How Long Can You Run a Generator Continuously? (7-14 Hours!)

A generator is a good alternative to electricity. These days, the generator is quite powerful to run all the house appliances. Even if you are living on an off-grid or RV, a generator can make your life more comfortable and easier.

Most of us use portable generators and portable generators are not very sturdy like stationary generators. That is why it is a very common question how long can I run a generator continuously?

You can run a generator for 7-14 hours continuously. But it depends on different factors like power, fuel capacity, brands, types, and the purpose of work also.

Anyway, in this article, I’ve covered everything about the generator run time. so, without further ado, let’s get started.

How Long Can You Run A Generator Continuously?

So, you can run a generator for 7-14 hours continuously. But is it the standard time for all types of generators?

Obviously No. You can not compare a stationary or standby generator with a portable generator. A stationary generator is designed for permanent use. They start automatically when the electricity goes out and the machine automatically stops when the electricity comes. You can run a stationary generator for a day long. Their fuel capacity is high and designed for long time use. They can take a high load also.

On the other hand, portable generators are used as backup generators only. People use a portable generator for special purposes just after a strong storm. Some portable generators are designed for outdoor activities like camping, outdoor game, etc.

You can not run a portable generator all day long. Their fuel capacity is low. Though you can run a portable generator for 6 hours or more continuously, you should not run it for such a long time regularly.

Because it is not recommended to refuel your generator while running. It would be better to run your portable generator for 2 hours continuously and then stop it and allow some rest to cool the engine.

For a practical idea, you could have a look at the following chart on the generator run time. I’ve included some popular generator brands with their runtime here.

BrandsRun time
Briggs & Stratton Q6500~14 Hour
Briggs & Stratton P2200 Inverter~8 hours
Champion 1200-Watt~8 hours
DuroMax~8 hours
Honda EU1000i~7.1 hours
Honda EU2200i~8.1 hours

I hope you have got an overall idea of the run time of the generator. Actually, the run time depends on the fuel capacity.

How Long Can You Run a Generator Continuously_

How Long Can A Diesel Generator Run Continuously?

Diesel generators are heavy-duty generators. they are unlike portable generators. Most diesel generator is used for commercial purposes.

You can run a diesel generator for 200-250 hours continuously. In other words, you can run them until the fuel is finished. But the load must not exceed 70% of the capacity.

The lifetime of a diesel generator is higher than other types of generators. a diesel generator can go at least 12000 hours to 25000 hours if you maintain the generator properly. That means a diesel generator can last for more than 14 years if you run 4 hours a day. That is incredible.

How Long Can A Generator Run On Propane?

A propane generator is less expensive than a diesel generator. These days, people love propane generators more than diesel generators. yes, with a portable propane generator, you could run all the household appliances like the Well pump, sump pump, refrigerator, washing machine, etc.

A propane generator needs .6 gallons to 2-gallon gas per hour to run based on the power of the generator. if you have a 100 gallons tank, you can run your propane generator for 80 hours to 50 hours.  

The output of the propane generator depends on the consumption rate of the generator. usually, the high the generator power the higher the fuel they need. If you have a 600-watt generator, that needs lower fuel than a 1000-watt generator. the calculation is pretty simple.

Do you have a Predator generator and looking for a cover for your Predator generator? Read more here.

How long will Standby Generators Run During an Extended Power Outage?

standby or stationary generator runs continuously until the last drop of fuel. Most of the standby generators are connected to natural gas. So, you can run continuously even for 3 days to 5 days during the extended power outage.

Some standby generators are operated by diesel and gasoline. Usually, the diesel standby generator has 1 day to 3-day diesel tank. You can choose which one you need.

If your stationary generator has no mechanical issue you can run the generator until the last drop of fuel during the extended power outage like after a hurricane.

How Long Can A Diesel Generator Run Continuously

How Long Can You Run A Portable Generator?

Whether it is a portable generator or an inverter generator, most of us have a common question. Can a portable generator run continuously?

Yes, a portable generator can run continuously if you ensure proper maintenance. But you can not run a portable generator for a week continuously like a diesel or stationary generator.

You can run a portable generator for 6 hours to 24 hours continuously. But the fuel reservation is a fact here. most portable generator does not have such a large fuel tank that allows you to run your portable generator for 2 days or 3 days.

From my experience, You should not run your portable generator continuously for more than 6 hours. And you should not refuel while the generator is running.

You could use simple hacks to run a portable generator. switch off your generator after a regular interval and allow 15 minutes break to cool the engine. You could use a generator cover to keep your generator safe from rain, water, and snow during bad weather.

By following the simple hacks, you could keep your generator engine good and it will run smoothly.

How Long Will a Generator Run on 5 Gallons of Gas?

This is a very common question for people who are going to buy a generator.

Though I have mentioned earlier in this blog post, I again clarify the calculation for your convenience.

Typically, a generator can run 2.5 hours to 4 hours by a 5-gallon propane tank. It completely depends on what size of generator you use and what is the purpose of using.

If you run more than 70% of the capacity of a generator to operate heavy household appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerators, etc, it lasts a maximum of 2.5 hours.

On the other hand, if you have a small generator like 550 watts and you just run the small appliances, a 5-gallon cylinder can run your generator maximum of 4 hours.

Please remember, this is not a constant calculation. The time may differ based on a different value. this is a rough estimation just.


Long story short, you can run a generator for 7 – 12 hours in general conditions. if you are using a stationary generator, the time will increase.

The running time depends on various factors. I hope you have understood the basics.

It does not matter what type of generator you use. You should take the proper care of your generator. Otherwise, you will not get the best output from your generator.

Wish you a comfortable life during the blackout.


Rayan is an engineer, lives in a farmhouse. He has a passion for electronics and alternative energy. He loves to share his thoughts with other people. That is why he started the blog.

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