A reliable source of power is necessary on the road. Full time RVers especially need an RV generator, as you never know where you may camp next. RV generators are specifically built for RV appliances, and cost more than portable generators.
Choosing a Fuel for Your RV Generator
RV generators are designed to run on different types of fuel. The type of fuel you choose should be whatever is most compatible with your travels.
You will need to know the type of fuel your current RV generator uses, if you are replacing a generator in a used RV. Also, measure the generator compartment to ensure a good fit.
- Diesel-powered RV generator. Diesel burns cleaner than gasoline, and produces more power than propane. If your RV uses diesel fuel, get a dialed generator.
- Liquid propane-powered RV generator. Compared to gas or diesel, propane produces about 10% less power. However, it has a longer shelf life.
- Gasoline-powered RV generator. Gasoline is cheap, and can be found everywhere, which is why this is a favorite fuel among RVers. It is a highly-flammable fuel though, and burns through faster than diesel does.
Gasoline vs. Propane
These two fuels are the most popular options for RVers. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The fuel you choose should be dependent on your RVing lifestyle.
Propane generators score a zero against the portability of a gasoline tank. A propane generator needs to be powered using a propane tank.
Propane and gasoline costs can vary widely, but heat output is always constant. Propane produces about 91,500 BTUs per gallon, while gasoline produces 125,000 BTUs per gallon.
Propane lasts longer than gasoline does. It is stored in a canister and cannot degrade, even if used once a year. Gasoline, on the other hand, has a shorter expiration date, and should not be stored in your house, garage or RV.
How Much Power Does My RV Generator Need to Produce?
You definitely don’t want too much power, or you could blow every circuit in your RV. And you don’t want too little, as you won’t be able to power some appliances.
Look around your RV for all the appliances that use 120 volts. Add these all up.
Air conditioners use the most power in an RV, and have different startage and running-wattage requirements. All this will help you come up with a minimum wattage requirement. (Minimum as– you may carry some accessories with you, that will require extra wattage.)
Remember, this is the power requirement for all the appliances that you will be running at the same time.
Watts = Volts x Amps
If you are permanently installing a generator into your RV, a transfer switch automatically switches the generator on and off, as required, depending on whether you are connected to the electric grid. You can then plug your accessories in the power outlets as usual. Never operate generators indoors, and never refuel them while they are running.
Choosing a Portable RV Generator
Modern RVs are just as cozy as home, making boondocking a pleasant experience. You need a generator, if you like to go miles away from electricity in your RV, but still want to enjoy the comforts of modern-day living.
As in the example of the 3,000-watt generator, it may only be rated for 2600 watts for long term use.
Appliances, such as your air conditioner, also have a lower running wattage. In this scenario we shall use, say 2400 watts. So you have 200 watts to use on another appliance. Needless to say if you want to power a fridge, laptop, and everything else, you need a larger generator.
Noise levels should also be considered when buying an RV generator. Your generator should not be a nuisance, to you or anybody else. Another important consideration is weight.
The bigger it is, the heavier its bound to be, and the more power you can get out of it.
You may need some accessories to connect your portable generator to your RV. Extension power cords are also a good idea, as they let you place the generator far from your RV, if noise is a real problem for you.
Selecting a Style for Your RV Generator
RV generators run quieter, are more reliable, but also more expensive than conventional generators. Several manufacturers offer numerous RV generators. The best RV generator for you is the one that provides the power you need, at the noise level you are comfortable with.
Some generators start, like lawn mowers, with a pull start. Others simply require the turn of a key. Remote start generators are also available, making it unnecessary for you to walk out of your RV in the middle of the night to switch it off, or on…
- Does the RV generator have its own enclosure?
- Does it have parallel jacks?
- How much fuel do I need? The size of the tank will determine how long the generator can run continuously. What your ideal time frame in-between re-fuels?
- Which safety features does it have? Does it come with accessories, such as mufflers or adapters or cords?
- What is the warranty like?
Choose what works best for your situation.
Best RV Generators
- ETQ TG1200
This generator runs for eight hours on a 1-gallon tank, at half load. It has a 65-db noise level, and can run 1200-watt peak power, but 100 watts at continuous use.
- Honeywell HW2000i
For those on a really tight budget, the Honeywell would be a suitable cheap RV generator. Its 2000-watt engine has two power outlets, and costs $500.
- ETQ TG32P12
- Generac 5724
This generator retails for about $500 . It has a wheeled cart that makes movement easy, and a generator muffler to keep the noise down.
- Honda EU2000iA
Honda knows how to build engines. This generator will give you 1600 watts of power. Honda generators have a 3-year warranty, and are very portable.
- Yamaha EF30ISEBH
Seasoned RVers say that this generator will work just fine for all your needs.
Remember that you need to maintain your generator. If left unused, the fuel in the generator will degrade and become gummy. This will cause damage to your generator. Run the generator every 2 weeks, or at least every month, with at least half a load on it for 2 to three hours. If you have access to electricity, plug in your RV generator and let it run a little.
In conclusion, here is a summary:
Check the oil.
Fix fuel leaks, and ensure any filters and monitors that need replacing, are replaced.
Above all keep your RV generator as clean as possible, and you can expect it to serve you for a few years.
Thanks for reading!