Phil has been working as a technical engineer since his graduation, and has never thought of changing his profession. Also, he’s an avid fisherman and camper, so it’s not only work which makes him deal with generators.
Last updated: January 27, 2021
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Running a mobile food business has some unique challenges that a regular restaurant doesn’t need to contend with. For starters, a food truck is going to need an external power source, since you won’t be able to hook up to the grid. To get the power you need to run your business successfully, you will need to make sure you have the best generator for a food truck so you can have all the power you need.
There are several different factors that you need to take into account, since not all generators are the same. When we put together our list, we first looked at how much power a generator could produce. We also paid close attention to the fuel type and runtime of each of the generators, since the fuel type you use could add a lot of cost to running the generator. The noise level and exhaust type is another big consideration as well, as nothing will scare away customers quicker than fumes or loud noises. Finally, before we made our final selections, we took great care to find the best warranties available.
To put together our comprehensive list and detailed reviews, we spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of user reviews. Once you have had a chance to look through our list, be sure to check out our detailed reviews so you can find the best generator for a food truck to suit your needs. If you are still not sure what to look for when it comes to a generator, then please take the time to read our comprehensive buying guide so you can be sure to find the model to suit your needs.
If you are looking for what could possibly be the best generator for a food truck, then this just might be the right one for you. The first thing that should jump out at you with this model is how small it is. This compact size helps to make this a highly portable generator that is simple to move into place for operation and light enough to store inside a food truck during transportation.
This generator is also one of the quietest models on the market. Even when it is running at its full capacity, it will only put out about 52 dB of sound, which is about the same as a refrigerator running. You certainly won’t have to worry about hearing damage for yourself or scaring customers away if you choose this model.
The eu7000is is also extremely easy to start. It comes with an easy to charge and switch out the battery that will let you start the generator with the push of a button. Unlike lots of other models, this generator is also equipped with a pull cord, though this is a bit difficult to pull. That way, if your battery dies on you, you can still get the generator running.
As you would expect with an inverter generator, this model has a very long runtime, even though the fuel tank isn’t all that large. It is extremely fuel-efficient, though the fuel gauge isn’t always accurate. With a full tank of gas, you can expect this generator to run for a good long while. While it won’t be able to power a whole house, the eu7000is is a great generator for use with a food truck, and we highly recommend that you check it out.
The Honda EB10000 is a great choice for anyone that has a lot of different things to plug in. It is equipped with a large array of outlets, making it easy to find the right receptacle for each and everything that you have to plug in on the inside of your food truck, whether it be fryers, fridges, or freezers. You can also rest easy with this model, as each outlet has full GFCI protection built-in.
As you would expect of a generator with such a high number of outlets, this generator is able to produce a ton of power. When it is operating at full capacity, it is able to produce 9,000 watts, which is a ton of power.
Of course, all of this power doesn’t come without any issues. The EB10000 is extremely heavy. As such, it can be difficult to transport and get into place, even with the handlebars and wheels. The motor is also quite loud and could be a bit of an issue if you hook it up too close to your food truck.
Lots of times with a generator that produces this much power, it is not all that fuel efficient. The EB10000 is different in this regard, as it has an extremely long runtime, though this will dip down the more things you hook up to it. Even still, it has a long runtime and puts out plenty of power, making it a good choice for use with a busy food truck business.
If you have a smaller food truck, then you are going to want a smaller and more portable generator. This model, which is made by Generac, might just be the best option for you in this case. It is extremely compact, which helps to make it one of the easiest generators on the market to move around, transport, and hook up to your food truck.
Another outstanding feature for this generator is its large fuel capacity. Even though the generator itself is relatively small, the fuel tank is more than large enough to give you the ability to run it for a good long time. In fact, its runtime is right up there some of the larger and more powerful generators available.
While the size of this generator helps to make it an ideal option for use with a smaller food truck, it might not be powerful enough for larger operations. It has a maximum output of 8,000 watts, but only has a running output of 6,500 Watts. If you have a ton of appliances to operate, this generator might not be able to provide you with all of the energy you need.
Something else to keep in mind with this model is that, despite its small size, it is very loud. If you decide to purchase the GP6500, you will want to keep it far enough away from your food truck so that you don’t need to deal with its high noise level.
If you are the proud owner of a larger style food truck or trailer, then you should be looking for a generator that produces a ton of power. This generator, which is made by DuroMax, is perhaps the most powerful generator available, and as such, is quite loud. It can be used with either propane or gasoline to generate power. As you would expect, if you use it with gas, it can create more power than it can with propane. When using gas as its fuel, this generator can put out a maximum of 12,000 watts, while with propane it can only put out 10,200 watts.
This generator also comes with a wide array of outlets. Not only are each of these outlets GFCI certified, but they can also be turned and twisted into any position necessary. This outlet positional versatility makes it simple to hook up any and all of your necessary cooking, heating, and cooling equipment in your food truck.
The DuroMax XP12000EH is also extremely well built and designed to be highly durable. It comes with overheating protection and an oil level alert. Both of these systems help to keep it running smoothly so that it will last a good long time.
