The Best RV Generators

When you want to hit the open road with your RV, the last thing you want to think about is having to find a crowded campsite with a full electrical hookup.

Instead, having the right generator for your RV can untether your vehicle and provide power for all of your appliances anywhere you can drive to.

The best RV generator needs to be able to provide enough power for your RV, as well as have an RV-ready outlet so you can easily deliver that power into your vehicle’s circuit board.

In addition, it’s a good idea to consider weight and portability when choosing an RV generator. Even though you’ll be driving your generator around in your vehicle, you’re likely going to need to move it between the RV and your campsite every day.

Fuel is another important thing to think about when you’re RVing. Will you have frequent access to gas stations so that you can refuel your generator or a spare tank? Or are you headed off-grid for a longer period and need a fuel that can be more easily stored, like propane? If the latter is a possibility, you may want to consider a propane or dual fuel generator.

It’s also important to consider how noisy your generator will be. You didn’t head out into the backcountry only to be confronted with the noise of a loud engine – and chances are anyone else at your campsite will be annoyed by a loud generator.  If you are looking for the quietest generator for rv camping then check out our Quiet Generator article.

RV Wattage Requirements

The first thing you need to know when choosing a generator for your RV is how much power you need.

RV power requirements can range dramatically depending on what kinds of appliances you have, but 3,000 starting watts and 2,500 watts or more of continuous power is a good starting point if you don’t have an air conditioner. In that case, the electric grill and refrigerator are the main energy hogs and typically require around 1,000 watts and 600 watts of continuous power, respectively.

However, if you have an air conditioner, your power requirements can jump dramatically. A small RV air conditioner alone can use up 2,000 watts of running power and require more than 3,000 watts to start up. If you expect to be using the kitchen while also running an air conditioner, plan on needing a generator with at least 4,000 watts of continuous power and upwards of 5,000 watts of surge power.

If you want to know exactly how much power you should budget for, Yamaha offers a handy calculator tool.

With your power requirement in mind, let’s take a look at six of my favorite RV generators under 5,000 watts and two of the best RV generators over 5,000 watts.

2,000-5,000 Watt Generators

1. WEN DF475T 4750 Dual Fuel – EDITOR’S CHOICE

  • Rated Wattage: 3,800 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): N/A
  • Weight: 106 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 11 hours (50% load)

This 4,750-watt maximum power generator from Wen is a direct competitor to the DuroMax generator and sports a similarly attractive price tag.

The generator is capable of producing 3,800 watts of running power, which is enough to ensure you’ll be able to run all of the appliances in your RV without stalling out.

It’s also a dual fuel generator, so you can run it using either gasoline or propane. Better yet, you can toggle between gasoline and propane without having to turn the generator off.

It’s easy to toggle the voltage between 120 and 240 volts, which allows you to hook this generator up to run an RV or large home appliances. However, note that there is no RV-ready outlet, so you’ll need an adapter to connect your RV to this generator.

In addition, an automotive-style muffler makes this generator surprisingly quiet for its size. While WEN doesn’t publish a noise rating, it’s significantly quieter than the DuroMax generator.

It also has a set of sturdy wheels and fold-down handles to help with portability and storage on your RV.

The electric and recoil starter options offer convenience and reliability. You can also watch your fuel levels with an included LED display.

Pros:

  • Attractive price
  • 3,800 running watts
  • Steel-frame with wheels and fold-down handles
  • Toggles between 120- and 240-volt power
  • LED hour meter
  • Electric and recoil starters

Cons:

  • No RV-ready outlet
  • Only two standard 120-volt outlets

2. Champion 3800 Dual Fuel Portable Generator

  • Rated Wattage: 3,800 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): 68 dBA
  • Weight: 119 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 9 hours (50% load)

This dual fuel generator from Champion is able to run on either gas or propane, which gives you versatility in fueling your road trip. Plus, with a 4,750-watt maximum power output and a 3,800-watt running power rating on either gas or propane, this generator can handle your air conditioner and kitchen simultaneously.

The generator has two 30-amp twist-lock outlets, one of which is specifically designed to connect to an RV’s central power grid.

