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LAST UPDATED:  November 13, 2019

Best Generators for RVs: Never Lose Power on the Road

These generators will keep your power going wherever you are

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PUBLISHED ON November 13, 2019

It's fun getting away from the city and into the outdoors with your camper for some fresh air and scenery. A good generator will ensure you have the best of both worlds so you can enjoy nature while still having entertainment and access to powered accessories. This buying guide includes some of the top generators for RVs.

Best Overall
Champion Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator
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Summary
Summary

This 3,800-watt generator uses either gasoline or propane. It runs up to nine hours on a full tank of gas and 10.5 hours on propane.

Pros
Pros

It has never-flat tires, a folding handle, and an intelligauge to monitor power output and maintenance intervals. It comes with a three-year warranty.

Cons
Cons

It's very loud, which can bother others in an RV park or nearby neighbors. The power button may fail after a short period of use.

Best Overall
Champion Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator
Best Value
WEN Super Quiet Inverter Generator
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Summary
Summary

This gas-powered generator is portable and very lightweight for easy transportation. It also has multiple connection ports for added versatility.

Pros
Pros

It provides power without voltage drops or spikes and automatically adjusts its fuel consumption depending on how many items are plugged into it. 

Cons
Cons

There have been concerns about short service life and questionable customer care.

Best Value
WEN Super Quiet Inverter Generator
Honorable Mention
Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Inverter Generator
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Summary
Summary

This gasoline-powered generator is quiet and efficient and has an LCD screen to display maintenance reminders and performance stats.

Pros
Pros

It has a telescoping handle for easy transportation. It also has a dedicated parallel connector that allows you to hook up a second generator to it.

Cons
Cons

It comes at a heavy price and is not for sale in California because it doesn’t meet the emission standards.

Honorable Mention
Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Inverter Generator


Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Generators for RVs

  • Guaranteed power supply. While some campsites provide utility hookups, you may encounter spots where there is no shore power to tap into. RV generators are great because they are an independent power source.
  • Easy to use. RV generators work in conjunction with some sort of fuel source. There are many options on the market, including several brands that are simple to install, which will make your next camping trip much more enjoyable.
  • Lightweight. The best generator for RV trailers is portable. This allows you to move the unit from place to place and to use it for other purposes. Some even have wheels, which makes them even easier to transport.

Types of Generators for RVs

Diesel 

Diesel generators are best if your recreational vehicle runs on diesel fuel. This enables you to use a single fuel source for both your generator and your camper. One of the benefits of a diesel generator is that it burns cleaner than gasoline. The best diesel generator for RVs also produces more power than propane and is safer to store because it's nonexplosive.

Liquid Propane

The main benefit of a liquid propane generator is that it is environmentally friendly. The best propane generator for RVs produces cleaner emissions and has a longer shelf life than other types of generators. However, the run time of the generator is dictated by the size of your propane tank. Also, it doesn't have as much power output compared to gas or diesel generators.

Gasoline

The third type of generator is gasoline-powered. Some RVers like them because gasoline is easy to procure, and it's not very expensive. But there are several drawbacks. First, gasoline is highly flammable, so you need to take special care when handling it. Also, gasoline's shelf life isn't as long as other fuel sources, and it burns a lot faster than diesel, so fuel efficiency is an issue.

Top Brands

Honda Power Equipment

Honda has been manufacturing power products for decades. Its headquarters are in Alpharetta, Georgia, and it manufactures lawn mowers, pumps, snow blowers, tillers, and trimmers in addition to generators, which range from 1,000 to 10,000 watts. One of its popular models is the
Honda Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator.

Champion Power Equipment

Champion, based in Santa Fe Springs, California, has been manufacturing power equipment since 2003. It produces portable generators, home standby generators, portable inverter generators, as well as engines, winches, and log splitters. The company is a leader in the industry, with facilities in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Canada. One of its top products is the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator.

WEN

WEN, based in Elgin, Illinois, was founded in 1951. The company has been manufacturing high-quality power tools for decades and sold 50 million units as of 2001, half a century after its launch. In addition to generators, the company designs drill presses, air compressors, hand tools, and bench grinders. The WEN Super Quiet Inverter Generator is one of its top products.

Briggs & Stratton

This manufacturer of gasoline engines got its start in 1908 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It designs and sells its products in more than 100 countries. The company produces water pumps, pressure washers, commercial engines, and job site tools as well as generators. One of its best products is the Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Inverter Generator.

