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Best RV Generator Reviews and Buying Guide 2020

So you’re the proud owner of an RV. Congratulations! Way to go!

While camping in the great American outdoors can be an absolutely exhilarating experience – you certainly don’t want to be left without electricity for hours or even days.

That’s why you need the best RV generator. The one that you can trust that it can run the most important electric equipment (such as the AC or fridge).

In the following article, we explain everything you need to know before buying a portable RV generator. We will also show you our top recommendations for the best generators for RV currently available in the market.

If you’re in a hurry and simply want to know what the best generator for RV is – we recommend the Champion 3400 Dual Fuel RV Ready Inverter.

It is an excellent RV ready dual fuel generator attracting stellar reviews from buyers in the US. It is very quiet, portable and can run on either gas or propane. It has enough wattage to run a large RV air conditioner and other appliances in your travel trailer.

Inverter GeneratorWattage
(Start / Running)
Noise @
25% Load
WeightPrice
Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Generator BEST CHOICE: 1. Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Inverter 3400 / 3100 59 dB 95.7 lbs Check Current Price
WEN 56380i 2. WEN 56380i 3800 / 3400 57 dB 111 lbs Check Current Price
3. Champion 75537i 3100 / 2800 58 dB 44 lbs Check Current Price
Yamaha 2000w 4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 2000 / 1600 51.5 dB 44 lbs Check Current Price
WEN 56200i 5. WEN 56200i 2000 / 1600 51 dB 48 lbs Check Current Price
Westinghouse iGen2200 6. Westinghouse iGen2200 2200 / 1800 52 dB 46 lbs Check Current Price
Westinghouse iGen4500 7. Westinghouse iGen4500 4500 / 3700 52 dB 98 lbs Check Current Price
Pulsar 4000W 8. Pulsar 4000W 4000 / 3500 63 dB 92.6 lbs Check Current Price
Briggs & Stratton P3000 9. Briggs & Stratton P3000 3000 / 2600 58 dB 85 lbs Check Current Price
Honda EU2200i RECALLED: Honda EU2200iC 2200 / 1800 48 dB 47 lbs Check Current Price

best generator for rv

Choosing the Best Generator for RV – the Buyer’s Guide

How much wattage do you need?

This is the first and the most important question you should ask yourself before buying the best portable generator to power your RV.

You don’t want to purchase a portable generator just to realize that it’s too small to run anything.

By saying “small” we don’t actually mean the actual physical size of the generator but its power output.

All appliances and electric equipment in your RV require a certain amount of power to run.

In the US we usually use watts (W) or kilowatts (kW, 1kW = 1000 watts) as the basic units of measurements

Eg. a typical LCD TV would need around 120 watts to run. A refrigerator would require at least 180. A 15000 BTU RV air conditioner would consume much more – around 2000 watts.

There’s a catch though.

The appliances with built-in motor require higher wattage to turn them on and run for the first few seconds. The amount of watts these devices need to kick in is called the starting wattage (sometimes referred to as surge watts)

After a few moments, their consumption goes back to “normal”. That’s called running wattage (also known as rated watts).

Let’s have a look at the refrigerator again.

While an average RV fridge requires approx 180 watts to run, since it has a motor, it requires a much higher number to start. This would be around 600 watts depending on the model.

Therefore an RV refrigerator needs 600 starting watts and 180 running power watts to start and run properly.

As for the big 15,000 BTU AC unit – this would need on average 3300 starting watts and 2000 running power watts.

The following table lists the average wattage requirements for the commonly used RV equipment.

Approx. Starting WattsApprox. Running Watts
RV Air Conditioning Unit (11000 BTU) 1600 1000
RV Air Conditioning Unit (13500 BTU) 2800 1800
RV Air Conditioning Unit (15000 BTU) 3300 2000
RV Refrigerator 600 180
Frying Pan 1500 1500
Microvawe Oven (800 Watts) 1300 1300
Laptop Computer 250 250
Hair Dryer 1900 1800
Satelite Receiver 250 250
Portable Fan 120 40
Lightbulbs (incadescent type) 60 60
LCD Monitor 30 30
Blueray Player 350 350
Flat Screen TV 120 120
Coffee Maker 600 600
Toaster 1200 800
Blender 850 400
Electric Grill 1650 1650

These two numbers: starting & running watts are also the ones you should pay close attention to when shopping for a generator.

A portable generator needs at least as much peak power as the starting wattage of the most energy-consuming device you are planning to run OR the sum of the added starting wattage of all devices you want to connect together.

Sounds complicated? Let’s have a look at a specific example for better illustration.

One of the most popular portable generators is Honda EU2200iC.

Its maximum power output is 2200 starting watts and 2000 running watts.

Would it be enough to run a large 15,000 RV air conditioner?

Such AC requires the starting wattage of 2000. That’s what Honda EU2200i can provide. So far so good.

Unfortunately, this AC needs 3300 starting watts to turn on and run for the first seconds.

This is well above the maximum starting wattage output offered by Honda EU2200i.

So the final answer is – NO. Honda EU2200i sadly CAN’T run a 15,000 AC.

