Whether you use your recreational vehicle to enjoy constant vacations or to bond with your family during weekend trips, getting the best RV generator and installing it in your vehicle is necessary. It is because it lets you and your companions enjoy the time you spent on the road while having peace of mind that you will not lose power.
The best generator for travel trailer and RV is actually that, which can supply power to all the accessories and appliances present in your motorhome or caravan. This is the main reason why it is more expensive when you compare it to the portable generators that you normally see being used as emergency backups and during outdoor events.
However, with the numerous options for RV generators introduced to RV owners, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed and having a difficult time making a choice. Let us help simplify the whole process of selecting the best portable generator for RV camping for you with our informative reviews and buying guide.
Table of Contents
- 11 Best Generator for RV Reviews
- 1. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 2. Westinghouse iGen2500 Inverter Generator
- 3. Champion 3800-watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- 4. Westinghouse WGen2000 Portable Generator
- 5. A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator
- 6. Generac 7129 GP3000i Inverter Generator
- 7. Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series Inverter Generator
- 8. WEN 56200i 2000-watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 9. DuroStar DS4000S Gas-powered Portable Generator
- 10. DuroMax XP4400E Gas-powered Portable Generator
- 11. Champion 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator
- What to Look for When Buying an RV Generator
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
11 Best Generator for RV Reviews
1. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
If you are looking for the best small portable generators for camping that’s introduced to you then I highly suggest considering the Honda EU2200i. It is one of the most popular Honda onboard RV generators today, and I think that is because of several good reasons.
One big reason for its popularity is the fact that it is highly versatile in the sense that it operates a wide range of appliances. With such versatility, it is ideal for portable use whether it is on your RV, during your camping, on a job site, or at home. I found out that is mainly designed to give users a constant supply of reliable power.
I am pleased to inform potential users that this generator is also one of the quietest units you can find today. It only runs at around 48-57 dBA, which makes it totally quiet. With such minimal noise level, it is indeed ideal for your camping needs. The quiet operation it guarantees makes it perfect for supplemental RV power.
One of the benefits that you will surely enjoy from this unit is its excellent fuel efficiency – that is made possible with the eco-throttle system, which is installed in it. It allows it to run at 4 to 9.6 hours using just a single tank. With that, expect it to work well for long-time applications and overnight power.
- Highly versatile as it suits various appliances and applications
- Portable and easy to use
- One of the quietest generators available today
- Good fuel efficiency – thanks to the use of an eco-throttle system
- Supplies a clean and stable power
- Quite expensive
2. Westinghouse iGen2500 Inverter Generator
Another dependable portable inverter generator that I can recommend for those who are searching for a unit that they can use in their RV is the Westinghouse iGen2500. One thing that is immediately noticeable in this unit is that it is well-designed. It is also light enough that taking it anywhere will never be an issue.
It is constructed to have a compact and lightweight design while featuring a built-in carry handle, which promotes ease when it comes to transporting it. I am also pleased with its ability to supply power to even the most sensitive electronics, like laptops and cellphones, in a safe manner.
Another remarkable advantage of this popular inverter generator from Westinghouse is that it is fuel-efficiency. It boasts of its enhanced fuel-efficiency. In fact, you can expect it to be around 30 to 50 percent more fuel-efficient when you compare it to traditional generators.
The 1-gallon fuel tank of this unit can even run for a max of 10 hours when operating at a 25 percent load. The quiet operation of this RV generator is also one thing that makes it truly distinctive and popular. It makes use of an acoustic enclosure with double insulation.
Furthermore, it also comes with low-tone mufflers designed to minimize the operating noise of the unit. It is also designed in such a way that it adjusts its engine speed automatically to ensure that it only provides the required amount of power you need. It is also safe for use in forests and parks – thanks to its built-in spark arrestor.
- Guaranteed to be light and compact
- Promotes a quiet operation
- Comes with an enhanced fuel-efficiency
- Safe for use in forests and parks because of its spark arrestor
- Only supplies the specific amount of power you need
- Slightly challenging to access the oil reservoir
3. Champion 3800-watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
If you wish to invest in the top-rated RV-ready generator then the Champion 3800-watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator is perfect for you. One of the things I genuinely like about this portable generator is its portability. It is portable enough that you will never have a difficult time bringing it in your RV travels.
Aside from its portability, you will also notice that this generator provides a whopping 4,750-starting watt. I am also pleased to say that its 3,800 running watts make it possible for you to let the generator run for a max of 9 hours when on the tank is full of gas. If using a 20-lb. propane then expect its runtime to increase to ten and a half hours.
Another thing that I am so impressed with in this unit is that it runs using a dual fuel. This means that it gives you the opportunity of running it by using either propane or gas. The battery that comes with the generator is also a big advantage as it promotes easy touch start.
You just need to use its push-button electric start that features an internal battery charger capable of charging your battery while the generator operates. I am also pleased with the volt guard integrated into the generator. This serves as a surge protector, which is integrated into the generator’s panel to prevent sudden spikes or surge in voltage.
