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How To Pick a Generator for Your Food Truck

How To Pick a Generator for Your Food Truck

Generators do a lot for the business. Kitchen equipment runs smoothly, the registers continue ticking away at every dollar amount, and productivity boosts. A generator can do the same thing for food truck operators. If you want to use a generator for your food truck, here’s how to pick the right one.

Things To Look for in a Food Truck Generator

Think before you buy. Even though a portable generator can serve your food truck business well, you need to consider what a generator should have, not just the price point. Here are the suggested areas to focus on most in your search for the right generator.

Find Out What Generator Size You Need

There are innumerable variables to sort through before buying a generator; one of them is finding the best size. To find the right size, you first need to add up the wattage you currently use, including the air conditioning, ventilation system, water, sump pump, fridge, and more. All this extra wattage can cause a power surge. Think responsibly and find a generator that fits your wattage limits.

Consider the Noise Volume

Not every location’s suitable for noise, especially outside the busy city. If you want to lessen the chance of neighbor complaints, look over the decibel levels of each generator. A decibel is a measurement of sound, and the higher the decibels are, the more likely your generator’s too loud for the community.

Depending on your food truck’s location, you must keep volume levels in mind, especially around residential streets. The loudest volume to not exceed is 75 dB, and the best generator to go with that doesn’t make a ton of noise is an inverter generator, or a built-in one.

How Long Do You Plan To Run Your Food Truck?

We’re not talking about how long you will run the business; we mean your hours of operation. How long do you plan to run each morning or evening, and are you perhaps looking to serve late-night crowds? The hours you decide to run your food truck do contribute to what generator you buy.

You’ll need to stop operations to refuel daily, which creates rifts in your production speed. It frustrates both staff and hungry customers, especially during a lunch rush. When refueling, customers might leave and not return. Overall, you’ll find it much easier to pick a generator that doesn’t burn all your fuel in a brief interval.

Can You Manage Maintenance?

Maintenance is something you need to consider strongly with generators. The upkeep for each generator type might be extreme, but with the right guidance, you’ll find yourself pointed in the right direction.

The first thing to consider is cleaning. Keeping the generator tidy is easy if you keep up with the work. Normally, you’d need to perform simple tasks like:

  • Dusting air vents weekly
  • Clean out debris
  • Changing the oil

On other days you might run into problems; however, they only occur when the generators go weeks without maintenance. You’re going to face issues like:

  • Fuel leaks
  • Generator failure
  • Heater blockage
  • A dead battery

Contact a professional if these problems persist. It’s best to get a professional opinion if you’ve done all you could to look through the instructor's manual and troubleshoot the generator.

Figure out a Good Budget

In all fairness, the budget depends on the model you buy. On average, the lowest you’d spend is $500, the highest being $3,000 or more. Since you’re running commercially, you’ll need to bring in other factors like power usage, generator type, and optional features like a muffler or fuel gauge.

Different Generator Types

Generators come in three types: conventional, portable, and inverter. Each type works well with a food truck, but the kind you need depends on power usage, noise levels, and added features. Take a look at the pros and cons of each generator to find the right one for you.

Built-In Generator

The built-in generator is installed into the design of a food truck, meaning that if you have a larger truck, this one easily installs into a generator compartment. Since these fit into your food truck's concept, the built-in model is completely customizable, leaving the door open for the chance to design something convenient.

The most popular features to add to your generator:

  • A generator control system
  • Different fuel selections and delivery methods
  • A muffler

Despite being customizable, it does have its pros and cons. The important thing to know is that built-in generators restore power during outages, but the downside is that you can’t transport them. Once the generators are placed in the food truck, you can’t move them, resulting in needing to buy another model if you get a new food truck.


An inverter works for all types of environments, and it’s especially useful because it doesn’t generate too much noise. The other plus is that it’s portable and easy to install. For the inverter to power up, it uses an alternator to send electricity to your appliances.

The inverter has its share of pros and cons. The biggest pro is that it has great fuel efficiency. Compared to its counterparts, the inverter generator automatically adjusts its speed according to how much power’s needed.

Given that the speed rate is adjustable, it has a significantly lower energy output. No matter how much speed the inverter uses, it doesn’t generate much power, and this mostly has to do with how much wattage the inverter has; it’s often in the low to mid-thousands.


Portable generators are excellent power conductors. You can choose an electric or gas-powered portable generator depending on your needs. These generators are easy to set up and can be transferred back and forth from work every day.

Let’s jump right into the pros and cons of portable generators. The first thing to know is that these generators are affordable and work great as an emergency backup. This choice is the most affordable, ranging between $500 and $3,000. However, the downside is the limit of uses due to their minimal wattage.

Most Common Questions About Food Truck Generators

If you have questions about generators for food trucks, we’re happy to answer the two most common.

How Much Gas Does a Generator Use?

The amount of gas you use depends on the model you have. To give you an idea, let’s compare gasoline to propane. Propane generators run slow, so you’ll have enough supply to last an entire workday, but gasoline burns faster, making refueling needed more than usual.

Where Do I Install a Generator?

Install the generator outside near a gas meter. Having it near a gas meter limits the piping needed to power your generator. This idea limits the labor required to install the generator and improves the consistency of the fuel supply.

Knowing how to pick a generator is essential when running a food truck. At Our Generators, we’re happy to help find the right generator for you. Learn more about Our Generators by browsing our online shop and reaching out with questions. Our customer service representatives are excited to talk all things generators with you!

How To Pick a Generator for Your Food Truck