I decided to go on a long-distance trip in my beloved Sunseeker LE Class C to experience the scenic views of the countryside. A close friend recommended purchasing a generator for my RV to give the power to run all the essential gadgets in my vehicle. However, when I went to the store to purchase this machinery, I realized it wasn’t as simple as picking one and going back home. I needed to be aware of my requirements to determine which RV generator will be helpful during the trip.
On Surf’n’Buy, you will find tons of information on various topics, where you will get answers to all your questions. Today, the goal is to learn about the top five best generators for RV, so that you won’t find yourself in a similar predicament like me.
Top 5 Generators for RV
1. DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator
When it comes to powering an RV, the DuroStar DS4000S 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator tends to be a popular choice among owners. The point of a generator is to provide ample amounts of power, to run various equipment, such as the fridge, TV, water heater, AC, and microwave. If you go for this product, it is safe to say that there is never going to be a shortage of power. Regardless of how much load you put on this machine, it will handle everything like a champion. The reason is that this generator will produce 4000 watts at the start and maintain a constant 3300 during operation.
Powering the generator is a four-stroke, 208cc engine, producing 7 HP, with a maximum speed of 3600 rpm. Even though this machine has enough power to run various appliances, it uses forced air-cooling, to prevent overheating. In other words, you don’t have to think about the heat, even when you use it for extended periods.It comes with a steel frame and four-point motor mounts with complete isolation since the manufacturer wants this product to be smooth during operation. DuroStar went with this type of body, to keep the noise levels low while you use this generator.
There are three power outlets in this product – one 120V, 30 amp with a three-pronged outlet and two 120V, 20 amp, designed for a household power outlet. When you have a lot of appliances to power, you will find this feature extremely useful. The DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator comes with a warranty for a year for all its parts. According to the manufacturer, under half load, you should be able to run this product for a minimum of eight hours. On the panel, you will find a voltmeter, which indicates the voltage output of the generator while you use it.
- As the DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator can produce 3300 watts, you can run all types of appliances. Whether you want to run your refrigerator, AC, or power tools to fix the RV, this can handle every load without any difficulty.
- Thanks to the steel frame, this generator is durable. You can use it in harsh conditions and face zero problems, even if the weather is unforgiving.
- The manufacturer included an automatic shut-off feature, when the oil level is low, to avoid engine damage.
- The DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator comes with a fuel gauge, allowing you to monitor the level of gasoline at all times.
- Since there is no amp or watt meter, you won’t know the load you are putting on the DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator.
- Every 20 hours, you need to change the oil, which can be a cumbersome process during extended use.
- While removing oil, it will spill on the frame of the DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator. As a result, the workspace can become messy if you don’t take appropriate steps to overcome this problem.
The DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator is a fantastic option when you want to power multiple power-hungry appliances simultaneously. You don’t have to worry about handling this product, thanks to the durable construction. When you use the RV, you can always rely on the DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator to work as expected.
2. Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator
As the name suggests, the Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator is an excellent product for your vehicle. The manufacturer of this generator focuses on producing high amounts of power while providing impressive durability at all weather conditions. Even if you have to move the generator outside the RV, it won’t be a problem.
It comes with a 3.8-gallon fuel tank, ensuring you don’t have to think about whether you have enough to last the entire day. According to the manufacturer, under half load, the generator should be able to run for 12 hours continuously. The Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator comes with four-stroke, single-cylinder, 196 cc engine. It produces 4000 watts at the start, after which it supplies 3500 watts consistently.
As a result, it produces enough power to operate a 15,000 BTC air conditioner inside an RV, without any problems. Imagine, if this product can handle starting and running this appliance, there is nothing that will hinder its performance. The engine uses air cooling, to control the temperature and prevent overheating. As you will be using the generator, it is crucial to know how long it will last. The reason is that you can plan your usage accordingly, which is helpful when you go on long trips.
It comes with an intelligauge, which shows the run time, volts, and frequency. The manufacturer claims that it produces 68 dBA of noise, at a distance of 23 ft from the product. It comes with volt guard, which will prevent damage to your appliances, during a power surge.
Another excellent feature cold start, which allows you to get this generator running, even in low temperatures, a common scenario in winter. It has a steel frame, so you don’t have to worry about damaging this product, during transportation. There are three outlets – one 120V 20A household outlet, one 120V 30A RV outlet, and 120V 30A locking outlet.
- The Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator comes with three-year warranty support, which is brilliant when compared to other generators in its price range.
