Best RV Generator Reviews – Top Picks in 2021

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An RV generator should be one of the top things that you put on your camping checklist, especially if you do a lot of dry camping or boondocking. While some of the RVs, such as 5th wheels, come with a built-in generator, most other recreational vehicles require the addition of a portable unit. This leaves many people searching for the best RV generator that would become the perfect solution to their powering needs. However, with such an overwhelming amount of options on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one. That’s why we’ve created these RV generator reviews. Here are the top rated products in 2021 and they were picked based on their performance, efficiency, quality, and value for money.

Below the comparison table and reviews, you can also find a buying guide, as well as tips for using and maintaining your new RV generator.

Recommended RV Generators Comparison Table

Image Product name Details Check price
Westinghouse iGen4500 Westinghouse iGen4500
  • 3,700/4,500 watts
  • 3.4gal fuel tank/18h run time
  • Outlets: 120V AC, RV-Ready Tt-30R, two USB
  • Economy mode
  • Remote start
  • 52 dBa
Durostar DS4000S Durostar DS4000S
  • 3,300/4,000 watts
  • 4gal fuel tank/8h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V AC, one 120V 30A twist lock
  • 69 dBa
Champion 100307 Champion Power Equipment 100307
  • 3,500/4,375 watts
  • 3.8gal fuel tank/12h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V 20A AC, one 120V 30A RV, 120V 30A locking outlet
  • Intelligauge
  • 68 dBa
westinghouse WGen9500 Westinghouse WGen9500
  • 9,500/12,500 watts
  • 6.6gal fuel tank/12h run time
  • Outlets: two GFCI 120V AC, one 120/240V RV, one Transfer Switch Ready 120V L14-30R, two USB
  • Remote start
  • 74 dBa
Champion Power Equipment 76533 Champion Power Equipment 76533
  • 3,800/4,750 watts
  • 3.4gal fuel tank/9h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V AC, one 120V RV, one 120V 30A locking outlet
  • Dual fuel
  • 68 dBa
Pulsar Products G450RN Pulsar Products G450RN
  • 3,700/4,500 watts
  • 3.2gal fuel tank/15h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V AC, one 120V RV, one 12V DC, one USB
  • Remote start
  • 63 dBa
Generac 7129 Generac GP3000i
  • 2,300/3000 watts
  • 1gal fuel tank/6h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V AC, one twist lock, two USB
  • PowerRush technology
  • Economy mode
WEN 56475 WEN 56475
  • 3,750/4,750 watts
  • 4gal fuel tank/10h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V AC, one 120V RV, one 30A 3-prong
  • 68 dBa
Honda EU2200i Honda EU2200i
  • 1,800/2,200 watts
  • 0.95gal fuel tank/10h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V AC, one 12V DC
  • Eco-Throttle System
  • 48-57 dBa
Champion Power Equipment 100263 Champion Power Equipment 100263
  • 3,100/3,400 watts
  • 1.6gal fuel tank/7.5h run time
  • Outlets: two 120V AC, one 120V 30A RV, one 12V DC
  • 59 dBa

10 Top Rated RV Generators Reviewed

Westinghouse iGen4500

best rv generatorThe Westinghouse iGen4500 is the top rated RV generator in 2021. It’s also one of the most powerful and most quiet generators that you can find. Moreover, it’s efficient, reliable and comes travel trailer ready.

One of the reasons for its popularity is its versatility. The powerful performance combined with a lightweight and compact design allows using it in a wide range of applications. Whether you’re using it at home, on a job site, or in an RV, your power needs will be covered. To make moving the unit even more convenient, the manufacturer added a telescoping handle, as well as two extra handles on the top.

It can supply 3,700 running watts and 4,500 starting watts, making it one of the most powerful RV generators on this list. It’s enough to power multiple RV appliances at once, such as an AC unit up to 15,000 BTUs, refrigerator, lights, and other essentials. As for fuel efficiency, with its 3.4 gallon fuel tank capacity, it can run for 18 hours. And if you want it to run even more efficiently, there’s also the Eco mode.

You will also like all the user-friendly features of this portable RV generator. First, it’s the key fob that offers the convenience of starting the generator from anywhere inside your RV or home. As an alternative, there’s also an electronic push-button start. And secondly, it’s the easy-to-read LCD display that shows all the information that you can use to run the generator safely and efficiently. This information includes fuel level, voltage, remaining hours, and lifetime hours.

Moreover, the inverter technology of this generator provides clean and stable power with a THD of less than 3%. This makes it possible to safely power even sensitive electronics, such as laptops, cell phones, and televisions. You can connect your devices straight into the two 120V 20A household outlets or two 5V USB ports.

What makes this generator perfect for travel trailers is also that it comes RV and camper ready. It features a TT-30 30 amp RV outlet, which is easily accessible and which offers the perfect power solution for recreational vehicles.

It’s also a quiet RV generator with a noise output rated at 52 dBA. This makes it perfect for situations where you want fewer disruptions. And that’s exactly what you want when camping. You don’t want anything to disrupt the tranquility of nature.

PROS
  • High performance with 3700 running watts.
  • Noise output as low as 52 dBA.
  • RV ready with one TT-30R outlet.
  • Fuel efficient with 18 hours run time.
  • 3.7 gallon fuel tank.
  • Efficiency mode.
  • Remote and push button start.
  • Safe for sensitive electronics.
  • Convenient LCD display.
  • 120V duplex and a pair of USB ports.
  • Features wheels and telescoping handle.
  • Circuit protection and low-oil shutoff.
  • 3-year limited warranty.
  • CARB compliant.
CONS
  • Expensive.
  • Some users received the generator with the AC plug upside down.

