So, you’ve finally decided to buy an RV and fulfill all your camping dreams, and you simply can’t wait to hit the road.
Now, we know that camping in an RV takes you as close to nature as you can go without entirely giving up on the comforts of modern living. But what will you do when the weather outside turns into more than what you can handle? What if your batteries run out and there are no power sources around?
Thankfully, you have generators — the reason that you can turn your RV into a haven that gives you all the comfort, whenever and wherever you need it.
If you haven’t bought a generator yet, then let this article convince you to get one!
Short answer, go with a 3,000-to-3,600-watt generator. However, your choice will depend on a number of factors. If you are an experienced camper, then you must already know this. If not, then keep reading to understand which factors to look for when choosing a generator for your RV.
How do you buy a generator when you don’t know anything about them? Well, that’s the very reason we wrote this guide. Let’s start with the basics first.
The power or energy used by any electrical device is measured in Watts. This measurement gives you an idea about how much energy capacity the generator you buy should have. If you use one with a lower output, then you may not be able to run any device at all, while buying a generator with excessive wattage is just an unnecessary expense. This means, to make an efficient purchase, you need to know a little about wattage, its necessity, and how it works.
Let’s take a look at the wattage requirements of some commonly used appliances in the list below.
Laptop: 250 watts to start and run
Refrigerator: 600 watts to start, 180 to run
Microwave: 1000 watts to start and run
13,500 btu AC: 1600 watts to start, 1200 to run
Induction cooktop: 1800 watts to start and run
Space heater: 1500 watts to start and run
Blow dryer: 1800 watts to start and run
TV: 190 watts to start and run
Coffee maker: 600 watts to start and run
The possibility of unpredicted environmental changes is high when you are out camping in unknown terrain. Though it rarely happens, the obvious solution often involves you staying inside your RV for a while.
In such a case, low wattage means you can’t use your devices efficiently. But that’s a minor inconvenience. Not having enough wattage can be dangerous if you get stuck in a storm and need to use the heater or AC but can’t because of low wattage.
Therefore, buying a generator with enough wattage should be the priority. The right generator will also reduce damage to the devices and ensure they run smoothly.
How do you calculate the wattage needed?
First, you list down your needs and sort out appliances you will be using daily and those you need for an emergency. The rest of the items can go in another unpredictable usage list.
What you also need to remember is the wattage used up when powering up a device is higher than the wattage used when running it.
You can check the list of watt draws of appliances (given above) to calculate the wattage each device will require (to both start and run). Look at the most wattage required by a single device; it will give you a starting range for total wattage capacity and the addition of all the devices should give you the maximum range you require.
This range is the average amount of wattage capacity you should look for in a generator. However, most RVs have a maximum running range of 3,600 watts, but your RV will function fine with a power supply of a 3,000 watts generator too.
Remember, the maximum range doesn’t mean you will use all of the devices at once. What this means is, in case you decide to run all the appliances at the same time, then your RV will need a maximum of 3,600 watts.
But that won’t be necessary at all! So, you only need to buy a generator that fits this capacity, and you’re good to go.
There may be times when you need to run multiple heavy-consumption devices at once. If the addition of all those watts exceeds the single capacity of a generator, then you may want to buy a generator with a larger capacity.
And even though generators with more capacity are available, we’d suggest you consider buying two generators with parallel running capacity.
If you’re wondering why, we have a few reasons.
Cost: At the same price, you get extra wattage with two generators.
Size: Increased capacity means increased weight and size as well. Instead, why not just buy two easy-to-carry generators. With two generators, you can leave one home and reduce half the weight.
However, remember to check whether the generator is designed to be used simultaneously with another. Parallel connection generators are easy to set up and will only require an additional cable to connect them.
To find out how much noise a generator would create, take a look at the decibel range it has. This will tell you the noise you should expect.
Most generator models these days come in a decibel range of 49–70. You can take a look at the list below to see the common activities in this decibel range.
Washing machine: 70 dB
AC: 60 dB
People conversing: 60 dB
Hair dryer: 50 dB
Refrigerator: 40 dB
Library: 30 dB
Keep an eye out for the decibel value in the product description to see which generator will allow you to sleep peacefully and which will give you a headache the next morning.
Fuel types depend on the cost, RV, shelf life, etc. But most importantly, you buy a generator that runs on the same fuel type your RV does because this increases their efficiency together. Following are the types of fuels commonly used in RVs.
Gas: Gas is easy to find anywhere you go, making it an obvious choice.
Diesel: Diesel gives maximum power when used with both the generator and the RV.
