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7 Best Portable Generators for RV Camping

7 Best Portable Generators for RV Camping

When dry camping, you need a source of power. For many this is a generator for essentials like cooking, plugging in a TV, or anything else that requires electricity. Some RVs have a built-in generator you can use for these things while others require a portable RV generator. If you need a portable unit, it can be overwhelming to figure out the best generator for your needs. Here’s a list to help you choose.

Can You Run Your RV on a Portable Generator?

Yes, you can run your RV on a portable generator if the wattage is high enough. Remember that you don’t have to run all appliances and devices at once, so you could use a lower-watt generator if you’re watching your power usage accordingly. 

RV Basics 101: How to Use a Portable Generator

Usually, you’ll hook your RV up to a generator the same way you would to campground hookups. You’ll want to set the generator 5 to 10 feet away from your rig with the exhaust vents pointing away. 

As a reminder, never use your generator inside your RV. Doing so will fill your rig with carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas. 

What Size Generator Do I Need for My RV?

Generators usually have a rating on them so you can see which wattage will work best for your RV. If you need minimal power, a 2,000-watt RV portable generator is a standard size. However, if you need more power, RV generators have a rating of up to 5,500 watts, and sometimes even more. 

portable RV generator
A portable RV inverter generator.

To decide how much wattage you need, think about the appliances that will be using it. If you have an air conditioner and a few other appliances that will use the generator, consider more than 2,000 watts.

Still not sure what size you need? Read our in-depth article: What Size Generator Do I Need for My RV?

7 Best Portable Generators for Your RV

With several competing generator brands on the market, we want to help you make the best choice for your needs. Check out our list so you can explore which option is right for your rig. Note that most of the generators are inverter-based. This makes them more expensive, but makes them a much better camping generator. Check out our article all about inverter generators to learn what makes them special.

1. Honda Power Equipment EU3000IS 3000W

If there’s one thing that generators are known for, it’s their noise. However, this Honda model is quiet. It operates at 49 to 58 dB(A), which means less noise than a typical conversation.

The fuel efficiency means it can last up to 20 hours on 3.4 gallons of fuel, lending to its reliability. With built-in oil detection, the generator will shut off when the engine oil is low.

The Honda 3000 is one of our top picks for reliability, power, and sound. Because it’s so common there are many aftermarket parts and adapters for this generator as well.

Sale
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IS 3000W 120V Portable...
  • Popular model can operate a wide variety of appliances, including...
  • Super quiet: so quiet, your neighbors will thank you; the...
  • Fuel efficient runs up to 20 hours on 3.4 Gal. of fuel: thanks to...

2. Champion Power Equipment Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator

This portable RV generator runs just under $400 with 3500 output wattage. Not to mention, you can operate the generator right out of the box for your convenience. You can keep track of run-time hours, hertz, and voltage efficiently with an Intelligauge system. You never have to worry about running over your power limit as you can easily track the power output to this generator.

This is a popular choice for those just hitting the road for shorter trips due to its cost and propane capability, however, it is not a good choice for extensive use. This is not an inverter generator meaning it will be much louder and burn more fuel. This style generator is generally frowned upon by many campers due to its noise.

Champion Power Equipment 200965 4375/3500-Watt...
  • Operate your 3500-watt portable generator right out of the box on...
  • A 120V 30A (TT-30R) RV outlet, a 120V 30A outlet (L5-30R), plus...
  • Keep track of voltage, frequency, session run time, total run...

3. Honda EB2200i

The Honda 2200i portable RV generator is one of the most popular, and for good reason. You get more power at the same outstanding quality with this model. In fact, it provides 10% more power than the previous version, EU2000i.

The CO-MINDER function gives you peace of mind with continuously monitored carbon monoxide levels. This model is lightweight and compact as it weighs a little over 47 pounds.

Honda EB2200ITAN 2200-Watt Super Quiet Portable...
  • MORE POWER. SAME LEGENDARY QUALITY. - The EB2200i delivers 10%...
  • CO-MINDER - CO-MINDER continuously monitors carbon monoxide (CO)...
  • PORTABLE POWER FOR YOUR JOB SITE - The EB2200i can operate a wide...