Generators for RVs Pricing

  • Under $500: There is no such thing as a cheap RV generator. Expect to pay several hundred dollars if you want a unit that is durable with decent power output and a good running time.
  • $500 to $1,000: If you want the best portable generator for RV camping, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 or so. These units are reliable and have more features (such as dual-fuel options) than their less-expensive counterparts. But more significantly, they tend to have higher power outputs, which means they will be able to power larger air conditioner units and more accessories at once.
  • Over $1,000: While mid-range units can do the job adequately, you may want to consider a top-end generator, such as this Yamaha EF4500iSE 4000 Running Watts/4500 Starting Watts. It has great features, such as a wireless remote start.

Key Features

Power Output

One of the most important features to consider is a generator's power output. It needs to have the ability to power all your electronics and appliances. Make sure to estimate the amount of power you think you will need to run a variety of items. For example, the best generator for RV air conditioners will have a certain wattage to accommodate your particular needs.

Size and Portability

Look for a generator that is large enough to provide the power that you require but isn't too bulky. Make sure to measure your camper to make sure it will fit in the allotted space. Smaller units are more portable and easy to move from one area to another. The best portable generators for RVs are very versatile and can be used for RVing as well as tailgating, or if you have a power outage at home.

Noise Level

Look for the quietest generator you can find. Some RV generators are noisier than others. You want a camping generator that does the job but doesn't keep you up at night because it's too loud. Many companies specifically produce generators that are quieter when in operation. This is important because many national parks and private campgrounds have noise regulations.

Other Considerations

  • Fuel Consumption: Think about how often you need to add fuel to the generator. The best RV generator should last for several hours without refueling. Some products have an eco-mode that reduces the amount of fuel that is burned. Plus, you have to consider the type of fuel it uses and whether it's available in your location.

Tips

  • The last thing you want is to have the sound of the outdoors drowned out by a noisy generator. Always choose a quiet generator for your RV. Most have the decibel levels listed on the manufacturer’s information.
  • When outdoors, it makes sense to have a backup option in the event that something goes wrong. There are a number of solar and wind solutions that can provide cheap and efficient energy.
  • It’s best to know how long your generator will last and how much power it will produce. Then you can plan accordingly and carry extra fuel if you think you will need it.
Best Overall

This 3,800-watt generator operates on either gasoline or propane, making it a versatile option for RV owners. It has a low oil shut-off function and an electric start that gets the 244cc engine running. It comes with a propane hose and 3.4-gallon gasoline fuel tank. It runs up to nine hours on a full tank of gas and 10.5 hours on propane. It has a 98 dBA noise level from 23 feet away.

The unit weighs 122 pounds but has a folding handle and never-flat tires for portability. The intelligauge allows users to see voltage, hertz, and run time. It has one 120V 30A RV outlet, a 120V 30A locking outlet, and two 120V 20A household outlets. The generator also comes with a built-in surge protector and a three-year limited warranty with free lifetime technical support.

The biggest complaint about this generator is that it's quite loud, which can be a problem in an RV park or if you have neighbors that live nearby. The power button may also break after a short period of use.

Best Overall
Champion Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator

This 3,800-watt generator operates on either gasoline or propane, making it a versatile option for RV owners. It has a low oil shut-off function and an electric start that gets the 244cc engine running. It comes with a propane hose and 3.4-gallon gasoline fuel tank. It runs up to nine hours on a full tank of gas and 10.5 hours on propane. It has a 98 dBA noise level from 23 feet away.

The unit weighs 122 pounds but has a folding handle and never-flat tires for portability. The intelligauge allows users to see voltage, hertz, and run time. It has one 120V 30A RV outlet, a 120V 30A locking outlet, and two 120V 20A household outlets. The generator also comes with a built-in surge protector and a three-year limited warranty with free lifetime technical support.

The biggest complaint about this generator is that it's quite loud, which can be a problem in an RV park or if you have neighbors that live nearby. The power button may also break after a short period of use.

Best Value

This 2,250-watt gas-powered portable RV generator is lightweight, making it easy to move around. The fuel shut-off increases its lifespan by using all the fuel in the carburetor.  It is quiet and produces 53 decibels of noise, which is comparable to a regular conversation. The generator also has several connection ports for versatility.


This unit is designed to work with sensitive electronics, including computers and smartphones. It generates power without voltage drops or spikes and automatically adjusts the fuel consumption based on how many items you plug into it. The generator comes with a two-year warranty.


However, there have been concerns about the product's short service life and questionable customer care. Also, the side panel is not the best quality, and you have to remove it to change, check, or add oil and to clean the carburetor filter. It may also be a little louder than you expect.

