Either you run the day, or the day runs you - Jim Rohn
It’s good to have a dream, but it's even better when you get to actually make that dream a reality.
Most of us who have worked in professional kitchens and refined our culinary expertise and cut our cheffing cloths in restaurants have, at one time or another, imagined owning our own eateries, but we’ve had to put our fantasies on the backburner as opening an establishment is way beyond most of our budget.
Or rather, a brick and mortar restaurant is, but if you think laterally and focus instead on owning your own food truck instead of a restaurant, then anything is possible and your cooking dreams can, and sometimes, do come true.
Having undergone a surge in popularity in the last two decades, food trucks are a great way to start your own business and stamp your culinary identity on the world.
Easier to run than a traditional restaurant, they offer the same limitless menu possibilities, but best of all, you don’t have to be stuck in the same location all the time with a food truck and you can take your food to the people whenever you want to.
But if you’re thinking of owning and operating your own food truck, one of the most essential ingredients you’re going to need to ensure success, is a generator.
Every food truck needs an efficient, effective source of power to run its kitchen, and that’s why we’ve come up with a list of the five best generators for food trucks, to give you that boost you’re going to need to run your truck properly and hit the ground running and start serving delicious food from day one.
It’s time to generate some food truck power…
OUR TOP PICK
When it comes to making power and generating electricity, non-one else does it with the same clarity of purpose and passion that Westinghouse does.
An American institution they’ve been at the forefront of power creation for more than a century and all of their generators are imbued with the collective knowledge that they’ve accumulated since they first started down traveling down Electric Avenue in eighteen eight six.
At ninety-eight pounds, the iGen might sound like it’s a little too heavy to move and ordinarily, we’d agree, but as it’s mounted on wheels and has a telescopic handle, it’s actually incredibly easy to pack up and take with you.
Capable of producing eighteen hours worth of power on a single tank of gasoline, it’ll also generate up to three thousand seven hundred watts of electricity which should be more than adequate to keep your food truck running efficiently, even when it’s at its busiest.
And as it only makes fifty-two decibels of noise (which is quieter than the average conversation) while it’s running at full capacity, it won’t drown out your customer’s orders and will just happily hum away in the background while you get on with the important business of running your food truck.
The Westinghouse is also compact enough to fit into whatever space you have in your truck, and as it features push-button and remote (via a key fob) start, it’s also simple to start and easy to operate.
RV ready, which means it’s ideal for food trucks, the iGen is also ideal for running and charging sensitive equipment like contactless card machines and readers as it’s made to create safe, stable electricity and won’t overload, or burn out any of your food trucks equipment.
- It’s quiet so you’ll be able to take your customer’s orders while it chugs away without having to worry about not being able to hear what your clientele is saying to you.
- Thanks to its telescopic handle and wheels, the Westinghouse is also portable and easy to take with you where you and your food truck go. It might seem a little heavy, but Westinghouse has taken that into account and has made sure that anyone can handle this deceptively easy to move electrical beast.
- And it’s also incredibly efficient, returning up to eighteen hours of power from a single tank of gasoline. You’ll only need to fill it with gas once a day to keep your truck running, and when it does run out of fuel, it’ll switch itself off automatically to prevent any stale gas from damaging its motor or causing it to run at less than peak efficiency.
- Then there’s the push-button start-up and fob start. It’s been designed to make your life straightforward and simple and that’s exactly what it does. It helps to make your life easier so that you can focus on the important things. Like running your business.
- While three thousand seven hundred watts sounds like a lot of juice, it might not be quite enough to power your food truck when your fame starts to spread and you need to pack your truck with more and more equipment to keep up with your customer’s orders. It’s a great starter generator, but you might need to think about replacing it when your business really begins to take-off.
Wen originally made their mark by teaming electricity with tools to make the working man’s life easier, and since nineteen fifty-one they’ve been helping to power America’s blue-collar industries.
Reliable, dependable, and with the sort of cast-iron reputation that is only earned with a lifetime of service, Wen generators go the extra distance when you need them to.
Running a two hundred and twelve cubic centimeter gasoline-fueled engine, the Wen Super Quiet has a maximum operating volume of fifty-seven decibels, which is quieter than the customers in your cue, and for every full tank of gas that you feed it, you’ll get eight and a half hours worth of power in return.
