Power generators are no longer a luxury for dairy farms. We are forced to have more backup power options to maintain productivity; otherwise, we will fall behind. But do you really need a generator for your farm, and if so, which one should you get? Questions like these are why we compiled a list of the eight best power generators for your dairy farm.
Based on factors like power output, portability, and reliability, the eight best power generators for a dairy farm are:
- Westinghouse 12500
- DuroMax XP15000EH
- Generac 7403
- Westinghouse 15000
- DuroMax XP13000EH
- Pulsar G12KBN-SG
- Powermate PM3800
- DuroMax XP10000EH
Backup generators are expensive, and the fuel you need to run them costs even more. But no dairy farm should be without a backup power system. So let’s look at what a power generator can do for your farm and compare the best ones on the market.
Why Do You Need A Power Generator For Your Dairy Farm?
You may wonder if it’s worth the expense to buy a power generator for your dairy farm as you may hardly ever have power failures in your area.
Power failures are common in many parts of the world and are no longer limited to third-world countries. According to a CNBC report and a statement from the White House, the average duration of power failures in the United States has more than doubled from 2017 to 2022. The White House says this is due to an increase in extreme weather conditions, such as storms.
To add fuel to the flame, according to the Wall Street Journal, this is bound to get even worse, and the phenomenon isn’t limited to the United States, either.
We can’t rely on the power system being able to maintain our businesses anymore. Though governments are making plans to solve energy problems, it could take decades to solve them, and we may have to rely on our own backup measures until then.
The question is, how much downtime can your dairy farm survive? There’s a good chance that the answer is “not much” or “none at all.” Therefore, it’s vitally important to get a backup power generator to ensure your production can continue as much as possible.
What Kind Of Power Generator Does A Dairy Farm Need?
We will determine the best generators for dairy farms based on two criteria. The first is the fuel type, and the second is the power output.
Generator Fuel Type
There are three main ways that dairy farm generators are powered: tractor-driven, diesel, and gas.
Tractor-driven generators are the ones most commonly found on dairy farms. Also known as PTO (“Power Take Off”) generators, these are devices that you can connect to the driveshaft of your tractor to generate electricity, making them ideal for remote farm work that requires a power generator.
They are usually powerful enough to efficiently operate your milking machines that don’t take much power to start or run. Still, they can’t handle the more intense jobs like powering bulk tank compressors.
The second type of generator is the traditional gasoline or diesel generator. These generators are efficient and can last many years if you regularly service them. In addition, they come in various strengths and sizes, so you can get one (or more than one) that will meet your requirements.
The third type of generator runs on gas. You get LPG (liquefied petroleum) and NG (natural gas) variants. They are often as powerful as diesel generators but cost less to operate, and they are better for the environment since they have lower emissions.
Power requirements are more complicated than they appear. First, despite popular belief, KVA (kilo-volt-ampere) is not perfectly equal to watts. There’s usually a tiny discrepancy that adds up as the power increases. Second, most devices require more power to start than to run continuously. For example, a refrigerator needs about 600 watts to run but could need more than double that to start.
The ideal solution for a dairy farm would be installing a powerful permanent diesel generator. The output ranges between 30KVA and 100KVA and can be strong enough to power most (or all) of your essential machinery.
Unfortunately, those generators have to be professionally installed and maintained and are beyond the scope of what we are discussing. To determine the best power generators to use as backup power on your dairy farm, we will be looking at generators that you can move around to provide power where you need it when you need it.
We would still like a generator to be as strong as possible, but within this context, anything between 10KVA and 20KVA will be sufficient.
The Best Power Generators For Your Dairy Farm
Now that we know what to look for, we can dive into the eight best power generators you can get for your dairy farm.
1) Westinghouse 12500 Watt Dual Fuel Backup Portable Generator
Westinghouse is a highly respected brand in generators and outdoor power equipment in general, and its 12,500-watt power generator is an incredible machine.
The first impressive point is that it uses two fuel types: gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LP gas). You can choose whichever you want to use, so if you don’t have petroleum to power the generator but you have a full LP gas canister, you can still make it work.
This generator has 120-volt and 240-volt outputs, so you can power your dairy farm equipment regardless of the required voltage. It also has an electric start, so there is no need for elbow grease to get it going.
The Westinghouse also has some built-in safety features to make it better for you, including overload protection, a low-oil shutdown function, and automatic voltage regulation. To improve matters even more, you can start it remotely, and it has a muffler to make the noise slightly more bearable.