Best Value
WEN Super Quiet Inverter Generator

This 2,250-watt gas-powered portable RV generator is lightweight, making it easy to move around. The fuel shut-off increases its lifespan by using all the fuel in the carburetor.  It is quiet and produces 53 decibels of noise, which is comparable to a regular conversation. The generator also has several connection ports for versatility.


This unit is designed to work with sensitive electronics, including computers and smartphones. It generates power without voltage drops or spikes and automatically adjusts the fuel consumption based on how many items you plug into it. The generator comes with a two-year warranty.


However, there have been concerns about the product's short service life and questionable customer care. Also, the side panel is not the best quality, and you have to remove it to change, check, or add oil and to clean the carburetor filter. It may also be a little louder than you expect.

Best for Light Jobs

If you’re not looking for something to power your whole RV but that will provide a reliable and durable supplemental power supply, the A-iPower SUA2000iV 2,000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator is just what you’ve been looking for. It features 2,000 watts of starting power and 1,600 watts of clean and reliable running power that’s ideal for powering sensitive electronics such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, etc. Weighing in at only 46 pounds, it’s one of the lightest generators on our list, making it a great option not just for your RV, but also for tailgating, backyard barbecues, sporting events, and more. 


It’s also one of the more compact RV generators on our list, which is great if you’re tight on space, like a lot of RVs are. It also features a super quiet operating noise of only 58 decibels, so won’t irritate or disturb your guests or neighbors during use. The only drawback is that because it is a smaller and more compact unit, it has a shorter run-time than some other models.

Best for Light Jobs
A-iPower SUA2000iV 2000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

If you’re not looking for something to power your whole RV but that will provide a reliable and durable supplemental power supply, the A-iPower SUA2000iV 2,000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator is just what you’ve been looking for. It features 2,000 watts of starting power and 1,600 watts of clean and reliable running power that’s ideal for powering sensitive electronics such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, etc. Weighing in at only 46 pounds, it’s one of the lightest generators on our list, making it a great option not just for your RV, but also for tailgating, backyard barbecues, sporting events, and more. 


It’s also one of the more compact RV generators on our list, which is great if you’re tight on space, like a lot of RVs are. It also features a super quiet operating noise of only 58 decibels, so won’t irritate or disturb your guests or neighbors during use. The only drawback is that because it is a smaller and more compact unit, it has a shorter run-time than some other models.

Best for Big Jobs

When you need a lot of power to do either a big job or several small ones, check out the DuroMax New_XP12000E Gas Powered Portable Generator. This is a beast of a generator but is still highly portable. It has an 18-horsepower 457cc DuroMax OHV engine that is capable of delivering a whopping 12,000 watts of starting power and 9,500 watts of running power. That’s enough energy to run almost your entire RV all at once, depending on its size.


This is one of the only generators on our list that features a 120/240-volt 50-amp outlet, along with a 120/240-volt 30-amp outlet, a 120-volt 30-amp outlet, and a standard 120-volt 20-amp outlet. Talk about options. You can run almost anything with this rugged generator. It’s got a large 8.3-gallon fuel tank. Of course, with this amount of power, the trade-off is that it’s less fuel-efficient and operates at a louder decibel level than many other models on our list.

Best for Big Jobs
DuroMax New_XP12000E Gas Powered Portable Generator

When you need a lot of power to do either a big job or several small ones, check out the DuroMax New_XP12000E Gas Powered Portable Generator. This is a beast of a generator but is still highly portable. It has an 18-horsepower 457cc DuroMax OHV engine that is capable of delivering a whopping 12,000 watts of starting power and 9,500 watts of running power. That’s enough energy to run almost your entire RV all at once, depending on its size.


This is one of the only generators on our list that features a 120/240-volt 50-amp outlet, along with a 120/240-volt 30-amp outlet, a 120-volt 30-amp outlet, and a standard 120-volt 20-amp outlet. Talk about options. You can run almost anything with this rugged generator. It’s got a large 8.3-gallon fuel tank. Of course, with this amount of power, the trade-off is that it’s less fuel-efficient and operates at a louder decibel level than many other models on our list.

Honorable Mention

This 3,000-watt gasoline-powered generator is quiet and efficient. It provides enough power to start a standard RV air conditioner and has an LCD screen that displays maintenance reminders and performance stats. Its 1.5-gallon fuel tank provides up to 10 hours of operation on a 25-percent load.


The unit comes with a telescoping handle for easy transportation. The engine is designed to reduce noise, fuel consumption, and emissions. It features four household outlets, one 12-volt 30-amp locking outlet, and a USB port. It also has a dedicated parallel connector that allows you to hook up a second generator. The unit comes with a two-year warranty.


