When you are searching for a temporary home backup and a remote generator, think of portable diesel generators.
Make sure to checkout the pros and cons of gasoline, propane, or diesel portable generators when you are in the market for one.
Among others, one major advantage of a diesel generator is that it is highly fuel efficiency leading to much longer run times. Thus the cost of the fuel is also less.
Study this guide – which has been researched thoroughly – before stepping out and getting the cheapest diesel powered portable generator. There is a vast array of choices, some are reliable while the others can give problems.
Our picks for best portable diesel generators
1) Generac XD5000E – Long running and clean power
The Generac XD5000E used True Power Technology, which provides less than 5% total harmonic distortion.
Even though diesel generators are not inverters, the Generac XD5000E offers cleaner power and smoother running than many other comparable models. You can comfortably use it to power some of your sensitive electronics.
This Generac model runs on a Yanmar LW Series 435 cc air-cooled direct injection, industrial grade engine.
It is housed in fully-welded 1-¼” steel frame, making it extremely durable. The frame is stunningly sturdy and designed to lift easily for transportation.
It gives 5,500 peak watts while 5,000 running watts.
Although it weighs around 250 pounds, the frame design comes with handles making it a lot easier to lift.
If you like, you can buy a wheel kit separately, making it a lot easier to move it around.
The Generac XD5000E has a humongous 12-gallon fuel tank. The size of the tank will run the machine for over 32 hours on a half-load.
If you are looking for a generator with a longer run time, this could be the best diesel generator for you.
There are two ways to start this generator. Both are easy. You can use either use the recoil pull-start or the push-button method.
One drawback is that the battery is not included for the electric start. To use this feature you will need to purchase it. Also, keep in mind that there is no remote start option.
On this awesome generator, the control panel includes:
1. Hour meter
2. 120/240V selector switch
3. 23-amp main circuit breaker
4. 30-amp push button circuit breaker
5.. 2 – 20-amp push button circuit breakers
6. 4 – 120V 20-amp outlets
7. 2 – 120V twist-lock outlets
It also houses an automatic shutdown feature in case the oil pressure becomes very low.
The included compression release lever makes the generator easier to start in cold weather.
Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the Generac XD5000E:
- Large fuel tank giving extra long runtime
- 2-year limited warranty
- Cleaner power with <5% harmonic disruption
- A sturdy steel frame
- An hour meter to monitor maintenance scheduling
- EPA/CARB compliant
- Need to purchase a separate battery
- Need to purchase a separate wheel-kit
Overall the price tag of the Generac XD5000E might be steep, but it is an excellent generator with considerably long runtime and cleaner power. Along with that it has a good warranty.
- Durable, fully welded 1 1/4" steel frame
- Yanmar LW Series 435cc air-cooled direct injection, industrial-grade diesel engine
- Diesel power requires less maintenance, is more efficient, and provides a long life
- True Power Technology provides less than 5% total harmonic distortion for clean, smooth operation of sensitive electronics, tools and appliances
2) DuroStar DS7000Q Portable Diesel Generator
Overall, DuroStar generators are known for providing dependable service.
This is a 4-stroke single-cylinder direct-injection diesel engine. It is perfect as a backup for power outages.
Here is a list of its features:
- 6,000 peak watts, 5,500 running watts
- Main panel has
- Low-oil alert light
- Voltage meter
- Circuit breakers
- Low fuel indicator
- Power outlets
- There are 2 – 120-volt, 20-amp, 3-prong outlets (with ground fault interrupter) — these will work well for all your standard household appliances.
- There are two twist-lock outlets, one 120-volt, 30-amp, 3-prong outlet and one 120/240-volt, 30-amp, 4-prong outlet. These will work for high powered tools, e.g., on a farm or worksite.
There are two straightforward and one trick way of running this generator:
1. Standard recoil start
2. Easy turn-key electric start
3. You can engage the electric start using remote control (this is the bonus trick)
Compared to other loud diesel generators, this one has effective noise-reduction measures in place.
The system used by the manufacturer to reduce noise is by using a vibration-isolation mounting between the alternator/engine feet and the base frame. Along with muffling the noise, it increases the lifespan of the machine. To make it more quieter, there are additional soundproofing systems use.