An important point to remember with dual-fuel generators is that LP gas provides lower power output than gasoline. When you run the generator on gasoline, you will get 9,500 running watts and the full 12,500 peak watts, and on LP gas, that goes down to 8,500 running watts and 11,200 peak watts.
The most common complaint about the Westinghouse is that their customer service isn’t excellent. It can be a hassle to get a hold of their support department, and when you do, it’s often challenging to communicate the problem to them. However, if you have mechanical and electrical knowledge, you might be able to resolve issues yourself. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to call a technician.
Having said that, the quality of the generator is excellent, so problems are few and far between, and if you regularly service the generator, it should give you years of service with no issues.
- 9500 Running Watts and 12500 Peak Watts (Gasoline); 8500 Running Watts, 11200 Peak Watts (Propane); Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and Recoil Start; Up to 12 Hours of Run Time on a 6. 6 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge
- Features Two GFCI 120V 5–20R Standard Household Receptacle, One Transfer Switch Ready 120V L14-30R, and One RV Ready 120/240V 14–50R; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
- Powered by a Heavy Duty 457cc Westinghouse 4-Stroke OHV Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve With Automatic Low Oil Shutdown and Digital Hour Meter. VFT display gives you real time updates with the voltage output, frequency, and lifetime hours
- Plug-and-Play: Comes With a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
- All Westinghouse Portable Generators are Functionally Tested in the Factory and May Contain Minimum Residual Oil and/or Fuel Odor; EPA and CARB Compliant; Backed by 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage with Nationwide Customer Service Network
2) DuroMax XP15000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
DuroMax is not as well-known as Westinghouse, but it’s still a popular generator choice with many happy users. The XP15000EH is a powerful machine that delivers 15 KVA power in a portable frame with a powerful 713cc DuroMax V-Twin engine.
It is similar to the Westinghouse in many ways. It also has separate outputs for 120V and 240V and uses the dual-fuel configuration, giving you a choice between using gasoline or propane to generate power for your dairy farm.
The generator is classified as being portable, but the term is used rather loosely. It comes in a frame with wheels, so moving it short distances isn’t too complicated. However, it is extremely heavy, weighing in at approximately 380 pounds.
This means it will take at least two people to carry it around or load it onto a truck if you have to use it remotely. The sturdy wheels built into the frame will help, but only for short distances over relatively level ground.
15,000 VA is a lot of power, and there are very few pieces of equipment that it won’t be able to power, with 15,000 peak watts and 12,000 running watts. Air conditioning and refrigeration, or even high-amp power tools, will pose no challenge unless you connect too many of them simultaneously.
Yet again, users’ main concern is that DuroMax’s support is severely lacking. Though the generator performs well, it’s difficult to service with some non-standard parts, and trying to get help from DuroMax can be a pain at times.
On the other hand, DuroMax is based in California and has begun partnering with service centers around the United States to offer better support, so the company is working on improving its service levels.
With that in mind, this generator is an insanely good option to provide backup power for your dairy farm.
- POWERFUL DUROMAX ENGINE: The XP15000EH is Powered by a DuroMax 713cc DuroMax V-Twin Engine
- PLENTY OF POWER: With 15,000 peak watts and 12,000 running watts, this unit can handle heavy loads from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools
- DUAL FUEL TECHNOLOGY: This generator runs on gasoline or propane giving you the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice
- Fully Loaded Power Panel: The XP15000EH comes equipped with a digital multimeter that shows voltage, frequency, and hours run, and a wide variety of outlets (including a transfer switch-ready 50 amp outlet).
- LOW OIL SHUT-OFF: Protects your investment by automatically shutting the generator off when it senses that the oil is low
3) Generac 7403 22 KW Guardian Series Standby Generator
Generac is a power generator brand that people associate with extreme power, exceptional quality, and high price tags. They are hard to beat when it comes to robust generators that will handle a demanding load.
The Generac 7403 is a 22-kilowatt beast of a generator. It is air-cooled and runs on natural gas or LP gas, which doesn’t typically offer as much power as gasoline or diesel, making this one’s power output even more impressive.
It comes with all the features you would expect from Generac. It has protection against overloading and short-circuits while also including automatic voltage regulation, idle control, and auto shutdown.
