No matter how many annual trips you take in your RV, whether it is less than five per year or many more, purchasing a generator can be a great investment to keep your refrigerator running, powering your coffee pot, charging up your smartphone, laptop or tablet and make the RV experience much more enjoyable.
What is the best inverter generator for RV use for you? We have our recommendations below with the criteria we stuck to being reliable and great value for the money, lighter weight for true portability, quiet operation so you donâ€™t annoy your neighbors, and enough power to run most everything you have or option for parallel connection to power everything.
What is an Inverter Generator?
Before we get to our recommendations, letâ€™s start with just what is an inverter generator and why are they better? You might know that there are two types of electrical power, direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC).Â
Alternating current (AC) is the power you typically get from a wall outlet and powers our smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other small appliances.Â
An inverter generator produces an alternating current (AC) then converts it to direct current (DC) and then back to AC before supplying it to your RV. An inverter generator does this to eliminate the risk of electrical surges, which is characterized as clean power.Â A non-inverter generator will produce power with voltage spikes characterized as, you guessed it, dirty power. The fluctuating current can harm your electronic devices and appliances.
An inverter generator also saves fuel by increasing power based on demand, typically running at a lower engine RPM over time, which saves fuel and reduces the operating noise. AÂ traditional generator operates at full tilt and almost always much louder, as a result.Â
Finally, lower emissions are a natural by-product and further benefit of a more fuel efficient inverter generator.
How to Choose the Best RV Generator
That is the intent and aim of this article, to help you pick the best generator for your needs. We are only reviewing and recommending portable inverter generators that are ideal for RV travel and camping.Â
Starting with power, many RVers can get by with a 2,000-3,000 watt generator to power a mini-fridge, TV, coffee maker, toaster, or blender, and if you need to run several of these simultaneously, while also supplying power to a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Check your appliance badging for wattage requirements or there are many online power calculators available online that will help you determine how much wattage you will need.
If you have or want to operate an air-conditioner, you will want to consider a generator that supplies 3,500 watts or more, although larger generators become less portable. A work around solution is to connect two smaller generators together to increase available power. Many RV generators have parallel jacks allowing an additional unit to be connected via a cable or kit that is typically sold separately.Â
All generators operate with surge watts or peak mode and then as continuous watts or running mode. Peak watts are the maximum power supplied in one short burst, often to start an appliance.Â Continuous watts or running mode is the amount of power that a generator will sustain over a long period of time.
For noise level, a quiet generator makes for a more enjoyable outdoor living experience and make will sleeping more restful at night. Speaking of nighttime, a quiet generator is also something to consider when arranging your stay at RV and campground sites as they may have overnight noise level restrictions.
The type of fuel and size of the fuel tank are also important factors to consider for calculating a generator’s running time. Most inverter generators operate on gasoline with dual fuel generators providing an option to also run on propane.
Is aÂ Generator Required for RV Travel?
While there are advantages and benefits to having a generator, not everyone actually needs a generator. If you always (or almost always) spend your time at campsites with electric hookups, you probably can get by with the supplied shore power. Other considerations to not get a generator include the following:
Generators can be noisy. With that though, we recommend choosing aÂ quiet generator, which we highlight below.
Portable generators require fuel, of course, and can be heavy.Â Between the generator weight and carrying additional fuel, you will add 80-100 more pounds. We specifically have listed portable generators weighing no more than 55 pounds and most being under 50 pounds.
Finally, generators emit carbon monoxide and odors. Itâ€™s crucial to be aware of where you place your generator (not under a window) and in what direction it will exhaust the emissions. This is especially crucial in campgrounds with small spaces and close proximity.
The Best Inverter Generators for RV Use – Our Recommendations
The Champion 200961 2500 watt portable inverter generator is a dual fuel generator, using either gas or propane to run.Â
Output: 2,500 watts peak and 1,850 watts continous (running)
Noise Level: 53 dBÂ
Weight: 39 lbs
Other notes: Dual fuel, parallel ready, up to 34 hrs on propane (@1665 watts)
The Pulsar PG2200BiS inverter generator delivers a peak power ofÂ 2,200 watts (2,000 watts on LPG) with 1,800 watts on or 1,600 watts on propane through an 80cc, 3Hp 4-stroke engine,
Engine noise is quiet at 60 dB, is parallel connection ready, and includes a USB port to charge a phone or laptop. The 1.18-gallon tank provides a run time of up to 8 hours at half load.
Power: 2,200 watts peak and 1,800 running on gas or 1,600 watts on LPG
Noise Level: 60 dB
Weight: 47 lbs
Other notes: Dual Fuel for gasoline or propane operation, parallel ready, USB port and 1.8-gallon fuel tank
WEN 56225i Portable Inverter Generator is one of the best overall inverter generators for RV use. It produces quality clean power for all your electronics and a great value given the power output for the money. It can produce a peak power of 2250 watts with 1,800 watts of running power. Very quiet at 53 dBâ€™s, very manageable at 48.5 lbs, and also features two USB ports to charge multiple devices at once.Â
Output: 2,250 watts peak and 2,000 watts continuous
Noise Level: 53 dBÂ
Weight: 48.5 lbs
Other notes: Parallel connection ready, two USB ports, economy setting to maximize fuel economy.Â
The A-iPower SUA2000iD 2000 watt dual fuel portable inverter generator makes it on to our list for being a great value with dual fuel capabilities and a power output of 2,000 watts peak and 1,600 watts running on gas or 1,500 watts running on propane.Â
Parallel ready with a set of parallel cables to connect to another A-iPower SUA2000iD to double the available power. Runs quietly at 52 decibels (dB) and is easily managed at 55 lbs.
Output: 2,000 watts peak and 1,600 wattsÂ on gasoline or 1,500 watts LPG running
Noise Level: 52 dBÂ
Weight: 55 lbs
Other notes: dual fuel, parallel ready,Â USB port,Â
The Pulsar G2319N inverter generator provides up to 2,300 watts of peak power and 1,800 watts running. Engine noise is low at 59 dB. Itâ€™s very portable and manageable at 47 pounds. Its parallel capability and ready to increase available power
Power: 2,300 watts peak, 1,800 watts running
Noise Level: 59 dB
Weight: 47 lbs
Other Notes: USB port, 1.18-gallon fuel tank,Â parallel ready, gasoline only
Â The Jackery Portable Power Station 300 is the final entry on our list to highlight a very capable and very portable, super light generator is sometimes preferred.Â
Produces 300 watts of power, enough to charge a phone, laptop, camera, drone multiple times or run a mini-fridge, fan, or TV. Easily managed at only 7.1 pounds.
Eco-friendly and runs off a 293Wh lithium-ion battery pack charge through your car’s cigarette lighter or through an AC adaptor and plug into a wall socket at home.Â Multiple ways to recharge including a wall socket, car adaptor, or optional solar panel.
Power: 300 watts max
Weight: 7.1Â lbs
Noise Level: 0 dB
Other notes: Eco-friendly, multiple ways to charge
From our recommendations, we trust there is a portable inverter generator that will fit your needs and your budget. We put the time into our research to select the best inverter generator for RV use to provide some guidance to you. There are many choices available although we believe you canâ€™t go wrong with any of these generators on this list. You can certainly find a more powerful generator that will weigh more, have a higher noise level, and most likely, a higher price tag.Â Thank you for reading and happy travels.