DuroStar DS4000S

rv generator reviewsOne of the best generators for travel trailers and campers is also the DuroStar DS4000S model. It’s durable, it’s powerful and it comes with all the necessary features for high performance.

The generator is designed for maximum durability. It offers an all-metal construction with a sturdy steel frame. It also features all copper windings, which are stronger than aluminum and which are better at withstanding load surges. In all, the tough design of this RV generator is bound to last even when used on the toughest job sites.

This is a gas powered RV generator that can provide 4000 starting watts and 3300 running watts. It’s a workhorse that can handle multiple jobs from getting you through a power outage to powering jobsite heavy duty tools or powering your RV essentials miles away from home.

It offers two standard household receptacles and one 120V 30 amp twist receptacle for maximum compatibility with various appliances. And all receptacles are GFCI protected, meaning that they offer protection against electrical shock.

With its almost 4 gallon fuel tank capacity, it offers up to 8 hours of power. The high efficiency performance is provided by the powerful 7 HP engine. It features an air-cooled design, which provides protection against overheating. Moreover, the fully isolated engine features a muffler that reduces the operation noise to about 69 dBA.

There are also a few safety features. It includes a low-oil shutoff, so if the system detects that the oil level is low, it automatically shuts the generator down. And on top of that, it’s also equipped with a surge arrest to protect the unit against power surges.

This DuroStar generator is also EPA and CARB compliant, which shows that the manufacturer follows strict guidelines in ensuring that their products are efficient and environmentally friendly.

As a downside, it’s a pretty heavy unit weighing 92 pounds, so it’s not the most portable RV generator. However, you can purchase the optional wheel kit if you plan on moving it around a lot.

PROS
  • Plenty of power 3300 running watts.
  • Heavy-duty steel frame.
  • Heavy duty, air cooled engine.
  • 8 hours run time.
  • Easy-to-read gauge.
  • Surge arrest technology.
  • Low-oil shutdown.
  • Smooth and quiet operation.
  • Affordable price.
  • CARB approved.
  • EPA certified.
  • 3-year limited warranty.
CONS
  • Weighs 92 pounds but you can add the optional wheels (purchased separately).
  • Oil drain obscured by frame.
  • No watt or amp meter.

Champion 100307 – 3500 Watt RV Generator

top rated rv generatorsAnother recommended RV generator is the Champion 100307 model. Designed with safety and convenience in mind, this generator can provide reliable power to your RV appliances or home essentials.

It’s a sturdy generator that is built for long lasting performance. It features a tubular steel frame that wraps the unit and provides protection for the inner components. And there’s a cast iron sleeve on the engine, which adds to extended engine life.

With 4,375 starting watts and 3,500 running watts, this RV generator is powerful enough to run multiple high-power appliances, such as a fridge, microwave, lights, etc. It can even power a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner.

There are several receptacles that you can use. There’s one 120V 30 amp locking outlet, one 120V 30 amp RV outlet, and two 120V 20 amp household outlets. So, you don’t need any adapters to use this generator in an RV. It comes ready for use out of the box.

The generator also comes with a powerful 224cc engine. It provides good efficiency and operation time. The 3.3 gallon fuel tank will give you about 9 hours of power. In the product’s package, you also get an oil funnel to make the feeling up the tank an easier process.

With this RV generator, you get dual fuel capability. You can choose whether to run it on gasoline or propane. For example, many prefer propane since it’s cleaner and easier to deal with, but it’s still good to have the option of being able to use gas when you don’t have access to propane.

Another advantage of this generator is the Intelligauge display. It provides essential information about the generator’s output. It shows voltage, hertz, and run-time hours. This makes it easy to monitor the unit’s performance.

This unit is also equipped with plenty of safety features. It offers a built-in Volt Guard surge protector for protection against overloads and spikes in voltage. There’s also a circuit breaker that monitors the current and protects the wiring. Moreover, it is also equipped with a low-oil shutoff sensor to prevent damage to the generator and a USDA-approved spark arrestor.

However, this isn’t the quietest generator. With a noise output of about 68 dBA, it will be on the level of the noise of a vacuum cleaner. So, if you’re looking for something quieter, you might prefer some of the other generator options.

PROS
  • Provides 3500 running watts.
  • Offers 12 hours of run time on a 3.8 gallon gasoline tank.
  • Optimized for an easy start in cold weather.
  • Voltmeter.
  • RV outlet.
  • Volt guard.
  • Circuit breaker.
  • Low-oil shutoff.
  • Rugged steel frame design.
  • Provides pure power for sensitive electronics.
  • 3-year warranty.
  • EPA certified.
CONS
  • Non-CARB compliant.
  • Loud.
  • No Eco setting.
  • Weighing 97 pounds, it’s not the most portable generator.

Westinghouse wGen9500

best portable generator for rv useFor the most powerful RV generator, our top recommendation is the Westinghouse wGen9500 model. It offers 12,500 peak watts and 9500 running watts. That is the highest output that you can find among portable generators. It will allow you to power multiple RV appliances at the same time and can also serve as an emergency backup for your home. It can easily handle running an air conditioner, refrigerator, coffee maker, and many other appliances. So, it’s one of the best generators for RV air conditioner since it can easily power a 15,000 BTU unit and it will still have plenty of power left for other essentials.

All that power is generated by a robust 457cc 4-stroke engine. There are three start options. You can either use the electric push button or the recoil start. Or you can use the more convenient remote start using the included key fob. And the remote start works from as far as 109 yards away. So, if you’re looking for a good RV generator with a remote start and high power, this model is definitely a good option.