- Guaranteed to be portable, promoting ease of travels
- Can run for a maximum of 9 hours to 10 and ½ hours
- Allows you to choose between propane and gas as fuel
- Promotes an easy touch start
- Prevents spikes or surge in voltage, thereby preventing possible damage to your devices
- A bit loud
4. Westinghouse WGen2000 Portable Generator
I would also like to recommend the Westinghouse WGen2000 Portable Generator. I am impressed with this portable generator because it is full of several premium and innovative features while being offered at an unbeatable and competitive price. It can supply up to 2,500-watts peak power and 2,000-watt rated power.
Such makes it ideal not only for camping and tailgating but also as a backup during emergencies at home. Westinghouse WGen2000 does not also seem to disappoint as far as its overall construction is concerned. It has a tough and robust construction. It even takes pride in its 4-stroke engine with cast iron sleeves.
This makes it tough and long-lasting. The open-frame body design of this generator also holds the 4-point motor, which makes it possible for you to mount it securely in a safe position. It can also lead to the quiet and smooth operation of the generator each time you decide to run it.
One more benefit of the generator is that it is extremely fuel-efficient. It only utilizes a low amount of fuel for a long period, making it possible for you to enjoy during your trip. Furthermore, it boasts of its portability. It is popular for its compact and highly portable design, making it much easier to manage.
- Offered at a reasonable price
- Ideal for camping, tailgating, and backup emergencies
- Tough and robust construction guaranteed, making it long-lasting
- Easy to mount securely
- High level of fuel-efficiency
- The paint of the generator is prone to flaking
5. A-iPower SUA2000iV Portable Inverter Generator
The A-iPower SUA2000iV is one of the top-rated portable generators on the market because of its raw power delivery, extended runtimes, and electrical versatility.
I love this inverter generator for RV because of its two-kilowatt starting power that slowly whittles down to a steady 1,600 watts. Its advanced inverter technology ensures safer use with power-sensitive electronics, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions.
Although it only uses 1.1 gallons of petrol, RV owners can enjoy up to seven hours of clean and raw power from this generator at 50% of its load. Increasing the machine’s electrical load to 100% can still return a decent four-hour operation. That is a lot better than the three hours of other brands.
I am also glad this generator is not as loud as the others. The marketing information says this product emits only 52 decibels, similar to the noise of an electric fan or a hairdryer. Kids will have a more peaceful sleep in their RVs without the annoying noise of a machine producing electricity for them.
I also like this generator’s electrical outlets. One can charge USB devices through this generator’s 5-volt port or plug an electric appliance on the NEMA 120VAC 20A outlet. People who need an RV generator 30 amp unit can plug their devices into this product’s NEMA 120VAC 30A L5-30R outlet.
Weighing 46 pounds with a 22x20x13-inch form factor, bringing this generator up the mountains and anywhere will never break the back.
Unfortunately, starting this generator can be a hassle because there is no electric ignition. It also does not have a carbon monoxide sensor for improved safety while sleeping.
Nevertheless, I recommend this generator to any RV owner who wants a reliable system for their boondocking and RVing adventures. It is an exceptionally powerful device that can handle power generation needs outside RVing.
- Delivers 2,000 watts with advanced inverter technology for safer operation
- Four-hour runtime at 100% capacity and seven hours at 50%
- Ultra-quiet operation
- Multiple electrical outlets for optimum versatility
- Lightweight and compact for portabilit
- No carbon monoxide sensor
- Manual start
6. Generac 7129 GP3000i Inverter Generator
RV owners looking for a reliable generator for camper trailer, motorhome, or fifth wheel should consider the Generac 7129 GP3000i. Not only is this a dependable device for boondocking, but it can also be an excellent source of temporary power in emergencies.
I like this generator’s PowerRush technology, delivering up to 50% more starting capacity than other portable inverter generators. It also safeguards sensitive devices and electric appliances. People will never worry about blowing up their cellphones, laptops, TVs, and other gadgets.
This generator’s 3,000-watt starting power is incredible, capable of running a 14,000-BTU air conditioner without hiccups. Some RV owners also operate their refrigerators and ovens using this generator without issues.
I love its multiple electrical outlets, including two 20A duplex ports, two USB ports, and a 30A outlet. One can plug a shop vac, laptop, lamp, fan, refrigerator, and oven simultaneously. I can only imagine how many more devices I could run with an RV generator 50 amp model.
I also appreciate its simple control dial, making operation straightforward and hassle-free. The knob integrates three fundamental functions – start, stop and choke – simplifying the process.
My absolute favorite about this inverter generator is its noise level. Although I did not find any information about this generator’s decibel rating, real-world experience tells me it is quieter than other brands. Some users say it produces a humming sound with an intensity lower than a pancake compressor.
It is difficult to fault this RV generator because it is that awesome. However, I find its 59-pound weight a little heavier than others.
Regardless, this portable generator is a wise investment for all RV owners. Not only does it deliver exceptional power to devices, gadgets, and appliances. This generator does it safely, too.
- Intelligent PowerRush technology for enhanced starting capacity
- Provides 3,000 watts of clean electricity for different RV appliances
- Multiple outlets, including 20A duplex ports, USB ports, and a 30A outlet
- Multi-function dial for more convenient operation
- Safe for sensitive devices like phones and laptops
- Not as noisy as other brands
- A bit heavier than other brands
7. Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series Inverter Generator
The Briggs & Stratton P2400 PowerSmart Series offers consistent, clean, safe, and quiet portable power that is great for tailgating, camping, and boondocking. It has an exceptional power-generating capability that might pass for an RV generator for high altitude.
