People love having a travel trailer because of all the joys it can add to their outdoorsy lifestyle. Whether you enjoy camping or prefer seeing the sights in your trusty recreation vehicle, you’re going to need the best generator for a travel trailer to power your trip and make the whole experience as comfortable and exquisite as you imagine it to be.
Here at GeneralWiki combine my hand-on background and actual use experience, I have shortlisted the best 10 RV generators for your consideration. My generator reviews cover the following products
- Westinghouse iGen4500, a super quiet and reliable portable powerhouse of a generator that combines power with convenience.
- Cummins Onan 2.5HGJBB-1121, a compact generator with cutting-edge technology and fuel-saving efficiency.
- ROCKPALS 3000-Watt, an RV ready inverter portable generator which puts safety and convenience front and center.
- Renogy 400W Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit, a solar powered generator with zero fuel consumption and no emissions making it both cost-effective and eco-friendly.
- Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200 Watt, a portable inverter generator with parallel ready feature to double up the capacity.
- Yamaha EF2400iSHC, a powerful gas generator distinguished with its reliability, fuel-efficiency, and durability.
- Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 with multiple outlets and clean electricity more suitable for sensitive electronics.
- Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt, one of the quietest generators with a proprietary Eco-Throttle System that saves on fuel and prolongs the life of the generator.
- Champion 3100-Watt combines power with hi-tech providing a quick touch panel for monitoring the performance and diagnostics of the unit.
- A-iPower SUA2000iV Super Quiet 2000-Watt, a portable inverter generator that gives you more mileage for your fuel and has low noise output.
After going through all those 10 generator reviews, the winner of my choice for the best travel trailer generator is the highly-rated 👍 Westinghouse iGen4500. It has a solid engine with enough power to cater for all your appliances and makes your safety and comforts a top priority.
Why would you Need a Travel Trailer Generator?
Anyone who’s been on the road in a recreational vehicle knows the importance of having a power source for all those electricity-hungry appliances. We’re talking about RV air conditioners, bread toasters, laptops, fridges, microwaves, and hairdryers. Not to mention the need to charge your phone.
Needless to say, without these common comforts, the trip wouldn’t be as fun as you’d hope for or expect. Moreover, when you pull over at a park and decide to camp, your trusty generator will be by your side as a source of energy you simply can’t do without.
Travel trailer generators are usually more lightweight and compact than other generators. As you’ll see in the reviews below, some portable generators are so compact you can easily mistake them for a carry-on. Some even come with wheels and retractable handles for easy mobility.
What’s more, without the best generator for travel trailer or even a solid generator for camping, you can’t possibly hope to have a smooth trip. Can you imagine what life would be like if that generator for camping broke down? This is why every camping guide and manual out there recommends you should go camping with a generator.
Travel trailer generators or camping generators are usually lighter and compact than other generators. As you’ll see in the reviews below, some portable generators are so compact you can easily mistake them for a carry-on. Some even come with wheels and retractable handles for easy mobility.
Types of Travel Trailer Generators
With so many generators for camping or those specifically designed for travel trailers, it’s not always easy to know which type is more convenient or suitable for your specific needs. The best portable generator, for example, doesn’t always mean that it’s the best campsite generator.
Nearly all portable generators worth their salt have 30 amp outlets making them compatible with and RV ready, but not every portable generator is good for your travel trailer. And when it comes to the fuel type, they differ widely which leaves you scratching your head looking for the best generator for you. So let’s summarize them for you.
Gas and Diesel Generators
These are the most common types of RV generators and they’re quite popular. If for nothing, at least because it’s easy to fill up a can of gasoline or diesel the next time you stop at the gas station to fuel your vehicle.
The power capacity of this gas powered generator is usually higher than other types like propane and solar generators. They also have good starting watts on average. But with this power also comes noise and exhaust. When looking for a portable generator that runs on gasoline or diesel, make sure it has a vent pipe and a muffler to suppress the noise output.
Another consideration has to do with durability and maintenance. A gas powered portable generator usually has a shorter life-span. The generator also requires constant maintenance since neither diesel or gas are considered the best, cleanest, or most friendly for the environment.