The DS7000Q will give you a long runtime of approximately 12 hours at a half load.
The fuel tank is a large 3.83 gallon one. The neat fuel gauge provided will let you keep an eye on the remaining fuel.
This portable generator weighs in on 300 pounds. With the wheel kit, moving it around becomes easier. Thanks for thinking about it!
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the DS7000Q now.
- Lots of power
- Included electric start and remote
- Intelligent noise-reduction measures
- Wheel kit for ease of moving
- Large fuel tank
- Considerable runtime
- It is expensive
- The manufacturer could improve the 30-day replacement and 1-year part warranty.
- Dependable DuroStar 4-stroke single-cylinder direct Injection diesel engine with remote start and/or electric start for easy use
- Dependable, maintenance-free Alternator with automatic voltage regulator
- Full-power panel with keyed ignition, oil alert automatic shutdown for low oil pressure, volt meter, circuit breakers, low fuel indicator and power outlets
- Fully protected 12-Volt, 120-volt and 220-volt outlets. Ground fault interrupter 120-volt outlet (gfi) for safe operation
- Vibration isolation mounting between engine/Alternator feet and base frame reduce vibration and improving durability. Super quiet muffler and soundproofing reduces engine noise
3) Pulsar PG7000D: Cheap price comes at a cost
However, you must keep in mind that you will get what you paid for.
Many folks consider a diesel generator as a long term investment. With the Pulsar PG7000D, the long term might not be as long as you want. I.e., the longevity of this model is uncertain.
Because the price tag is especially enticing, people go for this generator. Don’t get me wrong. Man folks are happy with their purchase, even though this alternator is known to have some issues.
This Pulsar model runs on a 10-HP single cylinder, 4-stroke, OHV, aircooled engine.
The salient features of the Pulsar PG7000D include:
- 7,000 peak watts and 5,500 running watts
- Starting up is easy — use the standard recoil or the electric push button
This generator comes with five outlets; two 120V, one 120/240V twist lock, one 120V twist lock, and one 12V 8.3 Amp outlets.
You will find a standard digital control panel which includes voltage meter and an hour meter.
Considering that this is a diesel generator, it is an unusually quiet unit.
Pulsar achieved the low noise by focusing on the effects of insulation, housing, and airflow.
The company has nicknamed this line of generators as their Silent Series. To call it silent might be stretching it a bit, but it is definitely a quieter machine when compared to what is out there.
The noise that this Pulsar diesel generator model makes is about as loud as a home vacuum cleaner, less than 70dB.
At a half-load, the 4-gallon fuel tank will burn for 9.5 hours. The handy fuel gauge will keep you up to date on when you will need refueling.
As far as the mobility of the unit is concerned, it weighs over 350 pounds. The manufacturers have included wheels, but they have left out handles, and the frame is fully enclosed.
Without handles, at the size of 38×32.5×22 inches is a challenge even for a couple of people to move it around.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of the Pulsar PG7000D
- Offers greater affordability than other generators
- Fairly good runtime
- Has a digital control panel with maintenance alerts
- It is not CARB compliant
- Less durable than other models
Interestingly enough, the Gilette GEN-PRO is the biggest but lightest generator that made our top list today. It’s 48 inches cubed, but weighs just around 200 pounds.
The generator runs a 9 horsepower engine and the fuel tank, capacity of 4 gallons, will give you about 10 hours of running time at half load. There is a fuel gauge that will tell you when the diesel is running low.
- Peak watts: 6,500
- Running watts: 5,000
The Gilette GEN-PROs frame is well built, and there are handles for easily picking it up. Wheels are not included out of the box but you can purchase a kit separately.
- 4 x 120V 15A
- 1 x 120V 30A twist-lock
- 1 x 120V/240V 50A
On the dashboard, you’ll find a voltmeter, circuit breakers, and an hour meter. You’ll also be able to see low oil warnings, air filter warnings, and service engine alerts. There’s also a meter that will tell you how long the generator has been running.
To start the generator, you can use the old fashioned recoil pull or you can also start it electrically. You can’t start it using a remote.
Diesel, though it is a more polluting fuel, is far more efficient than gas and you can run the machine longer on a single tank as well as go for longer periods of time between maintenance.
