How Much Propane Does A Generator Use?

How Much Propane Does A Generator Use?

An emergency generator might come in handy when the electricity goes out. What amount of propane does a generator use, though? And is the expense justified?

Knowing how much propane a generator consumes is crucial. It will enable you to assess if you have enough gasoline on hand to get you through the blackout. Today, we’ll examine how much propane is required to power a generator and look at some energy-saving advice.

Table of Contents

What Is Propane?

Hydrocarbon gas propane is often utilized as a fuel source. It is a byproduct of the processing of natural gas and the refining of petroleum, and it is kept as a liquid in high-pressure tanks.
Propane is a fuel that burns cleanly and is affordable and convenient to carry. Additionally, it is a gas that is safe to employ in a range of applications since it is neither toxic nor dangerous.

Factors That Affect Propane Usage In Generators

The quantity of propane that a generator consumes might vary depending on a number of variables, including:

Size Of The Generator

One of the main determinants of propane use is the generator’s size, expressed in watts or kilowatts. In order to generate the same amount of electricity as a smaller generator, a bigger generator will need more propane.

Load On The Generator

Another aspect that influences propane use is the load on the generator or the amount of electricity it is providing. The generator will consume more propane as the load increases.

Age And Efficiency Of The Generator

In general, a newer, more efficient generator will consume less propane to generate the same amount of power as an older, less effective generator.

Environmental Factors

The use of propane in generators may also be impacted by environmental conditions like height and temperature. For instance, a generator could use more propane during cold weather because there is a greater need for heat, or at high altitudes because the thin air needs more fuel to burn.

How To Calculate: How Much Propane Does A Generator Use?

Imagine having a propane generator to power your wood lodge in the forest. You lose electricity after a winter storm and must use your generator to keep your cabin warm and cozy during that time.

You must first know how much power your cabin uses in order to calculate how much propane you need. Assume your overall load is 3000 watts per hour. You also know that you want to run your generator for a total of 36 hours over the course of three days, or 12 hours per day.

To calculate the total propane needed, follow these steps:

Step 1: Convert watts per hour to horsepower 

1 horsepower = 500 watts/hour

So, 3000 watts per hour is equal to 3000/500 = 6 horsepower

Step 2: Convert watts per hour to BTUs

 1 horsepower = 10,000 BTUs

Therefore, 3000 watts per hour is equal to 3000/500 x 10,000 = 60,000 BTUs.

Step 3: Convert watts per hour to gallons of propane 

1 gallon of propane = 91,500 BTUs

1 BTU = 1/91,500 gallons of propane

So, 60,000 BTUs is equal to 60,000 x 1/91,500 = 0.655 gallons of propane

Step 4: Multiply by the number of hours you need to run the generator 

You want to run your generator for 36 hours, so multiply 0.655 gallons by 36 to get the total amount of propane needed: 0.655 x 36 = 23.58 gallons

If you have a 100-gallon propane tank, it will last for 100/23.58 = 4.3 days, or about enough for your needs.

Alternatively, if you store propane in portable cylinders that are measured in pounds, you can use the formula:

Number of pounds to run a generator for 1 hour = number of watts x 4.24 ÷ 4575

So, to run your generator for 1 hour at 3000 watts per hour, you will need 3000 x 4.24 ÷ 4575 = 3.86 pounds of propane.

For 36 hours, you will need 3.86 x 36 = 138.96 pounds of propane, or about 69.5, 20-pound propane cylinders.

By using these formulas and converting between different units of measurement, you can accurately determine how much propane you need to power your generator for a specific amount of time.

How Much Propane Does A Generator Use Per Hour?

The formula below may also be used to estimate propane consumption:

Propane usage (gallons per hour) = (generator size (watts) / propane energy content (BTUs per gallon)) / generator efficiency

Use Of Propane (In Gallons Per Hour)

The generator consumes this much propane per hour.

Size Of A Generator (Watts)

This is the generator’s size, which is commonly expressed in watts or kilowatts.

The Energy Content Of Propane (In BTUs Per Gallon)

This is how much energy is there in a gallon of propane. Propane generally has 91,500 BTUs of energy per gallon.

The most used unit for comparing energy sources or fuels is the Btu, which is a measurement of heat energy.

Generator Performance

This is a gauge of the generator’s fuel use effectiveness. The owner’s handbook or the manufacturer’s website often provides information on the generator’s efficiency.

Here is an example of how to calculate propane use using the formula:

Let’s imagine you want to calculate how much propane you would need using a 10,000-watt generator. The energy content of propane is 91,500 BTUs per gallon, and its efficiency is 0.8.