Some campers prefer these types of generators because propane is more reliable as a fuel source and produces fewer pollutants than gas powered ones. In general, a generator that uses propane has a longer shelf life, offers more power, and is considered safer to lug around on your recreational vehicle. This is especially true for inverter generators like the Honda or Champion ones below.
A propane portable generator is also quieter when running than those fueled with gasoline. And they don’t need much maintenance as the other types. But they also produce less power than their gasoline counterparts and their starting watts aren’t high either.
So when it comes to choosing one generator, it all comes down to personal preference, really. You can either choose power and noise as represented by the gasoline and diesel types or choose the safety, reduced noise, and cleaner operation of the propane inverter portable generators.
These generators are eco-friendly and won’t cost you a cent on fuel. Using solar panels, the portable generator turns solar power into clean electricity. While these types of solar generators are cost-effective and have zero emissions and minimum noise output, they also have their drawbacks.
Since they rely on the sun for fuel, an overcast sky means you won’t have electricity as long as the sun is out. This also applies to nighttime where you might have to rely on a more traditional generator to keep the light on. Additionally, the starting watts of this type of portable generator are not something to rely on to power a 10,000 BTU air conditioner unit for example.
What to Look for in a Generator?
Before you scroll down to the generator reviews and the many options to see what each generator model has to offer, you need to set down the requirements you’re looking for when you choose a travel trailer portable generator with a good rating. Getting those points down beforehand will help you purchase the best generator for you. Here are some key features to look for.
Since the main goal of purchasing a camping trailer-ready generator is to provide you with all your electricity needs, it’s important to start with defining those needs. Once you know how much power you need, then it becomes easy to choose the rated generator with the right power capacity.
Generally speaking, you’ll need enough electricity and power to run all your regular appliances onboard the recreational vehicle as well as the more sensitive electronics. On average a portable RV generator or a camping generator with a power capacity over 2,800 watts is good enough for the average RV.
Another feature that’s related to the capacity is if the generator is parallel-ready as well as being RV ready. A small-capacity generator with that feature allows you to hook up two units to double your power output. That can be useful when you bring more electrical appliances onboard that a single generator may not be enough to power them all.
When it comes to power, a good brand with a high rating such as Westinghouse, Honda, or Champion are reliable options. They deliver maximum power and offer many models to choose from.
The noise output of the portable generator is something that goes beyond convenience, both yours and those around you. It also has to do with adhering to regulations. Certain areas and jurisdictions have laws against noisy equipment including a portable generator. So you may not be able to use your RV ready generator if it makes too much of a racket.
The best portable inverter generator, and many of the RV ready generators in these generator reviews that we have tested, have a noise output between 48 and 58 dba (20 feet away). That’s really low and isn’t much louder than a regular conversation. Of course, the lower the noise the better the unit is your usage.
When checking the noise level of the portable generator always check at what load is the stated noise output. Some generators boast of having low noise levels at 25 percent load. This means if you plug in more appliances the noise will increase.
One reason you’re buying a portable generator for your travel trailers is so that you can carry it around on your travels. Whether it’s gas powered or even dual fuel, portability, as well as fuel economy, are desirable features. Unlike a generator used for homes, your portable generator needs to be easy to handle, move around, and load on and off the vehicle.
Two things to look for when comparing the portability of generators for travel trailers. One is the weight, and the other is the presence of wheels. A light generator makes it easy to pick up and plug in which is why they’re called RV generators. Additionally, the wheels allow you to drag or push it around when you go camping.
When you think of a generator loaded on your travel trailers, think of bumpy roads, the rough treatment they get when you load and unload them and while you transport them around. This means sturdiness, not just dual fuel, steel frame, or household outlets, should be your major concern.
Many of the best portable generators come with protective cases or metal frames. Also, look for compact units. Keep in mind that the size or compactness of the generator has nothing to do with its power capacity. A light and compact generator can produce more power than a bulky one.
With fuel being a rare commodity when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, it’s important to choose a generator that is fuel-efficient, preferably can run on dual fuel and has oil warning features. In addition, refueling the generator can be an inconvenience, especially when it’s raining hard outside, and you’d rather stay dry and comfortable in the RV.
Modern portable generators have their own proprietary technology that gets a lot of mileage out of your fuel. This applies both to inverter generators as well as other types suitable for travel trailers. So while it’s a desirable feature to have a generator with a large tank, it’s also important that the generator can balance its load and save on fuel consumption.
