Best RV Generator Reviews For 2019 (The Ultimate Guide)

recreational vehicles generatorWhether you are taking a road trip or spending a weekend at a campground, an RV makes it more comfortable. However, the whole point of an RV is having most of the comforts of home, including electricity. To provide power to an RV, you need an RV generator.

Generators for RVs are ideal for this type of vehicle because they are designed to provide adequate power and wattage. The best RV generator can supply electricity to all of your electrical components. Looking at popular portable RV generators and learning how to evaluate the features ensures that you can narrow down your search to the best RV generators for your needs.


In A Hurry? Our Top 5 Picks Comparison

Preview
Top Pick
Westinghouse iGen4200 Hybrid Open Frame Inverter Generator - 3500 Rated Watts & 4200 Peak Watts - Gas Powered - RV Ready Outlet
WEN 56475 4750-Watt Gasoline Powered Portable Generator with Electric Start, CARB Compliant
Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator (EPA)
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
Product Name
Westinghouse Hybrid RV Generator
Champion Dual Fuel RV Generator
WEN Gasoline Powered RV Generator
Champion Portable RV Generator
Champion Inverter RV Generator
Fuel type
Gasoline
Propane or gasoline
Gas
Gasoline
Gas
Wattage
4,200 peak watts and 3,500 rated watts
3,800 running watts and 4,750 starting watts
3,750 rated watts and 4,750 surge watts
3,500 running watts and 4,000 starting watts
3,100 running watts and 3,400 starting watts
Noise level
62 dB
68 dB
67 dB
68 dB
59 dB
Rated AC output
120 volts
120 volts
120 volts
120 volts
120 volts
Run-time
15 hours at half load
10.5 hours on propane and nine hours on gasoline
10 hours at half load
12 hours at half load
7.5 hours at half load
Top Pick
Preview
Westinghouse iGen4200 Hybrid Open Frame Inverter Generator - 3500 Rated Watts & 4200 Peak Watts - Gas Powered - RV Ready Outlet
Product Name
Westinghouse Hybrid RV Generator
Fuel type
Gasoline
Wattage
4,200 peak watts and 3,500 rated watts
Noise level
62 dB
Rated AC output
120 volts
Run-time
15 hours at half load
Preview
Product Name
Champion Dual Fuel RV Generator
Fuel type
Propane or gasoline
Wattage
3,800 running watts and 4,750 starting watts
Noise level
68 dB
Rated AC output
120 volts
Run-time
10.5 hours on propane and nine hours on gasoline
Preview
WEN 56475 4750-Watt Gasoline Powered Portable Generator with Electric Start, CARB Compliant
Product Name
WEN Gasoline Powered RV Generator
Fuel type
Gas
Wattage
3,750 rated watts and 4,750 surge watts
Noise level
67 dB
Rated AC output
120 volts
Run-time
10 hours at half load
Preview
Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator (EPA)
Product Name
Champion Portable RV Generator
Fuel type
Gasoline
Wattage
3,500 running watts and 4,000 starting watts
Noise level
68 dB
Rated AC output
120 volts
Run-time
12 hours at half load
Preview
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
Product Name
Champion Inverter RV Generator
Fuel type
Gas
Wattage
3,100 running watts and 3,400 starting watts
Noise level
59 dB
Rated AC output
120 volts
Run-time
7.5 hours at half load

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


The 5 Best RV Generator Options


1. Westinghouse Hybrid RV Generator

The Westinghouse Hybrid recreational vehicle generator is CARB and EPA compliant. Due to this feature, you can be confident that the generator is safe to use with your RV as long as you use it according to the directions in the owner’s manual.

As soon as you receive your generator, all you have to do is assemble it and add gasoline to start using it. The tools that you need to assemble and maintain it come with the generator, making it easy to get it together and keep it running. You also get the oil funnel and oil needed to run your generator.

It has a 212cc engine. This four-stroke engine is reliable and ensures that you get a consistent level of power when your generator is running. Even with frequent use, the engine will work at a high level so that you can keep all of the electrical items in your RV running.

