Best RV Generator: Here are the Facts to Help You Make a Choice

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Do you love vacations? If so, you likely love your recreational vehicle as well. After all, that is what makes you have a pleasant experience out there. It does not matter your preferred lifestyle. If you own any type of a RV for adventure, business or sheer fun, there is one thing that you must do: you must install the very best rv generator in town!

Why should you do it? Simple. It is necessary to do so. You have everything to gain. You will never regret it. As long as you do this, you will have a greater peace of mind. The issue of lack of power is solved! But which is the most suitable RV generator that will fulfill your personal needs? Yes, the question may even come: What is an RV-ready generator? An RV-ready generator is a special generator that is fitted with an RV outlet for connecting a recreational vehicle (RV). That is exactly what we want to talk about here.

Top 3 RV-Generators – Our Choice

Product
Westinghouse iGen4500

Westinghouse iGen4500

🏆 Our Electrician's TOP Pick 🏆

  • 4,500 Peak Watts, 3,700 Running Watts
  • LED Display – Remaining Run Time, Output, Fuel Level, Volts, Lifetime Hours
  • Remote Start and Push Button Start

2 Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Series

  • With inverter technology, it produces smoother power for sensitive electronics such as laptops, phones and gaming systems.
  • Automatically adjusts the engine speed further reducing noise, fuel consumption and emissions.
  • 3000 Peak Watts, 2600 Running Watts

3 Westinghouse WGen9500

Westinghouse WGen9500

💪Heavy Duty Choice

  • 12,500 Peak Watts, 9,500 Running Watts
  • Push-Button Start and Remote Start (Key Fob Included)
  • ✔️ EPA, CSA, CARB Compliant

Which RV Generator is the Best?

Which is the best RV generator that fits your needs perfectly? This can be a difficult question to give a definite answer to.  Why? It means you must determine your needs first. Indeed, all of us have different needs. It might even depend on the RV and how you intend to use it. This article will strive to give you some comprehensive education on what you need to know before making a decision on the best motorhome generator that gives you real value for money.

Regardless, the most suitable generator to use for RV and travel trailer is one that has the ability to supply power to all your appliances and accessories in the caravan and the motorhome. Indeed, an RV generator is generally more costly than the ordinary portable generator used for outdoor events and emergency backup. This is not without a reason.

Spoilt for Choice

There is, however, some challenge for us to deal with. There are very many options for RV generators available in the market today. You are spoilt for choice. Indeed, you can even be confused about how to make the decision for the best RV generator for your vehicle. This post is aimed at simplifying the entire process, making it easy for you. Yes, you need to know how to choose an excellent generator which is suitable for all your RV needs.

Westinghouse iGen4500

In 1886 history was made. In that year, the Westinghouse Electric Company, for the first time, established a pioneer electric power station, built for commercial purposes. The aim was to supply the Massachusetts and Great Barrington areas with a reliable source of power. Over the decades, things have since changed tremendously. Regardless, the company still remains high on the forefront of technological development and electric production.

The Westinghouse iGen4500 is available at what price? How does it compare with other brands of inverter generators? Let us first get some background facts. Back in 2011, the Westinghouse Corporation began making a new brand of portable generators that were designed for common, everyday purposes. Since then, the company has strongly positioned itself as a formidable force in the highly competitive generator market.

Later on, in 2013, the company went ahead and began the production of yet another new brand of product: They began the manufacture of new digital inverter generators. To date, this brand remains one of the most sophisticated ways of stable power generation that anyone can manage using a relatively small generator.

Why is the Inverter Generator Superior?

If you wish to know which is the most attractive and popular inverter generator existing in the market today, you have it right here. The Westinghouse iGen model generator take the prize. Why? This generator features a combination of the latest technology with some robust, old-fashioned design characteristics.

Anyone using computerized inverter power will certainly enjoy unique advantages powering any kind of devices. For instance, the inverter system that offers double conversion has the capacity to change the AC power from the generators into DC.

Double Conversion

There are many benefits of using a computerized inverter. The double conversion inverter mechanism, for instance, converts the AC power produced by the generator’s alternator into DC current. DC power is well manageable and can easily be regulated to give a stable voltage.  After this, the DC current gets converted into AC power. This is done by means of a microprocessor-monitored inverter.

By using a special technology called the Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor or IGBT, these high-capacity generators can produce a clean pure sine wave with very low harmonic distortion. The inverter generators achieve this working together with computerized- controlled capacitors that monitor the AC sine wave at the rate of a few hundred times per second.

Dips and Spikes

These complex processes will give you a power supply that can run the most sensitive devices without harming your electronics. In contrast, a normal gas generator usually results in a sine wave with dips and spikes. This causes gradual damage and affects the performance of your electronic equipment.

Remember that, almost all kinds of appliances that we use today come with certain forms of in-built electronics. It is, therefore, quite common for most people to favor inverter technology when choosing a portable power supply for camping, working on site and powering homes or businesses in the event of a power outage.

Interestingly, the advantage of using an inverter generator is not just about functionality issues. It goes beyond powering your equipment or devices safely. Indeed, inverter generators are well- known as some of the most fuel efficient machines that you can get anywhere.

Lower Revs

Remarkably, they give you the convenience to run your equipment for much longer periods on just a single tank of gas. Obviously, this will save you chunks of money. Inverter generators are highly fuel efficient. First, you will use less electricity in comparison with a generator that lacks this technology. This is because the inverter, unlike the ordinary generator, produces a pure sine wave.

Moreover, many ordinary appliances usually work more efficiently with stable electricity. You will discover that you are actually using up to 50% less power on certain appliances that run on a pure sine wave inverter.

Secondly, inverter generator are more fuel-efficient as a result of using a unique power management electronic system. This special feature enables the machine to operate at lower revs especially when there is less power demand. The revs are only stepped up when extra power is required.

