The 6 Best Portable Generator for RV Camping

Best Portable Generator for RV Camping

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When boondocking, a portable generator is the most reliable source of power.

Sure, a good RV solar system can do a bit of lifting, but you’ll be at the mercy of the weather.

Whereas, with the right size RV generator, you have an on-demand power source that can power your RV irrespective of the weather or time.

However, finding the best portable RV generator can be a difficult task, especially if you’re a beginner.

There is a lot to consider.

Well, in this article, I have compared the six best portable generators for RV camping. I will also be going over the most important factors to consider when buying your very first portable generator.

In the end, I’ll answer the most common questions related to portable generators for RVs and camping.

But, before that, let’s take a look at a birds-eye view of the portable generators we have lined up for this comparison.

Overview of the 6 Best Portable Generator for RV Camping

#1 Best Overall: WEN 56225i Inverter Generator
This is the perfect package between price and performance that is ideal for seasoned campers.

#2 Best Inverter: Honda EU2200i Portable Generator
The most reliable portable unit on this list that produces clean power and runs super quiet.

#3 Best Dual Fuel: Champion 3400 Watt Inverter Generator
A powerful generator that hands you the freedom and versatility to run on either gasoline or propane.

#4 Best 30 Amp: Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Generator
A reliable source producing sufficient power to keep your 30 amp RV functioning.

#5 Best 50 Amp: Firman H08051 RV Ready Generator
The most powerful generator on this list produces about 10000 watts to power those big rigs.

#6 Best Solar Power Station: Jackery Explorer 1000
A portable power station for those pop-up types of campers that is ideal for indoor use.


6 Best Portable RV Generator Reviews

In this section, I’ll tell you why these portable generators are the best for RVs and boondocking.

These portable generators will work on most applications but are best suited for a specific task.

Most are inverter generators, many quiet, some dual fuel, and a few RV Ready.

Read on for the detailed reviews and ratings.

01. WEN 56225i Super Quiet 2250-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

WEN 2250 Watt Inverter Generator
Produces clean power
Good fuel economy
Super quiet and lightweight
Small fuel tank

A list of the best portable generators for RV camping will be incomplete if you don’t check out the WEN 56225i Inverter Generator.

This inverter generator produces 2250 starting and 1800 running watts. This is enough power to run an 11000 BTU RV air conditioner.

The power produced is clean, meaning you can safely charge and use your sensitive electronics like phones, laptops without damaging them.

With the 1-gallon fuel tank (gasoline), you can get up to 6 hours of runtime at 50% load making it fuel-efficient.

The dedicated fuel shut-off switch runs the carburetor and fuel line dry before the engine shuts off. This prevents fuel from gumming up and keeps the generator ready for the next season after a long break.

With 54 dBA at 25% load, this is one of the quietest portable generators for camping. You can confidently run the generator in the most congested campground without disturbing anyone.

Additionally, the Eco-Mode feature controls the motor speed depending on the load, further reducing fuel consumption and noise.

In terms of weight, this is also one of the lightest portable generators on this list. With a weight of 48.5 lbs, you can effortlessly move it around the campsite.

The WEN 56225i is parallel-ready. Meaning you can connect two WEN generators to increase your total power output if the need arises.

All you need is a WEN Parallel Connection Kit like the WEN 56421.

However, the downsides of this generator are its small fuel tank and it’s not RV Ready. You need a NEMA 5-20P to TT-30R adapter to plug your RV into the generator.

Overall, the WEN 56225i has made the list of the best portable inverter generator for RV because of its overall performance and price. This is a good purchase for campers who go camping a few times a year.

View the WEN 56225i PDF product manual here.

Noise Level: 54 dB(A) @ ½ Load | Dry Weight: 48.5 lbs | Output Wattage: 2250W Starting, 1800W Running | Fuel Tank Capacity: 1 gallons | Run Time/Tank: 6 Hours @ ½ Load


02. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
Most reliable portable inverter generator
Lightweight and compact design
The quietest portable generator
Very expensive price tag

If you’re in the market for the most reliable inverter generator for your camper trailer, then check out the Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator.

To begin with, this 2200 watt inverter generator produces 1800W clean running power. This is sufficient electricity to run a small 11000 BTU RV AC or a microwave and a few low draw appliances.

At 47 lb, this is the lightest inverter generator on this list. It is also the quietest camping generator producing 48 decibels, making it virtually silent on the campground.

The compact and lightweight design makes storing and maneuvering a piece of cake.

With a low fuel capacity of 0.95 gallons, you can expect to run for over 8 hours non-stop. The economy mode calculates the load and throttles the engine accordingly, extending the run time further.

