Is A 2000 Watt Generator Enough for my RV? (What can it Run)

2000 Watt Generator for my RV

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A 2000 watt generator has a lot of advantages when it comes to RV boondocking.

They are compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry around. A 2000 watt inverter generator is very quiet and has a long runtime on a single tank of gas.

But the real question is, is a 2000 watt generator enough for my RV?

A 2000 watt generator is enough for an RV that uses or needs less than 2000 watts of power at any given time. However, you either need a bigger generator or connect two 2000 watt generators in parallel if you have a large RV or need more power.

Though a 2000 watt inverter generator produces sufficient juice to power many smaller RV appliances, it can’t power multiple large appliances simultaneously.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the appliances a 2000 watt generator can power simultaneously, my recommendation of the top 2000 watt inverter generator, and more.

But first, let’s take a look at some generator basics.

What does Starting and Running Watts Mean on a Generator?

Starting watts are the maximum power a generator can produce for a short while. Running watts is the power a generator produces continuously throughout its runtime. Generally, starting watts are higher than the running watts.

Before determining what appliances a 2000 watt generator can power, you need to understand two important things about generators.

i.e. starting watts and running watts.

Starting watts or surge watts of a generator is the boost in power that a generator can produce for a short period. This surge in power is required to start a motor or compressor-based appliances that need additional power to start running.

Running watts or rated watts are continuous watts a generator is designed to produce throughout its operation time. Generators rated watts are the power that is necessary to keep an appliance running properly.

Portable generators on the market today have the starting and running watts printed on them. Though some brands only print the starting watts on the generator as it is the higher of the two. 

You need to check the specs to find both starting and running watts as without knowing both wattage ratings of a generator you won’t be able to determine the right generator size for your RV.

Generally, starting watts are higher than running watts.

What can A 2000 Watt Generator Run in my RV?

A 2000 watt inverter generator can power a range of appliances from lights, fans, microwave, space heater, coffee maker, AC, etc. Though you can’t run all the appliances at once, you can power multiple smaller appliances simultaneously.

A 2000 watt inverter generator like the Honda EU2200i can run many RV appliances to keep you comfortable off the grid. They can easily power your coffee maker, microwave, charge your house batteries, etc.

However, the main thing to determine before purchasing a 2000 watt inverter generator is your total power needs. You’ll need to add up the wattages of all the small appliances you want to run together.

Here is a list of RV appliances with the wattage they consume to make things easy.

Note: The wattage ratings of the appliances on the table below are industry standard and may vary depending on your specific appliances.

AppliancesStarting WattsRunning Watts
Flat Screen TV120120
RV Refrigerator600180
Coffee Maker600600
Microwave Oven (650 watts)10001000
Hair Dryer (1600 watts)19001800
Radiant Heater13001300
Laptop Computer200-250200-250
Fan12040
11000 BTU AC16001010
13500 BTU AC28001800
Table Source: Honda

From the table above the Honda EU2200i can power all the appliances individually except for a 13500 BTU air conditioner. However, the odds are, you’ll need to run multiple appliances simultaneously.

To determine the number of appliances a 2000 watt portable generator can power at a time, we need to determine your power needs. It is as simple as adding the individual wattages of each appliance you need to power together.

Here are the steps to determine your power requirement using the above table:

  1. List down all the appliances and their wattage ratings you will need to power simultaneously
  2. Then add up the running wattages of all the appliances you’re planning to run
  3. Next, add the starting watt of the biggest appliance from your list to the total running watts from step 2.
  4. Now you have the starting watt you’ll need your generator to produce to run the appliances

The Honda EU2200i produces 2200 surge watts and 1800 continuous watts. If your power requirement is more than what the generator can produce, it won’t be able to keep you powered.

You either need to reconsider the appliance you need to run simultaneously or get a bigger generator.

Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run an Air Conditioner?

Yes, a 2000 watt generator will run an RV air conditioner, but not all sized ACs can be powered with such a small generator. They can easily power up to a single 11000 BTU RV air conditioner with room to spare.

RVs come with air conditioner sizes that range from 5000 BTU to 15000 BTU. Also, bigger RVs come with multiple air conditioner units.

Though a 2000 watt inverter generator can easily start and run RV AC sizes between 5000 to 11000 BTU, it can’t run anything higher. Moreover, running an 11000 BTU air conditioner will leave very little room to run an additional large appliance.

If you’re interested, I have an in-depth article on determining the right size generator for your RV air conditioner.

Can a 2000 Watt Generator Run a Refrigerator?

Yes, a 2000 watt inverter generator can run an RV refrigerator without any issue. However, RVs with residential refrigerators and freezers will need to check the wattage consumption of their specific model.

There are two different types of refrigerators used in RVs today, RV refrigerator and residential-style refrigerator. 

Most RV-specific refrigerators use absorption technology that removes the need for a compressor to cool the refrigerator. This significantly reduces the power needed to start and operate the unit. Because most RV refrigerators use a 12V system, they can also be operated using your house batteries during quiet hours.

On the other hand, most modern RVs come with large residential-style refrigerators which is the same as the one in your home. They are big, use a compressor to cool, which means they have significantly large starting and running watts compared to RV-style refrigerators.

Depending on the size, brand, and type, a two-door residential refrigerator needs about 800-1000 watts to start and 300-400 watts to run.

The Best 2000 Watt Portable Generator

When it comes to generator brands, nothing beats a Honda generator. They are the most reliable option for RVers, especially if you’re a full-timer.

The 2000 watt inverter generator we’ll talk about is the Honda EU2200i which is the flagship in the 2000 watts category. 

The generator produces 2200 watts starting and 1800 watts of running power which is sufficient for running most household appliances. It is lightweight making it easy to carry it around or in and out of your pickup truck.

The unit is so quiet that you may not notice that you have a generator running next to your RV. Lastly, the unit is very fuel-efficient which allows it to power your RV overnight.

Though this is the most expensive generator in its wattage ratings, other units are right behind this Honda. Other generators that are worth mentioning in the 2000 watt category are Ford FG2300iS, Westinghouse iGen2200, WEN 56203i, and Champion 100692.

How Long will a 2000 Watt Generator Run on a Tank of Gas?

An inverter generator like the Honda EU2200i will run about 8.1 hours @ ¼ load and 3.2 hours @ rated load on a 0.95-gallon fuel tank.

The runtime of any generator on a single tank of gas mainly depends on the electrical load on the generator. Generally, the increase in load, increases fuel consumption, noise, and heat.

An inverter generator like the Honda EU2200i will run over 8 hours on a single tank of gas at a quarter load. That means, with the eco-mode activated and with a load of about 400-450 watts, this generator will be able to run overnight on a single tank of gas.

Conclusion

A 2000 watt inverter generator is enough to power RVs that have fewer power needs. It is the ideal size for RVers who use it as a backup power source to run the small household appliances and top up the house batteries.

It can power quite a few smaller appliances like your TV, computer, coffee maker, etc simultaneously. However, when it comes to powering large appliances, you have to run one at a time to prevent the generator from overloading.

The key here is to calculate your total power needs properly while only keeping the most essential appliances on the list.