Use the following calculation to first determine your propane usage:

Propane usage (gallons per hour) = (generator size (watts) / propane energy content (BTUs per gallon)) / generator efficiency

Inserting the values:

Propane consumption is calculated by dividing (10,000 watts / 91,500 BTUs per gallon) by 0.8.

The use of propane in gallons per hour is equal to 0.11 gallons per hour.

Accordingly, the generator will use around 0.11 gallons of propane per hour.

Remember that this is just an estimate and that real propane consumption may differ depending on a variety of variables, such as the load on the generator and the surrounding circumstances. In order to guarantee that you have a dependable power source, it is always a good idea to have a backup supply of propane available.

How Much Propane Does An Average Generator Have?

The solution to this question is challenging. Depending on size, it may contain anything from 1 to 20 gallons of propane. Smaller devices often have 5 gallons, while bigger ones typically carry 20 gallons.

How To Choose The Right Size Propane Generator For Your Needs?

Power outages and other grid interruptions have increased in frequency in recent years, making the usage of generators as backup power sources more crucial. Fuel consumption and generator size are essential considerations when selecting a generator because they can significantly affect the generator’s effectiveness and usefulness. In general, larger generators use more fuel than smaller ones, so if you intend to use the generator frequently or for long periods, it’s usually a good idea to buy a model with an hourly rating between 7 and 10 horsepower per kilowatt (Hp/kW). It’s important to take into account the generator’s size, portability, and fuel source.

Generator size

It’s useful to get a broad idea of how long a generator can run on a single tank of gasoline when it comes to the generator size. The unit of measurement for generator size is commonly kilowatts (kW), where 1 kW is equal to 1000 watts of electricity. A 1 kW generator can operate for around 6 hours, whereas a 2 kW generator can operate for approximately 3 hours. Around 2.5 hours can be spent using a 3 kW generator, and 1.5 hours can be spent using a 4-5 kW generator. A 10 kW or greater generator can run for roughly 45 minutes to an hour, whereas a 6-7 kW generator can run for about an hour. It’s important to keep in mind that a 20 kW generator may run for up to 8 hours.

Fuel Consumption

It’s crucial to remember that fuel consumption rises in direct proportion to the amount of power required. As an example, if you run a 6 kW/8 horsepower appliance for 2 hours every day, you would need about 120 gallons of propane each month.

Fuel Types For Generators

Gasoline and propane are the two main fuel kinds for generators. Although gasoline-powered generators are typically less expensive up front, their maintenance costs can be higher since they require frequent oil changes and spark plug replacements. Additionally, they generate emissions that might be bad for the environment. On the other hand, propane generators don’t need spark plug or oil changes and are efficient, clean, and quiet. Additionally, they don’t require frequent refuelling with gasoline and don’t have emissions systems that need to be cleaned or maintained. For these reasons, if you have the money, buying a gas generator can be worthwhile.

Types Of Generators And Their Propane Usage

How much propane is required to run a generator will depend on its size and kind. Larger, more powerful models consume more propane than smaller, less powerful models.

Many different generators are available if you want to supply electricity to your house or camping location. Knowing how to use propane is essential if you want to make sure you have enough fuel on hand for a protracted power outage.

Generators are categorized using the power output unit known as watts, calculated by dividing volts by amps.

  • Standby generator with an output of 800–1000 watts uses around 1 gallon of petrol every 10 hours.
  • 1500-2000 Watt About 1.5 gallons of gasoline are used by the standby generator every eight hours.
  • 3000 Watt About 2 gallons of gasoline are used by a standby generator every six hours.

Every model and manufacturer uses fuel differently. According to manufacturers, these are general recommendations. It’s crucial to read the owner’s handbook for further information.

The next step is to calculate how much propane will be required to power the generator once you have decided on your required size. In case of an outage, it’s critical to determine how long you’ll need your generator. For instance, your generator will be necessary for 4-5 days if you’re attempting to survive a storm comfortably. The number of watt-hours needed for a single hour is specified for generators.

Tips For Conserving Propane While Using A Generator

Here is some advice on how to save propane.

  • When not in use, turn it off.
  • Use it just as needed, and turn it off before leaving the house.
  • Be mindful that an electric stove might use more propane than other appliances if you use your generator with one.
  • The propane tank’s valve should be closed. If your generator accidentally starts, it can soon run out of gas.
  • Remove the battery if you’re using a generator to power a car or truck’s ignition system. It might aid in propane conservation.
  • Even if it’s only temporary, plug appliances directly into a power socket.

What Are The Benefits And Disadvantages Of Using Propane Over Other Types Of Generators?


A propane generator is a fantastic option for older persons or people with restricted mobility because it is simple to start. It also operates silently, so using it during a power outage won’t annoy your neighbors. And lastly, since propane is fueled by liquid gas rather than gasoline, air pollution is not possible in the area around your home.