The fuel shut-off lets the engine run the carburetor dry, thus preventing stale fuel issues. Connect to the generator with a smartphone app (ios and android) using bluetooth to monitor the generator from inside your RV.

The generator also comes with a low oil shut-off system which prevents engine damage and notifies when engine oil is low. A Carbon-monoxide sensor turns off the engine if there is an increase in the CO level.

However, the main downside for me is its price. It’s the most expensive portable generator on this list. Plus, you need a NEMA 5-20P to TT-30R adapter to connect the generator to your 30 amp RV.

Additionally, you’re not getting an electric start for the premium price you pay.

Overall, if you have the budget and want the most reliable inverter generator for your RV, then the Honda EU2200i is undoubtedly for you. It’s a good purchase for full-time RVers and weekend campers.

View the Honda EU2200i PDF product manual here.

Noise Level: 48 dB(A) @ ¼ Load | Dry Weight: 47.4 lbs | Output Wattage: 2200W Starting, 1800W Running | Fuel Tank Capacity: 0.95 gallons | Run Time/Tank: 8.1 Hours @ ¼ Load


03. Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Champion 3400 Dual Fuel Inverter Generator
Option to run it on either gas or LPG
Quiet and runs longer, especially on propane
Powerful and parallel ready
It’s a high ticket item

When it comes to dual-fuel RV generators, the Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator is at the top of the list.

To begin with, this hybrid portable generator can run on two different types of fuel; gasoline and propane. This gives you the freedom to use the type of fuel that is readily available around your campsite.

Additionally, propane has a longer shelf life and burns cleaner compared to gasoline. Fuel selection is as easy as turning the fuel selection dial to the appropriate fuel type, and you’re good to go.

This portable dual fuel generator can produce 3100 continuous watts of power on gasoline and 2790 watts on propane. It can keep you powered for about 7.5 hours on a single tank of gas and 14.5 hours on a 20-pound propane tank at 25% load.

At 59 decibels, this inverter dual fuel generator sounds more like a normal conversation. This gives you the assurance that you can use it in the quietest campground or even overnight.

The smart economy mode varies the engine RPM depending on the load. This results in low fuel consumption, less noise, and extends the engine’s life.

The unit is powerful enough to run a 13500 BTU RV air conditioner and has room to charge your house batteries. However, if you need more power, this parallel-ready inverter generator can tag on to another unit to double the output wattage.

This dual fuel portable generator is RV-ready and comes with a 30A receptacle (TT-30R) to connect to your 30 amp travel trailer without any adapter.

Lastly, this dual fuel inverter generator comes with Champion’s cold start technology that makes it easy to start the generator in cold weather.

The price of this RV generator can put it far from a budget RVer’s reach. Plus, the generator is a bit heavy but comes with wheels for easy towing.

Overall, the Champion 3400 Watt Dual Fuel Generator is an excellent option for campers looking for the flexibility to choose between fuel types.

Though an expensive machine, it is made to perform and last years if taken care of.

Included with the generator are a propane (LPG) hose, a battery, an oil funnel, and a USB adapter.

View the Champion 100263 PDF product manual here.

Noise Level: 59 dB(A) | Dry Weight: 95.7 lbs | Output Wattage: 3400/3060W Starting, 3100/2790W Running | Fuel Tank Capacity: 1.6 gallons | Run Time/Tank: 7.5 Hours @ ¼ Load


04. Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator

Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator
Quiet and powerful generator
Excellent fuel economy
30 amp RV Ready
It’s a bit heavy

If you have a 30 amp camper and need a powerful inverter generator, then have a look at the Westinghouse 4500 Watt Inverter Generator.

This super quiet portable generator produces 4500 starting and 3700 running wattage. This is sufficient power to keep the most demanding 30A camper running.

Run a 15000 BTU air conditioner, microwave, fridge, tv without worrying about overloading the generator.

The generator can be fired up using the recoil, electric and remote start. You now have the luxury to start the generator from the comfort of your camper, without getting out.

The 3.4-gallon fuel tank hands you a run time of about 18 hours at ¼ load. At this load, you’ll hardly be able to hear the generator running.

The power produced is clean (less than 3% THD), eliminating any risk of damage to your sensitive electronics due to power spikes.

The display on the control board prints out important information, including fuel level, load, volts, etc. 

At 98 lb, it is a bit heavy to load and unload. However, once unloaded, the luggage-style handle and wheels make towing around the campsite a child’s play.

