If you are looking for a generator, whether to use as a portable device or for backup power around the home, natural gas generators are a reasonable choice. Affordable, rugged, powerful, and reliable, these generators have been a mainstay of workshops, garages, homes and RV sites for a long time and that is unlikely to change.
A good generator is a substantial investment, so it's important to have an idea of what you want from your generator before buying one. Wattage, starting power, environmental features, efficiency, outlets and price are all important. Here's a quick look at some of our top picks for natural gas generators:
A Look at the Best Natural Gas Generators
1. Mech Marvels 4000 Watt Dual Fuel Portable Power Generator
This powerful dual fuel generator from Mech Marvels can power most household appliances and even power tools. It has a recoil starter, meaning that it is easy to get up and running, and it will run for 10 hours on 50 percent load with a full gasoline tank or a full 20lb LPG cylinder. This makes it a good choice for a backup generator/emergency power source for a home. It's also ideal for use in RVs where you want to be able to run some appliances during the day.
The generator comes with DC wire connectors allowing users to charge 12V batteries as needed. It also includes a 5' propane fuel hose and regulator, so you have everything that you need to make use of the generator. At 95lbs, it is quite bulky, but it is far more powerful than smaller solar generators and can power many more appliances. Since it's likely to either be used static around a home or for tailgating/in an RV, the weight of the generator is unlikely to be an issue. The rugged construction and high burst power makes this a dependable choice at an appealing price point.
Starting Watts: 4000W
Outlets: 1x 120V RV, 1 x 12V DC, 4x 120V
Notes: Recoil Starter, Gas/LPG
2. DuroStar DS10000E Gas Powered Portable Generator
This powerful, heavy-duty generator is versatile and comes with everything you need to get up and running. Designed to power lights, appliances, medical equipment, and even air conditioning, pumps, and compressors, this generator is suited to use around the home and on work sites.
It is bigger and bulkier than many popular camping models, but the size is a trade-off for the 10,000W starting power and the 8,000W output. Many smaller generator models cannot put out enough power for air conditioning, for example, but this generator can handle most appliances and tools without issue. This generator is a real workhorse that is built with performance in mind and includes heavy-duty, twist lock, and household outlets, allowing it to be used effectively in a range of environments. The 475cc engine is beefy and you can expect some good running times from the tank.
Note that while this generator can give 120V and 240V simultaneously, it does so at reduced power output. It can provide only 120V at full power.
Starting Watts: 10,000W
Outlets: 1x 120V/250V 50A, 1z 120V/240V 30A Twist Lock, 1x 120V 30A Twist Lock, 2x 210V 20A Household
Notes: Can offer both 120V and 240V
3. DuroStar DS4000S Gas Powered Portable Generator
packs enough of a punch for use in RVs and around the home. It is powerful enough to run small air conditioning systems, power tools, and household appliances. The engine is EPA and CARB approved, too, meaning it is approved for use in all 50 states.
The 7HP air-cooled engine with low oil shut off is durable and quite low maintenance. Users can expect to get around 8.5 hours of run-time out of the engine running at half load. The low-resistance, EZ-pull recoil start makes this a nice hassle-free generator to use, too.
This model is a good choice for tailgate parties, use in a small RV, or as a generator for your garage or workshop. It is, admittedly, a little too bulky to be classed as portable, but it is not so heavy as to be impossible to move. It is well-made with a durable metal cage and a casing that should protect it from rust and corrosion. The price point is appealing, being within most people's reach while still offering the performance and build quality that one would like to see from what is an expensive purchase. If you're looking for a generator that you can depend on, and you don't need an output in the 8 to 10k power range, this could be a good choice for you.
Starting Watts: 4000W
Outlets: 2x 120V 1x 120X 30A
Notes: Surge arrest technology, 208cc engine
4. Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Generator
The Westinghouse WGen9500DF is a dual fuel portable electric generator capable of producing up to 12,500 peak watts, and running at a steady 9,500W. this means that it can power air conditioning, pumps, household appliances, and power tools without difficulty.
It is a rugged, durable and high-powered dual fuel generator that is easy to use, and that has a lot of useful features such as a VFT datacenter display that offers volt outputs, frequency and lifetime information to help users to manage the performance of the generator and to inform maintenance schedules. The device comes with never-flat wheels, a handle, and a lift bracket, allowing you to move it around relatively easily given its rather substantial size and weight.
