10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Are you in the food truck business? How many times have you taken your food truck to the ‘ideal location’ and thought, ‘wow, I am going to sell a lot of grilled chicken here’ only to find out there’s no power source?

Sounds like you need a generator. But what kind of generator should you go for, electric or gas? What kind of runtime would be ideal? How much should you be paying for a food truck generator?

Below, we don’t just answer those questions but also pick out the best generator for food trucks saving you both time and effort.

#1: DuroMax XP12000E (For Large Food Trucks)

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Do you have a large food truck with lots of appliances to run? The DuroMax XP12000E is everything you could have asked for and here’s why.

Want fuel-efficiency with propane or a power-packed performance with gasoline? Now choose fuel as per your day to day requirements as the DuroMax XP12000E is a dual fuel generator.

With gas, this bad boy generates a whopping 9500-watt of running power and 12,000-watts of starting power while with propane, it peaks at 11,400-watts.

And that’s ample power to run pretty much anything and everything in a food truck (from multiple ACs and freezers to fridges and fryers, there’s nothing it can’t handle).

Even when you run all those appliances, you get 4-5 hrs or more of runtime, depending on the fuel type and appliances connected so you do not have to run for constant refueling on a busy Sunday.

There’s also a low-fuel indicator telling you precisely when to refuel but in case that slips out of your mind, the generator safeguards itself by shutting down automatically. Even overloading won’t compromise the engine thanks to individual breakers and spark arresters.

Plus, it automatically lowers the power consumed based on the load, thus saving you hundreds of dollars on the electricity bill and also lowering noise (so you can stay focussed on what matters, the food).

Though the generator is heavy, the durable wheels and handles mean you can push the generator from one place to another (even on hard, rocky surfaces).

Turning on the generator is also easy peasy. You can either use the key-starter (which is as easy as starting a car) or the recoil option.


Lastly, there are multiple variants to choose from. You can either go for more power with a 15,000-watt variant or save a few bucks with the 10,000-watt variant.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Ideal generator for large food trucks
  • Powerful enough to run all kinds of appliances
  • Runs with propane or gasoline
  • Low-fuel indicator
  • Automatically shuts down on low fuel
  • Comes with a large 8.3-gallon fuel tank
  • Gives a strong run-time between 7-8hrs
  • Get multiple variants

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • On the heavier side
  • Costs above $2000
  • Makes some noise

#2: Champion Electric Generator (Best Inverter Generator for Food Trucks)

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Is your old generator’s sound driving you crazy? Sounds like you need an inverter generator and this one by Champion is exactly what the name suggests, a Champion.

At 59dB, this generator is a decibel quieter than 2 people talking which is about 60dB. Don’t believe us? Here’s proof as to how loud a conversation is.

With quiet operation comes great functionality as well.

For example, this is also a dual fuel generator so you can switch between propane or gasoline in seconds with a turn of the fuel selector dial.

Running it on propane doesn’t just save on electricity bills but time as well. Use just 25% of the load and you won’t have to refuel the entire day as it gives 14.5hrs of runtime. Power’s low but enough to run an AC, 4-5 bulbs, and a fridge.

If you need more power for a blender or fryer, boost it to 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts by switching to gasoline. However, this halves the run-time.

And if that isn’t enough either, connect it to another Champion generator for a quick boost.

Helping you get your money’s worth is the Economy Mode that cuts down power consumption as per the load, in turn, reducing stress on the engine for longevity and lower noise.

Overloading, low battery are all indicated by different lights on the intuitive control panel while this inverter also turns off when low on fuel.

Start the generator in seconds with a simple press of a button even after a heavy snowfall thanks to the Cold Start Technology.

The generator is EPA certified and CARB compliant which means it is allowed in all 50 states.

And since you will be carrying/storing it around the truck, you will be happy to know it has foldable handles and tires and weighs way lesser than the DuroMax XP12000E at about 97lbs.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Ultra-quiet for a generator
  • Dual fuel generator
  • Excellent run-time
  • Economy mode increases energy efficiency
  • Comes with low battery, overloading indicators
  • EPA certified and CARB compliant
  • It has foldable handles and wheels for portability
  • Starts with the Push of a button
  • Cold start technology makes it ideal for snowy conditions
  • Power enough for most food truck appliances

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Not suitable for large food trucks
  • No circuit breakers or automatic voltage regulators

#3:WEN 56475 Electric Generator (Budget Pick)

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Looking for something on the cheap? Well, what if you could get a portable yet powerful generator for your food truck at less than $500 (yes, you heard that right).

Even at this cheaper price, the WEN generator delivers solid power at 4,750-watts of surge power and 3,750-watts of running power making it ideal for food truck appliances like fridges and freezers.

