What fuel type do I need?

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What fuel your generator will run on is an important consideration when choosing which model to buy. Generators can be powered by petrol, diesel, propane, natural gas, or solar energy. Some models even allow you to switch between fuel types.


Diesel is the most popular fuel for industrial generators as it’s effective, cost-efficient and readily available.

While white diesel is available at any petrol station, red diesel is standard in the plant hire sector. Red diesel is very similar to white diesel, but because it can’t be used in road vehicles, there’s less duty to pay on it. That makes it perfect for a diesel generator, as it’s cheaper than regular diesel.

Diesel can be readily stored on site, is not as flammable as petrol and works well in colder climates, so there’s plenty in its favour. It also has a longer shelf-life than petrol.

Each gallon of diesel fuel will burn longer than that of petrol, propane or natural gas. That means a diesel generator will give more hours of operation than other types. Fuel efficiency should be a key consideration when choosing a generator.


Petrol-engine generators are available too, and there are quite a lot of models on the market. For domestic use, these models are fine – they tend to be cheaper to buy, but are often smaller and in open frames, making them noisier. They also need more maintenance as they have a spark ignition, which diesel generators don’t have.


The technology behind solar generators is improving all the time, and there are some interesting models on the market. Solar generators can either come with built-in solar panels or a separate solar array on a trailer. That means this type of generator may take up more space than diesel models, and they’re obviously only suited to locations with plenty of sunlight. They also tend to be more expensive than diesel versions.

Solar generators do provide clean, environmentally-friendly power though, and they’re silent, so expect to see a wider range of solar models on the market in the future.

If you have any further questions concerning diesel vs petrol generators, please contact us and we’d be happy to give advice.