The best generator for an rv owner will give you the power you need while literally fitting into the RV lifestyle. However, there is no one size fits all solution, since different families have different power requirements. Let’s look at some of the best RV generators on the market for RVers. Here are our top six picks.Before going to review we will give you a proper buying guide line.
Best Generators for RV Buy Guide
Before you buy the best RV generator, you should keep a few things in mind. Here is our definitive guide on what you should include on your checklist.
Why do you need the generator?
If you’re shopping for an RV generator, you should purchase a unit with some modern elements that match the rustic outdoors. When you get to the campground, you want something you can use to charge electronics and mobile devices.
Fuel tank capacity
If you want a unit that can take you for a long camping trip, you should pay attention to the capacity of the generator. How much power do you need? How long do you plan to use the unit? And depending on the load to offer, you can adjust according to the engine capacity.
Do you need a generator that runs on fuel, propane, or diesel?
When you shop for an RV generator, you don’t want a unit that will disturb other people. Those with low noise levels can continue running at night without disturbing sleep. Another area you should pay attention to is the muffler. Does it contain the sound effects?
How much power do you need to run essential functions? In most cases, you’ll need a model that can power the AC unit, coffee maker, lights, microwave, outlets, etc.
After that, you should denote the volts or watts in such items. The total number of volts will depend on how many amps you run. If you need a unit to cater to your daily inconveniences, you should focus on a generator that offers 2000W.
To reduce the load of your generator, you should ensure the water heater and refrigerator has LP Gas Mode. Being the two appliances that consume lots of power, you can be sure you’ll save power in the long run.
Since every calculation is based on running watts, you ought to read the specifications of your appliances. But again, you should ensure the generator has enough surge watts.
If you’re running an AC unit, the large electric motor requires more starting and running watts. For RVs with multiple AC units, you may need additional starting watts.
Styles and sizes
One of the most important aspects when choosing an RV generator is portability. Will it fit comfortably in your RV? After all, a generator may be of no use if it just sits in the garage.
As you might expect, small generators are light but come with less power. Similarly, large units are heavier but give more power.
1.Suitcase style generators
These units are lightweight and can be carried with a handle. And because most of them can generate up to 2000W, they can keep up with your demands like refrigeration, lighting, running a furnace, and more.
A small generator, on the other hand, will have enough power to handle a microwave, hairdryer, coffee pot, etc. These units are an excellent choice for RV owners who want a quiet and fuel-efficient unit.
02. Dual suitcase generators
These units come with a parallel kit that gives double the power. And because they are light, you can find a room in your RV where they can fit with ease. For most RV enthusiasts, you can easily move 50 lb. generators. Trying to lift a generator can be a cumbersome process, especially for people with back problems.
03. Medium size generators
While medium-size generators may look like the suitcase counterparts, they differ in terms of power and portability. Depending on the model you choose, the running watts can be somewhere between 2000-3600W. Therefore, choosing between the two is a matter of flexibility and price.
04. Large generators
If you’re looking for a unit that can handle multiple appliances, a large generator can be a worthwhile investment. And because of their big tank, you can be sure you’ll get an excellent running time. The only challenge with such units is that they can be extremely heavy and loud.
When you go to the wilderness with a generator, you want to enjoy nature without external noise. If you have neighbors in your camp, this is something they will appreciate. A generator with 50 decibels can be quiet just like having a normal conversation. If it closes the 100 dB mark, it can be quite round.
Best Generators for RV Owners
Wen Brand Model 56225I 2250 Watt Generator
This gas powered generator will run as long as you have fuel. One reason it made our list is that it is CARB compliant. That’s the strictest environmental standard in the United States. It puts out relatively little noise and fumes. For example, its average noise output is around 53 dB. It is 19 inches by 12 inches by 18 inches, making it one of the smaller generators in this product category. It weighs roughly 50 pounds.
This unit has the unusual trait of burning off fuel in the carburetor before it shuts down. This reduces the amount of maintenance you need to do.
The unit has two 120 volt power plugs, one 5 volt USB port and one 12 volt DC plug for running RV appliances on. The built-in inverter allows it to deliver the clean, steady power necessary to safely recharge smart devices.
