Food trucks are becoming more and more popular across America and more people than ever are looking at starting their own food truck business.
While the thought of having a food truck and serving your favorite dishes is appealing, there are a few things that you will need to consider.
The most important is how you will power your food truck.
Most food trucks are going to need a generator to power their appliances, but which generator is best for your food truck?
Today, we are going to look at some of the best food truck generators and see how they stack up against each other to give you a better idea on what will work best for your application.
1. Westinghouse iGen4500
As one of the most popular brands in the generator industry, it is no surprise to see one at the top of this list.
The Westinghouse iGen4500 is a compact, easy to transport generator that is able to power multiple appliances at once.
Powered by a 224cc 7 HOp Westinghouse engine, this generator is going to provide 4500 starting watts and 3700 running watts.
This is going to be great for powering a large appliance or several smaller appliances with less wattage demands.
You are going to get a 3.4 gallon fuel tank that will allow for up to 18 hours of run time when used at 25% load.
This generator is camper and RV ready with 5 outlets ready to take on what your food truck needs to power.
Outlet selection on this generator will include 2 5V DC USB ports, 2 120V AC 5-20R household outlets, a 1 120V 30A TT-30R outlet.
These outlets will also have protective covers as well.
This selection makes it easy to power up larger appliances and smaller electronic devices as well.
If you are needing to move this generator, you can utilize the telescoping handle and plastic wheels built into this generator.
The iGen4500 is one of the quieter generators on our list, operating at noise levels as low as 52 dBa, which is perfect for a food truck.
Westinghouse has ensured that your sensitive electronics are safe due to the clean and stable power that this inverter produces.
In true Westinghouse fashion, they are going to stand fully behind their products with a 3 year limited service, labor, and parts warranty with lifetime technical support from Westinghouse experts.
2. Champion 4000-Watt
Similar to Westinghouse, Champion also provides a large variety of different sized generators to fit different needs.
They are widely known in the industry for providing high-quality generators that are built with the customer in mind.
The Champion 4000 watt digital hybrid generator has made this list due to the power levels, quiet noise level, and fuel efficiency.
Starting things off is the engine which is a Champion 224cc OHV engine that produces 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts.
This power level is going to be a little lower than the Westinghouse, but it can still power the appliances needed to run a food truck.
Speaking of power, the outlets you can expect to find on this generator are going to include an RV ready 120V 30A outlet, 2 120V household outlets, a 12V DC outlet, and a dual USB adapter.
To get even more power, this generator is parallel ready, meaning you can hook up another Champion 4000 watt generator to it for double the power.
This generator is going to feature a small 2.9 gallon fuel tank but will have a run time of 17 hours at 25% load.
While most food trucks will not be using only 25% of the generator’s capacity, it is a great sign that even at 50%, it will still have a good run time.
One downside to this generator is that it does not come with wheels from the factory.
This could be good for those who are storing this generator in a generator cabinet on your food truck, but for those who need to move it, you will have to buy the wheel kit separately.
Champion has also included quiet technology to allow this generator to operate as low as 64 dBa to make it great for close quarters.
Champion includes a 3 year warranty with free lifetime tech support from Champion generator experts for added security.
3. WEN 56380i
Moving onto the third spot is yet another highly popular name in the industry, WEN.
WEN is most popular for the larger generators, competing with companies such as Generac for spots in the commercial space.
WEN also provides a wide variety of portable generators, which is why we chose to feature the WEN 56380i generator.
This specific generator is going to feature a closed frame design and a 212cc 4 stroke engine.
Producing up to 3800 starting watts and 3400 running watts, this generator is going to be in the mid-level category as far as power goes.
This is a popular range for food trucks as it allows for multiple appliances or electronics to be used at the same time.
Its fuel tank is on the smaller side, coming in at only 2.2lbs, but it is still capable of producing 8.5 hours of run time when used at 50% load.
Outlet selection is pretty standard on this generator, including 2 120V household outlets, 1 AX 120V TT-30R RV outlet, 1 12V DC outlet, and 1 5V USB port.
WEN also includes a digital load and fuel display to allow you to easily monitor important metrics of your generator.
