Before diving into the subject of which diesel generator is the best for supplying backup electricity to your home, it would be sensible to ask if a diesel generator is in fact the best choice for such a task.
Although diesel generators were once widely accepted as being the first choice for off grid power generation; they have since fallen out of favor to those powered by gasoline and natural gas, and more recently to those that harness solar power. This is why diesel generators are far less common than they used to be.
However, just because other options may be; less expensive to buy, run cleaner, weigh less, so are therefore much more portable, and in most cases are quieter too, it doesn’t mean the diesel generator hasn’t got anything to offer, far from it.
Choosing the right type of generator will always come down to what its intended use will be.
If you are looking for a generator that will be in a permanent or semi permanent location, that can be relied upon to provide enough electricity to completely power your home, that requires minimal maintenance, and that is cost effective to run, then you have to give a diesel generator serious consideration as it ticks all those boxes.
Why are diesel generators more expensive than other generators?
The main downside of a diesel generator is the cost. The initial outlay is what puts off the vast majority of people from buying them, in some cases a diesel generator can be double the price of their gasoline fuelled counterparts if not more, but why?
The reason has to do with the fact that a diesel engine has a compression ratio that is much higher than that of a petrol engine. This requires the components that make a diesel engine to be made much stronger, which in turn means that they have to be made with greater density metal .
Unfortunately, parts that are stronger are also heavier and are the reason why a diesel generator will weigh much more than a gasoline or a dual fuel generator of the same or similar size.
As well as the additional cost of manufacturing stronger parts, a diesel generator is also required to have a fuel injection system that is a lot more expensive than those required by other types of generators. This is in part down to Tier 4 emission regulations, which demand that diesel engines drastically reduce emissions of particulate matter (soot) and nitrogen oxides to a much safer level.
Why is it worth paying the extra cost to buy a Diesel Generator?
The most obvious reason why paying more for a diesel generator makes sense is the simple fact that it will massively outlive other generators running on other fuels.
In fact, some estimates state that a typical gasoline generator will last between 1000 to 2000 hours, whereas a well maintained diesel generator can be good for up to 30,000 hours before it needs a major overhaul!
That’s a huge difference!
However, let’s be clear, the figures stated above, although very impressive, are difficult to confirm as being genuine. This is because it is practically impossible to find any actual official figures to back them up about either type of generator!
What is easy to confirm, is that diesel generators will definitely last a great deal longer than gasoline generators.
This long life makes the diesel generator the most obvious and therefore the best option for use as a home standby generator.
Diesel generators are sturdy, durable, and very reliable; requiring only minimal maintenance which can in itself save a lot of money over time.
A diesel generator will also produce more power than a similar sized gasoline generator.
They are far more efficient than gasoline generators and will run much longer on the same amount of fuel, again saving a great deal of money.
Diesel is also a much less volatile fuel so diesel generators and the general storage of diesel is much safer.
In short, the initial high cost involved in buying a diesel generator is easily earned back over time thanks to its long operational life and the savings made on fuel and maintenance.
Which are the best diesel generators?
There is one brand that really stands out as being a supplier of diesel generators for the home market and that brand is Generac.
There are of course other manufacturers of diesel generators out there, such as Cummins, John Deere, Perkins, and Caterpillar to name just a few, but they predominantly cater more for the commercial and industrial markets.
Best Diesel Generator for Home Use
GENERAC’s Protector Series of diesel standby generators have been specifically designed with the home and light commercial markets in mind.
This group of standby generators will provide emergency power within seconds of a power outage meaning you will never have to worry about being without power, no matter what.
The Protector Series offers 15kW, 20kW, 30kW, 48kW, and 50kW models, so whatever size of property you have you can be sure there is a perfect size for you.
As a benchmark the 15kW and 20kW models will generally be large enough to provide enough electricity to power an average sized home.
You can use our downloadable calculation sheet to figure out the size of generator you will need for your home. Simply click here or the image on the right to download a copy.
The 15 and 20kW models have a 32 gallon tank as standard which provides 39 and 31 hours runtime on half load respectively (this can be increased to a 95 gallon fuel tank which will give a runtime of just over 115 and 92 hours on half load).
The 30kW has a 57 gallon tank that can be increased to 132 which will offer 41 and 96 hours runtime at 50% load.
The larger 48kw and 50kw models also have a 57 gallon tank that can be increased to a 132 gallon tank, the standard tank giving a runtime at half load of 25 hours and 61 hours for the larger tank.
The Protector Series features Code Ready configuration which is a feature that makes them compliant with all building and coding regulations for use in all residential zones.
All Protector Series generators have a sound attenuated aluminum enclosure that reduces the noise of the generator to a very acceptable 70dB
For generator specifications you can download the official GENERAC Protector Series specification sheets here or by clicking on the image on the right.
If you are looking for complete peace of mind and you want to be 100% sure of having your home fully powered even if a storm or hurricane has knocked the power out everywhere else in your neighborhood, then a powerful diesel standby generator is a no-brainer.
You can check out the cost of the various GENERAC Protector series models on Amazon by clicking on the button below.
