Best Camping & RV Generator Reviews 2017

Last updated on December 5th, 2017 at 08:49 pm

Camping and outdoor life are fun and enjoyable. The whole experience gets a massive boost if you have a reliable portable generator to power your various gadgets and electronics. To help you in your search, we have compiled only the top models in the market. Showing you the best RV generator suitable for your vehicle, and the best generator for camping to power your next trip. With our comparison tables and unbiased camping and RV generator reviews, you should be able to make a more educated choice towards choosing the right portable generator for your needs.

Whether it’s at the camping site or in your recreational vehicle, we’ve got it all covered with a simple list of top generators most suitable for camping and RV life. In addition to our multiple comparing tables, we will also teach you how to set up the generators and how to maintain them for a great outdoor experience.

Best Generator for Camping – Top 6

  • Yamaha EF2400iSHCRecoil Start
  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • Starting 2400W - Continuous 2000W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 1.6 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 8.6 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 53 dB.
  • Weight: 75 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $$$$

  • Champion Power Equipment 100263Electric + Recoil Start
  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • Starting 3400W - Continuous 3100W
  • Fuel Type: Gas+Propane Capacity: 0.95 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 7.5 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 59 dB.
  • Weight: 96 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $$$

  • Westinghouse WGen3600Recoil Start
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Starting 4650W - Continuous 3600W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 4.0 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 20 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 62 dB.
  • Weight: 107 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $$

  • Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000Recoil Start
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Starting 3000W - Continuous 2600W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 1.5 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 10 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 58 dB.
  • Weight: 84 lb.
  • Warranty: 2-Year Limited
  • Price: $$$

  • Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQRecoil Start
  • 4.1 Customer Rating
  • Starting 2000W - Continuous 1600W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 1.1 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 16 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 51 dB.
  • Weight: 47 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $$

  • Westinghouse iGen1200Recoil Start
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Starting 1200W - Continuous 1000W
  • Fuel Type: Gas Capacity: 0.8 gal.
  • Tank Run-Time @ 25% Load: 9 hrs.
  • Noise Level @ 25% Load: 52 dB.
  • Weight: 33 lb.
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Price: $$

Best RV Generator Reviews

Yamaha EF2400iSHC Gas Powered Portable Inverter

Best RV Generator

Yamaha generators boast the longest engine durability ratings that can be issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Yamaha EF2400iSHC is very durable. Its low oil warning system helps prevent engine damage, caused by low oil.

The electricity this generator produces is comparable to what your utility company offers. As such, it can safely be used with sensitive electronic devices, such as smartphones, and tablets.

Alternately, with 2400 watts starting power, and 2000 watts running power, this inverter generator can also be used with high-wattage devices, such as most energy-efficient air conditioners. This machine can run an RV air conditioner in temperatures up to 110F and will run most RV conditioners rated at or below 13,500 BTU, as well as microwaves, heaters, etc.

The Yamaha EF2400iSHC throttle feature results in a much quieter generator that operate at maximum fuel efficiency, with 53 decibels of noise at 25% load, and 60 decibels at full load. It has 1.6 gallon gas tank that runs for minimum 8 hours at 25% load. And with the fuel gauge on this machine, you can see the current gas level at a glance. It’s also CARB compliant, making it an ideal choice for RVs, and outdoor life.

Pros:

  • Has a throttle feature that automatically adjusts the engine speed to match the output load; allowing you to only use as much power as you need.
  • Equipped with multiple power outlets, this machine is packed with durable heavy-duty power, while maintaining user-friendliness.

Cons:

  • Weighs 75 pounds and lacks wheels which makes it hard to move and carry.
  • Maintaining oil changes is not an easy task, and the fuel lever is made from poor plastic that can easily break.

 

Champion Power Equipment 100263 Dual Fuel RV Ready

Best Generator for Camping

The Champion Power Equipment 100263 makes a great choice for camp, boat, and RV. Its dual-fuel option with its easy selector switch means that it can run on gas and propane, which may come in handy.

Rated at maximum 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts. This inverter generator can power a variety of appliances, enough power to run a 15,000 BTU air-conditioner.

Produces clean and stable energy safe to use with delicate devices and electronics such as digital cameras, smartphones, and laptops.

This generator can run over 7 hours on its 1.6 gallon gas tank, and up to 14 hours on a 20lb tank of propane, at quarter load. Produces just 59 decibels of noise when in a quarter load operation, it’s quiet and fuel-efficient.

CARB compliant and full of great features, such as; electric start button, low-oil shutdown, easy access panel with RV-ready TT-30 plug, two household outlets, and USB.

It’s also parallel capable allowing you to double your power by connecting it to another unit. It’s a useful addition to your RV or camping site that adequately meets your power needs and requirements.