You can easily move this generator around with the collapsible handle and plastic wheels that are built into this generator, a must have for those who need to place the generator away from the truck.
The WEN 56380i generator is pretty quiet too, operating at only 57 dBa when measured at 23 feet.
Other great features worth mentioning are electric start, EPA III & CARB Compliant, and clean power.
You will get to enjoy 2 years of coverage from the WEN warranty and their nationwide network of expert WEN technicians.
4. Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Inverter
Hybrid generators are always a great tool to have as you can use gasoline or propane as the fuel source.
This makes it flexible in the field as well as extending runtime if you have gasoline and propane on hand.
This Champion 3400 dual fuel inverter is going to feature a 192cc engine which will offer two levels of performance, depending on the type of fuel used.
For gasoline, you can expect power levels of 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts.
For propane, you can expect power levels of 3060 starting watts and 2790 running watts.
If you are wanting even more power, you can utilize the parallel kit that is sold separately for twice the power using another 3400 watt generator.
Featuring a 1.6 gallon fuel tank and propane hookups, you will see run times that differ depending on the fuel source as well.
Using propane, run times will be about 14.5 hours at 25% load.
Using gasoline, run times will be about 7.5 at 25% load.
Taking a look at the outlet selection on this generator, you will notice that it is RV ready, making it ideal for food truck applications.
You will get 1 120/240V 50A outlet, 2 120V household outlets, and 1 12V DC outlet, providing you with enough outlets to keep your food truck and smaller electronics running.
Operating at 59 dBa, this generator is perfect for any food truck, RV, or even residential use.
It offers clean power and electric start which makes it easy to operate by anyone.
You can expect a 3 year limited warranty on this generator as well as free lifetime support.
5. Honda EU3000iS
One of the more household names on this list, Honda, produces portable generators made to help with residential and commercial use.
Honda is widely known across multiple industries for producing high quality engines that outlast the competition.
That is just one of the reasons that the Honda EU3000iS has made the list for best generators for food trucks.
The powerplant of this generator is a 196cc Honda GX200 engine, which helps produce up to 3000 starting watts and 2800 running watts.
This is on the smaller size but for those who are not needing just a ton of power, such as a snow cone or ice cream truck, this could be the perfect size.
The 3.4 gallon fuel tank on this portable generator will help to give you anywhere from 7.2 to 20 hours of run time, depending on how much load is applied to the generator.
This generator is going to feature only 3 outlets, 2 20A 120V outlets and 1 23.3A twist lock outlet.
You will also get a DC 12V battery charging port to allow for external battery charging.
There are no wheels included with this generator which would have been nice since it weighs 131lbs.
Looking at the noise levels, this generator is going to be relatively quiet, coming in at 49-58 dBa which is one of the quietest on this list.
My biggest disappointment with this generator is the price point.
All Honda generators are on the expensive side, but their longevity and features make the higher prices a little more justifiable.
6. WEN GN400i
We touched on how popular WEN is in the generator industry, and the fact that we have two WEN generators on this list proves this point.
While this generator is not as powerful as the 56380i, the GN400i packs a punch for its size.
This generator is going to feature a 212cc 4 stroke CARB compliant engine that produces 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts.
This is going to give you enough power to keep multiple appliances running at the same time which is needed in a food truck.
Featuring a 1.85 gallon fuel tank, you can expect a run time of about 7 hours at 50% load.
This generator has 5 outlets that range from powering small electronics to larger appliances.
You can expect to find 1 120V RV ready TT-30R outlet, 2 5V USB ports, and 2 120V 5-20R outlets to give you a great selection for your food truck.
This generator is going to be best suited for food trucks that have a specific storage spot for generators as it does not include wheels.
Many food trucks do have a hideaway compartment for generators, and a portable generator like this without wheels is perfect for these situations.
The noise level on this generator is about mid-level when compared to generators on this list at about 67dBa.
Other great features found on this generator includes eco-mode, electric start, and parallel connections for hooking up another GN400i.
WEN is going to offer a 2 year warranty on this generator to keep you protected for 24 months.
