Best Generator For RV(Must have for RVs and Trailers)
RV’s abbreviated for Recreational Vehicles – are homes outside homes. Several types of RV’s are available on the streets and if you own one, you must have experienced the fun and leisure that RV road trips offer. Someone very truly said:
“You cannot buy happiness, but you can buy an RV – that’s pretty close”
And you will definitely not prefer any obstacles to your happiness. This is where I will advise you to buy a “High End RV Generator”. Remember a “High End”. Because I would prefer travelling without a generator and never with a cheap generator, because cheaper ones become your liability on the road rather than an asset.
What is an RV Generator?
An RV generator is a smaller variation of the popular portable generator commonly used as household electric appliances during power cut outs or for outdoor events and as emergency Back-Ups.
RV generators are specifically designed to provide power to all your appliances and accessories in your motor home; you just have to pop an RV generator in your gear compartment!
Advantages and Disadvantages of having a RV Generator:
Recreational Vehicles are not just simple camping gears, instead modern RV’s are installed with all the luxury appliances and electronic gadgets that sometimes even our houses don’t offer. To name a few, in your RV van you can:
- Be full air conditioned,
- Watch Television,
- Cook food, make tea,
- Connect your laptop and pc’s for important and necessary work,
- Listen to your famous podcasts, (and while driving this becomes essential,)
- Your little ones can play all kinds of virtual games,
- And many more.
And for all these leisure activities you need power, in other words Electricity. If you plug in all these appliances to your RV battery, I doubt your RV will be able to travel even a few kilometers.
You must be wondering why RV’s unit batteries can’t handle it all. Well, a RV’s battery mostly powers some basic cooking gears and overall truck’s lighting appliances. That’s all, and for everything else you will need other power source (Most RV’s don’t even recommend using other leisure appliances, on RV’s battery).
Just imagine yourself camping at a faraway place (which is very hot or cold), where you are left with raw, uncooked food, and adding to your misery you have to submit an urgent report about your work progress. You will have to rush to a nearby RV camp site, which must have outlets of power, and there you have stand in a queue waiting for your turn to charge RV’s battery!
Isn’t it better to leave all this inconvenience and create your own electricity?
Although there are some other sides or cons of owning a battery too, and I will not leave you unaware about them.
- The batteries come at a cost and you have to pay a price for portable RV batteries. (RV Generators are a bit expensive than portable generators)
- You will need to carry three or more gallons of gas to run the system.
Quick Tip – If possible buy a propane fuel system and not a diesel powered system, because they are not so common and secondly they increase the overall cost.
- Most RV generators are portable generators, which make them an easy target for thieves and robbers.
Quick Tip – Keep your generators protected by covering them in a rolling bag and chain them in your vans.
Overall there are more pros than cons, and with all the cons, there is some available solution.
Choosing the right Generator for your RV
A wide variety of RV generators is available in the market, but before you start purchasing look for these two significant aspects.
- The Size (Watts) of the Generator,
- The kind of fuel your selected model runs on.
SIZE (Watts) – Before purchasing a generator, consider the best fit (according to the size) – for your RV. The size of RV Generators depends on the size of your vehicle.
Related: Make your RV go SOLAR!
Here is a simple math trick to determine the best size for your vehicle.
Count the number of appliances which run on 120 volts, and find out how many amps they require, (both these information will be available on the back of your appliances).
Now calculate the number of Watts by this simple formula:
Watts = Amps x Volts
This simple exercise will provide you the – minimum wattage you require when you start looking for an RV generator.
Remember – Always buy a higher Watt generator than your minimum requirement, because generators do not provide full value of Watts as promised.
Note – Air conditioners will have a higher starting voltage in comparison to their running voltage. So calculate starting wattage for air conditioner, and running wattage for all other appliances.
FUEL – Second important aspect to consider is Fuel.
You have three options for fuel – Diesel, Gas, Propane.
Diesel powered Generators are costly and uncommon. Even carrying them is risky.
Gas powered Generators are very economical, and carrying them reduces the weight as well as other flammable hazards.
Propane is the greenest fuel due to its cleaner emissions. So if you are passionate about environment go for Propane powered Generators. They are quieter too in compared to both the above fuels.
However consider this fact too – propane reduces the generator’s power by approximately 10%, and secondly you need to carry an oversize tank for fuel storage.
Buy the best fit for you
After a thorough research (analyzing 50 top end models), I have shortlisted some of the best RV Generators that are available in the market. Check out their specifications and reviews before you select one.
1) Champion Power Equipment 100263
Brand – Champion Power Equipment
Model Number – 100263
Watts – 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts
Product Dimensions – 25.1 x 17.3 x 18.3 inches
Weight – 95.7 pounds
It is a Portable Dual Fuel Generator – which means
- it runs on gas and propane.
