Why would you want a generator in your RV?
- Backup power to recharge RV battery
- Run electricity through your RV
- Power your RV air conditioning
Terms to Watch For:
The level of noise that a generator produces is measured in a unit called decibels, notated dB. You want to get to the quietest generator possible, but you are going to hear the generator that you purchase. Most generators range from 45 dB to 70 dB while they run. Usually the level of power that they produce directly correlates with the loudness of the generator, but not always.
Running vs. Starting Watts:
You are looking at the label for your generator, you will see two different numbers of watts produced. The larger of the two numbers will be the starting wattage or peak wattage, which should only be used when you are starting devices and appliances. The rest of the time, you should be running off of the running wattage, which is the lower number. I would not recommend buying a generator that produces lower than 2000 running watts for your generator.
Standby vs. Portable
Conventional v. Inverter
Conventional generators are what you generally think of when you think of a generator – a basic, gasoline-powered engine. Inverter generators are smaller, lighter, and more efficient. There also safer for your appliances because they convert the power they generate from AC to DC and back to AC. This conversion makes it so that there is very little fluctuation in the power that the generator produces, making it safe for your sensitive electronics and appliances to be plugged into it. Since your RV is going to be your main source of power for your electronics and appliances while you travel, you want to make sure that you get an inverter generator.
What to Look For in an RV Generator:
In order to use the electricity in a recreational vehicle, there has to be a generator. Depending on what you intend to use your RV for, there are two different power levels that you might need to make sure that you have enough. If you intend to run the air conditioner in your RV, these are huge power draws, and will thus require a lot more power than if you do not intend to use it.
If you intend to use your RV air conditioner, you will need at least 3000 running watts from your generator. If not, around 2000 running watts should be fine for the miscellaneous electronics within your RV.
There are three different types of fuel that you can use for generators – gasoline, propane, and diesel fuel. Gasoline is the most common fuel source for generators in the United States due to his easy accessibility and low cost. Propane is the second most common due to its shelf stability and lower levels of emissions, but it is not as efficient as gasoline is in producing power. Diesel is the dirtiest source of power, but the most efficient producer.
If you are only taking short trips in your RV, then a gasoline generator is likely to be your best choice.
Gasoline is easily accessible whenever you have to stop to get a snack or a drink and it’s an expensive. It’s economical, especially when it is a better power producer than propane, and can generally be found everywhere. Diesel is equally as accessible, but the generators that are powered by it are often significantly too loud for most camp sites. Diesel generators are usually used by construction workers and businesses because of the volume that they produce.
Since you are likely to be spending a lot of your time in campgrounds and in the great outdoors, you need to have a quiet generator. Nobody wants to go out camping in the great outdoors just to hear a roaring generator. You don’t want to hear it either. Figure out how loud your generator would be while you are shopping, check the decibel reading and the distance that reading was taken at. Most camp sites required generators to run at less than 60 dB, so keep that in mind while you shop. You may not be able to use a generator at certain times of the day or at certain campgrounds if you get a generator that is louder then the campground allows.
Most generators show an estimated run time which will help you figure out how much to get from one place to another or to make sure that you can power all of your devices and appliances while you are out and about in your RV. If you are running it at its full running wattage, you are going to need more fuel than is estimated, but it can help you get started.
There are three types of emissions certificates for generators – EPA, CARB and CSA.
All generators sold in the United States should have the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions certificate. If it is being sold in or taken to California, it needs to also have the California Air Resources Board stamp of approval, which requires a generator to pass a stricter emissions test. If it is sold in Canada, it needs to have the Canadian Standards Association emission certificate.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What type of oil should I use?
In general, you should use the type of oil that your generators operations manual recommends for your specific engine. Often, this is going to mean that you should be using the name brand oil to ensure that your generator runs properly. If you live in a high altitudes, or areas with high or low temperatures regularly, you may want to talk to a local mechanic that can help you find the right viscosity for your
Is it safe to use a generator in an RV?
It is absolutely safe to use a generator in an RV, as long as the exhaust from the generator is outside.
Do RV generators get noisy?
You are going to hear the generator on your RV. The question is, how much are you going to hear from your generator. That question can be answered by asking yourself how much you plan to put your generator through its paces and running at full capacity. The more power that your generator is putting out, the louder it’s going to be.
Is it safe to get a used generator for my RV?
Which type of fuel is safest and best for my RV generator?
All three types of fuel are equally safe for your RV, but gasoline or dual fuel generators are probably the best for your generator because of the ease of accessibility and general quietness of their engines.
How to Maintain Your RV Generator
How to connect a portable generator to your RV
Connecting a generator to your RV is easy – all you have to do is find the generator tray on the exterior of your RV, set the generator on it, and plug the RV into it. Then, you just turn it on whenever you need to use its power.
Re-route the Exhaust System
Rerouting the exhaust system so that the exhaust goes directly out of the RV is important for your health as well as the health of your generator.
Store it Properly
Get it Serviced
Old Fuel is Bad News For Your Generator
What is the smallest sized RV Generator?
Top 7 Best Generators for RV use
Best Portable Generator for RV
Best Inverter Generator for RV
Best Generator for RV Air Conditioner
Best Propane Generator for Fifth Wheel
Best Generator for 50 amp RV
Best RV Generator for the Money
When it comes to getting the best value for your money, there are two options for you for generators.
For low-power needs, the wen 56200i is going to be your best bet. It’s warranty is not as good as the Honda 2200, but it also costs less than $500 for a highly rated 1600 running watt generator. This generator is quiet and is EPA and CARB compliant, making it perfect for traveling with you wherever you need to go.
For the higher power needs, the Champion 75531i 3100 Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator is a great choice. It is quiet, offers 2800 running watts and free lifetime support after the three year limited warranty. If you do happen to overload it, your electronics will be protected by the push to reset circuit breakers, helping you to be worry free while using this generator.