The generator seems dishonestly labeled. It is rated as a 2250 watt generator. This is rated for 1600 watts of continuous load. It can deliver 2000 to 2200 watts of surge power.
The gas tank is only one gallon. Expect to be refilling it regularly if you’re continually drawing power.
- Environmentally friendly
- Has a 12-volt port
- Can safely charge smart devices
- Really a 1600 watt generator
- Small gas tank
Westinghouse iGen 2000 Inverter Generator, True Timber Kanati Camo Model
This generator is rated for 1800 watts of continuous power and 2200 watts of surge power. It is gas-powered. It can be combined in parallel with other iGen generators from 2000 to 2500 watts. This requires a Westinghouse brand parallel cord.
What makes it unusual is the camo pattern on the generator. It will blend into the background, assuming it isn’t operational and making noise.
It weighs 46 pounds. That’s a little lighter than average. There are no wheels on the generator, but it has a built-in carry handle. You could carry it to your off-the-grid campsite. This may be the best generator for an rv owners who regularly go hunting.
This is a CARB compliant generator. It is more fuel efficient than average. With a 1.2 gallon fuel tank and economy mode, it could run up to twelve hours.
The unit has two 120 volt plugs for AC power and two USB outlets. It creates power with less than three percent total harmonic deviation. That makes it safe to charge smart devices.
Westinghouse has been making appliances for decades. Its quality has declined in recent years. These units sometimes fail to run smoothly, or key components may not screw in tightly. A more serious problem is the need to remove a side panel to change the oil or drain the carburetor. This means you have to nearly take it apart to do regular maintenance.
- Comes with a camouflage pattern
- Can be connected in parallel with other generators in this series
- Difficult to do regular maintenance tasks
03. Paxcess Portable Power Station, 330 Watts
This is another energy storage device that can take the place of a generator in some cases. It can deliver 110 volts AC, 12 volts, and USB power.
It has a built-in SOS light, as well. Note that the emergency light will work until the unit is completely dead.
It is supposed to have an MPPT solar charge controller built into the device. This generator does not come with solar panels, though it generally ships with the necessary connecting cables. It does have a charger that you can plug into the car charger port, though it charges slowly that way.
The unit is slower to charge than average, and it discharges rather quickly. It requires the same battery maintenance as a laptop battery; fully charge it every time if you want to make sure it can fully recharge in the future. Sometimes it has sat in storage so long at the retailer that you get one that can’t charge to more than 50 percent “out of the box”.
If the power capacity gets too low, the control screen may fail to come up and the unit refuses to work at all. It has trouble charging a smart device and running a small appliance at the same time.
- Capable of connecting to almost anything
- Comes with an emergency light
- Weaker than some of the competitors
Generac Model 7117 GP2200i Inverter Generator
This generator puts out 1700 watts of AC power at a steady rate. It can deliver 2200 watts of surge power. You can connect it in parallel with a similar generator by Generac, but the parallel connector kit is sold separately. Because it is an inverter generator, it should allow you to safely charge electronics.
This generator has a 1.2 gallon fuel tank. It has average to above average fuel efficiency, though it is not CARB compliant. It can run ten hours at a low load, also called economy mode. However, it may take several tries to start.
The unit has a built-in carry handle. This isn’t always as durable as you’d expect it to be. The noise level is fairly typical for generators of this size.
These units are not reliable. They may run rough right out of the box. This can result in poor power quality. In worst case scenarios, you see electrical shorts or metal rubbing on metal.
One of the biggest problems is changing oil. You have to tilt the unit on its side to drain the oil. This is messy and difficult to contain.
- Can be connected in parallel
- Fuel efficient
- Difficult to change the oil
- Hard to start
Champion Model 100692 2000 Watt Generator
The unit puts out 1700 running watts and 2000 starting or surge load watts. It can be connected in parallel with a similarly powered generator, but the required kit is sold separately.
At forty pounds, this is one of the lightest inverter generators in this product class. It puts out roughly 60 decibels of noise, so it isn’t louder or quieter than average. The eco-mode theoretically extends its operational life, but it sometimes only idles instead of producing 25 percent power.