This generator is not without its drawbacks. First, it is somewhat expensive. Second, it is not for sale in California because it doesn’t meet the state’s emission standards. While its description claims it can run standard RV air conditioners, it does not work with all units.

Honorable Mention
Briggs & Stratton Powersmart Series Inverter Generator

This 3,000-watt gasoline-powered generator is quiet and efficient. It provides enough power to start a standard RV air conditioner and has an LCD screen that displays maintenance reminders and performance stats. Its 1.5-gallon fuel tank provides up to 10 hours of operation on a 25-percent load.


The unit comes with a telescoping handle for easy transportation. The engine is designed to reduce noise, fuel consumption, and emissions. It features four household outlets, one 12-volt 30-amp locking outlet, and a USB port. It also has a dedicated parallel connector that allows you to hook up a second generator. The unit comes with a two-year warranty.


This generator is not without its drawbacks. First, it is somewhat expensive. Second, it is not for sale in California because it doesn’t meet the state’s emission standards. While its description claims it can run standard RV air conditioners, it does not work with all units.

Honorable Mention

The Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator is designed for RV use as well as camping and job site applications. You can connect this generator directly to your RV, and it can power air conditioners up to 15,000 BTU. It features two USB outlets for charging smartphones, tablets, and other devices and delivers clean power to sensitive electronics.


With 3,500 starting watts and PowerRush technology, the machine contains 50-percent additional starting capacity. It's 50-percent quieter than some competing brands and up to 25-percent lighter, making it easier to transport. This generator is also easy to use with the start, run, and stop functions on a single dial. In addition, you have the option of connecting two machines together for double the power (as long as you purchase a parallel kit).


The biggest complaint with this generator is that it doesn't have any wheels and is a bit heavy to move around. And even though it is RV ready, you need to purchase an adapter separately for the proper connection.

Honorable Mention
Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator

The Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator is designed for RV use as well as camping and job site applications. You can connect this generator directly to your RV, and it can power air conditioners up to 15,000 BTU. It features two USB outlets for charging smartphones, tablets, and other devices and delivers clean power to sensitive electronics.


With 3,500 starting watts and PowerRush technology, the machine contains 50-percent additional starting capacity. It's 50-percent quieter than some competing brands and up to 25-percent lighter, making it easier to transport. This generator is also easy to use with the start, run, and stop functions on a single dial. In addition, you have the option of connecting two machines together for double the power (as long as you purchase a parallel kit).


The biggest complaint with this generator is that it doesn't have any wheels and is a bit heavy to move around. And even though it is RV ready, you need to purchase an adapter separately for the proper connection.

Honorable Mention

The Westinghouse WGen3600v Portable Generator has 3,600 rated watts and 4,650 peak watts. The generator has a 30-amp, 120-volt outlet to power an RV or travel trailer, and no adapters are required. Weighing 99 pounds, this compact machine is also designed for camping, home use, and as an emergency backup. It's constructed of hardened steel with roll bars and durable rubber outlet covers.


According to the manufacturer, the WGen3600v is one of the quietest portable generators available. It has a four-gallon gas tank that will provide up to 13.5 hours of power. It features a recoil start, an automatic low oil shutoff function, and a built-in fuel gauge. Also included in the purchase are oil, an oil funnel, a tool kit, and a user's manual. Westinghouse backs its product with three-year limited service, labor, and parts coverage.


However, there have been some complaints that certain components may get damaged during shipping. Also, it doesn't have any wheels, which makes it a little more difficult to move around.

Honorable Mention
Westinghouse WGen3600v Portable Generator

The Westinghouse WGen3600v Portable Generator has 3,600 rated watts and 4,650 peak watts. The generator has a 30-amp, 120-volt outlet to power an RV or travel trailer, and no adapters are required. Weighing 99 pounds, this compact machine is also designed for camping, home use, and as an emergency backup. It's constructed of hardened steel with roll bars and durable rubber outlet covers.


According to the manufacturer, the WGen3600v is one of the quietest portable generators available. It has a four-gallon gas tank that will provide up to 13.5 hours of power. It features a recoil start, an automatic low oil shutoff function, and a built-in fuel gauge. Also included in the purchase are oil, an oil funnel, a tool kit, and a user's manual. Westinghouse backs its product with three-year limited service, labor, and parts coverage.


However, there have been some complaints that certain components may get damaged during shipping. Also, it doesn't have any wheels, which makes it a little more difficult to move around.