I must credit the company for devising an ingenious generator capable of delivering 1,800 watts of continuous power on the go. Its starting capacity of 2,400 watts is also commendable, allowing RV owners to enjoy an unparalleled performance for their power-hungry appliances.
My favorite is the generator’s advanced carbon monoxide sensor. It automatically shuts down the system if it senses carbon monoxide in the air. People do not have to worry about installing a carbon monoxide detector in their RV because this device already has one. I know I will sleep soundly, knowing CO will never get into my lungs.
Notably, the generator also alerts people to system overloading and low oil levels. There is no need to second-guess if it is time for an oil refill because this generator covers it.
I admire this generator’s sound-proof casing. It keeps the motor running silently in the background, never disturbing one’s remote work responsibilities. I do not have the exact decibel figures, but I can say this RV generator quiet operation is better than other brands.
Its 20.04×17.36×12.24-inch form factor also contributes to its portability. I will never tire of carrying this 50-pound generator wherever I go.
My only lament is its power outlets, which can only run three appliances or gadgets simultaneously. The good news is that this generator comes with a parallel port for connecting another generator.
This portable generator is worth getting for an RV. It delivers clean and safe electricity wherever one might be. Its CO sensor is its valuable asset, safeguarding people inside the RV.
- Delivers 1,800 watts of clean and safe electricity
- Great for tailgating, high altitude, and more
- Ingenious CO Guard for safety
- Alerts users to overloads and low oil level
- Advanced noise-reducing shell construction for quieter operation
- Compact and lightweight, with parallel port
- Only three electrical outlets
8. WEN 56200i 2000-watt Portable Inverter Generator
Another portable inverter generator that I am pleased to recommend is the WEN 56200i. I consider it a lightweight and compact generator, which is easy to install and store in your vehicle. I find its decibel rating impressive and competitive, too, as it is only around 51dB.
With that, I am sure that it works quietly. Another advantage of this portable inverter generator is that it is capable of maximizing fuel economy – thanks to the 2,000-watt eco-mode of this generator. Such setting gives full control to the generator so it can adjust its total consumption of fuel based on how the duration and intensity of use.
In other words, you no longer have to worry about excessive energy wastage regardless of the application where you use it to. I also noticed that it is one of the most convenient and easiest to manage generators in the market. It is primarily because of its carrying handle, which is easy to grip.
One more advantage of this best built-in RV generator option is that it is created in such a way that it can mirror a total harmonic distortion’s pure sine wave to below 3% without load and below 1.2% at full load. The result is a safer, more efficient, and cleaner machine for even the most vulnerable recreational vehicles.
- Boasts of a 51-decibel rating, promoting quiet operation
- Can maximize fuel economy
- Comes with a carrying handle, which is easy to grip
- Lowers risk of wasting excessive amounts of energy
- Supplies clean power that can prevent damage to sensitive electronics
- Internal components are lower in quality than the ones used in other generators
9. DuroStar DS4000S Gas-powered Portable Generator
This list of the high quality RV generator products will not also be complete if I do not include the DuroStar DS4000S Gas-powered Portable Generator. One thing that I think anyone will instantly notice from this portable generator is its heavy-duty steel frame. Such showcases the durability of the generator.
The mentioned frame can also help in ensuring that the generator will operate smoothly and quietly because it also comes with 4-point completely isolated motor mounts. It also features a totally quiet muffler, which is a big help in reducing the noise of the engine. This ensures that you and the people around the campground won’t be disturbed.
I am also pleased to say that this conventional, portable generator is capable of using unleaded gas while also having a fuel tank with a 4-gallon capacity. With this capacity, it is possible for you to enjoy a total runtime of up to 8 hours, provided the unit runs at a 50 percent load.
I am sure that you will also feel satisfied with the versatility of this portable generator as it is useful in a wide range of applications. You can use it not only in your recreational vehicle or travel trailer but also for camping and sporting events. It is even useful in job sites as well as a backup power in your household.
- Operates smoothly and quietly
- Comes with a heavy-duty steel frame, which improves the durability of the unit
- Provides a total runtime of 8 hours, which is already long enough
- Equipped with a full power panel featuring the main controls
- Versatile as you can use it in numerous applications
- Not ideal to be placed in an inclined angle
10. DuroMax XP4400E Gas-powered Portable Generator
Another impressive portable generator that I urge you to include in your list of options is the DuroMax XP4400E. One remarkable benefit of this unit is that it can supply power to a number of things that require it, including recreational vehicles. It is also useful during emergencies.
It boasts of its 3,500 rated output with a maximum output of 4,400 watts. This is more than enough to provide full power to a small house. I am also glad that it has the ability to supply continuous power up to 8 hours when you let it handle a 50 percent load. This generator can also be expected to run quietly because of its built-in muffler.
You can also take advantage of the unit’s wheel kit, which also comes with its own front handle. Such guarantees ease when you are transporting the unit. It is equipped with a full power panel, too, which shows its power outlet, circuit breaker, voltmeter, and engine shutoff switch, making the unit easier to control and monitor.
The portable generator’s engine can also be protected with the aid of its low-oil shutoff feature. With the idle control of this portable generator, you also have an assurance that it is capable of holding the rpm at a stable and constant level even when it is operating at a heavy load.
