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10 Best Generators for Food Truck – Reviews & Buying Guide

Food trucks are appearing everywhere since mobile cuisine is sweeping the whole nation like we’ve never seen before.  Not only are they tremendously profitable, but they do a great job of giving exposure to your restaurant in new places – creating more customers and boosting your sales.

You need at least 25 amps or 3000 watts to run basic equipment like fridges, microwaves, or blenders. But if you’re running several appliances you’ve to go between 4000 to 7000 watts for that extra capacity.

We reviewed today’s most popular portable generators commonly used in the industry and shared our experience so you can easily make your choice.

Top 10 Best Generators for Food Truck

01 DuroMax XP5500E Portable Generator (Editor’s Choice)

DuroMax XP5500E Gas Powered Portable Generator

Why it Stands Out To Us

The DuroMax XP5500E is your best bet if you’re eager to take your business to the next level with a highly productive food truck. Compared to the price, its impressive features are a delight for first-time restaurateurs on a budget.

You will find that this generator can run for many hours, with no complications, as it is super reliable and easy to service.

Since it is an inverter generator, not a conventional one, it makes far less noise.  This model has a powerful 225cc engine with specialized surge power protection. It is all metal, has a motor with copper windings and a specialized GFCI protection outlet.

Our Experience with the DuroMax XP5500E Generator

  • We have chosen the generator as the ‘Best Choice’ because it is incredible for its price and runs flawlessly!
  • We have used this generator to run all our appliances except 220-volt appliances; this included our fridge, lights, microwave, cooker, coffee maker, and other smaller devices. It can run for 72 hours at a time without a problem.
  • Having an electric automatic start button is very handy! So it is easy to start and runs effortlessly.
  • The DuroMax XP5500E not only burns fuel but propane as well. This 20lb propane cylinder can manage 11 hours of constant running.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Other than its sturdy metal frame, this model has poor quality neoprene tires, which went completely out of shape, making moving the generator difficult.
  • We found the user manual exceptionally vague and unsuitable for a novice. The illustrations in the book are useless as they are too small and have a low contract, making the pictures challenging to see.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • The manufacturer could improve the instruction manual to make it easier for novices to use it properly.
  • They should consider using better quality wheels that don’t lose their shape, which will improve the mobility of the generator.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 24×25 x21 inches
  • Weight: 120 pounds
  • Battery: 1 included
  • Fuel Tank: 3.9 gallons

Pros

  • Excellent quality and highly durable
  • Liquid propane or gas
  • Power a fully togged food truck
  • Low decibels, very quiet
  • Outstanding quality for its price
  • Low maintenance is required

Cons

  • Poor service manual.
  • Poor quality tires.
  • Expensive to run.

02 Westinghouse WGen9500DF Portable Generator (Runner-Up)

Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator

Why it Stands Out To Us

Our runner-up for choice is the WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator.  This top-range unit exceeds all units in the higher price range.

This model is highly powered and would be an excellent generator for a food truck company that runs many appliances and is a high volume food business.

Our Experience with the Westinghouse WGen9500DF

  • We found the WGen9500DF generator well built and high-powered. It runs all our appliances effortlessly—for example, air-con, heater,  refrigerator, freezer, microwave, cooker, and other smaller devices.
  • During our operational period, it could run for 10 hours during the day before having to refuel.
  • The electric start is a definite plus, but it also comes with a pull-start, which one could use if the battery is flat.
  • The unit has a digital display that will list problems and track oil change times. We have found this feature extremely handy.
  • This model has a very well-laid-out service manual, which has beautiful images and clear instructions.
  • We have experienced that it runs beautifully regardless of power surges, and the unit powers all our food truck appliances effortlessly.

What We Didn’t Like

  • This unit is very heavy, but it does have wheels, enabling it to be pulled around.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • Since there are no visible oil level markings, it is challenging to top up the unit with crankshaft oil.
  • The dipstick has no making, so it isn’t easy to gauge the oil’s level or at what level the oil should be.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 27.2×26.1×26.5 inches
  • Weight: 220.00 lbs
  • Battery: One
  • Fuel Tank: 6.6 gallons
  • Fuel Type: Dual Fuel (Gasoline or Propane)

Pros

  • High-quality unit
  • Highly powered
  • Affordable to run, with a good running time per tank
  • Extra valuable features
  • Built-in digital display for services and detecting problems

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Extremely heavy

03 Generac 6864 Diesel Powered Portable Generator (Top Diesel Unit)

Generac 6864 Diesel Powered Portable Generator

Why it Stands Out To Us

If you are a client needing a diesel generator to run your food truck, the Generac 6864 diesel-powered portable generator is one of its kind.  This unit has the same amount of power as a 10K generator, which is very affordable.