Lastly, it comes with a few AC and DC outlets, including a 30A TT-30R outlet, making it RV-ready.

The only downside of this portable inverter generator is that it’s a bit heavy for loading and unloading from your truck.

Overall, the Westinghouse iGen4500 Portable Inverter Generator is the best option for your 30 amp RV. It is powerful enough to run many RV appliances and comes with excellent fuel economy. 

View the Westinghouse iGen4500 PDF product manual here.

Noise Level: 52 dB(A) | Dry Weight: 98 lbs | Output Wattage: 4500W Starting, 3700W Running | Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.4 gallons | Run Time/Tank: 18 Hours @ ¼ Load


05. Firman H08051 RV Ready Portable Generator

Firman 10000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator
Extremely powerful portable dual fuel generator
Good fuel economy
Quiet, CARB compliant, 50 amp RV Ready
Weighs like an elephant

Bigger rigs need large portable generators, and the Firman 10000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator is one such beast to keep your 50 amp RV functioning.

To begin with, this is the most powerful dual fuel portable generator that produces 10000 and 9050 watts on gas and propane. This is enough power to run 2 RV air conditioners and other RV appliances without overloading the generator.

The 8-gallon fuel tank can keep your camper powered for 12 hours at 50% load. This hybrid series runs on gas or propane, giving you the flexibility to use the fuel that is readily available around your campsite.

The control panel has a fuel selector switch that allows you to switch between gas or propane. Moreover, an onboard display prints a few essential information about run time, voltage, etc.

This RV-ready portable generator comes with a dedicated 50 amp receptacle (14-50R). Just plug your RV in and click the start button, and you have power.

However, this is the only conventional portable generator on our list. Thus, you’ll need a surge protector like the SSP-50XL to keep your sensitive electronics safe.

The noise level on this generator is pretty low for the power it produces. At 74 decibels, it doesn’t make any more noise than an average vacuum cleaner.

The only downside is its weight. It weighs about 212 lb without fuel, and lifting it in and out of your truck will need tow hulks. However, once on the ground, the foldable handle and large wheels make it easy to maneuver around.

The easiest option would be to mount the generator on your travel trailer bumper with a hitch. This will remove the need for moving it around and keep the generator safe.

Overall, the Firman 10000 Watt Portable Generator is a powerful beast for those large 50 amp RVs with high power demands.

View the Firman H08051 PDF product manual here.

Noise Level: 74 dB(A) | Dry Weight: 212 lbs | Output Wattage: 10000/9050W Starting, 8000/7250W Running | Fuel Tank Capacity: 8 gallons | Run Time/Tank: 12 Hours @ ½ Load


06. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000

Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station
The lightest portable generator
Powerful solar power generator
Competitive pricing
Takes longer to charge

Most pop-up campers don’t need a lot of power and will do fine with a small portable power station like the Jackery Explorer 1000.

This small portable generator is pretty powerful with a 2000 surge watt and 1000 running watt. This is a lot of power to run a mini space heater, fridge, cooling fan, and TV.

All this makes ZERO noise and pollution.

You can use it inside your camper without worrying about exhaust fumes or CO poisoning. 

The size and weight of this portable solar generator are a bare minimum. At 22 lb, you should be able to carry it around your campsite without a sweat.

This portable power station is powered by a 46.4 Ah lithium battery. You can easily charge it at home or on-site using its solar panels (comes in a different package).

The control panel comes with multiple DC outlets, including USB-C. Plus, you have 3 110 AC outlets to power your AC appliances. 

Additionally, the LCD shows various data about the charge remaining and battery life.

The only downside, in my opinion, is its slow charging. It takes about 8 hours to completely charge the battery with the stock charge controller and solar panels.

Overall, the Jackery Explorer 1000 is an excellent portable solar power station suited for indoor use and picnics on the campsite.

View the Jackery Explorer 1000 PDF product manual here.

Noise Level: 0 dB(A) | Dry Weight: 22 lbs | Output Wattage: 2000W Starting, 1000W Running | Battery Capacity: 46.4 Ah Lithium | Run Time: Depends on Appliance


How to Choose a Portable Generator for RV?

By now, you should have six more portable RV generators to add to your list of the best RV generators. It’s now time to look at the factors that can help increase your chances of selecting the right RV generator.

Read on if you want to buy the best portable generator for RV camping.

Conventional vs. Inverter Generator

Conventional generators are different from inverter generators in all aspects. 

To begin with, they both have the same purpose; to produce electricity. 

But, conventional generators run the motor at a constant RPM irrespective of the load.

Whereas, inverter generators use a microprocessor to vary the engine RPM depending on the electrical load.