Never used a generator before? With WEN everything is effortless, even starting the generator which is as easy as turning a switch on/off

Another thing we love about this generator is that it eliminates guesswork from maintenance. You will be informed of the maintenance schedule and oil changes on the digital display.

Even runtime is pretty good. With a 50% load, it can keep your appliances powered up for about 7-8hrs since it has a large 8.8-gallon tank.

And when oil starts running low, the generator shuts down on its own to ensure no damage comes to it or the appliances running on it. Further adding to safety is an automatic voltage regulator, spark arrestor, and overload protection.

Plus, you can take your food truck to any state in the US without worrying about fines and bans as the generator is CARB and EPA III certified.

It is a bit heavy as it weighs over 100lbs, but with wheels and portable handles, you can easily push it on and off the food truck to a suitable place.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Costs less than $500
  • Comes with a digital display
  • Informs you of maintenance and oil changes
  • Ample power for most food truck appliances
  • CARB and EPA III Certified
  • Includes foldable handles and wheels for portability
  • Easy to start
  • Shuts down when oil is low
  • Automatic voltage regulator and overload protection maximize safety

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Weighs above 200lbs
  • Not a dual fuel generator

#4: Jackery Portable Solar Generator

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

What if your new generator looked like and was just as easy as carrying a suitcase? Yup, this generator by Jackery is one of the most compact, modern looking, and lightweight generator you will come across.

This baby weighs about 22lbs and comes with a large handlebar on top so you can easily move the generator as per your needs without any help.

But you don’t always have to move it to a wall outlet to power it up. The battery can be solar charged and the solar panels are all provided with the purchase so you can eliminate 100% of your carbon footprint without paying a dime more.

What if the battery runs out at night or you forgot the panels elsewhere? You can even charge it using a car as it has an 80-watt car input.

Charging can take between 7-14hrs based on the power source, thankfully, though, it doesn’t need charging every 4-5hrs as it runs a good 15-16hrs on a full charge.

1000-watt means it isn’t a powerhouse like the above-mentioned generators but it has got ample juice and 3 power outlets to run a blender, ice shaver, electric grill, etc.

Oh, and it even charges your smartphone and laptop within a couple of hours. In fact, it is one of the very few generators to feature USB-C ports, 1 USB  5V, 2.4A port, and a QuickCharge 3.0 port.

Keeping you informed about the remaining battery life and input, output readings, etc. is the clear and large LCD screen (so you know exactly when it needs a charge).

On the side of the generator, there’s also a bright LED light that can be used in case of an emergency.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Costs less than $500
  • Comes with a digital display
  • Quick charges phone and laptops with multiple USB ports
  • Bright LED light is helpful during emergencies
  • Excellent run-time of 15-16hrs
  • It can be charged via multiple power sources
  • Solar charging makes it eco-friendly
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quiet operation

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Setting up the solar panels can take some time
  • Takes quite a long time to get charged
  • Not very powerful

#5: Honda EU2200i

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Weighing around 40lbs and in a design similar to the Jackery, this Hona Generator is another very portable option for small to medium food trucks.

But what stands out about this is the ultra-quiet operation as it generates sound between 48 to 57 dBA which is way lesser than that of a normal conversation (it is so quiet, you’ll forget it is even there).

And if you do forget, the generator is self-sufficient as it automatically shuts down once the fuel is less.

But not before it uses most of the fuel in the carburetor thanks to the Fuel Off position that reduces maintenance work as there’s little stale fuel to worry about.

Furthermore, making the usage worry-free are the Electronic Circuit Breaker and a USDA-qualified spark arrestor/muffler thus leaving your surroundings and appliances in safe hands.

The 1600W running and 2000W surge power are good for most food truck appliances but when a power boost is needed, you can team it up with another EU2200i and get up to 4400-watts of power.

It has been constructed with commercial-grade material and thus lasts for years while the additional ventilation means the generator takes lesser time to cool down compared to others.

Run-tie, however, isn’t the generator’s strong suit. On a full tank, it will give you anywhere between 3-8hrs depending on the load so make sure you have additional gas in-hand.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Produces just 48 to 57 dBA sound
  • Automatically shuts off when fuel is low
  • Reduces the hassle of cleaning stale oil by using most of it
  • Electronic Circuit Breaker and a spark arrestor increase safety
  • Spark arrestor is USDA-qualified
  • Weighs under 50lbs
  • Cools off rather quickly

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Comes with only a recoil start
  • Slightly lower runtime.

#6: EF ECOFLOW EFDELTA Portable Generator

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

With an all-black and grey design that resembles a CPU, this generator adds a touch of modernity to your food truck in terms of both design and features.

Hate that most battery generators take almost 10+ hrs to charge? What if I told you this generator can go from 0% to 80% in just 1 hr, thus giving you an additional 2-3 or more of runtime?