Not only is it known to be high-powered, but it is sturdy and robust.  The unit runs at 5000 watts, so it is powered to effortlessly run all appliances on your food truck.

Diesel generators are known to need less maintenance, and they last longer.

This generator would be very suitable for a food truck owner who needs to run his food truck for an extended time without refueling it.

Our Experience with the Generac 6864

  • This sturdy unit runs all our food truck appliances effortlessly.  We ran a heater, air conditioner, fans, lights, a cooker, a toaster, microwave, and many other small appliances.  It has the capacity to run all appliances effortlessly.
  • This model has a fantastic running time due to its huge fuel tank. We ran our food truck appliances for 24 hours without a refuel and 30 hours when running at 50%.

What We Didn’t Like

  • This unit did not come with a battery. A battery is required to operate the cut-off fuel system.  We found that the battery was strong enough to start the generator using the pull-start, which is a definite
  • Since it has no wheels and is heavy, we would advise you to buy a wheel kit so that you can maneuver it around.
  • We have found it relatively expensive to run, and it makes a lot more noise than most generators.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • A battery could be part of the deal, for convenience’s sake.
  • Including a wheel-kit would be most beneficial.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 33.1×22.5×25.6 inches
  • Weight: 254.00 lbs
  • Battery: No battery included (needed) – 12V 35AH, Group U1 battery

Pros

  • Outstanding value to money
  • Sturdy, well made, and of high quality
  • Runs for 24 hours non-stop before needing refueling
  • High-powered

Cons

  • No battery included
  • Running decibels are loud
  • No wheel kit included

04 Champion 6250-Watt Open Frame Inverter (Top Inverter Unit)

Champion 6250-Watt Open Frame Inverter

Why it Stands Out To Us

This top inverter generator is excellent for a large food truck with many high-powered appliances.

Although this unit makes a fair amount of noise, it is quieter than most generators.

What is advantageous is the economy setting, which can be used during quieter moments.

Food truck owners, who move around constantly, moving from one venue to the next, would greatly benefit from using this generator.

Our Experience with the Champion 6250-Watt Open Frame Inverter

  • We found this generator and an excellent option for our food truck, which is constantly on the move. This top inverter unit is lightweight and easy to carry.
  • We managed to run all our appliances, including a heat pump, stoves, the fridge, freezer, and many smaller, high-powered appliances.
  • When our operational time is over, it carries on running efficiently on economy mode, which not only saves fuel or the unit is quieter.
  • With a starting power of 6250 watts and running power of 5 500 watts, it powers all our electronic appliances in our food truck. This includes air conditioning, heater (in winter), fridge, freezer, microwave, cooker, and small electric appliances.

What We Didn’t Like

  • This unit does not have an electric start button. Some people find it challenging to start up using the pull starter, especially women.
  • The quick-start manual is not comprehensive enough, and it is essential to read the proper manual when buying this model.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • We recommend that Champion improve their quick-start manual so that new customers do not miss out on essential start-ups and set up steps when they first use their generator. There is no mention of removing the shipping restraining hardware in the quick-start manual, or the breaking-in period, before actual use.
  • Another improvement would be to install an electric start to this model.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 26.6×25.6×23.7 inches
  • Weight: 121.00 lbs
  • Fuel Tank: 4.2 Gallon

Pros

  • High powered
  • Reasonably quiet, especially on economic mode
  • Economical
  • Very lightweight
  • Open framed
  • 120/240 voltage capacity
  • Runs for 18 hours before refueling

Cons

  • Quick start guide incomplete
  • Recoil start is difficult to use

05 Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator (Top Portable Choice)

Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator

Why it Stands Out To Use

This model is the top portable generator on the market! The Westinghouse 7500 Portable Generator rates tops in the movable range for any food truck company.  Not only is it affordable, but very powerful.  It is 30 to 40% more efficient than other units in this price range.

A food truck owner who frequently travels between many different venues would benefit significantly from buying this generator.