Its fully enclosed design makes it perfect for placing in a semi-permanent position without ruining the aesthetics of your environment. This means it’s not entirely portable, though, so it’s only ideal to place it next to your barn or whichever area you want to provide backup power.
The Generac is not easy to install. Unless you have experience installing generators and know a lot about electricity, you should ideally get a professional to do the installation to avoid complications. However, once installed, Generac generators are known to work far longer than advertised if you regularly perform proper maintenance.
Generac generators are a sizeable investment, though. If you have enough budget to spend on a reliable and powerful generator, this is the one you want. But if you do, we must strongly emphasize two points:
- Professional installation is the way to go. There have been cases where installers did not install the transfer switch correctly, nearly causing fires in the process. Ensure that you get certified people with excellent reviews to do the installation for you.
- Read the warranty card very carefully. Some things are not included in the warranty, notably any service or repairs that must be done during emergencies like severe storms, and you will have to pay for such maintenance out of your pocket. So, to avoid future disappointment, familiarize yourself well with all the legal aspects of the warranty.
- Up to whole house protection with the 200 Amp, NEMA 3R (aluminum outdoor enclosure) smart switch
- Smart, User-friendly controls; Generac evolution controller features a multilingual LCD display that allows you to Monitor Battery status and track maintenance intervals to ensure your generator is always in top operating condition
- 240 volts supply
- Receive real time status updates
4) Westinghouse 15000 Watt Portable Generator
We have another Westinghouse on the list, but this is for those who need more than 12,500 watts. The Westinghouse 15000 Watt is a powerful machine that outputs 12,000 running watts and 15,000 peak watts. You have different output ports for 120V and 240V.
Like its smaller cousin, this Westinghouse generator also comes with an electric start, automatic voltage regulation, low oil shutdown, automatic idle control, and overload protection.
It’s also labeled as “portable,” but like others, that can be misleading. The generator weighs 352 pounds, but it is built into a frame with wheels and handles, so you can quickly push it around flat surfaces. Any lifting or movement over uneven surfaces may require two or more people.
This generator runs on gasoline, but its 713cc OHV V-Twin engine is very fuel-efficient, and the generator is entirely CARB ( California Air Resources Board) compliant.
The Westinghouse is great for power tools and heavy-duty equipment like the ones on dairy farms. But it’s important to note that it’s not necessarily ideal for sensitive electronics like TVs, computers, and smartphones because it has high total harmonic distortion. Since that could damage electronics, it’s best to only use the generator as a backup for your dairy farm equipment.
As before, the biggest problem plaguing this generator is the lack of support. It seems Westinghouse isn’t all that eager to answer client queries, and when they do, it can take a while to get the information you need.
With that in mind, when you buy, ensure that you purchase it through a reputable seller with excellent reviews. That way, you know that you have someone to help you fix the problem if something goes wrong.
Also, remember that the generator is quite loud, despite its muffler. So, when you use it for your dairy equipment, keep it somewhere far away to avoid disturbing the cattle.
- 12000 Running Watts and 15000 Peak Watts; Electric Start and Remote Start with Included Key Fob; Up to 11 Hours of Run Time on a 10. 5 Gallon Fuel Tank With Fuel Gauge
- Features Two GFCI 120V 5–20R Standard Household Receptacles, One 120V L5-30R Outlet, One Transfer Switch Ready 120V L14-30R, One RV Ready 120/240V 14–50R, and Two 5V USB Ports; All Outlets Have Rubber Covers for Added Safety
- Powered by the Ultra Duty 713cc OHV V-Twin Westinghouse Engine Featuring a Long-Lasting Cast Iron Sleeve With Automatic Low Oil Shutdown and Digital Hour Meter
- Plug-and-Play: Comes With a Remote Start Key Fob, 12V Battery Charger, Oil, an Oil Funnel, a Tool Kit, and a User’s Manual to Get You Started Right Out of the Box (Minimal Assembly Required)
- All Westinghouse Portable Generators are Functionally Tested in the Factory and May Contain Minimum Residual Oil and/or Fuel Odor; EPA and CARB Compliant; Backed By 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage and Nationwide Customer Service Network
5) DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
The XP13000EH is the little brother of the XP15000EH we looked at earlier. It has many of the same add-ons and features but is slightly less powerful, outputting only 13,000 peak watts and 10,500 running watts.
