Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020 @ 10:13 am.

Why buy a dual fuel generator—one that can work on gasoline or propane? If you live in hurricane country and the electricity is out in your entire community, sourcing gasoline may be a challenge. Propane cylinders are easier to get when the power knocks out gas station pumps.

So what's the best dual fuel generator? We consulted the experts: families that have been through hurricanes and other natural disasters. We asked what generators worked the best and were most reliable. Then we did a dozen hours of additional research, comparing durability, noise and performance lab tests.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review—that keeps it real! Our work is 100% reader-supported.

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Best Hurricane Survival

9 hours of run time on 3.4 gallon tank
Easy to start, this generator is well designed with numerous ports plus a gauge that tracks run time. We liked the never-flat wheels and electric start—detractors say it is too loud for camping.

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Best Hurricane Survival: Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start

Yes, there are many types of generators, from small portable models designed to charge electronics to bigger units that can power appliances like a full-size refrigerator, window air conditioning unit or even a furnace.

This article focuses on the latter—big generators designed for backup power in the aftermath of a disaster like a hurricane.

To find the best generators to power your house after a hurricane, we started with our parent readers—and we found two dozen who live in hurricane country along the Gulf Coast and Florida. These families have purchased a variety of generator brands—we asked them what was the most reliable and easiest to use.

We quickly learned that dual fuel generators are the best bet. Why? It’s important to have options after a natural disaster: you may have access to gasoline . . . or not. Propane as a backup is important, as those cylinders may be more available than gas.

Then we interviewed contractors and other professionals who rely on generators for more day-to-day use.

We took these suggestions and then did several more hours of research, comparing lab tests of generators (looking at noise levels and more).

For the best generator for those in hurricane country, we’d recommend Champion’s 3800-watt dual fuel model with electric start. It combined the best performance with features that make it easy to use. Here’s more:

What We Liked

•  Runs 9 hours on full tank (3.4 gallon tank for gasoline).

• Easy to start with electric switch . . . or you can start it manually (but only if you use propane).

• 3800 watt capacity can run major appliances like an A/C or fridge.

• Performs well on propane.

• Instructions are easy to follow.

• Built-in surge protector.

• Never flat tires.

• Gauges track run-time hours and voltage.

• Large number of outlets: 1 120v 30A RV outlet, 1 120V 30A locking outlet, 2 120V 20A household outlets

What Needs Work

• Trickle charger needed to keep the battery charged (sold separately).

• Too loud for camping. This generator is rated at 68 decibels at 30 feet.

• Lots of maintenance required—changing the oil could be easier. This is true for most dual fuel generators, however.

• Must drain gasoline when you switch to propane.

Best Budget-Friendly

8 hours of run time at half load
Generous capacity (4500 running watts) can power most appliances or even a furnace. Easy to start, say fans, but critics note it is loud. And the oil must be changed frequently.

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Best Budget-Friendly: DuroMax XP5500EH 5000 watt Dual Fuel Hybrid Generator with Electric Start

Yes, this generator is rated at 5000 watts . . . and is priced below what other brands sell for with less wattage.  Good news: it is reliable and easy to use. If the budget is tight, this is the model we’d suggest. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• 5500 starting watts, 4500 running watts.

• Electric start is easy to use.

• Can operator at 120 volts and 240 volts simultaneously.

• 2 standard 120V 20A outlets, 1 120/240V 30A outlet

• 3.96 gallon tank or 20 gallon propane.

What Needs Work

• Could be easier to check or add oil.

• Must change the oil after every 20 hours of use.

• Heavy! This generator weighs 136 lbs.

• Loud. This generator runs at 69 decibels. That’s too loud for camping—basically, it sounds like a lawn mower.

• Instructions could be better. For example, the negative lead to the battery is disconnected for shipping. It would be nice if DuroMax would note that in the starting instructions!

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Best Whole House Solution

16 hour run time on 6.6 gallon tank
The beast! This generator is impressive: at 9500 watts, it can run a central A/C plus common household appliances. Can operate both 120 volt AND 240 volts simultaneously.

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Best Whole House Solution: Westinghouse WGen7500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator

The generators recommended above are great to run appliances like a refrigerator or window A/C unit. But what if you need a whole house solution . . . or just more power?

A 7500 watt generator is probably the best solution if you are trying to power an entire house. And after interviewing experts and hurricane survivors, we’ll recommend Westinghouse’s WGen7500FL dual fuel generator. The best feature: you can switch easily between gasoline and propane—that flexibility is more crucial in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Remote start or push-button electric start.

• Switches fuel on the fly.

• 9500 starting watts; 7500 running watts.

• Excellent number of ports: 2 GFCI household outlets, 1 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet—all have rubber covers.

• Easy to set up with minimal assembly.

• 6.6 gallon fuel tank.

• 16 hour run time on a full tank of gas.

• Tool kit included.

• Never flat wheels.

• Foam grip handle.

• Auto low oil shut-off.

What Needs Work

• Heavy! Yes, this generator weighs nearly 200 lbs.

• Can’t store it with fuel in the tank. That means you have to drain it for storage.

• Loud at 73 decibels. Yes, that as loud as a lawn mower—however, most generators at this size run at a similar volume.

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Best Transfer Switch Ready

30 hours run time on combined fuel
The beast! This generator is impressive: at 9500 watts, it can run a central A/C plus common household appliances. Can operate both 120 volt AND 240 volts simultaneously.

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Best Transfer Switch Ready: DuroMax XP12000EH 12000-Watt 18 HP Portable Dual Fuel Electric Start Generator

What’s a transfer switch?

Typically installed by an electrician, a transfer switch let’s you quickly get appliances or circuits up and running with a generator. It looks like a small circuit breaker box that sits next to your main electrical box for your house. The generator attaches to this box, instead of directly to appliances.

We think this is safer than plugging appliances directly into a generator—you can flip the switches on one breaker at a time with a transfer switch, which allows the generator to better handle increased loads.

For the best transfer-ready generator, we’d recommend the DuroMax XP12000EH. This beast puts out 12,000 watt hours (starting) and 9500 watts running. That’s enough to power an entire house, even with multiple appliances, a furnace, A/C unit and more. (Or it can power a small business like a restaurant).

What We Liked

• Affordable given the capacity.

• Numerous outlets: 120v/240v heavy duty, 120/240v 30A twist lock, 120V 30A twist lock, 120V 20A household outlet.

• Includes propane hose.

• Transfer switch ready with 30 amp twist-lock outlet.

• Includes oil funnel, spark plug wrench and tool kit.

• Idle control to save fuel and reduce noise.

• Quiet given the capacity. Yes, this generator runs at 72 decibels at 15 feet—but considering the capacity, that’s less than other generators that are half the size.

What Needs Work

• Must change the oil with every 20 hours of run time.

• Need a trickle charger for battery—that’s sold separately.

• Instructions could be clearer. Example: the negative lead to the battery is disconnected for shipping. But that isn’t noted in the starting instructions.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive product research—surveying consumers, consulting with experts and pouring over lab tests. We evaluate products like generators with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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