Generators are staples of the camping experience because they allow you to enjoy the modern luxuries of home in some of the most rustic and secluded places on earth, places far out of reach from the nearest power source! When determining the right generator for your RV, it will come down to finding a balance between the size and noise level as well as the fuel consumption and horsepower. Ultimately, the generator you select needs to be picked with consideration to your own unique camping tendencies and preferences. Contemplate the following factors to narrow down your selection and pinpoint the perfect generator for your RV!
Size & Weight
You can find full-sized RV generators designed to be installed directly onto your rig. These kinds of generators typically pack more power into a smaller unit, but this efficiency does come with a substantial price tag. If you are replacing a pre-existing generator already mounted in your rig, make sure the dimensions of your replacement will allow a proper fit. Portable generators, although not designed specifically for RVs, can be a great option when looking to power up off the grid. While they may be a bit noisier and bulkier than their RV-generator counterparts, you’ll probably like the price tag on these much more!
Wattage capacity is such an important factor to be aware of when looking to purchase a generator. If you buy a generator that doesn’t fulfill your RVing power needs, you won’t be able to power the devices you want to, and you’ll most likely find yourself dealing with frequent surges and blown fuses. To calculate your wattage needs, add up the wattage requirements of the accessories you want to power with your generator. These numbers can typically be pulled from a label, usually located on the back or on the bottom of the device. Once you determine your minimum wattage, you will know the wattage range for your desired generator. As a rough estimate, you can also follow the evaluation below:
- Up To 1000 Watts: Ideal for powering small appliances like lights and fans, electric razors, and gaming consoles.
- Up To 2000 Watts: Ideal for powering moderately large appliances like microwaves, heaters, and electric grills.
- More than 3000 Watts: Ideal for powering just about anything from A/C units to BTU furnaces, and they can power several devices simultaneously.
Generators can be powered off of a variety of fuel types. If your RV is a motorhome that operates off of gas, you should get a gas generator. If it runs off of diesel, get a diesel generator. Other than that, the fuel type you choose will largely be dependent upon your personal preference. Weigh the advantages of each against their disadvantages, and determine which one is most compatible with your travel tendencies. Propane boasts a great shelf life, diesel produces the most power, and gas is easily accessible at a variety of locations. If you plan to have your generator sit idle for long periods, be aware that gasoline and diesel break down over time and can gum up, causing damage to your generator.
Most people set out in their RVs envisioning tranquil days spent relaxing outdoors in the peace and quiet. But for anyone who has ever stood next to a running generator, you know they are anything but peaceful and quiet. Along with being annoying to you, you don’t want the obnoxious noise of your generator to be a nuisance to your campground neighbors either. Because of this, noise level is a factor you’ll want to pay attention to when shopping for your new generator. Decibel ratings can vary between what is listed by the manufacturer and what is actually outputted by the generator, so testing it in person before you buy can be one of the only ways to assess the noise level according to your own ears and tolerance.
Generators are suppose to make your life in the outdoors easier, but that doesn’t mean shopping for the right generator isn’t hard. Consider your needs, as well as your budget, and you should be able to narrow down a list of viable options until you find the generator that meets all of your RVing needs. What generator do you use when RVing? Leave us a comment and let us know!