You also get 12 hours of operation time on a 6.6 gallon fuel tank. The generous fuel tank size allows it to go on for longer between fill-ups. And you can monitor the level of fuel in the tank by checking the built-in fuel gauge.

The generator also offers a variety of receptacles to meet the needs of various situations. It includes two USB ports, two standard household duplex receptacles, one twist-lock receptacle, and one RV-ready receptacle. Moreover, all of these included receptacles feature rubber covers for protection.

One more advantage of this generator is that comes with a data center, where you can view voltage, frequency, and hours.

This unit also comes with all the necessary safety features that ensure safe operation. It comes with circuit protection, overload prevention, and low-oil shutoff.

Another great thing about this RV generator is that it comes ready for plug-and-play. In the package with the generator itself, you also get the key fob, a battery charger, tool kit, oil funnel, oil, and a user manual to help you get started right away.

The generator weighs 220 pounds, so it’s definitely not the lightest or the most portable RV generator you can find. It does come with wheels and a cleverly designed handle that lifts up and makes it easier to move the generator. However, since it’s so heavy, you probably wouldn’t want it if you plan on moving it around a lot.

PROS
  • Powerful 457cc engine.
  • 12 hours run time on a full tank of fuel.
  • Convenient remote control.
  • Plenty of receptacles, including one that is RV ready.
  • Fuel gauge.
  • Low-oil shutdown.
  • Digital meter featuring voltage, hours, and frequency.
  • 74 dBA noise output.
  • GFCI outlets.
  • Convenient pop-up handle.
  • Comes ready for use right out of the box.
  • EPA and CARB compliant.
  • 3-year warranty.
CONS
  • Loud but tolerable.
  • Weighs 220 pounds.
  • Not the best customer service.

Champion 76533 3800 Watt Dual Fuel Generator

good inverter generator for rvThe Champion 76533 is the best portable generator for RV camping with 3800 watt capacity. It’s powerful enough to supply most of the RV’s appliances and electronics and it offers all the features to make it safe and easy to use.

One of the main things that make this portable RV generator stand out is the dual fuel capability. It can run on both propane and gasoline. You can switch between the two by just flipping the fuel selector switch. It’s as easy as that.

The performance efficiency differs for this generator depending on the type of fuel you use. Whether you run the generator on gasoline or propane, you’ll have enough to power even a 15,000 BTU air conditioner or other high power appliances.

If you’re using a 20 gallon liquid propane tank, the generator will produce 4275 starting watts and 3240 running watts. A full tank will give you 10.5 hours of run time. And if this is the fuel option you’ll go for, you’ll already have the LPG hose with a regulator included in the package.

As for gasoline, a 3.4 gallon fuel tank will give you 9 hours of run time and will produce 4750 starting watts and 3800 running watts.

This generator is powered by a 224cc engine with a handy electric start, which makes it very easy and quick to get the system up and running. It also includes a battery, which charges while the generator operates.

You can monitor the generator’s performance on the unit’s Intelligauge. It shows voltage, frequency, and run-time hours. This allows you to easily track power output and keep an eye on maintenance intervals, so you don’t miss it.

While the RV generator weighs 119 pounds, it’s fairly easy to move it around thanks to the wheels and the foldable handle. However, if you’ll be lifting it, you’ll need two people to do it. The assembly of the wheels and handle is very easy and the generator comes with clear instructions of the process.

There a few design issues with this generator. First, the tow-handle that folds out for easier transporting of the unit is a bit short, especially for taller people. Another design flaw is the location of the oil fill under the control panel, which makes it difficult to change or add oil.

PROS
  • Runs on both gas and propane.
  • Propane hose included.
  • Easy to start.
  • Comes with a battery.
  • Dedicated RV connecter.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
  • Intelligauge.
  • Volt guard.
  • Convenient folding handle.
  • 3-year limited warranty.
  • EPA and CARB compliant.
  • Inexpensive.
CONS
  • Oil fill is also inconveniently located.
  • Low run time.
  • At 68 dBA noise level, it’s a bit noisy but not terribly loud.

Pulsar G450RN

quiet rv generator with remote startPulsar also offers a good portable generator for RV use. It’s an inverter generator that provides clean power while generating minimum noise of about 63 decibels.

Its 224cc single cylinder engine is capable of producing 4,500 peak watts and 3,700 running watts. This provides you with enough power for various essentials whether you’re camping, tailgating, or powering small construction tools. And the engine also offers optimal performance with 15 hours of run time on a 3.4 gallon fuel tank.

If you’ll find this power capacity not sufficient for your needs, the generator also offers parallel capability. It means that you can purchase two of these generators and use them in tandem through an adapter. This gives you a higher power output and eliminates the hassle of dealing with much heavier and larger units.

The generator uses the sine wave technology, so the power it produces is pure and safe. This allows charging sensitive electronic devices without the use of any adapters and without worrying about them getting damaged.

For extra convenience, the unit comes with a wireless remote start, so you can operate the unit in an 80 feet radius. And if you’re right next to the generator, you can use the electric or recoil start.

There is also plenty of receptacles to accommodate various charging needs. There’s two household receptacles, one 30 amp RV receptacle, one 12V DC receptacle, and a USB port.

PROS
  • Remote control.
  • 15 hours of run time on a 3.4 gallon fuel tank.
  • Safe for sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Economy mode.
  • RV receptacle and a few others.
  • Circuit breaker.
  • Overload protection.
  • Quiet technology producing only 63 decibels.
  • Extendable handle and wheels for portability.
  • Parallel capability.
  • EPA, CARB and CSA approved.
CONS
  • The 1-year warranty is shorter compared to other brands.
  • Inconvenient oil changing since it requires tilting the unit, which can create spillage.