This generator is best used on work sites or around the home, or for a trailer that tends to send a lot of time at a fixed site. It will allow you to run all of your home comforts without issue and should last for many years with basic care. It can run on gas or LPG, and a full tank of gas should offer 17.5 hours of power, which is one of the more impressive run times for generators on this list. While a true standby generator may be a better choice for installation in a home, this is a good option for people who want the flexibility of being able to use LPG in an emergency, rather than depending on a natural gas supply.
Starting Watts: 12,500W
Outlets: 2x 120V 20A, 1x 120V/240V 30A, 1x 120V/240V 50A 2x 5V USB.
Notes: Dual fuel, starting system includes electric, remote and recoil
5. Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series
Generac is a trusted and popular name in the world of generators, and with good reason. This is a company that has been making backup generators that people depend on for a long time. They are good at making devices that 'just work'. Thie Generac Guardian series is a range of home generators that connect to your existing gas supply and track your energy supply too. If a power outage is detected then the generator will start up automatically and supply power to your home for the duration of the outage.
This 22,000W generator should be powerful enough for most homes. The generator comes with a 200amp automatic transfer switch that ensures the changeover is smooth and automatic. There's no fussing with fuel or extension leads, everything is just wired in and ready to go. Even powering it up is hands-free, saving owners from traipsing to the garage to fuss with a generator during a snow storm.
This is a bulky generator at a premium price point, but all of that is easy to accept when you consider the intended use. The Guardian Series is not designed to be put into an RV and used a few times per year. This generator is a static one for use around the home that should give peace of mind to the owner that they won't have to worry about a loss of power during rolling blackouts, storms, or other similar events. If you depend on having a stable power supply at home, this is a good starting point. You may still want a generator with a backup battery for emergencies if you have a CPAP machine or other important medical devices that require constant power.
Outlets: Home backup generator
Notes: Connects to home's gas supply and senses power outages
6. WEN 56180 1800-Watt Portable Generator, CARB Compliant
If you are looking for a portable generator that has a decent amount of power to run appliances on a camping trip, for your RV, for tailgating, or for an outdoor photoshoot or event, this could be the answer. With 2000W starting power and 1600W stable running power, this generator is a good choice for situations where you want a balance between portability and wattage.
The generator is EPA III and CARB compliant so it is suitable for use across the United States. It has two standard plugs, one 12V DC plug, and one USB socket, meaning that it can be used to charge drones, portable electronics, and standard appliances, and to power RV appliances as well.
The build quality is impressive. The unit is durable and easy to use, and you can expect to get around 7.5 hours of half-load running time from a full tank. Value-added features such as an air cooling system for the 98cc engine, low-oil shut down, and a spark arrestor add to the reliability and durability of the generator.
Note that while this generator could, on paper, power something like a small AC unit for an RV, it may struggle to run that plus multiple appliances. Running a generator at full load for prolonged periods could strain the engine and reduce its useful life. If you just want to power lights, charge a laptop, and perhaps run a mini-fridge or TV, it is up to that job. It can also power some power tools. Think carefully before you choose a generator so that you know what you are getting is up to the job.
Starting Watts: 2000W
Outlets: 2x 120V, 1x 12V DC, 1x 5V USB
Notes: EPA III and CARB Compliant
7. Briggs & Stratton 40533 12kW Standby Generator
This Briggs & Stratton generator is a standby generator that hooks up to your household electrical supply. It has a 100amp switch to allow for a smooth transfer of power when an outage is detected. This 12KW generator can support the appliances in use in the average household, and runs smoothly and quietly, kicking in seamlessly in the event of an outage.
The generator comes at a premium price, but for that price, users get peace of mind that their home will always have power and that they won't have to worry about starting up a generator and connecting appliances to keep working and living life normally in the event of a storm or a power outage.
The manufacturers offer a five-year warranty on the appliance, giving users peace of mind that the company stands behind their devices. The warranty includes parts, labor and travel, so if anything goes wrong with the generator the company will get it up and running again quickly.
If you need power for medical devices and don't want to run the risk of losing power in the event of a gas outage, you may still want a battery/solar backup, but for rolling blackouts or for storm damage taking out above-ground power lines, this generator gives you the peace of mind that you will have uninterrupted power in your home.
