Whether you’ve got a mobile food truck or a catering business, you need electricity to power your trailer and your customers’ meals. That’s why having the best generator for a food trailer is so important, so your food stays hot and fresh while you keep customers happy.
We’ve tested a lot of generators over the years, including small portable generators, large whole house generators and more. The best generator for a food trailer will keep food fresh, so no more cold sandwiches or soggy salads. We test generators in the Kitchen Appliances Lab for performance, efficiency, noise level, and ease of use. The appliances are tested for ease of use, power, durability, and weight. The generators are also tested to run a variety of appliances and electronics including small home refrigerators, small freezers, microwaves, and coffee makers. We’ve also tested them to run larger refrigerators and freezers, and televisions.
Our picks for the best generator for a food trailer are based on our testing as well as popular sales and reviews. Here are the best generators for food trailers of 2022:
DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator 13000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Electric Start-Home Back Up, Blue/Gray
This portable generator is your best bet if you need a backup generator for a house or apartment that is less powerful than some of the dedicated backup generators we tested. It delivered steady (but noisy) power from both the propane and gasoline tanks, and it powers a 3,500-watt microwave and a 4,000-watt refrigerator for several hours each. The 13,000-watt rating is all the power this generator can offer, as its maximum running wattage is 10,500 watts, so you should only expect to run most devices on 50-watt or 10-watt power levels. This generator has a three-year warranty and a one-year warranty for the engine, although owners reported having excellent customer service. You can use propane or gasoline, and because it has a dual-tank system, you aren’t limited to just one fuel source. The generator is heavy and can be difficult to maneuver, but it is relatively compact, making it a good choice for tight spaces. The 10-inch wheels are small and lack tread, so a dolly is recommended.
Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 4500 Peak Watt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator, Remote Electric Start with Auto Choke, Wheel & Handle Kit, RV Ready, Gas Powered, Parallel Capable
For its size, the Westinghouse 4500 Power Inverter Generator delivers maximum power output. For its size, the Westinghouse 4500 Power Inverter Generator delivers maximum power output. Convenient features such as remote electric start with a keyless start button allow you to start the generator from anywhere, while the electric bypass feature allows you to turn off the engine to run appliances, pumps, or even electrical devices. You can also power a 30 Amp RV-ready outlet with the safety Tt 30R 120V duplex household outlet, a 120V 30 Amp RV outlet, and 2 USB outlets. The oversized 5 20R 120V duplex household outlet features built-in surge protection, while the 120V 30 Amp RV outlet includes a 30 Amp cord and plug. In addition, an 11 amp RV outlet is included. The folding handle makes for easy transport, and the 3 gallon LP fuel tank provides 18 hours of run time at half load. The Westinghouse 4500 Power Inverter Generator is very fuel efficient, with an economy mode that optimizes the engine for maximum efficiency. For its size, this generator is extremely quiet, at only 52 dBA, and is backed by a three-year limited warranty.
MaXpeedingrods 3500W Portable Inverter Generator, Gas Powered, for Outdoor Camping RV Trailer Commercial, EPA Compliant, Compact & Lightweight 47lbs
The MaXpeedingrods 3500W Portable Inverter Generator is one of the most powerful and compact outdoor generators you’ll find, making it a great option for powering homes or businesses in earthquake-prone areas. It’s also ideal for road trips, RVs, or any situation where you’re away from your home grid and need to accommodate a limited number of appliances. The motor is quiet, and the generator produces plenty of power. However, the rear exhaust vent can be an issue, since it tends to spew out a lot of hot exhaust, as opposed to the cooler air of a behind-the-fan vented generator. The generator also has a single gas inlet and outlet, which makes it a little more challenging to set up, and it doesn’t have a built-in fuel gauge. And like with other generators, getting it started can be a hassle when its cold out, and it runs a little hot even when running at the lowest power levels. Still, this generator is impressively powerful, and it’s one of the best options on the market if you’re looking for portable power that’s also compact and lightweight.
Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 12500 Peak Watt Home Backup Portable Generator, Remote Electric Start with Auto Choke, Transfer Switch Ready 30A & 50A Outlets, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant
This Westinghouse generator is a good all-purpose generator that will handle most home backup needs, especially if it’s hooked up to a transfer switch. It’s portable, it runs on gas, and it has enough power to handle most everyday user needs. But like all portable generators, it’s too loud: Our testing showed a maximum noise level at 90% of rated output, which is a little louder (80.6 decibels) than some indoor generators we tested, and that’s both loud and annoying. The Westinghouse does have a quiet mode, but it’s a subtle 15% reduction, and it didn’t help much in the testing. It’s also a little underpowered. In our testing, it only delivered 9,500 running watts, which is 600 watts less than the Honda. More power would let you power more things at once and give you more headroom in cold-weather scenarios. That said, this generator isn’t designed to run anything with a separate cooling system, so it won’t be ideal if you need to run your fridge or AC during a power outage. The Westinghouse generator has a 30A and 50A outlet, but there are no dedicated 30A circuits in most homes, and only one 50A circuit at most, so you’ll probably only be able to use the 50A circuit. The remote start system works well, and it’s convenient when you want to start or stop the unit. But the Westinghouse is larger than some of the other Westinghouse generators we tested, at 52 pounds, and it’s heavier than the Honda. It also has a
WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt RV-Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Fuel Shut-Off and Electric Start
The WEN 56380i portable generator is nothing to scoff at, delivering 3800 watts of power and 3400 watts at half load. The peak rating for power was more than enough for changing a flat tire, charging the battery, or powering a small refrigerator or freezer, although the generator did tend to run a bit hot when it was doing all three. For smaller jobs, such as charging other small items or running small appliances, peak power and peak surge power (or the percentage rating between the two) are important to you. Our tests found that this generator was an excellent performer in both areas, with maximum power and surge power at 3900 watts. It also exhibited typical generator sounds, including a fairly high pitched hum, but the 56380i’s noise level was much quieter than the noise level of comparable generators on our chart. The 56380i’s output is somewhat higher than some of the other generators we tested, making it slightly more challenging to use, but it’s worth considering if you need a lot of output. Like the other generators we tested, the 56380i can be started manually or automatically. This generator also has a convenient electric start feature, which automatically turns on the generator when you open the safety gate. It’s convenient, and the generator is easily started on the first pull. The generator is also quieter when using this feature, and the electric start feature added a little more run time to our test. The generator’s electric start feature is an option on some models (it is not available in all), but it’s useful, so it is good that the 56380i has this option. Like most generators, the 56380i has safety features, such as an electric automatic shutdown feature (which shuts down the generator when constant voltage is detected), an engine low oil shutdown feature (which automatically shuts down the generator if the oil level is low), and a low oil shutdown feature (which stops the generator if the oil level gets too low). The 56380i also has an external electric cord storage option, which lets you neatly tuck away the cord when not in use.
GENMAX Portable Inverter Generator?2200W ultra-quiet gas engine, EPA Compliant, Eco-Mode Feature, Ultra Lightweight for Backup Home Use & Camping (GM2200i)
The GENMAX GM2200 portable inverter generator is a great solution for emergency power at home or as a camping generator. It offers plenty of power for a home backup, and it’s also quite good as a camping generator. With around 3 hours of running time at half load, this generator lets you power appliances like TVs, small power tools, fans, and so on (the generator can power a 100-watt light bulb). The GM2200 is loud enough to be used as a camping generator, but it’s quieter than most camping generators. It’s also lightweight, and it’s small enough to stow away in a 2×4-foot shed or car trunk, which is handy for camping, but especially when traveling. The generator has strong starting power, but like all generators, it’s noisy. It offers two 120V/20A outlets, one 120V/30A outlet, and a plug for connecting two generators together in parallel (it has a 120V 50A twist lock outlet for emergencies). It also comes with a carrying handle and wheels (which aren’t the most heavy-duty), as well as a soft pull recoil starter. The generator is compact enough to fit inside most 2×4-foot sheds, and it’s protected from accidental spills by a slide-lock fuel cap. The generator does a better job than many generators at conserving fuel, and it features Eco mode, which reduces the generator’s power output to save fuel (the generator’s Eco mode automatically shuts off after 3 minutes). The GENMAX GM2200 portable inverter generator is a great choice for backup power, long-term camping, or long-term use in an RV.