This generator uses hybrid technology, ensuring a high level of fuel efficiency and durability. There is an efficiency mode option as well. Using this mode ensures that your generator is only using the exact amount of fuel needed to power your items.

The engine runs very quietly. It has a low-tone muffler, allowing it to run without disturbing the people who park their RVs near yours. Due to the low decibel level, you also do not have to worry about hearing damage if you are close to the generator when it is running.

There are multiple outlets that let you run 120-volt items without a problem. This includes two USB outlets. Since this generator’s total harmonic distortion is under three percent, there is no risk of damage to your mobile and other sensitive electronics that you power using your generator.

You will use unleaded gasoline to power it. This fuel can be found at traditional gas stations, so you can easily pick up more once your tank runs low. The tank can hold 2.6 gallons at a time. On a full tank, if you are running the generator at half load, you can expect about 18 hours of run-time.

  • Fuel type: Gasoline
  • Wattage: 4,200 peak watts and 3,500 rated watts
  • Noise level: 62 dB
  • Rated AC output: 120 volts
  • Estimated run-time: 15 hours at half load

What We Liked

  • It comes with everything that you need to start using it as soon as you receive it
  • This generator is fuel efficient
  • The generator is quiet enough for an RV park

What We Didn’t Like

  • The low oil feature may malfunction prematurely

Our Overall Impression

Keep your RV in power with this reliable generator. It is quiet and uses gasoline efficiently. Due to its long run-time, you can have electricity throughout most of the day. It is strong enough to run most RV air conditioners, as well as other appliances, such as the refrigerator.


2. Champion Dual Fuel RV Generator

The Champion Dual Fuel recreational vehicle generator has enough wattage to power the elements of most standard RVs, including the air conditioning unit. This ensures that you have access to all of your RV amenities without any problems.

The four-stroke engine provides ample power. It is durable and is 224cc. To start the engine, you only need to push a button. This electric start feature ensures that the engine comes to life within seconds of you pushing the button. To use the electric start, you need a battery that is included with the generator.

You can use gasoline to power this generator or hook up a 20-pound propane tank. Both of them have a similar run-time, so the type of fuel that you use ultimately comes down to your preference. The running amps are slightly different depending on your fuel choice. They are 120V – 28.5A for propane and 120V – 31.7A for gasoline.

It is easy to swap out for gasoline or propane using the safety fuel selector switch. There is a tank that holds the gasoline that accommodates 3.4 gallons. To use propane, you need a propane inlet and a hose, both of which are included with the generator so you can choose your preferred fuel right out of the box.

From 23 feet, the decibel level is 68, making this generator quiet enough for use in an RV park. You will never have to worry about causing a disruption for any other RV inhabitants that are nearby when you are running your generator.

Easily move this generator around since there is a handle that lets you pull it and wheels. The wheels have an eight-inch diameter, so you can pull the propane on dirt trails that are common in RV parks. They are a type that never goes flat, so you do not need to carry an air inflator with you.

This generator has multiple outlet types to choose from, allowing you to plug in any standard RV electrical component. Due to the Volt Guard, you are never at risk from power surges that can cause damage to the things that you plug into the generator.

The casing is strong and durable. It will not crack prematurely, ensuring optimal protection for the generator’s engine and other internal components. Even with frequent transport for your RV, the casing will remain in good condition so that everything remains protected.

  • Fuel type: Propane or gasoline
  • Wattage: 3,800 running watts and 4,750 starting watts
  • Noise level: 68 dB
  • Rated AC output: 120 volts
  • Estimated run-time: 10.5 hours on propane and nine hours on gasoline

What We Liked

  • You can use gasoline or propane
  • It can assembled easily
  • It has a long run-time

What We Didn’t Like

  • Although rare, the pistons may stick in the open position on some units

Our Overall Impression

With a powerful engine and solid wattage, your RV will have the electricity that it needs with this generator. You can choose the fuel type that you prefer, allowing you to control the efficiency. It assembles quickly so that you do not have to wait long to power your RV.