Ok, but what if you have a smaller AC unit. Let’s say – an 11,000 BTU one?

Those on average need 1600 starting watts and 1000 running watts.

As both figures are well below the maximum capabilities of Honda EU2200i – YES, you could totally use it to run this air conditioner.

On top of that, you would still have enough spare power to run a couple of other smaller electronics such as a TV, computer and a set of lights.

Ok, so by now you should get a decent idea of how running and starting watts work and how to use these figures to determine what size of a generator do you need to power your appliances.

But…

What if your air conditioner or a refrigerator has got its power requirement written in amps? How do you calculate this?

Don’t panic as it is actually very simple to convert amps into watts.

First, you need to determine the voltage of your equipment. In the US the most common standard is 120V. Some appliances, however, may operate at higher voltages such as 220V. If you are not sure how many volts does your equipment use, you should also be able to find out on its label.

Then use the following formula to find out how many watts does it consume:

Wattage = Amps x Volts.

For example, if your equipment draws 20 Amps at 120 voltage then its wattage would be:

20 x 120 = 2400 Watts

Which type of generator is the best for RV?

You might ask yourself – Can I simply save myself a headache counting all these power requirements and simply buy a large powerful portable generator?

Well, technically yes. But trust us, that’s something you absolutely DON’T want to do.

This is for a few reasons.

Conventional open frame portable generators are VERY LOUD.

Most of the portable generators are designed for two purposes – to be used at a construction site or as a backup stable power supply for homes or businesses during the blackout.

Those are the situations when noise level is not such a major nuisance.

Nobody cares about the sound produced by a single portable generator with all this noisy construction machinery around.

On the other hand, when then the power goes out in the entire neighborhood, none of your neighbors are going to mind your generator noise level since they’re probably run them too.

But then imagine trying to run such a generator at a campsite.

It’s a beautiful summer night. Stars are shining, the air is crystal clear, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

You’re far away from the nearest big city.

There are no sounds to be heard except some quiet indistinctive chatter from somewhere far away.

Feeling peaceful and relaxed you are ready to go to sleep.

You’re just about to hit the hay when… RRRRRRRRRR.

The guy in the RV next door just turned on their portable generator to run the air conditioner for the night.

Oh my…

That’s it for the silent peaceful night.

For the next couple of hours, you’re gonna listen to the lullaby of the portable generator engine running continuously up until the early morning.

That guy who turned on their loud generator is now the perfect candidate for the title of the Most Hated Man on Camp.

You don’t wanna be that fella.

That’s why you should get the quietest generator possible.

The generator noise level is measured in decibels (dB). Any generator operating at higher than 60dB is already too loud for RV camping trips.

Which FYI is pretty much the case with ALL conventional portable generators.

This is why your only choice is a PORTABLE INVERTER GENERATOR.

Ideally the one with at least 3000 watts such as this Champion generator.

I’ve explained more about what inverter generators are and how do they differ from conventional types in this article.

One of the best things about them is that they are much smaller and lighter than ordinary open frame portable gens.

They also have a few more super important features which make them the only viable choice for RV.

Benefits of Inverter Generators

1. Inverters are much quieter

The quietest units operate in the 50 – 59 dB range depending on the load.

That’s already silent enough not to ruin everyone’s night.

Inverters are by far the best portable generators for boondocking.

On the other hand, if you stay at the designated RV park which explicitly prohibits ANY sorts of RV generators to be run at night – sorry, you won’t get away even with the most silent of a generator.

That’s of course unless you have the solar panels in place and stick to the noiseless solar power station.

However, those usually provide very little output wattage and you certainly can’t run an AC or a fridge with them.

They are best used as the supplemental power source for an RV.

2. Inverters are the only safe choice for sensitive electronics

If you are planning to live off the grid for a while you will certainly need a reliable power source to charge your phone or laptop.

Using a typical portable generator to charge one of these can easily damage them.

That’s because the conventional generators run at higher levels of so-called Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).

The energy created by them is, therefore, less stable and clean.

While this is not a concern at all is you use them along with the heavy construction equipment or big kitchen appliances – modern portable electronic equipment is much more sensitive.

That’s why we refer to tablets, phones, flatscreen TVs, etc as sensitive electronics.

Inverter RV generators, on the other hand, are perfectly fine.

They usually produce less than 5% of THD which is totally safe for your portable electronic equipment.

On top of that, inverters often come up with dedicated USB ports to make charging your iPads or Bluetooth speakers even easier.

3. Inverters can be used in parallel

Imagine that you already have a 2000 watt portable inverter generator. It works fine until day one you realize that you could actually do with a bit more power.

Or perhaps you need a bit more powerful generator to use as a home backup supply.

What’s the best solution?

Buy another portable inverter generator with the same wattage!

Most of the quality inverter RV generators offer the so-called parallel capability.

This basically means that you can connect these together using a dedicated parallel kit.

By doing so, you can double the total energy output. More power to ya!

Connect two Honda EU2200i generators together and you’re gonna get 4000 running power watts at your disposal – more than enough to satisfy even the most energy demanding RV.

