Best RV Generator & Buyer’s Guide

We’ve looked at some of the most popular RV Generators on the market trying to find the very best RV generator of the year… and here’s our top 5!

If you’re in a hurry check out our top pick: WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator

An RV generator is often a necessary evil. You need it to power your RV and campsite, but it’s a pain to have to move and some are incredibly noisy. Not to mention the fuel issue, who wants to smell like gas all the time? Fortunately, many of the new RV generators on the market are portable, easy to maneuver, and have better fuel efficiency requiring fewer fill ups. Plus, as technology has advanced, many of them are super quiet eliminating that constant hum that often gives me a headache. Here are a few generators on the market today that have the power you need and the features you want to make your next RV trip awesome.

In this article, we’re going to review the following RV generators:

How Do RV Generators Compare?

Inverter versus Conventional Generators

It goes without saying that the RV Generator you want should work well with appliances and different types of electronics. If the power goes out or you are out in the wilderness, you know you will still need your smartphone to be fully charged in case of an emergency. Obviously, you want a stable power source that won’t damage your smartphone and an Inverter generator in comparison to a conventional generator is a safer choice. Look for a sine wave inverter generator to give you clean power that is safe just like the electricity you get out of your walls at home.

What to Look For When Shopping For The Best RV Generator

Fuel Type

The type of fuel your generator uses is a big consideration to keep in mind as it influences where you will be using your generator. Certain types of fuel are easier than others to obtain and you don’t want to be stuck with something you can’t start due to a lack of fuel.

Gas

More budget-friendly, gas is pretty cheap when you think about the other type of fuel options. It’s also easy to use and easy to get.

Propane

One thing I like about propane is that you can keep it forever which you can’t say about the other fuels. And, my favorite thing to consider, propane generators are quieter when you compare them to other generators.

Diesel

Great as far as fuel efficiency, diesel generators are also easy to main and operate.

Dual-Fuel

Running on both gas and propane, a dual-fuel generator is pretty handy when you think about it. If you run out of one type of fuel, easily switch to the other.

Solar

So, obviously this type of fuel saves you money since it is free. It’s also eco-friendly and silent as well as powers up low-wattage devices safely.

Power Requirements

The type of power needs that you have is based on the electronics and appliances you need to plug in and power. If you are camping, a 1000W generator should be enough for your smartphones, lights, and any small tools you need to use. If you are powering up an RV, a 3000W generator should be more than enough to air conditioners and appliances. When looking at power requirements, a good rule of thumb is more is better.

Noise

Measured in decibels, generators have rating levels on the noise they produce. This is a pretty serious issue and one of my pet peeves. Fortunately, manufacturers understand my irritation with noise and creatively work to adapt engines to make them quiet with some companies even using noise dampening systems.

A sixty decibel or lower generator rating is what I would recommend. At this level, you can easily have a conversation and won’t be annoying to your camping neighbors. As a power rating increases, so does its noise level, and that isn’t good. If you are more interested in power though, you may just have to suck it up and live with noise.

Portability

Moving a generator is not an easy thing so portability is a key consideration when choosing a generator. Portable generators tend not to be as bulky or heavy and can be moved by just one person. With adjustable handles and wheel, portable generators typically maneuver pretty easily.

Also linked to the power rating, portability can be comprised by more power with an increase in parts that make the generator bulkier. Moving them can become almost impossible so, in some situations, it is actually easier to hook up two small generators to double up your power. You can easily move the two small generators where you need them and still have the power you need.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency can save you time and money. Having the ability to adjust the speed of the engine to the load that is applied helps keep your generator running efficiently. For example, if you only connect a couple of light appliances, the speed of the engine is lowered automatically so you have less fuel consumption and your engine will only be set at full-throttle when necessary.

Features To Look for in an RV Generator

 

Outlets

Wall Outlets

Found on most generators, wall outlets typically come with two 120-volt walls outlets. More powerful generators can have more outlets so if you have a lot to plug in, buy a larger generator. If you will be using the generator in damp conditions, get GFCI outlets.

RV Outlet

For an RV, you will need a larger generator with a 30-amp outlet. Some RVs need an adaptor, so make sure you know what your generator will need run your RV.

120/240 Volt Outlet

An added locking 120/240 volt outlet is often found on larger generators that are good for large appliances and well pumps. Typically, they are only seen on 4000W generators.