- Works for RVs and during emergencies
- Can supply continuous power for a max of 8 hours
- Runs quietly – thanks to its built-in muffler
- Guarantees significant noise reduction and fuel savings
- Guaranteed to be durable with the help of its solid and heavy-duty frame
- Poorly made instructions
11. Champion 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator
Lastly, I would like to suggest using the 4000-watt open frame inverter generator offered by Champion. One of the most remarkable benefits of this inverter generator is that it operates 50 percent quieter while also being 10 percent lighter when you compare it to traditional generators.
I think that such benefit can be attributed to the unit’s highly advanced open-frame inverter generator design. With the built-in economy setting of this generator, you are also assured of its ability to save on fuel while prolonging the life of its engine. You can also expect it to operate with its quiet technology, giving you peace of mind and comfort.
With such technology, I can assure you that it is indeed effective for recreational vehicles and for your home’s backup and for tailgating. I am also impressed with its up to 17-hour runtime thanks to its 3500 running watts. Another great advantage of the generator is that it supplies clean electricity.
This is a good thing if you have sensitive electronics inside your RV as such ensures that they will not be harmed nor damaged. I am also glad that this unit is designed to be parallel-ready. This means that you can further increase its output by connecting two 2,800-watt units.
- Quieter and lighter than other traditional generators
- Features an economy setting to save fuel and prolong the engine’s life
- Supplies clean electricity to protect your sensitive electronics
- Parallel-ready, making it capable of further increasing its power output
- Boasts of its highly advanced open-frame design
- The wheel attachment needs to be purchased separately
Champion 3100-watt Portable Inverter Generator (Outdated)
Another onboard RV generator, which can be categorized as the inverter type, is this 3,10o-watt portable and inverter unit from Champion. One thing I am really pleased about in this unit is the fact that it is RV-ready. This means that you do not need to deal with any complications making it work in your vehicle.
You can install it right away. Another thing that leaves a positive impression on me is the ultra-quiet operation of the unit. It operates at 58 decibels, which is quiet enough that it works well for your recreational vehicle and for tailgating and as backup power in the household.
It also supplies more than enough power with the help of its 3,100 starting watts. In addition, it takes pride in its 2,800 running watts, which is guaranteed to provide you with up to an 8-hour run time. I am also happy that this unit comes with a quick-touch panel as I find it useful in accessing all controls in a single spot.
The safe design and construction of this unit also feature a shut-off sensor just in case there is a low supply of oil, thereby guaranteeing safety. With the smart economy mode of this unit, I am also pretty sure that it is capable of significantly reducing electrical load. This results in a quiet operation, better fuel economy, and long engine life.
- Known to be RV-ready, making it easy to install
- Boasts of its ultra-quiet operation
- Supplies more than enough power to run your onboard appliances
- Comes with a quick-touch control panel
- Can reduce electrical load significantly, thanks to its smart economy mode
- Heavier than other RV generators
Champion 3500-Watt RV-ready Portable Generator (Outdated)
Another RV-ready generator from Champion is this 3,500-watt portable unit. Aside from being an excellent addition to your vehicle, I find this portable generator cost-effective when used as a solution for emergency situations, like in those instances where there are power outages.
I am satisfied with this generator as it is also known to be travel-ready – thanks to the standard 30A RV outlet that is built into it. Such outlet comes with adequate power designed to start and operate an air conditioning unit in your RV, which runs at 15,000 BTU.
I am also glad that this RV generator promotes easy starts during the cold weather. It is all thanks to the reliable electric start of the unit, which also features a 3-way ignition switch and a cold start technology. It also takes pride in its wireless remote start, which promotes ease when it comes to starting and stopping even if you are 80 feet away.
This portable generator is also quiet enough. It also takes pride in its up to 12-hour run time provided its tank is full and you use it at 50 percent load. I can also assure most of the users of this unit that it can protect your electronics and appliances from voltage spikes with the aid of the volt guard, which is a surge protector.
The portability of this generator is also one of its strongest points. It even comes with a sturdy steel frame featuring an easy to manage folding handle for ease of transportation and maneuvering.
- Highly portable and cost-effective
- Travel-ready, thanks to its built-in 30A RV outlet
- Promotes easy starts during the cold weather
- Can protect your electronics and appliances from voltage spikes
- Easy to maneuver and transport
- The gas tank is quite difficult to fill up
What to Look for When Buying an RV Generator
Now that you know some RV generators that are worthwhile to incorporate into your list of options, it is time to further understand how you can select the most appropriate one for your requirements. Your chances of finding the perfect RV generator will actually grow exponentially if you make your choice based on these factors and guidelines:
Power Output – One vital factor that you should constantly remind yourself of when searching for the most trusted generator for camping trailer and RVs is the size and its power output. Your goal is to find the right size of generator – one that is not so bulky that it will already consume too much space in your vehicle while still providing enough power.
Make sure that it can supply more than enough power so all your electronics will operate without having to drain your available gas supply completely. Such is crucial especially for newer recreational vehicles that often have the majority of luxuries often present in households.
One of the most crucial stages in your search for a reliable generator for your recreational vehicle, therefore, is to estimate the amount of power you will most likely need. For instance, if you need to run a 15,000 BTU air conditioning unit, then a 2,000-watt unit is not the best generator for RV air conditioner designed for you.