Noiseless

The end result of this marvelous efficiency is massive fuel savings. This happens because the generator is able to run for a much longer time with low current demand. Ordinary generators, in comparison, usually run at a steady speed of around 3800 RPM without regard to the load used. Certainly, this is pointless fuel wastage. Further, since inverter generators usually run at a low RPM, it also means they produce less noise. This is an obvious plus.

This generator is an excellent heavy duty machine. It has the following great features that make it a favorite of many:

Features

  • Compact, powerful design: This iGen4500 generator is quite light compared to ordinary generators. It comes with convenient wheels that are designed for portability and easy transportation.
  • It can safely power many sensitive electronic devices including computers, cellphones, laptops Computers, and many others.
  • Features a large fuel tank (3.4-gallons). It gives you an 8 hour run- time at a load of 50%. No matter whether you are using this machine for home RV, or at a building site, you can go for quite a long time on just one gas tank of fuel.
  • It runs at 4500 peak watts and 3800 rated watts
  • It works at 3% THD
  • It offers dual USB Ports (5V DC),
  • A household duplex outlet of 120 VAC 20A
  • A receptacle for recreational vehicle of 120V 30A TT-30R
  • A high fuel efficiency of between 30-50% .This gives far more fuel efficiency compared to the ordinary, traditional generators.
  • Quiet operation: The iGen4500 generator uses a low tone muffler, a double-insulated acoustic enclosure and asymmetrical cooling fans to highly reduce the operating noise. This machine unleashes the power of a generator with a 224cc OHV 6HP capacity. It can manage 3800w constant power and a 4500w peak power. Whenever you start appliances that require high current, this generator will give you the surplus power necessary.
  • This basically means that you can run every type of household appliance and still have some power to spare. You can run your microwave, fridge, or air conditioner without a hassle. Moreover, you do all this using clean power due to the generator’s sophisticated inverter technology that gives, at its peak load, a pure sine wave with under 3% Total Harmonic Distortion. You know what? This is cleaner power than you receive from your everyday grid connection!

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P3000 PowerSmart Series™ Inverter Generator

With their brand new P3000 portable generator, Briggs and Stratton have manufactured something unique and special. The new generator is not expressly classified as an RV class machine. It is generally categorized as an inverter generator that works for all purposes. This means it has the capacity to run any appliance in your RV, starting from the 13,500 BTU to the 15,000 BTU AC. It can run your countertop microwave oven even when the power is low.

This generator has all the qualities that are found in a great RV generator. It has qualities that are usually found in a home backup portable generator. You can use it for your RV and tailgating needs due to its compact design and quiet operation as well as light weight. It has a starting watt of 3000 and running watt of 2600. This should be adequate to start as well as run an RV air-conditioning system with a capacity of up to 15,000 BTU.

Don’t Overload

Happily, once the RV AC is up and running, you will still have some 800-1000 watts remaining. This can be used to run other appliances in the RV, including the fridge, TV, laptop or a compact microwave with a 0.5 to 0.8 cubic foot capacity. In case you have 2,600 watts of power, do not attempt to use other appliances simultaneously, together with the AC and RV fridge.

Remember that, if you overload the generator, it will be damaged. It can even permanently damage the important circuitry in your appliances or the RV. Also, a laptop combo and TV will collectively take up a maximum 500 watts. If you are using 3-4 bulbs, the wattage comes to 700-800. This is quite enough for the ordinary RV user. We assume that you actually have a stove and grill that are fuel-operated.

Parallel Hookup

Are you planning to run a microwave, an electric grill, fridge, water heater, lights and AC sat the same time? We recommend that you use the parallel connector port. It will help you hook up another P3000 generator alongside the current one.

Note that a conventional generator will not give you similar quality clean AC current. This is known as ‘sinusoidal AC current.’ A conventional generator, will, however, give you extra watts per dollar spent. Regardless, it will be very difficult to find a 4,000-5,000 watt inverter generator. Most of these are made to power a limited number of devices at a time. Generally, they do this quite efficiently and relatively quietly.

LCD Display

If you, however, feel like taking along with you all the comforts and conveniences of a modern home on your recretional rides or weekend trips, there is some sound suggestion to consider. You might buy two of these generators and run them parallel. Conventional generators do not have a parallel running port to hook up two units of the same type. Only inverter generators are capable of this.

Interestingly, Briggs and Stratton’s closest competition, the Champion 75537i does not have the all-important parallel running port. Moreover, the Briggs and Stratton generator still has a bonus: The remote start feature. The beautiful LCD display feature will let you monitor the oil reserve, total hours run, load, air filter maintenance, and spark plug status, all in one!

Certainly, the Briggs & Stratton P3000 generator is a fantastic machine. It has superior portability features, a great stat monitoring on LCD display, and the all-important parallel operation feature.

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Westinghouse wGen9500

The Westinghouse WGen9500 is probably the best generator of the 9500- watt class on the market. It is a remarkably reliable machine. It has an outstanding fuel economy and massive power output. Moreover, it is among the more affordable generators, considering that it is a 9,500 watt machine. It is a tough portable generator that can cope well with both the residential and jobsite electricity requirements.

The 9,500 w Westinghouse dual fuel generator is uniquely distinguished by a large dial found on its front panel. This panel allows users to change the type of fuel, switching from propane or gas. Remember that, when using propane, a generator is usually less efficient. Propane fuel gives you an 8,550 watt peak capacity and a 6,750 rated load.

The Westinghouse generator’s alternators and engines seem to place it in the category of the more expensive generators. Indeed, the wGen9500 is not just a heavy-duty generator, it is one of the finest spec level generators in the market. It is also a tough generator that delivers a 12,500 w surge capacity and 9,500 watts rated power. This is simply incredible.