Compared to other varieties, propane has very few drawbacks. Despite producing more power on average than different varieties, propane appliances are more expensive to purchase since they use liquid to gas as fuel. Additionally, you cannot use them during brief power spikes since they require some time to warm up before operating.

Tips For Maintaining Your Propane Generator So That It runs Efficiently:

  1. Before turning it on, always check that the propane level is enough and that there is no air in the tank.
  2. Close all windows and vents to minimize energy consumption while the generator runs.
  3. Before starting the generator, if you have a heat pump, ensure it has cooled down.
  4. Before starting your generator, ensure your gas tank is at least half full to save on gasoline.
  5. Use a carbon monoxide monitor to ensure there are no propane gas leaks when the generator is running indoors. Because propane gas has no color or smell, it’s crucial to utilize a carbon monoxide detector.
  6. If your tank is less than half full and you expect to be on the road for a while, refill.


Depending on its size, your generator will require a different quantity of propane. Using a generator is crucial to use as little of your propane as possible. Try not to operate your generator for extended periods and only use it as needed. Keep in mind how crucial it is to maintain your generator.

Related FAQs

how Much Propane Does A 20kw Generator Use Per Hour

A 20kW generator will typically consume more propane per hour than a smaller generator, but the precise amount can vary depending on the situation. To find out how much propane a given 20kW generator uses, it is recommended to refer to the owner’s manual or get in touch with the manufacturer.

Which Is More Cost-Effective To Operate Gasoline Generators Or Diesel Fuel,  Propane-Powered Generators?

Fuel selections might be confusing when buying a new backup generator. Each fuel expense has perks and downsides. Propane has more power and less pollution than gasoline but costs more. At $2.99/gallon (national average), gasoline-generated power costs around $0.22/kWh. Propane costs $0.34/kWh, and diesel $0.18/kWh.
Diesel generators are popular because diesel is the best fuel for isolated or harsh conditions.

How Much Propane Will My Portable Generator Use?

Full 20-pound propane tank powers a 38-pound generator. Dual fuel is accessible if you don’t want to commit to one energy source. Gasoline is the most preferred fuel for portable generators since it’s readily available.

Comparison Between Propane And Natural Gas Generators?

Using a natural gas connection instead of propane will consume far less propane. The most common fuel used nowadays for generators is natural gas. You may anticipate utilizing a propane tank of roughly 1 gallon per hour with this fuel.

How Many Pounds Of Propane Are There In A Gallon?

A gallon of propane contains about 91 pounds.

How Much Do Pounds Of Propane Weigh?

One pound of propane contains 8.3 ounces of propane.

How Much Propane Does A 12,000 Watt Generator Use?

A 12,000 watt generator’s propane consumption can vary dramatically based on a number of variables, including the generator’s load, efficiency, and propane tank capacity. A 12,000 watt generator will typically consume 20 to 30 pounds of propane per hour of operation. This is only an approximate estimate, so for a more precise response, you should check the manufacturer’s specifications or speak with a specialist.

How Much Energy Does A Pound Of Propane Produce?

A pound of propane produces 21,500 BTUs.

How Many Hours Of Gallon Propane Tank Are In A 20 lb?

A 20-pound propane tank contains roughly about 44 hours of use.

How Much Propane Does It Take To Power My Generator?

The amount of propane you will need to fuel your generator depends on the size of the generator.

How much propane does a generator use in 24 hours?

Depending on its size and the load it is supporting, a generator’s propane consumption per day will vary. Here are a few instances:
A 5000-watt small portable generator can consume 20 pounds of propane during a 24-hour period of operation.
A larger standby generator, such as one with 20,000 watts, can consume 80 pounds of propane during a 24-hour period of operation.

How Long Will A 22kW Generator Operate On Propane?

A typical 22kW generator will operate for about 4 hours on 1-1/2 gallons of propane.

How Long Does A Propane Tank Of 500 Gallons Last?

In an emergency, a 500-gallon propane tank might keep a household alive for three to five days. The same-sized tank would last around 5 weeks with typical use.

How Much Propane Does A Generator Use Per Minute?

The amount of propane a generator uses per minute is unknown. According to some sources, a 4000-watt generator will use roughly.65 gallons of propane every hour at a typical price of $1.60 per gallon. The propane generator will use.065 gallons per minute.

How Much Propane Does A Generator Use Per Month?

According to a study, a 7000-watt generator will consume around 55 gallons of fuel per month.
BTUs can be used to measure propane instead of the usual gallon unit. Propane has a Btu content of 91,500 per gallon. That implies that the 7000-watt generator has a monthly propane consumption capacity of around 6,535,000 Btu.

Related articles