Our Experience with the Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator

  • We found this extremely efficient unit easy to maneuver around. It is definitely the top portable generator available.
  • It runs all our appliances effortlessly! This includes a heater, air conditioner, fridge, freezer, cooker, microwave, and many other devices.

What We Didn’t Like

We found its wheel kit cheap, and the wheels broke due to the weight of the generator.

What Could Be Improved and Why

  • More expensive wheels could be used, as some customers have experienced their units wheels have collapsed.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 27.2×26.1×26 inches
  • Weight: 174 pounds
  • Fuel Tank: 6.6 Gallons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Powerful
  • Extremely efficient
  • Easy to move using wheel kit.
  • Clear service manual

Cons

  • Poor quality wheel kit.

06 Honda Power Equipment EU3000IS 3000W 120V Portable Generator (Most Quiet)

Honda Power Equipment EU3000IS 3000W 120V Portable Generato

Why it Stands Out To Us

This unit is extremely quiet!  It runs efficiently with hardly any noise.  This model will benefit food truck owners who camp at public venues, and a low noise factor is needed.

We recommend that food truck owners purchase the Honda Portable Home Gas Power Generator, as it is quiet, efficient, and fuel-efficient.

Our Experience with the Honda 3000W 120V Portable Home Gas Power Generator

  • This generator ran so quietly that we could have an audible conversation standing right next to it. It worked so well when we used it at large venues, so it caused no disturbance.
  • Not only is it very quiet, but it has an above-average load and run all our food truck appliances with ease.
  • It is also fuel-efficient and will run most of the time on econo mode. It is definitely good value for money.

What We Didn’t Like

This model is heavy to move and doesn’t come with a wheel-kit.  It also does not have a remote start.

What Could Be Improved and Why

It will be beneficial if the Honda company makes a wheelset for this unit.  It takes two people to carry it.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 27x26x21 inches
  • Weight: 131.00 lbs
  • Fuel Tank: 3.4 Gallons

Pros

  • Very quiet
  • Above-average load
  • Fuel efficient
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Very heavy to carry
  • No wheelset

07 DuroMax Gas Powered Portable 12000 Watt Generator (Best for Big Food Trucks)

DuroMax Gas Powered Portable 12000 Watt Generator

Why it Stands Out To Us

The DuroMax is exceptionally high-powered. For those who have a large food truck business with many high-powered appliances, this generator is the best! If you consider the power with the price, it is a bargain.

A food truck owner who has a large food truck business with many high-powered appliances would benefit from using this unit.

Our Experience with the DuroMax Gas Powered Portable 12000 Watt Generator

  • The well-designed DuroMax powered our entire food truck, including an air conditioner, heater, water heater, high-powered stove, microwave, numerous kettles, and other energy-consuming appliances.
  • This unit is the best for a big food truck! It can run for 77 hours continuously without overheating, and it takes 24 hours for each tank refill. Its electric and pull-start work well.

What We Didn’t Like

The model is extremely heavy, and its wheels could not take its weight.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The wheels of this generator could be improved, as they went flat and because they are solid, we had to replace them.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 30x30x26 inches
  • Weight: 217.00 lbs

Pros

  • Top class solid unit
  • Electric and pull start
  • High-powered for huge loads
  • Inexpensive
  • Low noise level

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • Wheels are not strong enough

08 Ford 5,250W Dual Fuel Portable Generator (Best for Small Food Trucks)

Ford 5,250W Dual Fuel Portable Generator

Why it Stands Out To Us

The Ford 5,250W Dual Fuel Portable Generator is the best choice when operating a small food truck.  It is inexpensive, light, and can be carried but has a wheel kit.

This unit is ideal for small truck owners who may not want to spend a vast amount of money on a more expensive model.  It has enough power, between 4 250 watts to 5,250 watts, to support a food truck with a few appliances.

Food truck owners who have small catering businesses would benefit from using this generator.  It is quiet and easy to transport.

Our Experience with the Ford 5,250W Dual Fuel Portable Generator

  • We found that this unit works effortlessly for 14 to 17 hours before refueling.
  • It supported all our food truck appliances, which don’t run at all times, but intermittently. We could run lights, the air conditioner, a cooker, fridge/freezer, a small microwave, and other smaller appliances.
  • We could switch from fuel to propane with the dual switch, which was very convenient when we suddenly ran out of one supply.

