RV camping with the comforts of home at your fingertips requires a reliable generator. Yet, choosing one from the numerous brands with varying features can leave you struck with consumer paralysis.

“Which one do I buy??!!"

In choosing the best generator for RV camping, you’ll want to consider features including style, weight, noise levels, reliability, durability, and affordability.

In this Buyer’s Guide, I will cover the following 5 generators:

What to Look For When Choosing a Generator for Your RV

Prior to deciding on a final purchase, you’ll want to gather some crucial information about which generator is the best buy for you.

First: Determine your power needs.
Consider how much wattage the RV battery and each appliance requires to function. Think about your heating and cooling needs.

Check out the chart in the following link to help you determine how many watts your generator will need.

Second: Strongly consider an inverter generator.
The clean sine wave power will safely power up even your most sensitive electronics such as laptops and phones.

I will discuss the importance of an inverter in just a bit.

Third: Calculate your budget.
You want to ensure that you invest in a generator that will be worth your buck! Once you know your RV’s wattage usage, you’ll be able to more easily pinpoint the brand and model that is within your range.

Fourth: Take into account the special amenities.
Each model and brand boasts their unique features--low noise levels, lightweight build, easy-to-move handles or wheels, easily accessible oil fill hole, or even colour!

Some of these features are often the final deciding factors.

Attributes of a Good Generator for Your RV

A good generator for camping has low decibels which is great when you’re situated in the middle of the wild or surrounded by fellow campers in a campground. The noise should be reduced to the levels of a normal conversation. You don’t want to be the culprit who scared off the wildlife or fueled the temper of your next-door neighbour!

A good generator for your RV has a minimum of 2,000 watts. At this wattage, you’ll be able to fire up most of your appliances at the same time. (You’ll usually need more watts to fire up your AC unit.)

A good generator has the option to parallel with an identical model to double the power.

A good generator powers your RV to provide you with the basic needs--lights, fans, hair dryer, microwave, TV and phone chargers, the RV battery and possibly even AC.

A good generator has a gas tank and fuel efficiency that provides running life of up to 25 hours. Cutting back on time spent on maintenance gives you more freedom to relax or explore.

A good generator is easy to move around and transport. Choosing a lightweight generator with handles or wheels is appropriate if you must move it frequently.

On the contrary, if you’re in an area where theft is an issue, you may want to consider a heavier generator that that can be securely fastened.

Why Choose an Inverter Generator?

Most appliances use DC voltage. An inverter converts AC current produced by the motor to DC voltage and provides clean power with less electrical noise, lower fluctuating voltage and varying frequencies. (https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/alternating-current-ac-vs-direct-current-dc/all)

The inverter gives the generator freedom to run at lower speeds when the electricity demand is lower. This allows the generator to be more fuel efficient compared to the regular ones that run at fixed speeds up to 3600 RPM.

The clean power--free of sudden power surges--makes it safe to charge your laptops and phones even out in the wilderness or on the road. You don’t want to miss that perfect Instagram story or leave that inspiring blog thought unattended while your phone or laptop is at 1% battery life!

A construction site generator is bulky and loud! In comparison, the reduced noise of a lightweight inverter generator makes for an excellent choice for RV campgrounds. 

Inverter Generator vs. Generator--Explained

Attributes That Differentiate These Generators

Each brand takes pride in providing you with different features.

When looking to buy a generator, you may want to consider one with an automatic low-fuel switch and a warning light indicator. Some have handy fuel gauges while others don’t.

Although most generators have an easily accessible control panel, you can choose those in which you have to remove the side panel.

You can choose a generator with Eco-Mode which is a feature that’s fuel efficient and economical.

While most generators have the standard receptacles, some even boast USB ports, making it easy to charge your phones.

Some oil holes are situated awkwardly and make changing oil a hassle. A few brands provide an oil funnel or convenient oil drain to enable a cleaner oil change.

When you order your generator, you may want to consider the assembling process. Some generators come with very small nuts and bolts and cause difficulty while. Others require minimal assembling.

Top 5 Best Generators for RV

1. Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Inverter Generator

Pros

  • Reliable and provides similar comforts in-home outlets provide
  • Two of this model paralleled can power a window AC, fridge, and more simultaneously
  • More affordable than some higher end brands; same price as 2000W model
  • Very quiet and lightweight
  • Oil drain path keeps the generator cleaner as it drains oil directly into the drain pan
  • Starts easily
  • Has the ability to run on a propane kit once converted to put away with the hassle of gasoline

Cons

  • Honda does not make their own gas conversion kits
  • Ethanol gas tends to cause gumming in the carburetor
  • May not receive the greatest customer support

A popular choice, Honda’s Inverter Generators are widely used for home, job sites, and camping. You can trust Honda’s generators to provide reliable power. The Honda GXR120 engine features a quiet operation of 48-57 dBa (which is less noise than the normal hum of a conversation).

The fuel efficient Eco-Throttle System is ideal for running the generator up to 9.5 hours on one tank of gas. I recommend to change the oil after the first hour of usage. This generator features the much sought-after gas cut-off switch which is designed to protect the carb from gumming up and ensures a successful next run. If you need more power, the Honda EU2200i can be paired with a like model to power up to 4400 watts.

2. WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Pros

  • Lightweight design which makes it easily portable
  • Features the gas level gauge at the top
    Safe and quiet
  • Can order the parallel connection kit to power more than 1500 watts
  • Equipped with a USDA-spark approved arrestor
  • Very fuel efficient
  • Start-up pull is very light

Cons

  • It’s not the most affordable
  • Need to remove the side cover to fill oil
  • Only uses 1600-2000 watts and no more
  • Need to change oil every 25 hours
  • A little on the tall side
  • Fuelling can be a challenge since it easily spills

Another very quiet generator, the WEN 56200i features an EPAIII and CARB Compliant 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV which produces 2000 surge watts and runs at 1600 watts. It generates clean power which makes charging your sensitive electronics safe. It features two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 2V DC receptacle, and one 5V USB port.

Featuring a low fuel and oil automatic shutdown system with light indicators, this generator also boasts the very full efficient and economical Eco-Mode which adjusts power usage according to demand. On half load, its 1-gal gas tank allows for a 6 hour run time; on Eco-Mode it can run through the night using only half a tank of gas. Paralleled generators can power a 15K BTU AC window unit, fridge, lamp, chargers, and computer speakers.

Metal residue must be removed from the oil after the first couple hours of usage. You may want to consider using SAE30 in hot and humid weather. It is strongly recommended to drain the fuel from the tank when storing the generator longer than a month.


3. Champion Power Equipment 100233 3400W Inverter Generator

Pros

  • Comes with oil funnel and USB adapter and 12V DC charging cables
  • Features rubber covers over unused outlets, making it safe for children and the elements
  • Quieter than a lawn mower
  • More affordable than a Honda
  • Highly efficient for long usages
  • Survives humidity and thunderstorms
  • Has a 30 amp RV connection
  • Can be paralleled with another inverter type for additional power
  • Runs on the first start-up pull

Cons

  • 1.6gal tank is not practical for long running periods
  • Wheels are small and create a resistant drag

The Champion is louder than a Honda but still relatively quiet with a dBa of 59. This one also features a low-oil shut off sensor. It starts up at 3400 watts and continues to run at 3100 watts, and it holds up to 1.6 gals (6L) of gasoline which can last up to 8.5 hours at only using a quarter of the load.

The pull recoil is a fantastic feature enabling easy start-ups. Weighing around 78 lbs, the 192cc Champion single cylinder 4-Stroke OHV powers the basic needs (such as--lights, laptops, wifi routers, microwaves, power tools and more) while you and your family camp with your RV. Eco-mode quietly and efficiently runs 13.5K BTU AC unit, the RV battery, and powers your basic RV trailer needs. Consider using Standard mode for optimal AC power.

4. DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts

Pros

  • Affordable and easy to operate
  • Not overly loud
  • Reliable for long storage
  • Remains durable after many years
  • Conveniently comes with an oil dipstick

Cons

  • Comes with very small nuts and bolts, making the assembling process difficult
  • Needs frequent oil changes (Synthetic oils lengthens the time between changes by a few days)
  • Oil fill location is not conveniently placed
  • Removing the shipping brace was difficult
  • Heavy--consider a wheel kit

Featuring a full power panel complete with power outlets, volt meter and circuit breaker, this DuroStar 7.0Hp, air-cooled OHV engine has a start-up surge of 4000 watts and a continuous run of 3300 watts. It can power a fridge, air condition, a large lamp, chargers, deep freeze and even possibly a furnace. It 4-gal gas tank can run for 8 hours on full load.

The very handy fuel gauge lets you know once the fuel is low. The generator’s heavy metal frame allows the generator to operate smoothly and quietly. If you choose to settle with this generator for your RV, you will need to get a 30 amp converter. This generator would be an excellent choice if you wished to use power tools while out on your wilderness adventure.

5. Westinghouse WGen2000 Portable Generator

Pros

  • Doesn’t require much assembling
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful but runs quietly
  • Runs smoothly and starts easily
  • High customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Does not come with handles or wheels

The Westinghouse WGen2000 is the most affordable of the five. The 212cc Westinghouse 4-stroke OHV Engine and 4-gal fuel tank can run up to an outstanding 26 hours. It’s peak watts reach 2500 but it runs at 2000 watts. This generator also features an automatic low-oil shutdown, a handy fuel gauge, and an easy recoil start.

Because of the lower wattage, this generator is limited to what it can power; however, it can still provide you with the basic electricity needs of your RV and even power tools and some appliances.

Conclusion

Of the five mentioned, the Honda EU2200i is a reputable brand that has weathered through many storms with great reliability and quality. Quieter than the DuroStar, this Honda generator makes for an excellent choice for your RV campgrounds. Another reason I recommend the Honda EU2200i is because of the oil drain enabling a cleaner oil change. This isn’t the most affordable; however, taking into consideration the quality you receive for your money, it may actually pay off in the long run.

For a more affordable choice, the Champion comes with a 30 amp RV connection and higher wattage. It’s louder than the Honda but still quieter than a lawn mower, making this still a fantastic option for noise-reduced generators. It runs for long periods of time, making this a practical choice for overnight camping.

Whatever you choose, in the end you’re the one who has to change the oil and hear the noise levels. You may want to consider a long-term investment; but perhaps your budget restricts you to a more affordable generator. I trust you’ll make the right choice from our list of best generators for RV. If you are plugging your RV into an outlet, make sure to use a RV Surge Protector

If your looking for a solar panel kit for your RV make sure to check out our Buyers guide on RV Solar Panels & Kits

Happy Camping!

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