Best Generator for Food Truck Trailers or Van Reviews (2020)

Updated On: September 21, 2020
By
Wen
Low Output
  • 4000 Surge Watts
  • 3500 Rated Watts
  • 1.8 Gallon Tank
  • 7 Hours @ 50% Load
  • EPA and CARB Compliant
Honda
Medium Output
  • 7000 Surge Watts
  • 5500 Rated Watts
  • 5.1 Gallon Tank
  • 18 Hours @ 25% Load
  • EPA and CARB Compliant

The humble beginnings of the modern food truck industry can be attributed to the recession in 2008 when millions of workers lost their jobs. During that challenging time, many of those affected decided to combine their culinary talent and entrepreneurial dreams.  

Thus, armed with some savings, courage, and some luck, the food truck business was reborn. On the hardware side, some of the earlier challenges they had to address are the type of vehicle, what the best generator for a food truck can do for their power needs, kitchen equipment, and other accessories.

More than ten years later, food trucks stayed and boomed into a multi-million dollar industry. One of the difficulties business owners face today is the need for a dependable power source, thus having a portable powerhouse is crucial in their operation.

Food Truck Generator Buying Guide

Whether you are using a stationary or mobile source to power your food truck, the key requirement that you have to satisfy is its electrical needs for all the kitchen equipment and other devices.

Other than enough power, portability is also one of the major components as food trucks do a lot of moving between cities and states. To help you decide on what type of generator you should get for your food truck, this article has listed the most significant features you should look for.

Fuel Options

Nowadays, most generator sets are made to run on dual or hybrid fuel sources – propane and gasoline. While some can run on both, other models stayed into the conventional source; thus, for these models, it’s only either propane or gasoline.

Both fuels have their own advantages and disadvantages. Gas obviously is the choice of power users as it generates more wattage than propane. Another advantage of gas is its availability since all fuel stations have it as one of their main products.

As far as cost is concerned, though, propane is relatively cheaper than gas. Storing gas is also another concern that needs to be looked out as well.

Thus, it is highly recommended to have both options for your generator choice. Having a generator that is dual powered gives you the flexibility to choose, depending on the place, time, and availability.

Power Requirement

Another major consideration before purchasing your next or first generator is your power requirement. Power, measured in wattage determines how much your food truck requires, and for this purpose, all of the listed products in this article, meet this criteria.

For you to know how much power you need, what you can do is have a sum of the wattage readings of all the components in your food truck powered by electricity.

Assuming that all of this equipment and devices will be powered by the generator, the sum is the total value of the continuous watts you need to supply.

In this computation, you need to take into account the losses and other adjustments of electricity flow. Thus, upon getting the total, make sure to give it an additional value of between 10% – 20% of the data you got. This is to ensure that you will not lack power once all components are running at the same time.

Mobility and Size

When choosing a generator, also consider its size, weight, and its portability. You must be aware that you will have to move the generator set, day in and day out. It will be a daily challenge for you and your staff to transport the generator.

Thus, what you would want is a unit that just has enough size and weight to be moved around straightforwardly. Usually, more powerful generators also have bigger engines and casings, and if you don’t mind and power is your main consideration, then their weight should never be an issue.

If you can compromise the weight, then you can look for generators that come with carrying frames and wheels to help you move it from one location to another.

Universal Outlets

Outlet options should never be overlooked as you don’t want to have compatibility issues between your appliances and the generator.

While all of the selected products above have all the standard outlets for most electrical components, it’s also good if you check out the extra connections the generator has.

Although you may not need some of them at the moment, there might be instances where they might come in handy. Thus, the key here is to choose thoroughly.

Loudness

The loudness or noise levels for generators varies, depending on how it was designed. Because surrounding sounds of your food truck play an important factor in getting customers.

Customers are probably on a break and just want to enjoy their food and the company, and too much noise coming from the generators may be irritating for them.

When choosing a generator set, take note that the noise it produces is between 50 dB to 70 dB. Some areas permit generator sound levels of up to 50 dB only while the regular speaking voice is 60 dB.