With an auto-shutoff to prevent stale gas contamination, the Wen will keep the stable and safe electricity flowing as long as switched on and there’s gas in its tank.
With a one-button start-up system, the Wenn was engineered to be maintenance-free and easy to use, so that all you need to do is add gas, press go and it’ll do the rest.
And even though it weighs in at close to one hundred and eleven pounds, it’s compact and simple to move thanks to its built-in, extendable handle and the fact that, just like Detroit's finest, it’s on wheels.
- It’s compact, small, and easy to locate and use in your food truck thanks to its versatility and multiple outputs. Once it’s found a home in your truck, it’ll never want to leave.
- Fifty-seven decibels is the sort of power-producing volume that you’ll be happy to live with as it’ll just fade into the background noise when the crowds start gathering and you need to keep on your toes with the orders that are flying in.
- Made to produce stable and safe electricity, it’ll power all of the sensitive electrical equipment that your business needs to use in order to thrive. The Wenn Super Quiet won’t overload or damage your tablets, card readers, or tills, but it will make sure that they’re ready and raring to go whenever you need them.
- Single-button start-up and a full digital display make it straightforward and simple to use. All you need to do is add gas and Wenn will take care of everything else.
- While eight and a half hours’ worth of power might seem like more than enough to get you through the average working day, there are going to be times when your truck is pushed to its limit, and you’re going to need a little extra power to see you through the day.
- And its upper electrical production limit of three thousand eight hundred watts at peak operation means that while it’s ideal to power a small truck when your business begins to expand it might not plug all of the electrical gaps that you’ll need to fill.
Relative newcomers to the universe of watts and amperage, Champion has spent the last two decades honing, perfecting, and solidifying their place as leaders of the electrical pack.
They’ve come a long way since their inception in two thousand and three and their portable, food truck-friendly generators have earned them the respect of mobile restaurateurs the length and breadth of the country.
Capable of making seventeen hours worth of clean, stable electricity on a single tank of gasoline, Champion’s Open Frame Inverter runs at sixty-four decibels and cranks out around three and half thousand watts of power.
It’ll fuel your food truck and keep on going right up until the moment it runs out of gasoline, and then it’ll just shut itself down.
But by the time it’s ready to power down, you’ll already be on your way home, because even on your busiest day, the Champion has more than enough gas in its tank to ensure that all of your potential customers will leave your food truck with their appetites satisfied and smiles on their faces.
While it doesn't have a hidden handle and lacks wheels, the Champion’s open-frame construction makes it easy to carry, and at around eighty pounds is light enough for you and your crew to load it on board your truck.
And best of all? It comes with a limited three-year warranty and a lifetime of technical support from Champions dedicated team of experts.
- Seventeen hours of run time and power generation means that the Champion will see you through your busiest day at your busiest time of the year and it will still have enough gas left over to help you welcome the next shift in your truck with open arms.
- At eighty pounds, it’s the lightest and most portable, and fittingly enough the most compact, generator on our list. It’ll fit snugly in your truck and whisper away in the background while you get on with the business of keeping your customers fed.
- That three-year warranty and lifetime of expert advice and support is just the sort of boost that any new generator owner needs to help them on their way knowing that if anything should go wrong, help will always be on hand.
- Even though it’s the lightest generator on our list so far, eighty pounds is still gym rat weight, and shifting the Champion from place to place and even stowing it on your truck isn’t a one-man job. If it’s stolen your heart, don’t try and move it by yourself or the medical bills could end up crippling you.
Briggs and Stratton are the world’s largest manufacturer of air-cooled engines for the outdoor market.
As engines lie at the heart of every portable generator, if you want a reliable generator, you’ll need a reliable engine, and that’s where Briggs and Stratton come in. Engines make power and generators use that power to make electricity and nobody, but nobody knows more about engines than Briggs and Stratton do.
Making three thousand seven hundred watts of power at peak operation, the P4500 will create fourteen hours worth of electricity on one tank of gas.
Its push-button start makes it easy to use and simple to run, and at maximum volume it won’t dampen your patron’s voices or drown out your radio, it’ll just keep on supplying your truck with power until you’re ready to shut down.
The P4500 also has a super-secret weapon in its arsenal, as it also uses a carbon dioxide shutoff.
So if for any reason, there is a build-up of Carbon Dioxide, it’ll just shut down to keep you, your staff, and customers safe.