Still not enough?

Get two Champion 3400 RV generators, connect them in parallel and voila – you’ve got a massive 6800 starting wattage at your hands.

I honestly can’t think of any RV which would require such high power levels.

On the other hand that would really more than enough power to run the essential equipment in a mid-sized household!

Generally speaking, it’s a much better solution to use two inverters in parallel rather than one single conventional portable generator (Remember? Inverters are safe for portable electronics and are much quieter).

Who makes the best RV generators?

When it comes to the market of portable RV generators there are a few brands that make the best portable generators.

Honda, Yamaha and Champion are some of the most notable ones.

Check out any RV camping forum for generator recommendations and there is a huge chance someone will recommend an uber-popular Honda EU2200i Companion (this version is 100% RV Ready).

However as you could expect, higher quality (and brand recognition) obviously comes at a higher price tag.

Expect to shell around 1000 bucks or more for a 2000 watt Honda.

On the other hand – Champion generators are much cheaper and still perform exceptionally well.

What’s more, Champion has released two 3000 watt generators that are fully RV ready. This means you can connect them to your trailer without a need to buy any adapters or extension cords.

These are Champion 75537i and Champion 3400 dual fuel generator.

Both are super popular choices among RV campers and top our lists of the most recommended generators for RV.

Westinghouse is another decent generator brand.

If you’re looking for a 2000 watt generator then consider either Westinghouse iGen2200 or WEN 56200i.

Westinghouse is a very reliable American manufacturer with more than 100 years of market presence making all sorts of electrical equipment in the US.

I can honestly say that Westinghouse generators are among the best you can get and in general perform better than the IMHO slightly overrated Generac generators.

As far as their camping generators go, my personal pick is Westinghouse iGen2200. I’ve listed it both on my lists of top 10 quietest generators and the best inverter generators. It is an excellent generator that can easily compete with its Japanese counterparts.

WEN, on the other hand, is a Chinese company that entered the US market only in recent years.

Yeah, I know what you might be thinking now. We also hate crappy electric equipment made in China which always works fine until you really need it badly and that’s when it suddenly breaks without warning.

HOWEVER, this is NOT THE CASE at all with WEN generators!

Check out the reviews on Amazon and see that the vast majority of customers have nothing but positive things to say about their flagship generator – WEN 56200i.

56200i is really a living proof that a good portable inverter generator does not have to cost a fortune.

True, its internal parts are not made of the same quality as in Yamaha and that’s probably not the kind of generator I would buy if I wanted to run one day after day for years.

But besides that, it delivers exactly the same capabilities as much more expensive generators.

It’s also a remarkably quiet generator.

You simply can’t beat the price either.

Amazon usually sells it for less than 500 hundred bucks (the price tag may change though depending on the day and time).

This is way much less than Honda and makes it a great choice for those looking for a good silent 2000 watt generator for RV camping and don’t want to spend a little fortune on one.

If you want to dive deeper into its specifications and functionalities, check out my detailed review of WEN 56200i here.

Top 10 Best RV Generator Reviews

1. Champion 3400 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Champion 3400 is IMHO the best generator for RV.

This is one of the very few inverters with dual-fuel capability.

You can run it on gas and propane, depending on the availability of fuel.

This gives you ENORMOUS flexibility in terms of balancing your fuel consumption and actual power needs.

Propane generators are also generally cheaper to run.

You can save a lot of money in the long run when using propane of gasoline.

So even though you have to pay a bit more for this generator, lower fuel cost will get you quicker return on your investment.

Champion 3400 is a fully RV ready generator.

The unit comes with a dedicated 30Amp outlet ready to connect to your travel trailer without the need to buy any adapters.

The generator runs very quietly. It produces only around 59 decibels of noise at 25% load.

The generator delivers 3400 starting and 3100 running watts.

This is TOTALLY enough power to run even the most demanding travel trailers.

You could use it to run things like an 11,000 BTU air conditioner, freezer, and the lighting circuits.

Since it is an inverter unit, the generator produces clean power suitable for sensitive electronics such as laptops and TVs.

Due to the larger engine size, the generator is a bit heavier than 2000 watt models.

However, it has a comfortable carry handle making it easy to move around.

The only thing I miss about it in comparison to its gas-only cousin – 75537i – is the lack of wireless remote start.

The generator is CARB compliant – you can legally use it in California.

If you are looking for a quiet and durable dual fuel inverter to power your travel trailer – this is the right generator for you.

Curious to learn more about this generator? Read my detailed review of Champion 3400W dual fuel inverter.


PROS
  • Dual fuel – Gas & Propane Generator
  • Inverter – safe to use with portable electronics
  • Dedicated 30A RV outlet
  • Quiet Operation
  • Easy to use
CONS
  • No remote start

Check Latest Price

2. WEN 56380i

WEN makes some of the most affordable generators out there.

They also consistently attract positive reviews from the buyers in the US, proving that the RV generator doesn’t need to have a Honda logo on it to do its job fine.

WEN 56380i is one of the best generators for RV you can find in the market.

It also costs only the fraction of the price of some of its most expensive competitors (click here to check the current price).

