Pros and Cons: Are Diesel Generators Better than Gas Generators?

Apr. 02, 2024

When shopping for a prime or standby generator, you should choose the right generator fuel type. Diesel and gasoline are the two most popular choices when it comes to fueling your generator. Are diesel generators better than gas generators? To answer this question, you need to understand the pros and cons of these two kinds of generators. Read on and you can be fully informed and then choose the best one for your power needs.

The main differences between diesel generators and gasoline generators include fuel sources, applications, efficiency, lifespan, maintenance, emissions and costs. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of both will help determine which type of generator best meets your requirements.

Pros & Cons of Diesel Generators

A diesel generator is the combination of a diesel engine with an electric generator to generate electrical energy. It usually runs on diesel fuel and converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Diesel generators are commonly used in various industries, from homes and small offices to large establishments.

Pros and Cons: Are Diesel Generators Better than Gas Generators?cid=4


Superior fuel efficiency: This is one of the primary advantages of diesel-powered generators. Compared to other fuel types, diesel fuel has a higher energy density and can produce more power per gallon.

Long lifespan: Diesel engine generators are renowned for their durability and longevity. They are rugged and sturdy. This type of generator can withstand rigorous applications of high compression use and run for long periods of time if needed. With proper maintenance, typically diesel generators can last from 20 to 25 years.

Versatility: Diesel generators usually serve as prime power sources or emergency power supplies and are widely used in places without connection to the power grid. With dependable strength, diesel engine generators can handle full power loads and meet most needs and demands.

Low maintenance: Generators require regular preventive maintenance to ensure the normal operation when needed, but diesel generators need relatively low maintenance requirements due to their robust construction and low revolutions per minute. Unlike gas engines, diesel engines do not require spark plugs and carburetors, which reduces the frequency of maintenance intervals.

Safety: In addition to the absence of spark plugs, diesel is less flammable and volatile than gasoline, which means that diesel-powered generator sets can provide a safer power supply solution. You might be less likely to encounter accidental fires or explosions when using a diesel genset.

Cost-Effective operation: In general, the initial cost of a diesel generator is higher in comparison to a gas generator. However, with longer lifespan, superior fuel efficiency and less frequent periods of service, diesel gensets are more cost-effective to operate than other kinds of generators .


Higher upfront investment: Diesel generators are generally more expensive than gas generators. The initial cost of buying a diesel generator will be higher in comparison to gas generators.

High noise level: Though the newer models are designed to be quieter, some older diesel engines are quite noisy, which can be a nuisance to your family members or neighbors when you use one in your backyard.

High pollution: Compared to gas generators, diesel-powered generators emit higher levels of pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury, which may impact air quality if not properly vented or controlled.

Pros & Cons of Gas Generators

A gas generator is a type of genset that runs on gas. Gas generators and natural gas generators are often used interchangeably. This type of generator is typically made up of combustion engines, pistons, spark plugs, crank shafts and rotors. They come in several different sizes and are better for short-term power outages.


Low cost: Generally speaking, gas generators are more affordable to buy than diesel generators of similar capacity. They tend to be smaller for easy transportation.

High fuel Supply: Unlike diesel gensets, gas generators don't have to be refilled. Gas is usually readily available in large cities. You can connect a gas generator to the local gas pipeline and enjoy having an unlimited supply of generator fuel.

Low noise: Gas generators run more quietly than diesel generator sets and produce less noise pollution.

Low emissions: Gasoline burns cleaner with fewer particulates and emissions than diesel.

Easy and quick start-up: Gas generators have easier start-up procedures in comparison to diesel generators. In cold weather, these generators can also be easily started.


Fuel supply disruption: Sometimes, natural disasters such as earthquakes may cause damaged pipelines and disrupt the gas supply. Your gas generator won’t be able to supply power in such conditions.

Fuel Stability: Compared to diesel fuel, gasoline has a shorter shelf life. It’s more prone to degrade and evaporation, which makes it difficult to store for long periods without quality degradation.

Higher ignition risk: Gasoline is more flammable and volatile than diesel, so it is more prone to fire hazards or explosions.

Shorter lifespan: Gas generators have a shorter lifespan.

More maintenance: Since gas generators have spark plugs and carburetors, you need to repair or replace them if they malfunction. Compared to diesel gensets, these gas-powered generators require more maintenance.

Exhaust emissions: Though gas generators produce less pollutants than diesel generators, they emit more carbon dioxide, which can cause climate change.

Diesel vs. Gas Generators

Ultimately, both types of generators have their pros and cons. Diesel generators are more fuel-efficient and cost effective. They need low maintenance and have long lifespan. The diesel fuel is less flammable and volatile than gasoline, which greatly reduce the fire hazards. However, they are more expensive than gas generators of similar capacity. Some older models produce loud noise which could be a nuisance to people around. They emit higher levels of pollutants than gas generators. In addition, diesel is not readily available and you need to worry about fuel storage.

Gas generators can provide continuous fuel supply with cleaner emissions. The supply of fuel is on hand when you need it. Gasoline is supplied through gas pipelines and you don't need to store it. However, gas has a shorter shelf life and natural disasters may cut off the fuel supply, which make the generator fail to provide electricity when you need it. Gas generator are more affordable but have higher operating costs. They can be easily started but have higher ignition risks. These generators need more frequent maintenance and have shorter lifespans.

Anyway, when it comes to choosing a diesel generator or a gas generator, you need to determine what you intend to use it for and how much you are willing to pay for it. In addition, consider other factors like portability, fuel availability, noise level, etc. Then make an informed decision after assessing your requirements.

Contact Dingbo Power to Choose the Right Generator for Your Needs

Dingbo Power is a professional manufacturer of diesel generators, which integrates the design, supply, commissioning and maintenance of diesel generator sets. Located in China, Dingbo Power has almost 20 years of experience in this field and our experts can help you choose the generator that best fits your needs. We provide a wide range of generator sets with different features which can meet your requirements perfectly. If you have any questions or concerns when opting for a generator, feel free to contact us.

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