Diesel generators v. Petrol generators: which is the best?Buyers Guides
When it comes to engines, there’s no greater grudge match then diesel generator versus petrol generator.
But this battle isn’t restricted to the road – it’s a battle that extends to, worksites, homes, businesses and farms across Australia. It’s a battle of the generators.
Here at My Generator, we know for a fact that diesel generator are some of the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient units you can buy. But petrol generators have come of age and are taking on diesel generators at their own game. So who will reign supreme? We’ll be the judge of that…
Diesel Generator Pros
For decades, people only knew diesel as a dirty, smelly truck fuel. But it’s done a complete 180 to give petrol a run for its money – literally. Because one of the biggest advantages of diesel engines is their fuel efficiency. This comes down to the diesel motor’s higher compression. So a like for like comparison of diesel generator and petrol generator will put the diesel ahead.
With diesel you also get a lower cost of ownership. That’s why so many industries rely on diesel fuel to run their business, whether it’s for generators, bulldozers, excavators or tractors. Diesel engines, and therefore diesel generators, last longer, cost less to run and take longer to depreciate in value. Why do they last longer? Because diesel engines don’t have to work as hard as petrol engines to get the same power output. This means the engine parts are under less stress. Also diesel fuel is self-lubricating which means the fuel delivery system should last longer than that of a petrol engine – perfect if the generator hasn’t been used for a while.
Another thing that gives the diesel engine the upper hand is the lack of an ignition system. It simply doesn’t need one, which means one less thing to fail. What’s more, they can operate at loads between 60% to 100% for prolonged periods, which is an advantage over its petrol counterparts.
While you can find diesel generators powering smaller loads, such as domestic appliances for back up or DIY tasks, the advantages are best seen in more heavy industrial and mining applications. In fact, diesel generators are the backbone of the mining and construction industries.
Diesel Generator Cons
Diesel engines emit more noxious gases and CO2 per litre of fuel than petrol-powered engines. However, the upside is that because diesel engines use less fuel, they can also emit less CO2 over time. It all depends for how long you are using your generator. Cost is another factor. Traditionally, diesel has been more expensive than petrol – about 10% more in Australia. But the balance is certainly tipping.
Even though diesel generators last longer and are less likely to fail, they may be more expensive to fix when they do.
Petrol Generator Pros
Besides the cost of petrol being lower than diesel, there are a few pros for petrol. There is more choice of models for petrol generators. Like cars, this is because petrol generators have been around for longer. But that said, you’ll find a growing selection of diesel generators for a whole range of applications and budgets these days; including home/business backup, trade/construction applications, solar set up backup, events and much more.
While diesel generator are lauded for their fuel efficiency, petrol generators are now being build with all kinds of economy modes and features to bridge the gap.
Petrol Generator Cons
Petrol is much more volatile than diesel fuel. So if you’re carrying lots of fuel for your generator, diesel is a safer option. Also, because of the way diesel engines work, they are much safer than petrol engines. There’s no spark ignition, which means no risk of explosion and less maintenance than a petrol generator. At the same time, with petrol generators today, a whole variety of safety features and checks are incorporated to ensure this isn’t an issue anyway.
Another downfall of petrol generators is that they reach a higher temperature than their diesel counterparts. This leads to more wear and tear on the generator parts over time, meaning more frequent maintenance and repair, and ultimately, a shortly life span. Consequently, petrol generators are not usually run at high loads for extended periods.
It’s a pretty close match…we say that if you are looking to use the generator for heavy commercial use, then diesel is probably the way to go. But if you are already operating other equipment with petrol, then a petrol generator can do the job also – when you consider leading Australian brands from the likes of Powerlite, Gentech, Dunlite or Crommelins they all have first rate options in both petrol and diesel. It really comes down to which model suits your application the best. Has this given you fuel for thought? Check out the full range of petrol and diesel generators at My Generator.
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.