On top of that, it runs up to 10.5 hours at half load on a standard propane tank or nine hours on a tank of gasoline. The built-in LED display gives you a heads up about how much runtime you have remaining, which is a big advantage if you’re running short on fuel in the backcountry.

While this generator offers an electric push-to-start button for convenience, it also has a standard recoil starter so you can get it running even if the built-in battery is dead.

The biggest problem with this generator is that because it’s so powerful, it’s also somewhat loud. The generator produces 68 dBA of noise, which is enough to keep you awake if you want to run it at night.

In addition, since the generator isn’t an inverter generator, you shouldn’t power sensitive electronics off of it.

Pros:

  • RV-ready 30-amp outlet
  • LED display
  • 9-hour runtime at half load
  • Electric starter

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy for its size
  • Relatively loud
  • Not suitable for sensitive electronics

3. DuroMax 3500 Dual Fuel Portable Generator XP4400EH

  • Rated Wattage: 3,500 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): 69 dBA
  • Weight: 128 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 8 hours (50% load)

This 3,500-watt generator from DuroMax is priced to sell, but don’t let the budget cost fool you into thinking this generator can’t deliver.

The generator offers 4,400 watts of surge power to get your engine-driven appliances up and running. Plus, it’s a dual fuel generator so you have the option to power it with either gasoline or propane.

On top of that, a 120-volt/240-volt outlet allows you to power heavy-duty equipment like power tools and AC units. There’s also an analog voltmeter so you can keep track of how much power you’re using.

The generator is mounted on a set of large-diameter wheels to make it easy to transport. The steel frame is heavy, but helps to keep vibrations and noise to a minimum. It also has stow-away handles to take up less space when its onboard your RV.

However, watch out for fumes – this generator isn’t certified by the California Air Resources Board, a sign that it creates quite a bit of smog. DuroMax has also had some technical issues with this generator and aren’t the best about customer service.

Perhaps most concerning for RV owners, this generator doesn’t have an RV-ready outlet. You’ll need to purchase an adapter to connect your RV to the generator’s 120-volt/240-volt outlet.

Pros:

  • Highly competitive price
  • 4,400 watts surge power
  • Can output 240-volt power
  • Steel frame with large pneumatic wheels
  • Volt meter
  • Electric and recoil starters

Cons:

  • No RV-ready outlet
  • Not CARB-certified
  • Poor customer support
  • Only two 120-volt outlets

4. Westinghouse WGen3600DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator

  • Rated Wattage: 3,600 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): 69 dBA
  • Weight: 109 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 18 hours (25% load)

This compact generator is perfect for storing in your RV and moving out into your campsite when it’s time to make camp for the night.

It has an RV-ready 30-amp outlet, in addition to a second 30-amp outlet to connect a power strip. All of the outlets are protected by individual circuit breakers so you can stop worrying about surges.

It’s a dual fuel generator, so you can fuel with either gasoline or propane depending on how long you’ll be in the backcountry. Plus, with 3,600 running watts and 4,650 surge watts on gasoline, you won’t have any issues powering everything in your RV.

Although somewhat heavy, the generator is mounted on a set of never-flat wheels that can handle rough terrain.

Best of all, this generator can switch seamlessly between gasoline and propane. There’s no need to shut down the engine and let it cool before changing your fuel source.

The generator is also extremely quiet for its size, which is ideal for staying powered without attracting attention.

However, Westinghouse has had some technical issues with this generator – so make sure you buy from a trusted source with a policy that lets you return a faulty unit.
Pros:

  • RV-ready outlet
  • All outlets protected by circuit breakers
  • Never-flat wheels
  • Seamless switching between fuel types
  • Quiet
  • Electric and recoil starters
  • Three-year warranty

Cons:

  • Faulty units from production
  • Only two 120-volt outlets

5. Pulsar 4,000 Gas Powered Inverter

  • Rated Wattage: 3,500 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): 63 dBA
  • Weight: 92 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 15 hours (50% load)

This generator is perfect if noise is a concern with many other sizable generators. The generator produces just 63 dBA of noise while putting out 3,500 watts of running power or up to 4,000 watts of surge power.