- has a fuel tank for gasoline with capacity of 1.6 Gallon (6.06 L),
- if the tank is full, the machine runs up to 7.5 hrs,
- starts with an electric switch (which means no manual start),
- noise level on this machine reaches a maximum to 59 dBa from 23 ft, which makes it perfect for RVs. Because of low noise you can use it as your house inverter too!
- Comes with Cold Start Technology which ensures quick start in low temperatures,
- Has economy mode, which can reduce the electrical load on the machine, which means longer life of the product,
- Includes 3-year limited warranty with free lifetime technical support, and 50 State Compliant Certificate (EPA/CARB certified).
- The machine has wheels with flat tires and folding handles, which makes it very portable.
- An additional battery comes with the product for push-button electric start.
- Has a Quick Touch Panel which allows you access to almost all the controls.
- Comes with two 120V 20A household outlets and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter.
This machine which comes from a decent manufacturer is a perfect example of versatility and convenience, which can be used indoors and in RV’s. It’s the best generator for money, which has all the features that you require in your luxury RV.
Our Rating – 10/10
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2) Cummins Onan 2.8HGJBB-1120
Basic Product Details
Brand – Cummins Onan
Watts – 2800
Model number – 2.8HGJBB-1120
Product dimensions – 27.8 x 20.1 x 16 inches
Weight – 125.6 pounds
This Generator is designed and built specifically for RVs. It is:
- A lightweight beautifully designed machine, which runs on gasoline,
- Has a Digital voltage regulator,
- Is Easy to maintain as it requires single-side servicing.
- Comes with an Hour meter,
- Provides enough power to run 1 rooftop air conditioner,
- Can run 10 hours non-stop,
- Has a Special sound-controlling housing, and is advertised as “Quieter than National Park Service sound level requirements” Generator.
- Does not have a separate fuel tank. The fuel which feeds this generator generally comes from the main fuel tank of the vehicle.
- Has a Microprocessor control with diagnostics,
- And has a High-quality, pure sine wave electrical output.
- The machine comes with a Heavy-duty air cleaner,
- Has self-diagnostic capabilities,
- Has auto shut down feature,
- Comes completely enclosed with muffler, and covers 3-year limited warranty,
- And has a USDA-approved spark arrestor.
This generator formerly known as Onan Microlite, is very popular for several good features, especially because of its Low fuel consumption, and its design and looks.
However it has a flaw which is generally accepted by customers, that is it is very noisy, although Onan advertises it as a quite generator.
As the generator comes from a very well known brand it is expensive too in comparison to other generators. So if you have a Class A or Class B RV, then go for this one.
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
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3) Champion 3500 Watt RV Generator
Basic Product Details
Brand – Champion Power Equipment
Watts – 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts
Product dimensions – 22 x 22.8 x 30.7 inches
Weight – 97 pounds
This model by Champion is the most economic generator available in the market, and has almost all the upgrade technologies which come in high end expensive generators.
This generator has:
- A Wireless Remote Start (CARB) which means you can start and stop from up to 80 feet away with the wireless remote key.
- Has Electric Start switch like the Champion 100263,
- Runs on a 196cc engine,
- Features a 3-way ignition switch,
- Has built-in Cold Start Technology for easy starts in cold weather,
- Runs for 12 hours on a full tank of gasoline,
- Is very quite with a noise level of 68 dBa from 23 feet,
- Includes 3-year limited warranty with free lifetime technical support.
- The machine has two 120V 20A outlets and a 120V 30A outlet.
- It also has a Volt Guard built-in surge protector which prevents the machine from getting overloaded, keeping your appliances and equipment safe.
Champion has built many RV generator models, but none of them is as powerful as this one. This generator is an all in one package, which is considerably very cheap. It is the most reliable and powerful generator!
I would like to advise you to buy this piece, even if you already have a generator, because this one is always a welcome appliance in emergencies.
Our Rating – 10/10
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4) Westinghouse WGen7500DF
Basic Product Details
Brand – Westinghouse
Model Number – WGen7500DF
Watts – 7500 Running Watts and 9500 Peak Watts
Product dimensions – 27.2 x 26.1 x 26 inches
Weight – 194 pounds
WGen7500DF is a multi-purpose generator, which can be used as an inverter in homes, as a portable generator outdoors, and as an RV Generator for your vehicles. You just need to attach a TT30 RV 30 amp to L14-30R adapter cord in order to connect it with your RV. The Generator:
- Is a dual fuel machine which can be operated on gasoline as well as propane,
- Features Electric Push Button Start with Remote Key,
- Comes with an intuitive control panel easy to locate control keys,
- Runs for 10 hour when the fuel is full,
- Has a large muffler which makes it much quieter than other generators,
- Comes with a 6.6 Gallon Gas Fuel Tank which includes a gauge,
- Propane Tank is not included in the kit; if you run it on propane you will experience a slight change in running Watts,
- Is EPA, CARB, and CSA Compliant,
- Comes with Automatic low oil shutdown feature, which protects the machine from overheating,
- Comes with 3 year guarantee.
