What Size Generator For An RV? (+Best Ones)

When you have an RV, the chances are that you will have to constantly think and stress about where you will be able to get power for your system. Many people forget that they can simply get a generator to provide all the power they will need to enjoy their exotic vacations around the country.

The best generator size for an RV is between 3000 W to 4000 W; this will ensure that everything in the generator can be run and that the batteries can charge. Smaller generators will only be able to charge the batteries but cannot power the RV when in full use.

Many people underestimate just how much power is required to properly keep an RV fully powered, with many not considering just how much power even a phone can use.

  • The best generators for all RV sizes
  • The wattage of a generator and what affect it will have on the RV
  • Running the air conditioning from a generator
  • Which generators are recommended for your RV
  • Running hot water in your RV when on a generator

To ensure that your generator is working at its best, we recommend knowing exactly which generators will work best for you.

RV camper van next to a lake in the countryside

What Are The Best Sized Generators For RVs?

To help you understand which generators will work with your RV, we have made a list of the three basic sizes that you can get for an RV. As generators start producing more power, their sizes become significantly larger, to the point that one that could power several homes would be the size of a car.

We will be taking a look at the generators that would be needed to power a small RV, a large RV, and the medium-sized RVs that are technically considered vans.

These are the basic sizes of your generator or RV; if you have built a custom RV, you should be able to calculate how large the generator should be.

2000 Watt Generators For Small RVs

The most basic generator you can find on the market is a 2000 watt generator; these are right in the middle of what most homes will need in an emergency. Further, they are the perfect price, allowing more people to buy them than the much larger and stronger generators on the market.

A 2000 watt generator will easily power most small fridges while also charging your phone and your RV battery. The main thing that a generator will do on a smaller RV is help to boost the power provided by the internal system, helping to prolong the battery life.

3000 Watt Generators For Medium Sized RVs

Slightly larger and more expensive than 2000 watt generators, 3000 watt and above generators are the first full generators that you can use for your RV. These systems are significantly stronger and can power most small homes, which means your medium-sized RV will comfortably be powered.

We always recommend using these generators if you are unsure what size your RV actually is, as they can help prevent you from being stranded. You can run a fridge, TV, lights, and a computer from a 3000-watt generator without having to stress about peaking.

4000 Watt And More Generators For Large RVs

When looking at much larger RVs, we need to start looking at generators that would usually be mounted into the ground to keep them from moving. A 4000-watt generator can easily power more than just one house and will be perfect if your RV is more of a house on wheels.

These larger RVs have several systems that are constantly drawing power, including air conditioning systems and lights all around the RV. This means that even if the generator was strong enough to charge the battery to full, the power draw from the RV would quickly kill any battery power that has been saved.

Solar Powered RVs

A few years ago, it would not have been possible to power an RV using only solar panels, but the technology has drastically increased in quality. Modern solar systems can still be extremely pricey but can also provide enough power to your RV to power it fully, even in the wildest areas.

It should be noted that these systems are the most expensive; getting solar panels that are small enough but still strong enough can be a challenge. Many people have found themselves with systems that are just not quite capable of providing enough power.

How Does The Wattage Of An RV Affect The Generator Size?

Many people become confused when they see that an RV may be 50 watts or 60 watts, assuming that the generator could provide the same watts. However, this is not true, and the watt reading of an RV is not the same as the watt reading that a generator has.

In reality, the RV will be fine with any generator as the electric systems can work with each other. However, the amperage reading on your RV is important to remember when plugging into not just generators but any type of power system.

If your generator is not providing enough amperage to your RV, then the systems inside will not be powered properly. While too much amperage will cause the safety switches and fuses to activate, stopping power from entering the RV.

Can You Run An RV Ac On A Generator?

Depending on the size of the AC in the RV and the size of the generator, you may be able to run the AC as long as you have power. Many RV owners buy generator systems specifically to properly power their AC systems wherever they are as they find them to be the most important system.

If you are running from a solar system and the AC that you are running is made to work at such low power, then you can safely use your AC on your batteries. However, it is usually recommended to only run your AC system when plugged into the mains or driving the RV.

It is a system that will constantly pull power from your solar system or your generator, draining your fuel and the reserve power you have. Many people had had the challenge of not having power when they left the AC on to work overnight, ending up being completely powerless when they needed to start packing up.

What Are The Best Generators For An RV?

Now that we know the basic power needs of an RV, we need to look at which exact generators will be capable of easily helping you power an RV. There are many generators to choose from, and every manufacturer on earth will want you to buy them, even if they won’t entirely work in your RV.

We have five generators and one basic solar power system that will help you live in complete luxury while exploring the world. However, if you want to explore nature at its finest, we recommend not having the constant sound of a generator working in the background.

Bluetti 2400wh Solar Generator,Eb240

The Bluetti solar panel system is a simple system that is a great way to start converting any RV into a solar-powered machine. If you want a system that will power your complete RV, you will need to start with something basic, so you can calculate how much you will need to accomplish everything.

Usually, this system works the best when powering smaller RVs as they can easily allow you to never have to use a generator or wall socket. However, you will only be able to use the most basic systems instead of using everything all at once as the solar panels can only charge the batteries.

