);

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Generator For RV's Reviewed

Experience home-like convenience and comfort while on the road with these top brands!

by JohnL

There is nothing worse than heading out for a nice week-long road trip in your RV, pulling into the campsite for the night, and finding there is no electricity. There are thousands of scenarios where you will find that your RV is without power, and there is a simple solution - RV generators.

RV generators come in all shapes, sizes, and capabilities, and here at Probably Interactive, we want to show you the best generator for your RV. We have compared, rated, and reviewed dozens of models to bring you the 10 best RV generators.

Image

Product

Runtime

Power Output

Check Price

Champion 3500-Watt

Q Acoustics 3050

9 Hours @25% Load

4000 Starting/3500 Continuous Wattage

Yamaha EF3000iSEB, 2800 Running Watts/3500...

Yamaha EF3000iSEB

17 Hours @25% Load

3500 Starting/2800 Continuous Wattage

Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series...

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

10 Hours @25% Load

3000 Starting/2600 Continuous Wattage

No products found.

Champion 3100-Watt

8 Hours @25% Load

3100 Starting/2800 Continuous Wattage

Honda 660270 7,000 Watt Super Quiet Portable...

Honda Eu7000is

18 Hours @25% Load

7000 Starting/5500 Continuous Wattage

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable...

Champion 100263

7.5 Hours @25% Load

3400 Starting/3100 Continuous Wattage

Generac 7129 GP3000i Inverter Generator

Generac 7117 GP3000i

5.8 Hours @25% Load

3000 Starting/2300 Continuous Wattage

Pulsar 4,000W Portable Gas-Powered Quiet Inverter...

Pulsar PG4000iSR

17 Hours @25% Load

4000 Starting/3500 Continuous Wattage

Westinghouse WGen12000DF Ultra Duty Portable...

Westinghouse WGen 12003

18 hrs @25% Load

6600 Starting/5300 Continuous Wattage

MAXOAK Power Station 500Wh Solar Generator Bluetti...

MAXOAK Power Station 500Wh

Varies based on use

500 Starting/300 Continuous Wattage

How Do RV Generators Work?

I could write a 20-page eBook on how a generator works, the various types of fuel supply, and the benefits of a portable generator versus a built-in unit. However, that is not the main reason you are here, so I will keep it brief. A generator uses fuel (gas, propane, diesel) to run a small motor. An electric starter cranks the motor, and when running, the motor will turn a shaft. Think about a car engine, but on a much smaller scale.

Instead of the shaft cranking over pistons, it spins a small wheel of wrapped and woven wires. These wires spin inside another much larger wrapping of wires. If you know about electromagnets, then you can probably picture it. As the shaft and small wire wheel spin, it creates electricity that is stored in the larger wire wheel. This wheel is also on a shaft, but it doesn’t spin. Instead, connectors and wires are attached to the shaft, which ends at an outlet, plug or adapter.

By using the plug or adapter, you draw the electric energy from the large wire wheel to power the device you plug in. Now, obviously, there is a lot more going on inside the generator than all of that. Still, you should be able to get the basic picture and understand how a gas-powered motor can create usable electricity.


Benefits of Using Generators In An RV

A lot of modern motorhomes will have a generator built-in. They tap into the same fuel tank that the motorhome uses (with a safety shut of when the tank reaches ¼ full). Portable generators are louder than these built-in units, and when you are driving a motorhome, a portable machine may not be the best option for you.

However, any RV, 5th wheel, or towed camper won’t have a built-in generator because there isn’t a fuel tank to supply it with gas. For these, a portable generator is the best option. When you select the right generator for your power needs, you will find many benefits to owning and using a portable generator.

  • Hot water for showers.
  • The use of a heater or air conditioner.
  • Cooking on an electric stove.
  • Watching television.
  • Charging your electrical devices.

The list goes on and on, but I think you get the idea. With a portable generator, you can travel in comfort and arrive at your destination fresh, showered, and ready to adventure. Isn’t that the point of an RV?


Choosing a Reliable RV Generator

You don’t want to just pop online or to a store and pick up the first generator you find. There are a lot of factors that go into selecting the right RV generator for you. Below, I explain the prominent features you should consider before you buy.