Other Types of Outlets

  • Parallel adapter outlets
  • USB
  • 12-volt adapter
  • 240-volt non-locking outlet
  • Battery charger outlet

Parallel kits

Ideal for powering up RV’s, parallel kits let you connect two inverter generators so that you double your power. This saves you from having to purchase a larger generator which is also a pain to have to move around. It is much easier to move two smaller generators that only need to be connected to give you the same amount of power. And when you don’t need the extra power, you can go back to using just one generator to save on fuel.

Wheel Kits

This is a nice feature since not all generators come with wheels. Having wheels on a generator make them easier to move, especially over rough terrain. Always check that the wheels of the kit work on your model generator before buying.

Low Oil Shutoff

Another great feature is an automatic shut off when your motor oil gets too low. This will stop damage to the engine and save you money on repairs.

Electric and Remote Start

A pull cord is needed to start a standard generator, but if you have an electric start, you can turn on the motor with a key. This helps to get your motor started on a cold morning and is definitely worth the extra cost not to have to screw around with a heavy pull cord. This is an amazing feature. Just think about it, you can start the generator with a remote just like a car which is a great thing to have on a cold morning when you need to turn on the heat and don’t want to step outside.

 

Top 5 Best RV Generator Reviews

 

Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

The Honda EU2200i has one of the best features when it comes to generators, it is super quiet. You also get more power than the previous model along with easier maintenance and better performance. Of course, you had me at super quiet. A noisy generator is one of my biggest pet peeves when I’m parked next to an RV that has a generator I need to yell to be heard over. With this low-noise generator, your RV neighbors will thank you.
Outside of the campsite, this baby can also operate appliances which is a great feature for power outages, especially if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes. In that situation, it is possible to pair two of these together for double the amount of power to help get your house back up and operating. This smaller and lighter generator uses inverter technology that gives you reliable power that you can even use overnight.

The Honda EU2200i also can operate with the fuel supply off, how cool is that? It also has easy oil changes and is easy to clean with the large included spout and oil drain gutter. There are also color-coded startup points for those that need a little help with operation along with better ventilation that increases airflow and cools off important parts better. What else can I say but this is a great portable generator that is easy to use and comes in very handy during an emergency outage.

Pros:

  • Very portable and easy to use
  • Nice cutoff switch and additional watts of power
  • Great for power outages and powering an entire house

Cons:

  • Poor accessories and upgrades available
  • Have to do an oil change right after breaking it in since it retains residual factory debris in the oil
  • Expensive
>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

DuroStar DS4000S, Gas Powered Portable Generator

The DuroStar DS4000S gas portable generator is one of the top rated portable generator because it is powerful yet offers great value for money. It’s quite affordable compared to most generators of a similar power rating.
The DuroStar DS4000S delivers 4000 surge watts that stabilizes to 3300 running watts. This is enough power to run a few larger appliances, like a sump pump, small air conditioner and full-sized refrigerator.

Other useful features include a low oil shut-off that protects the engine from damage if it runs out of oil, as well as a fuel-efficient powerful air-cooled 7.0 horsepower engine with a forced air cooling system to prevent the engine from overheating.

I really like that it has 3 power outlets; Two 120V, 20-amp, 3-prong outlets and one 120-volt, 30-amp twist-lock outlet. The extra outlets come in handy if you have a lot of appliances to power up at the same time.

This DuroStar model is a mid-weight generator, weighing approximately 94 pounds and is relatively heavy to carry around so you may have to get a wheel kit at an extra cost.

If you want a powerful and reliable generator to have on hand, The DuroStar DS4000S gives you 8 hours of run time on one tank of gas. The DuroStar DS4000S is easy to operate and durable. However, my noise pet peeve is triggered by this generator. Even though it uses a quiet muffler to minimize the noise, it still produces 69 decibels. It’s a bit noisy, but if that doesn’t bother you, you will appreciate the value you get for the price.

Pros:

  • Perfect for camping and easy to use
  • Great price for the value you get

Cons:

  • A bit noisy, especially if you are in a campground setting
  • Pretty heavy to carry around and ‘optional’ wheel kit may be necessary
>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Westinghouse WGEN3600DF Portable Generator

Have I mentioned that I love a remote electric start? Westinghouse WGen3600DF Portable Generator features a remove with push-button electric start that quickly starts up when you are in range. Great for traveling or for a power outage, this compact and portable generator is ready for both an RV and camper that doesn’t require an adapter, it just plugs in and goes. This generator is powerful enough to power-up your entire RV including the fridge and the AC!