- Volt Guard prevents power surge from damaging all your appliances.
- The Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator has a sensor, which shuts off the engine when it detects the oil level is low.
- Thanks to the cast iron sleeve, this generator has a long shelf life.
- In winter, the cold start feature reduces the time to start the engine.
- You will find it challenging to carry the Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator around since it doesn’t have wheels.
- If you live in California, you won’t be able to use it in this state.
If you are looking for a trustworthy, all-rounder generator, the Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator will meet your requirements. Its cold start feature is a lifesaver, especially when freezing temperatures are common in your area.
3. Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator
The Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator is a powerhouse. For starters, it has a peak of 4500 watts and maintains a steady supply of 3700 watts during operation. The brain behind this machine is a 224cc, Westinghouse OHV engine, which produces 7 HP. While most of the generators in this price range require you to pull the cord to start them, this product has a different feature. It comes with remote start, making it easier than ever to get this generator powering all your appliances. On top of that, it has a push-button, which behaves like an electric start.
The Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator is for RVs, due to the RV-ready outlet, known as the TT-30R. When you are on the go, you only need to plug it into your vehicle, to use the power of this machine. Any appliance you have on your vehicle should come online without any problems, once you start this generator. It comes with a 3.4-gallon fuel tank, which should last for 18 hours of constant use. As it belongs to the company’s line of inverter generators, you don’t have to worry about the safety of sensitive electronics. It produces stable and clean power at all times. Gadgets such as smartphones, televisions, and computers are safe when you use this generator.
The portability is unmatched thanks to the telescopic handle, which is built into the product. There are two handles on top of the product if you want to carry the generator. It comes with two USB outlets, a 30 tt-30 30 amp outlet, and 5-20R 120V, duplex household outlet. The generator has an LED display, which shows lifetime hours, voltage output, remaining charge, power output, and fuel level. According to the manufacturer, the noise level of this product is 52 dBA.
- The LED display of the Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator keeps track of essential metrics.
- Three years of warranty from the manufacturer, along with lifetime technical support.
- Ease-of-use is synonymous with the product.
- If you are in a neighborhood where you can’t make a lot of noise, the Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator is a godsend. The 52 dBA noise level output ensures that people won’t even know you are using a generator in your RV.
- You can increase the run time of this product by switching to the fuel efficiency mode.
- The cost of purchasing the Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator is high.
- Customer service won’t always be able to resolve some of the issues you face in the future.
If you are looking for a product that can do it all, the Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator is the perfect equipment. Despite the high price tag, there is nothing you can’t do with the Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator in your vehicle.
4. WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
When the goal is to get maximum features for your money, the WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is the one. First, you need to know about the engine, which is responsible for powering all the appliances in your vehicle. It comes with a four-stroke, 212cc OHV engine, which produces 3800 surge watts. While you are using the generator for various operations, it will supply 3400 rated watts at all times. If you are running low on fuel, you can switch to the eco-mode, which will increase the operating hours of this product.
Ease of use is the name of the game when it comes to this generator. The reason is that it comes with an electric start, ensuring you can get it up and running with minimal effort. It has a digital wattage meter, which shows you all the information you need. Whether it is fuel supply, run time, frequency, wattage, or voltage, everything is visible on this display. On top of that, it comes with a TT-30R outlet, which ensures that it is RV-ready. Keep in mind that you can use it in forests and national parks as it comes with a spark arrestor.
If you have sensitive electronics onboard, don’t worry. The WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator keeps harmonic distortion to a minimum. The manufacturer claims that it isn’t more than 1.2% off from the accurate model of sine wave. WEN has taken care to ensure you don’t have to spend a lot of time maintaining this generator. Thanks to the fuel shutoff feature, there won’t be any blockages. Before it shuts off the generator, it will use the remaining fuel present in the carburetor.
At quarter load, the generator only produces 57 dBA of noise. In other words, it produces lesser sound than an average conversation or an air conditioner on your window. It comes with a collapsible handle and built-in wheels, to improve portability. It comes with one 5V USB port, 12V DC receptacle, TT-30R RV receptacle, and two 120V receptacles (three-prong variant).
- Thanks to the WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator special fuel-efficient feature, you can use it overnight to power all your appliances.
- The electric start makes it easy to operate.
- Ready to use in your RV and requires no special setup.
- It makes maintenance easier, thanks to the fuel-shutoff feature.
- Produces low noise, when you operate the WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator at quarter load.
- It is hard to understand the instruction manual.
