Best Generator For RV Reviews

Updated October 13, 2020

An RV has always been a great way to travel. Whether you like camping with the family in the great outdoors, driving to music festivals with friends, or simply sightseeing, having an RV can help make any trip easier. Traveling in an RV lets you have your own private restroom and shower facility and to retreat to comfortable, well-furnished quarters after an exhausting day outdoors.

However, before any road trip, you need to secure all your essentials. That entails finding and getting the best portable generator for RV camping. To help you narrow down your search, we came up with a list of the seven exceptional generators that you can use to power your RV.

Let’s get right to it.

Best RV Generators

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1 WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
Best Overall
WEN 56200i RV Generator
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2
Best For Higher Budgets
2Honda EU3000iS RV Generator
Honda EU3000iS 2800 Gas Powered, Portable Inverter
Best For Higher Budgets
Honda EU3000iS RV Generator
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3 Westinghouse iGen2500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator Westinghouse iGen2500 RV Generator
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4 Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Gas Powered Portable Inverter Yamaha EF2000iSv2 RV Generator
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5 Westinghouse WGen2000 Gas Powered Portable Generator
Best For Low Budgets
Westinghouse WGen2000 RV Generator
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6 Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator Generac GP2200i RV Generator
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7 Champion 3100-Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator Champion 3100-Watt RV Generator
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1. WEN 56200i RV Generator

Highlights
  • Produces 1600 rated watts (2000 surge watts).
  • Eco-mode feature to adjust fuel consumption. 
  • Long runtime (9.4 hours at quarter load).
  • Limits harmonic distortion so can safely run laptops, tablets and phones.
Best Overall
WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

This is a great option if you’re looking for a generator for camping trips, as this model is portable, compact, and quiet, running at 51dB at quarter load. 

Weighing 48 pounds it’s easier to move this inverter generator around as needed, and although the fuel tank holds only 1 gallon, it will run for over 6 hours at half-load. Harmonic distortion is limited to less than 1.2%, so it’s safe to run more sensitive electronics such as laptops and tablets, and there’s even a USB port. Alongside this are two three-prong 120V and one 12V DC ports. 

We like the Eco-Mode, which adjusts the generator’s motor and therefore the fuel consumption when items are plugged and unplugged. The output is limited to 1600 rated watts, but if you need more power you can link up a second generator using a connection kit (not included). The two-year warranty gives you added peace of mind.

Specifications

Size:
18 x 11 x 18 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
1600W
Noise Level:
51 dBa
Output:
1600 rated watts / 2000 peak watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Compact and portable design, ideal for camping or worksites.
  • Extremely quiet operation at 53dB at quarter load.
  • Four outlets including a USB port.
  • 2 year warranty.

Cons

  • Relatively low output, so can only handle a few devices simultaneously.
  • Oil needs to be changed after the first 20 hours of use.

2. Honda EU3000iS RV Generator

Highlights
  • Easy to use
  • Portable 
  • A good backup incase something disrupts the power grid
  • Low running cost
Best For Higher Budgets
Honda EU3000iS 2800 Gas Powered, Portable Inverter

Honda produces reliable and high quality generators as this one. It has a compact design and it is super quiet, even quieter than a normal conversation between two people.

Because of its size you can fit it in your car trunk with ease, and carry it anywhere you want. It is really fuel efficient and it can run up to 20 hours. It also features many safety mechanisms such as low oil sensor, which after it detects low oil, it shuts the engine off so it doesn’t damage itself. It often comes with a multi year warranty. 

This generator is fitted with a Honda’s advanced inverter technology which means it is safe to power computers and equipment that is sensitive. 

After using this generator for a couple of hours, make sure to turn it off so it can cool down. Refuelling should be done with care and in the outdoors. Make sure to not overfill the fuel tank.

Specifications

Size:
19.9 x 18.2 x 16.9 inches
Voltage:
127 Volts
Wattage:
3000 Watts
Noise Level:
The noise goes anywhere from 49 to 58 dB
Output:
30 amp
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Extremely quiet and good for camping
  • A large enough gas tank so it can run for 20+ hours
  • Safety features to prevent injuries
  • Reliable

Cons

  • Despite being really compact, the main problem with this generator is its weight which is 131 lbs
  • Does not have an hour meter

3. Westinghouse iGen2500 RV Generator

Highlights
  • 2500 peak watts
  • 48 lbs.
  • 52 dBA noise output
  • 10-hour run time

Westinghouse’s inverter generator is three times more fuel-efficient than conventional generators, as it can run for 10 hours on a full 1-gal gas tank. It produces 2200 running watts and peaks at 2500, powering large appliances such as refrigerators and smaller electronic necessities.