However, the generator is very efficient since it will give you an average of 17 hours of power on a full fuel tank. In addition, the 500cc engine can handle most of the urgent machinery you may have to power in an emergency.
The slightly lower power output results in a drastically lower price, which makes it ideal for budget-conscious dairy farmers who still need sufficient power. Depending on the size of your farm, the generator should be able to power your milking machines and possibly even some of your refrigeration systems.
This DuroMax model also has dual-fuel capability and can run on propane or gasoline, though propane will result in a slightly reduced power output.
Though the generator is excellent and will give you hundreds of hours of backup power, its manufacturing quality isn’t entirely on par with the rest. Perhaps it’s because the engine vibrates more than others, but bolts tend to slip out and get lost, so it’s a good idea to regularly re-tighten all the bolts on the faceplate or, better still, apply some Loctite to keep them in place.
Servicing the generator is also inconvenient because the oil drain plug is hidden at the bottom of the machine. It makes sense because that’s the best place to drain the oil, but since the generator weighs 234 pounds, you will probably have to use a jack to lift it off the ground to drain the oil safely. Not a problem, but an inconvenience.
Overall, the DuroMax XP13000EH is worth the money and will be adequate for most backup power requirements.
- POWERFUL DUROMAX ENGINE: The XP13000EH is powered by a 500cc OHV Duromax Engine. Engine Speed-3600 RPM. Wheel Diameter-10-Inches .With Gasoline : Peak Wattage - 13,000., Running Wattage - 10,500., Running Amperage at 120V - 87.5., Running Amperage at 240V - 43.75., Runtime at 25% Load - 17., Runtime at 50% Load - 8With Propane : Peak Wattage - 12,350., Running Wattage - 9,975., Running Amperage at 120V - 83.13., Running Amperage at 240V - 41.56., Runtime at 25% Load - 13., Runtime at 50% Load - 6Please read the detailed safety instructions in the manual before operating.
- DUAL FUEL TECHNOLOGY: The ability to run on Propane or Gasoline allows the Freedom and Flexibility of Fuel Choice.
- PLENTY OF POWER: With 13,000 starting watts and 10,500 watts, this unit can handle heavy loads from lights, refrigerators, home conditioners and high amperage power tools.
- MAXIMUM POWER: The power panel includes a wide selection of outlets for maximum compatibility in your applications including: 1 120/240V 50A heavy duty outlet, 1 120/240V 30A twist lock outlet, 1 120V 30A twist lock outlet, and 2 120V 20A household outlets.
- POWERING EVERYONE ANYWHERE: Like all DuroMax generators, the XP13000EH is EPA and CARB approved for use in all 50 states.
6) Pulsar G12KBN-SG Heavy Duty Portable Dual Fuel Generator
So far, this list is dominated mainly by DuroMax and Westinghouse generators because they are well-known and famous brands that have proven their mettle. But not everyone likes or trusts these two brands, so what alternatives do they have?
The Pulsar G12KBN-SG generator isn’t as well-known as the others, but it’s a powerhouse of a heavy-duty mid-power generator at a very affordable price. It’s rated at 12,000 watts of peak power and 9,500 watts of running power, so even though it’s not the most robust generator on the list and won’t take your dairy farm off-grid, it’s good enough to provide temporary backup power.
At first glance, you will notice that the Pulsar doesn’t look as clean and polished as the others with its far less striking matte grey color scheme. However, it seems heavy-duty and ready for work, which it is. It only weighs 209 pounds, so it’s considerably lighter than the others, and it also has wheels and flip-up handles to make it more portable.
The generator has a 457cc 4-stroke engine that can run on gasoline or LP gas, and the 8-gallon fuel tank will give you approximately 12 hours of running under an average load. It also has seven outputs that offer your choice of 120V, 240V, and 12V.
It’s a great generator in general, but it lacks a few of the features others have. Notably, it does not come with an electronic starter, so you must use a pull chord to get it running. A second disadvantage is that it lacks the sound-dampening that other generators have, so it’s considerably louder. You should definitely keep this one far away from your cows and run extensions for power.
For the most part, Pulsar’s support is excellent, and most people don’t wait long for replacement parts if things go wrong. If a company is that eager to provide support, you know it trusts its product.