Thus, a 50dB to 70 dB noise level, which will still be lessened further by storage acoustics or how far the generator will be located, is still acceptable.

Best 3.5kWWENWEN GN400i 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator
    • Starting Power: 4000 Watt
    • Running Power: 3500 Watt
    • Noice Label: Not Tested
    • Operating Time: 7h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 1.85 Gallon
    • Weight: 66.1lbs
Briggs & StrattonBriggs & Stratton 30676 Portable Generator
    • Starting Power: 4375 Watt
    • Running Power: 3500 Watt
    • Noice Label: Not Tested
    • Operating Time: 14h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 5 Gallon
    • Weight: 111lbs
Best 4kWWENWEN 56500 5000-Watt RV-Ready Portable Generator
    • Starting Power: 5000 Watt
    • Running Power: 4500 Watt
    • Noice Label: Not Tested
    • Operating Time: 7.5h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 3.4 Gallon
    • Weight: 121lbs
PulsarPulsar 5, 250W Dual Fuel Portable Generator with Switch
    • Starting Power: 5250 Watt
    • Running Power: 4250 Watt
    • Noice Label: 78dB (From 23 Feet)
    • Operating Time: 12h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 4 Gallon
    • Weight: 115lbs
5.5kW BudgetDuromaxDuromax XP5500EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
    • Starting Power: 5500 Watt
    • Running Power: 4500 Watt
    • Noice Label: 69dB (From 23 Feet)
    • Operating Time: 9h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 4 Gallon
    • Weight: 124lbs
Best 5.5kWHondaHonda Eu7000is Inverter Generator with Electronic Fuel Injection
    • Starting Power: 7000 Watt
    • Running Power: 5500 Watt
    • Noice Label: 58dB (From 23 Feet)
    • Operating Time: 18h @ 25% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 5.1 Gallon
    • Weight: 261lbs
FordThe Ford FG7750PBE Dual Fuel Portable Generator
    • Starting Power: 7750 Watt
    • Running Power: 6250 Watt
    • Noice Label: 76dB (From 23 Feet)
    • Operating Time: 10.5h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 6.6 Gallon
    • Weight: 196lbs
ChampionChampion 7500-Watt Portable Generator
    • Starting Power: 9375 Watt
    • Running Power: 7500 Watt
    • Noice Label: 74dB (From 23 Feet)
    • Operating Time: 8h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 5.7 Gallon
    • Weight: 199lbs
Best 9.5kWWestinghouseWestinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start
    • Starting Power: 9500 Watt
    • Running Power: 7500 Watt
    • Noice Label: 72dB (From 23 Feet)
    • Operating Time: 11h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 6.6 Gallon
    • Weight: 192lbs
WENWEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Generator
    • Starting Power: 11000 Watt
    • Running Power: 8300 Watt
    • Noice Label: Not Tested
    • Operating Time: 8.5h @ 50% Load
    • Fuel Tank Size: 6.6 Gallon
    • Weight: 214lbs

Best Generator for Food Truck Trailers

To ensure that you can continue to serve your customers even during power interruptions, here are ten options worthy of consideration.

WEN GN400i 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator

FeaturesValue
Output PowerStarting: 4000 Watt / Running: 3500 Watt
Noise LevelNot Tested
Operating Time7hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size1.85 Gallons
Starting MethodRecoil Start
Weight66.1lbs

Usually, compact inverter generators are an ideal option if you need a silent and lightweight generator for your devices.

However, most of these types of generators are inadequate to power other bigger equipment. And it is also typical that their price range is not cheap and even more expensive than the regular open frame generators.

Nonetheless, the WEN GN400i changes all the rules when it comes to size, power, and cost. It can give you the cleaner electrical output of an inverter generator, with a price tag of a 4000-watt generator. This makes this generator a flexible choice for many small food truck business owners.