When you’re satisfied that the generator you picked fits all the features we listed above, it’s time to think of other less obvious considerations. Features that have to do with the operation, maintenance, and logistics.
Whether you’re an avid DIYer who likes to open up and tinker with every device or you prefer to limit your interactions with appliances to the minimum, that will factor in your decision to choose one generator over the others.
In general, gasoline and diesel generators require a lot of maintenance compared to propane or solar types. To keep your generator in top shape, always ensure that the fuel isn’t stale or old since that can damage the engine. Also, remember to secure the tank after refilling to prevent leaking as the vehicle plows on towards the sunset. When you’re not using the generator, store it in a dry and cool place.
Before you buy a generator, make sure that your recreational vehicle is generator-ready. You can check the manual or call your dealer to find out. And if your generator and vehicle both use the same type of fuel, make sure you have a pump to transfer fuel to the generator.
When installing the generator make sure you also have a transfer switch installed. This switch not only prevents hazards like fire but also lets you choose your energy source when camping. That way you can save on fuel and connect to the main power supply at the camping grounds.
Best Generator for Travel Trailer Reviews 2019
When it comes to American engineering, the Westinghouse iGen4500 is both a masterpiece and a powerhouse. With a long history behind it, Westinghouse has the knowledge and expertise that keeps it abreast of today’s evolving portable generator markets. The iGen4500 is a generator that meets the needs of the most demanding travel trailer while keeping it super quiet with a very low 52 dba output.
With 3,700 rated watts which peak at 4,500 watts, this is one powerful generator to feed even the most power-hungry appliances as well as the extra sensitive ones. Whether it’s the fridge, the air conditioner, or your smartphone and laptop, there’s enough electricity to keep you going for 18 hours on one fill of the 4.3-gallon gas tank.
Convenience and innovation make the iGen4500, with its user-friendly LED display, really stand out. With three start types (remote, electrical and recoil) you will appreciate the fact that you can start it remotely with a single touch of the key fob without having to go out and brave the pouring rain outside. As a CARB-compliant generator, it delivers both on the safety and performance fronts.
On the downside, the unit seems to use a lot of oil. Low oil can give you problems when starting the generator. But that’s something all big brands such as Honda and Champion suffer from as well. And while it is fuel-efficient, the small tank means refilling becomes part of your daily routine while on the road.
- Good fuel efficiency.
- Travel trailer-ready with a tt-30 outlet.
- Super quiet with 52dba output.
- User-friendly LED display that shows power output, fuel level, and running time.
- Small tank for fuel.
- Consumes a lot of oil.
- High price tag.
What the Cummins Onan LP Vapor brings to your travel trailers is a light and compact generator that makes it the right portable power-source to accompany you in your sightseeing travels. Its versatility is one of its most outstanding features as it serves you equally well on board the RV as well as during your camping trips.
If we were to describe our experience with the LP Vapor, we would say we were most impressed with its underlying technology. The generator is powered by a microprocessor control that keeps tabs on the unit and gives us up-to-date information about the diagnostics and condition of the generator.
And for a unit of its size, it doesn’t make a lot of noise when running. This is due to the muffler which completely envelops the generator and suppresses its noise output. Coupled with its compact size and easy maintenance, this is a generator that gives you a bang for your buck.
Having said that, we did find a few drawbacks. One of them is the high price tag which makes it only suitable for someone ready to splurge. The other disadvantage is the low wattage. At 2,500 rate watts, the generator wouldn’t keep a medium-sized travel trailer running for long hours.
- Muffler-enclosed for low-noise output.
- Microprocessor control for updated diagnostics.
- Lightweight and compact for mobility.
- Easy to maintain.
- Rather expensive.
- Doesn’t deliver on the power front.
- Not suitable for large travel trailers.
As an inverter and travel trailer ready generator, the Rockpals 3000-watt gives the other generators in the same category a run for their money. Its name is synonymous with reliability and fuel efficiency as its 3.9-gallon gas tank lets it run for 17.5 hours at half load. And it has its smart economy mode to thank for its load-reducing and fuel-saving features.