In this case, it would be much more helpful to let multiple generators run in parallel or choose to invest in a larger generator.
Portability – It is also necessary to decide on the portability of the generator. It would even be much better if you decide whether you will need a portable or a permanent unit. The portable one is, of course, that, which you can easily move from one place to another.
The permanent one, on the other hand, is that you need to attach to your vehicle all the time. Most RV owners actually prefer to buy the portable generator because of its versatility. Aside from providing power to the essentials in your travel trailer or recreational vehicle, it is also useful for tailgating or during power outages.
Most popular brands of the trusted portable RV generator today also provide a parallel capability, making it possible for two units to operate together, supplying two times as much power. This is what the majority of RV owners do to produce adequate power in running their air conditioners in case they choose the portable source of power.
The permanent or onboard applications, on the other hand, are usually more common in Fifth wheels and Class A. It is mainly because these applications are ideal for permanent or long-term usage.
The noise level – Another vital aspect in an RV generator that you have to scrutinize carefully is its noise level. The level of noise that the generator produces when it operates should also have a say on your final buying decision. Determine if you can tolerate the thumping sounds of some generators, especially when you sleep at night.
Fortunately, it is now easy to find the quietest generator for RV camping. It is primarily because some manufacturers already make it a point to produce low-noise generators camping units. This makes the units more capable of running quietly. Such reduces the risk of annoying nearby neighbors and campers with the sound produced by your unit.
In addition, remind yourself that most national parks and private campgrounds actually have limitations on noise. In most cases, the limit is only up to 60 decibels at a 50-feet distance. With that in mind, it is really a must to find a quiet camping generator, one that won’t disturb you, your loved ones, and your neighbors and other campers.
Fuel consumption – The fuel consumption of the generator is also one essential factor to take into full consideration. In this case, you have to figure out how often you will be needing to add fuel to the generator. Remember that you do not want to use a generator, which requires you to travel a long distance for fuel.
That especially holds true if you are planning to go somewhere, which is far from the town over the weekend. You can find RV generators that provide an eco-mode feature. This actually throttles depending on the demand on power. Also, take note that open-frame generators tend to burn fuel significantly faster than portable ones.
It is mainly because the open-frame ones operate using consistently high-power output rates, thereby consuming more fuel. In this case, it would be more economical to invest in two portable units that run in parallel.
Overall construction – What you should be looking for, in this case, is the compactness of the overall construction of the generator. In other words, it should be less bulky and should be lightweight while still having superior sturdiness. The ideal RV generator is one, which has a compact and reasonable size.
It should not also be too heavy so you will not have a difficult time transporting it. Your goal is to find an RV generator constructed in such a way that you can easily manage it. Despite its ease of manageability, it should still be able to meet your RV’s minimum wattage requirements.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is an RV Generator?
An RV generator plays a major role in making your life on the road even more comfortable. Remember that it would be impossible for you to camp in a recreational vehicle park, which features full and complete utility hookups.
You will encounter those situations wherein you can’t fully depend on shore power for all the comforts you need on the road. In this case, your RV generator will serve as your best friend as it works as a dependable power source.
With an RV generator around, charging your RV’s house battery bank is possible. It is also useful in case you need a direct source of power for your 120V AC outlets. This is where you can plug small devices and appliances, such as your toaster, hair dryer, and microwave, providing you with all the onboard conveniences you need.
How does an RV Generator Work?
An RV generator works with the help of some kind of fueled motor. This could be either diesel or gasoline. The generator’s motor utilizes the fuel’s combustion as a means of keeping its motor turning.
Various motor designs are available at present. You can get the simple ones or the more complex ones. One example is the simple motor powered by gasoline. This often comes with two cylinders with each one containing a piston, which is attached to a crankshaft.
The cylinders also feature an air input port and fuel input port. An exhaust port is also integrated into it. Both cylinders are designed in such a way that in case one of them fires up, the remaining one will get air and fuel so it can fire up as well.
This setup is designed mechanically as a means of ensuring that the user will receive constant exhaust and firing. If your generator makes use of a diesel motor, then note that it does not come with a spark plug. In this case, it achieves combustion using the diesel’s high compression.
Types of RV Generators
For an RV enthusiast like you, you will be glad to know that the generators designed for your vehicle are currently available in different styles and designs. In other words, you will have several choices, thereby boosting your chance of getting the right fit for your vehicle.
Several RV owners actually decide to purchase a second kind of RV generator system as a means of supplementing the main source of power. This is beneficial as it promotes more economical camping trips. Furthermore, the second system ensures that the main power system receives minimal strain and pressure.
There are also RV owners who install a hybrid system designed to run their vehicle. Such a system often features a solar backup system and the main generator. Solar panels also form part of the backup system. They are installed in the RV’s roof, powering a small generator designed to run small and minor devices and appliances.
This is a good thing if you want the primary generator power to be reserved for major purposes, like running your air conditioning unit. You can also prevent adding too much strain to your RV generator by buying a portable one powered by either diesel or gas. This is often referred to as the camping generator.
As for the different types of RV generator that you can use as the main source of power, your options include the following:
Diesel-powered RV generator – This is the most suitable fit for your vehicle if it also runs on diesel. This type ensures that you can use both your generator and vehicle using just a single source of fuel.