Power Requirements/RV Power Needs

Before you can just pick up a generator, it needs to match your power requirements. There is no need to shell out good money for a generator that will only power half of the items you need it for. Make a list of everything that requires electricity in your RV, add in things you will bring with you on your trips, such as cell phones, tablets, etc.

Once you have the list of powered items, get a tally of the required input in both watts and amps. Use these two numbers to match the output of the generator you are deciding on. If the numbers are larger for the output, you will be good to go.

Power Output

Most generators will have two readings for their output. You will see the running watts (also called rated watts), and the starting watts (also called peak watts). The starting/peak watts should be ignored. Very rarely will your generator provide a wattage output that matches this number.

Instead, focus on the running watts. If there are two wattage numbers listed and they aren’t labeled (such as the packaging saying “5500/6200 watts”), the lower number is the running wattage. Make sure the running watts output is greater than your required wattage needs.

Build Quality/Construction

You want your portable generator to last a while. Paying a little more for quality build materials and construction will go a long way towards your peace of mind. You don’t want to worry when you get down the road if your generator will start or run for very long. A high-quality machine will last you several years or more and will start every time.

Fuel Type/Efficiency/Consumption

Another thing to think about is how you want your portable generator fueled. The three most common are gasoline, diesel, and propane. There really isn’t a difference in operation from one to the other, so the one you are most comfortable with is the right choice. However, it is easier at the gas station if you use the same fuel as you do for your car or truck, you can fill them both up in the same transaction, saving you time.

There are also solar-powered and dual-fueled options available for you to consider. These are great alternatives, depending on your situation. I will explain more about the fuel types later on. What you do want to pay attention to, though, is the consumption rate or efficiency rating. The higher the efficiency rating, the less fuel it will use to run and produce electricity. This may not matter during your initial purchase, but in the long run, this single number could save or cost you thousands.

Operating Noise/Noise Level

There is no getting around the fact that portable generators are loud. Because they are burning fuel, you can’t run them inside the RV, either. Make sure you check the noise ratings (measured in decibels – dB). The lower the decibel rating, the better (especially for your campsite neighbors).

Maneuverability/User-Friendly Features

A portable generator will still be heavy. They are large and bulky, for the most part. Make sure the unit you decide to purchase has a rolling cart, wheels, and handle, or some other form of easy transportation. You really don’t want to carry these things back and forth.

Most of the models on our list below have a lot of added features. When looking over the features, make sure you understand them, how they work, and what they are for. There is no point in buying a machine you don’t understand how to operate or take advantage of features you could otherwise use.

Price & Warranty

Finally, the price and your budget will determine the tier of generator you can afford. Try to stay within your budget. You will also want to look at the warranty information. Most will require you to register online, mail in a card, or maintain proof of purchase for the duration of the warranty period.

Once you buy and unpack your new generator, registration and warranty cards should be the first thing you take care of.


10 Best RV Generators Reviewed

1. Westinghouse WGen 12003

Our Top Pick!

Fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

23.3 x 17.5 x 21.3 inches

Weight

107 Lbs.

Runtime

18 @25% Load

Noise Level

69 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

6600 Starting/5300 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

3-year warranty on parts, construction, and motor.

The best generator for RVs overall is the Westinghouse WGen 12003. This model produces an incredible 6600 starting/peak watts to kick off all of your major appliances. When running, the wattage will settle at around 5300 watts to keep your air conditioner, refrigerator and small appliances running through the night.

The WGen 12003 weighs 107 pounds but comes mounted on two large, rubber wheels for easy transporting. The 4-stroke Westinghouse engine pushes 274ccs of power on a 4.7-gallon tank. It will run continuously for 8 hours, supplying you with all the power you need. Maintenance is simple, and cleaning the generator is a breeze. The engine needs very little attention, and oil is easily changed in just a few minutes. This model does use a manual choke to start, and a manual recoil pull-start.

If you don’t use the included transfer switch, you can plug in directly to the generator. It is equipped with two 5-20R 120v outlets and a single TT-30 30amp outlet. When needed and when under a 25% load, the engine can power the unit for up to 20 hours. If you need to run it longer than 20 hours, you will need to shut the generator off and allow the engine to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Pros

  • Power selection between 220, 110 or 110 & 220 volts.
  • Wheeled chassis is easy to transport.
  • Low-oil shut off to prevent damage to engine.
  • 6600 peak watts for quick start up of appliances.