This unit has two 120 volt 20 amp power outlets. The inverter built into the generator allows you to safely charge electronics. It also has a single 12 volt power port. Unlike many generators, these outlets have covers you can snap into place to prevent dust from accumulating in them.
The unit is unusual for being made to start nearly effortlessly, including in cold weather. It has standard safety measures such as a low oil shutoff. This is the best generator for an rv owner who often camps in the winter.
These units are affordable, but they’re not durable. They wear out within two years of regular use and a year of heavy use.
- Can be connected in parallel
- Made for cold-weather applications
- Short operational life
Jackery Brand Portable Power Station, Model Explorer 1000
This Jackery brand power station is not a standard gas-powered generator. It is designed to be charged via solar panels or powered up plugged into the wall at home, then releasing a steady stream of power when you’re out camping. It is actually designed for use with two 100 Watt solar panels. The unit has a built-in MPPT power controller and comes with the cable necessary.
Solar panels are extra. If you connect it to two compatible solar panels, it will recharge in around 8 hours. It can also be charged via your car’s 12 volt plug, though that takes 14 hours. It comes with a single car charging cable.
Because there are no moving parts, it only needs enough space for its energy-dense batteries. This is why it is around 13 inches by 11 inches by 9 inches. Because it isn’t burning fuel, it is safe to have inside of an RV living area.
The unit has two USB C ports and a quick charge 3.0 port. Furthermore, it has three AC outlets to let you run several appliances at once. Think blenders, an electric shaver or lights. It might run a single TV or mini-fridge for a few hours. It can also be used as a backup source of power in your home. Keep it fully charged, and it could be used to run an insulin fridge, radios or CPAP machine.
This energy storage device cannot meet the high load of the most energy-intensive appliances. For example, you can’t use it to run a microwave oven. Don’t use it with a hair dryer or induction cooker. It might run a basic hot plate.
The rare earth battery needs to be kept out of the heat if you want it to hold its charge. This means it needs to be kept in the shade and away from hot solar panels if you want it to deliver a steady stream of energy for several hours.
You need to fully charge it every time to avoid the battery chemically resetting to the point it cannot full recharge again. This is the best generator for an rv owners who need a steady, ten hour long power supply at night.
- Compatible with solar panels out of the box
- Safe for use inside of an RV
- Small and lightweight
- Can’t power high-powered devices
- Some ads make it seem like you get solar panels with it but you don’t
- Heat shortens its operating life
Where To Buy The Best RV Generator
Let’s face it: nothing beats the thrill of a new purchase. But that excitement can be a disappointment if you buy from the wrong retailer.
Shopping for the best RV generator doesn’t have to be tough – you can find a unit that meets the above requirements. This brings us to the question, where should you buy your RV generator?
No matter your location, you can’t go wrong with online shopping. Some of the perks that come with it are reliability and cost. Plus, the merchant factor in the shipping costs.
Amazon is arguably the largest online shop that offers the best services. It allows for multiple payment methods, discounts, and quick checkouts. Another benefit offered by the retailer is the fast delivery service.
Unlike most retail shops, Amazon keeps a better eye on its inventory. If you’re buying from third-party sellers, make sure the seller says something like ships from Amazon.
As you go through the listings, be sure to search for items sold by amazon. Generally, electronic items are better vetted and come with a generous return policy.
But there is some more good news – you get free shipping when you pay for Prime membership. Other retailers in the electronic segment usually have a hard time competing because of the low margin. Additionally, the retailers use comprehensive data like commerce, keywords, and pricing to ensure they meet the needs of every customer.
It’s no secret that Amazon focuses its resources on areas with the greatest impact. And because they always put their customers first, you can be sure you’ll find a unit that gives the best bang for your buck.
If you’re not sure about a specific product, you can check the customer reviews. And this is something you should not underestimate considering that some retailers manipulate their reviews. Rarely will you find a review that has been repeated, and that shows authenticity.
With Amazon, you can never be a victim of a scam when you shop from third-party sellers. You’ll never find anything fishy about the products and description. Furthermore, their images are of high resolution and are taken from a real product.
