What’s the Difference Between a Propane and Gas Backup Home Generator?

You have finally decided you want to invest in a backup home generator — as opposed to a portable generator — to ensure you and yours have uninterrupted power in the face of inclement weather, natural disasters, or unforeseen power outages. Now, you’ve got another important decision to make: the type of fuel your unit will use.

Backup home generators typically run on liquid propane (LP) or natural gas (NG) — but what is the difference between the two? Does one perform better than the other? Is one less expensive to run? Are there differences in reliability? Here, we’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of propane and gas backup home generators to help you move forward with the best standby generator fuel type for your property.

To start, let’s take a look at how propane and gas differ:

What Is Liquid Propane?

Just as it sounds like, liquid propane is a liquid form of fuel; a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. Liquid propane is an incredibly popular fuel type for backup home generators. Since your generator runs on gas — not liquid — this propane must be boiled to produce a light and airy gas that powers the generator.

What Is Natural Gas?

Natural gas lives up to its name; it’s already gas! NG is comprised of methane and a mix of other gases. However, unlike the kind of gasoline you pump at the gas station, it’s never a liquid at normal temperatures and directly feeds power to your home standby generator.

Propane vs. Gas Generators: What You Need to Consider

Choosing between a propane and gas-powered generator is a unique challenge, and there’s no “right” answer that suits everyone’s needs perfectly. Before investing in a backup power source, let’s take a look at each model’s benefits:


Here’s why homeowners commonly choose LP generators:

  • No access to a natural gas line: These types of generators tap into an underground fuel line to run, although some neighborhoods do not have these lines.
  • Fuel, on-demand: With liquid propane, you can have your fuel delivered to guarantee a full tank before a big storm.
  • Quiet power: Generally, LP generators aren’t quite as noisy as their NG counterparts while running. Since standby units are typically situated right against the home, many enjoy the quietness and not having to deal with noise pollution.
  • Fuel with no expiration date: LP can last indefinitely if the propane is stored safely.
  • A clean burn: LP has almost double the BTU, or heating efficiency, of NG, which can help your generator run longer than a natural gas unit might last.
  • Lower upfront costs: Propane generators are typically less expensive than natural gas generators.

Natural Gas

Here are some reasons you may decide to opt for a gas generator:

  • Fuel is relatively inexpensive: While prices fluctuate, those who have access to a natural gas line typically spring for NG generators since the cost of fuel is less expensive by unit.
  • No refueling necessary: Instead of needing to monitor tank levels, a natural gas unit will always have a steady supply of fuel available.
  • Minimal maintenance costs: Those with natural gas generators do not have to worry about maintaining underground piping.
  • Little space required and easy installation: Homeowners with natural gas lines installed beneath them have less work on their hands, which means getting the generator set up and running can be quicker.

Propane or Natural Gas, That Is the Question. Colonial Generators, That Is the Answer!

Still unsure as to whether a propane or natural gas generator is right for you? Fear not — our specialists are standing by to help! When you turn to Colonial Generators, you’re getting much more than generator installers; you’re leaning on years of expertise that can guide you to the very best solutions for you, your family, and your property. We’ll take the guesswork out of powering your home when you need it the most.

For more information about our generator options or no credit check generator financing, reach out to us today!