Best RV generators

Best RV Generators: 2021 Top Picks and Buying Guide

RV trips are fun! However, it can also be frustrating, especially because you are devoid of the little luxuries in life, such as electricity. That won’t be the case when you have the best RV generator.

With a portable generator, you will enjoy accessible power on the go. Whether it is for charging your mobile phones, running an air conditioner, or using your entertainment system on the road, the right generator will make your road adventures more memorable.

The plethora of options makes it difficult to decide what to buy. Read on, and I will walk you through some of the top brands and models to consider.

best RV generator

Best Overall

Champion Power Equipment 100307 

Running on gas and propane, this is a reliable open-frame generator that can start without any problem, even in a cold environment.

Take your RV trips to the next level with this top-notch generator. From smartphones to cooking appliances, it can power different things that you will need for a convenient and comfortable time on the road.

What Makes It Stand Out?

The manufacturer’s reputation is one of the many reasons why this product stands out. It is also impressive because of theruggedopen-frame design that keeps it stable as it runs. This is for those who prefer a more solid frame compared to a portable generator with wheels.

 

RV Generators

What We Like

This RV-ready generator comes with a 224cc engine, which is responsible for its dependable performance. We love how versatile it is, especially in terms of the fuel type that can be used.

The overall performance depends on the fuel that you will use. With gasoline, it has 4,375 starting watts and 3,500 running watts. In a 50% load, the gas will last up to nine hours.

On the other hand, when you run the generator using propane, it has 3,950 starting watts and 3,150 running watts. With a 20-pound tank and 50% load, it has an average run-time of 10.5 hours.

Another excellent feature of this generator is Intelli-Gauge, which is a digital meter with three modes. It measures run-time, hertz, and voltage.

If you live in a place with cold temperatures, you have another good reason to pick this generator. Cold starting will not be a problem, making it reliable regardless of the condition of the environment.

What We Do Not Like

If there is one issue, however, it would be that it is pretty bulky and heavy. While the manufacturer positions it as an RV generator, it is bigger and heavier than most of the listed options in this guide. It weighs over 100 pounds!

What are the Alternatives?

For those who prefer a lighter generator that is equally impressive in terms of performance, Champion Power Equipment 3400-Watt Portable Generator and Wen 56380i 3800-Watt Portable Generator are good options.

 

Best Digital Hybrid Generator

Champion Power Equipment 100573

An inverter generator with an open-frame design has dual-fuel compatibility, push-button start, and remote control.

 

Another notable option from Champion is categorized as a digital hybrid generator. The latter means that it is a fully-enclosed inverter but comes with an open-frame design, which allows it to offer the best of both worlds.

What Makes It Stand Out?

As noted, it stands out because it comes with a hybrid design. It might be bulky and heavy, but this is offset because it is both an inverter and open-frame generator. It also stands out because of its power and performance.

 

Best RV generators

What We Like

You will have many reasons to love this hybrid generator, and one of the best is dual-fuel design. This means that you can use either propane or gas. Whatever is available, this is a reliable companion for your portable power needs.

The touch-start feature is another great innovation in this product. It has a push-button start, eliminating the need to pull a coil. Even better, it comes with a remote. This will let you turn the engine on even at a distance.

It is also worth noting that it has Clean Power. With the latter, you can connect sensitive electronics to the generator without worrying about potential damage.

Lastly, like other Champion generators, it comes with a standard three-year warranty from the manufacturer, providing you with peace of mind.

What We Do Not Like

Similar to the Champion generator we talked about above, the large size can be an issue for some people, mainly if you have limited space on your RV.

What are the Alternatives?

Do you prefer a more compact generator that will provide portable power on the go? If that’s the case, then you might want to look at Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series Portable Generator and Duromax XP2200EH Portable Generator.

 

Best Wattage

Champion Power Equipment 76533 

This powerful generator is ideal for demanding applications. It is big but comes with a handle and tires for ease of moving around.

Champion never fails to deliver outstanding generators, and this model is proof that they are an unrivaled name. This generator has a dual-fuel operation and ready to use right out of the box.

What Makes It Stand Out?

The power of this generator is its biggest asset. Out of all the products in this short guide, this is the one that can deliver the most powerful performance. It has 4,750 starting watts and 3,800 running watts.

Best RV generators

What We Like

With a single-cylinder, four-stroke, and air-cooled engine, the performance of this generator is second to none. It is ideal even for demanding applications. This is for users who value power over portability.

