How Much Propane Does a Generator Use ?

There is one common question that arises in everyone’s mind while opting for the propane-powered generators; how much propane does a generator use? one should consider two important factors. One of them is the appropriate load requirements. The experienced installers will be able to help you out with that. This will determine the right generator size for the place you require it for. Another significant factor that should be duly considered is fuel consumption rate

These factors are decisive in the amount of propane your generator will use. Well, to get the detailed idea, dive in! 

Fuel Consumption 

The time duration of the generator that can effectively run on a certain amount of propane is based on the devices it is powering. On an hourly basis, the propane-powered generator has the capability of burning about 2.5 gallons approx with a tolerance of 0.5 gallons. Considering these stats, a generator with a 500-gallon tank is sufficient for the entire week. 

If you want to consume less fuel, connect fewer devices and be conservative about the devices you are powering. This will make the fuel last longer.

In the emergency situations such as blackouts, it is recommended to only connect to the devices which are essential to use. As we have already said, it is directly proportional to the load requirements and the propane you are using can be substantially saved if the load requirements are cut down to only the necessary ones. 

What is more eco-friendly, propane or gas? 

If you are wondering if propane is more eco-friendly than gas generators, we have a straight answer for you, propane. Talking with the facts and stats, propane is bound to lessen the emissions of CO2 by 12 percent, oxides of nitrogen by 20%, and hydrocarbon emissions in the form of smog by a shocking percentage of 80.

Another advantage of using propane instead of gas is that it burns much more clean when compared to gas or diesel. 

The difference between a 20-pound propane tank and a 100-pound propane tank 

If you are to get yourself a 20-pound propane tank, you should know that it should promise power for about 5 hours or less. It contains about 4.6 gallons which are sufficient to keep it running for approx 300 minutes. The tank when emptied weighs 17 lbs. That is commonly known as a grill cylinder.

While this is a common confusion to mix pounds with gallons and vice versa, it is best to know the difference between both in order to get an accurate idea.

If you are going to get the tanks, they are sold on the basis of pounds whereas the propane goes by gallons so it is advisable to know the correct conversion between them. 1 gallon of propane is equal to about 4.6 pounds. 

The Right Capacity

Coming towards the bigger tank which is 100 pounds. It holds the capacity to keep a 12 KW generator running for a long time period lasting 36 hours. Whereas, the time will be further extended to 66 hours if the generator’s power is reduced to 7 KW.

The generators do not operate at their full efficiency and the usual ratings at which they operate is about 25-75 percent of the original ratings. Therefore, you can expect the fuel to last much more than specified above. 100 pounds will hold about 22.3 gallons of propane. 

In order to get yourself propane tanks which are smaller in capacity, about 20-30 gallons, they are accessible at shops and stores. Moreover, you can also refill the ones if you already have the, . On the other hand, if you want to get yourself large tanks having the capacity of  100 gallons or more, then you must contact a propane distributor.

In case of the refill of these larger tanks, one should call the distributors so that the trucks come to your place and refill the tanks. 

Amount of Propane Used by Generator

In order to get a vivid and clearer idea of how much propane is being used by your generator, you should pay close attention to the power consumed=med and the loads as that are directly dependent on the fuel consumption.

The generators are made available with some power rating which is generally in kilowatts. The devices and other appliances are all manufactured with some rating that carries the unit of kWh. Kilo is used for 1000 and therefore, one kilowatt of power is equivalent to 1000 watts of power consumed. 

To get a better idea, let us explain this example. If you have an average size home with conservative power use, 5 kilowatts will be enough for you. This amount of power will aid in powering some bulbs plus your refrigerator and small appliances such as laptops. However, if AC and a larger freezer have to be plugged in as well, you would require more kilowatts.

The worksheet of the appliances you need to power will determine the size of the generator you should go for. 

