mix properly, and the generator will run smoothly.

PowerSmart Generator, 1000 Watts Portable Generator, Outdoor generator Low Noise, Gas Powered Portable Generator, Inverter Generators for Home-use, PS50A

The PowerSmart Generator is powered by 2-hp, 2-stroke engine that provides 900 watts of continuous power and 1,000 watts peak power. At half-load, the tank has enough capacity to keep the generator running for 5 hours. This might not be enough for all food truck owners but should suffice for those with a small setup.

The control panel of the PowerSmart Generator features a 120V AC output and 12V DC output that you can use to charge batteries. There is no 240V outlet, which means that you can’t run heavy-duty appliances on this generator. Overall, the PowerSmart Generator is a good option for low-duty appliances.

PROS

  • 120V AC output and 12V DC output
  • 900 watts of continuous power
  • Easy to start
  • Smooth operation

CONS

  • Not too powerful
  • A little noisy
  • Low run-time

CHECK PRICE HERE

Best Generators for Food Trucks Buyers Guide

Things to Consider When Buying a Generator for a Food Truck

Power Needed

The first thing to consider when buying a generator for a food truck is how much power you will need for running your business. The power needed depends on the equipment that you plan on running off the generator. It is better to have more power than falling short of your requirements. The output of every generator available in the market is measured in watts. Unfortunately, most appliances like grills, refrigerators, and freezers don’t disclose their wattage requirements. They only tell the voltage, which means the electrical current required to run the appliances.

Thankfully, it is pretty easy to figure out wattage. You just have to take the voltage of an appliance and multiply it with the current in amps to get the wattage. For example, suppose your refrigerator requires 10 amps of current and is plugged into a 240V inlet. When you multiply these two figures, you’ll get 2400 watts. You will need to calculate the wattage of every appliance in your food truck before you buy a generator. Otherwise, you might end up with a generator that can’t meet your load requirements.

Fuel Options

The fuel source required to power the generator is another important factor to consider. You can buy a generator that uses propane, gasoline, or one that can run on both. Propane is cheaper but doesn’t give a lot of power. On the other hand, gasoline is a little expensive to use but delivers more power compared to propane. Models that allow you to use both types of fuel are the best because you can select the fuel source depending on your power requirements. This way, you can save money when your power requirements aren’t too high.

Powerful Engine

You’ll need a powerful engine to generate the power that is required to run the appliances in your food truck. The power that is put out by an engine depends on how far and how quickly pistons move inside the engine. This power is expressed in cc. An engine with higher cc is more powerful, but it also consumes more fuel than the one with the lower cc.

While you should get a powerful engine for your food truck, it is important to consider how easy it is to start the engine. If you get an engine that is hard to start, you’ll have problems getting it running. This is the last thing you want when you are running a food truck business, and your customers are waiting to be served.

Capacity of the Fuel Tank and Run-time

A generator’s fuel tank capacity determines how long it will run. The larger the fuel tank is, the longer the generator will run. You should consider how long you want the generator to run to keep your food truck business operational and get the model that can meet your run-time needs.

Outlets

Another important factor to consider when shopping for a generator is the number of outlets available on the control panel. You must be certain that the generator offers enough outlets to power all your equipment. You should also check whether the outlets provide the right voltage for your equipment; otherwise, you won’t be able to use them. USB plugs are a major plus as many electronic devices use them.

Size and Weight

A more powerful generator is generally bigger in size than its less powerful counterpart. If you don’t have a lot of space in your food generator, you might not be able to allocate a place for a larger generator. This is why you should consider the space available in your food truck and then buy a generator that can fit in your truck. Portability isn’t an issue with most generators because they come with a handle and wheels for easy transportation.

Cost

Cost is another important factor to consider when you are shopping for a generator for your food truck. Many high-end models available in the market deliver impressive amounts of power. It is best to buy a high-end generator because your food truck would need something powerful and reliable.  If you buy a cheap generator, it might not be able to meet your power requirements. You would then have to invest in another generator, which can prove to be very costly. This is why it is better to make a sensible investment the first time.

