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Generators For RVs

Compare and find the right generator for your recreational vehicle

The Best Generator For RVs For The Money

Best Fuel Efficiency

Size (inches)

27 x 26 x 21

Weight

144 lbs

Run Time

7.2 – 20 hours

Wattage

6,000 

Noise (Decibels)

49 – 58

Best Dual Fuel

Size (inches)

20.5 x 18.3 x 18.9

Weight

82.2 lbs

Run Time

Up to 14.5 hours

Wattage

4,000 

Noise (Decibels)

64

Best Budget

Size (inches)

18 x 11 x 18

Weight

48 lbs

Run Time

Up to 9.4 hours

Wattage

2,000 

Noise (Decibels)

53

Most Portable

Size (inches)

19.3 x 11 x 17.9

Weight

44.1 lbs

Run Time

Up to 10.5 hours

Wattage

2,000 

Noise (Decibels)

51.5

Size (inches)

22 x 17 x 20

Weight

99.2 lbs

Run Time

Up to 11 hours

Wattage

3,500 

Noise (Decibels)

57

Size (inches)

19.7 x 16 x 16

Weight

74.3 lbs

Run Time

Up to 11 hours

Wattage

3,500 

Noise (Decibels)

++

Honda EU 3000is: Best Fuel Efficiency

Summary & Features

Honda is a top player in the industry and is known for consistently producing quiet, easy to operate, high quality, reliable inverter generators for RV use or other. The Honda EU 3000is is no exception. 

This 3000 watt 120V portable inverter generator is an excellent power source for RVs. It can power a 13,500 BTU air conditioner and many common household appliances.

Possibly what people love most about this generator is that it runs a whopping 20 hours on 3.4 gallons of fuel. You won’t have to worry about it crapping out overnight. This is all thanks to the exclusive Eco-Throttle System. 

Another standout feature of the Honda EU 3000is is that it’s super quiet and projects less noise than a normal conversation (you neighbors will thank you!) Specifically, it operates at 49 to 58 dB(A), making it ideal for camping in parks. 

Honda built this generator to treat your more sensitive electronics well. The advanced inverter technology provides stable, reliable power to charge your laptop and not fry it. 

Want to add more power? Add a second EU3000is! Keep in mind that you will have to purchase the cable separately to parallel it. 

In terms of safety, you can be at ease knowing that the CO-MINDER Advanced Carbon Monoxide Detection System is continuously monitoring carbon monoxide levels. It automatically shuts down the generator before detected CO levels near the generator become dangerously high.

If your oil is low, you are protected by Oil Alert. The generator will shut itself off when it is low on oil. Additionally, it is circuit protected, so the generator doesn’t get overloaded.

Keep in mind the Honda EU 3000is is a full 144 pounds. So if you’re not a gym rat, I would suggest purchasing the 2 or 4 Wheel Kit, so it is easier to remove. There is also an optional cover to keep it dry and protect it from the elements. It would not be a bad idea to purchase either of these accessories. 

Last but not least, Honda offers a three-year warranty, so you are covered.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Efficient
  • Electric start
  • 20 hours of run time
  • CO-MINDER
  • Inverter for stable power
  • Parallel ready

Cons

  • Heavier
  • Expensive
  • Accessories sold separately

Champion 4000 Dual Fuel: Best Dual Fuel

Summary & Features

The Champion 4000 is a 4000 watt dual fuel powerful and portable inverter generator that is one of the best on the market. It has 18 hours of run time on propane and can power a 13,500 BTU air conditioner unit along with all the electronics you can muster. It has a ton to offer and is tough to compete with.

First and foremost, it is dual fuel meaning it can take both gas and propane. Many people find this very convenient if they run out of one type of fuel. 

This generator has three outlets, including a 120V Duplex and a 120V twist-lock. There is a user-friendly Quick Touch Panel with a data display to see how much power you have used and how much you have left. Very handy!

People love the Champion 4000 watt dual fuel because it is 50% quieter and 20% lighter than older models, and the Economy Mode feature saves fuel and extends engine life. While it is 50% quieter, it is not the quietest on the market. It operates at 64 dBA from 23 feet, which is a bit louder than everyday speech.

You can confidently connect your sensitive electronics since this Champion generator produces clean power. If the generator is low on oil, you need not worry because it has a shut-off sensor. If you live in a cold part of the country, you can still expect a quick start because of the Cold Start Technology.

The Champion 4000 watt dual fuel includes a USB adapter, an oil funnel, a propane hose, battery charging cables, and a 3-year warranty with free lifetime technical support from dedicated experts. Set up should be easy if you read the included manual. 

