A Guide to Choosing Best RV Generator

Are you looking for the best generator for your RV? Whether you’re headed on a road trip, or getting a trailer to call home, it’s important to choose a generator that suits your needs. With the right RV generator, you won’t have to worry about power consumption

Here, I will guide you how to choose the best generator for your RV with insights on some of the most important features.

I won’t just be recommending brands and models that are among best-selling. I will talk about how these generators work by giving you some tips to help you select the best one on the market.

Once you get to the end you’ll learn some new things that will help you in your pursuit for the best generator for your RV.

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Top 5 Best RV Generator Reviews In 2016

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Product Name

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Yamaha EF2000iS

A+

$$$

Champion Power Equipment 46539

A+

$$

DuroStar DS4000S

A+

$

Honda EU2000I

B+

$

Briggs And Stratton 30545

A-

$$

Why Should You Buy An RV Generator?

The RV life is a wonderful opportunity for people to explore the world in a way most people can only dream of. Modern RV’s are equipped with many features making it a cozy experience and providing the comfort of day-to-day living while traveling.

Said comforts often come in the form of appliances and electronics, which require current RVs simply can’t provide on their own. 

While camping sites with access to electricity can be found all over the country, it’s impossible to determine with 100% certainty when you’re going to find one and whether or not you’re going to need access to electricity in between one campsite to the other. 

People-Camping-Remotely-Together

Also, if you’re bound to camps with electricity, you can’t visit astonishing places nature has to offer.

As a result, arming yourself with an RV generator is a choice few RV-ers can’t go without making. The question is, how do you choose the best model?

Finding the right generator for your RV is not an easy task. With so many companies, models and features available for you to choose, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Whenever looking for a new RV generator, it’s important to look past all the information thrown your way and focus on what’s important: What kind of generator suits your needs? While portability is surely a necessity when it comes to RV generators, there are other things you should keep in mind, such as:

  • What kind of generator is it?
  • How much space will it take?
  • What kind of fuel will you use?
  • Whether it’s a quiet generator or not?
  • Your budget

There’s no easy answer when it comes to “What kind of generator covers my needs?” because every person needs unique things. However, I hope this guide will help you make the process of deciding a bit easier.

Family-Eat-Together-In-RV

Essential Things To Consider

This review will cover what you need to consider when selecting an RV generator, as well as a brief look at what I believe are the best five generators in the market.

Let’s get started!

1. Type

There are two types of RV generators, both of which have their own pros and cons.

  • Traditional Generators: These work on gasoline, using your RV’s fuel supply to power up your mobile home. They do this by running a motor at a constant 3600 RPM, which means you’ll get a lot of power from them. These generators are also more affordable.
  • Inverter Generators: This kind of generators use modern technology to output AC, then convert it to DC, then invert it back to AC. While the process sounds complicated, what you need to know is that Inverter Generators produce ‘high quality’ energy (such as the one you’d use at home) while consuming less fuel.

2. Portability

Portability-When-Traveling

Let’s face it; RVs can get cramped, so you want to make sure you’re not wasting space. Finding a generator that can fulfill your needs and still be practical is important, mostly if you’re traveling on your own.

  • Conventional generators tend to be large, heavy and bulky. They tend to come encased in a metal frame for protection, which means that while sturdier, they’re not exactly easy to handle.
  • Inverter generators are considerably smaller and lighter (some of them weighing from 30 to 50 pounds) which makes them a great option for those living on their own or experiencing mobility issues. Their small size is often due to their plastic casing, which makes them a bit more delicate than some would like.

3. Efficiency

Efficiency depends on the size of the fuel tank. Larger the tank, the longer you’ll be able to keep it running.

Efficiency also depends on the amount of appliances you’re using at the same time. The more electrical things you’re using the faster you’ll go through your fuel reserve.

That said, this is where the conventional vs. inverter debate gets heated:

  • Conventional generators have longer working times, which mean they can power up things longer. However, they work by generating a constant electric current. This makes them less energy efficient, as they will keep using fuel to power up things, regardless if you’re powering up large (like your fridge) or small (like a hair dryer) appliances.
  • Inverter generators run for shorter amounts of time, as they’re smaller and can’t hold much fuel. These were created to self-regulate, though, which means they generate as much power as it’s needed. This makes them more energy efficient, as they will determine how much fuel they need to use to keep things running smoothly.

4. Power Output

Generators come in many sizes and capacities, and this should be your primary concern when it comes to choosing the right generator.

Who cares if you picked conventional or an inverter if your ‘lucky winner’ doesn’t generate enough electricity to power up your home on wheels?

Power-Output-For-Devices

Conventional generators can produce from 500 to 50,000 Watts, making them a fantastic option for those looking to power up a lot of devices or those looking to always have power.

Inverter generators are more modest, as they’re usually available in the 1000 to 4000 range. They may not pack as much power, but they generate “high quality” energy unlike the one you use at home. 