Generac GP3000i

quiet and small rv generatorGenerac is also a popular brand in the industry and one of their best products is the GP3000i model. It’s equipped with various technologies to provide clean, reliable power in a lightweight, compact unit.

The generator features a 149cc engine which produces 3000 starting watts and 2300 running watts. Equipped with Generac’s PowerRush technology, this unit delivers 50% more starting capacity than most other generators of its size. It increases electrical current upon demand, allowing you to do more with less.

You can also run the generator in the economy mode. It adjusts the engine speed according to the power needs and subsequently, it reduces fuel consumption and noise output. For quieter performance, the generator also features inverter technology, providing optimal performance with reduced sound.

With 1 gallon fuel tank capacity, the generator can run for up to 6 hours. This is not the highest run time you can get but it’s good performance for a smaller size generator. And you can increase the power by getting one more of this Generac inverter generator and a parallel kit assembly. This will allow you to use the two units in tandem and get twice the amount of power.

This RV generator also uses True Power technology, which controls the current and provides clean, stable power. It’s designed for protecting sensitive electronics and appliances.

As for outlets, there’s one twist lock and two household outlets. And there are also two USB ports for charging phones and tablets. It doesn’t include an RV style plug, however, so it will require an adapter.

To start this RV generator, there are two options. The easier one is using the PowerDial for simple and easy choking, running, and shutting off the generator. And as a backup, on the side of the unit, you’ll also find a recoil start.

The panel of this generator offers easy to use features. It also offers visual alerts with overload and low oil warnings. However, it doesn’t automatically shut down the generator, so you need to keep an eye on these indicators.

This generator is also great for those who are looking for a good portable RV generator. Weighing just 59 pounds and having a built-in handle, you can easily pick it up and transport it wherever you need.

PROS
  • PowerRush technology for more starting capacity.
  • Provides pure, stable power.
  • Eco mode.
  • Outlets and USB ports.
  • Status lights.
  • Lightweight, compact design.
  • Easy power dial start.
  • Quiet, especially in the economy mode.
  • 3-year limited warranty.
CONS
  • No fuel shut off.
  • If buying it for an RV, you’ll need a cord adaptor.
  • Small gas tank.

WEN 56475

most quiet generator for rv campingThe WEN 56475 is also a good option for those looking for a high powered RV generator. With 4,750 starting watts and 3,750 running watts, this unit produces enough power for running an RV AC and multiple other appliances simultaneously. And you can use it either for your recreational vehicle or for household use when there is a power outage.

With a 4 gallon fuel tank, the generator can provide up to 10 hours of run time. It might not be the highest run time for such a big fuel tank size. However, it gives more power output.

As for the outlets, there are four of them in total. There are two standard household outlets, one RV ready outlet, one 30amp 3-prong outlet, and one 120V RV outlet. So, you can plug into the generator different household appliances, as well as 120V appliances with a maximum draw of 30 amps. You can also hook up your RV to the generator and you’ll have power throughout your vehicle.

Another great user-friendly feature of this RV generator is the LCD screen. It shows some basic information about the unit’s operation. Having all this information at hand makes it easier to monitor output and schedule maintenance.

This generator weighs 112 pounds, so it’s not exactly something you can pick up and carry around. However, it does include a wheel kit and a handle that folds out. It makes it easier to transport and store the generator.

PROS
  • Produces plenty of power.
  • Offers a variety of outlets.
  • RV ready.
  • Transfer switch ready.
  • Push button start.
  • Fairly quiet with 68 decibel noise output.
  • Convenient wheels and fold out handle.
  • Relatively inexpensive.
CONS
  • Low run time.
  • No Eco mode.
  • 2-year warranty is a bit shorter compared to most other brands on this list.

Honda EU2200i

portable inverter generator for rvThe Honda EU2200i is the best small generator for RV camping. It’s also one of the quietest generators for RV use with a noise output of only 48 to 57 dBA. This noise level is less than a normal conversation, which makes it perfect for camping and other activities. With such quiet operation, you can enjoy the tranquility of nature and not worry about disturbing the campsite neighbors.

This generator is designed for powering a wide variety of appliances whether you’re using it at home, at a campsite, or on a job site. It produces 2,200 starting watts and 1,800 running watts. It also offers the best fuel efficiency. With a full tank of 0.95 gallons of fuel, you’ll have up to 10 hours of run time.

And to get such high efficiency, the generator is using Honda’s Eco Throttle technology. It works by automatically adjusting the engine speed to the optimum level in order to produce only the power needed for the requested load. This technology helps to reduce fuel consumption by up to 40%, reducing exhaust emissions and making the generator’s operation quieter.

The use of advanced inverter technology means that this RV generator can safely power the most sensitive electronics. On top of that, the technology allows fitting the unit in a smaller, lighter package weighing just around 40 pounds.

Another advantage of this generator is the availability of different outlets. There are one DC outlet and two household outlets. However, as a downside, there’s no RV outlet and no USB ports.

The unit also includes the standard safety features, such as circuit protection and low-oil shutoff. There are light indicators that notify you when any of these issues occur.

PROS
  • Fuel efficient.
  • Long run time.
  • Very quiet.
  • Convenient electric start with recoil for backup.
  • AC and DC output.
  • Safe for power-sensitive devices.
  • Low-oil alert.
  • Circuit protection.
  • 3-year warranty.
CONS
  • Not CARB compliant.
  • No RV outlet.
  • No hour meter.
  • Expensive.