4.  Pulsar Products G450RN Portable Inverter with Remote Start

With convenience in mind, this model comes with a wireless remote start so you can operate the generator from up to 80 ft away. This portable RV generator is easy to handle and store as it has an extendable handle and Never-Flat wheels. The tank is 3.2 gallons, and you can take advantage of up to 4,500 peak watts.

Pulsar Products G450RN, 4500W Portable Quiet...
  • 4, 500 peak watts/ 3, 700 running watts
  • Capable of up to 15 hours of extended operation at half load on...
  • Convenient wireless remote start allows you to operate the unit...

5. WEN 56380i 3800W Inverter Generator

This generator is quiet, but it’s also powerful with 3800 watts, a decent amount for camping. You can feel confident knowing that this generator produces clean power, so you don’t have to worry about damage to your electronics. The fuel shutoff on the WEN 56380i maximizes the generator’s lifespan by using any leftover fuel in the carburetor before shutting down.

WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt RV-Ready Portable...
  • Dimensions: 23.2" L x 18" W x 20.1" H | Weight: 99.2 lb
  • EPA III and CARB Compliant
  • 212cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 3800 surge watts and 3400...

6. Generac 7127 iQ3500-3500 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

This Generac model is ultra-quiet. In fact, it’s 40% quieter than other brands thanks to the Advanced inverter technology, along with the enclosed design. With a convenient digital smart LCD screen, you can check the wattage meter, generator status, fuel level, and the remaining run time. Additionally, you can charge mobile devices like tablets and smartphones with built-in USB ports.

Sale
Generac 7127 iQ3500-3500 Watt Portable Inverter...
  • ULTRA-QUIET – 40% Quieter than Honda* Advanced inverter...
  • Ideal for work or play - durable steel enclosure, clean inverter...
  • 16% more power than Honda, Featuring power rush advanced...

7. Generac 76711 GP 1200i 1200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Reviewers tout this Generac model as one of the best portable RV generators. You won’t bother nearby neighbors when using it, thanks to its fully enclosed design and dramatically low noise levels.

With True Power Technology, you can rely on a stable and clean power supply, which is ideal for sensitive electronics and other appliances. The convenient Economy Mode will automatically adjust engine speed, so you can save fuel while reducing sound emissions.

Generac 76711 GP1200i 1200 Watt Portable Inverter...
  • Quiet and Neighbor Friendly fully enclosed design dramatically...
  • True Power Technology provides clean, stable power ideal for...
  • Compact and lightweight makes transportation easy with built-in...

How Do I Choose a Portable Generator?

With several awesome portable RV generator models on this list, how do you decide? Let’s take a look at some important criteria to consider. 

First, think about which electronics you need to charge and operate. Calculate the generator’s size by considering the running watts of each appliance/device. Add them all together, and you have your minimum generator wattage. (Keep in mind that you may not need to run all appliances at the same time.) 

Can a Honda Generator Run The AC? ⚡ RV Living & Van Life // Honda EU2200 & EU2000 Inverter Generator

Next, determine the necessary run time. Will you be running your generator all the time, like you might if you had to keep a refrigerator running? Or will you be using it occasionally to charge and operate simple electronics?

The run time is not necessarily the number listed on the box; it’s defined by whether or not it can run at a half or quarter load. For example, if your 2000W generator says 12 hours at half load, that means it can run 12 hours if you’re not using more than 1,000W of power. If you’re using 2,000W all the time, it will run for six hours. 

Think about other essential components like noise levels, digital alerts, safety alerts, number of outlets, running power versus surge power, remote start, the ability to install a transfer switch, and more. Doing thorough research into the types of generators will help you avoid buyer remorse once you have your portable RV generator. 

portable RV generator
Be sure to place your generator 5 to 10 feet away from your RV.

Is a Portable Generator Worth Buying for an RV?