What We Didn’t Like

We found that the battery did not hold enough energy to use the remote push-button start.  We had to use the recoil starter.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Ford could improve the quality and size of the battery so that it is able to power the remote start button.

Specifications

  • Dimensions 24 x 21 x 19 inches
  • Weight 108 Pounds
  • Battery Yes, but not strong enough
  • Fuel Tank 4 gallon

Pros

  • Affordable and powerful
  • Light and easy to transport
  • Remote push start and recoil starter
  • Switch & go technology for switch over between gasoline and propane

Cons

  • Battery too small

09 WEN GN6000 6000-Watt RV-Ready Portable Generator

WEN GN6000 6000-Watt RV-Ready Portable Generator

Why it Stands Out To Us

The WEN GN 600 portable generator is small, light, and easy to maneuver.  It is reasonably quiet when running and would suit a small food truck concern.

We would highly recommend the unit for any small food truck company running their business in a public area.

Our Experience with the WEN 6000 Portable Generator

  • Running a small food truck business in a public area made this generator best suited for the job.
  • The noise levels are low; it can be moved with ease using its handle and wheel kit. This unit runs all our appliances with ease.
  • With start-up power of 6000 watts and a running power of 5000 watts, it can run an air conditioner, fridge/freezer, small microwave, cooker, and other small appliances.

What We Didn’t Like

The model has a small fuel tank, which needs refueling every 7 hours.

What Could Be Improved and Why

A larger fuel tank would be very beneficial.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.9 x 17.2 inches
  • Weight: 130 pounds
  • Fuel Tank: 3.4 Gallons

Pros

  • Affordable to purchase and run
  • Easy to use
  • Light and easy to manoeuver
  • Runs a small food truck business

Cons

  • Small fuel tank
  • No electric start

10 A-iPower SUA7000C 7000 Watt Gas Powered Portable Generator

A-iPower SUA7000C 7000 Watt Gas Powered Portable Generator

Why it Stands Out To Us

This powerful portable generator would run a large food truck.  It has a starting power of 7000 watts and running power of 6000 watts.  Not only is it affordable but exceptionally well priced, compared to other units in this range.

Our Experience with the A-iPower SUA7000C 7000 Watt Gas Powered Portable Generator

  • This highly powered model worked exceptionally well, running a large food truck concern. It powered all our high-powered appliances effortlessly.
  • We could run a water heater, air conditioner, heaters, cookers, a fridge, and a freezer with no problem at all.
  • It also has a control panel that includes digital data, monitoring activities, such as running hours, displaying the oil level, and a built-in fuel gauge. We find the fuel gauge very handy!

What We Didn’t Like

We are disappointed that it does not have an electric start; it has a pull start.

What Could Be Improved and Why

It would benefit having an electric start.

Specifications

  • Dimensions 28 x 23 x 27 inches
  • Weight 182 Pounds
  • Fuel Tank 7 gallons (gas-powered)

Pros

  • Excellent option for a large food truck business
  • Very affordable
  • A digital control panel
  • High powered

Cons

  • No negative feedback

Best Generator for Food Truck: A Buyers Guide

Generator for Food Truck Buying Guide

How quietly it runs:

  • When buying a Food Truck generator, you need to consider a unit that runs quietly. If you are operating in an area with other food trucks or residents, for example, at a public venue, the quieter the generator, the better.
  • A quiet generator will operate in the 50 dB range to about the 70 dB range. Inverter generators are quieter than conventional generators.  The reason why an inverter generator is quieter is that it uses technology that uses clean electricity.

Best type for generator:

When choosing the best type of generator for your food truck, there are different factors to consider:

  • As your food truck operates on a daily basis, it is best to consider buying a good quality unit, which is highly efficient and affordable to run.
  • You also need to consider what type of gas the unit uses and whether it offers two types of energy. For example, whether the unit can run on propane and fuel if it runs on diesel or gas.
  • One significant factor to consider is the generator’s overall power. You don’t want your unit to be insufficient and not able to power all your appliances.

