The (surprisingly high) cost of running a diesel light tower

At Lind Equipment, we are big fans of design, and in particular, designing with our customers' needs at the top of the list.  So when we looked to be the first lighting company to design a light tower, we spent a lot of time with people just like you to learn what they liked and didn't like about the old diesel generator light towers.

Aside from the common concerns of initial cost, weight and smell of the generator, and the fragility of the bulbs, we heard a real sore point on the day to day cost of operating a diesel light tower.  As we dug deeper, we realized that this was a big deal that many people were not aware of.  Whether you rent or own your light towers, you'll want to pay attention to these not-so-obvious costs.  Since our Beacon LED Tower puts out the same light output as the diesel generator light towers, we'll compare these to the costs of running our Beacon LED Tower.


There is an obvious difference in the cost of running a 6KW (or more) diesel generator to power 4000W worth of bulb-based lights, and using a 1000W small suitcase gas generator to power 800W of Beacon LED lights.  You are simply using a lot more fuel that is more expensive per gallon/litre with the diesel generator light towers.  We calculated that you pay 4x as much in fuel consumption alone with diesel generator towers.  This number goes up to 20x the fuel costs if you plug in the Beacon LED Tower to external power rather than run it off a generator.

But the hidden cost of diesel generator towers came during the frequent refueling sessions.  There was a massive amount of labor time and jobsite disruption that came from refueling diesel light towers.  Often, the tower light would have to be towed off site as the diesel refueling truck couldn't go into the muddy site grounds.  Several trucks and people would be involved in monitoring and assisting with this whole process, which really ate into productive building time.  The Beacon LED Tower has a removable external gas tank that can be filled easily without having to move the unit or bring in external fueling trucks.  A quick change and you are ready to go again.


Our research in this showed that there were regular expected maintenance costs that exist with diesel generator light towers that just don't exist with the Beacon LED Tower, such as oil changes, filter changes, and bulb changes that can add up to thousands of dollars in a year.  But, like the fueling cost difference, there were other hidden differences that made operating a diesel generator light tower more expensive than the Beacon LED Tower.

The main driver was downtime.  The traditional bulb-based light towers draw so much power that you cannot operate them without the generator (hence why all traditional light towers are made by generator companies to sell generators!).  If something goes wrong in the engine of the generator, you have to take the entire unit down until it's repaired.  For a jobsite, this is a real pain as it delays productive time and causes projects to miss deadlines.  For a rental company, this outage is lost rental time, revenue, and ROI.  The Beacon LED Tower will not have any downtime, since if the small suitcase generator goes down, it can be taken out of the cabinet and easily replaced with another one right away.  Or, the light can be plugged into external power without seriously affecting the rest of the power on the jobsite.  Two Beacon LED Towers can be plugged into a 15A circuit, for example.

Multiple applications

The most hidden of costs from using a diesel generator light tower was due to having to use many different kinds of light around a jobsite because the traditional light tower was not versatile enough to be used in different areas.  Due to the weight of traditional light towers, they can't be moved around the jobsite easily from one spot to another.  Due to the diesel fumes and size of traditional light towers, they can't be used inside a building.  Due to the noise of the generator, they can't be used effectively for concerts, or near urban areas.  All of these restrictions mean increased labor, expensive workarounds, or the purchase of different lights for different applications.

The Beacon LED Tower is man-portable, whisper-quiet, and doesn't give off diesel fumes.  It is perfect to be used in many different applications, which saves a lot of time, money and hassle for construction sites.

Taken together, we saw an amazing opportunity to design our Beacon LED Tower from the lights down, avoiding all of these hidden costs that make diesel generator light towers so inconvenient.  Our community of Beacon LED Tower customers agreed, and it has made the Beacon LED Tower the success it is today.