Pros:

  • It has an economy mode to save fuel by arranging it’s speed according to the power being used.
  • RV ready with easy access control panel.

Cons:

  • It’s a heavy machine, weighing 97 pounds. You have to tilt the generator at a low angle in order to use the wheels.
  • Weak carrying handles.

 

Westinghouse WGen3600 RV Ready Portable Generator

RV Generator Reviews

The Westinghouse WGen3600 RV ready portable generator is a powerful and low-maintenance generator, ready for you to take it anywhere. Designed with the latest technology and featuring some very useful features.

Rated at 4650 watts starting power, and 3600 watts running power, this generator is powerful enough to run high-power appliances and electronics that you may have in your RV such as a fridge, a microwave, and the entire automobile’s lighting system.

Just as its name suggests, this generator has RV ready features such as one TT-30R 30A power outlet, one L5–30R 30A power outlet, and one 120V AC duplex power outlets and circuit breakers for easy power control and management.

Other of its impressive attributes include an automatic low oil shutdown feature and a muffler for quiet operation. While also being CARB compliant, producing low emissions, making it safe to use anywhere.

To sum it up, the Westinghouse WGen3600 is a powerful user-friendly generator, that would support most appliances in your RV or at your camping site. It is backed by excellent manufacturer support and timely customer service assistance.

Pros:

  • Heavy duty enclosure with cast iron sleeve that adds protection to the whole unit.
  • Long run time, has a large gas tank of 4 gallons that allows it run for over 12 hours at half load.

Cons:

  • Weighs 107 pounds, which is really heavy but the presence of non-burst tires make for increased portability.
  • Doesn’t have an electric start.

 

Briggs & Stratton 30545 P3000 Portable Inverter Generator

Best generator for RV

The Briggs & Stratton P3000 PowerSmart Series, another great quiet and powerful option for RV camping.

Manufactured with computer controlled technology that allows it to produces safe and stable power that can be used with sensitive electronic devices. In addition, it allows it to save fuel and run longer.

With 3000 watts starting and 2600 watts running, enough power to run an average RV air-conditioner. Not to mention, it can also serve as a backup power for your home to keep your critical appliances running in a power outage.

This gas powered inverter generator can run up to 10 hours on a full tank of 1.5 gallons at quarter load. It’s also parallel capable, giving you a unique option to connect it to another P3000 or P2200, to maximize your power.

Has four AC household outlets, one USB, and one 12V locking RV outlet. Weighs 84 pounds, equipped with never go flat 6-inch wheels and a retractable handle, that makes moving around easy even across rough terrain. It’s a good user-friendly option for your RV, camping trip, and can also provide for emergency home backup power.

Pros:

  • Features an LCD display, allowing you to check the entire status of your machine.
  • Has an auto idle control that allows it to run at an optimal speed depending on the required load.

Cons:

  • Weak casing insulation which makes it a bit loud for an inverter generator. Producing 58 decibels during operation.
  • Preforming oil changes is not an easy task.

 

Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ Portable Inverter

Best camping generator

Smarter Tools AP-2000iQ is an affordable option compared to inverter generators, and with a run time of over eight hours at 50% load, it can cover most of your power needs.

Has a Yamaha MZ80 engine with 2000 watts starting and 1600 watts running makes the Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQ powerful and great for outdoor projects, and remote sites.

Producing quiet, pure sine wave energy; so that you can plug in your TV and computer safely. At 51 decibels at quarter load, it’s quiet and very portable.

Designed with LED indicators and an attached handle on top, this 47 pounds workhorse allows you to take power wherever you go. With the parallel port, easily connect two of these for double the power, allowing you to power almost anything.

Overall, the STAP-2000iQ may not have all the bells and whistles many generator companies are incorporating into their newer models, but it’s an affordable option suitable for light power needs.

Pros:

  • Armed with a smart throttle, an auto idle feature, allowing the motor to adjust its speed to match the electrical output; saving you gas and money.
  • Easy to use and an affordable option compared to other inverter generators.

Cons:

  • Idles roughly, making it not very quiet when on load.
  • Made of poor plastic that may not very durable.

 

Westinghouse iGen1200 Portable Inverter Generator

westinghouse igen1200 portable inverter generator

Looking for a small quiet generator? The Westinghouse iGen1200 provides a variety of premium features at a great value. 1200 starting watts and 1000 running watts, it’s a great option for working on small projects around the house, tailgating, or while camping.

The iGen1200 weighs 33 pounds and has a built-in carry handle for easy transportation. Utilizing asymmetrical cooling fans, low tone mufflers, and a double-insulated acoustic enclosure to reduce the generator’s operating noise. Makes only 52 decibels when running at 25% load.