Cons

  • Can be loud when running, especially during accessory start-up
  • Glass fuses tend to pop under load at times.

2. Champion 46539

Champion 3500-Watt

Champion 3500-Watt

Best Portable Generator For RV Camping

Fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

22.8 x 22 x 30.7 in

Weight

140 Lbs.

Runtime

9 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

68 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

4000 Starting/3500 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

3-year limited warranty and lifetime tech support.

Champion brings you the best portable generator for RV camping that money can buy. This little beast produces up to 4000 watts to power your RV air conditioner or other appliances. You can wake up to a hot breakfast on your electric stove and then watch TV with the heater on.

In cold weather, the Champion 46539 shines. It comes with built-in cold start technology that prevents motor freezing and enables a quick start-up every time. With electronic starting, you don’t have to stand there yanking a ripcord for hours.

You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your RV, either. This little guy has a remote start fob that lets you crank on the power from up to 80 feet away. The Champion 465539 is a gasoline-powered generator and has the noise level to back it up. Even in a small package, the 68dB rating may be too loud for a peaceful sleep at night. You can use the transfer switch or plug directly into the generator to bring you the comfort and choices you may need at any given time.

Along with a 3-year warranty, you will also receive lifetime technical support from Champion. If you ever have any questions or concerns, you can call Champion for expert advice and troubleshooting, no matter how long ago your purchase was.

Pros

  • Remote start (up to 80 feet)
  • Transports easily for storage and quick setup.
  • Built-in cold start technology for quick starting in cold weather.

Cons

  • Lower running wattage than other models.
  • May not be strong enough for all large RV appliances.

3. Yamaha EF3000iSEB

Best Quiet Generator For RV

Fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

27 x 18 x 22 inches

Weight

150 Lbs.

Runtime

17 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

53 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

3500 Starting/2800 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

3-year warranty for parts and craftsmanship.

The Yamaha EF3000iSEB is a newer model that comes with Boost Control Unit (the B on the model number). Boost control gives the items connected to the generator a power boost for up to 10 seconds. This helps larger electronics turn on when they have a higher starting wattage input.

The peak power for this compact guy is 3500 watts, but that drops to about 2800 when running at half capacity. The main purpose of this gas-powered generator is to get you through a rough night or to recharge batteries when in need.

It can be difficult to start when the temperature is low, but once it starts up, using the electronic starting controls, it will run well for you. The biggest draw to this unit is what makes it the best quiet generator for RVs. At 50 feet, the noise level is a paltry 53 dB. This is less than an upright vacuum at 20 feet.

Your campsite neighbors won’t mind hearing the hum of this guy at night. With a runtime of up to 19 hours, you can sleep through the night, too. Power that mini-fridge and start the day off with a hot cup of coffee before you listen to the radio or watch a little television.

Pros

  • Boot Control Unit adds power boost for up to 10 seconds.
  • Four caster wheels and two handles for help in transporting.
  • Compact design makes storage simple.

Cons

  • Heavy for its size.
  • May not be strong enough to run an RV air conditioner.

4. Honda Eu7000is

Best Inverter Generator For RV

Fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

33.4 x 27.6 x 28.4 Inches

Weight

261 Lbs.

Runtime

18 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

52 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

7000 Starting/5500 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

3-year warranty on parts and motor.

The best inverter generator for RVs is also one of the best inverter generators period. The Honda Eu7000is model runs on a 5.1-gallon gas tank that produces an obscene 7000 peak watts. With this unit, your RV will run hot water, air conditioner, refrigerator, and any computers or electronics you desire.

The Honda generator uses inverter generation to produce a solid, consistent 3600RPM, so you never have to worry about fluctuations or low-wattage situations. When the gas tank is full, you can run the generator for up to 18 hours on a quarter load. Since the Honda generator is an inverter, it is also extremely quiet. Even during startup, the decibels never stray far from 55. While running, you can expect the noise level to drop to about 52dB, which I quieter than a hairdryer.

The build quality is excellent, with a reinforced frame and easy access controls, you won’t be able to break it if you tried (please don’t try). If it does break, you can make a claim on the 3-year limited warranty that protects your investment against defects, craftsmanship, and functionality.

Pros

  • One of the quietest models on the list at 52dB.
  • Inverter motor can produce high-frequency AC electricity.
  • Push-button electric start.
  • 7000 peak watts.

