Having your solar energy system in place is something you should be proud of. However, there will be times, for instance in the winter, where you want a little more reassurance about satisfying your power needs in your RV. And you never want a rainy day to stop your enjoyment of hitting the open road and sleeping under the stars. All hail the portable generator – this will ensure you have power whatever the weather.
Read on to learn more about what the key considerations are before purchasing the best portable generator for your RV and to learn about some of the best generators currently on the market.
Table of Contents
- Best 1500W Quiet Generator for RV
- Best 2000W Portable Generator for RV
- Best 2000W Honda Generator for RV
- Best 3000W Portable Inverter Generator for RV
- Best 3000W Portable Generator on a Budget
- Best 5000W Diesel Generator for RV
- Best 12000W Dual Fuel Portable Generator for RV
- Why do I need a portable generator for my RV?
- How many watts do I need in my portable generator for my RV?
- What do the differences in fuel type mean in portable generators?
- How long will the portable generator be able to run for in my RV?
- Are some portable generators noisier than others?
- What about the physical size of the portable generator?
- Are portable generator environmentally friendly?
Best 1500W Quiet Generator for RV
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Gas Powered Portable Generator Review
This portable generator is the perfect choice for those of you who are intolerant to noise and are looking for a generator that is inconspicuous. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 1600W portable generator is one of the quietest on the market, rated at 51.5 dBA, it is also fitted with a muffler and rubber feet so that vibrations are quietened. Yamaha have really thought about keeping the noise down with this product.
If aesthetics are important to you, then the design of this product will not disappoint. Its exterior has a trendy retro design and comes in a cool blue colour. It is also incredibly easy to transport, with a helpful handle on the top and weighing just 44.1 pounds – this portable generator can easily be carried. Its dimensions also recommend this product; measuring 19.3 x 11.0 x 17.9 inches it can easily be stored in your RV without taking up much-needed room (although we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to have this attractive generator on show for all to see!).
This product also provides a decent amount of power for its size, with a maximum of 2000 watt output. You can be sure that this AC power is suitable for your devices as this portable generator comes with an inbuilt inverter which only provides clean pure sine wave power. The inverter also provides Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control to ensure voltage stability.
Powered by gas, this portable generator can provide power for up to 10.5 hours. It is also fitted with smart technology which adjusts the speed of the engine depending on the devices you need to power – meaning it won’t be running full throttle when it doesn’t need to. Approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, this portable generator even ticks the box for green credentials.
Q&A: Does this generator have an electric start?
A:This generator only has a pull-chord start, but it starts well every time.
Q&A: Does this come with the oil?
A:No, you will need to buy some, 10W30 is what you’re after, preferably use a well-known brand.
Best 2000W Portable Generator for RV
Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator Review
If ultimate portability is your number one requirement then the super-compact Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator is a great choice. Its neat size (19.7 x 11.4 x 17.9 inches) means it will fit into your RV easily without taking up valuable space, making it the best size generator for RV. It is also lightweight (46.6 lbs) so you won’t have any trouble carrying this excellent portable generator either.
This portable generator is rated at a reasonable 2200 watts, and it also comes parallel ready which means that you have the option to connect two of these generators at the same time should you decide that you need more power in the future. Fitted with an inverter and Truepower technology, this portable generator will also keep your more sophisticated devices (such as laptops, smartphones) in tip-top condition.
In terms of efficiency this generator rates highly, it comes with the option to select ‘economy mode’ which serves to reduce the amount of fuel used as it reduces the speed of the engine to fit with the devices you are using. It can run for 10.75 hours on a full tank of gas at 25 % load – so certainly delivers on productivity.
This portable generator is also a good option for the noise conscious, it will sit in the natural environment quietly without disturbing you, your neighbours or the surrounding wildlife. This is thanks to both the economy mode and the sturdy casing of this product.
It is also easy to use thanks to the LED indicators which highlight when the generator is ready to use and it also flags when the device is low on oil or is overloaded. With an additional USB port so you can charge your phone and tablet directly this portable generator really is an all-rounder and comes in at a great value price.
Q&A: Does this have enough power to run the refrigerator in my RV?
A: Yes, it will have no problem powering this up!
Q&A: What comes in the box?
A: Included with the portable generator are tools to open the side panel, oil so that you can get the generator up and running and an instruction manual.
Best 2000W Honda Generator for RV
Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Portable Generator Review
If price is not an issue and you just want a top of the range generator that is tried and tested, then this little beauty from Honda is for you. In fact, if you took a walk around any campsite you’d almost certainly see more than one of these on your travels because of how popular they are. This is a highly versatile unit and definitely one of the quietest generators whilst also having some of the best fuel efficiency.