7. Briggs & Stratton P3000
Briggs & Stratton is a brand similar to Honda in the fact that it is known across many industries for their high performing engines.
The Briggs & Stratton P3000 generator is a true testament to their reputation as it is one of the highest rated generators in its class.
It is going to be powered by a 171cc engine that puts out 3000 starting watts and 2600 running watts.
This generator does have parallel capabilities, meaning that you can hook up an additional P3000 generator for twice the power.
The parallel connection also has additional larger outlets for powering larger appliances.
Quiet Power Technology, a Briggs & Stratton exclusive technology, is used on this generator to keep noise levels down to as low as 58 dBa at 25% load.
A StatStation LCD display allow you to keep up with important information such as amount of power being used, total unit hours, and maintenance reminders.
Looking at the run time, you will get up to 10 hours at 25% load with the 1.5 gallon fuel tank.
The outlet selection on this generator is quite surprising for it being smaller than other generators with less outlets.
With this generator, you will get 4 120V household outlets, 1 120v 30A twist lock, 1 USB outlet, and 1 12V DC outlet.
This generator is pretty light, weighing in around 96lbs, but Briggs & Stratton has made transporting this generator much easier with a telescoping handle and plastic wheels.
One thing that I would have liked to see on this generator is electric start.
Recoil starts are harder to start for some people, so having an electric start could really open this generator up to a wider audience.
One big advantage is the price point as it is quite affordable compared to other generators on this list.
This generator cannot be shipped to the state of California, but is available for all other 49 states.
You will also get a 2 year limited warranty with this generator to keep you protected for the first 24 months of ownership.
8. Yamaha EF3000iS
Last but not least on our list of best food truck generators is the Yamaha EF3000is.
Yamaha is another great brand that builds reliable and powerful engines for products across multiple industries.
The engine on this generator is going to be a 171cc 5.5hp engine that produces 3000 starting watts and 2800 running watts.
This power level is right on part with most generators on this list, making it ideal for smaller food truck needs.
Features two handles and 4 wheels, you can easily move this 136lb generator to just about anywhere you need it.
Looking at the outlet selection, there isn’t a large selection that you would think you would find on a generator of this physical size.
You will however get 2 120V household outlets, 1 30A 120V outlet, and a trickle charge port for external battery charging.
The EF3000iS generator does have a larger fuel tank capacity of 3.4 gallons which allows for a staggering 19 hours of run time at 25% load.
You will also not have to worry about noise pollution as this generator only produces 53-60dBa, making it ideal for food trucks and RV uses.
One thing to note is that Yamaha generators hold the title for longest emission engine life ratings per the EPA and CARB.
Other great features on this generator include inverter technology, smart throttle, and noise block.
Yamaha offers a 3 year warranty with this generator to keep you protected from manufacturing defects for a full 36 months.
Food Truck Generator - The Buying Guide
Purchasing a generator for your food truck is not something you want to take likely.
After all, you are relying on this generator to power up all of the appliances you need to make a living.
We have put together this food truck generator buyers guide to help you get a better idea of what to look for when purchasing a generator for your food truck.
When shopping for generators for your food truck, you are going to want to take into consideration the amount of power needed to keep your appliances running safely.
Since generators come in all shapes and sizes, you are going to need to find one that has enough power to not only power all of your appliances, but still have some extra wattage so that you don’t overload your generator.
There is an easy way to calculate the power you will need to make finding a generator much easier.
What you will want to do is take inventory of everything that you expect to power with your generator.
This includes appliances, A/C systems, even smaller items such as POS systems and cell phone chargers.
Once you have this list, you will want to research how much power each of these electronics will demand.
Once you have this all added up, you can start looking for generators in that power range.
Appliances can start to use more wattage when they become older and less efficient, so make sure you overshoot when you buy a generator based on power.
The next thing you will want to look at is what type of fuel you will want to use with your generator.
Generators come in two different configurations that allow for different fuels to be used to power the engine on your generator.
You can get a generator that runs solely on gasoline, or a hybrid generator that runs on gasoline or propane.