Cons

  • Very large and bulky makes transportation difficult.
  • May be challenging to start up in temperatures below 30 degrees (F).

5. Pulsar PG4000iSR

Best Generator For 30 Amp RV

Fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

24 x 18 x 21 Inches

Weight

94 Lbs.

Runtime

17 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

55 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

4000 Starting/3500 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

2-year warranty on motor and electric parts, 1-year all other parts.

If your RV runs on 30 amps, you need the best generator for 30 amp RVs. That would be the Pulsar PG4000iSR. This gas-powered inverter generator is quiet for overnight operation where ever you are. It also has a 4000-watt start-up peak and a continuous run of 3500 watts. You won’t be stranded in the cold, either. With a simple push-button start, you can be back inside in a matter of seconds. If it’s too cold, you can use the remote start and never leave the comfort of your RV.

The design is compact and attractive, so it won’t be an eye-sore on the campground. At only 94 pounds, you can use the easy-lift handle and pull the generator where ever you need it. The smooth-rolling wheels make moving or relocating the generator simple.

The Pulsar does come with a 2-year warranty, but it only covers the motor and electrical parts. All other components are covered for 12 months. For the most part, you won’t have any issues with this machine. The maintenance is quite simple, and adding oil is quick and easy, though only when needed.

Pros

  • Remote start feature
  • Can run for up to 19 hours
  • Light weight for portability
  • Parallel capability to add more power when needed.

Cons

  • 2-year warranty doesn’t cover all parts.
  • 3.4 gallon tank may be a little small for continuous use.

6. Generac 7117 GP3000i

Best Generator For Rv Air Conditioner

Fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

22.2 x 13.3 x 18.4 Inches

Weight

60 Lbs.

Runtime

5.8 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

53 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

3000 Starting/2300 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

3-year limited warranty on all parts

The best generator for RV air conditioners is the quiet running Generac 7117 (GP3000i). While it won’t be strong enough to run your RV air conditioner and refrigerator, it will start your Ac and charge your phones, laptop, and tablet. When you need an extra boost in power, the Generac uses PowerRush technology that pushes the output beyond the peak wattage for a few seconds. You will have all the start-up power you need for your Air conditioner.

The small and compact design and easy to carry unit (only 60 pounds) can be stored in the RV or the under-compartment area. When you need it, you can pull it out and start using it right away. Maintenance is near zero, and adding oil when needed is a breeze.

The fuel tank is small, though. With only a 1.6 gallon capacity, you will only be able to run the generator for about 6 hours at most. While this is enough to charge your electronics, it won’t get you through the night. However, if your RV has a built-in generator, this is the perfect companion to take the load of the AC off the built-in’s duties.

Pros

  • Parallel kit available for more power.
  • Economy mode adjusts power to save fuel and lower noise levels.
  • PowerRuch boosts output when starting electronics.

Cons

  • Small fuel tank (1.06 gallons) doesn't run long.
  • Not strong enough to run AC and fridge.

7. Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000

Best 3000 Watt Generator For RV

fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

26 x 14 x 21 Inches

Weight

85 Lbs.

Runtime

10 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

58 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

3000 Starting/2600 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

2-year limited warranty on all parts

The Briggs & Stratton P3000 uses quiet running technology to help improve the lowered noise levels. When running at half-load or less, the generator produces a mere 58dB, which is the same as a cordless vacuum at 20 feet.

The gas-powered, inverter generator will run up to 10 hours on a 1.5-gallon tank. While the tank is small, it will power your air conditioner through the night if needed. If you need more power, you can join two generators together to work in parallel. You will need to purchase the parallel kit separately, but when you are on the road, it is great to have for peace of mind.

The Briggs & Stratton P3000 has multiple plug-in ports to use as well. There are standard electrical outlets, a 12v adapter, and USB connectors to charge devices, run air mattress pumps, or small appliances like your tablet or laptop.

The build quality is hard to beat, and with proper care and regular routine maintenance, it will last you several years beyond the warranty period. Because it is a Briggs & Stratton, even after the warranty period, you can still find new parts and keep the unit going strong for more years.

Pros

  • Parallel capabilities for more power.
  • Quiet running operation at 58dB.
  • Multiple plug in ports for standard plugs, USB and 12v adapters.

Cons

  • 1.5-gallon tank needs refueling often.
  • Bottom-mount handle can be difficult to get to.