A portable generator is worth the money for those who boondock or dry camp. While you can live without it, a generator can provide the necessary power for things like running your refrigerator or heater. 

Compare the benefits of a portable generator and a built-in generator for your RV. Often, built-ins will have more power and added convenience. But portable generators offer additional flexibility. Plus, you can use them to power things other than just your RV. 

Learn more about the different generator types and their pros and cons here: The Complete Guide To RV Generators

Consider your power needs and what’s most important to you. We think portable generators can be pretty useful, but it’s all about what you need! 

portable RV generator
Portable generators plug into your RV’s shore power outlet.

Have you used a portable generator to power your RV? Would you recommend it? Let us know in the comments.

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Will

Sunday 7th of November 2021

Hi, love your website! But... I don't see the comics when I clicked the link to your site from my email. It is blank under "Cartoons Showcasing the RV Lifestyle". Thank you and keep journeying on!

Mortons on the Move

Monday 7th of March 2022

Oh no did you get it figured out? On some browsers we have had troubles.

Dalton Bourne

Thursday 26th of August 2021

If you are looking for the best small portable generators then I highly suggest considering the Honda EU2200i. It is one of the most popular Honda onboard RV generators today because: Highly versatile as it suits various appliances and applications, good fuel efficiency – thanks to the use of an eco-throttle system, supplies a clean and stable power. This generator is also one of the quietest, it only runs at around 48-57 dBA, which makes it totally quiet.

Dalton Bourne

Saturday 28th of August 2021

The fact that this unit uses the inverter technology also ensures that it supplies clean and stable power in a light and small package. However, remember that it is quite expensive but I think its overall quality and performance make it worth its price.

Scott Bratt

Sunday 15th of August 2021

I see others have commented on models not included in your “7 best” selection so here is my two cents worth. I saw no mention of the Harbor Freight Predator models, that appear to compete very well against the Honda’s at a practice of the cost. I purchased the Predator 3500 first after much review and YouTube video reviews and comparisons. I’m not one to skimp on something that I expect to last a long time and will rely on in a pinch, but with this option I could not justify the cost of the Honda. I ran across a deal for a lightly used Predator 2000 and purchased it as well. So far both have lived up to my expectations with the 3500 actually being quieter than the smaller 2000. There is a large selection of portable inverter generators and several are good performers and bang for your buck. I do feel as others do that a loud, obnoctious open frame, heavy, large generator is probably not one that I would recommend for off grid camping. Number one reason is the noise, that even though nobody is nearby, on a calm day you could hear it a mile away.

William Bynum

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Q- What is an Inverter Generator? How is it different from a regular generator?

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 11th of August 2021

We wrote an article all about inverter generators. You can find it here: https://www.mortonsonthemove.com/what-is-an-inverter-generator/

Timothy Cahoon

Monday 9th of August 2021

I was wondering why you included the FRAME Champion Dual fuel and not the Inverter Dual fuel model. I've seen the Champion Inverter Dual fuel used by others in their channels.

The issue besides Power is the weight of the unit and if you can run two units in parallel? I'd like to get a 3500 watt unit but they are about 90-100 lbs which is heavy to lift in and out of a pickup if you have Towable and a senior. One suggestion is to get a single 2500 watt unit (powerful enough to run a one AC unit) and then add a second unit if you decide you need more power later. You bond them together with the parallel cable for the additional power. The big con is increased cost (2 x 2500 watt generator is probably going to be more than a single 3500-400 watt generator). Pro's. Lower weight of the smaller generators so they are easier to manage, plus you have redundancy in that if one dies you can still run some things with the other one.

David Cox

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Agree with this guy. One of the worst articles on generators for RVs that I've seen. You can get a Honda (expensive), Generac (real expensive), or a couple of 100-ish pound options that are clumsy to handle if not impossible for many of us. I'm in the market, and probably will buy a couple of Champion generators (at around 50 lb each) and yoke them together. I'm willing to pay extra for dual fuel if I can find that option.

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