Having the flexibility to run off of propane can allow you to always have a spare propane tank ready to go in the event that your generator runs out of gas.
Run times and power levels may not be up to the standards of gasoline, so it is important to note what the power levels will be at with propane so you are prepared.
While there are no propane only generators, for those who are wanting to use propane, opting for a hybrid will be the only choice you will have.
Depending on how busy you are throughout the day, fuel economy may be a big factor to think about.
If you are only busy for a few hours at a time throughout the day, you may have time to tend to the generator to top it off or fill it back up.
However, for those who want all day power without having to refill their generator, fuel economy may be a bigger factory.
If you plan on working in your food truck all day and have an A/C system going, you may want to find a generator that has a longer run time.
The way that generators are measured for fuel economy is by how long it takes to deplete a full tank of gas at 25% or 50%.
Gasoline powered generators are going to usually have longer run times compared to propane generators with a 20lb tank but with a 40lb tank, they can be pretty close.
To make a better decision for your application, consider how long you will be running your generator and if you will have time to refill it throughout the day.
Design quality is another great thing to take into consideration as you will be using your generator everyday you are open and will need something that will stand the test of time.
Depending on how your food truck is set up, you may need one that can take on the elements of the outdoors.
While most food truck generators are tucked away inside the truck, many will have to be used next to the truck, getting exposed to the elements.
If this is the case, you are going to want a generator that is built a little tougher to make sure that it can keep up to the demands you are putting it through.
One thing to look for is wheel/handle setups.
Handles are usually offered in telescoping or collapsible designs while wheels and tires will come in plastic or rubber/metal configurations.
If you are having to constantly move your generator in and out of your trailer or food truck, you are going to want a generator that has wheels and foldable handles.
If you are just needing a generator that can tuck into your generator compartment, you can look for one with removable wheels and less convenience features.
Plastic wheels are great for not having to worry about flat tires, but rubber tires and navigate more rugged terrains.
Perhaps one of the most important things to think about that many forget to consider is the noise level of the generator.
While most generators are built to be quiet enough to be used in a residential area without too much noise, the quarters are much closer with a food truck.
For those with generators that are mounted inside of the food truck via a generator compartment, you will not want something that is so loud is reverberates throughout the truck and scare customers off.
If you have to mount your generator outside of your truck while operating such as behind the truck or off in the grass, you may be a little luckier as you can put some distance between you and the generator.
Either way, you will want to look at the noise levels of each generator to ensure the generator you are considering isn’t going to be too loud.
You can always have a generator box built to help protect and keep noise levels down, but that is another added cost.
Most generators used in the food truck industry will range from 60-80 dBa when measured at 23 feet.
Lastly, you will need to consider what type of warranty you will be getting with your generator.
Warranties for generators are usually split up between two different categories, residential and commercial.
Since you will be using yours for your food truck, this is going to fall into the commercial category, which usually holds a shorter warranty period.
While some companies offer the same amount of years for residential and commercial, it is quite rare.
You can expect anywhere from 1-3 years of coverage when it comes to warranties for commercial use, which may be just right if you get the right generator and follow the maintenance schedule.
On the topic of customer service, if you did have a warranty issue, you will want to make sure that it is handled professionally and quickly.
To get a better picture of how a brand or manufacturer treats its customers, check out their social media or online reviews.
This will give you a glimpse of what other customers are experiencing and should let you know if you would want to deal with them or not.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Big Of A Generator Do I Need For A Food Truck?
When it comes to powering up your food truck, you will at the very least need a generator that has 3,000 watts.
To get a more accurate number for your specific application, check all of your appliance’s wattage needs and get a generator that has slightly more power so that you are not overloading your generator.
How Much Does A Food Truck Generator Cost?
The cost of a food truck generator is going to depend on a few different factors including size, brand, and features.
You can expect to spend anywhere from $500 for a smaller generator up to $2000 for larger generators.
Now that we have reviewed some of the best generators for your food truck, you should have a better idea of what to get for your food truck.
Always make sure to follow all of the safety guidelines when using a generator with a food truck and when in doubt, call the manufacturer.
Good luck with your generator purchase and I hope that this article has helped.