It also has several safety features to minimize risks associated with generator use. One of the best is the low oil shutdown. It automatically detects the oil level and turns off on its own once it is at a dangerously low level.

Despite being large, the manufacturer has added several features that will make it easy to move. For instance, it has folding handles. You will also love the all-terrain and never-flat tires.

What We Do Not Like

If there is one issue, however, it is the noise that the generator makes. This makes sense because it is the most powerful, making it the loudest. It has 68 dBa, which can be quite bothersome for some people.

What are the Alternatives?

For an alternative that generates less noise while still delivering decent power, you might want to look at Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Generator. It is the quietest of all the products in this guide.

 

Best for Clean Power

Champion Power Equipment 200986 

Even if you have sensitive electronics, no need to worry about plugging them into this generator as it is designed to produce clean power.

The three Champion generators mentioned above all have an open-frame body. This model, meanwhile, is different because of its more compact and lightweight design. It is built for those who want a generator that is effortless to bring on their trips.

What Makes It Stand Out?

Among others, it stands out because of the clean power that it generates. Although we have to say that this isn’t specific to this model, it is a common denominator in Champion generators. You can plug in smartphones, laptops, and other electronics without worrying that fluctuations will result in serious damages.

 

Best RV generators

What We Like

This generator is ready for a parallel connection. This means that if the power it generates isn’t enough for an intended application, you have the option to connect two generators. However, take note that the parallel connection kit is sold separately.

The unit comes with an EZ Start Dial. All it takes is a quick turn of the knob, and the generator starts in an instant.

It also comes with a strategically positioned digital display. It has high visibility, so it is easy to see day or night. This will keep you informed about the functions of the generator, including voltage and run-time.

What We Do Not Like

The low run-time is one of the potential issues when using this generator. We expect this problem since it is a compact generator. With a gasoline capacity of only 2.3 gallons, the run time is only 14 hours at a 25% load.

What are the Alternatives?

If you want a generator that provides a longer run-time, then we recommend looking for bigger models. They have larger tanks to supply the needed power. Examples include Champion Power Equipment 110307 4375/3500-Watt Portable Generator and Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Generator.

 

Best for Ease of Use

Champion Power Equipment 3400-Watt Portable Generator

 

Built for beginners, this portable RV generator comes with an intuitive control panel, dual-fuel technology, and economy mode.Do not be fooled by the compact body of this generator. It might be small, but that does not mean that the power is inferior. This 3,400-watt generator will make a great companion to your RV adventures.

What Makes It Stand Out?

This model stands out because of its ease of use. The simplicity of the generator makes it an excellent choice even for new users. It has plug-and-play functionality, which means that you can use it quickly right out of the box.

 

Best RV generators

What We Like

Aside from being user-friendly, we love the dual-fuel design. This is for those who like a generator that can run both on propane and gas. With propane, it has starting watts of 3,400 and running watts of 3,100. Meanwhile, the average run-time is 7.5 hours for gas and 14.5 hours for propane.

The intuitive control panel has carefully placed buttons with everything you will need to run the generator. It has a fuel selector, ignition switch, battery switch, and circuit breakers.

Another button that you will find on the control panel is the economy mode. This will extend the run-time of the generator if you want to save fuel.

What We Do Not Like

One of the problems with this generator is its battery. There are times when it has a hard time starting, especially in extreme temperatures. This is quite disappointing as we expect more from a brand that is as reputable as Champion.

What are the Alternatives?

A better alternative if you are looking for more power and a better battery is Champion Power Equipment 110307 4375/3500-Watt Portable Generator. It has a Cold Start feature, which means that there is no problem running the battery and turning the motor on even as the temperature gets low.

 

Best for Camping

Westinghouse Wgen3600DF Portable Generator

Aside from RVs, this generator is also a great option for camping. It has a four-stroke engine and a dual-fuel source.

This generator is not just for RVs but also for camping. It is small enough so that it is easy to bring on your next adventures. Despite being compact, it has the necessary power to run the devices in and out of your tent.

What Makes It Stand Out?

With a four-stroke OHV engine, this generator stands out because of its camping-ready features. More than being lightweight and compact, it also has user-friendly features, eliminating the complications associated with using a generator.

 

Best RV generators

What We Like

Depending on the source of fuel, the wattage of this generator varies. If you opt for gas, then it has 4,650 peak watts and 3,600 running watts. On the other hand, if it runs on propane, it generates 4,180 peak watts and 3,240 running watts.