Another feature I love is dual fuel capabilities. With the Westinghouse, you can easily switch from gas to propane while your unit is actually operating. Anything that can make life easier is a fabulous feature as far as I am concerned. This is also an easy to maintain generator that shuts off automatically when the oil gets low and includes a fuel gauge that is built-in to make sure you have the best performance possible.

This is an upgraded Westinghouse product that now offers a handle and wheel kit that makes it more convenient and versatile to use. The control panel is also intuitive including several outlets that are RV ready. With minimal assembly, its chock full of great features that are handy anywhere you need it.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price for the power you get
  • Easy, straight forward assembly
  • Well-designed handle that lets you move it into position easily

Cons:

  • Some difficulty to switch fuel types
  • A little on the loud side if you are in a campground
>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

Champion RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start

Adding another electric start generator on our list, the Champion Power Portable Generator works off of propane or gas just like the Westinghouse. It does include a battery that powers the push button Touch Start features that include an internal battery charger that keeps your battery charge while the generator is running. This is a travel-ready generator great for RV’s and can power a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner.
If your power goes out, this is a handy unit that can power a modem, smartphone charger, refrigerator, lights, and sump pump. For those that live in hurricane-prone areas, you understand how important all these things are after a week without power. The Champion is both powerful and portable coming in handy for emergency situations with its reliable and strong steel frame, never-flat tires, and a folding handle so it is easy to maneuver.

The Champion also comes with safety features including a built-in surge protector called the Volt Guard that keep appliances safe from power surges. With straight forward assembly, this baby is ready to go right out of the box. Plus, it has my all-time favorite feature. It runs quietly.

Pros:

  • Straight forward assembly
  • Can go 100 hours between oil changes
  • Starts right up and not too loud when it is running

Cons:

  • Hard to change oil with poorly located
  • Little clearance under generator to catch oil in
>>Check price on Amazon<<

 

WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator

Our last generator also ranks up there in the quiet category which helps to win me over right there. The WEN 2,000 Watt Inverter Generator also creates clean energy that doesn’t include voltage drops and spikes that causes all that noise. This makes it a perfect generator for camping, hunting, tailgating, and not annoying your neighbors as you wait for your power to be restored.

With easy portability, the Wen is lightweight and only one gallon of fuel will give you over six hours of half-load run time. It also features a ton of plugs and a USB port which is always vital to have either camping or during a power outage. And, it has an Eco-Mode Throttle that adjusts the generator’s fuel consumption automatically to stop unnecessary usage of gasoline saving you money.

This unit will give you enough juice to keep your RV battery topped off and run a TV, lights and small appliances. However, if you plan on using the AC, I  would recommend you buy 2 units (which is still cheaper than the Honda EU2200i) and run them in parallel or buy a larger generator.

You can link two of these babies together to power even more appliances with the Parallel Connection Kit that is sold separately. Indicator lights tell you when you are low on fuel and oil and provide an automatic shutdown to safeguard your electronics and the generator. Again, great features with a super quiet generator, there isn’t too much more you can ask for.

If the ‘low noise’ factor is most important to you, check out the Wen and the Honda EU2200i going head to head and listen for yourself.

Pros:

  • A great economy mode that can self-adjust its fuel consumption
  • Easy to transport generator without spilling
  • Easy to start even when the generator was cold

Cons:

  • The generator itself is too high
  • Hard to put in fuel without spilling
>>Check Price on Amazon<<

Final Thoughts

The winner of the RV Generator Roundup is one of the quietest on the list. The WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator uses clean energy to maintain its low noise level making it a great generator to use for your RV, camping, hunting, or power outages. I love how lightweight the generator is and how easy it is to move around. Lots of outlets make it super user-friendly and also reduces the amount of arguing about who can plug in their phone charger. You also get a USB port which is super handy.

This unit will give you enough juice to keep your RV battery topped off and run a TV, lights and small appliances. However, if you plan on using the AC, I  would recommend you buy 2 units (which is still cheaper than the Honda EU2200i) and run them in parallel or get a larger generator like the Westinghouse WGen3600DF Portable Generator.

More power is always better, especially if you can do it in a way that is quiet with a machine that uses an Eco-Mode Throttle that stops the generator from wasting too much gas. Hands down, the winner of the RV Generator Roundup is the WEN 56200i Inverter Generator.

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