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Best Camping & RV Generator Reviews

Last updated July, 2019

camping generatorModern generators are quieter and more efficient than ever, but finding the perfect product can be a frustrating task. These devices are often packed with dozens of unique features, and many buyers don’t know what specs they should be looking for. Before you make a purchase, you want to be absolutely sure that the generator is going to work flawlessly for years and be powerful enough to meet your needs. 

When you are camping or enjoying the great outdoors, one of these machines is going to help you keep all of your batteries and electronic devices fully charged at all times. We understand just how overwhelming this process can be, and that is why we have decided to do some of the legwork for you. Here is a closer look at our top picks for the best RV generators and camping generator reviews

Our Best Camping & RV Generator Reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line
Overall Score
Pros : This heavy-duty generator can easily power most RV appliances and camping equipment. With its cast iron cylinder liner, this is also one of the quietest portable generators around, and that is going to be a major bonus when you want to enjoy the silence and solitude of nature.
Cons : Even though this generator is extremely powerful, it is also somewhat large for a portable unit. After you fill up the tank, this Yamaha could easily weigh well over 80 pounds, and moving it with one person will be very difficult.
Bottom Line : If you have been searching for a rugged generator that is going to last for years, then you might want to consider Yamaha’s EF2400iSHC. This generator can easily run for eight hours on a single tank of fuel, and the onboard microcomputer will keep the engine operating at the perfect speed at all times.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 8.0
Power - 10
​Noise - 9.5
​Efficiency - 9.5
Pros : The EU3000IH1A Honda is one of the most compact 3,000-watt inverter generators on the market, and it should be able to power almost any appliances that you take on your camping trips and outdoor adventures. It also operates between 57 and 65 dBA, and that makes it one of the quietest generators around.
Cons : Much like the Yamaha EF2400iSHC, the biggest drawback of the EU3000IH1A Handi is its overall weight. Honda has added two small wheels to the back of the EU3000IH1A Handi, but those wheels aren’t designed for rugged terrain.
Bottom Line : This generator is another great option for those who want to go camping for days or weeks at a time without worrying about RV hookups. The EU3000IH1A Handi is astonishingly powerful and easy to maintain.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 8.5
Power - 10
​Noise - 9.0
​Efficiency - 8.0
Pros : The iGen1200 was built with simplicity and portability in mind. This generator weighs just 33 pounds, and it comes with two built-in 5V USB outlets and two 120V outlets.
Cons : Those who would like to power multiple appliances and electronics at the same time might want to search for a larger generator that has a higher maximum wattage rating.
Bottom Line : For the money, it will be tough to find another generator that can compete with the iGen1200. In addition to operating at just 52 dBA, this world-class generator also has a nine-hour run time.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 10
Power - 9.0
​Noise - 9.5
​Efficiency - 9.5
Pros : Briggs & Stratton’s P3000 PowerSmart generator is ideal for camping and tailgating. It boasts a 10-hour run time and has multiple 120V outlets and USB ports. For those who need even more power, the P3000 also has parallel ports that allow you to connect multiple generators.
Cons : For the average user, the biggest drawback of this generator is going to be its weight. Even though the P3000 has wheels and a telescoping handle, it comes in at just over 95 pounds when it is completely empty.
Bottom Line : The P3000 is one of the most advanced generators on the market, and you can have this device up and running within minutes. As an added bonus, the P3000 also has a useful LCD display that shows you total unit hours, the amount of power being produced, and maintenance alerts.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 7.5
Power - 9.5
​Noise - 7.5
​Efficiency - 8.0
Pros : When it comes to portability, it will be tough to find a generator that can compete with Generac’s 7117 GP2200i. This device weighs just 46 pounds, and it has a maximum output of 2,200 watts. The 7117 GP2200i also has a 10.75 hour run time with its 1.2-gallon fuel tank.
Cons : This generator isn’t as feature-rich as some of the other generators in this list, and it might not be a great option for heavy-duty use.
Bottom Line : Even though this isn’t the most powerful generator around, it is a good option for tailgating and light camping. The generator can easily be carried by a single individual, and you are able to connect multiple units to boost the power output.
Overall Score:
​Portability - 10
Power - 7.0
​Noise - 9.0
​Efficiency - 9.0

With a rugged generator in your RV, you won’t ever have to worry about running out of power when you need it the most. In addition to being astonishingly durable, modern generators are also remarkably efficient, and that means you won’t have to waste as much money on fuel. As an added bonus, many of the generators that are listed here are backed by world-class warranties.

