Are you looking into buying a new power generator for your home, business, or camping trailer? If so, then you should first decide what type of generator would best suit your needs. In order to help you make an informed choice, here are some reasons why a diesel generator may or may not be the right pick for you.

Electric Generator

The Pros

It Is Safer

Unlike gas generators, which use spark ignition (SI), a diesel generator operates via compression ignition (CI). As its name suggests, SI requires an electric spark to fire up a mixture of air and fuel and get the engine running. In contrast, CI does not require a spark. It merely compresses air to a very high temperature, which then causes ignition. 

The use of CI technology makes diesel generators less flammable and volatile than their gas counterparts. This mechanism significantly reduces the risk of fires and explosions in the event of a faulty generator.

It Is More Fuel-Efficient 

Gas generators compress both air and fuel in their internal combustion engine, whereas diesel sets use compressed air only. As a result, diesel generators score very high on fuel efficiency. For the same kW of power produced, the fuel costs of a diesel generator would be around 40% cheaper than those of a gas one. What’s more, diesel is much cheaper than gas, which results in even greater savings.

It Is Low-Maintenance

A diesel generator has a sturdy, simple build, and thus fewer parts that could break or need regular changing or follow-up maintenance. For instance, it does not require wires or spark plugs. It also comes with in-built cooling components that dispense with the need for radiators, water pumps, temperature gauges, or coolants. As a result, a diesel generator has a longer shelf life and lower maintenance costs than other types of generators.

It Can Produce Electricity for Longer Periods of Time

Diesel generators are specially designed to produce power for prolonged periods of time. That makes them great sources of steady power supply in hospitals or other places where having an uninterrupted electricity supply is of vital importance.

It Is Very Versatile

A diesel generator can come in many shapes and forms. Different models have different sizes, speeds, and capacities that can serve any need.

That makes diesel generators such a popular option across a wide range of industries, including agriculture, telecoms, construction, refrigeration, and the military. Diesel generators can also perfectly serve any place — from homes and offices to hospitals, factories, and even ships.

What’s more, a diesel generator can work both as a primary source of power supply in places that are off the main grid, as well as to generate backup power in the event of outages or periods of high demand.

Diesel Fuel Is a Hassle-Free Purchase

Diesel is comparatively cheap and can be easily purchased at any gas station in both small and large amounts. That makes fuel supply for diesel generators a truly hassle-free task.

The Cons

It Can Be Noisy

One of the biggest setbacks of diesel generators is that they can be rather noisy. That is especially true for older models, which may not be the best match for homes, hotels, offices, or any other places that prioritize calm and quiet.

Luckily, however, noise is no longer an issue with newer models. These come with an acoustic enclosure, insulating canopy, or some other form of soundproofing. 

It Can Cost More Upfront

While diesel generators are generally more cost-effective in the long term, they can be more expensive upfront than some gas models. That is due to the fact that their installation process is longer and more complex, which can account for as much as a quarter of their price. 

Nevertheless, the money saved on fuel and as a result of the low maintenance costs can more than make up for the upfront investment. 

It Can Be Bulky and Heavy

Diesel generators are sturdy, stable, and specially designed to withstand heavy loads. Unfortunately, that also makes them quite bulky and weighty. Their individual components are large and heavy too. For this reason, diesel sets are not the best choice when it comes to portable power-generating units.

It Can Be Difficult to Start Up in Cold Weather

Due to the lack of an ignition mechanism, diesel generators can be difficult to start up in cold weather. However, there is an easy solution to this problem — glow plugs and other similar tools can be used to heat up both the engine and the incoming air.

It Is Not the Most Eco-Friendly Choice

This type of generators is definitely not the greenest option out there. Diesel is not considered a clean source of energy and is, in fact, a major pollutant. Compared to gas and other generator types, diesel sets emit more exhaust fumes.

However, there is more to being eco-friendly than exhaust gases. Before coming to a conclusion, environmentally conscious consumers should weigh these against the long-term savings in terms of fuel, spare parts, and energy efficiency.

The Repairs Are Not Cheap

Diesel sets may be very sturdy, reliable, and rare to break. When they do break, however, the repairs tend to be more expensive than those of other types of generators. Both after-sale services and spare parts can be costly. That is why diesel generators should be handled in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions and have scheduled check-ups by licensed engineers.

To Conclude: The Final Verdict

Some of the main drawbacks of diesel generators, such as their higher noise levels and upfront cost, as well as their difficulty in starting up in cold weather, can be mitigated by way of soundproofing, glow plugs, and the longer-term savings. On the other hand, some other of their disadvantages, such as their environmental footprint, remain controversial.

Nevertheless, a diesel generator can still be a great option for anyone looking for a safe, reliable, durable, and energy-efficient power generator. They are also low-maintenance, budget-friendly, and hassle-free.