Updated: Aug 1
Whether you're camping in an RV park or boondocking, an RV generator is a must-have on your trips. Here is a list of the best RV generators on the market.
An RV is your home away from home. From air conditioning, bathrooms, refrigeration, and bedrooms - an RV has it all. While there are a few options for powering your RV, one of the easiest and most cost-effective is an RV generator. Almost all RVs have a generator. RV generators specifically are engine-driven devices that run on fuel and generate AC power.
The power of RV generators varies, so it is very important that you find a generator for your RV that fits its needs and keep all your appliances running. There are a lot of options in the market and coupled with the trending technology, it may get overwhelming at times to decide on the best fit for you. As always, we have got your back. Check out our guide below to see which RV generator will work best for your RV.
RV Sizes and Wattage
The power of your appliances will also depend on the size of your RV, so it is very important to consider different RV classes. Take a look below to see the generator wattage commonly required in specific RV classes.
Class B RV: 2,000 to 3,600 watts (with one AC unit)
Class C RV: 2,800 to 4,000 watts (with one AC unit)
Class A RV: 5,500 to 8,000 watts (with two AC units)
Class A RV: 10,000 to 12,500 watts (with three AC units)
Fifth wheel: 5,500 to 7,000 watts (with two AC units)
What size generator for a 50-amp RV?
For a 50 amp RV, a generator with a minimum capacity of 12,000 watts (12 kW) is recommended to handle the higher electrical demands of the 50 amp power system and ensure all your appliances and devices can run smoothly.
What size generator for a 30-amp RV?
For a 30 amp RV, a generator with a minimum capacity of 3,600 watts (3.6 kW) is recommended to provide sufficient power for all your electrical needs while on the road.
Types of RV Generators
Whether you're in the market for a 50amp RV generator or a 30amp RV generator, you first need to decide what the generator is going to run on. Here are the different types of RV generators based on how they are powered.
1. Gasoline RV Generators: These generators run on regular gasoline, which is widely available and easy to refill. They are popular for their convenience, but they may consume more fuel and produce more noise compared to other types.
2. Propane RV Generators: Propane generators for RV use propane as their fuel source. Propane is often stored in onboard tanks or external cylinders, making it a clean and readily available option for RVers.
3. Diesel RV Generators: RV Diesel generators run on diesel fuel, which is efficient and offers better fuel economy compared to gasoline generators. Diesel is commonly used in larger RVs and motorhomes due to its energy efficiency.
4. RV Solar Generators: Solar generator for RVs utilizes solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, providing a clean and renewable energy source for your RV. They are eco-friendly, silent, and have minimal maintenance requirements, making them an excellent option for environmentally conscious RVers seeking off-grid power solutions.
5. Hybrid Generators: Some generators are designed to run on multiple fuel types, offering the flexibility to switch between gasoline, propane, and other fuels based on availability and convenience.
Each type of generator has its own advantages and considerations, so it's essential to choose the one that best suits your RV's needs and your preferred fuel source.
The Best RV Generators Based on RV Size
While portable RV generators can be convenient for some, their constant loading, unloading, connecting, and reconnecting can be equally tiresome for many. The Cummins Onan QG is a great alternative. It is a built-in RV generator that is easy to install and can be fitted perfectly. With its 2,800 wattage, it is perfect for small to medium-sized RVs, including HVAC. However, if the generator needs to be repaired, the unit will have to be uninstalled to be fixed. The Onan generators RV is also one of the most expensive RV generators, so be sure to budget your RV plans right!
Electric power: 2,800 watts
RV size recommended: small to medium RVs
True to its namesake, this RV generator is an excellent choice. The Champion generator can is a long-time runner and can run on both gasoline and propane. If you run it on gasoline, it will require a tank of 1.6 gallons for around 7.5 hours, while 20 pounds of liquid propane is enough to keep this generator running for 14.5 hours. Its starting power is 3,400 watts so it works well for medium to large-sized RVs. Yet for a generator of its power, it is a quiet RV generator with a noise level of 59 decibels at 23 feet. It can also be connected to a second unit, which can effectively double its power. However, this makes the Champion an expensive generator too.
Electric power: 3,400 watts
RV size recommended: Class B and Class C
This iGen4500 is manufactured by Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment, a brand with a large selection of generators that are liked and trusted by customers. The iGen4500 model has a remote start and also includes an LED data center with a rotating display that shows fuel level, power output, voltage output, remaining running time, and lifetime hours. This generator also has one of the longest run times in the market, with the ability to go up to 18 hours on a 3.4-gallon gas tank. It also operates quietly at 4,500 watts, is fuel-efficient, and offers good value for money.