Best Portable Diesel Generator
If you like the fact that diesel generators last much longer than their dual fuel and gasoline counterparts and also the fact that they are more economical to run and maintain, you may be interested to learn that there are a few small diesel generators that offer a more portable option than the standby generators covered above do.
The most obvious downside to portable diesel generators is the weight which is inescapable due to the stronger and heavier parts needed by a diesel engine/generator as outlined previously.
If weight is a real issue for you then you may need to look at gasoline or dual fuel portable generators. They are lighter and cost less up front but they won’t last anywhere near as long as a diesel generator, they’ll cost more in fuel and maintenance, and they are less reliable.
There is one diesel generator in particular that stands out from the others and again it is made by GENERAC!
A 5000 Watt generator is ideal for pretty much every job that can be thrown at it on a work site or camp site, and it can pretty much power any of the large household appliances should a storm bring down your power.
There is an overwheming number of choices when it comes to portable generators in the 5000 watt power range, from gasoline to solar powered, but none come close to the power and reliability that portable diesel generators offer.
Unfortunately, there are not too many small diesel generators from which to choose nowadays, but from those that there are the GENERAC XD5000E is certainly one of the best portable diesel generators, if not the best, on market.
What should you expect from the Generac XD5000E?
When you first see the XD5000E you will instantly think that it is going to be one tough and durable generator. In this case, looks are not deceiving.
It is a solidly constructed generator weighing in at a pretty hefty 252 pounds. At that weight one would seriously question whether the term ‘portable’ has been used by accident!
As mentioned previously, diesel generators are notoriously heavy, hence why there are not many that are classed as portable any more. Sturdiness aside, if you are looking for a powerful generator, that will easily outlive any relatively lightweight non-diesel ‘gennie’, that requires limited levels of maintenance, and that offers unparalled fuel efficiency then you have to choose diesel.
In its ‘as is’ state, the XD5000E is hardly what you would call portable as handles and wheels are not included. In our humble opinion you should definitely invest in this absolutely necessary extra, unless that is, you are happy to lug around 252 pounds of metal when necessary?
Unfortunately, handles and wheels are not the only extra you will need to purchase. You would be also advised to buy the recommended 12V battery which is needed for the electronic starter. Of course, you can always pull start the XD5000E whenever you need it but if it’s got an electric starter then it would be pretty stupid not to take advantage of it.
What sort of power should you expect?
Diesel generators are exceptionally reliable and are designed to run regularly and for long periods of time. As the title suggests this generator provides 5000 watts of power, 5500 watts start up.
Which is more than ample for multiple power tools or anything else you might need power for.
The generator is powered by a Yanmar LW series industrial engine. It is a 435cc direct injection engine, and is air cooled.
At less than 6% harmonic surge the XD5000E will provide a very steady supply of power with very little power fluctuation.
How long will a full tank of diesel last?
Obviously the lighter the load (usage) on the generator the longer a full tank will last. One thing is for sure though, the XD5000E will still be running long after similar sized gasoline or gas generators have run out of fuel.
At 50% load you can expect 32 hours of runtime from the Generac’s 12 gallon tank. Even if you have this generator running 8 hours a day you will probably only need to refill the tank two or three times a week. Compare that to everyday, sometimes twice a day, with the less fuel efficient gasoline and dual fuel generators.
How many power outlets does the Generac XD5000E have?
There are 6 outlets altogether; 4 x 120V 20A; 1 x 120V 30A; and a selectable 120V/240V. All outlets have GCFI protection (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) which is basically a power breaker.
What can you expect to pay for the Generac XD5000E?
Now we come to the part where many people baulk! Diesel generators are expensive, especially good ones, and the XD5000E is an exceptional generator. You will find the Generac XD5000E will set you back around $3500, with the necessary extras upwards of $3800.
You might well be thinking ‘but I can get a top of the range portable gasoline generator for half that price!’- and you would be right too!
That huge difference in price between the two is quite a compelling argument to choose against the XD5000E.
However, opting for the XD5000E would represent an investment that will actually cost less in the long run, not only in running costs but more importantly in replacment costs.
If you look online you will soon discover that the life span of the average portable gasoline or dual fuel generator is 10 to 15 times shorter than that of a well looked after diesel generator.
Now if that isn’t a deal breaker, I don’t know what is!
Is the Generac XD5000E Portable Diesel Generator the ideal choice for you?
If you are in the market for a portable generator but you are on a tight budget or want something lightweight then the Generac XD5000E might not be for you.
If you are looking for a reliable and powerful generator that can easily cope with heavy use on a daily basis and will do so for years and years without any serious hitches then the Generac XD5000E is an excellent choice.
If you are looking for a portable generator that will not let you down in an emergency it has to be diesel.
Check out how much the GX5000E costs on Amazon by clicking the button below.
Yes, diesel generators are more expensive. Yes, diesel generators are much heavier than other types of generators.. Yes, diesel generators are not as clean as other types of generators.
However, when used as a standby generator, a diesel generator is reliable, cost effective, and consistant in the powering of your home.
You would be hard pressed to find anything better, hence why your local hospital, police force, and businesses, all use diesel backup generators. That in itself should be all the proof you need!
Icing on the cake is this video, sure it’s a little corny, but it’s on the money though!