Features

  • Gasoline: Running watts 9,500, peak watts 12,500
  • Propane: Running watts 8,500, Peak Watts 11,200
  • Push-Button: Remote and start
  • Features Key fob
  • Run Time: 6.6 gal, 17.5 hours
  • 457cc OHV engine with iron sleeve
  • Dual Receptacles, GFCI 120V
  • Transfer Switch: 14-50R 50 A
  • L14-30R 30A Receptacle
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Lifetime Technical Support
  • EPA, CARB, CSA compliant
  • Circuit protected
  • Low-oil alert
  • Overload prevention
  • Oil Funnel
  • 3-Year Warranty

True Workhorse

The Westinghouse generator runs on a 457cc OHV engine. It can be described as a true workhorse. Not only is it a robust and reliable machine, it starts and roars like a dream, regardless of whether it is cold weather. The engine is CARB and EPA certified and is quite economical to run. Its spacious steel gas tank can hold 6.6 gallons. This gives a 12-hour runtime at 50% load. It means it runs for 8.6 kilowatt hours for each gallon. Not many generators can do this impressive fuel economy.

The Westinghouse WGen9500 also gives you a full package of convenience and ease. Starting the generator is simple since it has an automatic choke and electric recoil starter. It also features a remote control fob. This allows you to control the generator from a distance, starting or stopping it from as far as109 yards away. The machine has a metallic user panel. This is recessed to guard against damage. All its outlets are guarded by plastic covers. Each of these factors make the wGen 9500 a pretty robust machine.

Low-Oil Shutdown

The generator has a 50A 120V/240V (L4-50R) outlet. The outlet allows for a very convenient connection of the generator to its 50A transfer switch. It also allows the user to power the main house, enabling him to wire directly to the generator in a safe and convenient manner. It has outlets of the 2 X Duplex 120V 20A type, and a 120V/240V 30A type. All the circuits are guarded by circuit breakers.

The120V outlets are fitted with GFCI protection. This makes it OSHA compliant and a fitting jobsite generator. The main 2-pole breaker guards the generator from overloading. Moreover, as expected, it has the low oil shutdown feature. It also has a 12-volt outlet for battery-charging, a VFT digital information center, frequency, displays voltage, and runtime. It has an easy-to-use on/off switch and an efficient push button starter. The generator fuel gauge is located above the gas tank.

The Cons

Some users have complained that the wGen9500 is a relatively heavy generator. Indeed, this is not a lightweight machine. It weighs a hefty 192-pounds. Is this completely unexpected? This is a relatively large and powerful generator that comes with a sturdy metal frame (1.25 inches). The frame extends to the gas tank. Admittedly, the extra weight is the drawback of this otherwise robust build machine of impressive quality. The generator’s portability is also made easier by its large wheel kit and the single foam grip handle.

Yet another downside with this machine is its noise levels. The wGen 9500 generator should be among the range of open frame generators that are quieter, with a high-watt output. Indeed, any generator of this kind and size would be expected to roar a bit loudly. Thanks to the Pulse-Flo muffler, which is fitted to the WGen9500 generator, the engine noise is generally lessened. The manufacturers claim it has a noise level that goes as low as 73dB. Regardless, if we place it at high output, we should expect a little bit more noise, a bit higher than that.

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The Wen 56380i

The new 56380i inverter generator represents the latest upgrade of the WEN generator products. It produces 3400 running watts and 3800 starting watts.  It is generally designed to give clean and stable energy. This is possible through limiting the total harmonic distortion to just 1.2% while running at full load. This makes it safe to run sensitive electronics like cellphones, laptops and other vulnerable electronics.

The generator is fitted with an efficient Eco-Mode switch. This helps to maximize its fuel consumption. It does this by enabling the motor to adjust speed and automatically match the required load. It also helps in facilitating quieter operation and a longer engine life.

Double Power

The generator’s protected safeguard panel that is a fully-packed overload, features an electric start. It has a low-fuel and low-oil automatic shutdown. This protects the engine and its connected devices from possible damage.  Moreover, it has effective light indicators and a functional fuel gauge. It also has a parallel capable that can easily connect two of such units, giving a wonderful double the power capacity.

The WEN 56380i generator is a great option for extended use in tailgating events and campgrounds. It can keep your essential appliances at home running in case of a sudden power outage.

Fuel Shut-off

This generator is a very powerful, fuel-efficient machine that offers a long runtime. It has a gas tank carrying 2.2-gallons. This allows it to go for over 8.5 hours running at 50% of its rated load.

For its size, the generator is relatively quiet. It is rated at 57 decibels, carrying a quarter load. It also has a switch for fuel shutoff, which stops the fuel from flowing to the motor.  Instead, the switch allows it to use the fuel remaining in the carburetor until the generator completely stops. All this helps to reduce the build-up of fuel. Eventually, this prolongs the engine lifespan and minimizes maintenance time.

Cons

The Wen56380i engine has very small wheels .You, therefore, cannot roll it easily when working on rough terrain.

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Champion 3400 RV ready

The Champion 3400 RV Ready is a magnificent dual fuel inverter generator.

Features

  • Sensor for low oil shut-off.
  • Electric Start
  • 3-Position Ignition Switch.
  • Cold Start Technology. Facilitates a quick start in cold weather.
  • Battery included.
  • Quick Touch Panel: Enables you access all controls in one spot.
  • Perfect for tailgating, RVs, or home backup power.
  • 3% THD clean power, suitable for sensitive electronics.
  • Fuel selector dial allows you to switch fuels easily.
  • Gas: 192cc engine produces 3100 running watts and 3400 starting watts.
  • Runs for 7.5 hours, working at 25% load.
  • Propane: 2790 running watts and 3060 starting watts.
  • Run for 14.5 hours at 25% load.
  • Smart Economy Mode: Reduces electrical load, provides quieter operation, extends engine life and works for greater fuel economy.
  • Outlets: 120V 30A RV, two 120V 20A outlets, 12V DC outlet, dual USB adapter, a propane hose, a built-in regulator.
  • 59 dBA noise levels from 23 feet (like normal conversation).
  • Parallel Kit gives a quick clip-on connection. This lets you increase the output. You do this by connecting two 2800-watt inverters.
  • A standard RV outlet (50-amp) Gives the power to start and run twin 15,000 BTU air conditioners.
  • Foldaway handle works for easy storage
  • Built-in handles for easy transport.
  • CARB compliant and EPA certified inverter generator
  • 3-year warranty and lifetime technical support.