Electric power: 4,500 watts
RV size recommended: Class A
This RV generator has made it to the top three on lists featuring the best 5,000 watts RV generators. It comes fully equipped to be operated on gas or liquid petroleum gas (LPG), making it one of the best propane generators for RVs in the market. Users can switch between fuels effortlessly and the approved LPG hose only makes the process easier. The Pulsar is also a great choice for RV campers because of its electronic starting feature, especially for starless camping nights or when temperatures fall low. If you are one of those campers who like taking off into the wilderness with your RV, then this generator’s portability will also be a great advantage. All you would have to do is throw an LPG can in your camper and let the Pulsar do the rest.
Electric power: 5,500 watts
RV size recommended: Class A RV (with two AC units), Fifth wheel
This Onan generator is one of the most powerful units on the market. It has some great high-tech features that suit large RVs well. It features a computer-controlled speed operation that enables a quiet diesel performance for larger RVs, and a three-point, fully focalized internal mounting system that reduces RV vibration. The Onan also has easy and accessible maintenance points and users have testified that its high-quality electrical output prevents damage to the RV’s electrical appliances. The generator runs on diesel and has got a special noise control system that encloses the cooling system and muffler, which comes in handy because this unit can run up to two or three rooftop ACs.
Electric power: 12,500 watts
RV size recommended: Class A RV (with three AC units)
If you're looking for a quiet RV generator that is portable and solar-powered, then look no further. This Generac RV generator can power a wide range of electronics, such as phones, refrigerators, sump pumps, laptops, drone batteries, power tools, and more, featuring integrated AC and 12V DC outlets, USB-A and USB-C ports, and a 15W wireless charging pad. With a recharge time of 0 to 80% in just 2.1 hours, this solar-powered generator for RV is lightweight, compact, and durable.
Electric power: 1000 watts
RV size recommended: Class B RV or to run smaller appliances
How to Build an RV Generator Box?
A generator RV box is an enclosure specifically designed to house and protect a generator. It is typically mounted on the exterior of the RV, providing a secure and weather-resistant compartment for the generator. The generator box RV helps to reduce noise and vibration while the generator is running, making it more convenient and comfortable for RVers.
The box also serves to safeguard the generator from external elements such as rain, dust, and debris, ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of the generator. Additionally, having a dedicated generator box frees up interior space inside the RV, making it more organized and efficient.
When choosing a generator box for your RV, ensure that it is compatible with the size and type of generator you own, and consider factors like ventilation, access points for maintenance, and the overall build quality to ensure the best fit and protection for your generator.
DIY RV Generator Box
Building a DIY generator box for your RV can be a rewarding project that provides a secure and organized space for your generator. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create your own custom generator box:
1. Plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
2. 2x4 lumber or metal brackets for framing
3. Hinges and latches for the door
4. Handle for easy access
5. Weather-resistant sealant or paint
6. Screws, nails, or fasteners
7. Drill and drill bits
8. Saw (circular saw or jigsaw)
9. Measuring tape
10. L-square or right-angle ruler
1. Measure and Plan: Measure the dimensions of your generator and decide on the size of the box you need. Sketch out a design for the box, considering the height, width, and depth to accommodate the generator and allow for ventilation and maintenance access.
2. Cut the Materials: Use the saw to cut the plywood or MDF pieces according to your measurements. You'll need six pieces for the sides, top, and bottom of the box.
3. Frame the Box: If using wood, build a simple frame using 2x4 lumber or metal brackets. This will provide structural support for the box. Attach the plywood or MDF pieces to the frame using screws or nails.
4. Create Ventilation: Depending on the type of generator and its ventilation requirements, cut or drill holes in the box to allow for proper airflow. You can install vents or mesh screens to prevent debris from entering.
5. Add the Door: Cut a piece of plywood or MDF for the door of the box. Attach hinges on one side and a latch or handle on the opposite side for easy access. Ensure the door fits securely and seals tightly when closed. You can also add an additional RV generator mount to the box to make sure the generator is protected and easily accessible.
6. Seal and Paint: Apply a weather-resistant sealant or paint to protect the box from moisture and environmental elements. This step will help extend the life of your DIY generator box.
7. Mounting: Determine the best location on your RV to mount the generator box. Use brackets or straps to secure the box firmly in place, ensuring it won't shift during travel.
8. Test and Final Adjustments: Test the generator inside the box to ensure it fits properly and functions without obstruction. Make any necessary adjustments to the door or ventilation if needed.
Remember to consult your RV's manufacturer guidelines and local regulations when building and mounting your DIY generator box. Safety and proper ventilation are crucial to ensure your generator operates safely and efficiently while preserving the integrity of your RV.
If you're in the market for a quiet generator for RV but don't want to settle on a smaller-sized generator, here is how you can build a 'quiet-box' for the generator.
RV generators are essential RV accessories. Whether you use them to power your RV, keep them as backup emergency equipment, or use them for off-the-grid camping, RV generators are undoubtedly useful. That is why when you are shopping for the generator that’s best for your RV, be sure to consider its performance stats carefully and choose one that fits the needs and size of your RV well. This guide will help you make the right choice, so get to shopping!