On top of that, the generator is lightweight and portable. It weighs just 92 pounds and has a set of plastic wheels and a stow-away handle to go from inside your RV to your campsite.

Importantly, it also includes a 30-amp RV-ready outlet. Since it’s an inverter generator, you are safe to charge your sensitive electronics with it. The generator even includes a USB port so you can save one of the two 120-volt outlets for larger appliances.

An electric push starter makes it easy to get the generator going. However, note that there is no backup recoil starter.

If you have two of these generators, you can even hook them up in parallel to double your power output.

While this generator is modestly priced compared to other inverter generators in its size class, it is relatively expensive compared to standard generators. Plus, it’s not a dual fuel generator, so you’re limited to gasoline.

Pros:

  • Inverter generator
  • RV-ready outlet
  • USB charging port
  • Electric push-start
  • Lightweight, compact, portable
  • Only 63 dBA of noise at 25% load

Cons:

  • No backup recoil starter
  • No voltage or runtime display
  • Cannot run on propane

6. Champion 4000 Open Frame Inverter Generator

  • Rated Wattage: 3,500 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): 64 dBA
  • Weight: 82 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 17 hours (25% load)

This compact inverter generator from Champion is competitively priced and offers a huge variety of features for RV owners.

First, the generator is capable of producing 3,500 watts of continuous power and 4,000 watts of surge power – enough for everything in your RV.

Second, it includes an RV-ready 30-amp outlet so you can easily connect the generator to your vehicle. Note that, although the generator is safe for sensitive electronics, there is no USB outlet for charging small devices.

The generator isn’t mounted on wheels, which could be problematic for moving it around. However, it is one of the lightest generators I reviewed at just 82 pounds, and the frame makes it easy to lift. Plus, not having wheels allows the design to be more compact.

This generator is roughly as quiet as the Pulsar generator, at just 64 dBA at a 25% load. However, it suffers on runtime due to a relatively small gas tank – it only runs for 17 hours at 25% load, compared to the Pulsar generator’s 15 hours at 50% load.

Because it’s an inverter generator, it can be hooked up in parallel with a second model in case you need more power.

Plus, it comes with a three-year warranty and lifetime technical support from Champion.

Pros:

  • RV-ready outlet
  • Inverter generator
  • Only weighs 82 pounds
  • Compact
  • Quiet at 64 dBA at 25% load
  • Three-year warranty and lifetime technical support

Cons:

  • No USB port
  • No wheels for portability
  • Only runs on gasoline
  • Relatively short runtime

5,000-10,000 Watt Generators

1. Champion 7500 Dual Fuel Portable Generator

  • Rated Wattage: 7,500 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): 74 dBA
  • Weight: 202 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 8 hours (50% load)

This 7,500-watt dual fuel generator is essentially a more powerful version of Champion’s 3,800-watt model. It’s not much larger given that it doubles the available power, and comes with a second set of 120-volt outlets.

However, note that there is still no RV-ready outlet. Instead, you’ll need an adapter to connect your RV to the included 120-volt/240-volt twist-lock outlet.

The generator comes with both electric and recoil starters to make it easy to power it up. Plus, the generator comes with Cold Start technology that allows the electric and recoil starters to work even when you’re starting the generator in the dead of winter.

Champion also backs this generator with a three-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.

As you might expect, though, opting for a generator with this much power has some drawbacks.

It’s large and weighs over 200 pounds, so even the wheels don’t make it very easy to transport between your RV and the campsite.

In addition, it produces 74 dBA of noise at 25% load. When you’re running the generator at higher loads, it can be extraordinarily noisy whether you’re at a campground or in the backcountry.