Running the engine at a higher speed when the load is low simply translates to higher fuel consumption and noise.

You don’t have to worry about it in the case of an inverter generator.

Additionally, conventional generators don’t produce clean power. There are a lot of fluctuations in the current produced.

This can severely damage most modern electronics, especially your sensitive items like cell phones, laptops, etc. All you need is a surge protector to keep your appliances safe.

On the other hand, inverter generators produce clean power that is safe for any type of appliance.

However, conventional types of generators are good for large RVs that have extensive power demands. Most importantly, you won’t find portable inverter generators after a certain wattage range.

Lastly, inverter generators are expensive compared to conventional type of generators.

Five out of the six portable RV generators we reviewed above are inverter generators.

Power Output

Now to the most important factor, power output or size of the generator.

Getting an underpowered generator will set a limitation on what appliances you can run simultaneously.

Whereas, getting an overpowered generator will mean a higher-priced generator, high fuel cost, and power wastage.

Additionally, the higher the power output rating of the generator, the higher is its physical weight.

Your goal is to find the right size generator that meets your daily power needs plus 20% extra. The 20% extra power will give you room to expand and prevent your generator from running at full load.

To calculate your total power needs, add the starting wattage of all the high draw appliances like AC, microwave, refrigerator, etc.

Here are the detailed guides on “how to select the right size generator for 30 amp and 50 amp RV“.

In the best portable generator for RV section above, we have reviewed generators with power output ratings ranging from 2000W to 10000W.

Noise Level

Decibel Comparison Chart (Scale)

How much noise an RV generator makes is also a vital aspect when choosing a portable generator for RV camping.

Going to a campground with a generator that sounds like a jackhammer can be disturbing for you and everyone around you.

Worse, many campgrounds or National Parks have a generator noise restriction of up to 60 decibels at 50 feet.

So you need to look for the quietest portable generator for RV. Fortunately, most RV generators on the market today are low noise generators.

You need to try and avoid open frame types of generators and look for an inverter generator. Look for a generator that comes with an economy mode, as this can significantly reduce noise.

Moreover, buy the right size RV generator as running a generator at full load will make it louder, increase fuel consumption and lower its life.

In our reviews of the best portable generator for RV, the majority of the units are low noise generators for camping.

Fuel Consumption

Fuel consumption is also an essential factor in selecting a portable generator for RV camping.

How much fuel your RV generator uses will tell you the total amount of fuel to carry to a camping trip. This will also help you budget your trip accurately.

However, there are limitations to how much fuel you can carry due to the availability of space and regulations by law.

Going camping with a gas guzzler will mean repetitive trips to the gas station. Worse, sit without power if you’re camping deep inside National Park.

Look for an RV generator that has the highest run time on a single tank for the power you need. Get a portable inverter generator that comes with an eco-mode.

You can also opt for a dual fuel portable generator which will give the freedom to use two different types of fuel; gas and propane.

Finally, reducing the load on the generator will significantly increase the fuel efficiency of your generator.

The portable inverter generators we reviewed above are surprisingly fuel-efficient at their specific power output rating.

Price

The RV generator you think is fit for your needs will go home only if it falls within your budget range.

One thing to note here is the budget is not just what is on the price tag. It should also include fuel consumption, maintenance costs, and life expectancy.

Generally, the price and warranty period of a product is the direct indicators of quality.

So a generator costing $1000+ will be better than one that costs $300.

However, if you’re a full-time RVer or go camping regularly, then opt for the most expensive portable generator you can afford. These generators are built with quality parts and are ideal for regular use.

Whereas, if you camp a few times a year, then go with a cheap portable generator. You’ll not face a lot of technical issues as your generator will be used a lot less.

In our portable RV generator reviews, we have included generators from various price points so that it fits in your budget.

Frequently Asked Question

By now you have six of the best portable RV generators to add to your shortlist. Then you went through the most important aspects to consider to make an educated decision.

Now let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about portable generators to make sure they function and last long.

How to Start a Portable Generator?

By now you know that a portable generator is the most reliable source of power when boondocking. But, how to start a portable generator correctly?

The process is simple and pretty much the same in a majority of the cases.

Follow the step-by-step guide.

#1 Read Manufactures Documentations

Once you have your new generator in hand, the first step is to make yourself familiar with the user manual. Be wary of the instructions about safety, maintenance, and storage.

All the portable RV generators we reviewed have a link to their specific product manual (PDF) below each review.

#2 Connect the Battery

Not all portable generators come with an electric ignition system. However, if your generator comes with an electric start, you need to connect the battery for it to work.

