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Air Cooled Vs Liquid Cooled Generators

July 28th, 2020
When deciding what kind of generator you need for your Arkansas home and business, there are multiple factors to consider. Many people don’t even realize that generators have different cooling systems, but they do. Your options are air cooled and liquid cooled generators. Which one is the best for you is dependent on a few factors, such as what you are using the generator for, and how much money you want to spend.

When using a generator, a large amount of heat is produced and can cause overheating, or even fire. That’s why they need a cooling system that is built in to make sure that the engine isn’t damaged, and your home or business stays safe.

Northside Power is the expert when it comes to all things generators. If you don’t know which generator is best for you, you can always give us a call!

Air Cooled Generators

Air cooled generators are most often used when you need less power. Their power level typically ranges from 8 to 20 kilowatts. Basically, this type of generator is just cooled down by use of air flow. It is like an internal fan that keeps the engine from overheating.

Uses for Air Cooled Generators

Air coolers are mostly used in situations where you don’t need a ton of power. Think, a backup generator during storms for your family home. Or even when you’re watching the Hogs play at your tailgate. An air cooled generator would be your likely option here. Food trucks also use air cooled generators a lot of times because they only need to power a small area for a small amount of time.

Pros of Air Cooled Generators

Air cooled generators are great for many reasons. A few of the best reason to use a generator with this type of cooling system are :

  • They tend to be easier when maintenancing 
  • They are less expensive than a liquid cooled generator
  • They are easy to use
  • You don’t have to buy coolants for your generator

Cons of Air Cooled Generators

As with all things, there are a few downsides to using an air cooled generator. 

  • They are loud
  • They are more likely to overheat than a liquid cooled generator
  • They wills to working if the temperature rises
  • Typically get 1500-3000 hours of use out of them


Air cooled generators can become pretty loud and some people find that irritating. They also have to be approved in many HOA neighborhoods because of the “noise disturbance” they may cause.

Liquid Cooled Generators

If you’re powering up a large building, liquid-cooled generators are probably the way to go. These generators are cooled, like they sound, with liquid. An oil or coolant is used to maintain temperature levels and keep them from overheating. When the engine gets hot, the heat transfers to the coolant. The coolant flows to the radiator and is then cooled by air. Anything that requires 25 to 60 kilowatts of power is going to be a liquid cooled generator.

Uses for Liquid Cooled Generators

Liquid cooled generators are used for large buildings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. If you are the owner of an industrial building or business, you want to go with a liquid cooled generator. If your home is larger than the average, you would want this type of generator as well to make sure that it has the power to cool or heat your home in case of an emergency.

A few other places that would want to use a liquid cooled generator are offices, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Pros of Liquid Cooled Generators

Liquid cooled generators are a great option for many different reasons. If you are weighing your options, here is why you should buy this style generator. 

  • They are effective and powerful
  • Much quieter than air cooled generators
  • More durable
  • They are THE option if you need to power something large
  • Typically get 7000-10,000 hours of use out of them


Cons of Liquid Cooled Generators

Just like with the air cooled generators, with pros come cons as well. A few reasons you may decide against a liquid cooled generator are because

  • They require more maintenance
  • You need to know how to check lines, connections, and potential leaks
  • Leaks can happen
  • They are significantly more expensive than an air cooled generator

Which One is The Best?

When asking yourself, “well which one do I choose then?” We want to make sure you have all of the information you need. What is your budget and what are you needing to use your generator for? If you are looking for a backup generator or your home, or you plan on using this for tailgates, food trucks, and backyard lighting, you will most likely want to go with the air cooled generator. You will save money and the hassle of maintenance.

Now, if you are powering a large, industrial building you need to go with the liquid cooled generator. They are more expensive, and require more maintenance, but they will get the job done and you won’t be disappointed. Larger homes should also use a liquid cooled generator. 

If a smaller generator works for your needs, save the money and go that route. But on the other hand, you don’t want to spend the money on an air cooled generator to realize you needed a larger, liquid cooled generator in the end.

No matter which you choose, talk to the experts at Northside Power to walk through all of your options and discuss all of your generator needs. Generators aren’t just something we do, it’s ALL we do.