Propane: A propane tank will carry fuel according to its size. They are better for the environment as the emissions are clean and also have a better shelf life than the other two. But propane may be difficult to find and could become a hassle for those relaxed campers who don’t want the fuss of looking for fuel on a trip.
Dual-Fuel Generators: They are quite expensive but better because they can be switched between when needed. You get a combined fuel tank that doesn’t need more space to store.
Most generators will be on the heavier side. Using them casually and lifting them might not be possible for everyone. So, your best bet is to buy one with a good handle that has a comfortable grip and durable wheels that make moving it around smooth, if not light.
This is not necessarily a factor, but the altitude you are camping at will change the needs of your generator.
No, you don’t have to buy a new generator. All you need to do is change the adjustments so the generator runs on less power. The generator settings change due to the lower oxygen content at such high-altitude areas. Don’t worry, your devices will run just fine.
If you want to buy the best outdoor, patio, garden, or RV generators, then you cannot go wrong with this generator.
The biggest feature of the Honda Super Quiet Generator is that it gives you a wattage capacity of 6,000 watts. That is more than enough for regular and unexpected consumption. You can use your laptop, fridge, microwave, TV, and your AC on its power supply with no problem.
It is also available in color options of red and black. If you’re trying to find one that goes well with any RV, then buy the black one.
It uses gasoline fuel and has a tank volume of 3.4 gallons that runs the RV for a good 20 long hours with a normal load. If you value fuel-efficient vehicles, then its eco throttle will be your favorite feature.
It’s the best generator for those who prefer to enjoy nature and its many sounds. With a noise level between 49 to 58 dB, your neighbors won’t even know you’re there!
The 144 pounds are not ideal to carry around and are the only feature that you need to manage. But it is still perfectly portable due to the wheels and handle on the generator.
There is also an oil alert feature that protects the generator by shutting off its engine whenever oil levels go too low. It is a safe generator to use if you’re worried about circuit damage due to overloading.
The generator also protects your devices with its advanced inverter technology. The inverter will work to stabilize power consumption and provide clean energy for your use.
If you need more capacity than its 6,000 watts supply, then don’t look for a new generator. Just order two of these as they are equipped to parallel connect. This generator will support you on all your trips and be there when you want to retreat to a world of comfort and technology inside your RV.
Quiet, fuel-efficient, heavy-duty, and parallel connection available.
Heavy and expensive.
This is a good generator that’ll support you with ample energy supply and will stay in perfect condition for a long time. If you want to buy or recommend a generator for your RV or outdoor activities, then you can end your search here.
The amperage is a measurement of the intensity of energy/power the RV needs to run or charge the appliances connected to it. Most RVs have either a 30 amp or 50 amp option to choose from. Let’s look at both types in detail.
30 Amp: A 30-amp RV will use a 30 amp breaker. The device will have a three-pronged plug with a 120V wire, a neutral wire, and a ground wire. This gives you a total of 3,600 watts of intensity 120 Volts multiplied by 30 amp.
50 Amp: A 50 amp RV will use a 50 amp breaker. It has a four-pronged plug, of which two are 120 Volt wires and the other two include a neutral and a ground wire. The two 120V wires give you a combined 12,000 watts 240 Volts multiplied by 50 amp.
But what would you need the added power for?
The extra power allows you to run multiple devices at once, including devices with heavy watt consumption. It is perfect for those who like to camp but don’t like the idea of being too far away from technology.
Yes, you can but it’s not advisable to do so.
Let me explain why.
A 50 amp RV requires more energy to run than what the 30 amp generator can supply. A 30 amp generator has a maximum of 3,600 watts output, whereas the 50 amp RV can support a total of 12,000 watts. This means the RV will try to pull more energy, which will cause the generator’s circuit breaker to trip.
But if you turn around the wattage, with a 30 amp RV and a 50 amp generator, then it should work fine. You can use them together with the help of an adapter.
If you’re buying a new generator, buy one that is best compatible with your RV to avoid any issues later.
Does all this information confuse you?
Are you a little worried about how little you know about RV generators?
Well, that can happen when there is so much information to remember.
But if you just want to buy a trustworthy generator that’ll have your back, but don’t want to get into the details too much, then go ahead and buy the Honda Super Quiet Generator. It is reliable in most situations you’d encounter while RV-ing. All you need to do is regularly check its oil and other filters.
Besides, you will have plenty of opportunities to learn the details of RVs and generators on your trip. Get your RV on the road — no more putting off that trip you’ve been wanting to take!