As the name suggests, its start power is rated at 3,000 with 2,800 running watts which is higher than Honda and Champion. This is usually more than enough to power all the appliances on board the recreational vehicle from hair dryers to microwaves. And since it produces clean electricity, you can safely charge your smartphones, run your TV and other electronics without any risk of power surges.
Another thing we liked about this generator is how quiet it gets when running. It only produces 58 dba which is slightly louder than the hum of a fridge. This means you can have a normal conversation while sitting near the generator without even noticing the noise in the background.
One thing we didn’t appreciate about this model is how heavy it was. For a portable generator, this one is definitely heavier than other generators in the same class. In addition, its 2-year warranty leaves a lot to be desired.
- Smart economy mode for fuel efficiency.
- Quiet operation with 58dba noise output.
- Clean electricity for sensitive appliances.
- Both electric key start and recoil starter.
- CARB compliant.
- Rather heavy for a portable generator.
- Only a 2-year warranty
The Renogy 400W comes across as a multi-purpose and versatile generator. As a solar unit, it can be used on a travel trailer, a caravan, a boat, or even as a part of an off-grid solar system. The first thing that comes to your mind when exploring this solar generator is that it saves on fuel. No more refilling and watching that tank fuel like a hawk. That is the beauty of solar power.
But how does it score in power output, efficiency, maintenance, safety, and noise output? We took it for a spin and here’s our verdict. When it comes to power, you cannot expect it to run a recreational vehicle with all its electrical appliances. The unit only produces about 400 watts as advertised which wouldn’t be enough to run a microwave and a laptop simultaneously.
And since you’re relying on the sunlight to fuel the generator, no sun means no electricity. So on overcast days we simply couldn’t get anything out of it. As for noise output, there isn’t any; since there’s no fossil-fuel-powered generator running. Think of it as an electrical car that traverses the landscape as quiet as a cat.
Obviously this generator is an acquired taste. It’s not for everyone. While you get to save on fuel and operate with zero noise output, the generator falls short where power and reliability are concerned. Installation is also a drawback since you have all those solar panels, among other pieces, to set up.
If that’s not what you’re looking for, then a more traditional generator like Honda, or Champion fit the bill.
- No need for fossil-fuel.
- No noise output.
- Monocrystalline solar cell with 21 percent efficiency.
- Low power output compared to the Champion or Honda.
- Doesn’t work when there’s no sunlight.
- Not easy to install.
The Generac 7117 lives up to its name as a portable generator that has one job to do: generate electricity. And generate it does. It’s portable, saves fuel, and keeps running with reduced noise in the background. What more could one ask of a small generator with a 1.2-gallon gas tank?
Not much really. Unless you have heavy-duty machinery to run onboard your travel trailer. If that’s the case, then you and the Generac 7117 aren’t meant for each other. With rated 2,200 starting watts and 1,600 running watts, this is a lightweight generator in every sense of the word.
From what we saw with the small tank, it can still keep churning out energy for a little over 10 hours at a 25 percent load. That’s really efficient and the Truepower technology makes that happen. We also liked the clean and steady power coming out of it which allowed us to charge our phones and run our electronics without any issues.
Before we jump into the flaws of this unit, and there are many, one of the features I really liked was its parallel kit that allowed us to hook up two machines together and double our power output. Aside from that, this is a small and portable generator with only one job to do. It’s not meant to power a travel trailer and all its accessories.
- Small, lightweight, and portable.
- Fuel-efficient and has Truepower technologies.
- LED indicators.
- Small tank of fuel.
- No fuel gauge to monitor fuel level.
Like Honda and Champion, Yamaha is an old name in the generator world. If we had to describe the Yamaha EF2400iSHC in one word, that would durability. Say what you like about this generator, but it takes its job seriously and excels at it. One can imagine that when the engineers sat down to design this generator, they had one thing on their mind: how to make an engine that runs and keeps running as long as there’s fuel in the tank.
And that’s one of the best features of this portable inverter generator. The system has a low-oil-warning feature that prevents damage to the engine if it’s running low on oil. This reliability endears it to every travel trailer fan who doesn’t like to fuss over the generator and spend hours maintaining it.