8. Champion 3100-Watt

No products found.

Best RV Generator With Remote Start

Fuel Type

Gas

Dimensions

25.5 x 17.3 x 18.3 Inches

Weight

97 Lbs.

Runtime

8 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

58 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

3100 Starting/2800 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

3-year limited warranty on all parts and lifetime tech support.

Champion enters our list again with the best RV generator with remote start. The remote in question is a battery-powered fob that can start the inverter generator from up to 80 feet away. No matter where you are, if the line of sight is available, you can start the generator, even in cold conditions.

With the generator running, the quiet operation stands at 58 dB. However, this isn't always the case, and the generator can get up to 62 dB, pushing it over the "quiet" threshold. There are louder options available, of course, but this isn't the quietest inverter generator available. Like all Champion products, you will get a 3-year warranty that covers all parts, and after that expires, you can still enjoy lifetime technical support for as long as you own the machine.

If you are looking for more power, you won’t find it here; this model doesn’t support parallel connection. However, you most likely won’t need it. With 3100 peak watts, even the most stubborn air conditioner will kick over. Because this is an inverter generator, the high-frequency AC output will power and charge sensitive electronics, including your cell phone. You won’t have to worry about a dying battery if you need to make a call in an emergency.

Pros

  • Plenty of kick to power most RV appliances.
  • Remote start from 80 feet, battery included.
  • Easily portable and carried to the next location.

Cons

  • Low-noise threshold isn't maintained throughout the running cycle.
  • Maximum 8-hour runtime may not make it through the night.

9. Champion 100263

Best Portable Inverter Generator For RV

Fuel Type

Gas or Propane

Dimensions

25.1 x 17.3 x 18.3 Inches

Weight

96 Lbs.

Runtime

7.5 Hours @25% Load

Noise Level

59 dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

3400 Starting/3100 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

3-year limited warranty on all parts and lifetime technical support.

If the #8 Champion model on our list isn’t enough for you, then the #9 entry will be. This Champion model (100263) is the best portable inverter generator for RVs on the market. It isn’t the quietest inverter, bordering 60dB, but it isn’t so loud that it will disturb your sleep.

What it will do is keep your AC running, or power your fridge to keep your milk and eggs fresh. The dual-fueled inverter motor pushes out 3400 peak watts and runs a continuous 3100-watt output after that. Strong enough to run multiple devices, this unit is a beast for most RV needs. It is also a Champion, so you get a full 3-year limited warranty topped with lifetime tech support. You probably won’t need it, though.

The build quality is second to none, and transportation is easy. With the large wheels and easy-lift handle, you won’t have any problems getting it to the setup site. It also has lower emissions to help protect the environment and your breathing.

Did we mention its dual-fueled? This model runs on gasoline or propane without any adapters needed. Right out of the box, you can fill the gas tank and connect the propane and use either one you prefer. Ideal for making sure the unit runs all night.

Pros

  • Dual-fueled for cleaner emissions when needed.
  • 3400 peak watts for starting that RV air conditioner.
  • High-frequency AC power for sensitive electronics.
  • Lifetime tech support.

Cons

  • Not as quiet as other inverter generators.

10. MAXOAK Power Station

Best Solar Generator For RV

Fuel Type

Solar, AC, 12/24V

Dimensions

11.6 x 7.5 x 7.7 Inches

Weight

13 Lbs.

Runtime

Varies based on use

Noise Level

< 5dB @25% load

Wattage/Power Output

500 Starting/300 Continuous Wattage

Warranty

1-year limited warranty on all parts, lifetime tech support.

MAXOAK brings us the Bluetti Power Station, the best solar generator for RVs. It has a compact design, fold-away handle, and only weighs 13 pounds. Don’t think this little guy will power your fridge or AC unit, but it will recharge your phone or tablet and keep your music playing longer. There are three ways to recharge the battery, the primary being solar power. While it will take some time, the solar panel will recharge the battery to 100%. A process you can carry out over 1000 times.

You can also use AC power with the AC adapter or a 12/24v car adapter. You should note, though, that a 12v power supply (car cigarette lighter) will only charge the battery to 50%. You need to use a 24v adapter outlet for a full recharge.

Another downside is that too many devices will drain the generator faster than you can recharge it. It makes sense, of course, but most rarely stop to think about that. Using a single device at a time is the best option, but in a pinch, two phones charging won’t drain too much, too fast.