It generates clean power at less than 3% THD, making it suitable for sensitive electronics, including smartphones, laptops, and TVs. From its LED display, you can easily monitor fuel levels, voltage, power output, remaining run time, and lifetime run hours.

Operating at 52 dBA, it won’t keep you and your neighbors up at night. Best of all, it is parallel capable, which means you can connect it to a similar unit to double your power capacity.

Specifications

Size:
19.7 x 11.22 x 17.91 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2200 rated watts; 2500 peak watts
Noise Level:
52 dBA
Output:
2200 running watts
Power Source:
Gas

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Fuel-efficient design
  • LED data center
  • EPA, CARB, and USFS compliant

Cons

  • Lacks a push-button start
  • Lacks a maintenance timer

4. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 RV Generator

Highlights
  • Generates up to 2000W of clean AC power.
  • Auto-decompression system for easier starting.
  • Fuel gauge allows fuel level to be seen at a glance.
  • Durable, high quality components.

Weighing in at just over 44 pounds, this compact inverter generator is extremely portable. It has an impressive runtime of up to 10.5 hours at quarter load, meaning a full tank of gas goes a long way. 

It produces 2000W peak watts / 1600W running watts of clean power, with voltage stability within a 1% range. This means it will safely run more delicate electronics such as laptops and tablets, though we’d have liked to see a USB port to easily charge these items. 

There are lots of handy features, such as an oil watch warning system and a fuel gauge for easy monitoring of your fuel level. The Smart Throttle feature varies engine speed according to load, and auto warm-up increases the speed during cold starts so there’s no delay in handling appliances with a high power demand straight away. The quiet operation – up to 61dB at rated load – is another attractive benefit of this Yamaha model.

Specifications

Size:
19.3 x 11.0 x 17.9 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2000 peak watts
Noise Level:
Up to 61dB
Output:
2000 peak watts / 1600 running watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Portable, lightweight and compact model.
  • Can run for up to 10.5 hours without refueling.
  • Smart Throttle feature varies the engine speed depending on the load.
  • Quiet operation, between 51.5dB and 61dB.

Cons

  • Although this generator is suitable for vulnerable electronics such as laptops, it doesn’t have a USB port.
  • Some users comment on the high oil consumption of this model.

5. Westinghouse WGen2000 RV Generator

Highlights
  • 2000 running watts.
  • 4 gallon fuel tank.
  • Four 5-20R 20A 120V outlets with durable rubber covers.
  • 26 hour run time at 25% load.
Best For Low Budgets
Westinghouse WGen2000 Gas Powered Portable Generator

This great value generator produces 2000 running watts (2500 peak watts), and can run for up to 26 hours at 25% load on one four gallon tank of gas. 

The output means it’s best suited for camping trips or DIY or small worksite projects rather than as a backup home generator. 

There’s a main circuit breaker if you were to overload the generator. The robust open frame is geared towards outdoor use, though at 97 pounds you’ll probably want to order a wheel kit to move this generator around. Operation is very simple, with a manual recoil start, and there are four household 120V outlets which handily have durable rubber covers. 

Bear in mind that this generator doesn’t have an inverter, so the THD (total harmonic distortion) is too high to safely power sensitive electronics.

Specifications

Size:
23.23 x 17.52 x 18.7 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2000 running watts
Noise Level:
68dB
Output:
2500 peak watts / 2000 running watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Comes with oil, tool kit and manual to get started immediately.
  • Hardened steel frame with roll bars.
  • Intuitive control panel with main circuit breaker and engine switch control.
  • Great value option.

Cons

  • No wheel kit included.
  • No electric start.

6. Generac GP2200i RV Generator

Highlights
  • Compact design, ideal for camping and outdoor activities.
  • Produces 1700 running watts (2200 starting watts). 
  • Economy mode maximises fuel economy.
  • Provides stable power for sensitive electronics.

This is a very portable inverter generator, with a compact design and built-in carry handle. It produces up to 2200 starting watts and 1700 running watts and runs on a 1.2 gallon fuel tank. 

A full tank will give you up to 10.75 hours of runtime at 25% so this is an efficient option for camping and outdoor activities or to power the essentials in your home during a power outage. 

The output is stable enough for sensitive electronics, and there’s an Economy mode which helps to reduce fuel consumption and noise. If you need more power, you can purchase a parallel kit to connect a second generator. 

This generator is easy to use, with an off/run/choke dial, though there’s no electric start. It also has a variety of outlets, including a USB port. The manufacturer doesn’t provide any decibel readings, but other users report that operation is quiet.

