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
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.