Pros

  • Small and compact design for easy carry and use.
  • Recharge with AC adapter, 12 or 24-volt car adapter, or solar panels
  • Can recharge over 1000 times before the battery begins to wear down.

Cons

  • Won’t fully recharge on 12v power supply.
  • Some devices can drain the charge too quickly.

Fuel Types of RV Generators

As I promised earlier, I will now explain the various fuel types in more depth for you.

Diesel Powered

Diesel generators are highly popular. They are also very powerful. Some of the highest wattage output generators run on diesel. They are also among the loudest. If you plan to use your generator in a campsite overnight, diesel may not be the best choice, at least not for your neighbors.

Like gasoline-powered units, diesel generators are long-lasting, powerful, and easier to fix if something goes wrong. They are also slightly more difficult to maintain. Because you need to replace spark plugs, add oil and treat it as an engine from a vehicle, there is a lot more than just pulling a cord and getting power.

Gas Powered

Gas-powered models are the most popular. Like diesel units, they are powerful and can output a lot of wattage. Gas-powered generators are noisy, compared to solar or propane models, and may not make you the best of friends at the campground. However, you can appease the angry mob by cooking them breakfast on your electric stove.

Gas-powered generators need regular care and maintenance, just like your car or truck. Checking fluid levels, adding oil, and doing routine tune-ups is commonplace for these models.

Propane Powered

Propane is a popular choice for fueling a generator. LP gas is better for the environment since it burns cleaner and has lower emissions. However, it also provides less power. If you need a high-output generator, you will need to choose diesel or gas.

You also have the option of choosing a dual-fueled generator, if that interests you at all.

Dual-Fuel

Dual-fueled generators are also called hybrid or bi-fuel generators. Typically these are generators equipped to run on gasoline as well as propane. Most often, the need for these arises when you want to ensure you have a generator and can run it on one fuel source should the other run out before you can refill it.

It is also popular with those that want the cleaner burning benefits of propane but may need the extra punch of gasoline when the need arises.

Solar Powered

Solar-powered generators are fairly new to the market place. They are the cleanest burning powered generators available and are also among the lowest output levels of any type. While solar power is gaining in popularity, it won’t power an entire RV for very long. At least not yet.

Advances are being made, and new solar technology is being produced. It will get stronger and more reliable, but for now, solar-powered generators are more for emergencies and small, personal use.


Conventional vs Inverter Generators

For a generator to work properly and provide consistent electricity, it needs to spin at an even 3600 RPMs. Conventional generators, those fueled by gas and diesel, do not rotate at a consistent speed. While the average is 3600 RPMs, the actual number fluctuates.

For this reason, conventional generators are not suitable for powering sensitive electronic equipment, such as smartphones, laptops, etc.

Inverter generators have a lot more going on under the hood, with a lot more parts and a lot more items moving. They do this to produce a constant and consistent 3600 RPMs. The inverter generators are more efficient and will power a lot of equipment, including your sensitive electronic devices.

How do the two compare? Let’s take a look.

  • Conventional produce more power than inverter.
  • Conventional generators produce AC electricity. Inverter generators produce high-frequency AC, DC, and AC.
  • Inverter generators are smaller and more portable than conventional.
  • Inverter models are quieter when running than conventional models.
  • Conventional generators produce more emissions that are harmful to the environment than inverter types.
  • Inverter generators are typically higher priced than conventional ones.

Determining RV Power Needs & Generator Size

Depending on what you have in your RV, you will need a different power supply than the next-door neighbors and their RV. Before you can pick the best RV generator, you need to know how much power you require. The only way to accomplish this is to go through all of your appliances and mark down their wattage requirements. Your air conditioner will use the most, followed by the refrigerator. Usually, these two combined will require 1800 to 3500 watts.

From there, you continue writing down your wattage requirements. Lamps, televisions, radios, coffee pot, microwave, fans, laptop, etc. Once you have all of the numbers, you add them together. This will tell you how much running watts the generator needs to produce. As long as the running wattage is lower than the watts you are using, you will be fine.

As for the starting watts, as long as you don’t try to turn everything on at the same time, and give the generator enough time to settle the RPMs before switching the next item on, you won’t have any issues. Start with the largest load item (AC, for example) and let the generator return to running wattage output, it only takes a few seconds. Then, you can turn on the refrigerator, another waiting period, and you can kick on the television.