Outlets: Standby generator
Notes: Standby generator with 100Amp Symphony II Switch
Why Choose Natural Gas Generators?
Natural gas generators tend to be cheap to run compared to other generators. Natural gas is cheap, readily available, and easy to work with. The technology for natural gas generators is mature compared to some alternatives, and it is something that most households have access to. These factors combine to make natural gas generators more efficient, more affordable, and generally easier to work with.
Compared to solar and battery power banks, natural gas generators tend to be capable of putting out more power too. While there are some high-powered solar generators, they are bulky and comparatively expensive. There are also fewer people who have skills in maintaining them. Natural gas generators, by comparison, are easy to find in the 10KW and above range, and easy to maintain, so once you have one you should find that it will run for many years.
What to Look for in a Natural Gas Generator
If you are shopping for a generator, you should, first of all, think about what you want to use it for. Are you planning on running it as a backup generator? Are you looking for a generator for an RV or for a camping trip? Your plans will impact on the type of generator that you should choose.
Some important factors include:
It helps if you can find a generator that has a good running time, especially compared to the size of the tank. Look for a low-emission, highly efficient generator. Take a moment to work out the cost of running the generator in terms of gas per hour. Most modern generators should be very efficient, especially compared to ones that are a few decades old, but there are still variations between modes. It may help if you buy a generator that is a bit more powerful than you need so that you aren't running it at maximum capacity for prolonged periods.
The power output for a gas generator is listed as starting wattage and running wattage. Some appliances - especially things with a motor or a pump - require more power to start than they do to run once they are going. This is why you might sometimes see people turning appliances on in a specific order when using a generator. Your freezer may only require a couple of hundred watts to run, but could pull over 1,000 when it starts up! Make a list of the appliances that you want to run, and calculate the starting wattage and the running wattage so that you have an idea of the initial 'burst' power you need and the long-term running power. Buy a generator that is more powerful than your maximum expected need, so that you have some headroom, and so that you aren't running the generator close to capacity.
If you are buying a backup generator for your home, then you won't mind too much how heavy or bulky it is, since once it is installed you can forget about it. If you're buying something for use outdoors, or even in an RV, then you may find that you have to move it around more often, and the size, weight, and even quality of the wheels starts to matter. Make sure that you are able to move the generator yourself, and that the build quality is up to the task. If your generator is going to be used on dirty outdoor sites in rough conditions, you should choose one that is resistant to dust and corrosion, and that has a good protective cage around it.
Some generators connect to your electrical supply and will take over the supply when an outage is detected. Other generators are designed to be used as a standalone supply and have a selection of power outlets including household 3-pin connectors, 120V heavy-duty outlets, and 12V DC connectors or USB connectors for portable devices. Consider what you are likely to want to plug into the generator, and make sure that there are enough outlets for this. While you could run extensions from the generator, this is not always a good idea. Remember that standard extension leads aren't designed to be used outside.
Natural gas generators tend to be affordable compared to other power sources, but that doesn't mean that they are inexpensive. The price can vary from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. To an extent, how much you pay will be constrained by the wattage of the generator. You are unlikely to find an 8,000W generator for a couple of hundred dollars for example. If you're on a budget, read the specifications of the generators carefully. Remember that you do get what you pay for and that trusted brands with safety features such as spark arrestors and low-oil cutoffs will are worth spending a little extra on if you can find room in your budget.
One final consideration is the warranty that is offered. If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home because you have an urgent need for continuous power - for example to power medical equipment, then you will want to have a generator that you can have faith in. Look for a company that offers 24-hour support, has a good reputation, and a long warranty. This will give you some peace of mind.
Many of the generators in our list are dual fuel generators that can work on natural gas or LPG. Natural gas is usually more efficient, and less expensive overall. This is why it is so commonly found in homes. If you're hoping to bring your home up to the latest environmental standards then a gas generator is a good choice. It does not produce the odor that propane does, which means that you're more likely to be comfortable having the generator close to your home or RV. Natural gas generators also tend to be quieter while in use, too.
LPG does have benefits for people who want portable fuel for use on the road, but for use on static sites, such as in the home, natural gas wins out in terms of affordability, convenience, cleanliness, and cost.
The generators listed above are all reliable, high-quality generators that serve a variety of different purposes. From small systems for use in RVs or to power the tools that you use in your garage, to systems that will detect power outages and keep the supply running in your home, there are generators for most use-cases.