Champion 100263 3400 Watt Generator

dual fuel generator for travel trailer and camperThe next RV generator on our top recommendations list also comes from the Champion brand. It’s one of the best inverter generators for RV camping as it’s lightweight, quiet, and provides reliable power.

The generator is equipped with a 171cc engine, which produces 3400 starting watts and 3300 running watts. It’s enough output to power even an air conditioner and it’s plenty for most RV and trailer essentials.

For better fuel economy, the generator offers an economy mode. It reduces the electrical load, providing better fuel efficiency and extending engine life. On top of that, this mode provides quieter operation. Moreover, this is a dual fuel generator, so it can run on gas or propane.

And this Champion model is one of the quietest generators for RV use since even in standard mode it has a noise output of only 59 dBA. This makes it perfect for use at campsites since you won’t have to worry about bothering your neighbors.

The manufacturer has also added a lot of convenience to the starting process of this generator. It includes an electric start and Cold Start technology, so even if you’ll be camping in cold weather, starting the generator will still be a breeze.

Thanks to the inverter and Clean Power technology, this portable generator produces pure power, so you can safely connect your sensitive electronics, such as laptops and phones. Speaking of safety, there are also such features as low-oil shut down, overload protection, and circuit breakers.

Another great feature of this RV generator is the user-friendly control panel, where you can easily access all the controls, including the push-to-reset circuit breakers. However, unfortunately, there’s no display where you could view run time, amperage, or voltage. This data would have been handy to have.

It’s also a mobile unit with features designed for convenient portability. It weighs 99 pounds, which might be too heavy for a lot of people to lift on their own. However, the generator’s features include convenient built-in handles for easier carrying and another foldaway handle for easier wheeling.

PROS
  • Cold Start technology.
  • Battery included.
  • RV style plug.
  • Economy mode.
  • Very quiet operation.
  • Produces only clean power.
  • Low-oil shutdown.
  • Circuit breakers.
  • Convenient handles and wheel kit.
  • EPA and CARB compliant.
  • 3-year limited warranty.
CONS
  • Heavy.
  • The wheels are useless on soft surfaces like grass.

What Is an RV Generator?

An RV generator is a type of generator that is used in campers, travel trailers, 5th wheels, motorhomes, and any other type of recreational vehicle. It supplies power to all the electronics and appliances that are onboard the RV. It can make your life on the road a lot more comfortable since it gives you the freedom from the dependability on the campsites’ power source. And what makes an RV generator different from a standard generator is the addition of a TT-30R receptacle and the more lightweight and compact design.

How Does an RV Generator Work?

RV generators work the same way as standard ones do. Typically, it will consist of an engine, fuel source, alternator, starter, and outlets. These are the basic components. There can also be other parts that will differ from model to model.

A generator also needs something to draw power from. For this purpose, they use either liquid propane or gas.

The engine, which runs on fuel, provides electricity to the generator head by spinning a shaft. A typical generator is also equipped with a constant speed regulator that maintains the optimal speed of the spinning shaft in order to provide the required amount of mechanical energy. Next, the generator moves a magnet near a wire, which produces the electron flow. And finally, this harnessed flow of electrons is redirected to outlets, supplying electricity to your appliances.

Portable RV generators are measured in watts, which shows the amount of power they can produce. There are also two types of watts: starting watts and running watts. The former is the extra power that is required to effectively kick-start larger motor-driven appliances or to start multiple items at once. And after an appliance has been started up, it usually settles down to a lower wattage and that is the continuous running wattage.

What to Look for When Searching for the Best RV Generator?

Now that you know the top available options, how to know which is the best generator for your RV? Everyone has their own needs and requirements, so a certain generator can be ideal for one person but useless for another. That’s why it’s important to understand the factors that you need to consider before choosing the right RV generator that would be optimal for your specific situation.

Inverter Generator vs Conventional Generator for RV

One of the first things you should consider before choosing a certain RV generator model is the type of generator you’d prefer. Do you want just a conventional generator or an inverter generator? There are pros and cons for both types and determining which one would be best for you depends on what it will be used for.

One of the differences between the two is in the type of electricity they produce. Conventional generators produce only AC power and inverter generators produce power in 3 phases. Inverter generators output AC power like conventional generators but then they convert it to DC and then they invert the current back to clean AC.

The produced clean AC current is what makes inverter generators so unique. The created electric current has minimal harmonic distortion, which makes it a safe energy source for sensitive electronics.

So, if you’ll be powering any devices that use some form of a microprocessor, you will benefit from the cleaner power provided by an inverter generator. And that doesn’t include just your computer. Many different devices and appliances today use sophisticated electronic circuitry, so it can include phones, TV, game consoles, and even kitchen appliances. All of these are very sensitive to the quality of electricity and powering them with a traditional generator can damage them or cause them to malfunction.

Traditional generators, on the other hand, have a much messier sine wave. The output is directly connected to the load, without any regulating of the power. It’s still a suitable power source for most appliances but it can be damaging to sensitive devices.

Inverter generators also have the advantage of better fuel efficiency due to how they operate. Unlike a conventional unit, they automatically adjust the engine speed according to the load. This means that they require less fuel to provide similar run times.

Moreover, inverter generators are more compact and portable. They are also quieter and many manufacturers offer to make up for the low output by offering parallel connection of two inverter generators together.

As for the advantages of conventional generators, they include a higher power output and lower price. So, if you don’t plan on powering sensitive electronics, you need maximum power, and you have a lower budget, you might prefer a conventional generator.

Fuel Type

You might also want to consider the fuel type that will be used by the generator. You can pick one that is easier for you to get access to, which will help to make your life a bit more effortless. However, in some cases you don’t have to choose between the two main types, which makes it convenient for when you’re traveling far from home and you’re not sure what fuel will be available.