Has two USB ports and two 120V household power outlets. Safely and conveniently get high-quality power for all of your favorite electronic devices. The iGen1200 is also parallel capable. So you can just plug it and connect it through a parallel cord to any Westinghouse iGen series inverter generator to upgrade your power.

Not to mention it’s overload protected and equipped with low oil shut down feature that protects the engine in case the generator runs low on oil. It’s also CARB compliant.

Pros:

  • Features an enhanced fuel efficiency. With less than one gallon of gas tank runs up to 9 hours at 25% load.
  • Easy to use control panel.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for heavy duty power equipment.
  • Lacks an electric start option.

 

Best Camping/RV Generator Comparison Chart

Feature/ProductYamaha EF2400iSHCBriggs & Stratton P3000Westinghouse WGen3600Champion Power Equipment 100263Smarter Tools STAP-2000iQWestinghouse iGen1200
Wattage:2400W / 2000W3100W / 2600W4650W / 3600W3400W / 3100W2000W / 1600W1200W / 1000W
Engine Displacement (cc):171 cc.171 cc.212 cc.192 cc.79 cc.54 cc.
Engine Horsepower (HP):5.5 HPN/A5.9 HP6 HP2.5 HP1.8 HP
Starting Method:RecoilRecoilRecoilElectric + RecoilRecoilRecoil
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD):Less than 3% THDLess than 3% THDLess than 5% THDLess than 3% THDLess than 3% THDLess than 3% THD
Fuel Gauge:AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableNot Available
Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR):AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
Outlet Protection Circuit Breakers:AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
Low Oil Shutdown:AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
Quiet Mufflers:AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
Spark Arrestor:AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
Exhaust Emissions Certificate:EPA + CARB + CSACSAEPA + CARB + CSAEPA + CARBEPA + CARBEPA + CARB + CSA
Parallel Capable:Not AvailableAvailableNot AvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable

Choosing the Best Generator for RV – Ideal Camp Generator

Picking the best camping generator is no easy task. Without the right information, you may end up with a generator that is noisy, bulky or one that consumes fuel like nobody’s business. This is bad; very bad and it can take the fun out of the whole camping or RVing experience. Here are some of the things you have to consider when looking for the perfect camping generator, or a suitable one to use to power up your RV;

  1. Conventional vs. Inverter Generators

outdoor wall outlet

A good camping generator should work well with the different electronics and appliances that you have. Sensitive electronic devices such as smartphones or DSLR cameras can be damaged by unstable power sources. These sine wave inverter generators produce safe and clean power just like your wall electricity at home.

This makes picking an inverter type generator over a conventional one a safer choice if you will be mainly charging delicate electronics.

  1. Fuel Type

Type of fuel used to run your generator may be an important factor to keep in mind. Depending on where you are intending to use the generator, and which fuel type will be easier to obtain.

  • Gas-Powered: Gasoline is more budget-friendly, it’s relatively cheaper than other fuel types. Readily available, and easy to use.
  • Propane-Powered: Propane has an indefinite shelf life unlike other types of fuel. Propane generators run quietly as well when compared to other types of generators.
  • Diesel-Powered: Diesel generators are popular for their fuel efficiency. They are easy to operate and maintain.
  • Dual-Fuel: Such generators run on both propane and gas. Their dual fuel capacity makes them convenient in case you run out of either of the fuel types.
  • Solar-Powered: Solar generators produce power from the free energy of the sun, they work in silence, and are eco-friendly, with no emissions. They are great for safely powering low-wattage devices.
  1. Your Specific Power Requirements

Your power needs are influenced primarily by the appliances and electronics that you intend to power up. For a small camping trip, a generator rated at 1000W is perfect for powering small devices such as your smartphone, lights and small tools.

To fully power up your RV, you need a generator rated at 3000W or more to comfortably run heavy-duty appliances such as that 15,000 BTU rated air conditioner in your RV, fridge, electric grill or other tools. More is usually better as you will be able to meet any extra power requirements and adjustments.

  1. Noise Level – The Quieter the Better

Generators are measured in decibel according to the noise level they produce. Manufacturers are taking this noise issue very seriously with most of them adapting to creative ways to ensure that their engines are as quiet as possible such as Honda’s two-tiered noise dampening system.

Generators rated 60 decibels or less are the best in this regard. At this noise level, you can comfortably have a conversation and be less of a distraction to your neighboring campers.

It should be noted that as the power rating of a generator increases, its noise level is bound to increase as well. If you want more power you should, therefore, expect a little bit more noise.

  1. Portability

Your power source should be portable enough to make your travels easier. Portable generators are usually not heavy or bulky, and they can easily be moved around by one person. Portable generators should have wheels and adjustable handles for convenient handling and movement.