Note: You should only use a standard 20 – 30 pound capacity LP tanks, coming with Type 1, Acme threads.

This is an inverter generator that runs on gas or propane. Its power output, while running on gas, is 3,400 watts. It can run for the whole day at 3100 Watts. It delivers 2790 running watts and 3,060 starting watts on propane. The output on propane is, therefore, 10% less than when it runs on gas. However, it will still carry enough power to sustain a 15,000 BTU air conditioner. For this reason, you should comfortably be able to run a 13,500 BTU unit.

Volt-Guard

The Champion 3400 generator is great for use with an RV. It has an outlet of 120V 30A RV (TT30R). It has two other 120V 20A household outlets. It is capable of delivering clean electricity with less than 3% THD. You can, therefore, safely plug in sensitive devices like the cellphone to any of its outlets. This generator has a built-in Volt Guard that protects your devices from the effects of sudden voltage spikes or power surges.

The generator has a 12V DC outlet. This is not regulated. The manufacturer, however, supplies a dual USB style adapter with the product. This may be used to charge devices. The provided outlet may also be used with a cable included in the kit for charging a battery. This battery must, however, be disconnected. You should ensure that your input voltage range does not go below 12-24V DC.  You should always turn off the economy mode switch whenever you are using the DC outlet.

Champion, the manufacturer, claims that this generator will for 7.5 hours at 25% load on a full tank of gasoline. This translates to 14.5 hours on a propane tank of 20 lb. That, however, may not mean it will run the air conditioner that long. This is only a guideline to help us calculate the real consumption of the generator.

Smart Economy

When using this generator with its economy switch on, merely to power the RV air conditioner, you might notice that the machine will consistently move between idle and full power to save on fuel. The generator’s smart economy mode can help determine just how much power is needed. This can slow down the engine. When the load is reduced, the engine speed will automatically lower to improve fuel economy, extend the life of the engine and reduce noise.

Take care: The manual cautions that during momentary fluctuations or high electrical load, you should turn off the Economy Control Switch. It is very easy, with this generator, to choose between using gas or propane. Indeed, it could not be clearer and simpler. Even though it is quite simple to select the source of fuel, it is highly recommended to read the  manual before starting to use the generator. Indeed, propane and gas can be very dangerous if not used correctly. It is wise to stay safe.

The Champion inverter generator is well- known for its highly reliable 192cc single-cylinder OHV engine. Maintenance of this engine is easy. The procedure is explained clearly in the simple manual. A circuit diagram and full parts listing are also supplied.

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Reviewed RV-Generators Comparison Table

Product Westinghouse iGen4500 S Briggs and Stratton 30545 P3000 PowerSmart Westinghouse WGen9500 Wen 56380i Champion 3400 RV ready
Noise Level

59 dB(A) at 1/4 load

58 dB(A) at 1/4 load

73 dB(A) at 1/4 load

57 dB(A) at 1/4 load

59 dB(A) at 1/4 load

Power Starting 4500W

Continuous 3700W

Starting 3000W

Continuous 2600W

Starting 12500W

Continuous 9500W

Starting 3800W

Continuous 3400W

Starting 3400W

Continuous 3100W

Fuel Type Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline
Tank Capacity 3.4 gal 1.5 gal 6.6 gal. 2.2 gal 1.6 gal
Tank Run-Time 18 hrs. hrs at 1/4 load 16 hrs at 1/4 load 17.5 hrs at 1/4 load 8.5 hrs at 1/2 load 7.5 hrs at 1/2 load
Warranty Residential Limited 3 Years or 1000 hrs. Commercial Limited 1 Year or 1000 hrs. 3 Year Limited Residential Limited 3 Years or 1000 hrs. Commercial Limited 1 Year or 1000 hrs. Up to 2 years 3 years
Weight 98 lbs 97 lb. 220 lb 99.2 lbs 95.7 lbs

What is an RV Generator?

RV’ing is certainly a hobby for some. For others, however, it is very much a way of life. Modern RV’s are generally fitted with all amenities and features that would normally be found in a fully furnished house. This means that, in practice, these have gradually become something beyond just some designated recreational vehicles. Indeed, you might even live your life from an RV while roaming around the country at the same time! Yes, you can do all these in your lavish, accessorized motorized home.

What kind of amenities can you find in a fully outfitted modern RV? Incredibly, you will find such items like microwaves, flat panel TVs, refrigerators, gaming consoles, audio systems, home theatre, sofas and couches, personal computers, modular kitchens, queen or king sized beds, heated water, central air conditioning, washing machine, and the like! Why, it is more like having a moving house on wheels!

Electricity

Regardless of this, you will agree that one thing has not really changed between the RV itself and your home situation: You still require electricity to power all those appliances. You will find that you have two viable options for supplying power to the appliances in your RV: You can directly plug it into a power outlet located at a campground or state park designed for RV owners. Otherwise, as the second option, you could carry along, inside your vehicle, your own RV generator, as you proceed on a ride.

The first possibility is quite convenient and requires little planning or setting up. You just need to plug your RV into the special outlet for external power. You can do this using a power delivery cable that is pre-installed and already present in the RV. You could also use any extension cord that you can get in the local hardware store.

Portable Generator

You should, however, remember that external power docks suitable for RV’s are not usually found everywhere. They are often situated on specific state parks, campsites or race tracks that offer RV parking grounds. The grounds are meant for people who wish to drive over using their RV’s, to watch the race.

Anyone who owns an RV can tell you that RV’s are used for many purposes other than weekend trips or ordinary state park visits. Most RV owners even go on adventure, miles away from civilization, or live in their RV when they visit a friend or go on holiday. That is precisely where a portable generator comes in handy, especially if you want to enjoy the comforts of an ultra- modern home right inside your vehicle.

