Choosing The Best RV Generator For Your RV

Last updated on June 24th, 2020 at 04:05 pm. Originally published on September 16th, 2019
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One of the greatest things about having an RV is the ability to stop anywhere and eat, sleep, or even watch your favorite show. Of course, in order to be comfortable doing these things, you need access to electricity. This is where an RV generator comes in.

What Size Generator Do I Need for My RV?

When looking for an RV power generator, it’s important to consider the size and power of the machine in question.

For those who only need to use a few small appliances and don’t require air conditioning on the road, a small RV generator is just the ticket. Smaller, portable units are a great option for those who are limited on space and need to keep their weight in check. That said, they cannot power much.

Those with 30-amp electric systems and moderate power needs, a 2000-watt 30-amp RV generator should do the trick. This will start and run some rooftop air conditioners, and will easily run any other appliance you may want to use. That includes the microwave, which is an electricity hog and uses a massive 1000 watts.

Larger RVs with bigger electrical systems can also run on a 2000-watt generator for an RV. That said, those with big rigs should keep in mind that at best, only one A/C unit on 2000 watts, and a larger, more powerful generator may be necessary to suit their needs.

Of course, if you have an RV with a generator already installed and are looking for a replacement, you will also need to consider the size of the current unit. Often, a larger generator simply won’t fit where the old one lives.

In the end, what size generator you choose for your RV is up to you, and as long as you consider weight, storage space, and the wattage you’ll need, you should be able to choose the best RV generator for your situation.

RV Generator Fuel Choices

In general, generators for RVs use three types of fuel:

LP Generator for RV

LP gas is great because it has a long shelf life. That said, it offers about 10% less power and propane units tend to be quite bulky. Therefore, this doesn’t tend to be the first choice of generator fuel for RV owners.

Gasoline-Powered RV Generator

Filling your RV generator fuel tank with regular unleaded gasoline is the easiest solution. Gasoline is readily available and relatively cheap. Additionally, some gas-powered generators can pull fuel directly from a motorhome gas tank. The downside to gas as generator fuel is that it can be burned through quite quickly.

Diesel Fuel RV Generator

Diesel generators are favored by many. Like the gas-powered generators mentioned above, some versions of these can pull from a motorhome’s fuel tank. Diesel can be found in most locations, and while it is often more expensive than gasoline, it burns much more slowly, meaning your fuel will last longer.

Wind-Powered Generator

Don’t like any of these options? There is the alternative of investing in an RV wind generator. Currently however, these are not as powerful as one might hope, meaning many people will find this a more feasible option a few years down the line.

The Cost of Generators for RV Use

Cheap RV generators are pretty much nonexistent. Therefore, you should plan to spend a good chunk of change to get something dependable, safe, and able to keep up with your electricity needs. Generally speaking, you can get a reliable RV-ready generator with moderate output for around $300. However, the best RV generators can cost $2000 or more.

Finding these RV generators for sale is super easy and only requires a quick search on Amazon.

Many people try to cut costs by purchasing a portable generator that is not RV-specific. This isn’t a good solution because regular generators don’t tend to have the capacity to keep everything running in an RV. On top of that, they will not last as long as the units made especially for RVs.

If you don’t have money to purchase an RV-specific unit right away, consider saving your money until you do. In the meantime, you can always find an RV generator rental if you plan to be camping without electric hookups in the near future.

Another option for those on a budget is to look into purchasing a used RV generator. Good quality used RV generators can be found if you’re willing to do a bit of digging, and most will be marked way down, saving you tons of money. Check out Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to find used RV generators for sale. Just be sure to test the unit and get a thorough RV generator service history before purchasing.

Looking at RV Generator Functions, Accessories and RV Generator Parts

In order to properly budget for your generator, carefully consider what kinds of options are included in the unit you intend to purchase and what kinds of accessories you’ll need to buy.

For many, a quiet generator is a must, especially if they spend much time camping near others. In these cases, the buyer may consider an aftermarket RV generator muffler in addition to a unit designed to be on the quieter side. Not sure which ones are quiet? Try reading some RV generator reviews.

Others may want a good RV generator exhaust extension in order to vent exhaust away from their rig. This is definitely a good idea in most situations, as generator exhaust is very dangerous.

Educate yourself on exactly what you want and price it all out before jumping in.

RV Generator Maintenance

Clearly, if you’re going to invest in a new generator, you’ll want to take good care of it. Fortunately, generator maintenance is super easy. Simply use the unit at least once every two weeks to keep fuel from becoming gummy and you should be good to go. Of course, you’ll also want to avoid filling the tank while the generator is running, and ensure the unit can breathe properly.

Doing these things will prevent most RV generator problems, ensuring you don’t have to shell out for an expensive RV generator repair or figure out how to remove the generator from your RV in order to fix it yourself.

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