Pros:

  • 7,500-watt power rating
  • 120-volt/240-volt twist-lock outlet
  • LED display
  • Electric and recoil start
  • Cold Start technology
  • Three-year warranty

Cons:

  • No RV-ready outlet
  • Too large for easy transport
  • Weighs over 200 pounds
  • No central breaker
  • Very loud

2. Westinghouse WGen7500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator

  • Rated Wattage: 7,500 watts
  • Noise Level (25% Load): 74 dBA
  • Weight: 194 lbs.
  • Estimated Runtime: 16 hours (25% load)

This 7,500-watt generator from Westinghouse is a larger version of their 3,600-watt dual fuel generator, with a few important upgrades.

First, it includes an LED display to keep track of remaining fuel and power load.

Second, it puts all of the outlets onto a single main circuit breaker. That allows you to cycle the power load without shutting down the engine, although it’s prone to unexpected tripping.

Like the smaller generator, this model also allows you to switch seamlessly between gasoline and propane. In addition to the electric starter, it comes with a remote start key fob so you can run the generator without ever leaving your RV.

But, you won’t find an RV-ready outlet on this generator. Instead, Westinghouse added a second pair of 120-volt outlets and a 120-volt/240-volt outlet for heavy-duty appliances.

To connect your RV, you’ll need an adapter for the 120-volt/240-volt outlet. There’s also a USB port, which is a convenient addition for charging small electronics.

Note that the generator’s runtime is somewhat short, at just 16 hours at 25% load. However, given the size of this generator, 25% load is still a massive amount of power.

Most important, this generator doesn’t suffer from the same production issues as the smaller model. You can expect it to work reliably out of the box.

Pros:

  • Dual fuel generator
  • LED display
  • Electric starter with remote control, and recoil starter
  • All outlets on main breaker
  • Switches seamlessly between fuel types
  • 120-/240-volt outlet and USB port
  • Three-year warranty

Cons:

  • No RV-ready outlet
  • Main breaker can trip unexpectedly
  • Short six-hour runtime on 20-pound propane tank at half load
  • Loud

3. Two Champion 4000-watt Generators

Another option for pushing your power capacity beyond the 5,000-watt mark is to connect two smaller inverter generators in parallel.

Given its modest price, the Champion 4,000-watt open frame inverter generator is an ideal candidate for this.

Putting two of these generators together with a relatively inexpensive parallel connection kit would give you up to 8,000 watts through one of the generator’s RV-ready outlets.

The advantage of this is that two 64-dbA generators are still much quieter when running together than a single 74-dBA generator. It also gives you the flexibility to run only one smaller generator when you need less than 4,000 watts of power, and a backup in case one generator breaks down.

However, this means that you’re carrying two generators, which can be hard to store on board your RV in some cases.

RV Generators – Frequently Asked Questions

How much noise is too much for an RV generator?

How much noise is too much depends on your willingness to let engine noise interrupt the peacefulness of your road trip.

But for most people, generators that produce less than 65 dBA of noise at 25% load are quiet enough, while any generators in the high 60 to 70 dBAs of noise at this load is too much.

It’s important to keep in mind that the noise your generator produces will increase significantly as the load increases. So if your base noise level is already too loud, it’s likely going to get worse when you’re running multiple appliances at once.

 How much runtime do I need?

The amount of runtime that you need in a generator depends on how often you’ll be refueling and how heavily you’ll be using the generator.

If you are stopping by a gas station every day, then runtime may not be an issue at all. The same is true if you have plenty of space to carry multiple gas or propane tanks.

On the other hand, if you’ll be in the backcountry for days at a time, squeezing the most runtime out of your generator as possible could be very important.

Again, keep in mind that as you creep closer to your generator’s rated load, you will run through fuel more quickly. Turn appliances off when possible to increase your runtime.

 Do I need an RV-ready outlet?

An RV-ready outlet makes it simple to connect your generator to your RV’s electrical grid, without plugging appliances directly into your generator.

If you don’t have an RV outlet, you have two options. First, you can run the electrical cords for your appliances outside to your generator. Second, if your generator has a 120-volt/240-volt outlet, you can get an adapter to connect that outlet to your RV.

Conclusion

Finding the best RV generator can make a big difference in the comfort and ease of your road trip. The best RV generator should be easy to hook up, offer plenty of power for all of your appliances, and be portable enough to move between your vehicle and campsite each day.

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