3. WEN Gasoline Powered Recreational Vehicle Generator

The WEN Gasoline Powered recreational vehicle generator is efficient, running on unleaded gasoline. You can add up to four gallons of gas at a time, allowing you to run the generator throughout the hours you are awake without needing to refuel. Even if you go above half load, the overall fuel efficiency does not noticeably decrease.

There are four outlets on this generator, ideal for 120-volt items. Most RV electrical components can function on this type of outlet, including the bigger things, such as the refrigerator and air conditioner. This ensures that you can use all of the parts of your RV without issue when you have this generator.

The engine operates at eight horsepower, making this generator more powerful than similar models. Its OEM engine delivers reliable power and will not start slowing down after you use it continuously for several hours. This generator’s engine is 223cc.

You will always know when it is time to perform maintenance, such as swapping out the oil, due to the digital readout. Just check this before starting your generator so that you know when it is time to tackle maintenance chores. When you perform the maintenance on time, this can extend the life of your generator.

All EPA III and CARB regulations are met due to the design of the generator. The regulations in all 50 states are adhered to so that you do not have to worry about non-compliance or any related safety issues that can occur when a generator is not compliant with CARB and EPA III.

Power surges will not happen since it has automatic voltage regulation. This is important to protect anything that you plug into the generator since a power surge can fry a variety of items, especially small devices.

Use the fuel gauge to ensure that you maintain the appropriate level of fuel for the run-time that you need to get from this generator. It also helps you maintain the oil level since it will turn itself off if it gets too low, alerting you to the fact that it is time to add more oil to the reservoir.

You can operate this generator quietly in the RV park. This is due to the overall design, the casing and the low-tone muffler component. Any people who are parked near you will not be kept awake if you run your generator at night.

This generator weighs approximately 112 pounds, making it relatively lightweight for its size. There is a wheel kit that comes with it so that you can just pull it along instead of having to manually lift it to take it with you or change positions. It also has a handle so that it is easy to move.

  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Wattage: 3,750 rated watts and 4,750 surge watts
  • Noise level: 67 dB
  • Rated AC output: 120 volts
  • Estimated run-time: 10 hours at half load

What We Liked

  • It comes with a handle and wheels
  • The generator fires up quickly
  • You will not use a lot of gas, even with running it constantly for a few days

What We Didn’t Like

  • It is a bit louder than comparable generators

Our Overall Impression

Ensure that your RV is always comfortable with this generator. It has enough wattage and power for all elements of your RV, including the air conditioner. You can assemble this generator quickly so that you are not waiting long to provide electricity to your RV.


4. Champion Portable RV Generator

The Champion Portable recreational vehicle generator will not allow you to overload the generator or experience damage from power surges due to its Volt Guard feature. You can also monitor how much power you are getting from your generator using the voltmeter. This combination features makes it simple to stay within the voltage and wattage maximums so that you can run various electronic items safely.

There are three primary outlets on the outside of the generator. These are enough to connect any item from a standard RV, including a larger appliance and an air conditioner. You can run multiple items at the same time too for added convenience.

Add up to 3.8 gallons of unleaded gasoline to the generator at a time, allowing you to get about half a day of run-time out of each full tank. It is EPA certified so that you are abiding by all regulations when using the generator.

The frame is steel, ensuring optimal durability. You do not have to worry about premature cracking even when you transport and use the generator regularly for RV trips.

There is a gauge on the generator that provides information about run-time and the frequency it is using. This information allows you to keep an eye on its overall function and know when to perform maintenance.

The low oil shutdown is an additional protective feature that will reduce the risk of premature engine damage. If it shuts off for low oil, just let it cool down, add oil and you can start running the generator again.

Due to the noise level, it is ideal for RV parks where RVs are parked close together. It has a muffler so that the noise level is very low as close as 23 feet from the location of the generator.

  • Fuel type: Gasoline
  • Wattage: 3,500 running watts and 4,000 starting watts
  • Noise level: 68 dB
  • Rated AC output: 120 volts
  • Estimated run-time: 12 hours at half load

What We Liked

  • Due to its size, it is easy to transport with your RV
  • You can run most RV items simultaneously
  • Assembly is fast

What We Didn’t Like

  • The oil needs to be changed more frequently than with other generators

Our Overall Impression

This is a mid-sized generator that will work for most standard RVs. It provides adequate wattage for all of the elements in most RVs. You do not need to perform maintenance frequently, allowing you to keep this generator in good condition with minimal effort.