When compared to the typical open frame generator sets, the weight is considerably less; thus, moving this mini powerhouse is easy. This is based on the comparative test conducted by WEN

Pros
  • Equipped with power inverter technology
  • Price is inexpensive in its category
  • Provides high wattage to ensure no power deficiency
  • Runs quietly considering the power it provides
Cons
  • Some users complain of fuel leakage

Briggs & Stratton 30676 Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Output PowerStarting: 4375 Watt / Running: 3500 Watt
Noise LevelNot Tested
Operating Time14hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size5 Gallons
Starting MethodRecoil
Weight111lbs

If you’re looking for a reliable brand that has a proven track record in the power industry, then the Briggs & Stratton 30676 is ideal for you. Run by a powerful 208cc engine, this gasoline engine can deliver 120V of electrical energy. It gives out 3500W of running wattage, and the peak wattage is 4375W.

Briggs & Stratton 30676 went conventional with their pull-start mechanism. The generator can also run up to 8 hours with 50% load when the tank is full with a fuel capacity of 5 gallons. Thus, fuel consumption will be around 0.5 gallons per hour (GPH).

Each panel is equipped with 3 AC outlets, including the 120V 30A (TT-30R) receptacle and duplex 120V 20A (5-20R). Thus, it is ready to be used with any food truck, RV, or project sites, anytime, and anywhere.

Pros
  • Price range is perfect for food truck start-ups
  • Just gas up, and the unit is ready to use
  • Operation is easy even with beginners
  • Easy to move around and transfer locations
Cons
  • Non-electric starter

WEN 56500 5000-Watt RV-Ready Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Output PowerStarting: 5000 Watt / Running: 4500 Watt
Noise LevelNot Tested
Operating Time7.5hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size3.4 Gallons
Starting MethodRecoil Start
Weight121lbs

Power interruptions are not ideal for your food truck business. Keep the service running even on outages with the help of this 5000-Watt RV-ready portable generator.

All your equipment and devices are covered by this powerhouse as it has a standard panel that includes two 120V 20A household outlets, plus one 120V 30A truck or RV receptacle of TT-30R, a single four-prong outlet of 120V/240V, and with an extra one 12V DC outlet.

You can easily shift from the L14-30R receptacle for either 120 or 240 volts, making power switching almost effortless.

When it comes to power, the WEN 56500 5000-watt employs a 272cc overhead valve (OHV) 4-stroke engine that can produce up to 5000 surge watts and running watts of 4500 – a reliable power indeed.

Pros
  • Effortless switching from 120 to 240v
  • Easy carry design with unique accessories
  • Multiple outlets for all your electric devices
  • Powerful enough for your food truck
  • Comes with the latest digital display indicator
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a smart remote feature

Pulsar 5, 250W Dual Fuel Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Gasoline Output
Propane Output
Starting: 5250 Watt / Running: 4250 Watt
Starting: 4750 Watt / Running: 3850 Watt
Noise Level78dB (From 23 Feet)
Operating Time12hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size4 Gallons
Starting MethodRecoil Start
Weight115lbs

When running a food truck business, performance, movability, and convenience are the most important factors when choosing a generator as backup power. Combine all these factors, and you’ll get the Pulsar PG5250B Dual Fuel Generator.

It is great for your everyday food truck operation, as you will not be limited on places to serve. The Pulsar PG5250B can run on both gasoline or liquid propane; thus, wherever you go, depending on what fuel is more accessible and affordable, there will be no problem.

And you can do the fuel source switch without even turning the power off; this is what the Switch & Go Fuel selector feature is made for. So, you can shift from gas to propane and vice versa with a simple click.

Pros
  • Runs on dual power
  • Can be operated easily
  • Moving from one location to another is not an issue
  • Standard power outlets with adjustable receptacles Switch & Go Fuel selector is handy
Cons
  • Electric starter not present

Duromax XP5500EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Gasoline Output
Propane Output
Starting: 5500 Watt / Running: 4500 Watt
Starting: 5225 Watt / Running: 4275 Watt
Noise Level69dB (From 23 Feet)
Operating Time9hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size4 Gallons
Starting MethodElectric, Recoil Start
Weight124lbs

This generator is specifically made for the mobile lifestyle; thus, this will be great for your food truck business. The XP5000EH Dual Fuel model by DuroMax has enough power with its 5,000 watts capacity.