The efficiency of this generator is also notable. With a four-gallon fuel tank, it will run up to 13.5 hours. Optionally, for a 20.5-pound propane tank, the average run-time is 10.5 hours.

It is also notable because of the cast iron sleeve that wraps the engine. It protects against external elements that can speed up wear while also minimizing the noise.

What We Do Not Like

While it is compact, some people might still find it to be quite bulky. This is because of the open frame design, making it bigger than a traditional inverter generator.

What are the Alternatives?

If you want a sleeker generator that is more portable, it is worth looking at Duromax XP2200EH Portable Generator and Wen 56380i 3800-watt Portable Generator.

 

Best for Emergency Backup Power

Wen 56380i 3800-Watt Portable Generator

With its wheeled construction and folding handle, this generator can easily move around while providing enough power for small and sensitive electronics.

Not just for your RV, this will make an excellent backup power source even for your home. It may not be as powerful as the larger generators in this guide, but if you just want to charge your phone or power on a light, it is more than enough.

What Makes It Stand Out?

This emergency backup generator stands out because of the 212cc four-stroke OHV engine. Given the size of the generator, the engine is pretty impressive. More so, it stands out because of its USB port, which lets you charge your phones directly from the unit.

 

Best RV generators

What We Like

Looking at the features, one thing that we love the most is the digital meter that shows the real-time wattage. This makes it easier to monitor the functionality of the generator. The display is easy to read, providing everything you need to know. From the fuel supply to wattage, you will see essential information.

It is also notable because of its minimal harmonic distortion, making it an exceptional option even if you are running sensitive electronics.

The generator also comes with several design features that make it excellent in terms of portability. It has rugged wheels that easily roll on different surfaces. To add, you will find a folding handle for ease of moving the unit around.

What We Do Not Like

For large appliances, this generator is not enough. Even though it has a powerful engine and performance, it is designed only for small devices, such as phones, laptops, and fans.

What are the Alternatives?

It is worth looking at Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Portable Generator and Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Generator for those searching for generators suitable for more demanding applications.

 

Best for People on a Budget

Duromax XP2200EH Portable Generator

While it is affordable, that does not mean that the performance suffers. It has dual-fuel technology and passes emissions tests in all 50 states.

It is surprising how generators,even as small as this model, can deliver exceptional power. Sure, it is far from being the most powerful. Still, for basic applications and small appliances, the performance is more than enough.

What Makes It Stand Out?

It stands out because of its price. This is the most affordable of all the products in this guide, but this does not mean that the performance is sub-par. Even if it is economical, the power is pretty decent. It has peak watts of 2,200 for gasoline and 2,090 for propane. On the other hand, running watts is 1,800 for gas and 1,710 for propane.

 

Best RV generators

What We Like

Looking at its features, one thing that we love the most is the inverter technology. It generates stable and clean power, which is ideal even for sensitive electronics. This is also the reason why it has incredible efficiency.

The idle control is another feature to love in this generator. It lowers the generator’s RPM instantly if there is nothing plugged. In turn, this will minimize fuel consumption, extending the average run-time.

You won’t be left guessing. As soon as the unit detects that it is running low on oil, it will stop working. It avoids unnecessary strain on the engine. It is also a good thing that it comes with a low oil shut-off, an impressive safety feature.

The clean power that it produces is another feature to love. It complies with the emission regulations of all the states in the US. Its compliance with emission standards shows how it has been through a series of tests to prove that it is safe for the environment.

What We Do Not Like

The biggest drawback with this model is its power. It is the smallest, which also means that it is the least powerful. We recommend carefully choosing the appliances to plug into this generator to avoid problems.

What are the Alternatives?

If you want a generator that can power even larger appliances, two of the alternatives worth considering are Champion Power Equipment 110307 4375/3500-Watt Portable Generator and Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Generator.

 

Best for Portability

 Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series 

With an ergonomic handle and never-flat wheels, it has exceptional portability. We also love the digital display and built-in fuel gauge.

Good things come in small packages – that is precisely what you can expect in this generator. It has inverter technology, making it safe to use even for more sensitive electronics, such as laptops and smartphones.

What Makes It Stand Out?

The size of this generator is its strongest asset. You can carry it conveniently. Meanwhile, it also rolls smoothly even on rugged terrains as it comes with robust tires. This is for those who are looking for a generator that delivers ease of movement.

