7 Best Generators for Powering Your RV
Choosing the right RV generator matters. Here are our recommendations based on power output, noise level and quality.
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Choosing the Best Generator for Your RV
Generators can be loud or quiet, efficient or wasteful, powerful or small. Choosing the ideal model for your RV lifestyle comes down to how much you want to spend, what kind of maximum electrical wattage output you need, how heavy of a generator you’re willing and able to handle, and how important low noise and high efficiency are to you. Generally speaking, inverter generators are the quietest and most fuel-efficient of all. At the other end of the spectrum, inexpensive open-frame non-inverter generators are the loudest and use the most fuel for a given electrical output. Hybrid generators fit somewhere in between, as you’ll see with the specific model recommendations coming up.
Best Inverter Generator Over 5,000 Watts
I’ve owned this generator for more than five years, and can tell you it’s a powerful, ultra-quiet model that’s extremely efficient on fuel. One reason for that: The Honda EU7000is is an inverter generator. This means the unit produces clean power, free from voltage surges or power fluctuations that can damage sensitive electronics. The inverter design also allows engine speed to vary automatically from slow to fast, depending on the wattage of electricity demanded. The ability of an inverter to slow itself down as less electricity is required is one reason this model burns fuel so economically.
High cost (about $4,500) and hefty weight (262 lbs) are the drawbacks of the EU7000is. But for the RV owner who wants lots of quiet, clean power, this is the ultimate machine. It can sustain a 5,500 watt output continuously, and as much as 7,000 watts for short bursts.
Best Inverter Generator Under 3,500 Watts
Champion 100261 3,400-Watt Wireless Start Inverter
This is another inverter generator I own. Small and light enough to easily move in and out of storage on your RV, the 100261 is quiet, reliable, easy on fuel and exceptionally easy to start. Even after months of storage, it fires up on the first or second pull.
Want to minimize your noise output in an RV park? Use the remote control feature of the 100261 to start and stop this already ultra-quiet generator from inside your RV or up to 80 feet away. The 100261 delivers 3,100 watts of power continuously, and 3,400 watts for short bursts. That’s not a lot of juice for most RVers, but two of these generators can be connected together to deliver 6,200 watts of continuous power.
Best Compact Generator
This is one of the smallest, lightest and quietest generators anyone would want to consider for an RV. Delivering 900 watts of continuous clean power and up to 1,000 watts for a few seconds, the EU1000i doesn’t supply enough power for a kettle or toaster oven. So why would anyone want this model? Because it powers small electrical items in a portable package. It weighs less than 30 pounds, and the EU1000i can run from four to eight hours on a single gallon of gasoline, depending on the load.
Some RV owners have a larger generator for everyday use, then rely a small model like this as a frugal, ultra-quiet backup to charge a phone, run a propane heater or power some lights.
Best Mid-Size Inverter Generator
WEN 56225i 2,250 Watt Inverter with Fuel Shut-Off
This model is small and light (48-1/2 lbs.), but the 1,800-watt continuous-power-output rating is large enough to handle a kettle, microwave or toaster oven, plus a few lights. The 2,250-watt peak output is enough to handle the surge of current when most RV air conditioners start up.
One other plus: The 56225i uses up all the leftover fuel in the carburetor after shutting off the ignition. This leaves the carburetor dry for storage, and resistant to developing gum and harmful deposits that can hinder starting after several months of storage. A dry-stored carburetor is much more likely to work properly when you move to switch on the fuel and fire up the engine.
Best Value Dual-Fuel Generator Over 10,000 Watts
DuroMax XP12000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator 12,000 Watt Generator
This large, open-frame generator (not an inverter) can provide most of the power to run a regular home, so there will be no shortage of electricity for an RV. Not as quiet or economical as an inverter, this model delivers 9,500 watts of continuous power with up to 12,000 watts of surge power available for starting items like air conditioners and water pumps. Any electrical appliance that uses a motor demands much more electricity than usual for several seconds during startup. The XP12000EH runs on gasoline or propane. This bargain-priced generator is not as refined as more expensive models, but it does offer excellent value and high output.
Best Hybrid Inverter Generator
Champion 100302 4000 Watt Open Frame Digital Hybrid Inverter
Get the quiet, efficient operation of an inverter, with the lower cost and design of an open-frame model. The 100302 delivers 3,500 watts of power continuously, and can handle short-term surges of power up to 4,000 watts. That’s not a lot of power, but the optional parallel connection kit allows two Champion generators to be connected together, delivering 7,000 watts of continuous power to a standard 50-amp RV outlet.
Best Parallel-Capable Inverter Generator
Ryobi 2300 Watt Digital Inverter Parallel Combo Kit
In the world of power tools, Ryobi has a reputation for delivering excellent performance at reasonable prices. This generator continues the legacy. It delivers 1,800 watts of continuous power and 2,300 peak power for short periods of surge demand. This model is specially designed to operate as a single unit or connected with an identical model to deliver twice the wattage. Ryobi is a brand that’s been around for decades and it offers the added advantage of being widely available in brick-and-mortar stores.