Propane-powered generator benefits 

Propane is a powerful fuel that promotes clean burning and is the first choice for those who prefer eco-friendly fuel. In addition to that, it has several other advantages which make it stand out among other types of fuel. Whether it is gasoline or diesel, gas or any other fuel, it totally snatches the top spot as the best fuel due to its superior advantages. 

Well, there is a lot more to this fuel, below are some major benefits of using this as the fuel. 

  • Due to this being a famous and common fuel, there are several distributors working to provide this fuel and refill the tanks. The accessibility of this fuel is exceptional as this doesn’t require any external source such as electricity. The diesel and gas, on the other hand, do require electricity in order to be filled into tanks.  
  • Longevity is another aspect of propane that makes it the most wanted fuel. The shelf life of propane is unmatchable long. There is no such necessity that the fuel should be consumed within a certain date. This cancels out the need for stabilizers which are very expensive and therefore this all becomes quite affordable. The longevity is only ensured and guaranteed if you have kept the tank in a better state. 
  • The maintenance of the generator having propane as the fuel is significantly easier and uncomplicated. When it comes to other fuel options such as diesel or gas, it leaks out the deposits of carbon and other exhaust gases which makes maintenance hard. There is no such issue with the use of propane which eliminates the exhaust of any such gases. 
  • Safety is yet another plus point due to which propane is preferred as a fuel. The tanks come with values that ensure safety by eliminating spillage of the propane. On the other hand, the tanks of the other fuels do not have these control values to eliminate spillage. 
  • Another great benefit of using propane is that it is absolutely safe and sound for the environment. Even if it is subjected to leakage, it is not going to affect the environment in any harmful way. 
  • It is a common issue with fuels that they pose challenges in winters. While this seems to be the issue with most of the fuel, propane is exceptional and therefore one of the most quality fuels for the generators. 
  • The energy promised by propane is unbeatable, unmatched, and simply exceptional. It is found that the ratio of energy provided by propane to that of natural gas is 2:1.

Although the benefits of propane power clearly show that this is the best fuel for your generator. However, there are some conditions that make natural gas or diesel generators a better choice. While propane stands out due to its outstanding properties and astounding features, it largely relies on you. The home needs and your requirements might be different and might require another kind of fuel. Therefore, it is advisable to consult an experienced and professional installer for suggestions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will a 20 lb propane tank run a generator?

The operating time of the generator is dependent on the load requirements. The calculated propane used per hour is about 2 gallons to 3 gallons. Therefore, one can expect almost 5 hours of the functionality of generators on 20 lb of propane. Well, with increasing load, this time period might decrease. 

Is it cheaper to run a generator on gas or propane?

The generators which use gasoline usually termed gasoline generators are much more affordable when it comes to installing as well as purchasing them.

The low density of propane makes it cheaper than the competitor fuels i.e. diesel/ gas. The per-gallon cost of propane is lesser than compared of gas and diesel. However, the efficiency of the propane-powered generators is a bit compromised when compared to the gas ones.

Propane vs Gas Generator

On the basis of stats, the gas generators provide 27 percent more energy than the propane ones. On the other hand, it is a fact that the propane generators serve as a cleaner energy option and it is indeed better and much safer for the environment. 
When it comes to the purchasing and installation cost, you will definitely feel that the propane-powered are being heavy on your pocket but with time you will realize that they are worth every penny and will actually cause you a big saving in the long run. 

How big of a propane tank do I need for a whole house generator?

In order to get the propane tank for the whole house generator, you should never settle for a tank having a capacity of less than 250 gallons. 


We have thoroughly analysed how much propane a generator uses. Well, if you are wondering the same, you can expect to consume about 2 gallons of propane in just 60 minutes. The gallons of fuel consumed will increase with increasing time. Another thing which it directly depends on is the power and load requirements. If you are putting more devices and more appliances to the generator, then the usage of propane will certainly increase. Therefore, the more the load, the larger the propane consumption and the larger the time period, the more the fuel used. 

Similar Posts