Can you use premium gas in a generator?

There are many questions that surround the topic of premium gas. You know how it goes: can I use premium gas with this or that? Or: will premium gas make my vehicle better? Yup, it’s that kinda article all over again. Still, that shouldn’t mean we won’t make it an interesting one.

Our question for today reads: can you use premium gas in a generator? There’s a small chance that some of you don’t know what a generator is. However, we’ll still cover that issue, too. In the text you’re about to read, you’ll find everything you need to know about generators. Besides, of course, resolving the can-you-use-premium-gas-in-a-generator issue!

If your generator’s owner’s manual says you should use premium gas – use premium. Otherwise, stick to regular (octane rating of 87) gasoline. By using premium with a regular engine, you’ll only waste money. Also, there’s a chance that you’ll damage the engine, too. 

Here at GasAnswer, we don’t like easy, “fast-food” answers. That’s why you should definitely read the whole thing!

Table of Contents

What is a (gasoline) generator?

Before heading downstairs to meet the central question, let’s define some terms. First things first, let’s see what exactly a (gasoline) generator is!

A gasoline generator is a device that utilizes a gasoline engine as a power source. And here’s some geeky info. The generator will create an electric current by:

  • driving the generator rotor to cut the magnetic lines of induction. 

What are gasoline generators used for?

Now that we know what it is, let’s see what is it used for. You’ll want to know that they can be utilized in many manners. Since they’re very easy to carry and transport, you can use them in any scenario. Whether you’re camping or doing something in the yard – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re able to generate some el. energy without much hassle. 

Speaking of doing something in the yard, here’s an article about whether you can kill weeds with gas.

What are the types of gasoline generators?

Gasoline generators can be divided into two categories:

  • Brushed gasoline generators. A brushed generator has the so-called carbon brushes. They help conduct electricity through the generator. In other words: they assist in moving the electrical current.
  • Brushless gasoline generators. Don’t have any brushes (well, obviously). They’re generally considered the better option. For instance, they’re less noisy. Also, they’ve got a longer shelf life.

We can also differentiate between:

  • 2-stroke generators. They’re powered by a mixture of gasoline and oil.
  • 4-stroke generators. You’ll be able to use regular gasoline as fuel for them.

Let’s see if there’s anything else we can say about gasoline generators.

What are gasoline generators composed of?

Okay, so here are the basic gasoline generator components:

  • Gasoline engine.
  • Generator rotor and stator. 
  • Voltage regulator (or capacitor). 
  • Control panel. 

The pros vs. cons of using gasoline generators

In the last part of this intro section, let’s consider the pros and cons of using gasoline generators. We’ll start with the pros:

  • They’re small in size, therefore: easy to carry. 
  • They’re pretty lightweight. 
  • They’re very quiet. 
  • They’re very easy to use. 

What about the cons?

  • They consume more fuel than their diesel counterparts. 
  • Also, gasoline’s more flammable than diesel, so… 
  • Their engine volume is smaller than in a diesel generator. 
  • Lastly, gasoline emits higher emissions than diesel. 

Okay, so that’s that when it comes to the intro section. It’s about time we consider the following question: can you use premium gas in a generator?

A generator next to a can of premium gas.

Can you use premium gas in a generator?

First of all, let’s define premium gasoline. Anyway, we differentiate between various types of gasoline based on their octane levels:

  • Regular gasoline usually has an octane rating of 87.
  • Midgrade gasoline usually has an octane rating of 89-90.
  • Premium gasoline usually has an octane rating of 91-93.

There’s always some talk concerning this topic. Some folks tend to think that sipping premium will make their vehicle run better. However, you should only use the type of gas that’s mentioned in your owner’s manual.

Also, let’s consider those claims about your car running better on premium. Yes, it will actually run better, but only if you’re meant to use premium with it. That’s because premium gas is only good for engines with higher compression ratios. So, will your generator reap some benefits of using premium gas? That will have to depend on the type of generator you have.

You’ll want to know that premium is the most expensive type of gas. That one’s pretty self-evident. However, your “regular” generator won’t reap any special benefits from premium gas. In other words: you’ll spend more money to achieve the same result. Not to mention the fact you can even damage your generator:

  • Sipping premium inside a regular generator will probably result in ignition issues. 

Now, let’s say that your generator requires premium gas. In that case, it’s greatly recommended that you sip premium inside it. Using regular fuel with a premium device will lead to some engine trouble. Anyway, let’s see some more tips on caring for your generator.

How to keep your generator in shape?

Now that we’ve shown you if it’s possible to use premium gas with your generator… Yup, that’s right. Let’s talk a bit about how you can care for your trusty device. Here are some tips on maintaining your generator. 

#1 Empty your generator’s tank after each use

Once the generator has done what it’s supposed to do, you’ll want to empty out the tank. Of course, we don’t mean you should get rid of excess gasoline. Simply pour it into a gas container (and here’s how to use one in a proper manner). The thing is: you should keep your fuel “stored” in the gas tank. Here’s why:

  • It can very well result in the formation of gum deposits. The gas will stick onto the metal surfaces and partitions of your portable generator. Needless to say, these deposits will greatly affect your generator’s performance. In a negative manner, of course. 

All in all: simply pour the rest of your generator’s fuel into a separate can. There ain’t a simple method to care for your portable generator.

#2 Backup (fuel and filters)

That’s right, you should obtain and keep backup fuel and filters (click here to learn how to ungel the latter). Imagine if a power outage was to last a couple of days. Geesh! That’s why it’s very important you’ve got some “backup” fuel stored. Here’s a friendly suggestion:

  • Obtain enough backup fuel to completely refill your generator’s tank. Also, make sure that you’ve got some backup oil. Oh, and some backup oil filters, too. In case they need a replacement, that is. 

#3 Keep things clean

While your generator’s kept in storage, it will tend to get pretty dirty. All the dust and debris build-up will make its way to your portable generator. Now,  if these little buggers end up in your generator’s main components… Yup, there’s a good chance that they’ll obstruct the proper functioning of your device. That being said, you’ll need to avoid getting your generator dirty while in storage. 

So, how exactly does one do this? Your best bet is to obtain a generator cover at your local hardware store. It’ll do a good job battling all the things we’ve mentioned in the first part. Also, keep in mind that you should take the cover offer before running your device. Just so you avoid overheating, that is, since a cover also acts as insulation.

Oh, and did we mention these covers are mostly water-resistant and weatherproof? That’s right, you won’t have to worry about a thing. However, if the idea of putting a cover doesn’t sound quite right, we’ve got another suggestion:

  • Simply check your generator and clean it on a monthly basis. 

#4 Observe your gasoline generator’s wattage capacity

Before you do anything, make sure that your generator can handle the voltage you plan to use. It goes without saying that not all gasoline generators are the same. Find the owner’s manual and check your generator’s wattage rating. You might find the same thing on its labeling. Usually, we can differentiate between two ratings:

  • Starting. 
  • Running. 

The first one’s about how much wattage can your generator put out in smaller amounts of time. That being said, starting ratings typically tend to be higher. However, you should ignore focusing on this rating for the most part. Instead, you’ll want to concentrate on the so-called running rating:

  • The running rating will determine the wattage over longer periods. And that’s exactly what you’ll be wanting from a portable, gasoline generator. Compare the running rating with each device you plan to use with your trusty generator.

The bottom line

Okay, folks! That’s all there’s to say about the can-you-use-premium-gas-in-a-generator issue! We hope that you’ve had some fun reading this one. Also, now you know how to take some good care of your portable gasoline generator.

For more tips on gasoline-related topics and a bunch of interesting info, click right here.