Are you planning to visit a campground but there are no power outlets pre-installed in the venue for RV use? Take care! You will be in trouble if you don’t carry along your portable generator for this occasion.

How Crucial is an RV Generator?

You need to know just why you might need an RV generator. Do you own an RV? Are you planning to purchase one? If so, you will certainly have to deal with a few real-life situations. We can call these ‘Scenarios.’ After discussing them, you will discover that RVs are very useful and versatile conveniences. Moreover, you will find that one of the most important add ons that should be present in any RV is a generator.

Scenario 1: You wish to visit a camp ground but it has no dedicated charging points or RV parking: What next? What will you do?

Honestly, most of the scenic and truly beautiful campgrounds that are often featured in glossy magazine covers have just a few minimal facilities provided. You are, therefore, expected to carry along all your essential stuff when visiting. These will, reasonably, include backup sources of power, cooking equipment and a host of other provisions. It also means you must carry along your generator if you wish to use the microwave or electric grill for preparing food on your RV.

If you plan to do your cooking on a campfire, just like true survivalists do; No problem, that is another matter. Actually, it can be lots of fun for anyone to try cooking around a campfire in a communal pot. You, however, need some good supervision and proper training to start up a huge ball of fire in the middle of the plains or the open jungle.

License

Moreover, most large campsites and natural reserves might require you to have in your possession the necessary license to setup a campfire. Get it right: unless you have a specialist camping instructor to guide you or perhaps you attended a scout school, it is most unlikely that you will succeed to set up a campfire on your own.

This takes us back to our main point: The immediate challenge is that you need to use your stove, the microwave oven or countertop grill to prepare food that you brought along. We  are assuming that the cooking appliances in your RV, especially the electric grill and the microwave, are powered by electricity. Note that most mid and large- sized RV’s usually have a variety of electrically powered cooking appliances in them.

Barbecue

The microwave and grill may be used to make anything from pancakes to barbecue and turkey or whole roasted chicken, pastry or pizza. It would probably be quite some fun trying to make pizza away in the jungle! Can you imagine what a shame and embarrassment it would be to carry along all these expensive cooking appliances and have them just lying around idle in your RV? What a shame  to go eating canned food and let all these go to waste! This would be a definite spoiler for that much anticipated exotic trip.

Scenario 2:

You wish to go visiting friends or relatives during a holiday season, but the house is unexpectedly fully packed with guests: What do you do now?

Often, during the holiday season, you might find that visiting a friend or relative at his home may not end up exactly the way it is planned. You have discovered that, contrary to expectations, you are not the only visitor planning to visit during these exciting holidays. Some other guests will also be present. Moreover, they are coming along with their families and acquaintances! Of course, in this state of affairs, finding enough space is going to be a problem. Of course there is no problem if your relative or friend is fabulously super-rich, with a fairy tale 20-bedroom villa, complete with a posh outhouse! This is highly unlikely.

A Second Home

But all is not lost: Supposing you visited your people in your RV. There will be absolutely nothing stopping you from using the RV as your night-time resting place, while you freely spend the day enjoying out with your family and friends. You can even use the RV as your second home! That way, you will dispense with those space issues, completely eliminating them and solving the problem. Everyone will be happy with this innovative solution.

Moreover, there will be some wonderful bonuses to enjoy. You will enjoy enormous privacy, and can choose to conveniently get away from the hustle and bustle that goes with being in a crowded house in the festive holiday season. Remember: Would you want to spend so much time in the RV if it has no functional TV, air-conditioning or fridge? This would be most unlikely. A good generator for your RV will do the trick, letting you enjoy all this luxury and more.

Fully-furnished

Regardless, think of it: Who would enjoy spending the entire day and night, eating canned food and sweating it out crammed inside a metal box? There is no TV for your entertainment or a refrigerator to keep some refreshment. Moreover, what if you wished to use the laptop to do some urgent work or you needed to charge that smartphone? Certainly, you would not find any free outlets available in the house because others will have occupied it all. The big lesson? Never get stuck in such a situation without a generator for your RV.

To be sure, the act of taking the open road pursuing wonderful freedom is exciting. Be prepared, though. Do not waste time. Get the best portable generator for the RV. Freely enjoy drinking some chilled beer inside your RV. Do this while watching some favorite movies or sports on the TV. You can also happily use your laptop or smartphone any time. While you will freely hang out, during the day, with friends and family, at night you can work or chill out right inside the RV. Doing this, you can stay with friends and relatives for a long time, longer than it could have been possible without having your own fully-furnished mobile home.

Scenario 3:

The normal power grid is under maintenance. Perhaps a natural disaster has crashed the power grid, and it will not be functional for an indefinite duration:

Assuming that both your AC and TV remote- control all use AAA batteries. You switch off these equipment and go to sleep, during a hot summer night. You then, suddenly, discover that the AC remote is dysfunctional. Why? The batteries have gone dead.

Likely, the first thing you would do, by instinct, if no spare AAA batteries are available, is to pop out the TV remote-control gadget’s batteries and fix them into the AC remote. This is mainly because, on this hot summer night, you won’t really need the TV, but you sorely need the AC to sleep a little bit more comfortably.

Things to Consider When Buying an RV Generator

Why on earth are we discussing TV and AC remote-control devices here? Simple. Think about it: What would you do in case of a sudden power outage in your area without a backup home generator? What would happen, however, if you have some RV generator lying around?

Usually, an RV generator is not quite different from a regular generator. Both can generate up to 120V AC power. This is enough to run essential appliances in your home. Therefore, when a natural disaster strikes and, of course, you are unsure how long the power outage will last, you should simply connect those essential home equipment to your RV generator and, voila! You are good to go!