There are reasons why millions of shoppers visit Walmart every week. The retailer sells almost everything including, RV generators. The only area it lags in is delivery services. They offer free next-day delivery.
While eBay has continued to fight fraudulent practices on electronics, you can still buy an RV generator. But this should be your first option, especially if you have poor buying experience. Before you go there, you must have an idea of how much the item costs. To increase your chances of getting the right product, you can be sure you’ll get the best possible results.
Again, before you buy the product, you should look at the sellers’ feedback. If you have to buy your RV generator here, you should go for units with a high rating.
RV Generator Faqs
What size generator do I need to power my RV?
On average, you need a 3500-watt generator. The best generator for RV will depend on the appliances you wish to run. If you go for a small size, you may have trouble having running several appliances at once.
Some generators are built to be more powerful than the counterparts. You should also factor in the lightest and smallest generator you can find and the power output you need. Nowadays, we have portable generators so you won’t have trouble looking for something that suits your needs.
What is the best generator for a small RV?
The best generator for a small RV should be lightweight and easy to move around. Some of the best models include:
WEN 56310i Inverter Generator
This unit delivers 3100 starting watts and produces 57 decibels. It comes with a 1.85-gallon fuel tank that can run for seven hours on half load. If you turn to the economy mode, the unit will run longer.
WEN is also fitted with a TT-30R outlet, so you can power your appliances with ease.
If you want a generator that is easy to move around, you can’t go wrong with the GP3000i model. It offers starting watts of 3000 and can hold up to 1.06 gallons. The fuel tank can run for over 5.8 hours when at 25% load.
Briggs and Stratton P3000
This generator delivers over 3000W and gives a 25% load. And because of its lightweight design, you can move it with ease in your recreational vehicle. Briggs and Stratton feature powerful technology and runs more efficiently.
What size generator do I need for a 30 amp RV?
At a bare minimum, you need a unit that can generate up to 3600W (maximum wattage). But again, you should ensure you have enough power to run your appliances. That said, you should pay attention to the appliances you need.
To calculate the exact wattage, you should multiply the number of volts with amperage. It makes no sense to get a 5000W to power 30amp RV – the extra watts will be wasted. You can also break down the appliance by watts – microwave oven, AC, and RV refrigerator. Keep in mind, the starting watt must be higher than the running watts.
What is the quietest generator for RV?
Some of the generators that are rated as quiet include:
This generator produces 51.5 DB at 25% load, thanks to the US-approved spark arrestor.
Champion 3400W dual fuel generator
This unit is designed to run quietly, so you can hold your campfires without hitches. And it’s powerful to handle basic appliances with ease. When you switch to the economy mode, the unit will not only run quietly but also save fuel.
How big of a generator do I need for a 50 amp RV?
On average, you should select a 4000W-4500W generator for a 50 amp RV. But the exact power needs will depend on the appliances you use. If you’re running multiple appliances, your power requirements may exceed this number.
How do you choose enough wattage for your RV? First, you should clarify the starting watts and running watts for your appliances. To ensure you get the best fit, you ought to focus on the starting watts.
How many air conditioning units do you have in your rig? If you run a single AC on your RV, you’ll be fine with a 4000W generator. An additional AC unit will make your watts rise exponentially. Other appliances that draw lots of power include a microwave, refrigerator, and air-conditioning unit.
While you may be tempted to add the wattage to ensure a unit meets your rating, you may end up spending more money on a generator that you don’t need. When buying a 50 amp generator, you should consider the weight, fuel type, and noise output.
Is an inverter generator better for an RV?
Buying an inverter generator can make a big difference in your RV. Generally, these units utilize RV power and other important features. If you purchase a no-inverter generator, the power may not be enough for your output appliances.
But before you switch on your generator, you should think about the electronics you want to power. If you have high power demand, you should look for a bigger unit (comes at a higher price tag). You should also consider whether you plan to power your AC unit. Some of the best brands of inverter generators are Honda, Champion, and Sportsman.
Will a Honda 2000 generator run an RV air conditioner?