Separately, you can purchase a parallel kit to increase your power. You can connect up to two 2800-watt or higher inverters or digital hybrids. You can also buy accessories to more easily transport it.

Pros

  • Power a 15000 BTU air conditioner 
  • Advanced open-frame design
  • Dual fuel
  • Relatively quiet 
  • Manageable weight
  • Clean power
  • Parallel ready

Cons

  • Accessories sold separately

WEN 56200i: Best Budget Option

Summary & Features

The WEN 56200i is competitive because of its price point, but it is also a reliable little camping generator. It comes equipped with two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, and one 5V USB port.

The decibel rating is impressive at 53dB, comparable to more expensive options such as Yamaha. 

Another impressive feature of this inexpensive little guy is how fuel-efficient it can be thanks to its Eco Mode setting. If you run out of power, WEN sells the dedicated parallel connection kit for inverter generators.

Like many small generators, it has a handle on the top you can grip. It is effortless to manage at 48 pounds. And even though it is small, it has 9.4 hours of run time. 

If you are environmentally conscious, it may be of interest that the WEN 56200i is EPA III and CARB Compliant. So, no matter where you reside in the United States, you can legally use it.

As you might expect with the price point, its internal parts and components are not as high in quality as the other generators on our list. Thus we have concerns that it won’t be as durable.

So bottom line: is this cheap generator any good? Yes. The WEN 56200i proves you don’t need to drop a grand for a well-running generator. You won’t get all the perks and fancy gadgets, but you get the basics.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Cheaper option
  • EPA III and CARB Compliant
  • Great for campgrounds

Cons

  • Not the highest quality 
  • You have to change the oil a lot
  • Eco mode doesn’t work when running above 1000 watts

Yamaha EF2000iSv2: Most Portable

Summary & Features

Yamaha is probably Honda’s biggest competitor and is one of the best brands on the market. 

The EF2000iSv2 model stands out for its remarkable technical features:

  • The Fuel Petcock prevents stale gas problems and gummed‐up carburetors. 
  • The Fuel Gauge allows quick fuel level inspection without turning off the unit and removing the fuel cap. 
  • The Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on load, improving fuel economy, and reducing noise and engine wear. 
  • The Electrical Overload Breaker prevents generator damage in case of overload.
  • The Oil Watch Warning System prevents engine damage caused by low oil, avoiding costly repairs and minimizing downtime, adding customer confidence and peace‐of‐mind.

The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a portable inverter generator with a comfortable handle. Keep in mind, the amount of power this generator emits is not all that extraordinary. If you need more power, the parallel function lets you connect two generators to deliver up to 30 amps. 

If you’re worried about charging your more sensitive electronics, you need not because the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 supplies clean, high-quality power. 

If you’re environmentally conscious, you should know that Yamaha generators have the longest emission engine durability ratings issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

Many people also choose the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 because it is fitted with a muffler, and you may not even notice it running at 51.5 dBA at 1/4 load.

Overall, the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a modern, portable option for those who like an abundance of technical features in their generator. It will be your best friend. 

Pros

  • Great technical features
  • Small and portable
  • Has the longest emissions compliance period
  • Quiet operation 
  • Reliable generator for camping
  • Inverter system with pulse modulation 

Cons

  • Not very powerful
  • Manual choke can be temperamental

Harbor Freight Predator 3500

Summary & Features

The Predator 3500 is a versatile and relatively quiet (57 dB) inverter generator suitable for any size RV/camper. The amount of power combined with the inverter technology makes it a perfect off the grid generator for those who like to wander.

Perhaps what stands out most about this generator is the small difference (500W) between starting watts and running watts. This makes it easier to estimate how many appliances it can power. 

If you want to leave this baby running overnight, that’s not a problem as it can run lights and a space heater for up to 11 hours (with a full tank) and is quiet (57 dB). You can feel confident to run an air conditioner up to 15000 BTU during the day and charge your appliances too. 

3500 watts is a good amount of power, but if you want more, you have the option of purchasing a second unit and making use of their parallel capability. That would be a full 7000 watts of power output which brings you to the lower end of output of a home standby generator.

Some cool and convenient features include:

  • The digital LCD screen with low oil, overload, and output light indicators
  • An ESC throttle switch for increased fuel efficiency
  • Smooth-rolling casters for portability
  • An easily removable side panel so you can quickly add oil

Like all the other generators reviewed, it has inverter technology for clean power.  

