Should I get Diesel or Propane (LP) Generator?

When making a large ticket purchase like a Winnebago View or Itasca Navion from Winnebago Industries one of the main question we get is, “What will work better for us the diesel generator or the propane?”

There are two types of Onan generators offered by Winnebago Industries inthe Winnebago View and Itasca Navion line up.  The most common one is the 3600 Watt Cummins Onan Propane generator.  All Mercedes Benz Sprinters that are offered by Winnebago Industries have a standard 13 gallon propane tank to power the generator.  The burn rate for the propane generator is .6 gallons an hour on full consumption @ ½ load and .7 gallons and hour at full consumption @ full load.  The 3600 Watt Onan Propane generator weight 172 pounds and .2 decibels quieter then the diesel generator.

The other generator option offered by Winnebago Industries in the Winnebago View and Itasca Navion line up is the 3200 Watt Onan Diesel Generator.  The diesel generator is powered by ¾ of your diesel fuel tank which is 26.4 gallons.  Which means you have just about 20 gallons of diesel fuel to power the generator when you fuel tank is full.   The burn rate for the Onan diesel generator is .3 gallons an hour fuel consumption @ ½ load and .4 gallons an hour fuel consumption @ full load.  The 3200 Watt Onan diesel generator weighs 205 pounds and is slightly louder than the propane generator.

When deciding between the Onan Propane Generator and the Onan Diesel Generator the best thing to do is to ask yourself how you’re planning on using your new RV?  If you know you’re going to be using your View/Navion for traveling and being plugged in most days/nights then there’s no reason to spend the extra money to upgrade to a diesel generator.  If you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum and do a lot of dry camping and you know you will using your Onan Generator quite a bit then justifying the extra thousands of dollars would make sense to you.  If you are a previous owner of an RV one of the best ways to judge what type of Onan Generator you will need is to look at how many hours you have on your generator.  If notice you have a lot of hours and I mean hundreds of hours then you might want to consider a Diesel generator.  If you have very few hours on your generator then you would want to consider the 3600 Watt Onan LP Generator.

Below is a table to easy reference some of the differences between the 3200 watt Onan Diesel Generator and the 3600 watt Onan Propane Generator


RV QG 3600

RV QD 3200

Rated Output 3600 Watts 3200 Watts
Weight 172 lbs 205 lbs
Size= LxWxH 30 x 19.7 x 14.4 30.2 x 17.3 x 18
Muffler Internal Internal with External Spark
Sound 66 dB (A) @ 10 ft 68 dB(A) @ 10 ft
Fuel LP Diesel
Fuel Consumption @ ½ Load 0.6 gal/hr 0.3 gal/hr
Fuel Consumption @ Full Load 0.7 gal/hr 0.4 gal/hr