  • Gas is the most common type of fuel used for RV generators. It’s relatively cheaper compared to other types and more readily available.
  • Propane is another common type. They are popular due to the indefinite shelf like and quieter operation. Moreover, they offer longer run time on a single tank than either gas or diesel does. If you choose the propane option, make sure that you’re using a propane regulator on your propane tank.
  • Diesel portable generators have better fuel efficiency. This means that you get more power out of a single tank. However, this type of portable generator is rare and they are quite noisy and smelly, which wouldn’t be ideal for RV use.

As we’ve mentioned, you can also get a dual fuel generator. It will offer dual fuel capacity, so you can choose the more convenient fuel depending on the situation.

Power Requirements

Perhaps the biggest consideration for selecting the right RV generator is the power output of the unit. All generators are not made equal and different models offer a specific power output. And this amount of power is measured in watts.

You need to pick a model that would be able to meet the power requirements of your RV appliances. If all you need is to power some lights and mobile phones, you can get a small, low wattage generator. But if you need to power an AC, fridge, microwave, and more, you will need a more powerful unit.

For example, 13,500 BTU air conditioner unit requires 2000 watts, microwaves use about 1000 watts, a fridge runs on about 180 watts. In all, just check the wattage of the appliances that you use in your RV. Add the light’s power requirements and the total will tell you the amount of power that you need for your recreational vehicle.

In most cases, the more power, the better. However, at the same time, don’t overspend on an oversized unit that would produce way more power than you use.

Construction

You should also look at the construction of RV generators. Review the overall build to see how this piece of equipment would be able to withstand the test of time. It should have a sturdy design that is made using high quality materials.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is also an essential factor that you should look out for. Better fuel efficiency will not only help you to save money on fuel costs but will also be better for the environment. Brands use different technologies to make their generators more efficient. And some technologies are better than others.

For example, inverter generators are considered to be the most fuel efficient portable generators, providing longer operation times on a single fuel tank. Unlike traditional generators, instead of engaging the engine in full-throttle mode all the time, they adjust the speed according to the load. So, if you need to power just some light appliances, the engine speed would automatically be slowed down and at the same time, this will reduce fuel consumption. Moreover, look for generators with an Eco mode, which also provides better fuel efficiency.

When looking into fuel consumption, check also the estimated run time of the generator on a single tank of fuel. Generators can run anything between 4 and 18 hours before you’ll need to refill the fuel tank. With longer run time, you will have less hassle of having to constantly add fuel to the generator.

However, of course, higher loads will also mean faster depletion of fuel. And longer run times are usually offered by units that are bulkier and that come with larger sized fuel tanks. Here you need to decide what is more important to you. Would you prefer a smaller sized generator or one that would be able to run for a longer time without requiring any maintenance?

Quiet Operation

Since you’ll be using the chosen portable generator on your RV where you’d rather be enjoying the quietness and tranquility of nature, look for units with a lower noise output. Especially if you’ll be spending many nights sleeping in your RV, you want the generator to be as quiet as possible.

Moreover, most national parks and campgrounds have noise limitations. Typically, it’s up to 60 decibels at a 50-feet distance. And if you’re parked at a campsite, you don’t want to annoy your neighbors with the thumping sounds of your generator. So, keep that in mind when choosing the ideal RV generator.

It’s worth mentioning also that the bigger the generator, the more noise it will produce. And if you want the quietest generator, consider getting one of the inverter generators. They usually produce a noise level of only about 50 to 60 decibels, which is similar to the noise level of a normal conversation.

Portability Features

Most RV owners prefer to buy a portable generator since it adds versatility to the unit. Aside from using it to power your travel trailer essentials, it can also be used to provide electricity for tailgating or during power outages.

Look for an RV generator that will be easy to carry and move around. Many manufacturers today equip their generators with wheels and carry handles. Lots of the units also feature a convenient framework, which allows for easier gripping and carrying. An optimal choice would also be a generator that is not too heavy, so it could easily be transported by just one person.

You can also opt for a permanent unit that is installed directly into an RV and that is tied into an onboard fuel source. These usually cost a bit more and they won’t be able to offer any other use except for powering your RV.

Available Outlets

One more thing to consider when choosing a portable generator is the available outlets on the unit. It should have all the necessary outlets, so you would be able to easily plug in all your RV appliances and have them ready for use. For example, if you’ll need to power some 12V appliances but the generator offers only 120V outlets, you will need to additionally purchase an adapter.

Most generators offer 120V household outlets. Other included outlets can also include USB ports, twist locks, RV outlets, and DC outlets. Consider which of these you would actually need and look for a unit that would be able to meet these requirements.

Protection Features

A good RV generator should also have proper protection. The stand protection should include low-oil shutdown and circuit protection. There should also be GFCI protected outlets and a surge protector against overloads.

Other User-Friendly Features

An ideal generator will also offer different user-friendly features that will make operating it easier. One of such features can be an LCD display, where you would be able to view different information about the unit’s operation. Typically, it would include load, run time, and frequency. Other features that would make your generator use easier and more convenient include a wireless remote start, a fuel gauge, and a voltmeter.

Price

When shopping for anything, you probably have a certain amount of money that you’re ready to spend. So, before you start shopping around for a new RV generator, decide on that limit and set your budget. It will help you narrow down the options and choose a more suitable unit for your requirements. Also, spend some time comparing the prices of products within your budget to see if their prices correspond to the features and quality they offer. Try to find a unit that would offer you the best value for the money.

Warranty

RV generators are a big investment, so it’s important to make sure that it will last a long time. And a long warranty is a good sign of a high quality product. It shows that the manufacturer is confident in the quality and reliability of their products.