A good RV generator with a little more than 2000 watts should pack enough power to run your TV, refrigerator, water heater, personal computer, and lights all at the same time.  Certainly, these are essential appliances that must be used regardless of the hazards of a massive grid failure or a sudden power outage.

Capacity

If your RV generator is actually bigger, perhaps it packs more than 3000 watts of power, you should even be able to run the electric grill or air conditioning system without a hassle.

This is the most essential step to deciding the right generator to buy. Indeed, the generator capacity influences its price, size, and weight. More importantly, the size determines what can or cannot be run using the machine. It is important to begin by outlining a general plan. This will help us get a rough estimate relating to the wattage capacity of your generator.

Calculate Wattage

Important: This website is equipped with a very useful table of comparisons. Here you can easily compare the various top generator models, their strengths and weaknesses as well as essential wattage factors. Readers can take advantage of this important feature to calculate the wattage needs for the various home appliances and equipment.

Make a table containing four columns. It should contain the elements below:

  • Appliance name
  • Units for each appliance
  • Starting Wattage
  • Running Wattage

In the whole list, find out which appliance has the highest starting wattage. If it is an RV, the air conditioning system 15,000 BTU or 13,500 BTU, is almost always assured to take top spot.

Add up the running wattages relevant for all appliances with a requirement for zero starting wattage. This can be anything without a motor. If you are dealing with appliances containing above one unit installed in the RV, compute the figure this way: Multiply the number of units with the requirements for appliance wattage.

Peak Power

Next, add the highest starting wattage with the total of all appliances having a zero starting wattage. The result is your generator’s peak power output. In calculating the running power draw, simply add each appliance’s running wattage. Where applicable, multiply this by the number of installed units.

To get a rough estimate, here is the idea: An RV with a 13,500 BTU AC may likely need a 3000w generator. An RV with a 15,000 BTU AC will likely need a 3500w generator. This is on condition that you desist from simultaneously turning on any appliance with the AC. The A 6-7 cubic foot capacity fridge should generally consume some 600w,  while starting up, and about 200 watts while loaded.

A Multilevel, double- door refrigerator with advanced features will likely consume about 400 watts under load. It will need some 1Kw or 1000w to start up.

An electric grill countertop generator will likely need around 1,500 to 1,700 watts. A countertop model microwave oven with a capacity of 1 cubic foot will probably use 1000 watts of power.

Twin Generators

The highest amount of power consumed by any appliance will be taken by the 13,500 BTU AC in your RV. Most likely, it will have a running wattage averaging 1,500 to 2,000 watts.

The starting wattage for a 15,000BTU AC will likely be a little higher. The running wattage will, however, remain the same.

On its part, a TV should take just about 200 watts, and a personal computer, like a laptop, only 150 to 250 watts.  Are you using a few 100W light bulbs and several CFL lamps/tubes? These should take about 300 watts. It means that a portable RV generator with 3,000w will comfortably power several gadgets including: a 13,500BTU AC, a personal computer, about 3-4 lights, and the TV.

If you plan to run your microwave, electric grill, water heater and fridge as well, you will likely want to pair the twin 2,500w generator units together. At the very least, you should get a 4000w inverter generator to do the job. This is, however, a rare situation. If you have plenty of stuff that you usually wish to run together, it is quite advisable to get a fixed RV class generator as the ultimate solution.

Comparing RV Generator with Conventional

Design:

RV generators are designed the same way as conventional generators in that they both convert energy from natural fuels into electrical energy. Generators can either be classified as DC or AC depending on how they produce current. DC generators typically have a flow of Direct Current while AC generators have alternating current waves.

Conventional generators have three main parts. These are: the engine, alternator, and voltage regulator. The engine uses an external pipage or internal fuel tank for fueling. The alternator works using the motion generated by the engine to move its rotor within the generator. This leads to the creation of AC current from the alternator terminals, which then flows into the regulator. The regulator removes all impurities, allowing the generator to deliver stable power for use by electrical appliances.

Portable vs Fixed

The internal layout of RV generators is much more complex compared to that of conventional generators. RV generators come equipped with unique modules that can’t be found in a conventional generator. They are further classified into two types: Portable and Fixed RV generators. Portable RV generators are basically inverter generators with changed motors and special sound-reducing instrumentality put in to greatly scale back noise emissions.

Fixed RV generators are generators fitted into a special generator compartment in the RV undercarriage. They are much larger in size compared to the portable generators. Fixed RV generators are integrated with automatic switch panels that transfer power from the main power supply to the generator in case the main power supply fails. These generators such as the Generac 6866 iQ2000 can be used as a backup power supply system in events or rv campgrounds should the main power line fail.

Less fuel

RV generators are much better compared to conventional generators in that they provide much cleaner energy. This energy is more efficient, and the generators are equipped with noise reduction technology. For the perfect experience, RV generators are recommended since they have less fuel consumption than conventional generators, and the noise is regulated. Users who have no space constraints or aren’t bothered by a loud noise in the background are advised to go for conventional generators instead.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, it is important to consider the fact that RV generators come in handy while traveling since they consume less fuel. Conventional generators work best when used at home since they get powered on only once in a while compared to RV generators which at times work 24/7 the entire trip. Also, conventional generators cannot regulate their engine speeds to allow for load changing; hence, they’re very loud. This technique of modifying engine speeds is used by Inverter generators to make sure they operate quietly.

Sinusoidal AC

RV generators first transform mechanical energy produced by the generator into low voltage DC. Then the inverter converts it to AC and further filters the waveform to pure sinusoidal AC. Sinusoidal AC is a much cleaner form of AC, and it helps to reduce overheating of home appliances and delicate electronic devices. Using an impure form of current often leads to low efficiency and a decreased lifespan for electronic devices such as mobile phones. Conventional generators produce less pure AC since they lack an inverter circuitry.

Best Fuel for RV Generator

Diesel

The type of fuel chosen for the RV generator highly depends on the type of vehicle you use. Diesel generators are often recommended to be used by Diesel pushers. This is because diesel pushers require more power. RV owners using vehicles running on diesel save on time and space if they stick to diesel-powered generators. This is because they’ll only use a single fuel type the entire journey for both the generator and vehicle.

