How to Select the Best RV Generator for Your RV

Last updated on January 5th, 2022 at 11:55 am. Originally published on April 27th, 2015

Heading out to a campground or RV park for the weekend is great fun. That said, many people are hungry for a bit more adventure and time spent even deeper in nature. Boondocking is what these individuals are after, and fortunately, RVs are totally set up for this.

It should be noted however, there aren’t any electric hookups out in nature. While many motorhomes come equipped with onboard RV generators that take care of this problem, very few trailers do. If your RV doesn’t have a generator built in, you will need to invest in one before you try your hand at dry camping.

Of course, this means doing a bit of shopping around to ensure you find the best generator for RV camping and for your needs. Because not many people know where to begin when it comes to shopping for a camper generator, we will be using this article to help you out.

Image source: WEN

RV Generator FAQs?

First, let’s discuss the things you’ll want to consider when shopping for a new RV generator by answering some RV generator FAQs.

What are the different types of RV Generators?

A generator can run off of three different types of fuel:

  1. Diesel
  2. Gasoline
  3. Propane

Some generators can use two different types of fuel, something that is helpful if you run out of one type and need a backup plan.

When shopping for a generator, you will want to decide which fuel types is most convenient for you and narrow your options from there.

Conventional vs Inverter Generator?

Another decision you’ll have to make is whether to purchase the louder, heavier conventional style of generator, which is prone to power surges, or something lighter and quieter, but more expensive. Generally speaking, we highly recommend the inverter style of camper generator, even if it does mean spending a few extra bucks.

All of the options listed in this article are inverter generators.

What power output do I need for my RV Generator?

Most RV generators put out between 2000 and 4000 watts of electricity. Know what you’re looking for going in.

  • Do you have a smaller trailer and limited power needs? A 2000-watt unit should be plenty for you.
  • However, those who wish to run the air conditioner or microwave will need something offering 3000 watts—and in some cases even more.

Consider what you will want to run off your generator and check those appliances out to see what kind of output would be best for you. Keep in mind that a unit with higher output won’t damage a smaller or less power hungry rig, so when in doubt, go big.

What size generator do I need for my RV?

Are you wondering, “What size generator do I need to run my RV?” The answer is more complicated than you might think.

You see, while the more powerful generators are likely to be a bit larger than their less powerful counterparts, size is not a reliable way to measure the output of a particular unit. Therefore, the question shouldn’t be, “What size generator do I need to run my camper?” Instead, it should be, “How much output do I need, and what is the smallest and lightest generator I can find that offers that amount of output?”

Fortunately, portable generators for RV trailers are getting smaller and lighter as the years go by. This means it shouldn’t be too hard to find something that doesn’t push you over your cargo carrying capacity.

What is the quietest generator for my RV?

Because you might find yourself using your generator near other campers (and because you might want to sleep while the generator is running from time to time ), it’s important that you find something relatively quiet. Again, this is totally doable and just requires a bit of research.

We will discuss the quietest options below.

How important is fuel efficiency?

Last but not least, you will want to find a fuel efficient generator for RV trailers. The more efficient your unit, the longer it will run off a tank of gas, making trips into town fewer and giving you more time to have fun.

Image source: Honda

Best Generator for RV?

There are a number of excellent RV generator options out there, and there is absolutely no way we could talk about every good option on the market. That said, we did manage to narrow down the options and have created a list of our 6 top picks:

  1. Honda EU3000i
  2. Honda EU2200i
  3. Yamaha EF2000iSv2
  4. Generac GP3000i
  5. WEN 56203i
  6. Predator 3500

Each of these were chosen because they are all-around good quality units. That said, each one does have a single standout feature that we feel deserves to be highlighted. Therefore, we’ve used the sections below to point out what we love most about each of these RV generators. Hopefully you can use this information to pick the best RV generator for your needs.

Image source: Yamaha

Best Portable Generator for RV?

If you’re looking for the best camper generator that is small, lightweight, and easy to move around, the options below are for you. Both are some of the smallest options out there, making them perfect for RV living.