5. Champion Inverter RV Generator

The Champion Inverter recreational vehicle generator is designed for use with an RV. It weighs less than 100 pounds and has a wheel kit. Due to this kit, you can pull it along with the handle so that you never have to lift the generator. Just pull it to the right location, connect the plugs and it will provide power to your RV.

The fuel tank capacity is 1.6 gallons. All you have to do is get unleaded gasoline from a gas station to fuel this generator. This ensures that it is easy to find fuel no matter where you are traveling in your RV.

Due to the automatic idle control, the engine will continue to run efficiently and smoothly no matter how long it is operating. The built-in inverter furthers the reliability of the engine.

When the generator is operating, the automatic voltage regulation and overload protection ensure that nothing connected to it will get too much power. This is important to protect against damage for your appliances and other items. The generator will also not sustain power-related damage.

There are four outlets on this generator. All of these work for the plugs on standard RV electronics so that you can power all of the components. It also has an outlet that works as a USB adapter for small items, such as your cellphone. With under three percent total harmonic distortion, your cellphone and other small items will not sustain damage.

Use the quick touch panel to operate the generator and keep an eye on how well it is functioning. Everything you need to operate it is within this panel for convenience.

To turn it on, just flip the switch and the engine will engage. As long as you have sufficient gas and oil, it will continue to function without any issues. There is a sensor that can detect a low oil level.

  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Wattage: 3,100 running watts and 3,400 starting watts
  • Noise level: 59 dB
  • Rated AC output: 120 volts
  • Estimated run-time: 7.5 hours at half load

What We Liked

  • It runs quieter than similar generators
  • You get a handle and wheels with it
  • There are four outlets

What We Didn’t Like

  • It may leak a little gas in storage

Our Overall Impression

If you are looking for efficiency and convenience, this is the ideal generator. It provides adequate wattage for a standard RV so that you can provide power to all of the electrical elements. You only need to perform occasional maintenance, so the generator is always ready for your next RV trip.


RV Generator Buying Guide

RV generators are designed for use with this type of vehicle. The best RV generators have the right level of power and fuel efficiency to get you through the day. Learning more about the features a portable RV generator has makes it easier to pick the one that matches with your RV the best.

  • What Type of Fuel is Ideal for the Best RV Generator?
  • How Do You Pick an RV Generator Size?
  • How Do You Comply with recreational vehicle generator EPA Regulations?
  • How Quiet Are Recreational Vehicle Generators?
  • How Do You Pick the Right Amps for Recreational Vehicle Generators?
  • How Do You Start the Best RV Generator?
  • How Many Running Hours Should the Best RV Generator Have?
  • How Portable Are Generators for RVs ?
  • Should You Choose a Conventional or an Inverter RV Generator?
  • Is Alternative Fuel Capacity Important for RV Generators?
  • Will the Best RV Generators Have Low Oil Shutoff?
  • Can You Use a Transfer Switch on Recreational Vehicle Generators?
  • Do the Best Portable RV Generators Have Multiple Outlets?
  • Is a Fuel Gauge Important for the Best RV Generator?
  • How Can You Safely Use the Best Portable RV Generator?

What Type of Fuel is Ideal for the Best RV Generator?

Portable RV generators can use several types of fuel, depending on the one that you choose. The fuel types include unleaded gasoline, diesel and propane.

If you have a diesel RV, it is best to choose a generator that runs on the same fuel type. This fuel tends to be cleaner burning compared to gasoline and more powerful than propane.

Gasoline is inexpensive and easy to find, making it the most convenient fuel type. However, its shelf-life is shorter compared to diesel.

Liquid propane has the longest shelf-life, clean and eco-friendly. However, it has less run-time compared to diesel and gasoline.

How Do You Pick an RV Generator Size?