Obviously with a Honda generator, the high quality comes at a cost, but in the long run, you should make your money back because of its reliability, efficiency and durability – they have been building these things since they pioneered the portable generator market back in the 1960s after all! As they are so common it will also be easy to find spare parts and an experienced repair person in the unlikely event of any unexpected issues. It is also easy to add an extended run fuel tank to this model thanks to a useful fuel pump.
With 2000-watts and 120-volts, this is the perfect device to keep your essentials provided with enough power when solar or mains power has failed you, and it doesn’t hurt that its pure sine-wave power you’re getting either. Thanks to the 79cc engine you are even able to obtain max power on the Honda for up to 30 minutes, far better than similarly priced competitors!
It is important to take care of such an expensive product so make sure if you are putting this into hibernation for anything more than a few days, that you do try and drain the carburetor to help enhance life-cycle, you don’t want to fork out on a new one of these sooner than you have to.
If you run the risk of losing power or plan to be regularly off-grid, then you can be sure that you will never regret your investment in this reliable, easy-to-use, and dependable Honda generator.
Q&A: How many amps can this realistically handle?
A:It will have no trouble running 1600-watts continuously as long as it has fuel, equal to about 13.3 amps.
Q&A: How often will I need to change the oil?
A:There is a service interval of 100 hours for oil changes.
Best 3000W Portable Inverter Generator for RV
Champion 3400W Portable Inverter Generator Review
This unit comes with a host of options typically reserved for more expensive models, such as the wireless remote start and key fob that means you can start and stop this Champion from up to 80 feet away helping to keep you away from the noise created by the generator when working at full capacity. The built-in quick-touch panel is also a great and easy to use addition. So if you’re after portability, convenience and quiet power, then this Champion inverter generator is a great choice for your RV backup.
The inbuilt handle and wheels make this device easily portable whilst the 30 amp RV outlet, dual USB output, 110-volt and 20A household outlets, 12volt cigarette lighter adapter to charge car batteries also mean you have everything you need close to hand with the flick of a switch or at the touch of a button. You will need to break this unit in but the instructions in the user manual are clear and easy to follow, just make sure you have at least a quart of 10W-30 oil to do this breaking in.
Whilst it can become a little noisy at full load, this is actually a super quiet generator, even at close quarters it generally only reaches the noise of a quiet conversation level, so you won’t get any irate stares from nearby people camping in tents! It also starts up great in a variety of temperatures so you can be confident you will have power come the cold morning or the boiling afternoon.
The inverter itself produces super clean power with very little THD at under 3% which will keep your sensitive electronics protected as they charge up. This product is a welcome competitor on the market for Honda and Yamaha, so if you want an inverter generator for your RV that offers comparable quality at a fraction of the cost, this will soon be your champion!
Q&A: What does THD stand for?
A:THD stands for Total Harmonic Distortion – the less of this the better!
Q&A: How long does it take to run out of fuel when running at maximum capacity?
A:It will depend on the weather but around 6-7 hours at night and perhaps 5-6 during the day on eco-mode. It holds 1.6 gallons, but you could hook it up to an external fuel tank pickup if you needed the use of a larger tank.
Best 3000W Portable Generator on a Budget
WEN 56352 Gas Powered Portable Generator Review
If you are after a generator to look after your high-energy use needs in the event of loss of power and no readily solar energy, then this portable great value generator will surely be able to meet the needs of your wildest dreams. At a great price, this 212cc engine is able to offer 3000 running watts and 3500 surge watts and has great safety features such as low-oil shutdown and overload protection.
This rather bulky (23x17x17 in), but super-powerful, framed unit on wheels will be able to help you keep running your lights, refrigerator, and television well into the night if needed and can last up to 11 hours if running at half-load (and the 4-gallon gas tank is full). You will also be welcomed into national parks with this smooth-roller thanks to the included spark arrestor and its super-quiet running efficiency, so this is great for RV camping.
You will be able to get this generator up and running with a simple tug on the starter cord, just make sure to check the oil level. It is also worth considering giving it an initial break-in period of between 2-4 hours running time under varying loads and then changing the oil. This will also help to make the unit run nice and quietly, which it should do, so if it is being a noisy troublemaker give this a shot!
With a 2 year warranty, easy set-up, excellent, efficient and quiet power provision, as well as great safety features, there is barely anything not to like about this generator. So if you want hassle-free portable generator power for RV, then you won’t be disappointed with this super product from Wen.
Q&A: Does the frame itself ground the generator?
A:You need to run a grounding cable from the control panel screw down to a grounding rod placed in the ground by the generator.
Q&A: Would this be able to power a deep freezer as well as a refrigerator?
A:There should be plenty of power for this and a couple of smaller items, just make sure the overall wattage for items does not pass 3750.
