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.
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.
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.
- 【Portable Power Station with Solar Panel Included】1*BLUETTI EB240 Solar Power Station (2400Wh/1000W) and all the accessories for EB240( 1*200W AC adapter*1,Solar Charging Cable(DC to MC*4, Length:1.7m)*1, Manual*1) and 2 pcs 200W foldable solar panels and all its accessories(MC*4 charging cable, Length:3m).
- 【BLUETTI EB240 Power Station】-2400Wh huge capacity solar power station with a wide 14-68V/Max.500W/10A solar Input, MPPT, allowing recharge from AC wall outlet and solar panel. Two 110V AC outlet(pure sine wave) can load max. 1000W devices continuously. Regulated DC12V protect your car-powered devices and other sensitive 12v devices.
- 【BLUETTI 200W Solar Panel】It's made of high qualified monocrystalline silicon cells which is 5% higher efficient than traditional monocrystalline. It features with ETFE lamination thus has better light transmittance, more durable, scratch-proof, and easy to clean by wet cloth. Foldable design with handle, weight only 14.3lbs. Convenient to carry around for outdoor camping. Easily adjust the angle by the kickstands for better solar absorption.
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.
- Cummins Onan RV QG 2800 (formerly Onan Microlite) Lightweight, Compact and Quiet RV Generator
- Microprocessor control with diagnostics and lightweight, compact design
- Quietest generator sets of their size
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.
- 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 air conditioner and high amperage power tools
- Powerful Engine – The DuroMax 210cc OHV engine is a workhorse that provides plenty of power to handle multiple jobs, from powering high voltage appliances to heavy duty power tools
- MX2 Technology - Get the maximum power from each of the 120-volt receptacles. Choose between operating the generator at both 120V and 240V simultaneously, or at 120V only with full power. Ideal for usage with RVs
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.
- 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 simultaneously. You can also recharge your power station with an AC adapator when at home, through the car outlet during a road trip or simply use a Jackery SolarSaga 100.
- SAFE & STEADY POWER SUPPLY: Armed with a 293Wh lithium-ion battery pack, the Explorer 300 features 2 Pure Sine Wave AC outlets that deliver stable and safe 300W power. The portable power station weighs only 7.1 pounds. You can simply rest assured in outdoor off-grid activities.
- 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 car port, the power station can recharge itself and charge (up to) 6 devices (e.g.Drones, Macbook, Cameras, etc.) at the same time to satisfy your outdoor needs.
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.
- ♔【Larger Smart Display】The electric generator large color LED display provides a real-time battery power monitoring system to help you keep track of the power level status. Including remaining cell capacity, current input, and output, battery status while charging, Accurately display the remaining working time of the charging station during work (accurate to the minute).
- ♔【Five Ways to Recharge & Fast Charging】: The portable battery generator has five Ways to recharge: the Wall Outlet, USB-C Port, Car Charging, Solar Pan, and USB-C + Wall Outlet. When you use the dual-port, just USB-C + wall outlet for charging, it only takes 3.5 hours for the portable charging station to quickly charge from 0-80%.
- ♔【Powerful Output Up TO 8 Devices 】: The 600w battery source for camping with AC outlet: Pure Sine Wave 2*AC 110V；1*Car 12V, 10A；2*DC: 12V, 10A；1*Type-C PD 60W; 1*DC: 12V~30V (100W Max) and 2*USB-A 5V/3A；9V/2A；12V/1.5A（18W Max).
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.
- 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 (recommended 10W-30) and has a low oil shut-off sensor
- Convenient Electric Start with 3-Position Ignition Switch – Battery included, plus Quick Touch Panel allows you to access all your controls in one spot.Noise Level :59 dBA at 23 feet. Frequency 60 Hz
- Ultra-Quiet Operation – 59 dBA is perfect for RVs, tailgating, your next project or backup power for your home, featuring 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts with up to 7.5 hours run time on gasoline
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.
- What Size Generator Do I Need For My RV? – RVing Know-How
- What Size Generator Do I Need For My RV? (Free Calculator Tool) (RVsupplyco.Com)
- What Size Generator Do I Need For My RV? (Everything-About-RVing.Com)
- What Size Generator Do I Need To Power An RV (Cummins.Com)
- What Size Generator Do I Need For My RV? – Mortons On The Move