How To Choose The Right Portable Generator For Your RV Camping

Do you have an RV? Have you ever taken your family out into nature and experienced RV camping? Given the current pandemic, we all need to maintain social distancing and avoid being in crowds. RV camping, therefore, becomes an affordable way to travel and explore the great outdoors, as well as a way to live a healthier and more sustainable life.

best portable generator for RV camping

How To Choose the Best Portable Generator for RV Camping

Traveling in RV can be a lot of fun, especially when you solve the power problem. An RV generator that allows you to run your equipment anywhere has pretty much become a necessity now for nearly every RVer. In this article, I'll talk to you about How To Choose The Best Portable Generator For Your RV Camping.

Let's start by understanding some of the basics of RV electricity.

Terminology related to RV generators

Amperage (Amps), which indicates the volume of electrons flowing, the amount of current. Wires and circuit breakers determine the amp capacity of the RV, and most RVs come with either 30 amps or 50 amps. The following are the amperage of common RV appliances or electronic devices:

DEVICES

AMPS

 

 

Refrigerator

2.8 amps

 

 

Coffee maker

8.3 amps

 

 

Converter

8 amps

 

 

TV

1.5 amps

 

 

Microwave

13 amps

 

 

Hair dryer

9 to 12 amps

 

 

Roof a/c

13.5 amps

 

 

Toaster

8 to 10 amps

 

 

VCR

2 amps

 

 

Electric skillet

6 to 12 amps

 

What is the difference between 30-amp and 50-amp RV?

This is a frequently asked question by many people. The answer to this is that a 50 amp RV can handle more power than 30 amps because a 50-amps plug allows more electricity to pass through. The visible difference in RV design is that a 30 amp plug has three prongs and is typically used in RVs that run with lower load; a 50 amp plug has four prongs and supports a maximum load of 12,000 watts, 3 times the 30 amp power.

Voltage (Volts): Larger appliances on RVs such as micro-waver and air-con generally run at 120Vac or 240Vac. You will need a generator or on-board inverter to generate the power for the loads. But for battery-powered devices, the standard voltage is 12VDC. The interior lights and refrigerators and other appliances on the RV basically run on 12VDC.

Wattage (Watts): This is equal to voltage multiplied by amps, which is the unit for the rate at which energy is generated or consumed.

Types of RV Generators

Many campgrounds are now equipped with on-site power, but if you plan to travel farther and get closer to nature, then you should have a generator to power your RV equipment and your travel life.

How to choose a generator for RV? The first step is to differentiate between the two types of RV generators: Built-in Generator and Portable Generator

Built-in generators are usually installed inside the RV and are generally high-power, usually providing at least 3,000 watts of power. It is connected to your vehicle's electrical system and powered by a battery. Built-in generators are suitable for large A-class or C-class RVs, since small generators cannot meet the power needs. Despite the high power it yields, a built-in generator is costly and difficult to install and maintain. And it has to be installed indoors and exhausts gas when operating.

Portable generators can offset the disadvantages of built-in generators, and are relatively affordable. One of the advantages of portable generators is that they are all “Plug and Play” tools, which makes them suitable for small class-B RVs.

Here is a comparison of the two types:

RV GENERATOR TYPES

PORTABLE GENERATORS

BUILT-IN GENERATORS

Installation

Plug & Play

Pre-installed on RV

Operation

Manual setup/ Start

Automatic setup, Push-button start

Maximum output

Up to 8,000+

Up to 12,000+

Energy source

Separate fuel tank or batteries

RV's fuel tank

Access/Maintenance

Simple

Difficult

Risk of Exhaust Leaks

Low

High

Cost

Low

High

 

Types of Generator Fuel

In the table above, we note the concept of fuel. Yes, this is another important question for RV engines we need to consider: what fuel will your RV generator run on? Now let's discuss engine fuel types.

Gasoline Generator / Diesel Generator

Most generators run on gasoline or diesel, both of which are very practical and available at gas stations. Diesel generator lasts longer than gasoline generator, but it is difficult to start in cold weather because diesel generators don't use spark plugs. Which fuel to choose? It is recommended to use the type of fuel required by the generator.

Propane Generator

Propane generators are quieter and more environmentally friendly than gasoline generators and diesel generators. But due to their low efficiency and short lifecycle, they are relatively rare in RV generators.

Solar Generator

Solar generators have become a new trend in the industry and are considered the best choice for camping. First, you need to understand what a solar generator is. Solar generators are mainly composed of solar panels, batteries, inverters and charge controllers. They use pollution-free solar energy to generate electricity. They are noise-free and provide campers with the benefits of quiet sleep and relaxation. Based on its advantages, it is the most recommended portable generator for RV camping.

best portable generator for RV camping - Growatt

Wind Turbine Generator

The essence of a turbine generator is to mount a wind turbine on top of an RV. The fan blades are rotated by the wind to generate electricity, which is then stored in the RV's battery. Turbine generators typically power 12-volt systems, or are used in conjunction with inverters. In fact, this is not a popular solution, and installation is cumbersome.