A generator can be a major investment, and that is why you want to be absolutely sure that you get the right product for your needs.

best camping and rv generators

Camping and RV Generator Buying Guide

camping tentIt’s tough to beat throwing some camping gear in an RV and hitting the open road when you just want to get away from it all.

When you are in an RV, the opportunities for adventure are endless, but you still get to enjoy a lot of the modern creature comforts that most of us aren’t willing to give up. Sure, there are plenty of folks out there that like the idea of “roughing it” – but plenty like to lay down on a soft mattress with an even softer pillow under their head when it comes time to sleep under the stars.

And while most RV platforms have been designed to offer us all the creature comforts we could ever hope for adding an extra backup generator helps to take things to the next level. Portable Generators designed specifically for camping and specifically for RVs are more popular today than they have ever been before, which makes finding the right one both simple and straightforward as well as pretty challenging at the same time.

On the one hand, you never had as many options for a camping or RV generator as you will have today. The sheer volume of choices to pick and choose from is almost overwhelming. On the other hand, it’s that overwhelm – that sheer flood of options you have to pick from – that gives people plenty of headaches, afraid that they are selecting the wrong one for their needs.


  • Going Forward...

Below we break down everything you need to know about finding the perfect Generator for your RV or Camping!

Everything you need to know to find the Best Generator for you RV

Right out of the gate you’re going to need to figure out exactly what you need to get out of your new generator before you start your hunt.

As we highlighted above, the overwhelming majority of RVs have been designed specifically to take advantage of a built-in generator/battery system that draws off of the vehicle’s engine. This gives you plenty of active and on-demand power when the recreational vehicle is rolling down the road, but a generator best suits your needs when the vehicle is off, fuel is low, or when you want to make sure that you are running off of an alternative fuel source.

  • Figuring out how you plan on using your new camping portable generator and what its capacity needs to be is a game changer. You’ll be able to whittle down your options significantly, focusing up your attention on options that are best suited to your needs while ignoring others that just won’t be the right fit.
  • Secondly, you’re going to need to figure out whether or not you want to move forward with a generator that has a conventional or a portable inverter style of operation. While a traditional or conventional generator can certainly get the job done in most circumstances, the odds are pretty good you’re going to want to look closer into inverter style generators to add to your RV. These inverter generator style options can modulate power a lot more efficiently so that you’re more sensitive electronic devices – smart phones, tablets, cameras, etc. – aren’t going to get blown out by a massive surge of juice at the wrong time. You’ll get clean, safe, and consistent power the same way you would at home with an inverter style option.
  • Third, you’ll need to consider the kind of fuel source you’re going to go with when you are adding a generator to your camper or your RV.

Some of Amazon's Top Rated RV Generators

There are all different kinds of fuel types you can pick and choose from, but the overwhelming majority of options break down into the following groups:

  • Gasoline – Gasoline generators are budget friendly and this fuel type is also quite affordable. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s going to use the same fuel source your RV uses, which means you can pull gasoline from your generator or from your RV to operate either one in an emergency.
  • Diesel – Diesel generators are beloved for the incredible fuel efficiency they enjoy. Super easy to operate and maintain, they also have a low cost of ownership and operation that may make them pretty attractive.
  • Propane – Unlike any other fuel source out there propane has an infinite shelf life, which means you don’t ever have to worry about your propane fuel “going bad” and no longer powering your generator. They also offer super quiet oeration on a consistent basis.
  • SolarPortable solar generators are becoming more and more popular with campers and RV owners, particularly as both a cost of installation and ownership decrease. Certainly doesn’t hurt that these generators work off of a 100% free source of energy from the sun, are silent in operation, and are about as eco-friendly as it gets.
  • Dual Fuel – Some say that these are the best portable generators you can buy because they have been designed specifically to take advantage of two different fuel sources, most commonly gasoline and propane. This gives you a little bit of extra security and a little bit of extra safety in case you run out of one fuel or the other.

RV GeneratorOf course, you’re going to need to figure out the specific power demands you’ll have to meet when you are purchasing a generator. And then you’re going to need to make sure that the generator you select can meet or exceed those needs.

1000w generators are pretty good for those that are only going to be spending a weekend or so out and about without active power sources, but if you’re looking to completely power your RV you should invest in a generator that can handle 3000w or more.

Another important area of focus you need to laser in on is how much noise your generator is going to generate during operation. Almost all generators utilizing more traditional fuel sources are going to make at least a little bit of noise, and gasoline/diesel powered systems are going to be the noisiest of the bunch.