Best Overall

Champion’s 3,500-watt, RV-ready generator runs up to nine hours on gasoline or 10.5 hours on propane (it comes with an LPG hose with regulator). With enough juice to power an RV air conditioner, this machine has a volt guard to prevent power surges and cold start technology for easier starts in colder temperatures.


The generator weighs just under 105 pounds, has a low oil shut-off sensor, and Intelligauge, which allows you to monitor voltage, hertz, run time, and power output. It also lets you track maintenance intervals. The machine contains one 120-volt, 30-amp RV outlet; one 120-volt, 30-amp locking outlet; and two 120-volt, 30-amp household outlets. The instructions are clear, and it's easy to set up.


One issue with this generator is that it's a little noisy. Also, it doesn't have wheels, which makes it a little more difficult to transport. There is a wheel kit available, but that will drive up the cost. 

Best Overall
Champion Power Equipment 3500-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator

Champion’s 3,500-watt, RV-ready generator runs up to nine hours on gasoline or 10.5 hours on propane (it comes with an LPG hose with regulator). With enough juice to power an RV air conditioner, this machine has a volt guard to prevent power surges and cold start technology for easier starts in colder temperatures.


The generator weighs just under 105 pounds, has a low oil shut-off sensor, and Intelligauge, which allows you to monitor voltage, hertz, run time, and power output. It also lets you track maintenance intervals. The machine contains one 120-volt, 30-amp RV outlet; one 120-volt, 30-amp locking outlet; and two 120-volt, 30-amp household outlets. The instructions are clear, and it's easy to set up.


One issue with this generator is that it's a little noisy. Also, it doesn't have wheels, which makes it a little more difficult to transport. There is a wheel kit available, but that will drive up the cost. 

Honorable Mention

The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator features an electric start and runs on gasoline or propane. On gasoline it provides up to 7.5 hours of run time. It features a 120-volt, 30-amp RV outlet; two 120-volt, 30-amp household outlets; and a 12-volt DC outlet with a dual USB adapter.


The machine has a low oil shut off sensor, three-position ignition switch, and a quick-touch panel. With 59 dBA, it operates quietly for a generator and provides clean power for sensitive electronics. It has the ability to power an RV's air conditioner, the electric start makes it easy to get going, and the handle and wheels make it easy to move around. The manufacturer also provides a three-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support.


However, the gas tank is a little small, so you have to refuel it more frequently than a generator with larger capacity tanks. Also, it doesn't have a run timer, and the battery needs to be charged if you don't use it regularly.

Honorable Mention
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator

The Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator features an electric start and runs on gasoline or propane. On gasoline it provides up to 7.5 hours of run time. It features a 120-volt, 30-amp RV outlet; two 120-volt, 30-amp household outlets; and a 12-volt DC outlet with a dual USB adapter.


The machine has a low oil shut off sensor, three-position ignition switch, and a quick-touch panel. With 59 dBA, it operates quietly for a generator and provides clean power for sensitive electronics. It has the ability to power an RV's air conditioner, the electric start makes it easy to get going, and the handle and wheels make it easy to move around. The manufacturer also provides a three-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support.


However, the gas tank is a little small, so you have to refuel it more frequently than a generator with larger capacity tanks. Also, it doesn't have a run timer, and the battery needs to be charged if you don't use it regularly.

Tips

  • The last thing you want is to have the sound of the outdoors drowned out by a noisy generator. Always choose a quiet generator for your RV. Most have the decibel levels listed on the manufacturer’s information.
  • When outdoors, it makes sense to have a backup option in the event that something goes wrong. There are a number of solar and wind solutions that can provide cheap and efficient energy.
  • It’s best to know how long your generator will last and how much power it will produce. Then you can plan accordingly and carry extra fuel if you think you will need it.

FAQs

Q: What type of fuel is best for a generator?

A: There are many options available, including gasoline, diesel, propane, and natural gas, and they all have advantages and disadvantages. Gasoline is widely available but doesn’t last long in storage. Diesel generators are efficient but can also be expensive. Propane doesn’t degrade when it is stored and is a bit cleaner than gasoline and diesel.

Q: How much power do I need with an RV generator?

A: Different RVs have different power requirements. Some appliances, like air conditioners, use more energy than others, such as TVs. It’s best to get the maximum wattage ratings of the generator and compare it to the total requirements for your particular RV.

Q: How do I maintain an RV generator?

A: It’s best to consult the service manual for your particular generator. Generally, they should run for at least an hour every month, and the oil should be checked regularly. The filter, oil, and air cleaner will also need to be changed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best generator for an RV goes to the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator. It can use two different fuel types, making it a versatile option.

For a more affordable option, try the WEN Super Quiet Inverter Generator.