Hooking Up an RV Generator

Most generators will have a grounding wire. This is one of the most crucial elements of the entire system. You will have a grounding rod that needs to be staked into the ground at the generator location. Wrap the grounding wire around the grounding rod.

Next, you will want to find the generator’s exhaust tube and ensure it is not pointing at the RV. Route the tube away from your seating areas outdoors and away from other campsites. Your RV will have a generator connection cable, which you will plug into the generator. Now you can turn your generator on and begin using the electricity it provides.


How to Use an RV Generator Safely

Generators use flammable liquids, gases, and emit emissions. Care should be taken with a generator, just like with a car. Do not smoke near the generator and keep it away from heat sources to help prevent the liquids from catching fire.

Make sure the exhaust isn’t going into the RV or near anyone else. Never cover the generator as this can cause a fire, or worse, and will build-up emissions that can be toxic once the generator is uncovered. Always read the owner’s manual and pay special attention to the safety warnings and precautions contained therein.


Generator Maintenance

Generators, by nature, are fairly maintenance free. After every 100 hours or so, you need to check the oil level (if equipped) as well as any lube areas. Your owner’s manual will point out their location. Once a week, or when you park and pull the generator out for use, check the cables and wires for nicks, frays, or damage. Never plug in a generator with a damaged power cord.

Keeping the generator clean will also help it perform to expectations. Make sure you have enough fuel to run the generator for the time you need to have it going. If you need to refill, make sure the generator is off and has had time to cool down before pouring gas into the tank.


Frequently Asked Questions

Now I will answer the most common questions about RV generators. While I can’t possibly answer every question in this article, these answers should cover most of the basics.

Will rain ruin an RV generator?
Water and electricity do not mix. You should not ever use a generator in the rain. You can make a weather-resistant housing or area for your generator but take caution. If moisture, rain, or water gets in the electrical outlets of the generator while it is running, it can be deadly.
How long does an RV generator last?

Most of the generators on this review list will have a warranty period. However, with any other motor or electrical device, proper care and maintenance go a long way. If you take care of your portable generator, it can last several years, even more than a decade.

How long can you run an RV generator continuously?

You should only run a portable generator for 8 to 20 hours. Your owner’s manual will tell you how long that model is designed to run for. Built-in generators can last days if needed.

How much does it cost to run an RV on a generator?

The cost to run a generator is determined by the fuel type, what is connected, and its efficiency. On average, a generator will use 2 - 5 gallons of fuel per hour. You can determine your cost by the price per gallon of your fuel multiplied by the number of hours it needs to run.

How many watts does it take to run an RV air conditioner?
RV air conditioners typically range between 13,000 and 15,000 BTUs. This range will require between 2800 and 3500 watts of starting power and 1300 to 2000 running watts.
What is the importance of a generator transfer switch?
The transfer switch is crucial for your generator and the safety of others. Its job is to take power from your home away from the municipal lines and switch them to the generator. The primary purpose of this is to prevent back-feeding power surges. If your home is without power and you turn on your generator, the transfer switch will prevent electricity from traveling to the main power lines where repairers may be working. Depending on how you plan to use the generator, a transfer switch may need to be installed. If so, you will need an electrician to secure the permits required and do the installation.
What are the best RV generator brands?
There are a lot of great generator brands available, and if you stick with known brands, you won’t have any worries. Some of the top names are Generac, Honda, Yamaha, Champion, and Briggs & Stratton.
Where is the best place to buy an RV generator?
Currently, Amazon is the ideal place to buy a generator. You will be able to find the exact model you need without having to worry if the shops carry that particular model. You will also be able to take advantage of Amazon’s customer service, warranty claims centers, and conflict resolution options.

Conclusion

When it comes to keeping the power on in your RV, a generator will do the trick. You have a lot of choices to make, not only in size, output, and brand but also in fuel type, capacity, and how the generator starts. It isn’t always an easy choice, so I made it easier for you.

In our top 10 best RV generators review, I gave you the best of the best for 10 different categories. When all else fails, the best option for all RVs is the Westinghouse WGen 5300v. Not only will it run through the night, but it has enough power to run your entire RV while doing so. Pick up your next RV generator and have fun on the road!

Top