If you are planning to get a backup generator to meet your power needs, the question, how long will the generator you purchase run? If you’ve ever asked this question, then the answer to this question is it depends…

Depending on what you mean by how long it runs, that answer changes. This post will discuss how long the different types of generators run. It will take into account the fuel source used in powering the generator. Thus, a holistic view of how long a diesel, gasoline or alternative energy generator runs will be provided.

How Long Does a Gasoline Generator Run?

In terms of popularity, gasoline generators are the most commonly used options out there. This is because they’re generally more affordable and smaller than other options. So, most people purchase one to serve as backup energy solutions for stores and homes. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the manufacturer says.

Honda, Champion, and other established generator brands recommend using gasoline generators for approximately 6 or 7 hours at a stretch within a day. This does not mean a gasoline generator can’t provide energy for longer than that but going any further than 7hours could lead to more repairs or servicing tasks.

Now, if you intend to push the generator to its limit, a gasoline generator can run for approximately 12 – 14 hours without encountering any challenges. Once this point is exceeded, the service oil wears out and this may lead to the engine overheating and the generator going off.

Extended usage also comes with its challenges depending on the capacity of the gasoline generator. The first challenge is understanding the capacity of the gas thank attached to the generator. For smaller tanks within the 2 – 5 liter’s range, the generator may need to be topped up every 5 hours. For larger gasoline engines with bigger tanks, 18 liters of fuel may be needed and these generators can run for 12 hours.

If you continue refueling the tank as the gasoline in it finishes to know how long a gasoline generator runs concurrently, then the answer is 3000 hours or 125days. But note that this could damage the generator beyond repair.

If your question focuses on the lifespan of a generator, then the answer also changes. A well-maintained generator can run for decades while a poorly used generator can run for years, as long as, you continue replacing the oil and gasoline within it. So, gasoline generators last for years even when they’re constantly running.

How Long Does A Diesel Generator Run?

Diesel generators are also quite popular among the general population. Although they generally do not come in small sizes like gasoline generators, the efficiency and reduced sound decibels they produce make them the go-to options for many businesses and homeowners. This leads us to the question, how long does one last?

Original equipment manufacturers who produce diesel generators generally recommend using these devices as energy sources for approximately 10 to 12 hours a day. This means the average diesel generator can be run continuously for 12hours a day without encountering any issues. It is also important to note that generators serve as a backup to public electric sources which means you are not expected to run the generator for 12 hours every day.

Now, if you choose to push it to its limit, by continuously replenishing the diesel tank, a diesel generator can run for 30,000 hours before going off. It goes off because the lubricating oil begins to lose traction while metallic parts wear out. By this time, the generator may reach a state where it can’t be repaired regardless of a technician’s expertise.

In terms of its life span, a diesel generator is a workhorse and it is capable of working for decades under ideal maintenance conditions. It outdoes the gasoline generator in many ways outside longevity. Diesel generators are generally cleaner and quieter than gasoline generators. As for its negatives, they’re more difficult and expensive to repair when compared to gasoline generators. It is recommended that you continuously check the emission levels of a diesel generator and replace it once the smoke it produces begins to exceed the recommended level.

How Long Does Natural Gas Generators Run?

Generators running on natural gas are less common to find, unlike the other two options. These types of generators are commonly used in industrial settings, not within homes or public places. Starting with recommendations from manufacturers, the natural gas generator can run for 24 hours at a stretch. This does not mean it is expected to run for 24 hours every day of the week.

In situations where the gas supply continues without any hitches, a gasoline generator can run for 200 hours or more until the gas runs out. It is also more efficient and cleaner when compared to other generators run using fossil fuels.

These generators are also highly effective and can work for decades if used and maintained properly.

Today, other alternate sources of energy are being used to power electric appliances but solar energy or wind energy-power source are not termed as generators. They do not have combustion engines that rely on fossil fuels or natural gas to provide every for consumption.


The average generator can be used overnight since it lasts for more than 6 hours. It is important to always remember that the lifespan of a generator is determined by the maintenance effort you put into it. So, while these numbers are correct, the most important factor that determines how long a generator runs is how it is used.

Generators can be important to living an excellent life and if you’re considering purchasing one, then you must consider its fuel consumption rate, the amount of power it generates, and the usability considerations provided by the manufacturer. You can also simply choose any Honda generator as they currently lead the way in efficiency and noise reduction more than other generator brands in the market.