Even charging to 100% is lightning fast and takes just 1.6 hrs (that’s lesser than your MacBook). So how does it manage this?

Well, these generators are equipped with ECOFLOW’s patented technology X-Stream that increases charging speed by 10 times using a standard AC Cable.

And if you wanted to go eco-friendly with solar panels, even then you get an excellent charging time of just 4hrs whereas, charging it via your car can take 10-12hrs.

Plus, it is compatible with a variety of solar chargers so you aren’t reliant on one brand in case of a malfunction adding to the convenience while saving you some money.

It can power up to 13 devices at once with the 6 AC outlets that can deliver 3300-watts of surge power and 1800W of running power.  Even with all that power, it consumes a mere 20W and automatically turns off after 12hrs.

These devices can range from Fridge, Lights, Fry Pan, Blender, and Coffee Machine to even your Nintendo Switch (for when you need self-rejuvenate).

Apart from that, there are also 2 normal+2 fast-charge ports for your smartphones, tablets, POS, etc. all of which can be crucial for smooth online deliveries and payments.

Information regarding battery life charge/discharge rate, temperature, power readings is all provided is the large and clear LCD screen.

It is also equipped with overload protection and temperature protector. That means if the temperature goes higher than 45°C  or lower than -20°C, the generator turns off automatically.

Lastly, it weighs around 31lbs and is as compact as your desktop CPU. Plus, with handles on either side, you can either lift it alone or even call for a helping hand if needed.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Charges from 0% to 80% in just 1hr with AC cable
  • With solar panel takes a mere 4hrs to charge
  • Compatible with a wide range of solar panels
  • All charging panels and wire are included
  • Easy to carry and store
  • Produces a good 3300W of surge power
  • Quiet-operation
  • Comes with overload and temperature protection
  • It is energy efficient

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Not suitable for large food trucks
  • Does not run parallel with other generators

#7: Carver Tubs - TMS7248-12 Jet Hot Tub

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Champion manufactures some of the most powerful generators and this is another example of it.

With 4000W of starting power and 3500W running power, there’s plenty in the bank to support all your essentials.

But if not, you can further amp it up to 5600W or more by running it in parallel with 2 other generators, making it a very versatile and powerful unit.

And you don’t even have to be around the generator to start it. With the remote control, you can start the generator from as far as 80-feet. But if needed, there’s also the touch button and recoil option.

Cold Technology ensures that the remote and button work just as efficiently, even in extreme winters.

Runtime is decent as it gives about 7-8 hrs at 50% load with its 2.9-gallon tank. More importantly, it is energy efficient. Switch to economy mode and the generator will regulate the power needed based on the load.

It is CARB Compliant and there are also dual USB adaptors for easy charging of mobile and other small devices.

Foldable handles make movement and storage easier. And lastly, ensuring the generator does not malfunction in case of low fuel is the special sensor that turns it off.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Low fuel indicator and sensor
  • Dual USB ports available
  • Decent run-time of 7-8hrs on 50% load
  • Wireless on/off with remote
  • It can run parallel with 2 generators
  • Ample surge and running power for most food trucks
  • Foldable hands and wheels
  • It is CARB AND EPA compliant

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Nosier than other inverter generators
  • Weighs around 100lbs
  • Not a dual fuel generator

#8: Pulsar G65BN

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Want something as powerful as the DuroMax XP12000E without having to pay $2000+? The Pulsar G65BN is just what you are looking for.

The 6500W model costs around $700 and you also have variants of 10,000W and 12,000W. And even then the generator can cost you just a tad above $1000.

You can further save on the cost by choosing a Gasoline model or go for a more versatile generator with a Dual Fuel engine (with Pulsar, there’s something for everyone).

Versatility aside, what we loved about this generator is its long run-time which is even more than some of the top picks. At 50% load, it can power up all appliances for about 8+ thanks to its powerful 4-stroke engine.

The digital display gives details regarding frequencies, hours, and voltage. It also has a fuel indicator and when it runs low, it will turn off by itself.

Of course, you miss out on fancy frills like USB ports, etc. but nonetheless, for the cost, it is a steal especially since it has both 120V and 240V outputs (something cheaper generators don’t).

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Comes with a large 5.2-gallon fuel tank
  • Delivers an excellent 11.5hrs on 50% load
  • It is pocket-friendly
  • Multiple variants available to suit your needs and budget
  • It has wheels and handles for easy movement
  • 120V and 240V outputs available
  • Easy on and off with a switch

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • It is heavy
  • Makes noise

#9: Westinghouse WGen3600

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Next up is Westinghouse WGen3600. Not the fanciest of generators, but if you need a backup generator for a large food truck or are just starting out, this fits the bill.

It is the most-pocket friendly generator on the list and yet delivers about 3600 Running Watts and 4650 Peak Watts (costs less than $400).