The power output of this RV generator is 3800 starting and 3400 rated watts.

This is more than enough to power pretty much everything you need in your RV, including the 13,500 BTU air conditioner.

In fact, the generator was specifically designed for RV owners.

It has a dedicated NEMA TT-30R output allowing you to directly plug it to your travel trailer.

The control panel has also got 2 x 120V receptacles and 1 x 12V DC receptacle.

This genertor is an inverter type. it’s totally suitable for charging sensitive portable electronics.

Unfortunately, it only has one USB port which might be not enough for some users.

On a positive note, the generator is very quiet.

Its noise level is around 57 dB depending on the current load.

This makes the WEN generator great for RV campsites and national parks with strict noise regulations, usually requiring a generator to operate underneath 65 dB.

The WEN 56380i is also a very fuel-efficient unit.

You should expect it to run for around 8.5 hours at 50% load.

These and other advantages make it the WEN 56380i one of the best choices for RV camping.


PROS
  • Features a 30 amp outlet for RV
  • Very Affordable
  • Silent operation
  • Easy Maintenance
CONS
  • Plastic finishing

Check Latest Price

3. Champion Power Equipment 75537i

Champion 75537i

The Champion 75537i is a fully RV ready portable inverter generator.

It was in fact originally designed with RV enthusiasts in mind.

This means you can connect it to your trailer pretty much straight out of the box. There’s no need to purchase any specific adapters or other accessories.

It provides up to 3100 starting and 2800 rated watts of power.

That’s enough to power most of the equipment in your travel trailer.

You could run a 13,500 BTU AC along with a few other appliances and electronics.

Champion 75537i is very fuel-efficient. Even at higher loads, it should last for around 8 hours making it possible to run the AC for the whole night.

What I absolutely love about this RV generator is the remote start!

It’s much more comfortable than a manual recoil start.

You can easily switch it on and off by using the simple remote control included in the kit.

You can practically control the generator without even having to get out of your bed!

It’s also one of the quietest 3000-watt generators out there.

What I am not entirely sure about is the quality of materials used in this inverter. They look a bit less solid than it is in the case of more expensive Honda generators.

Especially the wheels are a bit small and sometimes get stuck if there’s some debris getting in.

However, as numerous RV generator reviews online show, a lot of people seem to have used this inverter for many months or even years without reporting any serious issues.

And as you could guess by now, it’s also cheaper than the Honda or Yamaha.

All of these qualities make it one of my preferred choices for RV.


PROS
  • Fully RV ready
  • Very quiet
  • Powerful enough to handle most of the things in the RV
  • Good value for money
CONS
  • Materials used for finishing are not of the highest quality
  • Wheels could be slightly larger

Check Latest Price


4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2

Yamaha is one of the leaders on the market of portable generators.

The engines they make for their generators (and a lot of other stuff they produce!) are among the sturdiest and most reliable power generators you can find.

Yamaha really doesn’t go on compromises when designing their generators.

Have a quick look at  Yamaha EF2000iSv2 and you could easily tell it’s made of very solid materials which are meant to last for ages.

The EF2000iSv2 is a modern portable generator offering qualities you would expect from a top-quality 2000-watt inverter.

It is one of the quietest generators available.

At 25% load its noise level is only around 51 dB, depending on how far away you measure it.

This is basically comparable to a few people having a casual chat.

It is a very popular choice among campers and those who need a 2000-watt generator for their travel trailer.

You could use it to power an 11,000 BTU air conditioner.

If you are not planning to use it along with an AC, then you would have plenty of power at your disposal to run a wide variety of portable electronics.

What I absolutely love about Yamaha EF2000isv2 is how little fuel it consumes. The run time is around 10 hours at 50% load!

Of course, you would get much less run time if you decide to plug in a very energy-hungry appliance (AC again…). Nonetheless, Yamaha EF2000isv2 performs exceptionally well on this matter.

If you are curious to learn more about this RV generator, make sure you read the detailed review article I’ve posted a while ago!


PROS
  • Excellent Yamaha engine
  • Very quiet
  • Fuel efficient
  • Sleak design
CONS
  • It’s Yamaha so it doesn’t come cheap.

Check Latest Price


5. WEN 56200i

WEN is not a very famous name in the industry.

The fact that it’s a Chinese company might be a detractor at first.

The company was probably well aware of the fact that they would have to work really hard to win the customers’ trust in this very competitive market.

And it seems they’ve done an excellent job.

WEN 56200i – their most popular model up to date has received a lot of love from US customers who bought in on Amazon.

There are a lot of 5-star reviews of this generator praising its low noise level, ease of use, reliability and finally – a very low price tag

If you are looking for a genuine low-cost 2000-watt RV generator which is much cheaper than Yamaha or Honda – WEN 56200i is your best bet.

This is a generator designed for campers looking for an affordable compact generator.

It is remarkably quiet and very lightweight. You won’t have any problems carrying it around.

Fuel economy is one of its strongest points. In can run for around 6 hours on a full tank of gas at 50% load. This is quite an impressive result given its small size and weight.