While the starting watts are at 5000W, 4000W is the rated running watts, and at these numbers, this powerhouse can deliver, regardless of how heavy the loads can be. From basic lightings, refrigerator, AC, kitchen appliances, to heavy tools that your food truck may utilize, this beast won’t let you down.

DuroMax XP5000EH generator can run with two different sources – propane and gasoline. Having a dual power source allows you to choose your fuel freely at any time and offers you the flexibility to go anywhere.

Pros
  • Can be powered by gas and propane
  • Easy to operate
  • Standard plus extra power outlets
  • Convenient to set-up the first time
  • Midweight
Cons
  • Ergonomic aspects need improvement

Honda Eu7000is Inverter Generator

FeaturesValue
Output PowerStarting: 7000 Watt / Running: 5500 Watt
Noise Level58dB (From 23 Feet)
Operating Time18hours (25% Load)
Fuel Tank Size5.1 Gallon
Starting MethodElectric, Recoil
Weight261lbs

For its size, the Honda 7000 watt generator is one solid unit as it is considered as one of the most powerful inverter generators available in the market today.

Don’t be mistaken with its compact looks; it can operate as the best portable generator for a food truck or a reliable home power backup. Its power output is more than enough to get all your devices running during outages.

Your food cart will keep on operating without the need to worry about safety as the Honda Eu7000is generates clean sine wave power. Being lightweight, it can be easily transported or transferred whenever you wish to.

Feature-wise, eu7000is does not disappoint because this inverter generator is filled with necessities and extras, other brands may not have. Its engine is combined with fuel injection technology, which brings the capability to be fuel-efficient.

Pros
  • Honda engines have a good reputation in reliability
  • Added with Electronic Fuel Delivery , EFI feature
  • Fuel efficient
  • Quiet at only 52 – 58 dBA of noise levels
  • I-Monitor Display feature
Cons
  • Price is on the higher side compared to other brands

The Ford FG7750PBE Dual Fuel Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Gasoline Output
Propane Outbut
Starting: 7750 Watt / Running: 6250 Watt
Starting: 7500 Watt / Running: 6000 Watt
Noise Level76dB (From 23 Feet)
Operating Time10.5hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size6.6 Gallon
Starting MethodElectric, Recoil
Weight196lbs

As a food truck business owner, you would want to make sure that power outage will not avert you in serving your customers. And the Ford FG7750PBE makes sure that you’ll achieve that.

It comes with dual-fuel technology, and this powerhouse is also versatile and delivers an output of 120/240V. With gasoline, this generator has an operating wattage of 6250W, which peaks at the wattage of 7750W. If you switch to propane, it can produce 6000 rated watts and 7500 peak watts.

Ford FG7750PBE is also equipped with the motor company’s patented Switch & Go innovation. This gives you the option to switch from gasoline to propane and vice versa even while the unit is operating.

Pros
  • Decent price range
  • Comes with free accessories
  • Runs in dual fuel
  • Electrical starter
  • Switch & Go technology by Ford
Cons
  • The starter has no remote feature

Champion 7500-Watt Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Output PowerStarting: 9375 Watt / Running: 7500 Watt
Noise Level74dB (From 23 Feet)
Operating Time8hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size5.7 Gallon
Starting MethodElectric, Recoil
Weight199lbs

Durability, safety, and convenience are the main factors behind the creation of this beast unit.

Naturally, as a food truck business owner, you want to focus on your products and customers, and with Champion 7500, you don’t have to worry about losing power during interruptions and emergencies.

This portable unit can power multiple food truck tools with its 420cc Champion single-cylinder overhead valve (OHV) engine. So, regardless of the load, this generator can assure you that any work is done without trouble.