What is good about diesel is that it tends to produce a higher amount of power when compared to propane. Some users also agree that it has a cleaner burning ability in comparison to gasoline-powered generators. Moreover, diesel-powered RV generators are not explosive. You can store them safely, too.
One possible downside with a diesel-powered generator, though, is that it produces more noise when operating compared to other kinds of generators. It also comes with heavy components and parts, so there is a chance for it to add weight into your vehicle. Still, many choose it because of the many perks that come along with using it on the road.
Propane-powered RV generator – If you are in search of a more economically friendly generator then the one powered by propane is what you need. It makes use of propane as a source of fuel that is then converted into electricity.
One benefit that RV owners will enjoy from a propane generator is that it promotes cleaner emissions. The longer or indefinite shelf-life of this generator also means that there will be a lower risk of you needing to replace its unused parts frequently.
Since it is a clean burning generator, the propane-powered one is also available at a cheaper price. Furthermore, it has a quieter operation in comparison to other kinds of RV generators.
The problem with this source of power is that it is not suitable for extended trips or full-time RV enthusiasts. It is mainly because it has a runtime, which is limited to your liquid propane tank’s size.
It also tends to produce lesser power output than gas and diesel. Because it does not offer as much power as what diesel and gas generators provide, it is necessary to monitor your consumption of power.
Gas-powered RV generator – Probably the easiest to find source of fuel for RV generators comes in the form of gas. This makes gas-powered generators a convenient choice for your vehicle. It is a smart choice because almost all street corners have gas stations that you can easily access.
Gas is also budget-friendly while being easy to use and readily available. It is easy to refill this kind of generator. You can also easily keep reserve fuel for it. In comparison to propane, generators run by gasoline provide more power, too. This gives you the chance of powering up a bigger number of appliances at a specified time.
The problem is that gasoline tends to work dirtier when compared to propane. It contains more impurities that can negatively affect its shelf-life, shortening it in most cases. Also, take note that you will not be able to leave leftover fuel here because it might cause the unit to be clogged up.
Making the Right Choice
Now that you know the different kinds of RV generators, it is important to understand how you can make the right decision once the time comes when you need to decide which one to buy. One determining factor to take note of when buying is the type of RV you own.
If you have a vehicle, which runs on diesel, then it is greatly possible that it also contains plenty of onboard appliances. In this case, a diesel-powered unit is what you need to take care of all of them.
If your RV falls under the mid-sized type then a moderate supply of power is what it needs. In this case, it would be safe to use a generator powered by gas. If your vehicle does not require a lot of power supply then the perfect choice for you is the propane-powered one.
To determine the amount of power you need, certain calculations are necessary. This is crucial in identifying the amount of power you consume. It would be a big help if you document all the onboard appliances you own and the number of watts each one uses.
Total them so you will have an idea about the amount of power needed by your appliances to power up. The total will play a major role in identifying the trusted RV generator for your needs.
Benefits of Installing an RV Generator
With the many benefits offered by an RV generator, it is safe to say that it is indeed a wise and reasonable investment. It provides you with the power you need to enjoy a safe and comfortable travel experience on the road.
With the RV generator installed, you do not have to worry too much about running out of power. You will always have a source of power to make your onboard facilities and appliances work.
Another advantage of RV generators is that most of them are designed to be lightweight. This makes it easier for you to move them around. You can also find rolling covers and bags that you can use to secure or chain the generator at the right place.
The generator will let you enjoy all the conveniences in your modern recreational vehicle. These include your electronic gadgets and luxury appliances. Just a few of the things that you can enjoy in your vehicle with the RV generator installed are watching television, making tea, cooking food, and listening to your favorite podcasts.
It is also possible for you to connect your PC and laptop so you can do some necessary work. With the generator around, you can enjoy a fully air-conditioned vehicle. If you have kids then they will never run out of things to do. You can even make them play different virtual games.
To ensure that you will be getting the most out of the many benefits provided by your chosen RV generator, it pays to learn a few ways to maintain its good condition. Some of the maintenance and proper usage tips that you can apply are the following:
Exercise it – Just like you, it is necessary for your RV generator to receive a regular exercise. This is crucial in keeping it in its tip-top shape. Avoid letting your RV generator sit idle for a long time as it might only cause surging and starting problems in its engine.
Note that just one month of inactivity is enough to cause the fuel in it to break down. This might also gum up its parts. To avoid it, it would be best to set a schedule every month to run it. Running it for around one to two hours during its designated schedule is enough.
During the exercise, make it a point to turn on some of your devices and appliances, like your portable heater or air conditioning unit. This is essential in making the generator work.
Find the perfect location for your generator – One proper usage tip that you should keep in mind is to look for the most suitable location where you can install your generator. The best spot for it is that which is sturdy and firm so you can mount it without losing support.
Your chosen location should also be stable and level. This will prevent the generator from falling over when it operates. If your RV comes installed with a generator tray then you are lucky because you can just conveniently set up the unit there.
In the absence of the tray, building up your own is actually possible. All you need to build the generator tray on your own are a few screws and panels. You can then secure the RV generator with the help of clamps, straps, and brackets.
Fill up the generator – Ensure that your RV generator contains enough fuel. Some recreational vehicles actually share the same fuel used by the vehicles, themselves. Others, however, do not share such fuel. In this case, you have to fill the tank up with the required fuel.