In order to provide the cleanest(free of fluctuations, not emissions) power, the generator uses something called “Power Assist” which utilizes a capacitor and a winding design to make sure that voltage fluctuations are minimal.
Because of this system this generator is safe to use for a lot of smaller and sensitive electronics.
Now that we’ve gotten our favorite generators down, let’s talk a little bit about how diesel generators work and how they stack up against other generators.
Since no one generator will be a good fit for everyone’s needs and uses, here are some things you want to think about before making a buying decision.
Like I mentioned in one of the reviews above, diesel is a much more efficient fuel than petroleum or propane, but the downside is that diesel exhaust fumes are much dirtier than propane or gasoline.
In fact, on a scale of cleaner emissions, it would be this way:
The reason diesel is more efficient is due to how diesel engines burn fuel as opposed to other engines.
In an engine, compressed air is combined with a spray of fuel which is then ignited. The compressed air burns and expands, pushing the piston up and moving the axle of the engine.
In a gas engine, the air is compressed after it is mixed with fuel. In a diesel engine, the air is compressed first before getting mixed with fuel.
The earlier compression means it is more efficient, so it will run for longer and use up less.
On a strictly financial analysis, diesel generators will be more cost effective than gasoline, and far, far more cost effective than propane.
In fact, propane generators will use up about three times as much fuel as a diesel generator!
Gas generators also run hotter than diesel generators, so they will need repairs and maintenance a lot more often. Diesel generators require much less maintenance since there are no carburetors or spark plugs in diesel engines
Diesel is also the least flammable of gas, propane, and diesel, which may be beneficial during disasters like fires.
Finally, diesel generators are noisier than other generators.
To make a choice for the best portable diesel generator for your home, you need to think about why you’re going to be using it. If you live in an area prone to frequent and lengthy losses of power, you will want to get a generator that has the most runtime so you don’t need to keep refilling it.
The Generac 6864 diesel generator is a good example, as it has a really long runtime for more than 24 hours on half load.
Otherwise, the DuroStar is a good value choice since it offers a lot of power and has plenty of outlets.
Most of the generators we’ve listed and seen are pretty much the same size. There is no significant difference in the sizes of the generators.
However, they’re still quite big, but not exactly huge, either.
To get a sense of the size, the smallest generator we’ve reviewed here is the Generac, which has dimensions of 38 x 22 x 25 inches.
It still weighs 250 pounds, though, so it is certainly not very light.
The Gilette generator on the other hand is bulkier but much lighter at only 200 pounds.
So when you’re talking about size, you need to keep weight in mind, too. For storage, the Generac is a good idea.
For easy transport, on the other hand, the Gilette would be your machine of choice.
Weight is also affected by frame design: is it an open frame, enclosed, does it have handles, does it have wheels?
If you’re going to use the generator for your home then you can get the heavier one. But for an RV or camping or what have you, you really want to get the lightest one possible.
Or you can just buy a wheel kit and wheel the generator around with ease.
As a rule of thumb, you always want to use the oil recommended by the manufacturer in the owner’s manual of your generator.
We’d like to take this moment to point out that it is absolutely critical that you skim through the manual at the very least and read it cover to cover if you have the time and inclination/
Another factor affecting diesel generators and oil is the current temperature of the air. For high temperatures, you need more viscous oil like the SAE40. For lower temperatures, consider an oil with low viscosity like the 5W-20.
No matter which oil you use you need to consult your manual and perform the proper maintenance procedure to ensure your generator works for as long as possible and as efficiently as possible. Remember, this is an engine with moving parts, so they need to be well lubricated in order to run properly.
After a certain amount of usage, you’ll need to change the oil, much like you would change the oil in your car. Most generators do have control panel indicators that remind you to do so. If you forget to change the oil your generator’s life will greatly be reduced and you may even end up killing your warranty.
All in all, diesel generators are a boon to have around especially at home for those unknown and unwanted power loss situations.
Please share your experiences of using fuel-efficient diesel-powered generators in the comments sections.
Let us know which of the above models you have purchased and used.
Feel free to keep in touch with your thoughts and comments on diesel generators.