2000 Watts: Yamaha EF2000iSv2

Many would say this is the best portable generator for RV, hands down. Once you use it, you’ll understand why.

This unit has a surge wattage of 2000 watts with 1600 running watts. It is a gas generator and holds about 1.1 gallons of fuel, which lasts about 10.5 hours at 25% load. The best part? This super small unit only weighs 56 lbs.

Price: $989

3000 Watts: Generac GP3000i

If you need something more powerful than the Yamaha but still want something easy to move around, this is it.

The generator weighs in at a mere 59.5 lbs. On top of that, it offers 3000 starting watts and 2300 running watts. This unit is gas-powered and the fuel tank holds about 1.06 gallons. A full tank will last around 5.8 hours when running at 25% load.

Price: $751.80

Image source: Honda

Best Quiet RV Generator?

Both units above are pretty darn quiet. However, if you’re looking for the quietest RV generator, you will want a WEN. Besides being extremely well made and highly rated, the two WEN units below are some of the quietest generators you’ll ever find.

2000 Watts: WEN 56203i

A high-end RV generator, this unit is super lightweight at only 39 lbs. It’s also crazy quiet, coming in at only 51 dB at 25% load. This unit is a gas-powered generator and holds about 1 gallon of fuel. A single tank of gas will last about 10.8 hours at 25% load. The surge wattage of this Wen is 2000, with the running wattage measuring about 1700.

Price: $388.89

3000 Watts: WEN 56380i

Just like its little sister, this is a high-end option, meaning you can expect quality. It is quiet, operating at 57 dB depending on the load. This unit weighs in at just 110.8 lbs, offers 3800 starting watts, and gives the user 3400 running watts. It’s a gas-powered generator, holds 2.2 gallons of fuel, and can run for about 8.5 hours at 25% load.

Price: $733.33

Image source: Harbor Freight

Best Budget RV Generator

Finally there are those searching for quality cheap RV generators. While some may claim this doesn’t exist, we beg to differ. Below are two excellent RV class generator options for those on a budget.

2000 Watts: WEN 56203i

With 2000 starting watts and 1700 running watts, a 1-gallon fuel tank, and a weight of only 40.3 lbs, this gas-powered generator holds its own against the more expensive options. This is the best inverter generator for RV camping that you’ll find for under $400, and is actually even better than some of the $500 units.

Price: $388.89

3000 Watts: Predator 3500

Finally, there is the Predator 3500. This unit is sold by Harbor Freight and is well loved by all who try it. It sells for just under $1,000 but is worth every penny. It only produces about 57 dB of noise, making it a super quiet option. It’s also relatively lightweight. The gas-powered unit offers 3500 starting watts and 3000 running watts, a 2.6-gallon fuel tank, and 11 hours runtime at 25% load.

Price: $1,190.95

You now know everything you need in order to jump into the world of camper generator shopping with confidence. Get started today, and you should have something picked out and ready to go before your next big trip!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Looking for more helpful tips? Check out these articles:

What do you think?

How much can you make renting your RV?

See How Much You Can Make

How much can you make renting your RV?

See How Much You Can Make

Similar Articles

5 Affordable Summer Vacation Ideas

Summer’s in full swing and it’s the perfect time for a family (or friends!) vacation. You might think trips can…

Read More

Travel Props You May Not Think of But Could Come in Handy

You’re ready to take an RV trip and you’ve got everything you need – leveling blocks, freshwater hose, and a…

Read More

Decorating in Small Spaces with Wander Free and Queer

Just because we live in a small space doesn’t mean we can’t make it feel like home. A lot of…

Read More

How To Maintain A Strong Relationship While Traveling In An RV with Asobo Life

Getting in an RV and traveling the open road with a significant other is fast becoming one of America’s most…

Read More

The Best Shoes for Different Types of Travel

Most RVs and trailers have minimal closet space – which means you’ll need to carefully consider what you bring so…

Read More

What to Look For When Choosing a Travel Partner

You’ve picked out your rig, decided on an epic destination, and carefully planned the best route to get there. But…

Read More