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
- 10 Best RV Generator Reviews 2018
- 1. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 2. Westinghouse iGen2500 Inverter Generator
- 3. WEN 56200i 2000-watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 4. Westinghouse WGen2000 Portable Generator
- 5. Champion 3100-watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 6. Champion 3500-Watt RV-ready Portable Generator
- 7. DuroStar DS4000S Gas-powered Portable Generator
- 8. DuroMax XP4400E Gas-powered Portable Generator
- 9. Champion 3800-watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
- 10. Champion 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator
- What to Look for When Buying an RV Generator
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
10 Best RV Generator Reviews 2018
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.
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.
3. 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.
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.
5. Champion 3100-watt Portable Inverter Generator
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.
6. Champion 3500-Watt RV-ready Portable Generator
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.
7. DuroStar DS4000S Gas-powered Portable Generator
This list of the best 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.
8. 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.
9. Champion 3800-watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
If you wish to invest in the best 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.
10. 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.
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 best 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 best 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.
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 generator?
The best 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 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.
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 best RV solar panels & kits and best RV surge protectors with our reviews and ratings. Furthermore, please take a look at the best RV converters, best RV inverters and best RV deep cycle batteries to buy the right one for your RV power and electrical supplies.