The Yamaha has a decent power with rated 2,400 watts starting and 2,000 watts running, it can power a 13,500 BTU air conditioner while your favorite TV show is on and your dinner is getting warm in the microwave. And to keep the noise down, the generator has a throttle feature that brings its noise output to an impressive 53 dba at 25 percent load or 60 dba when running at full power.
As for the things we didn’t like about this one, there weren’t that many. We couldn’t add an accessory tank to keep it running for longer which was a letdown. Also, it doesn’t have a fuel filter and that is a serious oversight since any dirt in the jets can lead to power surges when the engine is under load. The unit, also, comes without wheels and for a 75-pounder, it gets unwieldy pretty fast, to say the least.
- Durability and a decent power for an inverter generator.
- Engine protection against damage and low-oil warning feature.
- Throttle to adjust the load with engine speed and save on fuel consumption.
- Multiple power outlets for different devices and a good power supply.
- No fuel filter which might cause power surges.
- Rather heavy and has no wheels.
Our first impression of the Briggs & Stratton 30545 was that it was so compact it reminds you more of a piece of luggage or a carry-on than a camping generator. Maybe that’s the reason the inverter generator has a retractable handle. This is a must for a portable generator whose claim to fame is ease of use and providing clean power on the go.
Powerful things come in small packages as they say. And this inverter generator is a good example of that. With a rated 3,000 watts start power and 2,600 watts running power, you get enough electricity to power your travel trailer. The tank is rather small and takes only 1.5-gallons of gas. However, that is enough to run for 10 hours at 25 percent load.
Another feature that many will appreciate is the LCD display. It shows you the power output as well as how much running time is left before you need to refill the tank. It will also remind you of when the next oil or filter maintenance is due so that the engine will keep running smoothly.
On the downside, this inverter generator is rather noisy due to lack of case insulation. You’ll also need to be extra careful when draining the oil from the unit because it could splash everywhere. Add to that the limited 2-year warranty isn’t very appealing.
- Easy to handle.
- Good power capacity.
- Fuel-efficient and offers multiple power outlets.
- Parallel ready.
- Limited warranty.
- Not easy to drain the oil.
- Loud noise output during operations.
- Due to safety considerations it’s not allowed to sell in California.
Honda is a reliable name in the generator market. When you’re looking for reliability, efficiency, and reduced noise all rolled into one portable, compact, and lightweight generator, you couldn’t go wrong with the Honda EU2200i. The first thing we wanted to verify was how quiet was actually super quiet?
Many an inverter camping generator claims to be “super quiet” and “purrs like a cat” but when you give it a try it roar like an angry lion. Not the Honda though. We took this one home, hooked it up and started it. True to its label, the Honda gave a low hum that didn’t exceed 48 dba. However, it went up to 57 dba as we increased the power, but even that was still quiet and wasn’t loud enough to wake someone from their sleep.
One other reason you would consider this Honda inverter portable generator for your travel trailer is its versatility as much as its power. It works for RVs as well as camps, boats, and even as a backup at home. Besides being highly rated, the Honda is also parallel ready. You can connect two Honda inverter generators together and get around 4,400 watts of power. And with its eco-throttle system, you get the best fuel efficiency at any level.
With all this power and efficiency comes a price tag to match. The price of the unit is too high for some budgets. The Honda inverter generator also lacks an electrical start which makes it less than convenient. The small fuel tank is another disadvantage and 1.5 gallons of fuel give you only 4 hours at full load.
- The Honda is quieter than other portable generators in its class.
- CARB compliant.
- Eco-throttle system saves on fuel consumption.
- Versatile and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- Not easy on the wallet.
- Lacks an electrical start method which is surprising for a Honda.
- Small fuel tank.
We have seen how some otherwise great generators have failed to put convenience front and center. Looking at you, Honda. The Champion 3100 took care of that and offered a remote start feature that lets you buzz the generator into action from the comfort of your travel trailer. Even if you’re sitting at the far end of the RV, you can still start the Champion 3100 remotely as long as it’s within 80 feet radius from the unit.
The smart economy mode feature takes fuel efficiency to new levels. You can now get eight hours of run time out of a single tank running at 25 percent load. This same feature controls the power output and adjusts the engine speed and fuel consumption based on the load. The electricity you get is clean with only 3 percent distortion and you can safely use it to power sensitive electronics.