Noise

Noise is another factor that you should consider when looking for a generator. The level of noise that a generator makes is measured in decibels (dB). A higher dB indicates the generator would be noisy. Since you’ll be running the generator right next to your food truck, you don’t want a generator that is too loud. The maximum noise level that is appropriate for your food truck is 75 dB. Anything louder will annoy your customers.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How to Take Care of Your Generator? 

You must take good care of your generator if you want it to last long. Think of the generator as your car engine and maintain it as you would maintain the engine. You should check the oil on a regular basis to ensure that all the parts are lubricated. You might think that you can install a generator into your truck on your own, but it is best to let a professional handle it. That way, you would get the reassurance that everything was done right, and all the components will work correctly. Another thing you should note is that generators aren’t weatherproof. If you are keeping your generator outside, make sure to keep an eye out for bad weather. If it is about to rain, bring your generator inside the food truck or cover it with something to ensure that the generator doesn’t get wet.

Should You Buy a Propane Generator or a Gasoline Generator? 

Both propane and gasoline can be used to run a generator. When it comes to power, the gasoline is a better option than propane, but it is more expensive. On the other hand, propane’s power output is low, but it is more fuel-efficient. You should consider your needs when deciding to choose between a gasoline generator and a propane generator. If power is your top priority, go with the gasoline generator. On the other hand, if you want to save money on fuel, then a propane generator is your best bet.

Should You Buy One Powerful Generator or Invest in Two Less Powerful Generators for Your Food Truck? 

Two less powerful generators will give you more flexibility in terms of outlets and prevent you from worrying about downtime. You will be able to switch between the two. However, you won’t get the high power capability that a larger generator can offer. This is why you should consider your needs when deciding whether to buy a single powerful generator or two less powerful ones. If you want more power, then go with one good generator instead of buying two lesser ones.

Is it Okay to Buy a Loud Generator if I am Putting it Inside the Food Truck? 

No, you should not invest in a generator that is too loud. Even if you are putting the generator inside your food truck, it will still make a lot of noise, which can be annoying for your staff as well as customers. This is why you should invest in a generator that isn’t too loud so that it doesn’t cause inconvenience to others.

How Long Do Generators Last? 

A portable gas generator generally lasts about 2,000 to 3,000 hours. On the other hand, powerful diesel generators tend to last 20,000 to 30,000 hours.

Final Thoughts

A generator is a great device that can keep all the appliances in your food truck operational throughout the day. You obviously can’t run your food truck business without operating the fridge, air conditioner, and grills, etc. This is why you should invest in a top-quality generator for your food truck. We have listed some of the best generators for food trucks. Now it should be easier for you to find a generator that is suitable for your food truck. When buying a generator for a food truck, pay attention to the things we discussed earlier. This includes noise, cost, size and weight, outlets, fuel tank capacity, engine, fuel options, and power required. This way, you will be able to get your hands on a generator that is right for your food truck.

We have discussed the best generators for food trucks in detail. However, if you are still having a hard time finding a suitable model for your food truck, feel free to reach out to us. In the meantime we consider the DuroMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator to be the best generator for food trucks right now.

DuroMax XP4400EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator-4400 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready, 50 State Approved, Blue and Black
  • Plenty of Power – With 4,400 starting watts and 3,500 running watts, this unit can handle heavy loads, from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools
  • Dual Fuel Technology – This generator runs on gasoline or propane, giving you the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice
  • Powerful Engine – The DuroMax 210cc OHV engine is a workhorse that provides plenty of power to handle multiple jobs, from powering high voltage appliances to heavy duty power tools
  • MX2 Technology - Get the maximum power from each of the 120-volt receptacles. Choose between operating the generator at both 120V and 240V simultaneously, or at 120V only with full power. Ideal for usage with RVs
  • Fully Featured Power Panel – The power panel includes a wide selection of outlets for maximum compatibility in your applications including: (2) 120V household GFCI outlets and (1) 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet. The panel also includes a voltmeter and 12V DC charging posts for charging external batteries

Last update on 2021-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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