Make sure to secure the tank firmly once you fill it up. You need to secure it to minimize its risk of leaking. Also, it has to be filled up with the specific kind of fuel that is needed to run it.
Store it at the right place – The right way to store your RV generator when unused is to put it in a dry and cool place. It should also be far from falling hazards. Another thing that the generator’s storage area should be free from is moisture.
There should not be any form of moisture in there. When unused, cover the RV generator to prevent dirt, grime, mud, and dust from penetrating into it.
Ensure that it receives regular servicing – Your generator needs regular servicing. Note that while modern RV generators are highly efficient machines designed to operate for a prolonged period with a lower risk of breakdown, getting it serviced regularly is still essential in ensuring that they will continue to serve their purpose for a long time.
Schedule its service and checkup at the closest repair shop regularly. The staff in there can detect faults and deficiencies in the unit if there are any. You can also expect them to initiate vital remedial measures.
Make it a point to have it serviced every four months annually. Moreover, it is advisable to have a record book containing the services it receives. This allows your generator to receive timely repairs and assistance.
Good RV Generator Brands
Your RV will continue to serve its purpose not only as an amazing camping gear but also as a home outside your real home if you fill it up with all the luxuries and conveniences that you need. It would be best to integrate modern decorations into your vehicle.
Filling it up with electric gadgets, full-sized devices, and appliances, as well as other comfy onboard features can make it even more amazing. Once you fill it up with everything you need, you should install an RV generator. It can transform your vehicle into a more functional and modern one.
When shopping for the most trusted generator for your recreational vehicle, it would be ideal to take a look at these popular RV generator brands:
Champion – Champion is one of the most reliable brands of RV generators you can find today. It is famous for its portable generators – one of which is the Champion 3500. What’s good about the brand’s portable generator is that it can operate using propane and gas.
Champion also made it a point to manufacture generators with the least amount of noise under a load. In addition, it tends to experience the least amount of voltage drop upon applying a load. The brand’s generators are great choices for RVs and travel trailers because of their portability brought on by the built-in carry handle and wheels.
Westinghouse – Another popular brand that you should check out when shopping for an RV generator is Westinghouse. One prominent quality in most Westinghouse generators is their portability. I think that it is a big plus, especially for RV owners who want to install devices and appliances into their vehicles that are easy to manage.
Another thing that makes the brand stand out is its sturdiness. Most of its generators feature a cast-iron sleeve. This works in protecting both the unit and the tank. The generators from Westinghouse are also popular for their reasonable amount of running power.
Honda – You won’t also regret checking out the generators provided by Honda. Being a popular brand in the automotive industry, you have a hundred percent guarantee that the units offered by Honda will never fail you while you are on the road.
What’s good about the generators from the brand is that they are readily available. Many also agree that it is the most popular brand for anyone looking for portable sources of power for camping, portable power tools, tailgates, and much more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between surge watts and running watts?
Running or rated watts refer to the continuous watts that are needed in keeping your items up and running. It refers to the most watts that your generator is mainly designed to produce on a continuous basis.
Surge watts, on the other hand, can be expected to provide an extra power surge as a means of starting electric motors, like in the case of an air conditioning unit. All electric motors need this power surge to start.
What type of fuel is ideal for RV generators?
The proper fuel for your RV generator is actually dependent on the specific type of travel trailer or RV you have. The fuel type often matches the motor coach. For instance, if you have a diesel pusher then it is greatly possible that you will need a diesel generator. The majority of travel trailers, on the other hand, utilize a propane unit.
Just like what has been mentioned, diesel generators can often be seen in RVs that utilize diesel fuel, such as a diesel pusher. In most cases, this type of fuel is favored by those who require more power. Most huge job sites and emergency backup generators needed for beginner applications also require diesel.
Another option is gas. You can see gas-powered travel trailers or motorhome that typically use gasoline generators. In most cases, gasoline generators are the most inexpensive and portable ones you can find in the market. Generators powered by gasoline are also usually among the most economical.
That specifically holds true if you decide to get the inverter generator. What’s even better about gasoline is that it is also considered by many as the most popular fuel, so it is easy to access and use.
RV owners can also go for propane or liquid propane. This is often the most environmentally-friendly option for fuel. One advantage of it is that it has a long shelf-life while producing clean emissions. One problem, though, is that its tank size might also limit the fuel it can provide.
If you want to enjoy a longer trip then the fuel stored in the tank may not be enough to power up the unit all throughout your trip’s duration. In addition, you may have a difficult time finding a source of propane in case you need to refuel.
How often should you run your RV generator?
Experts recommend running an RV or camper generator at least once a month for five to ten minutes to keep the fuel in the generator in excellent condition. Running the RV generator less frequently can turn the gas into a sludgy mess, clogging the machine’s fuel injection or carburetor components.
The procedure also tests the generator’s overall function, allowing RV owners to fix potential problems before they get out of hand. One can look at it as preventive maintenance, ensuring the travel trailer generator is in pristine shape before the family gets to their next adventure.
Is it okay to run an RV generator all night?
Yes, it is okay to run a generator for camper, motorhome, fifth wheel, or travel trailers all night. The only limiting factor is the generator’s fuel capacity and the actual amount of gas it contains.