Best 5000W Diesel Generator for RV
Generac 6864 Diesel Powered Portable Generator Review
For a diesel generator, you will be wasting your time if you look much further than this incredible unit from Generac. It is incredibly durable, produces less than 6% THD ensuring clean energy for your sensitive electronics, and, being diesel, requires way less maintenance whilst providing incredible efficiency.
The whopping 12 gallon fuel tank and 436cc engine means this generator will keep you powered up well into the wee hours. This device also has a really easy-to-use control panel, including a one-touch electric start button, a voltage selector making it easy to switch between 120 and 240 volts, and a useful hour meter tracking when maintenance intervals are reached.
You will need to purchase a battery to go with this unit if you want it to start though, as this is not included and required for start-up. You would also be wise to invest in a wheel kit too, if you hope to keep this thing mobile as it weighs in at a solid 254lbs.. However, if you are looking for industrial scale generator protection, that will easily enable you to power all-day events hungrily guzzling power, then this will surely be the answer you have been looking for.
Q&A: How much run time do you get out of a full tank?
A:You will easy get 30 hours of a full tank from this beast.
Q&A: How well does this start in cold weather?
A:You will need a combination of 1D and 2D diesel fuel if using below freezing. The operating temperature range is 0-104 degrees Farenheit.
Best 12000W Dual Fuel Portable Generator for RV
DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator Review
If you’re looking for the crème de la crème of dual fuel portable generators, and your budget is at the higher end then look no further than the DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator.
This is the best dual fuel portable generator around, allowing you to power it with either gas or propane. The benefit of the dual fuel is that you get the best of both worlds, being able to interchange your fuel source if one is in short supply. Having the option of propane as the power source is also a great addition if you are wanting to fuel up your generator and store it for a while as propane is a safe fuel to store, and won’t go stale.
Delivering 12,000 watts of peak power it is not surprising that this portable generator has the nickname ‘The Beast’. With this amount of power, you will be able to comfortably support all of your RV appliances at once. It also has impressive running times; with the ability to run for 10 hours on gas and a staggering 20 hours on propane when running at 50% maximum output. There is so much power in this beast that you could also use it as a back up for your household should you have a power cut.
With inbuilt safety features such as circuit breakers and power outlets, this portable generator will ensure that your devices do not overheat or receive any damaging power surges. There is also has an automatic low-oil shut off device which protects the engine if the oil level drops below the required amount. Due to the incredible power of this device, it is a little noisier than smaller models, however, it does come with a muffler to counteract this and has been approved by the EPA.
While the helpful handle and sturdy wheels on this device are helpful for ensuring the portability of this generator, it is heavy – weighing in at 269 pounds. A feature that is worth considering should you need to be moving this generator frequently.
This dual fuel portable generator is a great choice for those with ample power needs, and who want the option of using both gas and propane.
Q&A: Does this come with a propane hose?
A:Yes it does indeed!
Q&A: What is the decibel rating for this product?
A:It is around 72 at full load and 45 at idle.
Why do I need a portable generator for my RV?
The days of ‘roughing it’ over a campfire with nothing but stories and songs to keep us entertained are a thing of the past for many campers. With RVs increasingly being fitted with all the mod-cons, and our own thirst for modern technology, we need an energy source to keep our appliances running.
Having a solar energy system installed in your RV is a great way to ensure you can access this power when off-grid. However, when this solar system is unable to sufficiently provide the energy you need (perhaps if you have consistently cloudy days on your camping trip) it is a good idea to invest in a portable generator for your RV.
Portable generators provide electricity by a motor that is powered by fuel (gasoline, diesel or propane). Due to being ‘portable’, they are designed so that you can store them easily in your RV, and then use them when you need the power.
Some portable generators for your RV come with an inbuilt inverter, this is so that your appliances are protected from damaging power surges, caused by harmonic distortion, by producing pure ‘sine wave’ power. A portable generator with an inverter is a good idea if you are planning on charging high-quality electronic devices, such as a laptop and smartphones. This is less of a necessity if you will just be using your portable generator for the essentials such as lighting and your kettle.
How many watts do I need in my portable generator for my RV?
As with all power-giving devices, the best size portable generator for your RV will be dependent on the electronic appliances you want to use. The portable generators on the market are rated in watts (W) and range from 800W at the lower end and 12,000W at the higher end.
If you only require the bare necessities on a short camping trip (such as lighting and boosts of your smartphone) then a 1000W portable generator will sufficiently cater to your onboard RV power needs.
However, if you are wanting to power up an air conditioning system in the summer, or heating in the winter and you are partial to a cold beverage from your inbuilt refrigerator then you will need a portable generator with a higher wattage. A 3000W portable generator will be able to cater to these needs.