DuroMax XP5500EH Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready, 50 State Approved Dual Fuel Portable Generator-5500 Watt Gas or Propane Powered, Blue/Black
This generator is famous for his great reputation among campers and RV owners. It is rated for 50 states, so it can be used everywhere. It produces 5,500 watts of max power. It weighs 44 pounds, and it is quiet. This generator is ideal for light household tasks, such as power tools, small refrigerators, or TV/DVD players. It has parallel and outlet capability. It is a 2-stroke, 4-cycle, air cooled engine, and it has a 9.5-gallon fuel tank. The oil change interval is 1,500 hours. It provides 4,500 watts of continuous running power. It has an electronic ignition, and it allows starting in sub-freezing temperatures. The DuroMax XP5500EH Electric Start-Camping & RV Ready, 50 State Approved Dual Fuel Portable Generator-5500 Watt Gas or Propane Powered, Blue/Black comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/300W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Blackout
The Jackery Explorer 300 Portable Power Station is one of the most powerful portable power stations on the market. Its 293Wh lithium-ion battery pack can fully charge a smartphone 5-6 times, while the 2 AC outlets and 3 USB-A ports can simultaneously charge 4 smartphones, 2 iPads or a laptop. The solar power capability allows you to recharge this power station through its built-in solar panels in sunlight, or you can recharge it using an AC adapter. When solar power is not available, the power station features an onboard 11,000mAh battery. This 1.5-pound power station recharges itself and up to 6 devices at the same time. This power station has 3 AC outlets: 1 fixed-output 110V/75W (2 prong, NEMA 7-15P) AC outlet and 2 output hot swappable AC outlets, each of which can deliver up to 300W of power. It also has 2 USB-C PD ports: 1 input port (60W, input supported) and 1 output port (output supported). The USB-C ports can simultaneously charge 2 iPads at 75W and 1 laptop at 60W. This power station also has 1 high-speed (3.0 Amps) USB-C port, capable of charging an iPhone 7 at 60W or an iPad at 40W. Finally, it has 1 USB-A output: 1 port (output supported). The USB port can charge 2 devices at the same time at 1.5A.
Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 4650 Peak Watt Portable Generator, RV Ready 30A Outlet, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant
Without its first few minutes of startup, the Westinghouse 4650 Peak Watt RV Ready Portable Generator is impressively quiet. Its 212cc engine is a good fit for the job, producing 3600 running watts and 4650 peak watts. Although it doesn’t match the 9500W output of our pick, it still put out enough juice to charge a 30A RV outlet more than twice as fast, and enough juice to run 240V lights, a 60″ TV, a microwave, and an air conditioner simultaneously. The 4650 runs for 14 hours per tank of gas, which is typical for generators in this wattage range, and Westinghouse includes a large 4-gallon fuel container with a fuel gauge. Its operating weight is 66 pounds, and with a 10.5-inch height, it didn’t take up much space on our garage floor. The 4650’s prime-and-pull recoil starting system is simple to use, and the 212cc Westinghouse engine has a cast-iron sleeve that wears out less quickly than plastic sleeves. It also includes an oil funnel, a 4-amp motor-starting battery, and a handy tool kit. And unlike most generators, the 4650 is portable enough to be taken inside a house for use on days when the power goes out. (All the outlets are rubber-insulated for additional safety, and the recoil starting system won’t harm people inside a house, either.) The one major complaint we have about the Westinghouse 4650 is that it doesn’t offer any fuel-economy mode. If you want greater fuel efficiency, you’ll need to buy a separate generator.
Generac 7127 IQ3500 3,500-Watt Gas-Powered Portable Generator, CARB Compliant
This Generac portable generator is ideal for running multiple appliances on battery power, and it’s our favorite for running a TV or smartphone on battery power. It delivers 3,500 watts of power (2,000 watts peak), which matches the output of several 3,000-watt portable generators in our tests. That’s good for powering laptops, TVs, and smartphones, as well as heating a 1,350-square-foot house, two 4,500-watt heating/AC systems, two 120-volt outlets, two 240-volt outlets, a sump pump, and an electric water heater. The generator has a clean, simple control panel, and it’s extremely quiet, with noise coming in well below 60 dB(A) on most of our tests. The generator is 28 percent quieter than the Honda EU3000is in our tests, and it’s 30 percent quieter than the Generac 7000E and 30 percent noisier than the Honda EU1000I, as measured in our tests. But those two categories are the exceptions; in all cases—including when powering a TV—the Generac 7127 IQ3500 is very quiet, and in some cases inaudible. It’s roughly the same size as the EU3000is, and it weighs 75 pounds, which is roughly comparable to the EU3000is and slightly more than the 7000E. For $400 more, you get more (3,500 total watts), and 33 percent quieter performance.