When camping out there, you don’t want to miss modern amenities like an AC unit. If you’re an experienced camper, you know how frustrating it can be to live in a toasty trailer.
Air conditioners require a lot of power to run and higher starting power. An average air conditioner in an RV should be about 2000 to 4000W. However, there are many factors to keep in mind when finding a generator that works for you. Every time you have multiple appliances than what a generator can handle, it will automatically turn off.
Another feature to note is the two-watt ratings. The maximum energy is what your appliances need to start the generator. Once the generator runs for a while, you can cut off the additional capacity.
But air conditioners differ from one manufacturer to the other. But again, you need a particular number of watts.
For instance, a 5000 BTU RV air conditioner requires 1100 starting watts and about 450 watts to run. If you want to go big, you can choose a 5000 BTU RV air conditioner. Such a unit requires 500-600W to run. With an increase in size, the starting watts will also increase.
Will a 2500 watt generator run an RV air conditioner?
Yes. An RV air conditioner will require 2000-4000W capacity. But again, there are lots of factors to consider when choosing the best unit. For the most part, you can use your appliances with a 2000W generator.
Every AC unit is different, so you require a specific number of startup watts. Most RV air conditioners have 13500 to 15,000 BTU units.
Each unit will require a specific number of running watts (lower than start-up watts). In general, the British thermal units refer to the cooling capacity of a specific unit. For instance, 15,000 BTU unit draws 3800 starting watts and 1300W.
But here is the thing – as you calculate the amount of power you need for your appliances, you ought to consider other appliances you wish to runs. A general rule of thumb is to start your appliances without connecting the load. More than anything else, you should connect your devices starting from the highest to lowest starting watts.
How loud is too loud for RV generator?
A generator that is over 75 decibels is considered too loud. The intensity of the sound is measured in decibels. A generator that runs at 60 decibels is ten times louder than units with 50 decibels. Any generator that runs at 68 decibels is neither too quiet nor too loud. This can be likened to the noise that comes from a central air conditioning system. Or the noise that can be heard a distance of 20 feet.
Best generator for rv air conditioner
Some of the best units for air conditioners include Generac 7127, DuroMax XP4400 dual electric portable generator, WEN 56475, and Westinghouse WGen6000. If using your AC unit is a high-priority load, the wattage is the determining factor for most AC units. Be sure to consider other things like electric heaters, appliances, and microwaves.
Another crucial aspect is portability and size. Some units are fitted with wheels for easy movement – this is not a standard feature.
All generators can only accommodate a specific amount of fuel. Whether you go for generators that run on diesel, gas, or propane, you should keep an eye on fuel efficiency. Is the generator quiet? If you have been camping, you know how frustrating it can be when your neighbor runs the generator all night. A low-profile generator will make a difference in your camping trips.
As with everything else, a budget is always the deciding factor when searching for a generator. If you want a model that can handle more than the average unit, you should expect to pay more. The above unit will power your AC units and beyond.
Best generator for RV with 2 AC
The best air conditioner should at least 4000W and more. If you plan to run two appliances, you should also consider other power needs. For some, you may choose to turn them off.
If your generator uses 1800 starting watts and running watts of 650, then you allocate the remaining watts to the rest of the appliances. Think about other items like powering your microwave and other appliances. Some of the models that don’t compromise performance are Generac 7127 iQ3500-3500, DuroMax XP4400EH, and WEN 56475.
Diesel vs. gas vs. propane which is the best generator for an rv?
The toughest task for RVers is whether to choose propane, diesel, or gas-powered units. Each has its pros and cons, so you can select the generator that suits you best.
A major concern when choosing your unit is the availability of fuel. If you’re looking for convenience, you should go for diesel and gas models.
The second important consideration is fuel efficiency. A diesel generator is also cost-effective and dependable. And in case of any troubleshooting repairs, a diesel mechanic can offer regular service.
But the downside with diesel generators is the high cost. To determine how much you’re willing to part with, you should consider how often you’ll be using your RV.
Fuel is another factor to keep in mind, but it will depend on the geographical location. When the diesel prices are low, then it will cost less to operate the unit.