- The small wheels are inconvenient if you try to move it on tough terrain.
The WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is the one to purchase if you don’t want to make a lot of noise while camping. On top of that, the fuel efficiency of the WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter ensures that you won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to refuel it.
5. Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator
Not a lot of generators in the market meet all your needs without burning a hole in your wallet. The Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator is a testament to this statement; it provides excellent value for money. It comes with a gas-powered engine, which produces peak power of 2200 watts and 1800 rated watts. When you attach this generator to your RV, you should be able to run most of the appliances without any problems.
Even though the gas tank can only hold 1.3 gallons, it should provide you with 13 hours of uninterrupted power. Thanks to the compact design of this generator, it only weighs 44 lbs. Coupled with the built-in handle, you can carry this machine to and fro your RV, without breaking a sweat. There are two 120V 20A household outlets, along with a single 12V 8A DC power outlet. It even has built-in safety features. For starters, the overload protection and low oil alarms will notify you, if you try to operate the product under unfavorable conditions.
If you have another inverter generator in your household, you can connect it with the Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator. As a result, you can double the power of these machines, which will make it easier for them to run all your appliances. The “Eco Mode,” on this generator ensures that the product will run for several hours, without any hiccups. When you use this feature, it reduces the idle speed to the current load, to maximize fuel efficiency. When you use this generator, you won’t even know it is in the vicinity. It is due to the fact that it produces 52 dBA, which allows you to operate it in various neighborhoods, campsites, and parks.
- You won’t have to spend a lot to purchase the Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator.
- At 50% load, it should last for at least eight hours, before running out of fuel.
- The Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator produces only 52 dBA of noise when running at quarter load.
- Easy to transport due to its light weight and handle.
- No electric start, making it a cumbersome task to start this machine.
- Customer service for the Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator isn’t excellent.
- If you have power-hungry appliances, you will require two Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generators.
The Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator is a great option for your vehicle. Although low in power, the plus side is that it will last for a long time, before running out of fuel. Carrying the Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable RV Generator won’t be a problem either.
Types of RV Generators
The first step in understanding which RV generator to purchase is to know the different variants of these machines. There are three main types of RV generators available in the market:
- Propane (LP)
When it comes to selecting between the different types of RV generators, you should select one which has high availability in your area. Another factor you should take into consideration is the fuel your RV uses.
Diesel has a slight advantage – it produces greater amounts of energy per gallon when compared to gasoline. However, this shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
Propane produces fewer emissions, due to which the RV generator will face fewer problems in the future. The downside is that its energy content for every gallon is lower when compared to diesel and gasoline.
Conventional vs Inverter Generator
A conventional generator uses an energy source, such as gasoline, diesel, or propane, to produce electricity. To produce constant current, the motor inside this machine should run at a consistent speed.
Inverter generator is similar to the traditional one as it produces AC current as its output. However, this machine converts it into DC, before inverting it into AC electricity. The signal is a pure, single-phase, sine wave. As it behaves like an inverter and a generator, manufacturers call this device as an inverter generator.
When it comes to portability, size, and weight, an inverter generator is better. Even in run time and fuel efficiency, it can change the engine speed as per the load.
The major differentiator between inverter and conventional generator is the fact that the former produces less noise. Manufacturers use state-of-the-art technology to keep the decibel level low during operation.
One advantage that the conventional generator has over the inverter variant is the amount of power it produces. On the other hand, the latter is better when it comes to quality of power output. The reason is that an inverter generator regulates the electricity, ensuring it is consistent and clean. As a result, you will be able to use sensitive electronics, such as power tools, kitchen appliances, game consoles, TVs, smartphones, and laptops with this device.
How Noisy are RV Generators in General?
On average, an RV generator can produce 50 – 80 dbA of sound during operation. Keep in mind that the noise levels will be high as you get closer to these machines. Another point to note is that inverter generators produce lower sound output when you decrease the load on them.
Construction and Materials
The construction of the RV generator is crucial when it comes to selecting this machine for powering the appliances in your vehicle. One type which you see everywhere is open frame, where the generator doesn’t have any cover. As all the working parts are visible, the noise output is higher. The reason is that there aren’t any components designed to absorb the vibrations of the engine. One advantage of an open frame RV generator is that you don’t have to shell out a lot to purchase it.
The second construction type is the enclosed variant, where the RV generator will have a shell. Due to the external cover, the noise produced by the engine comes down. It is easier to handle and the aesthetics of this machine are pleasing to the eye. Given the fact that consumers operate RV generators in harsh conditions, the manufacturers need to use the right type of material, to ensure it has a long lifespan. Most companies prefer to use steel or cast iron as the primary material in case of rough use.