The Predator 3500 is pretty heavy. Predator compensated for this by including four wheels instead of two for easier maneuvering and two carrying handles. It makes life a lot easier when you share the load with someone else!

Predator delivers their product at a reasonable price (under $1000). Many generators at this price point do not have the power of the Predator 3500.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Quiet operation
  • Good enough for overnight use
  • Easy maintenance
  • Rear wheels
  • Good features for its pricing

Cons

  • Does not have a remote start
  • Pulling handle would be nice
  • 2-year warranty seems short 

Generac GP3500iO

Summary & Features

The Generac GP3500iO is an excellent option because it is powerful, and still of the best portable options on the market at 74.3 pounds. It is perfect for powering your on-the-road home. 

What stands out about this generator is the advanced PowerRush technology and the simple-to-use dial that integrates start/run/stop functions. 

The control panel features:

  • A generator status lights – ready, overload, and low oil
  • USB outlets – to charge mobile devices
  • Economy mode –  provides excellent fuel economy and noise reduction)
  • A data center – gives you information that is helpful for monitoring activity and status

The Generac GP3500iO packs a big punch and can power a 15000 BTU air conditioner on top of regular household electronics. 

If you want more power, the generator is parallel ready, so you can simply connect another generator for more power.

For those who are environmentally conscious, you should know that this generator is CARB-compliant. 

It also features a spark arrestor, making it safe for the forest. If you are not aware, spark arresters play a critical role in preventing wildfires in forested areas. 

Separately sold are:

  • A maintenance kit to keep your generator emergency ready with scheduled maintenance.  
  • Transfer switches and switch kits to connect to the circuits in the electrical panel you’ll need during a power outage.
  • Portable parts and accessories such as power cords, plugs, connectors, and others.

Overall, you can run this generator in your RV/camper for up to 11 hours and enjoy all the at-home privileges. It is many people’s favorite, and you can buy it for under $1000. 

Pros

  • PowerRUSH Technology
  • Can power a 15000 BTU air conditioner
  • Light
  • Clean power 
  • USB outlets and parallel ready 

Cons

  • Too many pulls to start
  • One of the noisier models on our list

Introduction

Heading out for a road trip with the family in your new RV?

Getting the best generator for RV is necessary to ensure your comfort and peace of mind while on the road. This means being able to power Sally’s hairdryer and David’s gaming laptop while mom sits under the AC.

There are tons of options on the market for camping generators. Some good and some…not so good. Lucky for you, we already did the homework on RV generators, their usage, and finding the best ones. There’s no need to worry about the fuel consumption, gas or propane, a power supply, or how to power your RV – this guide will cover it all.

Here we provide an extensive review of the best RV generators, important things to consider before investing in the best RV generator, tips for taking care of the best RV generator, some frequently asked questions, and much more.

Benefits of Having a Generator in Your RV

Today’s RVs are loaded with the amenities of home. We have come a long way from when all you had were a few lights powered by a built-in battery! Given these modern advancements, more and more people own an RV/camper with a generator. 

Generators are a practical solution for life on the road and make your every day more comfortable and convenient: 

  1. You can plug in without a second thought. Run the air conditioner, microwave, and vacuum at the same time. 
  2. You will not have to rely on where the next campsite is continually. You are free to be off-grid and wander.
  3. If there is a power outage in the area, you won’t have to suffer.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing a Generator

Built-In Vs. Portable

Indeed, most RVs come with a built-in generator. Built-in generators are certainly the more convenient option of the two as they are hardwired to your RV’s electrical system, and the fuel comes right from your RV, so you don’t need to refill a separate tank. 

Many people choose built-in generators because they are often more powerful than portable generators and easier to use. However, professionals should install and maintain them; they cost quite a bit more, are not discrete, and have a high risk of exhaust leaks.

Portable generators, on the other hand, are better for smaller RVs. Many people choose them because they are discrete, less expensive, more efficient, can be placed away from your RV, and you can easily service them.

If you want, you can have both a built-in and portable generator, so you will always have a backup. 

Keep in mind that because portable generators are light in weight and easy to transport, people steal them often. If you purchase a portable generator, you should consider investing in security to chain it in place.

Power Output

Before purchasing a generator, you will need to calculate how much wattage output you will need. You can do this by determining how much energy each of your RV appliances uses and adding it up. 

Most generators expend between 2000 and 4000 watts, so make sure your RV appliances stay within that range.

The Honda wattage calculator is a tool that can help you calculate your exact wattage needs.

Keep in mind, if you have too much power, it could blow the circuits, and if you don’t have enough, you can’t use your fancy RV appliances. Devices such as microwaves, hairdryers, and air conditioners use a surprising amount of power!

