Pros and Cons: Natural Gas vs. Diesel Generators

If you’re contemplating buying a natural gas vs. diesel generator, you likely have many questions about each one. To determine which generator in Alberta is best for your needs, let’s explore the pros and cons of each.

Natural Gas Generators

Common and efficient at generating power, natural gas generators can be used for both emergency and portable generators.


  • Cleaner than other fuels.
  • Less expensive than other non-renewable fuels.
  • Extremely efficient.
  • Lower emissions of sulfur, nitrogen and carbon dioxide in comparison with oil and coal
  • One of the cleanest burning fossil fuels.
  • No pungent odors, unlike generators powered by oil or diesel.
  • Helps to reduce costs when used to power homes and businesses.
  • Readily available in large cities due to the fact that it is directly delivered through pipelines.
  • No need to worry about fuel storage.



  • Supply of natural gas is disrupted during times of natural calamities, resulting in lack of fuel when you need it most. This is because it is supplied through gas pipelines.
  • Extremely explosive, resulting in a serious fire hazard if the pipeline bursts.
  • More expensive to run compared with diesel generators.
  • Emit more carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
  • It is a limited or non-renewable energy resource.


Diesel Generators

These generators are divided into two parts: a diesel engine and an electrical generator. They provide power to places that can’t access a power grid or they can act as a backup due to power outage. Diesel generators are very common as back-up units for emergency power supplies, used in large establishments as well as homes and small offices.


  • Cost effective overall, although more expensive than natural gas. However, you get more energy out of diesel.
  • Energy efficient.
  • Fuel efficient.
  • Provides a steady power supply, critical in places where one power outage could spell the difference between life and death, such as in hospitals.
  • Sturdy and reliable.
  • Lower in noise and heavy maintenance than in previous versions.
  • Does not require wires or spark plugs, which helps to cut maintenance costs.
  • Longer lifespan than a natural gas engine.
  • Less flammable than other fuel sources.



  • More expensive in comparison to other generators; however, they come with lower maintenance costs which can make up for the large initial investment.
  • They can be noisy, although new models are considerably quieter. In areas of dense population, could receive complaints about noise pollution from residents.
  • Bulky, with large and heavy components vs. smaller and lighter generators. As a result, they are not ideal for portability.
  • Considered to be a major pollutant.



When you have to choose between diesel and natural gas generators, you’ll have to answer these two questions:

  • What is the main purpose for needing a generator?
  • How much are you willing to pay for the unit?


The answers to these two questions will heavily determine which kind you go with.

Both natural gas and diesel generators have their advantages and disadvantages, but the right one for you will depend on your unique needs. There is no right or wrong answer. However, with the advancements of biodiesel, a much more environmentally friendly alternative to either of the above, we may be seeing even more diesel/biodiesel generators on the market.

Contact RLN Energy

We sell, rent and service both natural gas and diesel generators here at RLN Energy. To learn more, please contact us at 780-991-8575 or email us at randy@rlnenergyservices.com.


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