Portability is a crucial factor when it comes to selecting an RV generator for your vehicle. Can you imagine carrying around a machine that weighs hundreds of pounds? You will need an extra pair of hands to help transport the RV generator. On top of that, it limits how far you can carry the machine away from your vehicle.
Most of the RV generators in the market come with a handle, which allows you to carry with one hand. If you go for the newer generation of these lightweight machines, it is easier to transport these devices. Certain manufacturers install wheels on the RV generators so that you can move them around as you please. You have the option of purchasing this as an add-on feature. However, the size of the wheels determines whether you can use it on all types of terrain.
Maintenance and Storage
The key to ensuring your RV generator has a long lifespan is to store and maintain it properly. Most owners keep these machines aside during winter. Every month, you should make it a point to run the RV generator for 30 minutes, before you keep it in the storage area. You should exercise this machine, to ensure there aren’t any problems with the device.
Before you keep the RV generator away, you must change the filter and oil. The reason is that it prevents any contaminants from circulating throughout the machine, which can damage the parts. Make sure you inspect the wires, air filter, and spark plug, to ensure they are in excellent condition.
Avoid starting the RV generator under load; this would reduce its lifespan. For diesel or gasoline generators, you should put a stabilizer into the fuel tank. Run for a couple of minutes, so that this compound can spread to all parts of the machine. It prevents condensation from taking place inside the tank. If you don’t follow these steps, you need to follow the manual from the manufacturer. In this case, you have to remove the fuel completely, before detaching the fuel line. Remove the spark plugs and apply motor oil to all the cylinders.
How Hard is it to Install a Generator in RV?
The process of installing the RV generator into your vehicle is simple. First, take a look at your automobile, to see where the manufacturer expects you to place this device. If there isn’t any specific area, then you can place it on the rear.
Secure the RV generator so that it won’t move about as you drive your vehicle. Ensure the platform where you place the machine is flat so that it is easier to keep it stable at all times. Connect it to the electrical system of your RV, which should power all the appliances. If you have a transfer switch, the process of converting power from the generator to the RV becomes easier.
Surge vs Running Watts Explained
When you are looking to purchase RV generators, you need to take a look at the power it produces. Every product comes with two figures – surge and running watts. Is it crucial that these values are important when it comes to powering all the appliances in your RV?
Yes, they are vital figures. Surge watts refers to the additional power the generator produces, to start appliances such as power tools or refrigerators. These devices require greater wattage, which the generator should supply. Running watts refers to the power the appliances require to operate continuously. Most devices need surge watts only for a couple of seconds, after which, the running watts will sustain the operation of the electronic equipment.
When to Buy a Portable RV Generator?
Most people tend to buy generators before a disaster since they need power for various appliances. If your area is vulnerable to storms, make sure you avoid purchasing this device during this period. Retailers tend to increase their prices, to meet with the demand. Similarly, if your area suffers from power outages during summer, you should avoid this season. Always shop when sales are low to enjoy exceptional discounts for RV generators.
How to Prepare a Generator for the Longer Trip?
If you plan on going for a long trip, you need to make sure your generator is ready to handle the load. You don’t want to reach your destination and find out that this machine can no longer power your appliances.
Before you set off, make sure you replace the oil and filter, to prevent foreign substances from circulating and damaging the parts of the RV generator. Read the instruction manual to find out how often you should change the oil when you use the machine. Most manufacturers will ask you to complete this process, every 20 hours. Carry ample amounts of oil and fuel at all times. You never know how long you will be on the road.
What Size of Generator Do You Need to Run an Air Conditioner?
When you are living in the RV, you need to make sure you have adequate power to run all the creature comforts. The air conditioner in your vehicle is a lifesaver and ensures you are comfortable at all times. Imagine how it would feel, if you have to bear the brunt of the summer sun, without an air conditioner. You never want to find yourself in this situation. You should find the British thermal unit or BTU of the air conditioner, which varies, according to the size of the appliance. If the BTU is 5000, the minimum wattage to start this device is 1000 and 400 to keep it running.
Given below is a simple table, which will help you understand the surge and running wattage for different sizes of air conditioners:
7500 BTU – Surge wattage – 1600, running wattage – 600
13000 BTU – Surge wattage – 2600, running wattage – 1300
15000 BTU – Surge wattage – 3500, running wattage – 1800
The RV generator is a valuable piece of equipment, because of the importance it plays in powering all the appliances in your vehicle. Make sure you go through the owner manual, which will give you all the instructions to use this device safely. Avoid exposing the RV generator to snow, rain, and sun to prevent damage to its components.