What Size Generator Do I Need for My RV?

The answer is, depending on the equipment used in your RV.

Firstly, let's examine the power required by common RV camping appliances and equipment that need to be used.

Devices

Wattage

 

 

Stove

900 to 2,500 watts

 

 

Hair dryer

1,200 to 1,875 watts

 

 

Clothes iron

1,000 to 1,800 watts

 

 

Washer

1,000 to 1,500 watts

 

 

Coffee maker

900 to 1,200 watts

 

 

Microwave

750 to 1,500 watts

 

 

Toaster

800 to 1,400 watts

 

 

Refrigerator

400 to 1,000 watts

 

 

Blender

450 to 700 watts

 

 

TV

43 to 600 watts

 

 

Radio

50 to 200 watts

 

 

Gaming console

70 to 180 watts

 

 

Laptop

20 to 50 watts

 

Second, you need to determine how your equipment and equipment will operate during your RV camping period, whether they will operate at the same time or separately at different times.

Thirdly, you need to consider starting power and running power. Some appliances require more power to start, and smaller power generators may not be able to provide power to start certain appliances.

 

Enjoy RV camping, choose the quiet portable generator

Going back to the beginning, what was the root reason why you chose RV camping? Running away from the troubles of work and life? Getting closer to nature with family or friends? Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city? To better enjoy RV camping, I recommend choosing a suitable and quiet RV generator.

As I said above, solar generators are your best portable generator for RV camping. Now, let me list the advantages of using the solar generator for you:

  1. No noise

This is the advantage I like very much. You are no longer bothered by noise when entertaining, eating, and sleeping. A noise-free environment makes for a better RV camping experience.

  1. Save money

You don't need to pay extra money on buying fuel. Solar energy is a free gift from nature. You can always charge your batteries as long as the sun is out.

  1. Environmentally friendly

Solar charging can avoid exhaust emissions and can contribute to a low carbon world. At the same time, it can avoid the effects of harmful gas emissions on the body.

  1. Low maintenance

No additional gadgets are required and it is easy to maintain. Other types of generators may require additional small components (such as spark plugs) to operate.

 

Things to look for when choose the best portable generator for RV camping

If you finally decide to invest in a solar generator, the following factors can help you choose the best solar generator for RV camping.

Watt Hours

Also known as battery capacity, it determines how long your device can last. For example, a 1500Wh solar generator can power your refrigerator for 24 hours on a full charge. Of course, temperature may affect the usable capacity of the battery.

Running Watts

That is the operating capability. You need to make sure that the generator's operating power is greater than the total power of the equipments you want to use to keep your equipment running properly. Typically, every electrical device is marked with its rated power.

Recharge Time

This is the time it takes you to fully charge your solar generator battery after draining it. Usually the manufacturer will tell you how long it will take to fully charge. But charging time is an estimate as it will be affected by environmental factors. For example, when you're camping in your RV, it's definitely faster to charge with solar power on a sunny day than on a cloudy day.

Battery Type

Solar generators are mostly available with lead-acid batteries or lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are generally more expensive than lead-acid batteries but are lighter, safer, and last longer, so they are often used as portable batteries. 

Outlets

While this is a secondary factor, it is a benefit for some campers who need to charge a large number of devices at the same time. With the advancement of technology, people rely more and more on various electronic devices in their daily lives, and you need to charge more devices every day.

The greater the number of output ports of a solar generator, the more convenient it will be for you to use. If the solar generator has enough ports to charge all your devices, you don't need to add extra power strips to increase your output ports. To meet user needs, the Growatt Infinity 1500 is designed with 12 output ports, allowing you to power all your devices at the same time.

Growatt infinity 1500 outlets - best portable generator for RV camping

Conclusion

Which is the best portable generator for your RV camping?

The answer is: the portable generator that best meets your power needs is your best bet.

How to choose it? Start by determining the purpose and power needs of your RV camping, make a list of equipment and calculate power and wattage, then decide which type of generator you prefer and buy according to your budget. Hope this guide is helpful to you, welcome to discuss with us.

FAQ

Which is the quietest generator for RV camping?

The quietest generator for RV camping is solar generator. Compared to diesel engines or gasoline generators, it is noiseless and does not require fuel to start.

Can you run RV generator while sleeping?

When you sleep, if you use the solar generator, it is safe to run it in or out of the RV. But if you have an generator that runs on other fuels, I suggest you leave it out of the car when you sleep.