Size of the generator:

The size of your generator is an essential factor to consider.  The size of the generator will depend on how many applicants you have. Listed below are the applicants you may use and the average watts of each applicant and starting power of reactive load appliances:

  • Mini Refrigerator: 400 to 1250 Watts / 1250 (Starting Watts), 192 (Running Watts)
  • Small freezer: 550 (Starting Watts), 350 (Running Watts)
  • Blender: 500 to 850 Watts / 650 (Starting Watts), 250 (Running Watts)
  • Light bulb: 13 to 100 Watts / 6 bulbs:  350 (Running and Starting Watts)

Toaster:  250 Watts (Starting and Running Watts)

  • Fan: 11 to 165 Watts
  • Microwave: 750 to 1100 Watts
  • Coffee maker: 850 to 1200 Watts

We recommend that you buy a generator that supports between 4000 to 7000 watts.  As a food truck owner, you should take into consideration the age of your appliances.  An old fridge will draw more watts.

Safety:

  • We recommend that you use a licensed electrician to meet all the local codes when you install your new generator. Never connect the generator directly to your kitchen appliances; you will need a transfer switch installed.
  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded to prevent electric shock. You can use a ground fault circuit interrupter.
  • You will need to inspect the generator regularly. It is crucial not never to overload the generator, and remember to turn off all appliances in the Food Truck before turning off the generator.
  • Another safety recommendation is always to turn off the unit and let your generator cool down before refueling.

Fuel Efficiency & Running Cost:

  • Running costs of the generator is something you must consider. Food truck generators run using diesel, gas or they may be solar-powered.  Others may run on two types of energy, for example, gas and solar power.  Generators that use between 4000 and 7000 watts use approximately 5 to 7 gallons of gasoline fuel.  Gasoline is cheaper than diesel, and running the generator will be more affordable if solar is combined.
  • A food truck generator usually runs for between 7 and 10 hours at one time. On average, a food truck generator will consume about 1 to 2 gallons of fuel per hour.

Price Range:

The price range of generators, which support a food truck that draws a minimum of 4000 watts and a maximum of 7000 watts, is between $350 to $1000.

What Size Generator would I need for a Food Truck?

  • When buying a generator for your food truck, you need to consider the generator size and how much electricity is required to power all the necessary appliances.
  • No matter you use your food truck at festivals, events, or just for catering, or they are situated in one designated place or used at different venues, you still cannot rely on the venue host to supply electricity. So every food truck owner needs to have a good-sized generator.
  • It is generally a good idea to buy a generator, which has more power than all your appliances combined; this will ensure that the unit will cope with the daily operation of the food truck.
  • Another point to consider is the type of load every electric appliance uses. For example, A refrigerator uses a reactive load.  This means that the current is not in phase with the voltage, resulting in a higher power needed to start the appliance when turning on the electricity.  Other appliances which use reactive load are air conditioners, freezers, fans, and pumps.
  • The size of the generator is an essential factor to consider. How much electricity is needed must be accurately calculated so that the food truck owner has sufficient energy to operate.  Other factors need consideration:  its safety, portability, how quietly it runs, fuel efficiency, and price range.

FAQs

1. How do I set up the generator to power my food truck?

Firstly, if your generator is new, you will need to look in your service manual and run your generator in.  Once run-in, you will not fill it with fresh oil before using it.

Secondly, you will need to plug your electrical cable from your generator into your food truck plug outlet.  This cannot be done the wrong way as both sides have different types of plug fittings.

Thirdly, turn on the fuel and start the generator using the electric start or pull start.

NB:  When installing electrical boxes in your food truck, it is advisable to contact a certified electrician to do the job.

2. How far should I place my generator from my food truck?

Always install your generator 20 feet away from doors or windows, and never install it in your food truck.  This is because it emits poisonous gases when running.

3. How to reduce the noise created by Portable Generators?

Position your generator away from people and other food trucks.  If the ground is soft, this will help to reduce the noise.  You can also use four plywood  sheets of and a non-flammable material sheet, for example, drywall since it’s fire-resistance. Every piece must be around four feet wide and three feet tall.

Place the drywall on that side of your generator where the exhaust is located. Prop each piece of plywood, at an angle, around the generator. Placing the plywood at an angle, there will be room for airflow while deflecting sound waves into the world.

About the author

Jamie Masterson

With decade-long experience as a generator technician, Jamie has worked with USA’s top generator manufacturers and suppliers as an independent contractor.

The long years of service to the industry has taught Jamie the ins and outs of troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of generators in home, industrial and outdoor settings.

Jamie thinks this platform is a great opportunity to share his tips and tricks with you so you can make the most of such power equipment for better living.

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