BLUETTI EB240 Portable Power Station 2400Wh/1000W Solar Generator, W/ 2 AC Outlets...
  • 【Portable Power Station with Solar Panel Included】1*BLUETTI EB240 Solar Power Station (2400Wh/1000W) and all the accessories for EB240(...
  • 【BLUETTI EB240 Power Station】-2400Wh huge capacity solar power station with a wide 14-68V/Max.500W/10A solar Input, MPPT, allowing recharge...
  • 【BLUETTI 200W Solar Panel】It's made of high qualified monocrystalline silicon cells which is 5% higher efficient than traditional...

Cummins Onan 2.8hgjbb-1120 RV Qg 2800

Cummins’s small and compact generator is aimed at the small and medium-sized RV markets and perfectly provides the best solution. Giving you 2800 watts of power, you can easily use the generator to power your RV during the day and your AC during the night.

This has been specifically wired into your RVs gas line and mounted onto the bottom of the RV where it will not be in the way. The most important part of this small generator is that it will easily power everything you have without making too much noise or requiring too much maintenance.

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Duromax Xp4400e Gas Powered Portable Generator-4400

This is the largest generator that we would recommend anyone get, and it is meant entirely for people with large and luxury RVs. Capable of providing 4400 watts of power on standard, this portable generator can completely replace any wall socket power you could not find.

However, with its size comes a few negatives that should always be considered when getting an RV generator. The generator will be extremely loud, create a lot of fumes in your general area, and require more fuel to run than almost any generator that we have listed.

DuroMax XP4400E Gas Powered Portable Generator-4400 Watt Electric Start-Camping & RV...
  • Plenty of Power – With 4,400 starting watts and 3,500 running watts, this unit can handle heavy loads, from lights and a refrigerator to a home...
  • Powerful Engine – The DuroMax 210cc OHV engine is a workhorse that provides plenty of power to handle multiple jobs, from powering high voltage...
  • MX2 Technology - Get the maximum power from each of the 120-volt receptacles. Choose between operating the generator at both 120V and 240V...

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300

This is not a power generator perse, and it is what we recommend getting regardless of whether you have another generator or not. Many RV owners have a story of going to sleep at peace then waking up to a disaster of not even having enough power to start the RV.

This small 300-watt battery pack can be charged by an included solar panel and will be more than enough to start an RV or charge your phone to call for help. Having something on hand that can jump-start a completely dead RV battery will usually mean you have something as large as this.

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300, 293Wh Backup Lithium Battery, Solar...
  • SPEED UP YOUR RECHARGEABILITY: It takes only 2 hours to recharge 80% battery of the power station through the wall outlet and 60W PD USB-C port...
  • SAFE & STEADY POWER SUPPLY: Armed with a 293Wh lithium-ion battery pack, the Explorer 300 features 2 Pure Sine Wave AC outlets that deliver...
  • POWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Featuring 2* AC outlet, 1* PD 60W USB-C port (input/output supported) , 1* fast charge 3.0 port, 1*USB-A port and 1* DC...

Oupes Portable Power Station 600w

Another portable power bank that will help you get out of bad situations, we recommend getting this if you have a smaller RV. One of the main draws to your battery may be your phone and laptop that constantly need to be charged between the major stops you are making.

This 600-watt power station will provide enough power to get you through any emergency and mean that you are not using your solar and battery power for useless things. Along with a small generator, you could easily go months in any wilderness without having to look for a source of power.

OUPES 600W Portable Power Station, 595Wh LiFePO4 Battery Backup w/ 2 600W (1000W...
  • ♔【595Wh Big Capacity】: The battery generator provides enough juice to run your essential devices for hours, including a laptop, phone,...
  • ♔【3600+Charging Cycles】: The outdoor solar powered generator features a quiet and Eco-friendly clean design. No fuel, No gasoline, and No...
  • ♔【Smart Display】The LED display provides a real-time battery power monitoring system to help you keep track of the power level status....

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable – UK

The champion 3400-watt portable generator is perfect for any RV owner with a small or medium-sized RV. Easily providing enough power to help keep the RV cold throughout the night, the system is also extremely portable and focused on being quiet.

This means that if you are in the middle of nowhere, you can comfortably use the generator without having to stress about the constant sound of a machine working. We always recommend that people consider this when getting a generator of any size to properly keep their RVs powered.

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
  • Dual Fuel – Operate your 3400-watt portable generator right out of the box on either gasoline or propane, plus the unit holds 0.6-quarts of oil...
  • Convenient Electric Start with 3-Position Ignition Switch – Battery included, plus Quick Touch Panel allows you to access all your controls in...
  • Ultra-Quiet Operation – 59 dBA is perfect for RVs, tailgating, your next project or backup power for your home, featuring 3400 starting watts...

How Many Watts Does An RV Need To Run Hot Water?

Usually, when people have an RV, they assume that electricity is only needed for the fridge to work; unfortunately, this is not true. Even if you are using a gas heater to make warm water, you will find that it just never works; this is because the water heater needs some power.

Most water heaters in an RV only need a small number of watts to work perfectly; this ensures that when the hot water knob is turned, the system automatically activates. You need the power to get the initial spark for the heater to activate and start heating the water.

If you have some charge in your battery or a smaller generator, it should be more than enough to activate the heater. However, electric water heaters will always use too much power to heat water using only a generator or solar panel system.


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