Also, diesel is less explosive compared to gasoline; hence, it is much safe to store. In addition, Diesel-powered generators produce a high amount of energy. The only downside of using Diesel-powered RV generators is that they are very loud compared to the other RV generator types. It is also a little bit bulky in terms of its weight.

All in all, diesel-powered RV generators are the most powerful compared to generators that use other fuel types such as propane. Hence if you have to power up many units and appliances simultaneously for a long time, then diesel-powered RV generators are most recommended.

Gasoline

For gas-powered travel trailers, gasoline generators are recommended. They’re usually economic friendly and portable for use, especially in long-distance travel. Another advantage of using gasoline is that it is the most popular fuel; hence, availability won’t be an issue wherever you go. Compared to propane, it is much easier to store, refill and it produces more power. However, gasoline should be safely stored and handled carefully since it is explosive. Moreover, it has impurities that reduce its shelf-life and it is much dirtier compared to propane. Clogging is a major concern when using gasoline. Hence RV owners are advised not to leave leftover fuel in gas-powered RV generators. If you need a moderate power supply for your appliances, then gasoline is the perfect fuel type to use.

Propane

Most travel trailers use propane which is a virtually odorless gas that is environmental-friendly. It is one of the cleanest fuel types available. This is because it has low greenhouse gas emissions and less toxic. Another advantage of propane-powered RV generators is that they’re economically friendly and easy to use. It has an indefinite shelf-life compared to gasoline because it contains little or no impurities. Hence, RV owners need not be worried about leftover fuel when using propane.

When compared to the other fuel types, propane produces less noise during its operation. It is the best fuel type if you want to enjoy your trip in a quiet environment. However, its liquid propane tank size is limited, thus limiting the amount of fuel it carries. Hence it is recommended to be used for short-distance trips.

Another disadvantage of propane is that finding a refueling source for propane is a bit difficult. RV owners who want to enjoy a long trip with little disturbance are advised to choose an alternative fuel type other than propane. For RV owners that do not need a high amount of energy supply for their appliances, propane is the recommended fuel type to use.

Fuel consumption

Fuel consumption is a vital factor to consider when choosing an RV generator. The most important aspects to take into consideration are the amount of fuel you need to add to the generator, the cost of performing a refill, and after how long the refill is done. This also depends on the availability of the fuel source. It won’t be economical to go long distances looking for fuel.

RV owners who plan a trip far from home need to choose RV generators with an eco-mode capability depending on the amount of power they need. They should also keep in mind that open-frame generators have a high fuel consumption rate compared to portable RV generators. It is much advisable and economical to have at least two portable generators rather than an open-frame generator that consumes more fuel. To control fuel consumption, choose generators that have superior fuel efficiency and good voltage control.

Noise Factor

Noise levels comprise a hugely important aspect in an ideal RV generator. This means you should carefully scrutinize a generator’s noise level before you reach a decision. The noise levels of a running generator should actually be the final determining factor leading to the decision to buy or not. Can you, really, tolerate the strong thumping sounds produced by some generators? This is especially important when the generator is running at night when people have gone to sleep.

Happily, it is easy, these days, to find a quiet generator that would do well for RV. Interestingly, some manufacturers have already taken the initiative to produce special generators with low noise. These are most suitable as camping units. Indeed, the new units are extra capable of quiet running. Obviously, this reduces the risk of bothering neighbors or campers with the loud noise produced by your generator. It means less annoyance to everyone!

Legal Regulations

Further, you should remember that many private campgrounds and national parks actually have legal regulations on noise limitation. In most cases, campers are limited to just 60 decibels maximum, working at a distance of 50-feet. Keeping this in mind, you now realize why it is so important to buy the quitest generator available. Get the type of generator that won’t disturb you, your neighbors, or fellow campers. Moreover, it will not get you in trouble with the law.

Should You Buy a Permanent or Portable Generator?

Portability

It is quite necessary to consider the portability of a generator before you buy it. Indeed, it is advisable for you to decide whether you require a permanent or portable unit. Which one will work better for you? Of course, a portable generator is the type which you can move easily from one location to another.

The permanent generator is the kind that would be attached to your RV all the time. Most RV owners usually prefer to have the portable generator primarily because of versatility. Apart from powering the essentials in your RV or travel trailer, a portable generator is quite useful for tailgating. It is crucial during periods of sudden power outages.

Parallel Function

Interestingly, the most loved, modern brands of portable RV generators also come with parallel function capability. What does this imply? It means that it is possible to make two units of this generator to run together, as a twin unit. In this way, the units can supply two times the amount of power that you would originally get. Most RV owners usually do this to generate adequate power for running such appliances like the air conditioner, just in case they happen to choose a portable power source for adventure or tailgating.

The on-board or permanent applications are usually more common in class A and Fifth wheels. This is usually because such applications are convenient for long-term or permanent usage.

Portability is Crucial

Do you wish to use your generator for something more than your RV? Then you must think about portability. Remember that, every time you stop at a park or campsite, you will need to unload and reload your generator. Why? You cannot run the generator inside the RV without using a dedicated exhaust system. This must be specifically installed for the generator. It is obvious that you need a smaller, lighter generator for such a situation.

Go for a generator with certain special features like: top-mounted racks, folding arms suitable for towing, and handle bars. Get a generator with rear wheels so that you can even pull it around just like a trolley. It should have padded grip rails to enable two or more people to haul the machine from the deck of the RV or the back of the truck.

How Can You Connect Your Portable Generator to the RV?

Successfully hooking up your generator to the RV requires that you to follow certain important steps. First, you should determine whether your recreational vehicle is designed as generator-ready. You can establish that by asking the dealer directly or reading the vehicle owner’s user manual.

