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The Differences Between Air-and Liquid-Cooled Generators

The Differences Between Air-and Liquid-Cooled Generators

Generators are a reliable tool that can help keep the lights on, food fresh, and electronics charged whenever there’s a power outage; however, they’re not all created equal. The two most common types of generators are air-cooled and liquid-cooled. While both perform the same function, there are differences in their technology and applications. This blog discusses the differences between air- and liquid-cooled generators to help you determine which would suit your needs better.

How They Work

Air-cooled generators use fans to dissipate heat from the engine as they run. These generators operate like air conditioning units, moving warm air away from the engine to regulate the temperature. An advantage to air-cooled generators is they are easy to use and cost-effective. They are better for smaller, low-demand applications.

On the other hand, liquid-cooled generators use a radiator and a pump to regulate the temperature. The radiator holds coolant that runs through the engine, keeping it from overheating. These generators produce more power and can handle high-demand tasks, such as powering high-energy appliances.

Fuel Economy

Air-cooled generators are more fuel-efficient when it comes to fuel economy. The reason is that they have fewer parts and consume less fuel. This advantage means air-cooled generators can run longer, which is advantageous for camping trips or power outages.

Even though the fuel economy excels in air-cooled generators, that fact makes liquid-cooled generators less fuel-efficient. They consume more fuel, primarily when completing high-demand tasks. Despite this disadvantage, the fuel economy of liquid-cooled generators is still significant, and they remain the preferred choice for most homeowners.

Noise Levels

A fair consideration for generators is their noise level. Ensuring your generator makes as little noise as possible is crucial, whether you’re at home or on a camping trip. Liquid-cooled generators have lower noise levels than air-cooled generators. An air-cooled generator is loud because it relies on fans to keep the engine cool, and these fans produce a humming noise. Liquid-cooled generators have a larger muffler that reduces engine noise. This advantage makes liquid-cooled generators ideal for residential areas where quiet operation is necessary.


Air-cooled generators require less maintenance than liquid-cooled generators because they have fewer parts and need fewer fluids to operate. Air-cooled generators need occasional oil changes and air filter replacements. A liquid-cooled generator needs regular coolant checks and changes—they also have significant maintenance tasks, such as periodic valve adjustments and timing belt replacements.

The factors we have discussed play a significant role when choosing between an air- and liquid-cooled generator. The customer support team here at Our Generators is happy to discuss these differences in more depth with you so you can choose the right generator for your needs. Check out our dual-fuel portable generator to get a notion of what to look for in a generator before heading out on a camping trip. We think you’ll find just what you need in our catalog.