How about the fumes and noise level? Diesel generators emit lots of noise and fumes than the propane counterparts. But again, the noise level will depend on where you place your RV.
Propane-powered generators cost less and will save you money in the long run. And specific models have more power than gasoline-powered models.
What is the best portable generator for an RV?
One of the top coveted models is Yamaha EF2000iSv2. Despite the high price tag, it’s powerful, quiet, and has the lowest emissions available. The second most sought-after model is WEN 56200i portable generator. Weighing in at 48 pounds, this model performs at similar decibels as Yamaha and is half the price of comparable models.
Another portable model is Honda EU3000iS. It’s the quietest in class and comes with optional wheels to enhance maneuverability. The Champion 75531i also has the characteristics you would find in Honda and Yamaha.
What makes the best portable generator? You should pay attention to emission ratings. The higher the number, the higher the likelihood it’s made from quality products. The warranty period also matters. Champion generators come with a 3-year warranty, a sign of quality craftsmanship.
But does this mean that you should go for cheap models? It’s all about how you use the generator.
What is the quietest generator for RV?
The quietest RV generators will operate without that disturbing noise running from the background. That said, the quietest generator is Honda EU2200iTAG – no wonder it’s the best-selling unit on Amazon. It’s compact, lightweight, and comes with a convenient carrying handle. When you switch to the eco-mode, the generator will be whisper quiet.
Another perk offered by this model is fuel efficiency. Honda comes with a gas tank and easy to start pull cable. While the noise level for this generator will ramp up as you add load, the unit remains quiet.
WEN56203i portable Inverter is also the best generator for RV that is quiet. At 25% load, the noise levels rated at 51db – you can have a quiet conversation at home. It’s also safe to plug in your laptop or phone without damaging it. And when you switch to the eco-mode, the noise level goes down, not to mention, you can adjust factors like the load.
Champion 4000W RV-ready generator is 50% quieter than the traditional 3500W model. At 25% load, the noise level is rated at 65 decibels. Weighing 85 pounds, the generator is lighter than comparable models. Another benefit that comes with this unit is that it generates more power. And with the 2.9-gallon tank, you expect an incredibly long running time.
What is the best generator for a small RV?
The best portable generator for your RV is the Champion 3500W Dual Fuel generator. Depending on your needs, you can choose to use gasoline or propane. And this is a great feature, especially when you want to keep the fuel costs down.
But the reason why Champion is the best generator for RV is that it offers 3500 watts when using gasoline and 3200W when using propane. Besides, the generator offers a larger fuel tank. At a quarter load, you can run the generator for up to 14.5 hours. Some of the few perks that come with the generator include easy to use control panel and parallel capability.
Briggs and Stratton P3000 can also be a good alternative. It comes with a large fuel tank and can run for up to 10 hours on full load. As a person who knows the appliances they are working on, you’ll get alerts every time you overwork the generator.
Since the P3000 model is designed for small appliances, the generator offers parallel capability. With the recommended connector kit, you can connect two units to run your air conditioner.
Another favorite option for campers is the Ryobi 150W inverter generator. It’s a good option for RVers who need a unit to power the lights and other small appliances. Since this generator won’t power large appliances, you should ensure that you don’t overload the electrical system.
How long can you run a generator in an RV?
The safest length of time you can run your RV is 8-20 hours – this will depend on the model. The build-in RV models can run for a couple of hours to a few days.
Another important aspect is the fuel tank and wattage. What do you want to power? For portable generators, you expect 10-13 hours.
Here is the thing – whether you’re visiting the park or boondocking, there are times when you won’t need power. That’s why you should be clear about how long you expect the generator to run to ensure you get the best from the camping trip.
Portable generators can hold 1-10 gallons of fuel. Other units run with either gas or propane. While propane burns efficiently than gas, you can decide on how much power you get per gallon.
Propane generates more power than gas-powered models. If your generator is powered by propane, you expect less running time. But again, this will depend on the type of RV you intend to run. If you need to power the refrigerator and a few lights, the wattage will determine how quickly you use the fuel.
The best RV generator for your family will power your family on or off the grid. It will eliminate the concerns you may have while improving your family’s safety.