Propane is a lot quieter when it is used to fuel a generator but nothing is as silent as solar powered systems are. If you’re going to be using your RV generator while you are trying to sleep at night you’ll obviously want as quiet a system as you can get your hands on. As a general rule, it’s always better to get a quiet portable generator if you can – just for the quality of life improvements it offers.

Other important things to consider include the overall portability of the system that you are investing in, the overall fuel efficiency of the generator that you are purchasing, and the user-friendliness of the system – especially if it’s going to be used not only by yourself but by anyone else that might be staying in the RV while you are on your adventure.

All of these details will play a huge role in how usable, how helpful, and how smart investment your inverter generator ends up being.


How to Protect, Maintain, and Repair Your Generator Off the Beaten Path

  • Generator Protection Guide...

It should come as no surprise to anyone that your camping generator is going to require a little bit of routine maintenance, some repairs every now and again, and maybe even an upgrade or two as new technologies become available.

As good as this technology is, it isn’t “future proof”. Whenever you’re talking about a system designed to generate power you are inevitably going to have wear and tear that needs to be addressed to keep efficiency and safety levels where they need to be.

For starters, you need to be sure that your generator is regularly stored in a cool, dry place away from any kinds of hazards. 

You want to make sure it is protected from dents, dings, and general abuse that can happen in an RV when something isn’t secured properly. The more you do to protect your generator when it isn’t in operation, the longer it’s going to last you.


generator serviceSecondly, it’s not a bad idea to tackle preventative maintenance all on your own but it is an even better idea to bring your generator in two professionals for servicing every now and again.

Today’s modern technology is more efficient and better made than ever before, but professionals are going to be able to get out in front of major catastrophes before they ever reach that point if they have an opportunity to look over your equipment.

It’s not a bad idea to have your generator in for servicing every six months or so. If you have the budget, every four months is even better.


Thirdly, you need to make sure that you aren’t “feeding” your generator steel, old, or compromised fuel in any way whatsoever.

This is the number one mistake that kills more generators faster than anyone could imagine, damaging and destroying internal components that are next to impossible to diagnose until the system fails completely.

If you are going to be storing the interver or portable generator for your RV for any serious amount of time (particularly if it uses a traditional fuel source) you want to add some fuel stabilizer into the system – and that’s the very least you’ll want to do. If your generator is going to be stored over the cold winter months it’s not a bad idea to have a professional winterize the equipment.

As far as routine preventative maintenance is concerned the best thing you can do for your generator is to run it through a couple of cycles even if you don’t plan on using the energy for anything in particular.

This “generator workout” keeps everything nice and lubricated, make sure that oxidation of critical electrical contacts does not happen, and also guarantees that any older fuel in the system gets used up before it has a chance to go stale. You’ll also be able to get out ahead of major issues when they are still minor hiccups when you are regularly checking out your generator system.

Finally, you’ll have to do regular battery checkups to make sure that they are good to go.

A critical component of any generator system, this is where your power is going to be stored and then transferred to be used. If your batteries aren’t in tip-top shape your generator could be incredibly efficient and you’re still going to be unhappy with its performance.

Batteries should be visually inspected by yourself every month or so and professionally inspected at least every six months. You’ll also want to get accurate records about the usage of your batteries written down and recorded so that you can better understand how much life they have left in, swapping out older integrated batteries before they fail.


Final Thoughts...

Finding the perfect generator for your camper or RV is usually going to take a little bit more research in a little bit more due diligence than most people realize at first.

Combine that with the sheer amount of options you have to pick and choose from, the different bells and whistles and standout features each manufacturer advertise as being better than anything else, and the myriad of price points out there on the market today and it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.

Take advantage of all the inside information we highlighted in this quick guide, however, and you’ll be able to speed things up significantly without ever feeling like you have chosen the wrong generator.

As long as you focus on finding the right generator for you, and not necessarily the generator that every company out there wants to sell you, you’ll have no problem finding a piece of technology that adds a lot of extra creature comforts to your adventures in your RV.

This is a major quality-of-life upgrade, and emergency solution that can quite literally save lives, and a technology that will come in handy a lot more often than you might consider now – even if you are already pretty keyed up about this investment.

best camping and rv generators
The Best RV Generators on The Market
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Perfect!
With the details above guiding you through the process, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect camper and RV generator a lot sooner than you might have been able to otherwise!
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Last update on 2019-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API