7 Best RV Generators – Reviews & Buyers Guide
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With summer coming soon, RV owners are beginning to plan their next road trip. One thing to think about for your next adventure is getting a portable generator.
Having your own power source on your RV gives you more freedom in choosing campsites so it makes your entire trip more flexible.
Here are the best portable generator models to take with you on your RV.
Having a generator that can run on two types of fuel is handy for when you are on the road since it gives you more opportunity for fueling up. This Champion model can run on both gasoline and liquid propane.
Champion is one of the most popular portable generator manufacturers since many of their models are RV ready, including this one. This means that setup to your RV is quick and easy.
Another feature that we appreciate about this model is that it has an electrical push start. So, not only is the installation process compatible with RV’s, getting the engine running is done with a simple push of a button.
Also good to know is that this Champion generator has a surge protector to prevent sudden spikes. The starting watts capacity is quite high which makes this a suitable model for electrical appliances in your RV that have a high surge power requirement.
This rugged-looking portable generator by DuroMax is not only a strong design but also very portable. Unlike many other models, the XP4400E is already fitted with wheels and a pulling lever so it is easier to travel with and saves you the cash you would otherwise spend on accessories.
The wheels and pulling lever are a welcome design feature because at 120 pounds this not a lightweight design. Part of the weight comes from the protective steel frame and the battery which is needed for the electrical push start.
This generator has a decent run time of 8 hours on a half load. It is also reasonably fuel-efficient since it will transition into idle mode whenever the load allows.
Finally, the control panel is also worth looking at. The control panel has 4 power outlets (including 1 DC outlet), circuit breakers, engine shutoff switch and voltmeter.
3. Champion Power Equipment 46596 RV Ready – Best in Safety
There are a number of features on the Champion 46596 that has made us label it as one of the more safe portable generators for tailgating. These features are the volt guard, low-oil shutoff, circuit breakers for each power outlet and an Intelligauge for monitoring running hours, frequency and voltage.
Another unique feature about this design is that it has Champion’s Cold Start Technology. This means that the engine is resistant to cold weather conditions making this a good RV generator for winter time road trips and camping trips.
For a portable generator of this capacity, it is on the lighter side weighing just under 100 pounds but it is still heavy for lifting. We suggest adding a wheel kit so that it is easier to move from your RV to a safe distance for running it.
Another great feature is that this 4000 watt portable generator has a run time of 12.3 hours at a half load. This makes the model a good option for when you want to keep the RV AC or heater running while you are asleep.
Coming in as a surprising budget option is the DuroStar DS4000s. The reason why we are surprised that it is a budget option is because of its features and specs being quite similar to the DuroMax and Generac models.
This 4000 watt EPA and CARB compliant portable generator has a run time of 8 hours on a half load. It has a protective steel frame making the design sturdy enough for a variety of purposes.
We are also impressed with the strong engine for such an affordable model. The DuroStar DS4000S has 7 horsepower 208 cc engine that can handle devices with high surge watts requirements.
One thing to always remember with this model is that it must always be placed on a completely flat surface. Several reviewers have commented on how the oil and gasoline can start leaking if it is not placed on a perfectly flat surface.
5. WEN 56200i CARB Compliant Inverter Generator – Most Quiet Option
When you are camping out in nature, the last thing you want to do is be bothered by the noise of a generator. But what is the alternative when you need a high capacity generator for all the electrical appliances in your RV?
The alternative is an inverter generator that is parallel capable. This way you can hook up 2 inverter generators and get the same amount of power as from a conventional portable generator but without the noise.
The WEN 56200i is the most quiet generator on our list so it is great when you plan on spending time in nature. With this RV generator you can be sure that you won’t be turned away from the campsite for making too much noise.
This type of energy is also better suited for charging sensitive electronic devices like laptops, drones and mobile phones. This particular model has an extremely low value for Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 1.2%.
6. Westinghouse iGen2500 Inverter – Editor’s Choice
One of the disadvantages of an inverter generator is that they generally have a shorter run time than conventional generators because of their small fuel tank. That is not the case with the Westinghouse iGen2500, though.
This compact generator has an impressive run time of up to 10 hours on a half load which is even longer than some of the larger portable generators mentioned above. On top of that, it is parallel capable so you can still get the same amount of power for your RV.
The Westinghouse iGen2500 has a running power of 2200 watts and surge power of 2500 watts. When you make use of the parallel capabilities this gives you a total of 4400 watts running power which is plenty for the basic electronics in a motorhome.
What we also like about this design is that it features 2 USB ports so you can directly charge your mobile phone or DSLR camera. Thanks to its inverter technology you can be sure that your devices are safe from power surges.
7. Generac 7117 GP2200i – Most Lightweight
Taking too much with you is a common problem when you go on a road trip so it is always a good idea to shave off a few pounds wherever you can. This inverter generator by Generac helps you do that since it only weighs 46 pounds.
This is the most lightweight model on our list but the power delivery is still decent with 1700 running watts and 2200 surge watts. This model is parallel capable too, so you can always connect a second generator if you need more power.
We also like how user-friendly Generac made this design. The control panel features a on/off/choke dial for easy starting, indicator lights for power, low-oil and overloading plus an economy mode model for a more fuel-efficient run.
Generac is known and trusted for their home standby generators but when you look at the user comments and expert reviews for the 7117, it seems that Generac is perfectly capable of producing reliable inverter generators, too.
RV Generator Buyers Guide: How To Choose An RV Generator
Buying a generator for your RV is different from choosing one as a home backup generator. You have to think more about its portability, installation and noise level.
These are the factors you need to consider before choosing the perfect portable generator for your RV.
Conventional portable generators are not the smallest machines so make sure that you have enough space in your RV to store it safely while driving. Make sure that the generator won’t be sliding around and is easy enough to pull out.
If you already have limited space then consider 2 smaller inverter generators instead of one big conventional portable generator. This not only saves space but is often also easier to install.
Make a list of all the electrical devices in your RV and their power requirements. Aim for a generator with a capacity that is about 20% more than your minimum power requirement from that list.
Don’t forget to check the surge power, too. Also, consider whether you really need all appliances running at the same time.
In the silence of nature, noise travels faster so a generator may seem even louder on a campsite. Certain national parks and campsites may also have their own noise restrictions so make sure that your chosen generator falls within the noise limits.
Inverter generators are always the safer bet when it comes to low noise levels. Though they are not completely silent, a difference of 10 decibels already makes a huge difference in noise levels.
Depending on where you are heading, you might not have fuel readily available for your generator. If you enjoy spending time in remote areas then it is wise to choose a generator that is fuel-efficient.
Try to keep a few extra gallons in your RV as a reserve, in case of emergencies. For an even more environmentally-friendly solution, find a portable generator that you can link up to solar panels.