This kind of generators might not be able to power up a lot of things at the same time. They’re a better option if you’re handling delicate electronics, such as computers, TVs, video game consoles etc.


5. Noise

Whether you decide to live in campsites, surrounded by neighbors or off the grid, surrounded by nature, noise is something you should always consider. After all, you want to go through your day without a noisy motor disturbing you.

Camp-Sites

Conventional generators are generally louder, as they were built to generate the same level of energy the entire time they’re working. This means you’ll encounter a constant noise exposure, no matter what.

Luckily, sound-proof casings can be bought and placed around the generators, reducing the noise they make.

Unfortunately, these make the entire generator even larger and heavier, so they’re not a good option if you’re looking for convenience.

Inverter generators are smaller and are often built with some sound-proof technology which makes them quieter than the conventional ones.


6. Fuel

Diesel-Fuel-Of-Generator

All RV generators run on fuel, but not all generators use the same kind. Since generators run on the same fuel as your RV, you want to make sure they’re compatible before you go and spend your money.

  • Diesel: This kind of fuel is ‘cleaner’ and produces more energy than other.
  • Liquid Propane: This fuel has the advantage of having a longer shelf life, which means you can store it for longer. However, it produces less energy than other types of fuels.
  • Gasoline: This fuel is cheap and easy to find. However, it burns faster than diesel and propane, which means you’ll have to buy it more frequently.

7. Power

Despite what you might believe, there’s no such thing as “too much power” and having such thing in the context of an RV can be disastrous.

Likewise, not having enough power will cause you some troubles. Before choosing what kind of generator you’ll get you need to go ahead and count all your appliances, as well as the amount of volts they use.


My Picks For The Best RV Generators

Once you know the amount of wattage you’ll need, you can go out and buy an RV that can provide that.

1. Yamaha EF2000iS - Best Inverter Generator For RV

Via Amazon.com

Let’s take a look at the specs

  • Type: Inverter Generator
  • Wattage: 1600 watts (2000 Watt maximum)
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Power: Gasoline powered
  • Run time: 10 hours
  • Weight: 44 pounds

Inverter generators use a relatively new technology that stablilizes the AC current so it is safe for your laptop, your cell phone and the other sensitive electronics you own. As an added bonus, inverter generators like one of my top picks, the Yamaha EF2000iS, are quiet and comparatively lightweight.


Pros

  • The Yamaha EF2000iS is CARB-compliant, so it meets California’s strict carbon emissions regulations.
  • It is ultimately portable at just 44 pounds.
  • It can power up to 1600 watts continuously and up to 2000W at startup, which is perfect for my modest RV.
  • It is fitted with a special muffler, so it emits only 51 dBA when running. It also has a spark arrestor, like most models.
  • It is equipped with a Smart Throttle device that varies the unit’s engine speed to accommodate differently sized loads, saving fuel.
  • The high-tech, built-in inverter means you never have to worry about damaging your computer equipment.

Cons

  • It may be underpowered for RV campers who have lots of power requirements.
  • It features a plastic case that may not be as rugged as metal casing.
  • It has a low-oil shutoff that may kick in at an inconvenient time, like when you are brewing your first carafe of morning coffee.
  • Its higher price may put it out of the running for those on a budget.


2. Champion Power Equipment 46539 - Best RV Generator For The Money

Via Amazon.com

Let’s take a look at the specs

  • Type: Traditional Generator
  • Wattage: 3500 watts (4000 watts maximum)
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Power: Gasoline powered
  • Run time: 12 hours
  • Weight: 140 pounds

Conventional generators are also the most powerful on the market and Champion didn’t disappoint on that front. This is a powerful generator capable of powering up large appliances – such as a freezer, fridge, AC and even power tools – for around 12 hours, though it depends on how many devices you’re using.

This generator’s running time is attributed to its large size. Since it weights 140 pounds this isn’t a generator for everyone. Despite its large size, this generator is easy to assemble and install and even easier to maintain, though it does require constant care for it to run smoothly.

This is a energy efficient product, as far as conventional generators go, but you should keep an eye on the number of appliances running to make sure it lasts as long as intended. This is a great generator for those willing to sacrifice convenience in exchange for affordability and power; just make sure you have enough space for it and don’t forget to buy some ear plugs as well.


Pros

  • It includes a remote start.
  • Affordable.
  • Can power up large appliances.
  • CARB compliant.

Cons

  • Very loud.
  • Needs to be started once a month for proper running.
  • Large and heavy, not easy to transport.
  • Difficult to refill.


3. DuroStar DS4000S - Best Portable Generator For RV

Via Amazon.com

Let’s take a look at the specs

  • Type: Traditional Generator
  • Wattage: 3300 Watts (4000 Watt maximum)
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Power: Gasoline powered
  • Run time: 8 hours
  • Weight: 100 pounds

Compared to the Champion 46539 this generator lasts less, but that’s only because it’s smaller, which is also the reason why it’s less expensive. Nevertheless, this is a great option for those looking to power up plenty of appliances without occupying a lot of space. This is also a great option for those looking for inexpensive generators to power up their RV. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this generator only runs smoothly if the oil is frequently changedchanged frequently, which can pose a problem to some.