It is CARB and EPA compliant and thus is safe for use in all US states. And further adding to your and the generator’s safety is the automatic low fuel turn-off feature that tells you when refueling is needed.

Another reason it punches well above its weight is its fuel efficiency. With a 212cc 4-stroke OHV engine and 4-Gallon Fuel Tank, it gives great fuel efficiency (runs for almost 10hrs on 50% load).

On the downside, the generator is heavy but thankfully, noise levels are tolerable when compared to similar generators.

Furthermore, the recoil start isn’t everyone’s cup of tea as it can be time-consuming and needs effort.  Plus, there are no 240V ports or USB ports which limits its functionality to few appliances and devices.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Costs less than $400
  • At 50% load, it will run for 7-8hrs
  • EPA and CARB Compliant
  • Automatic shut off when low on fuel
  • Built-in handle and wheels for mobility
  • Comes with a fuel gauge for precise refueling
  • Deliver excellent surge and running power
  • Tolerable noise levels

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Weighs above 100lbs
  • No overload protection technology
  • Comes with a recoil start
  • No 240V outlets provided

#10: All Power America APGG10000C

10 Best Generators for Food Trucks in 2020

Last on the list of the best generators for food trucks is the All Power America APGG10000C. In comparison to other generators on the list, there isn't much different about it offers.

One reason to go for this generator would be its low cost. It delivers up to 12,000W of surge power at less than $1000.

And then, it is also fuel-efficient since it is equipped with a 15 HP 420cc OHV engine and a 9-gallon fuel tank (gives 8-9hrs of runtime on 50% load).

But that’s pretty much it. The biggest drawback is durability. Users have complained of the generator failing within the first year. Plus it takes hours to cool down as well.

Even though there are wheels and a foldable handlebar, moving it around takes some effort as it weighs 231lbs and is bigger (you’d definitely need a hand with this).

And when you do get it up and running, 76 dB of noise can be irritating and hampers the tranquility you need when cooking delicate ingredients.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Pocket-friendly generator
  • Excellent running and surge power
  • Great runtime of 9-hrs on 50% load
  • EPA Certified; C. A. R. B Compliant
  • Comes with a 240V output

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • It is noisy at 76dB
  • Low durability
  • Difficult to move due to bulky, heavy build
  • No overload protection provided

Best Generator for Food Trucks Buying Guide

Power Capacity

Generator power, measured in Watts, is one of the most important deciding factors. The power of the generator must be greater than that of all the appliances connected to it for it to be able to support them all.

Plus, you need to take into account surge power, the additional load appliances like refrigerators, ACs, freezers, etc. need when starting. The power of the generators can range from 3000-watts to 12,000-watts while some come with dedicated surge power outputs.

Single or Dual Fuel Generator?

The safer option would be to go with a Dual Fuel generator since you can use multiple fuels to power it up. Gasoline generators are usually more powerful compared to propane generators. Plus, finding gasoline is easier and gives better runtime.

The only issue here is that most gasoline generators will need to be cooled down before refueling which isn’t the case with propane generators.

Conventional or Inverter Generators?

This comes down to the number of appliances you will be using. If you need something more compact and quieter with ample power for a couple of appliances, an inverter generator should fit the bill.

These generators are also more fuel-efficient and even protect your appliances by ensuring that a clean and stable flow of current is maintained.

On the other hand, conventional generators are perfect for larger food trucks as they have a higher power output but do keep in mind that your appliances are also at a higher risk.

Runtime

Wouldn’t it be just annoying if you had to refuel your generator every couple of hours? This is why it is important to find one with good runtime.

Generators with longer runtime are ones that are fuel-efficient so if you do not need 10k-watts of output, an inverter generator is what you should go for.

But if you are going with a gas generator, pick one that has a large fuel tank. These usually range from 3-4 gallons to 7 gallons.

Portability

Since you will be moving the generator in and out of the truck every often, you would want something compact and light. Weight for generators can vary from less than 25lbs to higher than 200lbs depending on the type and power provided.

Other Features

Apart from these features, you also want your generator to be quiet. Some generators also come with USB ports for easy charging of mobiles and other small devices.

A solar panel charger for the generator helps you reduce carbon footprint while generators can also be charged using your car but keep in mind, these charging techniques take longer than a wall outlet.

Conclusion

For food trucks running multiple appliances like fridges, fryers, freezers, etc. finding the right generator can be tough. You need something that can handle both running and surge power of all the appliances combined while ensuring you aren’t overpaying.

Apart from that, durability, fuel type, etc. also play an important role, and through this guide on the best generators for food trucks in 2020, we want to help you get the best bang for your buck.

For any doubts that you have regarding these or other generators, hit us up via the contact page or just drop in your suggestions in the comments.

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