Another distinguishing feature that makes the Champion 3100 a serious contender for our best generator title, is its raw power. With 3,100 starting watts and 2,800 running watts, it’s more than capable of taking care of all your appliances both the sensitive ones and the more tolerant devices.
Since no generator is perfect, the Champion doesn’t impress with its weight. It’s heavier than other generators within this same category.
- Wireless remote start.
- High maximum power and quiet operation.
- Fuel efficiency of up to 8 hours on a single tank.
- Quick-touch control panel with a good rating.
- Clean power for sensitive electronics from this inverter generator.
- Heavier than other inverter generators in this category including Honda.
Some generators take the concept of portability too seriously. The A-iPower is one such case in point. With only 50 pounds in weight and measuring 22 x 13 x 20 inches, this is a generator that you can mistake of a stylish handbag. It also boasts of a 1-gallon tank which is the smallest fuel tank we have seen.
Despite the small tank and compact size of the A-iPower, it does use every drop of fuel to the maximum. The company has apparently perfected its own eco-throttle system that a single tank gives you the power of 9 hours of run time at 50 percent load. This almost matches both Honda and Champion inverter generators. We have seen other generators give us less mileage with larger tanks.
The A-iPower’s noise output is on a quiet level similar to the Honda. It produces 58 dba which is becoming the norm now with modern generators in this category. And since it’s both CARB and EPA compliant, the generator is legal in all 50 states.
And while other parallel ready inverter generators let you choose to connect two units of the same model to double up your power output, the A-iPower gives you even more options. You can hook it with another generator such as the Yamaha without the need for any special outlets or parallel kits.
The generator’s low capacity is its main letdown. In most cases, its starting 2,000 watts and 1,600 running watts simply are not enough to power an air conditioner no matter how small. However, you can keep it as a backup generator on your travel trailer in case the main one fails.
- Affordable price.
- Compact, lightweight, and power-efficient.
- Parallel ready and can be connected to other models.
- Eco-throttle system extends the engine’s life.
- EPA and CARB compliant.
- Low power capacity.
- Running an air conditioner might cause it to overload.
Frequently Asked Questions
After this roundup of the best generators for a travel trailer in the market, it would seem fitting to answer some of your most pressing questions about RV generators. Just to ensure this article gives you a comprehensive idea of what portable generators are all about, we gathered some of the most common questions and answered them.
How Big of a Generator do I need for a Travel Trailer?
A lot of people ask this question and it does have a point. You have a travel trailer and you want to take it on a trip across the state, will just about any generator do, or do you need a big one?
The answer, of course, depends on two things: how large is your travel trailer? And how many electrical appliances do you have on board? A small size RV won’t need a lot of energy to power all your equipment. The same logic applies to the size of the air conditioner unit you have.
So with that out of the way, how can you determine the right generator to give you all your power needs? First, you’ll need to take an inventory of all the appliances which run on 120 volts in your RV. Add them all to get the total number of volts you expect your generator to produce on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that the ballpark number you get is just the average usage on a normal day. It’s true you won’t be using all your appliances at the same time, but there’s also a chance you’ll be carrying a few extra accessories on board. We’re talking about phones, tablets, and laptops.
Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run an Air Conditioner?
A 2000 watt generator is considered on the low end of portable generators. It’s not recommended that you get a generator of such a low capacity unless you’re on a budget. But let’s assume that for some reason you ended up with one. What can you do with it?
More importantly, what can it do for you? Can it run the AC unit? To get a good answer to that question, you’ll need to determine how much power your air conditioner needs. Also, it’s important to distinguish between starting power and running power.
If the starting power of the generator is 2000 watts, the chances are it won’t be able to sustain a medium-size air conditioner. Not if you’re going to plug in the toaster, the microwave, and small fridge all at the same time.
So while your low capacity generator might be able to start the AC and keep it going for a few hours on a single tank fill, the truth is, you will need to unplug the AC every time you need to switch on the hotplate to heat up dinner. In addition, many of these electrical appliances have different start power. So to answer that question. Yes, a 2000 watt generator can run an AC in theory. But it’s not recommended.
Do I need a generator for a travel trailer?