Pros

  • It provides 4000 watts at startup, 3,300 watts running power.
  • The four-gallon gas tank delivers up to eight hours of continuous generation.
  • It has a heavy-duty steel frame that adds stability, and all-metal construction that provides durability.
  • Air cooling keeps the engine from overheating during ongoing operation.
  • The low-oil shutoff feature protects your investment from engine damage.
  • Its low price makes this a very affordable RV generator.

Cons

  • It is difficult to move around at 92.4 pounds and even more so when the tank is full.
  • Wheel kit and handle assembly are sold separately.
  • Because it is not CARB-compliant, you cannot purchase it in California.
  • Some customers using it as a backup at home have found the generator does not last as long as they expected, so it may be more suited to periodic use, as in camping.
  • It has no gas gauge, so overfilling the tank is possible, and it is hard to tell when the gas level is getting low.

4. Honda EU2000I - Best Quiet Portable Generator

Via Amazon.com

Let’s take a look at the specs

  • Type: Inverter Generator
  • Wattage: 2000 Watts
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Power: Gasoline powered
  • Run time: 3 - 5 hours
  • Weight: 47 pounds

The Honda EU2000I 2000 watt super quiet inverter generator is my favorite model for use with my RV. I can carry it myself and it can sit on the ground or on a nearby picnic table during operation. I can barely hear it running when I’m inside my RV.


Pros

  • During operation, it generates only 53 to 59 dBA.
  • The EU2000I weighs just 47 pounds, and has a built-in handle that makes it easy to move around.
  • Less than a gallon of gasoline is a fill-up.
  • It runs up to 8 hours on a full tank, depending on the load you put on it.
  • The Honda EU2000I has a built-in inverter, so it delivers stable AC power suitable for sensitive electronics.
  • It can meet a 1600-watt running load demand.
  • You can connect it to another Honda 2000W generator for twice the power output.

Cons

  • It has no mechanism to track total run time, so you don’t know for sure when maintenance is due.
  • It does not have an automatic fuel shutoff switch, so you have to go outdoors and manually shut if off.
  • The generator may take more than a couple pulls to start in cold weather.
  • It is not powerful enough to run an average RV air conditioning system.
  • When filled with gas, it is too heavy to carry easily.
  • The price is on the high side for a 2000W generator.

5. Briggs And Stratton 30545 - Best Overall Portable Generator For RV Camping

Via Amazon.com

Let’s take a look at the specs

  • Type: Inverter Generator
  • Wattage: 3000 Watts
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Power: Gasoline powered
  • Run time: 10 hours
  • Weight: 84 pounds

The Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series Portable 3000W Inverter Generator has a wealth of features that make it a prime option for supplying off-grid RV power. Clearly, the designers of this generator were problem solvers.


Pros

  • Capable of handling a 3000W startup load and a 2600W running load, it has the capacity to run an average RV air conditioning system.
  • It produces stable AC electricity suitable for your laptops and other electronics. It even has an integrated USB port so you can recharge your devices directly.
  • Its 1.5-gallon gas tank extends total run time to over 10 hours at one-quarter load.
  • The Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series Portable 3000W Inverter-Generator incorporates four household outlets, one 12-volt, 30-amp locking outlet and a DC charging port.
  • It features double carry handles for two, making moving this 60-pound unit easier. It also has telescoping luggage-style handles and dual wheels for ease of transport.
  • An integrated computer automatically adjusts running speed to save gas.
  • Quiet operation produces just 59 dBA.
  • You can combine two units for twice the power.

Cons

  • Not CARB-compliant, so you cannot purchase the Briggs & Stratton 30545 PowerSmart in California.
  • The higher price may be prohibitive.
  • It will not power all RV air conditioners, just those within its power capacity.
  • It may be too heavy when filled with gasoline to transport without help.
  • The required parallel cable connector kit is sold separately.


Conclusion

You now know the different kinds of RV generators, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

You also know the things you should consider before buying a new generator. Remember, only you can determine how much power you need, how much weight you can move, how much maintenance you’re willing to give to your generator and how much money you’re willing to spend on it.

As long as you consider those things carefully, you should be able to make the best choice next time you’re buying. If you’ve already made your choice with this review, you can order your generation online. Good luck!

Christina Powell
 

Hi everyone, My name is Christina Powell, chief editor at Wheel On Road. I have a passion for car when I was young. I Started this blog with my team and we share to people everything about automotive, car like how to drive car carefully, maintain a car and many other topics. Hope you will also share and track us. If you have any problem, you can contact us at: Christina.WheelOnRoad@gmail.com

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