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Gas vs Diesel Generators for Construction: Similarities and Differences

Gas vs Diesel Generators for Construction: Similarities and Differences

Mobile generator on the sidewalk

Gas vs Diesel Generators for Construction: Similarities and Differences

Reading time: 6 min

Construction sites are bustling hubs of productivity, where power is a necessary resource to keep teams productive and meet deadlines.

In these environments, generators play a crucial role in ensuring an uninterrupted supply of electricity, empowering construction teams to operate their machinery and tools efficiently. With the range of generator options available, it is vital to understand the differences between them.

In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between two common types of generator: gasoline and diesel generators.

Gasoline vs Diesel Powered Generators

Gasoline and diesel-powered generators are two distinct, widely used options for providing electrical power on construction sites. While they are similar in design and function, there are some key differences between the two.

Gasoline generators, as their name implies, operate by igniting a mixture of gasoline vapor and air within the combustion chamber. This controlled explosion drives the pistons, which in turn rotate the generator’s rotor, generating electricity through electromagnetic induction.

Since they use regular gasoline as fuel, gasoline generators are convenient to use and transport. They’re well-suited for smaller construction projects or applications with low power requirements.

Diesel generators, on the other hand, function on the basis of compression ignition. In a diesel generator, diesel fuel is injected into the combustion chamber where high pressure and temperature ignite the fuel without the need for an electric spark.

Due to these key differences, the two types of generators have unique advantages and disadvantages.

Gasoline Generator – Pros and Cons

Gasoline Generator Pros

The most significant advantage of gasoline generators is their relatively low cost. Due to their simple design, gasoline generators can be purchased at a discount compared to diesel generators.

In addition, gasoline generators are considered more convenient to use. Since they run on standard fuel, crews can easily find fuel and refuel the generator with gasoline as needed. They are usually more compact than diesel generators, as well.

Not only are gasoline generators convenient, but they’re also quieter than diesel generators, making them a great choice for noise-sensitive work environments.

Gasoline Generator Cons

Compared to diesel generators, gasoline generators consume a larger volume of fuel to produce the same output. This key difference means crews will have to refuel gasoline generators more frequently, and may have to store a larger amount of fuel on the job site.

Additionally, gasoline generators produce more heat and harmful emissions than diesel generators, making them harder on the environment and work area. Gasoline is also more combustible than diesel fuel, making it a bigger hazard to store on construction sites.

While gasoline generators are cheaper to buy, they require more maintenance. Since a gasoline generator’s combustion engine has spark plugs and a carburetor, it will need to be maintained more frequently, which can become expensive.

Diesel Generators – Pros and Cons

Diesel Generator Pros

The main advantage of diesel generators is their power output and reliability. In general, diesel generators are more powerful than gasoline generators, and they require less maintenance. For this reason, they’re preferred for large-scale construction projects where high power output is needed.

Since a diesel engine uses pressure and heat to combust fuel, diesel generators do not have spark plugs or carburetors. This makes them less prone to breaking down, and cheaper to maintain.

Diesel engines are also more efficient and run cleaner. Since they require less fuel to produce the same power output, crews don’t have to store as much fuel on the job as they would with a gas generator. Diesel fuel is less combustible than gasoline, making it less of a workplace hazard.

Diesel Generator Cons

Although diesel generators are more affordable to maintain, they are more expensive to purchase. Their main disadvantage is that they require a larger up front investment and when they do break down, replacement parts are more expensive than for gasoline generators.

While diesel generators are more fuel efficient than gasoline generators, diesel fuel can be expensive and harder to find.

Finally, diesel generators tend to be louder than gasoline generators. While newer diesel generators are quieter than older models, they still aren’t as well-suited for use in noise-sensitive environments like stores or apartment buildings.

Which Type of Generator Should You Choose?

Choosing between a gasoline generator and a diesel generator depends on several factors that should be considered based on the specific requirements of your construction site. Here are some key factors to help you make an informed decision:

Power Output:

Assess the power needs of your construction site. Gasoline generators are typically suitable for smaller projects or applications requiring lower power outputs, while diesel generators are better equipped to handle heavier loads and provide sustained power for larger sites.

Fuel Availability and Cost:

Gasoline is more widely available and typically cheaper than diesel fuel. Evaluate the long-term fuel costs and accessibility to determine the most cost-effective option for your project.

Fuel Efficiency:

Diesel generators are generally more fuel-efficient than gasoline generators. If your project requires extended operation or if fuel efficiency is a priority, a diesel generator may be the better choice, as it can provide longer running times on a single tank of fuel.

Durability and Longevity:

Diesel generators are known for their robustness and longevity. They are designed to withstand demanding conditions and have a longer lifespan compared to gasoline generators. If your construction site involves rugged environments or requires continuous operation over an extended period, a diesel generator may offer greater reliability and durability.

Noise and Emissions:

Gasoline generators tend to be quieter compared to diesel generators. If noise levels are a concern in your construction site, a gasoline generator may be a more suitable option. Additionally, diesel generators generally produce more emissions compared to gasoline generators, so consider any environmental regulations or restrictions that may be applicable to your project.

Portability: Gasoline generators are typically lighter and more portable than diesel generators. If your construction site requires frequent mobility, or if you need a generator that can be easily transported between different locations, a gasoline generator may be more convenient.

Final Thoughts

While gasoline and diesel generators are similar in design and function, it’s important to understand the key distinctions between them. 

Gasoline generators are more compact and portable, but less capable than diesel generators. On the other hand, diesel generators are performant and reliable, but require a larger upfront investment.

Regardless of the type of generator you choose for your crew, The EquipmentShare Shop can help you maintain it. Our extensive online parts catalog makes it convenient to order OEM and aftermarket components for your generator. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact one of our parts experts and get personalized assistance.

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