Best Generator for RV Camping Buyer’s Guide
The main thing you’ll need to consider as you contemplate the purchase of a best generator for RV camping for your needs is the size of generator you’ll need, measured in watts of electricity.
As you might suspect, your wattage needs will vary with the type of RV you’ll be driving into the great outdoors. For a Class B van-style RV, plan on purchasing a generator that can produce between 2,000 watts and 4,000 watts of power.
Moving up in size, a Class C RV, a van-style camper that’s a little larger than a Class B vehicle, will need a generator that can produce 3,000 watts to 4,000 watts.
And if you’ll be spending time in the countryside in a Class A motorhome-style RV, your choice will depend largely on the number of air-conditioning units in your vehicle. For two air conditioners, plan on a 6,00 watt to 8,000 watt generator. For three air conditioners, you’ll need a generator rated at 10,000 to 13,000 watts.
And finally, for a tow-behind fifth-wheel RV, you should consider a 5,000-watt to 7,000-watt generator as the best generator for RV camping.
Also as you look for your best generator for RV camping, you’ll want to consider its weight and its portability, as it’s possible you’ll have to move it around when you get to your campsite to keep it away from other campers and out of areas that will likely see a lot of foot traffic. Many generators come equipped with wheels and handles for easy maneuverability.
For both your own enjoyment of the great outdoors, and out of consideration for other RV campers who may be nearby, to say nothing of the wildlife in the vicinity, the noise level associated with any generator that you’re considering as a best generator for RV camping for your needs should be a prime consideration in your purchase.
Sound is measured in decibels (dBs), and most, if not all, generator manufacturers will include information on the dB levels of their machines in the descriptions of their products. As a general guideline for your RV generator shopping, an audible whisper will register at 25 dB, normal conversation ranges from 60 to 70 dB, and a vacuum cleaner runs at about 75 dB.
On the upper end of the decibel scale, a lawnmower operates at 107 dB, and the noise level at 100 feet away from a jet engine is 140 dB. So, a best generator for RV use should fall somewhere between 25 dB and 70 dB, recognizing that noise can be limited somewhat by locating the generator away from your campsite
Best Generator for RV Camping Frequently Asked Questions
We’re sure that as you consider the purchase of a generator to expand the possibilities for your RV adventures that you’ll have a number of questions. Read on for some guidance as you look for the best generator for RV camping to fit your budget and other needs.
What’s the difference between surge watts and running watts for a generator?
As you work to make a decision on a best generator for RV camping for your particular style and patterns of being in the great outdoors, you’ll hear two terms that reference the power provided by any given generator.
Briefly, the surge watts (also called starting watts) of a generator refer to the power it can produce in a short burst while the generator is starting up. Running watts refers to the amount of power provided by the generator to your campsite during its normal operation.
Will generator power damage my electronic devices?
The power coming from a generator is different from the power that comes to your home through the electrical grid, and you’ll need to take some care when choosing your best generator for RV camping that it won’t damage sensitive electronic devices such as your cellphone, tablet, or TV.
Generator power produces something called “total harmonic distortion” (THD) that can damage sensitive electronics, but with the proliferation of those devices, generator manufacturers have taken steps to reduce THD issues connected with their products.
Still, you’ll want to check the THD specifications for any generator you might be considering as a best generator for RV camping suited to your particular needs. Any generator with a THD rating of 5% or less should be OK to use with your sensitive electronics.
What are the maintenance requirements for a generator?
When you choose a best generator for RV camping for your outdoor adventures, you should be aware that it will need regular maintenance to be reliable and available for use over the long term.
As a first step in ensuring your generator remains in top operating condition, remember to change the oil regularly. A recommended oil-change schedule is to do your first oil change after your generator has operated for 30 hours, and then to change the oil after every 100 hours of operation.
Your generator’s spark plugs and air filter also will need regular attention, and should be changed after every 200 hours of operation. But to ensure the best performance from you generator, you might want to change the plugs and filter at the beginning of every camping season.
Also, while your generator is in storage, you’ll want to be sure its gas tank is empty. To do that, add a gas stabilizer to the fuel remaining in your tank before it is stored away for the off-season, then run the generator until it is out of fuel.
Wrapping up the Best Generator for RV Camping This Year
As a final reminder, our choice for the best generator for RV camping this year is the Westinghouse iGen 4500. Of course, your own particular circumstances will determine which of our recommendations could work as a best generator for RV use for your camping style.
For more on keeping your RV powered up, check out our recommendations for the best RV battery.