Specifications

Size:
19 x 11 x 17 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
2200W peak watts
Output:
2200W peak watts / 1700W running watts
Power Source:
Gasoline

Pros

  • Up to 10.75 runtime at 25% load from the 1.2 gallon fuel tank.
  • USB port for tablets, cell phones and other gadgets.
  • Can be connected to another inverter for increased output.
  • 2 year limited warranty.

Cons

  • No electric start.
  • No noise level information available from the manufacturer.

7. Champion 3100-Watt RV Generator

Highlights
  • 3100 watts
  • 1.6 gal fuel tank
  • 8-hour runtime at 25% load
  • 58 dBA noise output

Offering clean, reliable, and quiet power, Champion’s RV-ready inverter generator produces 3100 starting watts and 2800 running watts at 58 dBA—nearly the same noise levels as a regular conversation. You certainly won’t need to worry about disturbing your neighbors. It can run for as long as 8 hours at 25% load. 

As it produces power at less than 3% THD, you can use it to recharge sensitive electronics. Built with a reliable recoil start and Cold Start Technology, you can get it started even in cold weather. It comes fully assembled, eliminating tedious setup processes. As it comes with built-in handles and never-flat tires, you can transport it and store it with ease.

Specifications

Size:
22 x 17.3 x 18.3 inches
Voltage:
120V
Wattage:
3100 watts
Noise Level:
58 dBA
Output:
3100 watts
Power Source:
Gas

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Produces clean power
  • EPA and CARB compliant
  • 3-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Has a heavier build
  • Lacks parallel capability

RV Generator Buying Guide

Inverter or Traditional Generator

If you’re looking for travel trailer generators for road trips or camping, you will most likely come across traditional and inverter units. 

Inverter generators are lighter, more portable, and quieter compared to traditional generators. They can convert DC power to AC, eliminating fluctuations in power. While both types have many different configurations with varying power capabilities and power sources, their main difference is in their efficiency. Inverter generators are consider much more efficient generator type on the market. 

Traditional generators run at a constant speed, unlike the inverter variants. That ability to adjust the speed to the load requirements enables inverter generators to save more fuel without making a racket. 

Power

Inverter generators produce clean, reliable power by converting direct current to alternating current. DC capacitors make the current smoother to a certain degree before converting them to AC.

Compared to traditional generators, inverter generators produce cleaner energy, which is almost the same quality you get from electric companies. This means that you can power sensitive electronics such as smartphones, laptops, and TVs with confidence.

If power fluctuates too often, it can cause these electronics to malfunction. You could end up destroying your mobile gadgets while on the road.

4000-Watt RV Generator

A 4000W generator can start your 13500 BTU air conditioner. Once it’s running, you will have enough power to run select appliances and electronics in your RV.

While a 4000W generator can give you maximum power at 4000W, its running wattage can be a lot less than that. It might, for instance, have a 3600 running wattage rating. Hence, after starting your 13500 BTU AC at 2000W, you have around 1600W left for other appliances. 

Fuel & Type

One of the things that you need to think about when you’re selecting an RV generator is its fuel type. Some are powered by diesel, while others are powered by propane. 

There are also generators that harness renewable energy. If you want a natural, replenishable power source when traveling, you can choose between solar and wind-powered units. Each one of these has its own advantages and disadvantages. The ideal one for you depends largely on your RV lifestyle, but ones more commonly used are portable solar generators

Diesel Generator For RV

Most people who own diesel generators have diesel-fueled vehicles. Compared to propane and gas variants, these generators generate more power. And because they produce more power per gallon of fuel, they are more fuel-efficient compared to other variants. 

Diesel is safer to store when you’re traveling, as it isn’t explosive. However, diesel-powered generators can be very loud. They are usually on the higher end of the price range because they are intended mostly for commercial use. 

Propane Generator For RV

Propane generators have clean emissions, making them a greener solution for people and the environment. They are also less noisy compared to diesel-powered generators. However, they need to be hooked to a propane tank, like the one you would get for a gas grill, which isn’t as convenient as using gasoline-powered alternatives. 

This also means that the extent of usage will be limited to the size of your tank. Once you run out, you will have to secure a new propane tank. This can be a problem when you’re on the road, especially when you’re on a long trip. In some areas, propane might be difficult to find. 

Thus, propane generators are ideal for short road trips or campers with limited power needs.  

Solar Generator For RV

If you’re looking to go off the grid for a while, getting a solar powered generator for travel trailer is essential. Since you can harness power from the sun, you won’t have to keep running to the store to power your vehicle. 

Solar generators often require large upfront costs, which depend on the size of the unit and its power capabilities. They also limit your travel itinerary to regions with a lot of sunshine. You can harness solar energy and store it in batteries so you can use them at night or during days with barely any sunlight. 