Ensure to get a generator that will supply the specific power needs according to your vehicle’s configuration. Think about the type of fuel that you would prefer to use in powering up the new generator.  Propane generator and gas are some of the most popular fuels for modern recreational vehicles.

Transfer Switch

If you choose to use a gasoline tank, ensure that there is a pump to be used in transferring the fuel to the generator. Try to do a little research on the possible materials anyone can use to muffle the generator sound. This material is usually dependent on the vehicle’s location and generator size.

An important factor to note when connecting your generator to the RV is the fact that you must, of necessity, install a transfer switch. It is important to do this since the transfer switch allows you to alternate between using generator power in some places and shore power in other places. An essential benefit of installing such a switch on your unit is that it can work to prevent damaging electrical issues, including fires.

Where is the Best Place to Keep Your RV generator?

One other tip for using the generator safely is to try to identify the best location for installation. You will find that the best place to do this is a firm and sturdy ground where you can mount it safely without losing balance.

The place you choose should be level and stable. It is important to do this since the appropriate place will help protect the generator from falling whenever it is operating. If your RV is the generator-ready-type, you would be quite lucky. You just need to adjust it and the unit will soon be conveniently set up.

In case there is no tray supplied in your RV, you can easily build up your own. You can easily do so using just a few panels and screws. Afterwards you can secure your RV generator using clamps, brackets, and straps.

Which RV Generator Brands are Best?

Without much ado, we can now make a list of the top, well-known generator brands that are perfect for your RV needs. Here they are:

The Verdict: The Top 5

Your RV can continue to serve you well if you make sure it is equipped with the best luxuries and conveniences for its desired purposes. Not only will it keep serving you as a fantastic camping gear, it can also serve as a home away from home! Moreover, it is advisable to integrate beautiful decorations into your cherished vehicle.

Go ahead, Fill up your RV with all sorts of full-sized devices, appliances and electric gadgets. These features will make it pretty amazing. Once it is filled up with whatever you need, proceed to install an RV generator. This machine has the power to transform your RV into a fully functional, modern vehicle.

Whenever you go shopping for the most suitable RV generator, do not hesitate to consider the following top 5 popular brands of RV generators:

Champion Generator

This is one of the most suitable brands of RV generators which you can get in the market. The Champion manufacturer is well-known for producing unique portable generators. One of this is the Champion 3,500 model. An important fact about this powerful generator is that it can be powered using both gas and propane.

The Champion manufacturer deserves praise for venturing to produce a generator that releases very little noise even when under a load. It also apparently tends to undergo the least levels of voltage drop when you apply a load. The Champion brand of generators are a great choice for travel trailers and RVs because of their superb portability features. Their portability is enhanced by the convenient built-in wheels and carry handle.

Westinghouse

Westinghouse is yet another much-loved brand that should definitely be considered when hunting for a good RV generator. One important quality found in Westinghouse generators is superior portability. This is a huge plus for RV owners who wish to install important appliances and devices into their vehicles. Portability makes it easy to manage such installations.

Yet another feature that distinguishes the Westinghouse brand is its sturdiness. Notably, most Westinghouse generators come with a cast-iron sleeve. This helps to protect the tank and unit. Westinghouse generators are also much-loved for their relatively superior running power.

Honda

You will never regret buying the Honda brand of generators. Honda is a highly   popular brand in the world automotive industry. As long as it is a Honda product, you are completely guaranteed that whatever you buy will never ever fail on the road. You can take this to bank.

Moreover, you are always guaranteed that Honda products are readily available with the dealers, whenever and wherever you need them. Most people agree that Honda, is indeed, the most-loved brand for buyers seeking a portable source of power for tailgates, portable power tools and camping purposes.

Briggs & Stratton

The Briggs and Stratton generator possesses all the great qualities that mark a superb RV generator. It works as a wonderful portable backup generator. It is great for RV and tailgating, especially due to its compact design and silent operation as well as light weight. Overall, the Briggs and Stratton generator is a fine fit for the best generator for tailgating and RV.

WEN

The magnificent WEN generator is a great machine for your RV. It features a relatively large 4-stroke OHV a 212 cc engine. It has a spacious 1.85 gallon fuel tank that delivers more than 7.5 hours run-time at under 50% load. Its front panel features twin 3-prong 120V receptacles. It has one 120V 30A AC twist lock receptacle, a dual USB ports (5v) and another 12V DC receptacle.

The WEN is a portable generator, with a compact design and dual carry handles. It comes with its rear wheels, designed for towing and a folding front handle. You can use its parallel connection kit to pair two of these machines and enjoy an ultra-clean 5,000 watts of silent power. This is a highly recommended generator to use for RV.

Final Thoughts

While searching for the best generator for your RV, it is wise to choose a generator that produces sufficient wattage. If it is powerful enough, this kind of machine can comfortably support all varieties of your on board equipment. It is advisable to think about pricing factors as well as a range of factors crucial for convenience.

Take note that the right generator size should be dependent on the nature of your on board appliances. In case you are carrying just a few onboard appliances, it would be wise to select a smaller generator. Indeed, this can help you save costs. With these facts, you are now fully equipped to make a highly informed choice for the best, most ideal generator for your RV.

Alexey P. , Qualified Electrician and Website Founder

Alexey P. , Qualified Electrician and Website Founder

My name is Alexey P. I was born in Poland but later moved to the USA in 1998. As a well-qualified and fairly experienced electrician, I love working with generators. After my family, the generator could easily be my next love in life! No wonder, I am constantly working with this widely used and very fascinating machine. As a result of my professional training in the field of electrical engineering, I am well versed with the key elements of the trade. I am generally knowledgeable with all inspecting codes and important regulations governing electrical components and repair. I presently live in Monticello, Minnesota, USA. Want to know a little about my life outside work? It is no wonder. If you encounter any challenges with your portable generator while on that camping expedition, you can count on me to help deal with that decisively. I love life. I love people. And yes, I love generators, of course!

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