Whenever there is a power outage, every homeowner would want to seek an alternative source of power to keep the lights on. This surely calls for a generator but the issue is which would be the most suitable generator between the portable gasoline generator and portable diesel generator. Of course, being portable generators, they can be moved from one point to the other, so that covers the issue of location.

Although there are several other types of generators fueled by biofuels, solar, geothermal, the wind, liquid propane and other forms of fuels, the aim of this article is to focus on comparing and contrasting portable diesel generators and portable gasoline generators, therefore picking which would be the best portable generator for home use.

Now, let’s look at a few factors:


When it comes to fuel efficiency, diesel generators have an edge over gasoline generator because diesel generators use lesser fuel. This is simply because in the diesel generator, the fuel gets ignited by compression. Air and fuel are separately introduced into the engine but only air gets compressed, allowing the engine run more efficiently while consuming less fuel.

On the other hand, the engine of a gasoline generator mixes air and fuel together in the carburetor before compression and the result? Less efficiency! Since the efficiency of the portable diesel generator is higher, it would run longer than the portable gasoline generator having similar amount of fuel.

Diesel $ Supply states that a water-cooled diesel generator of 1800 rpm can operate for 12,000 to 30,000 hours before it would require any maintenance operation. Gasoline generators that are similar would need to be serviced after 6,000 to 10,000 hours. The difference is obviously clear here.

Noise and Heat

Earlier versions of portable diesel generators were very noisy and were really unpleasant in neighborhoods of high population. The newer models manufactured today produce less noise and emit less heat compared to the portable gasoline generator. An additional advantage is that the diesel generators have no spark plugs or carburetors which makes maintenance less expensive. In the case of the gasoline generator, gasoline burns hot and this actually shortens its lifespan.


Generators can either be liquid-cooled or air-cooled. For a liquid-cooled portable generator, be it gasoline or diesel powered, it is definitely more expensive and hence used for bigger projects.

In terms of price, a 5500 Watt Troy-Blit portable gasoline generator costs around $700 while a Pramac portable diesel generator costs up $3100. Manufacturers of diesel generators claim that the high cost is because they consume less than 40% of fuel, need no maintenance and have a longer lifespan.

If you need a portable generator for short-term power outages, then you might just opt for an air-cooled portable gasoline generator. On the other hand, if the plan is to use a generator on an extended or long-term use, then you might want to go for a liquid-cooled portable diesel generator.

For small and single-family homes that have fewer aplliances which will draw lesser energy, smaller units are the best options. For larger families or homes which would have a large power appetite due to higher energy consumption from several appliances, a bigger generator is the best bet. Of course this will be more expensive. The higher the watts consumed, the higher the cost.


The best portable generator for homeowners depend on factors like how large or small the demand for power is, how long it would be used for, the amount of watts the for appliances that would be used and most importantly, your own budget. Having considered all of these, then one can decide if he/she wants to go for a portable diesel generator or a portable gasoline generator.

If you are not really certain about which of them you need, then you should contact an electrician for advice.