However, unlike regular generators, solar-powered variants have lower maintenance costs. Without using fuel, you will be paying less for repairs and maintenance over the years.

Wind Generator For RV

Wind power is considered to be more efficient than solar, not only because it consumes less energy and produces more, but also because it also releases less carbon dioxide into the environment. 

Like other types of generators, wind-powered variants come in all shapes, sizes, and power capabilities. When you’re choosing one, the biggest factor that you have to consider is physical space. Your RV must have enough space to mount a turbine. 

This type of generator is often used alongside solar panels, as they rely on different atmospheric conditions. If you have two power sources, you can consistently produce power at any given time. You can most likely power everything in your RV and keep your batteries charged.

Size

As mentioned, size is an important factor in your decision when you’re shopping for a travel trailer generator. Looking into the physical dimensions of generators enables you to find what fits into your RV, whether it’s a wind-powered generator or a gas-fueled one. 

After measuring the ideal physical dimensions of your RV generator, you need to figure out how many watts are necessary to power all your RV appliances—air conditioning, lights, microwave, etc. 

Look at the power requirements of your RV appliances and electronics. Add the starting wattages of these appliances and fixtures. Then, add another 20% to your minimum requirement to get your maximum power need. 

Once you know your power requirements, you can select an appropriate generator that can fulfill your needs. 

Small RV Generator

A small size doesn’t necessarily mean lower power output or efficiency. If you’re looking for a powerful generator that is compact and travel-friendly, you can turn to inverter generators. They can produce a lot of power without making too much noise. Plus, several of them have parallel capability, which allows you to connect identical units to generate more power output for your RV.

So, instead of getting a large traditional generator, you can get two inverters and still generate the same amount of power with twice the efficiency.

Aside from their lightweight, compact, and portable build, small RV generators operate without making a lot of noise. They can generate power at 50 to 60 dBA.

The downside is that small generators are built for short camping trips. While these units are reliable, fuel-efficient, and quiet, most of them aren’t designed for heavy usage. 

Noise Level

Another important factor that you need to consider when buying a generator for your RV is the machine’s noise level. A quiet generator for RV is a must, especially if you’re using it to power your AC at night. You don’t want your generator to keep you up at night or to disturb other people. 

If you intend to stay in enclosed campsites, a noisy generator can be a big problem. Your neighbors will not appreciate the racket, especially at night.

For some context, regular speech produces 60 dBA noise output. Some generators can produce power at a much quieter noise level. Hence, you might want to consider these units if you don’t want to keep the neighbors up at night.

Built-in RV Generator

Some RVs come with built-in generators. They are hardwired to the vehicle’s electrical system and powered by the same fuel. Often, these generators are difficult to access, repair, and maintain. However, unlike some portable generators, they are usually easier to operate. Using a push-button start, you can turn them on without any hassle. 

Compared to a portable generator for RV camping, built-in units can produce more power. They can deliver 4000W to 12000W of power. Consequently, they also tend to cost more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Generator Size Should I Choose For My RV?
A:

If you’re looking to purchase a generator for an RV, start with assessing its physical dimensions. How much space do you have in your RV for a generator?

How many appliances are you going to take along with you? Once that’s sorted out, you can figure out how much power you need at a time and around how big your generator should be.

The goal is to get a generator that can easily fit in your trailer but can still fulfill your power requirements. To determine your minimum wattage requirement, get the sum of the wattage requirements of the appliances you will be taking with you (AC, refrigerator, mobile devices, and so forth).

Q: How Many Watts Does An RV Generator Need?
A:

It all comes down to your power consumption needs. Let’s say the recreational essentials you will be taking with you on the trip include an AC 15k BTU, a few lights, a microwave, and an electric grill.

If you need 1700 running watts to run an AC, 60W for four lights, 1200W for a microwave, and 1500W for an electric grill, your minimum power requirement adds up to 4640W.

To avoid overwhelming your generator, add 20% of this minimum to get the maximum load. In this example, you need at least a 5568-watt generator to power the appliances you have. That means you should be looking to buy a 5000 watt generator.

Our Verdict

Whether you want to go camping or take a cross-country road trip in comfort, choosing the right generator for your RV is a must. Generators come in various kinds, sizes, and capabilities. Hence, you need to carefully select a unit that can deliver your power requirements.

Aside from its physical dimensions, you need to measure your power consumption needs. Add up the wattage requirements of all the appliances and electronics you will be taking on the road so you can have a good idea of your minimum power need.

Don’t forget to throw in an extra 20% to make sure you don’t overwhelm your generator.

Using the information that we provided in this guide, you can make a well-informed decision when you’re buying a portable generator for RV camping or road trips. You can embark on exciting new adventures in comfort.