And even though the motor at the core of this generator makes it the heaviest one on our list, thanks to its inbuilt handle and the fact that it’s on wheels, it’s not only compact, it’s also incredibly portable.
It may be heavy, but it makes up for it with the engine technology that automatically adjusts it’s output, noise, and emissions according to the amount of power that you use and need it to generate.
- Compact and powerful, this generator will push through any, and all adversity and hardship that you end up facing with your food truck and will power it through the good times and the bad.
- It’ll give you fourteen hours of run time and electricity on a single tank of gas, which is more than enough power to see you through to the end of the busiest day.
- At nearly one hundred and fifteen pounds, even with its user-friendly handle and wheels, the P4500 is a weighty generator that’ll give even the strongest of food truck proprietors a decent upper and lower body workout.
- And it’s bad news if you live in California, as the P4500 doesn’t pass the emissions laws that the state has set. It won’t make it out West, so if that’s where your truck's route lies, you’ll have to find another form of power creation for it.
DuroMax is proud of the fact that they’re more than just a brand, they’re a company that understands and appreciates just how important power is to people who need it.
Fully committed to excellence, they believe that their generators should reflect that ethos and always provide the electricity that you need when you need it.
By far the most powerful generator on our list, the DuroMax is a dual fuel machine that’s as comfortable running on propane as it is on gasoline.
Able to produce around nine and a half thousand watts of power, the DuroMax can easily supply all of the electricity that the largest of food trucks require thanks to it’s four hundred and fifty cubic centimeter engine.
While it won’t deliver the same sort of wattage when it’s powered by propane, it’ll still serve up more than enough power to keep your larger than life food truck in business.
Made to keep America turning, DuroMax generators are hardy, reliable, and powerful, and while they’re not exactly small they do pack an electrical punch that any business would be proud to have on its side.
Sometimes the best things come in large packages.
- It’s a dual fuel generator, so you can switch between propane or gasoline and choose one instead of the other to power your food truck. After all, variety is the spice of food truck life.
- Capable of producing up to nine and a half thousand watts of electricity, the DuroMax has never met a food truck that it couldn’t power.
- It’s the loudest and thirstiest generator on our list, and while it’ll return up to eight hours of power on a single tank of gasoline, it’ll also use a gallon of gas an hour to do so, and at seventy-four decibels, it’s isn’t exactly quiet.
- And at around two hundred and twenty-five pounds, it isn’t the lightest or most portable generator on our list. All of the power that it makes comes at a really heavy cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Food Truck?
A food truck is a vehicle, usually a large truck, that has been outfitted, equipped, and designed to produce and sell food. Most food trucks have their own onboard kitchens that are used to cook and make whatever specialty foods their owner has designed them to serve.
While historically food trucks were mainly used to serve ice cream and hot dogs and hamburgers, the food revolution and subsequent mainstream interest in well-prepared cuisine and region-specific foods, have seen an unprecedented surge in their popularity as they cater to, and for, an ever-evolving and changing customer-based market.
What Is A Portable Generator?
Sometimes called inverter generators, portable generators use an engine to create electricity that allows the power they produce to be converted directly to electricity in a two-step process.
Designed to be light, convenient, reliable, and easy to use, portable generators are usually used as back-up generators for houses and work-sites.
However, following the rise in the popularity of RV’s and food trucks, more and more companies are looking to make and produce portable generators that are not only friendly to both markets but are equally comfortable in either.
Which Generator Should I Use For My Food Truck?
While all of the generators on our list are designed to do exactly the same thing, the things that you’ll really need to consider and take into account are the size of your food truck and your budget.
If you’re only planning on running or already run a small food truck, and are looking for a generator that’ll maximize your budget and be incredibly reliable and cost-effective, then we’d always recommend, and point you in the direction of, the Westinghouse iGen4500.
It’ll do everything that your food truck will need it to do and a whole lot more besides, and will stand you in good stead for when you eventually want to make the transition to a bigger truck.
But if your budget isn’t an issue and you’ve got your eye on a large food truck, or there’s one already parked on your driveway, then the only generator that you’ll ever need is the DuroMax.
It’s a power making monster that will never let you down and will help you to keep your business on an even, well run and fueled footing.
That said, we’re looking forward to maybe one day sampling your food trucks wares, so good luck on your culinary adventure and hopefully, we’ll see you somewhere down the road.