All electric appliances are prone to various defects and issues. It’s also true for RV generators. And if you do get a malfunctioning unit, you want to be sure that the manufacturer will fix this issue. That’s why it’s important that the products come with a good warranty. A good warranty for RV generators is 3 years and if a manufacturer offers anything shorter, it might not be the smartest investment.

Good RV Portable Generator Brands

When thinking of buying a new RV generator, it can also be helpful to look at the most popular brands. It’s the brands that have been on the market the longest and which have shown that they care about providing high quality products with the most advanced features. So, here are some of the best brands in the industry:

  • Honda is a well known brand in the automotive industry and it’s also one of the most popular brands in the industry of portable generators. They offer an extensive line of portable generators with products to suit different needs and situations. The company also offers a good warranty, so you can be sure that the unit won’t fail on you while you’re on the road.
  • Westinghouse. You should also check out Westinghouse generators. They offer units with various power outputs, sturdy designs, and reasonable prices.
  • Champion. This is another popular name in the industry. They have some of the most efficient portable generators that also produce the least amount of noise. Moreover, they offer a few products that have the dual fuel ability, meaning that you can power one unit with both propane and gas.

How to Connect a Portable Generator to Your RV?

To connect a travel trailer or RV to a generator, you need to set up the right connections. It will ensure seamless power delivery to your vehicle’s appliances and will eliminate the risk of electrical hazards caused by poor cabling. Here’s a guideline on how to use a generator with an RV. However, keep in mind that these are just general guidelines. Consult the manual that comes with your generator product for more specific instructions.

  1. Start by finding a good location for your unit. The place should be firm and steady. And it should be able to support the weight of the generator. It should also be level so that the unit doesn’t tip over during operation. Some RVs come with a built-in tray specifically for generators. If your has it, you can set up your unit there.
  2. Next, you need to fuel the generator. Most products come with a special tank for fuel, which needs to be filled up before use. And always make sure to use the type of fuel that is specified for your particular unit.
  3. Drive the grounding rod into the ground and connect the copper wire from the grounding rod to the unit.
  4. Make sure that the generator’s exhaust is facing in the opposite direction from the RV and people in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  5. Connect the RV cable to the generator. Start your generator and you should have power in your RV right away.

How to Maintain Your RV Generator?

Once you’ve bought your perfect generator and you’ve connected it to your RV, your next step should be to understand how to maintain it in good condition. With proper maintenance, you’ll be able to keep your unit in top notch condition for much longer. This means less frequent fixing of any issues and longer use without having to replace them. Here are some tips for proper usage and maintenance.

  1. Change the oil. As with any engine-powered, oil is used for lubricating all the internal workings of a motor. Without it, the metal on metal contact will cause the motor to wear out very quickly. That’s why it’s important to regularly change the oil, which will ensure that friction stays lubricated and cooled. As a result, it will also make sure that the engine continues to run as efficiently as it can.
  2. Keep the tank filled when in use. You don’t necessarily need to fill up the fuel tank every time you use the generator. However, you never want to run the generator to the point that it has completely run out of fuel. When that happens, your appliances start to drain the magnetism from the generator’s coils. This can result in irreparable damage and can shorten the lifespan of your unit.
  3. Charge the battery. Not all RV generators come with a battery. However, if it does use batteries for electric start, make sure to keep them always charged. Imagine that you need to take out your generator in an emergency situation and then you find out that the battery is dead. Doesn’t sound like an ideal situation, right? So try to plan ahead and you’ll have your generator ready for use when you need it the most.
  4. Avoid overloading. Generators are made to provide a specific number of watts. And if your appliances are demanding more electricity than the unit can produce, it overloads the system. Generators typically have a built-in overload protection feature designed to cut off the power before any damage is done. However, you’re still putting it at risk of avoidable wear and tear.
  5. Proper storage. When you’re not using your generator, store it away in a cool and dry place. Choose an area that is free of moisture and any other form of liquid. Moreover, cover your generator to protect it against dust, mud, and grime. When putting away your generator, also be sure to drain all the fuel from the tank. You don’t the fuel to be stale when you start using it again as it results in generator breakdown. Additionally, during inactivity, exercise the unit every one or two months. Just run it for a few minutes so that the oil can spread out throughout the engine and get everything well lubricated.
  6. Do regular servicing. Getting your generator regularly serviced will ensure that it will continue to run efficiently for a prolonged period of time without the risk of a breakdown. Take it to the nearest repair shop for a checkup of any deficiencies or issues.
  7. Clean the batteries. If you see any dirt piling up, wiping it away with a damp cloth. And if you notice any corrosion at the terminals, disconnect the cables and clean them while also being careful not to get any moisture into the battery cells.

RV Generator FAQ

Do travel trailers have generators?

Most travel trailers don’t come with a built-in generator since they do have a limited amount of space. The only RVs that do usually include a built-in unit are the 5th wheels and motor coaches. In all the other cases of RVs, the owners can add a portable generator.

Which type of fuel is the best for an RV generator?

The ideal type of fuel is dependent on the type of RV that you have or the type of application that you’ll be using it for. For example, if your trailer has a diesel pusher, you might want to get a diesel generator. This type would also be more suitable for you if you need maximum power.

However, in most cases, RV owners get a propane or gas unit. Gasoline generators are more affordable, more efficient, and compact. Propane units are more environmentally friendly, producing clean emissions. This fuel also has a longer shelf life, giving you more run time on a single refill. The downside, though, is that the tank size is usually smaller compared to other types.

How to start an RV generator?