Noise

Low noise is a significant feature in a generator, especially if you want to spend a lot of time camping in areas where there are other people. External generators are prohibited during quiet hours in an RV park and can be a real nuisance to you and others if they are loud. 

Therefore, make sure to be conscious of your noise level.

Parks will let you know their regulations for decibel levels and distances. In most places, the limit is up to 60 decibels at a 50-feet distance.

Fuel and Fuel Consumption

Generators are fueled by diesel, gas, propane, and sometimes solar. Gas and propane-powered generators are ubiquitous, while diesel generators are rare. However, propane is becoming increasingly more popular than gas because it is more efficient and less expensive. 

Make sure to find out how much run time your generator has on a full tank. If it is not efficient, it will hurt your pockets as well as the environment. 

Top Brands

The following companies, listed in no particular order, consistently produce quality generators:

  • Honda 
  • Yamaha
  • Generac
  • WEN
  • Energizer
  • Champion
  • Predator

Cost

Depending on how much energy you will need and the brand, you can expect to find a portable generator for under $2000 and as low as $500. Built-in generators are more expensive and can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000

Generally, if you want something to be long-lasting, you have to put the money into it. While there are less expensive generators out there, be wary of the quality and heartiness of it. Always take into consideration warranty as well as brand reputation. 

Tips

  • Store your generator correctly in a dry place as it can get damaged when exposed to the elements. Before putting it away, wipe it down and drain the fuel and lines. I would also suggest covering it.
  • Don’t forget to read the manual and service it regularly. Much like a car engine, you will need to oil your generator (even when you are not using it!) A well-lubricated generator also makes less noise, and that’s always a plus. 
  • Run it once in a while to make sure it is still functioning correctly. You will want to discover any issues before they become a problem. 
  • This may be obvious but never use old fuel. It can create build-up in the engine and decrease the performance of your generator.
  • Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to disconnect the batteries and store them separately, but it’s up to you.

FAQ

Do you still have questions? If so, we may be able to address them with these FAQs.

What is wattage output?

Wattage is a measure of electrical power expressed in watts. The operating power of a lamp or other electrical appliances (including generators) is expressed in watts. When describing how much power a generator offers, people will use the terminology “wattage output.”

What does BTU stand for?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and is a form of measurement that measures energy. You will hear about it concerning heating and cooling units. All air conditioners come with a BTU rating, and it tells you how powerful it is. The higher the BTU rating, the more powerful.

How does an inverter generator work?

Inverter generators supply quiet, clean energy. It does this by converting AC power to DC power and then back to AC power once more. This ensures the power is “cleaned up” and has low THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). Your phone and laptop, and other sensitive electronics can only receive energy with low THD. 

What is a closed frame generator vs. an open frame generator?

There are two types of inverter generators: closed frame and open frame. 

Closed frames are compact and quiet. They have a protective shell that keeps all that noise sealed in. They are portable and usually only suitable for small loads. 

Open frames, on the other hand, have no protective shell and are this louder. They are usually capable of handling heavier loads, however.

How do I use solar power in my RV?

To satisfy your power needs through the sun’s rays, you will need to invest in RV solar panels. These will sit on top of your RV. The number of panels you’ll need will depend on how much power you need. 

Alongside your panels, you will need to have a solar charge controller. This takes the power the panels have created and sends it to your RV’s battery system to distribute it appropriately. 

I would look for a fully-loaded, pre-built RV solar panel kit, which comes with everything you need. It’s just easier and saves you the headache.

Keep in mind, solar power is a good, clean option but does not work on a large scale. This is because the sun is not up at all hours to power your electronics and the panels are only so big. You would need a massive bank of batteries to store the power created, and you would probably blow through it all just trying to run your fridge. 

What is the difference between starting watts and running watts?

Starting watts are what’s needed for the initial surge of power required for motor driven items like appliances and power tools. This is greater than the running watts the generator puts out. Starting watts only lasts for a few initial seconds.  

What is Carb Compliant and EPA?

CARB stands for California Air Resources Board, and EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. Both CARB and EPA are regulatory bodies tasked with addressing air pollution. 

CARB is generally stricter than EPA, so if your generator claims to be “CARB-compliant,” that means more than if it’s just “EPA compliant.”

Final Thoughts

With any of the reviewed products, you will get a quality generator for RV that will satisfy your power needs while RV camping. Of course, some are better than others, depending on your preferences, so hopefully, this guide has illuminated which one would be best for you. 

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