For example, a portable generator for small camper might have a two-gallon capacity with an operating efficiency of four hours to a gallon. Filling the generator at its maximum capacity will let it run for eight hours. Using only a gallon of gas will operate the generator for four hours.
Unfortunately, RV owners must also contend with the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, making it impossible to detect by the human senses. This gas can seep into the RV’s interior and cause harm to the occupants.
That is why it would be best to keep all windows and doors closed before running the generator outside and calling it a night.
How quiet should my RV generator be?
The level of noise produced by your RV generator should determine the specific unit that you are going to buy. It is mainly because you do not want to end up disturbing the people around the neighborhood as well as those in the campground.
In this case, it would be ideal for you to look for a generator, which does not exceed the noise limit set by the National Park Service. The noise limit is actually 60 decibels at 50 feet from the source.
How can I prepare and maintain my RV generator for my travels?
You can expect your RV generator to serve its purpose for your travels if you make it a point to prepare and maintain it. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to preparing and maintaining your RV generator is that it has carbon dioxide when you use it. This is the main reason why you need to inspect its exhaust system constantly prior to use.
Avoid operating your RV generator if its exhaust system is damaged. In case you own a portable generator, then it is advisable to direct the exhaust away from the campground. Also, test the carbon monoxide detector if it operates properly before using the generator.
Another crucial thing to take note of regarding its maintenance is that you need to exercise it regularly. This means using it regularly. This is applicable, especially for diesel and gas generators. Note that your generator might have some problems in case you let it sit idle for several months.
You can prevent it by making it a habit to exercise or use the generator every month. Another tip is to change the filters and oil on a regular and scheduled basis. Such is necessary not only in ensuring that both your generator and vehicle continues to run well.
How do I connect a generator to my RV?
Hooking up or connecting a generator to your RV requires you to follow some important steps. The first thing that you have to do is to figure out if your recreational vehicle is already generator-ready. You can determine that if you ask a dealer or read your vehicle’s owner manual.
Also, ensure that you are getting a generator based on the specific power needs and configuration of your vehicle. After that, determine the specific type of fuel you prefer to use as a means of powering up your generator. Among the most popular choices for recreational vehicles are actually gas and propane generator.
If you are using a gasoline tank, then ensure that you also have a pump to transfer the fuel from it to the generator. Make it a point to research about the materials that you can use in muffling the sound of the unit, too. The material that you can use is dependent on the generator’s size and the vehicle’s location.
One important thing to take note of when connecting the generator to your RV is that you need to install a transfer switch. This is necessary for letting you alternate between the use of shore power at certain campgrounds and generator power in some other places. One benefit of installing this switch is that it can prevent electrical issues, like fires.
How to start an RV generator?
Starting an RV generator is usually dependent on the type and model you have. In most cases, during the installation, you will have a say when it comes to figuring out the manner through which you prefer to start the generator. In some cases, the generators come with remote controls that you can use in firing them up without hassle.
If possible, use a small battery, about the size of a lawnmower, which is mainly designed to start a generator, which is smaller than 5 kilowatts. It is mainly because the batteries in your recreational vehicle might get damaged in case you use them often in starting your generator.
What size of RV generator do I need?
In most cases, the answer to the specific size of generator you need is actually dependent on the size of generator needed in running your rig’s air conditioning unit. Note that your air conditioner is the one that will most likely consume the most watts in your RV so it makes sense to begin here.
One more thing to be aware of is that it usually requires more power to start your air conditioning unit than it does to ensure that it stays running. Your required generator’s minimum wattage, therefore, should be equivalent to your air conditioner’s starting wattage.
Will a 2,000-watt generator run an air conditioner?
In most cases, a 2,000-watt portable RV generator with a high starting watt capacity will allow you to run or operate a window air conditioning unit, which is 10,000 BTU. This unit usually has a 2,200-watt for its starting power but it only requires 1,500 continuous power.
How many hours can you put on an Onan generator?
An Onan RV generator can provide RV owners with 10,000 to 20,000 hours of raw power for their boondocking, RVing, and off-grid living needs. However, failure to maintain or take good care of the generator can reduce its service lifespan to 1,500 to 5,000 hours.
The numbers stated are estimates because Onan generators come in different product series and models. Moreover, fuel type can impact a generator’s longevity. The consensus is that diesel-powered units last longer than their gas counterparts because of the tendency of the latter to clog the fuel injection or carburetor system.
How long do RV generators last?
A good-quality RV generator for boondocking can last 15,000 to 20,000 hours, maybe more. If one uses the generator for eight hours every day, it can continue operating for five to seven years.
Of course, RV owners only use this power-generating device when traveling in their motorhomes. Suppose the family goes on a three-day RVing adventure every month, using the generator for about 16 hours every time. In that case, the rig can last 18 to 20 years.
In your search for the best RV generator, make sure that you go for one with enough wattage that is capable of supporting all your onboard appliances. It is also advisable to consider its price as well as other vital factors.
Also, take note that the size will be based on your onboard appliances. If you only have a few onboard appliances then it would be ideal to go for a smaller one as a means of saving on cost.
We would like to thank you for reading this article. Find out more about how to choose the top-rated RV solar panels & kits and RV surge protectors with our reviews and ratings. Furthermore, please take a look at the most trusted RV converters, RV inverters and RV deep cycle batteries to buy the right one for your RV power and electrical supplies.
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