Champion 7500 also comes with features for your convenience, such as the battery-operated easy electric start with integrated Cold Start Technology, which makes sure that starting during cold weather is not an issue.

Pros
  • Powerful Engine
  • Starting is a breeze with the electric-assisted starter
  • Made with a durable casing
  • Power Output is enough for food truck equipment
  • Can operate even in cold weather
Cons
  • Too much vibration

Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Output PowerStarting: 9500 Watt / Running: 7500 Watt
Noise Level72dB (From 23 Feet)
Operating Time11hours (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size6.6 Gallon
Starting MethodRemote, Electric, Recoil
Weight192lbs

Generators should be one of your assets in running your food truck business; thus, operating it should be easy.

One of the best features of this model from Westinghouse is a simple one-touch push-button electronic start, with a wireless remote fob for convenient ignition. If you want a ready to go back up generator, WGen7500 is ideal for you.

Other features of this generator also include a user-friendly control panel, and a water-resistant ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Such gives you continuous power supply.

It also utilizes the transfer switch capability that connects directly to your main power source. Thus, you don’t have to worry about added extension cords or other sets of power strips.

Pros
  • Powerful Engine
  • Durable casing
  • Feature-packed
  • Comes with Data Center feature
  • Auto shutdown feature
Cons
  • The battery can be damaged after several months

WEN DF1100T Dual Fuel Portable Generator

FeaturesValue
Gasoline Output
Propane Output
Starting:11000 Watt / Running: 8300 Watt
Starting: 9500 Watt / Running: 7500 Watt
Noise LevelNot Tested
Operating Time8.5hour (50% Load)
Fuel Tank Size6.6 Gallons
Starting MethodElectric, Recoil Start
Weight214lbs

More than just its output of high wattage, the Wen DF1100T is one solid and tough machine. This generator can run on both gasoline and propane with its dual hybrid technology.

To flourish in your food truck business, what you would like to invest in is something that can help you in your operations at a cost-effective price. Thus, this gives you another reason to get the Wen DF1100T, as one of its selling points is its value. Its selling price is quite low for generators in the same category.

Aside from being affordable, it has all the features that you need in a generator. While this generator is on the medium-duty side, it is highly capable of meeting all your requirements for your business.

In terms of durability, Wen DF1100T can provide you with its rugged and heavy-duty metal frame. And you will need this feature since you will be moving around on various locations. Thus, having a solid built for a generator set is a must.

Pros
  • Hybrid dual fuel feature
  • Durable build
  • Priced just right
  • Several outlet options
  • Average fuel efficiency
Cons
  • Unit is heavy, can’t be carried by one person

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much power do I really need?

A: Each reviewed product in this article has indicated a wattage rating for both running watts and starting watt. To have an idea of how much power you really need, you need to know first how many watts, starting and running, each component you will use, then sum them up.

Compare them to the data of the generator. Adjust the total by adding a few percentages for generation losses from the generator set.

Q: Is it easy to set-up the generator for my food truck?

A: Most of the generator brand models in this review can run in no time upon installation. What you might want to do first is decide where to store the generator, so make some measurements first before buying. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend extra on custom-built generator housing.

Q: I’m not an electrician, can I ground my own generator?

A: While grounding a generator can be relatively easy for electricians, it will not be advisable that you do it yourself for safety reasons. The best way to do this is by getting the help of a professional to do it for you.

Q: Can I run my generator while driving?

A: It can be done, especially if the food needs cooling while traveling. However, for safety and proper wiring purposes, an electrician’s advice is highly recommended.

Q: Can I simultaneously use 110V and 220?

A: Directly from the generator, it is still not an available feature. You will need an extra component to run both 110V and 220V at the same time. The best way is to consult an electrician if there’s an extra rewiring needed.

Final Words

Well, we showed you the generator sets available in the market today. The above buying guide discussed some key considerations when choosing the best generator for your food truck business. All you have to do now is make that purchase, install it, and see the rewards of investing in the right generator.

Leave a Comment

To Calculate Your Total Power Consumption Click Here