- The machine comes with a 12V Battery Charger,
- It Features two GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) 5-20R 120V Household Duplex receptacles, and one L14-30R 120/240V Twist-Lock receptacle. (All outlets have rubber covers for added safety).
- Comes with roll bars for ease in transporting and added security,
- It also has an Oil Funnel and a Tool Kit.
Broadly speaking – this is a very beautiful machine, which is in the higher economical range. Generally customers are very satisfied with its performance, and most importantly with the added wattage that this unit offers.
One thing that concerns a little is unavailability of spare parts of this machine, but if you handle it properly you will definitely not need the spare parts.
Overall Rating – 9.5/10
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5) Yamaha EF2000isv2
Basic Product Details
Brand – Yamaha
Model Number – EF2000ivs2
Watts – 3600 Watts
Product dimensions – 11 x 19.3 x 17.9 inches
Weight – 88.2
EF2000ivs2 is an Inverter Generator by a well known manufacturer Yamaha – specially designed for RVs’.
The kit includes:
- Two generators weighing 44.1 pounds each, this makes them very portable,
- Features Smart Throttle technology, allowing for greater noise reduction and fuel efficiency, as well as reducing engine wear,
- Has a running average of 10.5 hours,
- Is extremely quiet and makes minimal noise and vibration.
- The machine comes with Oil watch warning system, and a fuel gauge.
- Sidewinder Cable to connect two generators and two black covers are also included in the kit.
Note – The machine gets charged by (2) 6V batteries or (1) 12V battery per generator.
Yamaha is a very trusted brand, and its latest generator is a pleasure to eyes. This generator is extremely portable and very powerful. Customers are also happy with the mileage of this machine. If you want a long lasting trusted product for your RV, this is the one for you.
Overall Rating – 10/10
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Understanding How an RV Generator works
Once you have selected the best fit, it is highly recommended that you know the basics about your machine. You will never want to carry along a mechanic on your family outing. And in far remote places it becomes difficult to find one, so it is always handy to know a bit about your purchase.
There are four functional parts in any Generator.
- Fuel system
- Motor Starter
- an electric power generator
To keep the motor run smoothly you need to see that it’s properly lubricated with oil as mechanical parts rub against each other causing friction and heat. Also check that the motor is not over heated.
A fuel system is where the fuel is stored. This part does not need much service but occasionally you need to clean it and some of its parts, like the fuel filter and the carburetor. If the fuel system gets dirty or gets blocked then the motor will work slow.
The motor of a Generator goes through firing of several cylinders for its start. Once started, it will run on its own. Check for the wires (which connect the motor and the cylinders) so that none of them are short and are properly connected. Secondly listen to the sound when you start the motor. If it makes weird sound, then there is some problem with your starter.
This is the part which actually converts chemical fuel and mechanical energy into electricity.
The design is same as other generators. A solenoid rotates in a magnetic field, producing electricity.
Generally there are many less chances of shutting down of this part, but if it does you should let a trained generator mechanic to handle the problem.
Maintaining your RV Generator
Generators are electronic devices, and they need little care. Proper maintenance tips – assure generators long life, and cuts off other unnecessary expenses. Here are some of the vital maintenance tips:
- Keep the Generator clean.
- Protect it against dust
- Turn off non utility appliances when travelling in extreme weather conditions. If the temperature rises above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 Celsius) the generator will also lose 1% of its power (for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 Celsius) rise).
- While travelling in high altitudes make sure to carry along more fuel, because for every 1000 ft (above 1500ft) your generator will lose 3.5% of its power.
- Check the exhaust for any leaks prior to your journey. Remember fumes can cause burns and fires.
- Switch off the machine when not in use especially at night. It will save fuel.
- Service your generator regularly, and do not forget the servicing dates, (as per the manual) otherwise the manufacturer’s warranty may become invalid.
- If you buy a new generator run it for a few hours. The operator manual will tell you how long you should test-run it.
Today these machines have become very common. And because of them RV trips are also becoming number one choice for family outings. In-fact RV Generators are the reason that so many people are now happily enjoying the RV lifestyle and why so many “RV camps” are appearing in scenic and popular tourist locations.
If you get a reliable generator of right size and power for your needs you will have carefree trips without any worries.
Above I have listed some of the best Generators for your RV’s. If you like one of them, then without wasting any time hurry up and buy your own RV Generator and fly off to a nice place for an enjoyable vacation.
Enjoy and have fun!