It does have a nice economy mode which further helps in optimizing its fuel consumption and automatically adjusts the engine speed based on current requirements. The inclusion of this economy mode has a really good impact on the overall run time.

As you would expect from the portable RV generator this cheap, the materials used for finishing are perhaps not the top-notch quality. Its lifespan might be therefore a bit shorter than Honda.

On the other hand, if you don’t plan to use it too often, this RV generator can offer you a very cost-effective solution to your energy problems.

I’ve published a detailed review of WEN 56200i where I’ve revealed more fascinating info about this portable generator. Check it out here!


PROS
  • Cheap
  • Quiet
  • Lighweight
  • Easy to use
  • Economy mode
CONS
  • It’s not made of the best materials

Check Latest Price

6. Westinghouse iGen2200

Westinghouse is a very trusted American electric company. They’ve been making electric equipment for more than 100 years. As you would expect – they have a lot of experience behind their belt and certainly know how to make excellent generators.

The iGen2200 is currently the best portable inverter unit Westinghouse has got on offer.

It is definitely one of the most silent generators I have seen.

It releases only around 52dB at 25% load which while a bit louder than Honda, is still remarkably quiet.

The generator comes in two color variations – blue and camo.

The latter looks really awesome. I could totally imagine that those who need a generator for camping, fishing or hunting are really gonna like that design.

Fuel efficiency is another big selling point of the WGen2200.

You can run this portable generator for nearly 12 hours on a single 1.2-gallon tank – a really impressive number.

Bear in mind though that this obviously depends on the load. It’s gonna consume more gas if you constantly run it at close to the 100% load.

IGen2200 has got 2 x 5V USB ports ideal for charging cameras, smartphones etc.

A 20A circuit breaker is a great feature that prevents the portable RV generator from being damaged if you accidentally try to run it above the maximum load.

The low oil warning mechanism will automatically shut the generator down when there’s not enough oil to prevent the engine damage.

Overall it is a high quality 2000-watt portable RV generator.

It also usually sells for twice as cheap as Honda EU2200i.

I highly recommend it for small RVs and camping.


PROS
  • Inexpensive
  • Fuel efficient
  • Trusted American manufacturer
  • Quiet
CONS
  • Lacks fuel gauge

Check Latest Price

7. Westinghouse iGen4500

The Westinghouse iGen4500 is another great generator for RV.

It is a powerful portable RV generator delivering the total output of 4500 starting and 3700 running watts.

That is enough power to run absolutely everything in your RV, including the air conditioner and the lighting circuits.

The gas tank has got a total capacity of 3.4 gallons.

One thing we liked about this portable generator is how fuel-efficient it is.

Depending on the current load, its 3.4-gallon tank can last for up to 18 hours.

This is a really impressive result.

You could run your air conditioner for the entire night without any problems.

The control panel has got a dedicated TT-30R 30 Amp RV plug.

It allows you to plug in your generator to the travel trailer with no external adapters.

The generator has also got a 5-20R 120V duplex outlet and 2 USB ports for charging portable electronics.

It is an inverter type so you can rest assured knowing that its 100% safe for charging computers, phones etc.

The only downside of this portable RV generator is that it’s a bit heavy to move around.

However, this is perfectly understandable given its higher output and larger size.

On the plus side, what’s definitely worth mentioning is how quiet this portable RV generator is for its size.

It’s quieter than many other similar generators, making it a really good choice for RV parks.

To sum up, the Westinghouse iGen4500 is a very good RV generator – easily one of the best 10 units in the market.


PROS
  • Powerful enough to run the entire RV
  • Dedicated 30 Amp outlet for RV
  • Very Quiet
  • Long Runtime
CONS
  • Quite heavy

Check Latest Price

8. Pulsar 4000W

The Pulsar is a good choice if you need a solid generator for RV.

With its 4000 starting and 3500 running watts, it provides enough output to run all appliances in your travel trailer.

This is also enough wattage to help you power your household items in the event of a blackout.

The Pulsar RV generator has got one very exciting feature – the remote start.

You can control the generator from the distance using the included remote control.

When it’s freezing outside at night, you will not have to move out of your warm comfy bed to turn off the generator.

This will definitely make your RV camping or boondocking experience much more enjoyable.

Although this is not the quietest RV generator in the market, it is still reasonably silent.

At 25% load, its noise level stays around 63 dB which is fairly decent.

The control panel comes with a dedicated 30A RV outlet.

You don’t have to purchase any additional adapters to connect this generator to your RV.

The generator is an inverter type so you can safely use it to power your portable electronics.

It actually has dedicated USB outlets for your phones or cameras.

The generator can be a bit heavy to move around the campsite.

However, the wheels and the comfy handle make this job much easier.

Long run time is a big pro of this Pulsar RV generator.

According to the manufacturer, the 3.4 gallon tank can last for up to 15 hours.

Your actual run time will depend on the current load and what appliances you run.

Rest assured you should be able to run the RV air conditioner for the entire night without difficulties.

One little thing we miss in this generator is the LCD screen showing the current status of the generator.

It would be a nice handy addition to this already good RV generator.