Depending on the type of fuel you choose to use with this unit, you can expect a couple of differences. For instance, if you choose to run this generator with propane, it has a much longer runtime than if you use it with gasoline. On the other hand, operating it on gasoline will give you not only more power output, but also a steadier power output. The wattage tends to fluctuate when it is operated with propane.
An unfortunate characteristic of even the best generator for a food truck is their price. Lots of generators are quite expensive, especially if you go for an inverter generator. If, however, you are looking for a high-quality model that still has plenty of power for your food trailer, then this generator from Pulsar just might fit the bill. Even though it is relatively cheap as far as generators go, it still can provide plenty of power.
This model can also be used with both fuel types, with differing results. With propane, it will put out a maximum of 9,000 watts, with a running max of 7,000 watts. If you use gasoline, the power output maxes out at 10,000 watts, with a running max of 8,000 watts. This puts it right up there with some of the most powerful generators on the market, which is outstanding considering its overall price.
The fuel tank also has a large enough capacity and fuel efficiency that the runtime is quite long. Even if you intend to use this generator all day long, you shouldn’t have any issue keeping it going.
Saving money will usually cost you somewhere else when it comes to a generator for your food truck. This model is quite noisy, so you will need to make sure you keep it far from your work area. Another big concern is that when you use propane to power the generator, the power level fluctuates, making it difficult to get a continuous power level to run lots of appliances.
What we liked:
High power output
Can be used with gas or propane
What could be better:
Power level output fluctuates on when powered by propane
Inverting generators are renowned for their compact size, portability, quiet operation, and fuel efficiency. This model from Westinghouse is no exception. It is one of the quietest generators you could buy for your food trailer. In fact, its 52 dB noise level is only about as loud as a refrigerator running. You could easily have this generator right next door to your truck and barely even notice it’s there.
Even though the fuel tank on this generator is relatively small, it has a very long run time. This is due to the highly-efficient inverter power design. This model can also be run on either gasoline or propane, and unlike lots of other duel fuel models, it does not suffer any power fluctuations if you choose to use propane, which is a much cheaper fuel than gas.
Another cool feature that this generator has is that it can be started remotely. While this doesn’t sound like all that big of a deal, it is quite convenient. This remote start will give you the ability to start your generator without having to actually get out of your truck and turn it on. This, in turn, will save you a lot of time so that you can get down to the business of cooking for your customers.
The only real drawback to this model is that it isn’t able to create a ton of power, regardless of the fuel type you choose to use with it. This will limit how much you can run off of it at a time, though it does have sufficient standard outlets and USB plugs to use. As such, it might be best for use in a smaller food truck rather than a large operation.
What we liked:
Long run time
Works with both gasoline and propane
Can be started remotely
What could be better:
Low power output
Small fuel tank
Things to Consider
In this section, we will cover everything you need to know to make sure you get the best generator for a food truck to serve your customers. We also took the time to answer some FAQ that you might have as well.
How much power do you need for a food truck?
The amount of power that you are going to need to successfully run your food truck off of a generator is going to come down to how much equipment you intend to run off of it. It is always a better idea to have too much power production potential than not enough. Every generator on the market’s output is measured in watts, which is the measure of potential power that it can produce. The unfortunate thing is that most appliances such as grills, griddles, and freezers/fridges, do not tell you their wattage requirements. Instead, they will only tell you the voltage, which is the electrical energy, and the amps, or the electrical current that the appliance requires.
Thankfully, the wattage is pretty easy to figure out. All you need to do is take the voltage and multiply it by the amps, and you will have the wattage. For instance, if a refrigerator is plugged into a 120V outlet and requires 10 amps of current, then these two figures need to be multiplied. This will give you the wattage of your fridge, which is 1200 watts.
Once you have calculated the wattage of everything you want to run off of your generator, then you will have a better understanding of how much power output you need.
It is always a good idea to get more than you need, since then you can rest assured that you are covered even if you decide to add more appliances later on.
Generator features to consider before making a purchase
As you can imagine, there are several important factors that you need to consider to make sure you have the best generator for a food truck. In this section, we will go through everything you need to take into account to get the model that will best fit your needs.
What fuel options to prefer: gasoline, propane, or both?
When it comes to a fuel source for your generator, you have several different options to choose from. You can select a generator that runs on gasoline, propane or one that has the ability to run on both. Gasoline is a bit more expensive to utilize, but it has the ability to give you more power than propane. On the other hand, propane is cheaper to use but won’t give you as much power.
There are models that give you the ability to use both fuel types, such as the DuroMax XP12000EH, actually the best one among Duromax generators. These hybrid models allow you to select the fuel you use based on your power needs, which is a good way to make sure you have enough power when you need it but also allows you to save money when you don’t need as much power.
Reliable and powerful engine
In order to create the amount of power that a food truck requires, you are going to need a pretty powerful engine. The power that an engine can put out depends highly on how quickly and how far the pistons can move within an engine. This is expressed in cc. The higher the number of cc in an engine, the faster the pistons can move, and the further they can go in each cycle, which in turn creates more power.
The higher the cc of an engine, the more fuel it is going to require. Larger engines are also much louder than small engines.