The process for starting a generator depends on the specific type and model you have. Most units offer an electric start, so to get the unit running all you need to do is push a button. Some generators offer a more convenient option with a remote start. It allows starting the unit from anywhere in your RV by using wireless remote control. And the conventional start is recoil, which requires pulling a recoil rope. This type of start is included in all portable generators, either as the main start or as a backup option.

What is the difference between surge watts and running watts?

Surge watts refer to the amount of power needed to start larger appliances, such as an air conditioner, power tools, or refrigerators. Such appliances need a short brief boost of power, which would get the motor going. And once the motor has started, the wattage slowly goes down to the running watt level. So, running watts are the amount of power that is required to continuously run the appliances.

What size generator do I need for my RV?

This is probably the main question RV generator buyers have since the right size will ensure that you have enough to power all the appliances of your RV. To determine the size, make a list of all the electronics and appliances that you wish to operate in your RV and calculate the number of watts that is needed to power them. Also, don’t forget that many larger appliances have higher starting watts, so take that into account as well.

In all, sum up the watts needed for each of the appliances and go for an RV generator size that is slightly higher.

What size generator for a 30 amp RV?

If you’re looking for a portable generator for a 30 amp RV, consider the models that offer an output of 3,000 to 3,600 watts. Anything below might not give you enough power and anything above will be just wasted.

What can a 4,000 watt generator run?

With a 4,000 watt generator, you’ll probably be able to power most of your RV appliances. It can power a couple of larger appliances along with smaller devices simultaneously. For example, you could power an AC unit, a refrigerator, a microwave, coffee maker, phone, and laptops.

How much gas an RV generator normally uses?

RV generators can run on either propane, diesel, or gasoline. The advantages and disadvantages of each of these we’ve discussed in the fuel type section above. What we haven’t mentioned yet is how much fuel does a generator consume when in operation.

There’s obviously no specific number applicable for all units since it depends on the fuel type, load, and efficiency of the generator. However, on average, a 6000 watts propane generator will consume about 1.5 gallons of fuel per hour. A diesel generator with the same amount of power output will consume about 1 gallon per hour. And the same goes for gasoline generators. They also consume about 1 gallon per hour.

These numbers are just averages and to get a more specific number, you can check the specifications sheet of the model you have. But then again, that will also be just an estimate. The actual number will still depend on the amount of load put on the generator and the age of the unit.

Where to buy an RV generator?

You can buy RV portable generators in RV supply stores and local dealerships. Alternatively, you can also buy them online. And if you want to find a wide range of options, a good place to check is Amazon. There, you can also compare and read RV generator reviews to get a better idea about each of the products.

How long will an RV generator last?

On average, portable generators last about 10,000 to 20,000 hours of operation. However, the actual lifespan of a unit can vary due to a number of factors. First of all, it depends on the quality of the generator. A poor quality generator will obviously not last long. Secondly, it depends on how well the generator is maintained. If you follow proper generator maintenance and servicing of the unit, it will last you much longer.

Do I need an adapter for an RV generator?

If your generator comes with an RV ready outlet, you’ll be able to connect your RV directly to the unit, which will provide electricity throughout the vehicle. However, if there’s no RV outlet on the generator, then you will need to additionally purchase an adapter.

How quiet should an RV generator be?

If you’ll be staying at a campsite, you’ll be surrounded by neighbors that you wouldn’t want to disturb with too much noise. Besides that, you’d rather be enjoying the quietness yourself and most national parks also have noise limitations. That’s why it’s important to choose an RV generator that would produce minimal noise. An optimal unit would have a noise output of about 60 decibels at 50 feet.

Are propane generators quieter than gas?

Generally, propane generators are quieter than gas. However, the type of fuel isn’t the only determining factor on how much noise a generator makes. It also depends on how old the generator is, the type of engine used, the technology that the unit is equipped with, and the amount of load.

Will a 2,000 watt generator run an air conditioner?

A 2,000 watt portable generator is capable of powering a 10,000 BTU air conditioner. However, it’s still recommended to get a generator with a bit more power output. A 10,000 AC unit requires 2,200 surge watts and 1,500 running watts. So, it would be better to get a generator with at least 2,200 surge watts rating. And if your AC unit has a higher BTU rating, your generator power output should also be accordingly higher.

Can you run an RV generator while driving?

Yes, it is safe to run your generator while driving the RV. However, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to avoid problems.

If you have a propane fueled generator, check your local and state laws, as some may prohibit the use of propane while driving. Some laws may even prohibit carrying propane onboard when driving on certain roads, bridges, or tunnels. And if you want to run your generator while driving, it’s better if it’s a built-in type. Portable generators can also be run but then you need to make sure that it’s properly covered and well fastened so it wouldn’t roll away.

How to make the RV generator quieter?

A loud RV generator can quickly turn your camping trip into an unpleasant experience. On top of that, it can become a real annoyance also to your campsite neighbors. If you find that your generator is making too much noise, there are a few things you can do to make it quieter.

The cheapest and simplest option is to get a noise reduction box. Other ways of quieting it include adding a generator muffler, soundproofing the onboard generator compartment, or replacing the old generator with a new quieter one.

If you want to avoid loud generator operation, consider getting RV solar panels instead. They will provide you with clean energy and will do so without producing any noise.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best RV generator might not be the easiest task with all the options available and all the factors to consider. However, doing a bit of homework and knowing exactly what to look for will help to narrow down those options to a more manageable number and ultimately help to choose the right product. And we hope that our RV generator reviews have been helpful in this process. The options we’ve included were picked based on their quality, features, efficiency, and price. There are generators to fit different needs and hopefully, you’ll find one that is perfect for you.

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