- 12, 000 peak watts/ 9, 500 Rated watts (gasoline) & 10, 800 peak watts/ 8, 550 Rated watts (LPG)
- Dual fuel capability allows you to choose between gasoline & LPG fuel sources; great for emergency situations or natural disaster as LPG may be more readily available and easy to store
- The 457cc, single cylinder, 4-stroke, air cooled, OHV engine with electric start is protected by a durable powder coated frame
- A 8 gallon fuel tank gives you up to 12 hours of continuous operation at half load when running on gasoline
- (4) 120V 20A AC outlets, (1) 120V/240V 30A twist-lock outlet, (1) 120V/240V 50A outlet, (1) 12V DC output provide ample space for powering appliances, tools, and other devices
7) Powermate PM3800 Gas-Powered Portable Generator
The Powermate PM3800 is very different from others on this list. Whereas the other generators can power many of your dairy farm’s equipment, the Powermate is a generator that’s there purely to do remote work that requires electricity. If you need to run a pump or use a power tool temporarily, but there are no power outlets nearby, the Powermate PM3800 can help you do that.
The Powermate is a 3,800-watt generator that uses gasoline as its fuel source. You use a dial to start it effortlessly, even for a cold start, and the fuel tank allows it to run continuously for up to 21 hours if the load permits.
The generator is fully portable. It weighs 95.8 pounds, which is still a lot, but much less than the others, and you can use the included wheel-and-handle kit to make it easier to move. Powermate designed this machine so you can use it anywhere you need power, so the design was purposely manufactured to be as lightweight as possible.
Those concerned about the brand need not worry: Powermate generators are powered by Generac, so you get high-quality components, but Powermate offers its support, which has a much better reputation than Generac’s.
There are very few downsides to this generator. It is a lower-power model and not intended to power fridges or household appliances, though it can power a few things in a pinch. But it’s meant to be a workhorse, and if you keep that intended use in mind, the Powermate generator should give you years of service at an affordable price.
- Powerdial Recoil Start (Off/Run/Cold Start) offers three operation settings integrated into one simple-to-use dial.
- Large Capacity Steel Fuel Tank provides durability and up to a 21 hour run-time at 25% load.
- Powered by Generac 212cc OHV Engine provides consistent power for multiple applications.
- Ergonomic Frame for easy portability. Low-oil Level shutdown prevents engine damage.
- Fuel gauge allows users to keep track of gasoline levels. Covered outlets provide protection and keep out debris.
8) DuroMax XP10000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator
The DuroMax XP10000EH is the lowest-power DuroMax option on this list. It’s a dual-fuel generator that uses gasoline or propane, though your power output on propane will be slightly lower than gasoline.
Since this is very much an entry-level DuroMax generator, you have limited output options, but if you only need 10,000 watts at 120V, this generator is perfect. It will run many of your dairy farm’s machines without a problem as long as you don’t connect too many of them simultaneously.
In true DuroMax fashion, the generator is as portable as you can expect a 220-pound machine with built-in wheels and pop-up handlebars to be. Still, the XP10000EH is considerably easier to move around than its bigger siblings.
You shouldn’t buy this generator if you expect a powerhouse, but it is surprisingly powerful for its size. There have been issues with people getting the wrong wheel kits in the box, but since DuroMax is based in the USA, it’s not impossible to replace them, and such cases aren’t widespread.
The DuroMax XP10000EH is a competent generator if you know what you need to use it for. It probably won’t power an entire barn or all of your cooling equipment at once, but it is perfect and very affordable if you only need a backup system to power a few remote devices for a few hours.
- Plenty of Power – With 10,000 starting watts and 8,000 running watts, this unit can handle heavy loads from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools
- Dual Fuel Technology – This generator runs on gasoline or propane, giving you the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice
- Powerful Engine – The DuroMax 439cc OHV engine is a workhorse that provides plenty of power to handle multiple jobs, from powering high voltage appliances to heavy duty power tools
- Idle Control – Lowers the RPMs of the generator when not in use, saving fuel and reducing noise. Ideal on job sites where power is used intermittently
- MX2 Technology - Get the maximum power from each of the 120-volt receptacles. Choose between operating the generator at both 120V and 240V simultaneously, or at 120V only with full power. Ideal for usage with RVs
You still have options if you don’t have a fixed 50 or 100 watts generator for your dairy farm. The Powermate PM3800 is best for small jobs, but you will get the most power from the Generac 7403. The Westinghouse 15000 or DuroMax XP15000EH are high-powered options perfect for remote work. Depending on your needs, these are the best generators to have on your dairy farm.