No matter how powerful an engine is on a generator, you want to make sure that it is easy to start. The last thing you want to have to deal with is hard to start the engine when you are trying to cook your food for your customers, considering this, it is advisable also to look at the NorthStar models which mostly have the electric start and are powerful enough for a food truck or at A-iPower models.
Runtime and fuel tank capacity
The fuel tank capacity of your generator, along with the fuel type you select, is going to determine how long the generator is able to run. The larger the tank, the longer you will be able to run your machine. You should carefully consider how long you will need your generator to run so that you can be sure to get the model that will keep going as long as you need it.
Outlets and powering options
When it comes to the number of outlets and the different types of outlets on a generator, more is definitely better. You need to be certain to get a generator that comes with enough outlets for all of your equipment. You will also need to be sure that the outlets are the proper voltage for your gear, or you won’t be able to utilize them at all. USB plugs are also a big plus, since more and more electronics are beginning to use them.
Noise level is always measured in dB or decibels. The higher the amount of dB that a generator puts out, the louder it is going to be. Since you are going to be running your generator right next door to your food trailer, you certainly don’t want anything that is terribly loud. The highest noise level that would be appropriate for a food truck would be 76 dB. Anything louder is sure to annoy your customers. The quietest model available is the Westinghouse iGen4500DF, which only puts out 52 dB, and that is one of the reasons why it is considered to be one of the best Westinghouse generators.
Size, weight, and portability
Generally speaking, the more powerful a generator is, the bigger and heavier it is going to be. If your food truck is cramped, then you won’t be able to fit a larger generator, so make sure you measure your space carefully. The size and weight of the generator shouldn’t be all that big of a deal when it comes to portability, since all of the models in our listing have wheels and a handle to easily put the generator into place.
Since you are going to be using this generator for a commercial purpose, you need to read the warranty information very carefully, as some warranties last longer for residential users in comparison to commercial uses. The Honda EU7000iS is one of the only models with a warranty that is the same for both commercial and residential users.
Tips and Tricks
When it comes to taking care of your generator, it is important to think of its maintenance in the same way that you think of a car’s engine. You should regularly change the oil to make sure that all of the parts are properly lubricated so that they don’t break down.
Though you might think that installing a generator into your food truck is a simple thing to do, it is probably a good idea to get it done professionally. That way, you can rest assured that it was done properly and that all of the components work correctly.
Something else that you need to keep in mind is that generators are not weatherproof. If the weather seems like it is going to be rainy, you will need to keep your generator covered in such a way that the generator won’t get wet, but will still allow the exhaust to go out properly.
When it comes to getting the best generator for a food truck, you are going to get what you pay for. The more you pay for your generator, the better it is going to be, and the better it will work for you. If you want more outlets, more power, better fuel efficiency, or longer run time, then you are going to have to pay more for it. Another big factor in the price of any generator is the type of generator it is. There are two distinct types of generators. You can either select a standard or inverter generator.
Inverter generators are usually more fuel efficient, quieter, and more portable than a standard style generator. They are also much more expensive, so this is something you will want to keep in mind before you make your final determination. While they will cost a lot more up front, an inverter style generator, like the Honda EU7000iS, might be well worth it.
Both gasoline and propane are good fuel choices for a generator, though they do differ in what they can offer as far as the performance of your generator is concerned. While gasoline is able to produce a larger power output, propane is generally more fuel efficient. This efficiency helps to make propane a much more budget-friendly option than gasoline.
The dB range for food truck generators is relatively wide. The quietest models, such as the Westinghouse iGen4500DF, operate in the 50 dB range. Larger and more powerful models, like the DuroMax XP12000EH, put out a little more than 70 dB. All other models fall somewhere in between these two levels.
You have two options when it comes to transporting your generator. You can either store it inside of your food trail during transportation, or you can get a small trailer to pull it behind. Obviously, putting it inside your vehicle is the most convenient route, but you might not have enough space to fit it easily. You will then need to get a small trailer to tow it behind your vehicle. If that is the case, be sure to check to see if your vehicle has all the necessary components to hook up a trailer safely.
The oil that you use in your generator will depend on the weather. If it is above 32 degrees, then you can use SAE 30. If the temperature is below freezing, however, then you will need to use 10W-30. You could also just use Synthetic 5W-30, as this can be used at all temperatures. No matter what oil you decide to use, you will need to change it after every 100 hours of operation to keep your generator running smoothly.
Our choice for the very best generator for a food truck has got to be the Honda EU7000is. This inverter style generator is extremely fuel efficient and has an outstandingly quiet operation. It is also powerful enough for use with multiple large appliances, making it ideal for large or small food trailers.
One of the best ways to guarantee that you will be able to operate your generator all day long, regardless of how many customers you have, is to get one with a large tank. The Honda EB10000 has a huge tank, giving it a very long run time, which is perfect for a busy day of cooking.
If you are going to be moving your food trailer around to multiple locations, then you will want to get a highly portable model that is easy to move around. The Generac GP6500 is compact, has oversized wheels, and a strong handlebar, which makes it very easy to move into position.