It is always a good idea to go for a portable generator with a slightly higher wattage than you expect to need so that you are not caught short and can enjoy your RV trip with all of your electronic essentials.
What do the differences in fuel type mean in portable generators?
You will notice when looking at portable generators for your RV that they are powered by different fuel types. This is an important consideration when selecting the best portable generator for your RV as you need to think about the availability of the fuel type in relation to where you will be using the generator, as well as how long you are likely to need to store the generator fully fuelled up.
The most common (and cheapest) choice of portable generators are those fuelled by gas. These have the convenience of being the same fuel type as your RV, so when it comes to re-filling you only have to think about the one type of fuel for both your RVs gas tank and your portable generators.
If you are likely to be storing your portable generator for a while and want to keep it fully fuelled, then a propane powered generator may be the best choice for you. Out of all of the fuel types, this has the longest sell-by date and won’t go stale like other fuels would. It also has the advantage of making the generator run less noisily than others, so a good choice for those with sensitive ears. The disadvantage is that propane produces less power and isn’t as readily available as other fuel types, so make sure you are confident that you can purchase this fuel easily before you invest in this type of portable generator.
As with gas, a diesel-powered portable generator is a smart choice if your RV runs on this fuel type – it helps to avoid confusion when topping up your tanks. Diesel powered generators are rated highly for their efficiency, yet the downside is that they can be a noisy and less environmentally friendly option.
How long will the portable generator be able to run for in my RV?
Now we have distinguished the different types of fuel types, let’s look at how long you can expect your portable generator to run for. The last thing you want is to run out of power when you are miles from a fuel source so careful consideration of how long you need the portable generator to last for is important. High-quality portable generators should have a running time of around eight hours, so you should aim for a model that promises to deliver this efficiency.
Another thing to look out for are portable generators that are able to react to the electrical devices you are choosing to power; some quality generators are able to reduce their engine speed if you are only requiring power for small devices and therefore uses less fuel than if it was constantly running at full capacity. This means that fuel is not wasted unnecessary and makes for a very efficient system.
Are some portable generators noisier than others?
In short, yes. Generators are well known for their annoying and distracting noise level, however, over the years reducing the noise level of generators has been a key consideration for developers in an attempt to both reduce noise pollution and to keep their customers happy.
So, if you are driven to distraction by a constant relentless buzz or really want to be at one in the serenity of the outdoors, it is a worthwhile consideration to choose a portable generator that promises to keep the noise down. Look out for generators that have a lower decibel rating (measured in dBa), with those rated under sixty dBa having the most tolerable noise level. In addition, portable generators that have an inbuilt inverter are quieter than those without – another virtue of this type of product.
For the power hungry, however, you need to weigh up your noise tolerance levels against your power needs as with more power inevitably comes more noise. If you really need the power and can’t stand the noise, an alternative option is to run two smaller portable generators in parallel.
What about the physical size of the portable generator?
Portable generators come in different shapes and sizes, with some heavier than others. This is an essential consideration as the size of your RV will determine the weight and dimensions of the portable generator it can accommodate. You also need to think about what you yourself can physically carry, and what is realistic to keep your back in a healthy condition!
Inevitably, portable generators that are more powerful will be larger in size and heavier to carry. However, a lot of portable generators come with wheels which help with manoeuvring and handling – look out for this design feature on the heavier models. You also need to think about the impact of the weight of the generator on your fuel consumption. It is, therefore, pivotal that you check the weight of the portable generator before purchasing.
Are portable generator environmentally friendly?
If you are using a portable generator as a back-up should your solar energy system be falling short of the necessary energy, you will no doubt be environmentally conscious and be concerned about how the use of a portable generator for your RV will affect your green credentials.
Being fuelled from a non-renewable energy source, portable generators are, of course, not as green as your solar energy system. However, there are options you can make to keep your carbon footprint down. Look for a portable generator that has a high-efficiency rating, this will mean your fuel consumption will be lower. Propane is the most environmentally friendly fuel choice so you could opt for a generator that uses this fuel type. Also look out for portable generators that have Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval.
With the vast array of portable generators for RVs on the market, it is easy to be daunted about where to start with choosing the best option for you. This article has highlighted some of the best products currently out there to make this task that bit easier.
Make sure you think about how much power you are going to need to help you select the correct wattage rating. Fuel source is also an important consideration, and if you are only going to be using your portable generator as a back up should your solar energy supplies fall short then propane would be a good option as this has a long storage life and is also safe to store.
Portable generators come in different shapes and sizes, with some more easily portable than others, so it is important to consider the best fit for your RV. You also need to consider the noise levels of the generator and whether or not it is fitted with an inverter as these are important factors that will contribute to your satisfaction with the product.