Top Generators and Generator Alternatives in 2024

Roaming Hunger Survey: We asked our food truck vendors what they look for in a generator, if there are any great generator alternatives, and what their top brands are going into 2024. Read below to find the next great addition to your food truck, trailer, or pop-up!

Finding a once-in-a-generation kinda generator for your food truck or trailer can feel daunting. So, we surveyed our network to see what they had to say about the generators (or their alternatives) that work best for their business. From over 55 responses, we’ve highlighted responses from three of our vendors below, and gathered the brands that survey respondents love the most.

Technology is always changing, new brands are always popping up, and preferences change over time based on necessity. Vendors often need to roll with the punches (get it…cause…wheels!), so their unfiltered thoughts on the things that help their food truck run — literally — are what matter to us most.

First…What are the Different Types of Generators?

Inverter Generators:

This type of generator is driven by an alternator, and generates cleaner, sustainable power. They tend to be quiet, light, and convenient. While they often supply less power, they are less expensive in the long-run.

Portable Generators:

These generators run on gas and utilize on-board alternators to supply power. People often think of these as “traditional generators.” They produce more power, are pretty low cost, but tend to be heavy and louder.

Built-In Generators

If you build your own food truck with Roaming Hunger, you can have a built-in generator included in the design of your  truck. They’re great for bigger trucks and trailers and fit inside a customized compartment. They are the most powerful, but aren’t great for small mobile kitchens.

Reliability Is Key

Kohler makes a great generator due to its reliability and power production.” said food truck vendor Rocket Diner 321. “Generators from Harbor Freight are a bit cheaper if you get them with insurance, as that makes them considerably cheaper to repair. We keep the Harbor Freight generator in the back of a pickup truck in case our onboard generator goes out on our way to an event.”

The Florida-based food truck went on to note that warranties are very important as they’ll prevent you from having to pay more should anything go wrong with the product you purchased. They also recommend that you find a great mechanic who can give you their opinion on generators, as they are who you’ll be seeing most often when any part of your truck goes awry.

Their tip: Use your generator regularly as it’s like any other engine. Check its fluids, don’t run out of fuel, and have a system set up so you know when to fill it up.

Power Power Power

“Invert generators are the best! They’re quiet and compact, you can’t ask for more,” said Christopher Carpenter, owner of The Fried Kitchen based in The Bronx, New York.

His biggest worry when researching food truck generators is whether it will have enough wattage to run everything he’s got going on at his gourmet chicken n’ waffle sandwich pop-up. Just like our friends at Rocket Diner 321 above, Christopher keeps a spare generator around in case of emergencies. Don’t wanna show up to an event ready to sling some savory sandwiches and end up with no power.

Roaming Hunger Survey Says: Top 2 Generators loved by our food truck vendors are ONAN & HONDA

Also recommended: Westinghouse (fuel efficient), Harbor Freight (great warranty), and Predator Inverters (extremely quiet)

Research Is Your Friend

“Load capacity, life expectancy, and noise level are what we most look for when buying a generator,” said Jeff Sauvageau of the Massachusetts-based Savage Wraps truck. “We’ve found that Predator Inverters are great. They’re very quiet and allow us to hear our guests and employees much better. Also, the fuel efficiency is excellent and minimizes the amount of times we need to fill it up each year.”

Almost every single one of our vendors who responded to our survey mentioned noise as something they are concerned over. A loud truck is sure to not only give you a raspy voice but also can deter customers from staying in line or coming back.

Jeff also said, “I’ve had trouble with extremely loud generators, but also with air flow due to all the carbon from the exhaust.” One great piece of advice he has is to wait… if you’re unsure, just wait another few days, do more research, and make the best choice for you. “Better to take an extra day in making a decision than lose multiple business days because your generator breaks.”

Ain’t that the truth!


Roaming Hunger Survey Says The Top Alternatives To Traditional Generators Are

– Solar power (many owners are looking to this for the future…especially those in the Sun Belt)

– Propane gas

– Batteries (shout out to Irene’s Ice Cream & Cones for going electric with their 4 deep cell batteries, inverter, and battery charger)

Share your thoughts on your favorite food truck generators!

Take The Survey!