Overall, the Pulsar generator is one of the best generators money can buy.

It fully deserves to be included on our list of top 10 generators for RV.


PROS
  • Powerful enough to run the most demanding appliances (including the AC)
  • Inverter – good for portable electronics
  • Remote start
  • Reasonably quiet
CONS
  • No LCD screen

Check Latest Price

9. Briggs & Stratton P3000

This 3000 watt generator is a very popular choice among camping enthusiasts.

It provides the total output of 3000 starting and 2600 running watts.

This is enough to start and run a typical air conditioning unit in your RV.

The control panel comes with 4 x household outlets in case you need this generator to power your home appliances in case of a blackout.

Most importantly, the generator has got a 12V 30 Amp outlet for RV.

The fuel tank has got a capacity of 1.5 gallons.

This would last for around 10 hours at 25% load.

Compared to many other generators, the P3000 really shines when it comes to its fuel efficiency.

Running the AC for the entire night won’t be an issue at all.

It is also a fairly quiet generator, thanks to the Quiet Power Technology designed by Briggs & Stratton.

At 25% load the noise level stays around 58 decibels.

This can be compared to an idling car engine and is quieter than a conversation between a few people.

The low noise level also means that the generator is suitable for use at most campsites in the US.

Briggs & Stratton is a well-known brand and you can certainly trust their products, including this RV generator.

However, if there is any problem with the generator, you are covered by a 2-year warranty.

Unfortunately, one downside of the P3000 generator is that it’s not CARB compliant. This means that if you are located in

California, you won’t be legally able to purchase and use this unit there.

This however only applies to the state of California. The generator is totally fine to use in all other states.

Overall, it is a very reliable 3000-watt generator suitable for RV and other outdoor use.

If you are planning to do a lot of RV camping this coming summer – you should definitely consider getting the Briggs & Stratton generator.


PROS
  • Trusted manufacturer
  • Has a dedicated 30A RV outlet
  • Quiet
  • Long runtime
CONS
  • Not CARB compliant – not for use in California

Check Latest Price

10. RECALLED – Honda EU2200IC Companion

Here we go – the younger sibling of the godfather of all inverter generators – Honda EU2000i.

Honda was the first company to introduce inverters to the market back in 1999.

Even now, nearly 20 years later, the original Honda EU2000i has been the most popular choice among the professionals shopping for the highest quality generators.

Back in 2008, it was replaced with the newer slightly more powerful model – EU2200i.

The EU2200IC Companion is one of the variations of EU2200i.

It’s the best choice for RV as it has a built-in 30 AMP receptacle for RV.

Other than that it offers basically the same capabilities and great design features as Honda EU2000i.

It is a super quiet generator. At 25% load the noise level is only 49 dB!

Even at the full load the generator is very quiet.

It really is one of the best choices for campsites.

It has an original Honda engine – the synonym of the best quality.

The finishing is very solid – this RV generator is meant to be used in all kinds of rough circumstances.

I have personally seen the construction workers working in the mountains on high altitudes using this Honda generator to power the construction equipment they used to build the iron steps and ladders for trekkers and mountaineers.

This can give you some good idea of how versatile it is, especially for outdoor use.

The EU2200iC generator provides 200 more watts than its predecessor while keeping the same noise level and selling for the same price.

That’s perhaps not a revolutionary change but is certainly a nice improvement.

The design can feel already slightly outdated though. Especially the lack of electric start is a bit of a nuisance. On the other hand, the recoil start works flawlessly. The generator usually starts with the single pull.

However, you probably don’t buy a generator for its looks.

If you need a 2000-watt generator that will serve you for a long time and comes from a trusted manufacturer – Honda EU2200i fully deserves your attention.

If you google its photos online you might quickly notice that it’s very often showed used in parallel with another Honda generator.

This is my recommended setting if you think that 2000 watts is not enough for your large travel trailer.

It’s also worth noting that this portable generator is both EPA and CARB compliant. This means you can use it in all 50 states including California.


PROS
  • Probably the most trusted RV generator brand on the market
  • Original Honda engine
  • Solid build
  • Lightweight
  • Very quiet operation
CONS
  • Pricey
  • No electric start

Check Latest Price


How Do You Connect a Generator to an RV?

There are at least two highly recommended generators which you can hook up to your RV straight out of the box without having to purchase any additional adapters.

These are Champion 75537i and its slightly stronger dual fuel cousin – Champion 3400 dual fuel inverter.

Both are excellent choices for RV and are clearly among our favorites.

For most of the other generators, you would need the RV adapters.

Fortunately, those are very cheap and easy to find online. Just make sure you get the right type!

Both 2000-watt and 3000-watt inverters require similar types of adapters to connect to the power cord.

What makes the difference is the amperage of your power cord.

It is usually rated at 30 or 50 amps.

You can easily tell the difference between a 30 amp and a 50 amp power cord by simply counting the number of “male” power prongs.

3 male power prongs = 30 amp.

4 male power prongs = 50 amp.

Simple as that!

Onwards to the right types of adapters.

