Best Portable Generators for RVS 2018: Buying Guide
- Best Portable Generators for RVS 2018: Buying Guide
- Do I need a portable generator?
- How do portable generators work?
- Are all portable generators inverter generators?
- How many generator watts will I need to run the appliances in my RV?
- How much do portable generators weigh?
- How loud are portable generators?
- How can I store my portable generator while traveling?
- Can I plug multiple RVs on a single portable generator?
- Top 5 Best Portable Generators for RVs
- 5 Rockpals 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
- 4 DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator
- 3 Champion 76533 Portable Generator
- 2 DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator
- 1 Champion 75537i Portable Generator
- A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Portable Generators for RVs
- Things to Consider
Live a nomad lifestyle without sacrificing the conveniences and comfort of modern appliances by investing in a portable generator for your RV. Make your next road trip or camping trip the best one yet and see which of our recommended generators will best suit your needs.
Do I need a portable generator?
If you want to enjoy camping or road trips without giving up some of the comforts of modern life and if you don’t have any other way to charge your RV batteries, then yes.
Having a portable generator for your RV is also a great backup for emergency situations when you can’t connect to a campground’s outlet to power your appliances. While you may enjoy the rustic life of the outdoors, it’s really hard to leave all the conveniences that electricity offers.
How do portable generators work?
These handy inventions can supply you with electricity by using a gas-powered engine to transform energy into electricity. You can then access this output through the built-in outlets on its body.
As its name implies, portable generators are meant to be taken from place to place as opposed fixed-placed and bigger generators.
Are all portable generators inverter generators?
No. But we recommend that you only consider inverter type portable generators if you’re primarily using the unit during camping trips. Inverter generators tend to be quieter than other types. Your camping neighbors will appreciate you not disturbing their time with a loud generator.
Inverter generators supply power to 120 volt A/C outlets which are similar outlets to the ones you find in your home.
How many generator watts will I need to run the appliances in my RV?
This depends on what appliances you need or want to run during your trip. But the make or break decision is often made by whether you have an air conditioner on board or not.
Most 3000-Watt portable generators would be enough to supply power to a 13,500 BTU air conditioner.
To compute how much power you may need, list down all your appliances and research how many watts it would take to start and run them.
How much do portable generators weigh?
While most portable generators come with convenient wheels to easily transport it from place to place, you’ll still need to do some lifting whenever you take it in or out your RV.
A generator weight usually comes up along with its wattage. For example, a 2000W portable generator weighs around 50 pounds while a 3000W one can weigh as heavy as over a hundred pounds.
How loud are portable generators?
To be considerate of your fellow campers, sticking with quieter inverter type portable generators is a must.
These generators definitely won’t disturb your campground’s peace as they tend to top at around 60 dB (as loud as a regular conversation) when operating. There are even models who can go as quiet as around 45 dB (just above a whisper).
How can I store my portable generator while traveling?
To keep your vehicle, your family and your generator safe, refrain from storing your portable generator in the basement area of your RV. Remember that these generators are powered by gas fuel which can be dangerous if it accidentally leaks. Some people opt for placing their generators on the trailer hitch part of their RV using a platform.
You should also consider getting your generator some protecting cover to keep it safe from the elements whenever it’s being used outside the RV. You don’t want it getting wet from slight drizzles or heating more than it should under the sun.
Can I plug multiple RVs on a single portable generator?
Yes. So if you’re traveling with a big family or a group of friends, you can all simultaneously access power from a portable generator.
Just be reminded that since the outflow of power would be greater, your generator’s runtime would be shorter than what it would be if you’re the only one using it. If you’re going for this setup, we recommend that you invest in a high power generator maybe the ones around 5000W.
Top 5 Best Portable Generators for RVs
Here are five of the best portable generator for RVs we can recommend to you.
5 Rockpals 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator
The Rockpals 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is a small but efficient device to take with you on long road and camping trips.
It has an impressive running time of 12 hours and operates quietly at just 58 dB. It has a starting power of 2000 Watts and a running power of 1600 Watts.
But what sets it apart from other portable generators in its range is its abundance of safety features such as a built-in shock absorption system and an automatic cooling system.
4 DuroStar DS4000S Portable Generator
If you want a more high power option, the DuroStar DS4000S may be worth a look.
This 4000 Watts portable generator is a solid device that would surely survive with you in the great outdoors. It has a heavy duty steel frame that can withstand just about any terrain or weather condition.
It can run for up to eight hours at 50% load and has a running power of 3300 Watts enough to run most air conditioning units to keep your RV cool on hot summer days or nights on the road.
3 Champion 76533 Portable Generator
This Champion portable generator’s main selling point is its flexible two-fuel capability as it can be powered by either gas or propane. Though it is worth noting that using propane would knock off some Watts in your generator’s running power (from 3800 Watts down to, a still powerful, 3420 Watts).
Another great thing about this device is that it is fuel efficient. A 3.4 gallon of gas fuel can power it for up to 8 hours at 50% load while a 20-pound propane tank can last for up to five and a half hours.
2 DuroMax XP4400E Portable Generator
The DuroMax XP4400E is one of the best portable generators in the market considering its power and modern features.
It can easily power heavy duty appliances in your RV such as a 13,500 BTU air conditioner as well as high power tools. It can run for up to 8 hours straight on one load of four gallons of gas fuel.
1 Champion 75537i Portable Generator
Although not as high power as the others on this list, the Champion 75537i is still a worthy consideration. For one, it can run for as long as other generators while using less gas.
At 3100 Watts, it’s a mid-size generator with similar features as bigger models making it a suitable companion during your travels on the road. What more, its built-in wheels make it easier to move around when needed.
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Portable Generators for RVs
Still unsure of which specific portable generators to buy for your RV? Narrow down your choices further by considering the following factors when canvassing or shopping through viable contenders.
Things to Consider
Fuel type: Although gas is the traditional fuel type used in generators because of its reliability and it being widely available, other choices such as propane and solar energy have also become popular over the years because they are more environment-friendly. However, be reminded that propane and solar provides less power, so our recommendations are mostly gas-powered.
Runtime: Some portable generators will run for as short as just five hours of use while some can last up to 24 hours. You may cheat these runtimes by just refueling your unit and running them again. We don’t recommend this though as it can damage your unit. It’s a good idea to let it cool off in between uses to keep it in top shape.
Power (Starting & Running): As you’ve probably guessed, this pertains to the amount of power a portable generator can generate during startup and how much it can put out continuously as it runs. You’ll easily find this information on the labels of the generator models. Knowing these would help you determine if a generator can accommodate all of the appliances you need to be powered. But keep in mind that it’s recommended that you stay 10% below the maximum to prevent wearing down your generator.
Weight: As mentioned above, this would depend on the wattage of the generator you pick. Remember that you would have to haul your generator now and then to store it in your RV so buying the lightest one possible without compromising your other criteria is ideal.
Power-saving Mode/ Eco-mode: This feature can either be a good or bad one depending on how you’ll eventually use it. We recommend that you only use this in dire situations and in only short bursts to keep your generator safe from damage.
Warranty: No product is perfect and having a warranty can protect your investment in a portable generator when it malfunctions.