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Air Cooled Vs Liquid Cooled Generators - Which is Best?

A generator is an easy investment for your home, but choosing which one (liquid cooled or air cooled) is a more difficult decision. Cooling is a very important factor to consider when choosing which generator to buy. This feature is what keeps your generator from overheating and that is a safety feature that you just don’t want to skimp on. You can easily spend too much money on a generator with a cooling system that you may not necessarily need when you could save the money and use a generator that does what you need it to do for a lesser price. 

Let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages of liquid and air cooled generators

Air Cooled Generators

According to our trusted brand, Generac, “air-cooled generators come with engines that use fans to force air across the engine for cooling.”


Air cooled generators are often used for homes and appliances because they are less expensive and can run electricity to the majority of a home whenever the power goes out. If a jobsite is small enough, or only up and running for a short amount of time, an air cooled generator is a perfect choice.

An air-cooled generator is typically used for a need of power between 8 and 20 kilowatts. The smaller the use of power, the more likely you are to only need an air cooled generator.


Air cooled generators are typically the easy choice when it comes to which one is the easiest to maintain. The air cooling process has zero mess and is easy to maintain. If you are looking to power a store or a small business, this would be an ideal choice based solely on the mess-free maintenance. 

So what exactly do you need to do? Be sure to check the oil levels and make sure the battery is running properly.

It truly doesn’t get any easier than that.


When comparing it to a liquid cooled generator, an air cooled generator is quite a bit louder than the latter. Just as if you were to turn a fan on, you would be aware of the sound that it makes. The sound of the fan running may be something that you can temporarily look past in order to save money. However, if you’re looking for a generator that is going to be used all the time, you may want something that is a little quieter. Or your neighbors may want you to have a quieter generator, at least

Liquid Cooled Generators

According to Generac, “Liquid-cooled generators use enclosed radiator systems for cooling, similar to an automobile.” in other words, a liquid cooled generator is a generator that is cooled down by using oil or other coolants that keep the temperature low.


Liquid cooled generators are similar to vehicles in the way that they keep from overheating. They are typically used for situations that require more power. For example, a large business that needs a backup commercial generator,such as a grocery store, hospital, warehouse etc., or a home that is much larger than an average home and needs to be fully operational in the event of a power outage.

It is important to consider how many kilowatts of power you will need when buying a generator. Liquid cooled generators work for 25 – 60 kilowatts of power, meaning larger jobs or buildings. You don’t want to be in a situation where you need a liquid cooled generator but only have an air cooled generator. And likewise, you don’t need to spend the money on a liquid cooled generator but only need the power of an air cooled generator.


Maintaining a liquid cooled generator is a little more messy and time consuming than an air cooled generator. Some things you will need to do are check the levels of antifreeze, be sure that all cooling lines are running properly, and double check all connections. You do not want to just forget about your liquid cooled generator for a long period of time. Be sure to check your owners manual, or set up regular maintenance with your local Northside Power technician.


Compared to air cooled generators, a liquid cooled generator is going to be significantly quieter. The sound they produce can be confined by the space that it is stored in. Most liquid cooled generators are backup generators that are located outside and cannot be heard. While the comfort of a quieter generator is often appealing, be sure that the price is justifiable for your needs.

We hope that this helps you understand the difference between air cooled and liquid cooled generators. If you are still not sure which one is best for you and your needs, we can run a power assessment and help you decide which one will best suit your needs. Give us a call today at (501) 315-7213 or fill out this form and we will be with you shortly.