 

Best RV generators

What We Like

We love how it is designed for ease of movement. There is a telescoping handle to comfortably pull or push the generator if you need to move it around. Alternatively, you will find a carrying handle. There are also never-flat wheels, which are smooth-rolling regardless of the surface.

It is also notable because of StatStation. The latter is an onboard display that shows the information you need to keep up with as the generator operates. Aside from run-time and voltage, it also indicates reminders for maintenance. This way, it is easier to keep the generator at its peak performance.

More so, it is a good thing that it comes with a parallel connection port. The latter makes it effortless to double the power by connecting it to a similar generator. This is useful if the power generated is insufficient.

Lastly, it has a built-in fuel gauge. You no longer need to peek into the tank to know if the fuel is running low and when there is a need to refill.

What We Do Not Like

Because of its size, the power is not enough for large appliances. Choose this only if you must run small electronics in your RV.

What are the Alternatives?

A better option for more demanding applications would be Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Generator, which will deliver more power and be useful even beyond your home.

 

Best for Quiet Operation

Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Generator

With only 52 dBA, this is the quietest generator on our list. It is an inverter with an open frame. The unit is bulky, so it is a good thing that it has wheels.

Rugged and compact, this is another generator that will elevate your RV trips. It has an open frame that makes it a bit bulky. However, the large size should not be an issue since it means a higher power compared to a traditional inverter generator.

What Makes It Stand Out?

The noise output of this generator makes it better than most of the options on this list. On average, it has a rating of 52 dBa. It won’t be a disturbance to you and everyone around the RV campground with its quiet operation.

Best RV generators

What We Like

This generator comes with an LED control panel. Night or day, the easily visible display will make it easy to monitor the generator’s status. From fuel level to lifetime hours, it shows the details that you need to know.

We also love this RV generator because of the economy mode for optimal fuel efficiency. By switching it on, the unit automatically adjusts its performance depending on your power needs, effectively extending the run-time.

You have several options on how to start this generator. You can opt to use the recoil or the push button. Alternatively, it also comes with a key fob, which you will use to start it remotely.

What We Do Not Like

Some users may be unhappy with its size. The RV generator can be quite bulky, which will make it a burden to move. Even with robust wheels, it is prettyheavy, so it can be a struggle for some users to change its position.

What are the Alternatives?

For an alternative that will be easier to bring wherever you are going, it is hard to go wrong with Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart Series Portable Generator. It has a lightweight and compact body, although it runs only small appliances.

What to Look for in an RV Generator

To the uninitiated, all RV generators may look the same. However, many features differentiate one from the other, including those that are listed below.

Power Output

The overall performance of the generator depends on the power output. Start by considering all the appliances or electronics that you will use and match it to the wattage of the RV generator. The goal is to find one that is portable without compromising power.

A generator’s power output is expressed as wattage. Starting watts refer to the necessary power to create momentum that a device needs to start. Meanwhile, running watts refer to the wattage required for the device to run overtime, preventing the power from failing.

Portability

Because it is meant for RV use, make sure that it is easy to bring with you. Look at the size and weight, making sure that it fits your campervan. If you need a larger unit with more power, opt for a model that comes with wheels. This way, it is easy to move the generator from one place to another.

Noise

All generators produce noise as they run. However, some are quieter than others. Consider the decibel rating as you narrow down your choices. The lower it is, the quieter the generator is. When it is too loud, the generator can be bothersome. It can be a disturbance not just to you but even to the people around your RV.

Fuel Type

The type of fuel used impacts a generator’s performance. One of the most common is diesel. It is affordable and efficient. The best thing is that it is clean-burning, making it a great pick for people concerned about how their actions impact the environment.

Gas is another common fuel type for RV generators. The fuel is easily accessible. However, generators that use this kind of fuel require more in terms of maintenance. It also has a short lifespan, which is about three months on average.

Some generators use propane, but many people do not like it because it is the least efficient. It burns fast and is also expensive. Nonetheless, some people love propane because it is easy to purchase, keep, and transport.

Fuel Consumption

More than the type of fuel, consumption is another crucial consideration. This is often stated by the manufacturer, depending on the load percentage. This is important as it dictates how efficient the generator will be.

Spark Arrestor

This is an important component as RV generators must usethese in national parks and forests. It is a screen that catches sparks before it can exit. The spark arrestor is crucial for the prevention of fires. Since sparks can start flames when they reach a hazard, it is essential to containing them.

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