The wattage of your generator needs to be higher than the total wattage of the appliances and other items that you want to run. In most cases, an RV air conditioner is the most powerful item you need to account for.

For example, an air conditioner in an RV usually needs about 1,200 to 2,400 running watts. If you bring your laptop with you, this will only need an average of 20 to 50 watts. You can get the wattage of each item on the back or bottom of it, or from the owner’s manual.

Make sure that you also consider the voltage. Most standard items need 120 volts, but some will require 240 volts. You need to know this information to ensure that your generator has the right outlets to safely provide power to your items.

How Do You Comply with Recreational Vehicle Generator EPA Regulations?

The best portable RV generator complies with all EPA regulations. EPA guidelines state that the fumes that are generated inside an RV tank have to be returned and captured for burning. There are generators designed specifically for this purpose so that your RV is within all EPA regulations. Make sure that you choose an EVAP generator for your RV as the tank will comply.

How Quiet Are RV Generators?

When you are at an RV park, you are within close proximity to other people. Because of this, you want a generator that is quieter. Recreational vehicle generators tend to operate using fewer decibels than the vacuum you use in your home. This ensures that you can power your RV without interrupting the people around you.

How Do You Pick the Right Amps for RV Generators?

Amps play into the power that your generator needs to provide to supply electricity to your items. You can use an amp chart to determine the proper amperage. This information is also present on your RV appliances and other items. Just like with wattage, your generator needs to accommodate the amps that you need to avoid overloading issues.

How Do You Start the Best RV Generator?

These generators usually come with a button or switch to start them, or a pull cord. The buttons or switches just need to be pushed or flipped to get the engine turning. If you choose one with a pull cord, you will start it like you do a traditional lawnmower. You pull the cord upward with moderate force to turn the engine and get it going.

How Many Running Hours Should the Best RV Generator Have?

Think of the running hours of a generator like you do the miles on your car. As your generator runs for more hours, you have to perform maintenance to keep it in good condition. Your owner’s manual will tell you how many running hours can pass before the next oil change, for example.

If you use your RV often, such as at least two weekends a month, you want a generator that can accumulate more hours in between maintenance tasks. This will make it easier to maintain and reduce how much work you need to do to keep it running.

How Portable Are Generators For RVs?

This type of generator is meant to be portable so that it is easy to transport and connect to your RV. They typically weigh under 100 pounds and often come with handles and wheel kits. For the most part, their size makes it possible for one person to move it around. However, if you choose a larger one, you may need two people to lift it safely.

Should You Choose a Conventional or an Inverter RV Generator?

While a conventional generator can power elements of your RV, it is best to choose one that is specifically designed for use in an RV. This will ensure that it complies with all RV regulations and is safe to use with RV appliances and other electrical components.

Is Alternative Fuel Capacity Important for Recreational Vehicle Generators?

Some of these generators can function using both gasoline and propane. Also referred to as a dual fuel generator, you can switch between both fuels, depending on the one that you have on hand at the time. This can give you some flexibility and convenience if you accidentally run out of fuel with you are RVing.

Will the Best RV Generators Have Low Oil Shutoff?

Most modern generators have this feature. It is important because it ensures protection for the engine if you forget to check the oil level before using your generator. This feature allows your generator to turn itself off without you needing to intervene should the oil level get too low.

Can You Use a Transfer Switch on an RV Generator?

No, you should not use a transfer switch with this type of generator when you are connecting it to an RV. This is due to the design of the circuit system that RVs have. You will connect your generator when you are using your RV and need to power the items within it.

Do the Best Portable RV Generators Have Multiple Outlets?

You need the outlets that your RV’s appliances and other electrical components require. In most cases, this will be 120-volt outlets. However, it is also convenient to have USB ports or DC adaptors on it too.

Is a Fuel Gauge Important for the Best RV Generator?

While this is not a total necessity, it is very convenient. With this feature, it is much easier to determine when you need to add some gas to your generator’s tank.

How Can You Safely Use the Best Portable RV Generator?

It is imperative that you read your owner’s manual and follow all of the guidelines. You must also keep it dry and ensure adequate ventilation for safe generator usage.