These adapters are suitable for 30 amp RV power cords

These ones are the right choices for 50 amp RVs


Things to Look For When Buying a Generator for RV

When considering which generator you want to buy, it’s important to know which features you should look for and what’s recommended for each of them. Not only do you want to ensure that you get something that can handle the size of your RV, but you also want to find something that’s built in a way that reduces the number of issues you might run into.

Keep in mind, these features are the most common and usually the most important, but there are other additional features that different generator models might have. The most important thing is to just look at all of this information and compare it to the generators you’re considering to make sure they’ll meet your needs.

Power Output (Wattage)

One of the biggest things people consider when buying a generator for their RV is how much power output or wattage they need.

This feature is extremely important because you want to make sure your RV can run smoothly without running into many issues. It gets a little confusing when you consider different sized RVs will need different amounts of power.

This is also true when you consider different RV models have different types of features, some of which require a lot more power than others.

On the other hand, having too much power can result in all the circuits in your RV being blown.

In order to find the amount you need, you’ll want to consider a few things. For starters, figure out which appliances are 120V and add all of them together.

You’ll also want to make sure you get a minimum wattage that’s equal to your air conditioner because these use the most power.

Next, multiply the total volts and amps to get the amount of wattage you need.

This amount is the minimum you need, so you might want to get a little extra to ensure you can power any extra appliances you might end up using.

Depending on what type of generator you plan on using, there are some things you’ll want to install.

For example, a generator that will be built right into the RV can have a transfer switch installed.

This switch will automatically switch the generator on and off, depending on whether or not you’re connected to the electricity grid.

Not only is this much more convenient, but you’ll be able to plug in any appliances or accessories when you need to instead of having to wait until you’re connected to electric or needing to stop to manually turn on the generator.


Noise Level

You’ll also want to consider the noise level that the generator puts out. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’ll be extremely important depending on where you’ll be camping.

For example, a lot of campsites have strict noise regulations after a certain time, so having a loud generator could end up getting you kicked out or having to pay extra fees as a result of breaking the rules.

The majority of generators that you’ll see will have a decibel rating that lets you know how loud it is.

One thing to consider is that for every 10-decibel increase, the noise is 10 times louder.

For example, a generator that is 70 decibels will be 10 times louder than one that has 60 decibels.

If at all possible, you’ll want to find a generator that runs between 49 and 65 decibels, which is about as loud as a normal conversation.

If you can’t find a good generator within these decibels, you could get away with having one that’s a little louder.

Once you get to around 110 decibels, though, you’ll have a noise level that’s similar to the sound of a running chainsaw.

If you already know where you’ll be camping or driving, see what kinds of regulations they have to ensure you have a machine that falls within those guidelines.


Fuel Economy

Since fuel can be quite expensive in different areas, it’s important to know what kind of fuel economy your generator has.

Not only will this ensure that you aren’t going to blow through your fuel budget, but you’ll also be able to figure out how long you can run your generator before needing to fill it up again.

As with most things, bigger generators with more power output will consume more fuel than something that’s smaller.

In the same respect, the more you run the generator, the more fuel it’ll consume.

Since there’s a chance that you won’t use the generator the same way every time, it’s important to calculate the average amount of use you’ll have.

Another thing to keep in mind is that different types of fuel will burn differently.

For example, a 4,000 watt generator that runs on diesel full will go through about 1 gallon of fuel per hour at full load.

On the other hand, running the same generator at a 50% load will result in using about 1 gallon of fuel every 3 hours.

Regardless of how you plan to use your generator, make sure you’re looking at all of this information to ensure you have a big enough budget to keep fuel stocked up.


Design Quality

The quality of the design is extremely important. Not only do you want to ensure that the generator is built with high quality materials, but you also want to make sure it’s built in a way that can help it withstand a lot of wear and tear.

With that being the case, there are a few things to look for.

One of the biggest things is that everything is secured where it needs to be. The last thing you want is some parts being loose and causing other parts to get disconnected or interfere with each other to create a dangerous situation.

Another big thing to look for is whether or not it has an enclosed design because an open design can result in water or other elements getting in and causing it to stop working.

One last thing you want to look at is whether or not it’s made with strong materials like metal, which will help ensure it can withstand most situations.


Weight & Portability

Most people will end up using a portable generator instead of one that’s built into the RV. With this being the case, it’s important to consider the weight and how easily it can be moved.

When looking at weight, you want to find a generator that has the wattage you need, while also being light enough to move around. The issue here is that the ones with a higher power output tend to weigh at least 100 pounds.

Not only is this hard to move around, but those who are using the RV by themselves might find that they have issues.

The weight of the machine should be right on the box or in the item description, which means you’ll know the information before you even buy it. A lighter generator will obviously be a lot easier to move.

Keep in mind, a lot of the newer inverters will provide you with higher power output, without all of the extra weight added.


Warranty & Customer Service

One final thing to consider is the warranty and customer service. Since you never know what might happen while you’re on the road, it’s crucial to be able to use a warranty and reach out to the company without any issues.

Before purchasing, look at reviews to see how customer service usually responds and make sure you know every detail of the warranty and what’s covered under it.