Refer to your instruction manual to know how to connect the battery.

Most of the RV generators we reviewed come with an electric start button. Moreover, some come with a remote that hands you the convenience to start the generator from inside your RV.

#3 Add Engine Oil

Many generator brands include a bottle of engine oil that is to be used to break in the generator.

To break in your portable properly, follow the instructions on the user manual of your specific model.

Drain the engine oil after a break-in period and add new oil that is recommended by the manufacturer.

Check the oil level every day before you crank up the generator.

Add sufficient oil if the oil level is below the recommended level. Without sufficient oil, your engine will not function properly and may damage itself.

In our portable generator reviews, you’ll find generators that come with an auto-shutoff feature that turns off the engine when low oil is detected.

#4 Add Fuel Level

Before you hit the start button to turn on your generator, make sure it has sufficient fuel in it. Many generators have an analog or digital fuel gauge that can tell you how much fuel is left in the tank.

Never add fuel to a running or a hot generator. 

Turn off the generator and let it cool down before topping up fuel.

Keep an eye on the fuel gauge on the propane tank if you have a dual fuel generator and choose to use propane instead of gasoline.

In our recommendations of the best portable generator for RVs, we have reviewed a few portable dual fuel generators for your convenience.

#5 Place the Generator away from your RV

Now you need to find a suitable, ventilated place to place your generator.

Place it at least 20 feet away from your camper to prevent toxic fumes from entering the camper and make it sound less.

Place the generator on a soft surface, preferably on grass, or place a thick rubber pad below the generator to reduce noise.

Avoid running the generator under direct sunlight, and if you have to, use a generator tent to keep it cool.

#6 Start the Generator

You need to use the choke if the weather is cold or the generator is starting after sitting for a few hours.

Pull it out and use the electric, remote, or recoil start system to fire up the engine. Once the engine starts running, push the choke to its off position.

Let the generator run for a few minutes before adding load to it. Use your desired type of extension cord to connect it to your RV.

Now, turn on your appliances one by one and make sure not to overload the generator.

How to Turn Off a Portable Generator?

The procedure to shut down a generator is pretty much the same in most cases.

Follow these steps to turn off your portable generator safely.

Step #1: Remove all loads of the generator by turning off all the connected appliances.

Step #2: Disconnect the power cords from the generator.

Step #3: Run the generator for 2-3 minutes without load at the lowest throttle.

Step #4: Press the stop switch to shut down the engine.

Step #5: Turn the fuel switch to the off position.

Avoid turning off the generator with running appliances connected to it to prevent damage to the appliances. Additionally, wait for the generator to cool down before touching it to avoid burning.

How to Refuel a Portable Generator?

You just have to hit the gas station to refill the propane bottle if you’re using propane as a fuel source.

However, to refuel a generator with gasoline, open the gas cap on your generator. Pour sufficient fuel into the tank from your gasoline container, keeping an eye on the fuel level.

Make sure not to overfill and spill gas on the generator. However, if you overfill and spill fuel accidentally, make sure to let the fuel air dry completely before starting the generator.

Refueling a running generator or spilling fuel may increase the risk of fire or explosion.

Brief Rundown of the Best Portable Generator for RV Camping

If I were to pick just one portable RV generator, it would be the WEN 56225i Inverter Generator. It comes with the perfect blend of power, performance, and price. Good pick for seasoned RVers.

The Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator is for campers who put quality and reliability before price. This is a premium unit and is a good option for full-time and regular campers.

For anyone looking for versatility in terms of fuel choice, then look at the Champion 3400 Watt Inverter Generator. It’s a quiet, fuel-efficient hybrid generator with power to run an RV air conditioner and more.

Any 30 amp RV owner looking for a quiet, powerful inverter generator, have a look at the Westinghouse iGen4500 Inverter Generator. It is an RV-ready portable generator that comes with a remote.

Firman 10000 Watt Dual Fuel Generator is a powerful generator designed to power those big 50 amp rigs. With 10000 watts, you can comfortably run multiple AC units, charge coach batteries, and more.

For anyone who likes to avoid fossil fuel generators can have a look at a solar generator like the Jackery Explorer 1000. This portable power station is powerful enough to run small appliances and for indoor use.

Conclusion

With this, we come to the end of our recommendation of the best portable generator for RV camping.

A portable generator is the most reliable source of power for boondocking.

Having the right portable inverter generator for your RV can keep you powered when other power sources fail.

Make sure the RV generator you choose is of the right size so that you have sufficient power to keep you and your family comfortable.