The best way to answer this question is to rephrase it this way: can you survive without electricity? Can you go through your day without checking your social media feed, watch TV, reach into the fridge for a snack, or have a hot dinner?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, then congratulations, you can live off the grid and you have no use for electricity or even batteries for that matter. You can do without most of the conveniences of modern life and can live a good life in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere with limited options.
If, on the other hand, you decided that sweating inside a sweltering and stuffy RV wasn’t worth the trip and that an air conditioner unit isn’t just a luxury but a basic necessity, then you definitely need a generator for your travel trailer.
Not just that, but you also need a good one to keep all your equipment running smoothly without having to worry about refilling the generator tank often or switching been appliances to save on electricity. Part of the whole RV experience is to enjoy all the luxuries of home while on the road. You’ll need a generator for that.
How many Watts does a 30 amp RV Use?
While RVing doesn’t necessarily require you to be a master electrician, a little knowledge of the topic goes a long way into making your experience a more pleasant one. At least if you want to avoid tripping the breaker, or spending the night in total darkness because you got the generator overheated.
So how would you calculate the wattage of a 30 amp RV? It’s simple really. The RV system uses 120 volts which when multiplied by 30 amps gives you 3600 watts. That’s the maximum usage of the RV. If you tried to replace your generator with a few batteries, you’ll need a lot of batteries. We’re talking about hundreds of batteries.
Your generator needs to provide this much power to keep the RV going at all times. That’s something that batteries cannot do. And depending on the size of the generator (more about that in the next question) you might need to balance your load. This means that you shouldn’t run all your equipment together at the same time.
It’s also a good idea to check the power requirements of each appliance before you plug it in to avoid tripping the breaker. Just like the generator for camping, appliances have each a starting wattage and a running wattage. The first is usually higher and increases the load of the generator.
What Generator Size is Best for the Travel Trailer?
This also has to do with the size of the travel trailer, what the load is like, the starting and running power of the appliances, as well as the size of the AC. We’ll start with the air conditioner unit.
If there’s one appliance that no RV can do without, it has to be the AC. You can do without a TV set, a microwave, or even a toaster, but not the air conditioner. And it’s mostly this appliance that takes up the most electricity and pushes the generator to its limits.
So to determine the size of the generator, you’ll need to know two things: the starting and running power of your AC as well as that of the generator. Now you need to factor in the other appliances you have. In general, your total amount of power consumption should never exceed that of the generator.
Moreover, if you have more than one air conditioner on your travel trailer, then you should get a generator for each one. Think of a generator as a bunch of batteries. Even a small generator will help balance the load will go a long way to making your trip or camping experience, hassle-free.
Will a 3500-watt Generator Run my RV?
The short answer is yes and the long answer is it’s recommended. As we have seen from the previous questions, most recreational vehicles come loaded with options, accessories, and appliances that require a powerful energy source to keep them all running. For such RVs you’ll need a solid generator like Honda, Champion, or Westinghouse. All of them are reviewed above.
Let’s demonstrate with a common appliance in every RV, the AC. An average AC with 7,000 BTU power will require at least 1,700 watts to get it started. To keep it running, you’ll need 600 watts of steady and uninterrupted current. This means that one electrical appliance on your RV takes up about half the power of the generator to start up.
This all leads us to conclude that the more running power the generator has the better off it will be in supplying all your electricity needs and then some. Low-wattage generators not only will trip and overheat if you run them at maximum capacity for too long, but they also require refueling on a regular basis. That’s a task you’d be loath to do, especially when it’s raining or even snowing out there.
The Last Word
After reviewing those 10 products, it was time to make the final decision and announce the winner of our roundup. It was a difficult decision since most of the products had great features. After exhaustive shortlisting, we chose the Westinghouse iGen4500 as the best generator for the travel trailer.
From the get-go, the Westinghouse dazzled with its power capacity and engine. With 3,700 rated watts, you have enough electricity to power all your camping trailer appliances even if you run them all at the same time. And since it comes with a remote start, you have both power and convenience literally at the tips of your fingers.
The iGen4500 also met our other selection criteria. From its portability to the super quiet 52 dba noise level, the generator was as reliable as it was compact and sturdy. And while it runs on gas, it is compliant with CARB, EPA, and USFS safety standards.
For all these reasons, we consider the Westinghouse iGen4500 the best portable generator for travel trailers.