Which Fuel Type of Generator Should You Get?

For the most part, generators are going to run on 3 types of fuel: diesel, gasoline and dual fuel (gas and propane). While most will also be able to plug into an electric outlet, riding in an RV means there will be times when you won’t have access to one of these and you’ll have to use the fuel.

Each of these has its one benefits and setbacks, which we’ll talk about next. Once you get more information on each fuel type, you should be able to figure out which one will work best for your needs and which type of generator you should be looking for.

What are the most common fuel types for RV Generators

Gasoline

Gasoline is the most common type of fuel used for generators, mostly because it’s so widely available. The cost tends to be cheaper than other alternatives, which means you can get more for the same amount of money. The good thing is that you can go to the gas station with a few gas cans and fill them up. Keep in mind, though, there’s usually a limit by the government of how much you can store because it’s so flammable.

Another thing to remember is that it’s only good for around 1 year before it goes bad, so those who have been storing it for a long period might find that it can’t be used anymore. On the other hand, those that will only be storing it for a short period of time should be fine. You should also remember that the supply can be scarce if there’s some kind of emergency because everyone is buying it up.

PROS
  • Gas is usually pretty easy to get
  • Gas powered generators are the cheapest and most readily available
  • Gasoline can be easily stored
  • Very easy to refuel the generators
CONS
  • Gas is only good to store for around 1 year
  • There’s a limit to how much you can store at one time
  • Gasoline can be hard to get in the event of a serious emergency
  • Gas powered generators are not the most cost-effective solution
  • Gas is a fossil fuel with negative  environmental impact

Dual Fuel (Gas/Propane) – Best Choice

The most common fuel type for RV generators are ones that use more than one. The most commonly used dual fuel generators are ones that run on gasoline and propane. Not only does this give the option to use whichever one you want, but you’ll have to refill fewer times because you have both types of fuel.

It’s also cheaper to run a generator on propane.

If you are want to minimize your fuel costs, using a dual fual generator instead of the one relying solely on gas will save you quite some money in the longer term.

PROS
  • You can easily switch between gas and propane
  • Most cost-effective solution – propane is cheaper than gasoline
  • More environmentally friendly than diesel or gas powered generators
  • Longer run time – you won’t have to refill the fuel as much as you would with 1 fuel type
CONS
  • Propane tanks are heavy to carry around
  • Some places might not have propane readily available
  • Dual fuel generators are slightly more expensive to buy than conventional gas powered generators

Diesel

Diesel is a fuel that’s very stable and has a lot less chance of being explosive than other fuels, like gasoline. It has more energy than most other fuel types and machines that use it are a lot easier to maintain as a result of not containing spark plugs. There are a few ways you can stock up on diesel. The first is by filling up cans and keeping them stored in a specific place. The other way is by having a tanker come and fill up an external tank that can be used to fill up your generator whenever needed.

However, portable diesel generators are slowly going extinct these days. That’s mainly due to their bad environmental footprint, outdated design and large size.

You will have a hard time looking for a decent portable diesel generator for your RV.

That’s why we recommend either gas powered or – the best choice – dual fuel generators instead.

PROS
  • There’s more than 1 way to get and store the fuel
  • Less flammable than other fuel types
  • It has more energy than other fuels
CONS
  • It can be quite expensive
  • Diesel generators are usually very heavy and bulky types
  • Least environmentally-friendly choice

Frequently Asked Questions About Generators for RV

What size generator do I need to run my 30 amp RV?

A 3,000-watt generator can run a 30 amp RV quite easily. With that said though, you should try and calculate how much you’ll use and make sure that it will be enough.

A 3400 Watt generator like this Champion generator would be the ideal size for most RVs.

Will a 3500 watt generator run my RV?

A 3500 watt generator should be able to easily run a 30 amp RV. With this power output, you should be able to run everything at once without too many issues. This includes a 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner and refrigerator.

Can you run a generator overnight?

Yes, as long as you have enough fuel to keep it running. Keep in mind, some areas might have restrictions on how long you can run your generator, so make sure you get that information.

What is the difference between surge watts and running watts?

Running watts are the amount of power that’s required to continuously run your appliances, while surge watts are the amount of power that’s required to start large appliances. You’ll want to get a generator that can easily handle both load requirements at once.

What’s the acceptable noise level for RV generators?

While it’s going to depend based on where you’re staying, almost everyone agrees that a noise level of a RV generator shouldn’t exceed 65 dBa. This decibel level is about as loud as a vibrant conversation or idling car engine.

How to start an RV generator?

This will vary greatly depending on what kind of generator you have. Some will need to be started by pulling a starter cord, while others will require you to turn on a switch. Since they can differ so much, it’s important to look at that information and know exactly what you need to do to get your generator up and running.

What’s the Best Fuel Type for RV Generators?

The two fuel types used in the best RV generators are gas & propane. Not only it such a unit more cost-efficient but also more flexible since it gives you the choice between gas and propane. You will also get a longer total continuous run time from a dual fuel generator.

9.7 Total Score
Champion 3400 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter - Our Choice