Ground the RV generator, to prevent short circuits and accidental shocks. If you are going to take children with you on the trip, you should make it a point to educate them about this device. The standard practice is to ask them to maintain a safe distance at all times, especially when you are running the RV generator.
Do make sure that the exhaust gases from the RV generator can escape from the vehicle. If you inhale the fumes, it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. In case of an emergency, you and your family members should have sufficient training, so that everyone knows what to do. Avoid keeping hazardous or combustible substances near the RV generator. Sparks can ignite these substances, putting everyone at risk.
You should never overfill the fuel tank of the RV generator as it can spill and catch fire. There should be sufficient space for the fuel to expand. Never add fuel when you are operating the RV generator. Avoid smoking near the device too. Never go beyond the permitted wattage rating of the RV generator to prevent overloading. Always allow the device to cool down before you move it to a new location.
Camco 25″ PowerGrip Cord with 50M Degree Locking Adapter
You need a reliable cord, which will connect the RV to the generator. On top of that, you want it to be long enough so that you don’t have to worry whether it will reach the electrical outlet. With the Camco 25″ PowerGrip Cord with 50M Degree Locking Adapter, this won’t be a problem. It is the best and safest way to connect the generator to your RV.
Camco RV Dogbone PowerGrip Adapter, 30 Amp Male to 50 Amp Female
When you plug or unplug the adaptor from the generator or RV, it shouldn’t cause any damage or strain. On top of that, you want it to be durable so that it doesn’t put your vehicle or your life in danger. Camco RV Dogbone PowerGrip Adapter, 30 Amp Male to 50 Amp Female is the way to go. It uses high-quality materials that can survive extensive wear and tear if exposed to various outdoor elements.
Mount-n-Lock RV 4″ Square Bumper-Mounted Cargo Box Support Arms
Although your RV has plenty of storage, there is always the need to increase how much you can carry while you are on the go. At the same time, you want the freedom to place it anywhere in your vehicle. The Mount-n-Lock RV 4″ Square Bumper-Mounted Cargo Box Support Arms can carry up to 200 pounds and has a long lifespan, thanks to its rust-proof coating.
Mount-n-Lock GennyGo RV 4in Bumper-Mounted Carrier
When you want to transport expensive gear, you want to make sure it is safe at all times. Having a high-quality mounted platform is the way to go, especially in an RV. The Mount-n-Lock GennyGo RV 4in Bumper-Mounted Carrier has no roll, rattle, and shake when you install it in your vehicle.
Champion Weather-Resistant Storage Cover for 3100-Watt or Higher Inverter Generators
Keeping your generator safe is the lifeline of all the appliances in your RV. The best way is to get a cover, which protects it from all the elements of nature. Consider the Champion Weather-Resistant Storage Cover for 3100 Watt or Higher Inverter Generators if you have a generator that produces over 3100 watts.
Champion Storm Shield Cover for 3000 to 10,000-Watt Generators
Don’t you wish there was a way to safeguard the RV generator? Not only don’t you have to worry about its safety, but you can also run the device. The Champion Storm Shield Cover for 3000 to 10,000-Watt Generators is the best bet if you want an RV generator cover, which can do it all.
Choosing the right generator for your RV determines whether you will be able to run all the appliances. On top of that, it ensures you will get a good night’s rest every day with zero power disruptions. At Surf’n’Buy, we make it a point to ensure that you don’t have to spend hours, going through thousands of products to determine which one is for you. Given below are the best of the lot, making it easier than ever to purchase the right RV generator:
If you want an RV generator that gives you everything you are looking for, without breaking the bank, DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Watts Gas Portable Generator. It is reliable and produces plenty of power. Regardless of where you go, you can use this RV generator since it meets the standards for all 50 states.
When you want best value for money, nothing can beat the Champion 3500-Watt RV Portable Generator. Even though it is the cheapest of the lot, the features you get are second to none. It comes with cold start technology, ensuring lower temperatures won’t make it harder to get this RV generator up and running.
If you don’t have any restrictions when it comes to your budget, you should go for the Westinghouse iGen4500 Gas Powered RV Generator. It produces ample amounts of power, ensuring you can run even a 15,000 BTU air conditioner without any problem. It has all the features you need in an RV generator, to ensure you have the best experience on the road.