The portability and power rating of a generator usually go hand in hand. In an attempt to generate more power, highly rated generators incorporate a lot of parts and this makes them bulky. Moving such generators, therefore, becomes difficult. To solve the issue of portability and power, you can choose to connect two smaller generators for double the power. This way you can easily move the generators from place to place and effectively meet your power requirements.

  1. Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is another aspect that you have to look out for. The top rated generators, in this case, are those that are able to adjust their engine speed according to the applied load. When you only have light appliances connected, the engine automatically lowers the speed and this results in minimum fuel consumption. The engine should only be engaged in a full-throttle mode only when it is necessary.

  1. User-Friendly Features

Features for an easy to operate, and easy to use generator. It covers automation and generator monitoring. The low-oil shutdown is one such feature, that prevents engine damage in case it runs low on oil. A visible fuel gauge for monitoring the level of oil or gas is another feature. LCD display or a volt-meter are other great user-friendly features. A wireless remote start may also be an extra feature that is useful for some situations, giving you the option to start and stop your generator from far.

For optimal use of your generator, you can check our list of the most useful accessories for portable generators.

Prepare and Maintain Your Generator for Your Travels

genset structured shape for home use

Your camping generator, just like any other machine, requires proper maintenance and care, for it to function properly when it is called into action. Below you will find helpful ways on how to keep your RV or camping generator in top condition and how to prepare it for use. A good generator could cost thousands of dollars. This makes maintaining it properly very important. Here are a few tips on how you can go about it:

  • Proper Storage

When not in use, store your generator in a cool and dry place away from falling hazards. The area you choose to store your generator should be free of moisture and any form of water. Ensure that the generator is covered up to keep away dirt, dust, mud, and grime.

  • Get It Serviced

Servicing your generator regularly is very important. Modern generators are efficient machines that can run for long periods without breaking down. However, if you are to make the most of your generator and use it for a very long time, then you should have it serviced regularly. Take it to the nearest repair shop for service and checkup. The service attendants will be able to notice any deficiencies and initiate the necessary remedial measures.

In a year, you should service your generator every 4 months. Keep a record book of this services for timely assistance and repairs.

  • Old Fuel is Bad News for Your Generator

gas can icon

Stale fuel is not good for your machine. It causes start-up problems to your generator and if the issue is not rectified immediately, it could result in generator breakdown. Most manufacturers would recommend adding a fuel stabilizer into the oil before storage, but, there is no guarantee that this option would eliminate the startup problems. We would recommend draining the stale oil and using fresh fuel to run your generator after a long period of inactivity.

  • Routine Generator Exercises

If you don’t intend to use your generator for a while, then you should make an effort to exercise it regularly. Regular exercises keep the generator parts lubricated, prevents the oxidation of the electrical contacts and uses up any unused fuel before it gets stale. It also eliminates generator startup problems since the engine is always active.

Exercise your engine at least once every month for almost one hour. Make sure that the generator is loaded up to a third of its power capacity. That way it will always be ready for any vacation or camping trip that shows up.

  • Lubrication Services

oil can icon

Use a dipstick to check the level of engine oil in the generator at regular intervals. You should make sure that the level of oil is as close to the full mark as possible. When adding or replacing the oil, use the manufacturer’s recommended brand.

The oil and its filter have to be changed at certain intervals. Stick to the pre-determined intervals for the best operation. As you drain the oil and replace the filter, do so in an environmentally conscious manner to avoid damage or liability.

  • Clean the Batteries

Always make sure that the batteries are clean. If you notice any dirt pile up, wipe it off using a damp cloth. If there is corrosion at the terminals, remove the cables and clean the terminals with a baking soda solution. As you do this, you should be careful to ensure that the solution does not enter into the battery cells. Then rinse with a damp cloth, replace the connections, and lightly apply petroleum jelly on the terminals to coat them.

How to Connect a Portable Generator to Your RV?

camp genset setup tools

To be able to use the power generated by your portable generator with the different appliances and systems in your RV, then you need to make the right connections. Proper generator connection ensures:

  • Seamless power delivery to the recreational vehicle.
  • Eliminates instances of electrical hazards that are as a result of poor connection and cabling.

Prior to making the connection, you need to make sure that the generator you are using is compatible with the electronics and appliances that you have. Here is how to properly connect a portable generator to your RV;

  1. Find a Good Location to Set Up Your Generator

The place you choose to mount your generator should be firm and sturdy to support the generator. The site should be a stable level to ensure that the generator does not fall over in operation. However, if there is a built-in generator tray on your RV, set the generator on this tray. If your RV doesn’t have a built-in generator tray and you wouldn’t wish to set up your generator on the ground, you can choose to build a generator tray. Just find several panels and screws and build a generator tray, then use straps, brackets, and clamps to secure the generator to it.

  1. Juice Up the Generator

You then have to fuel the generator. Some RVs can share the vehicle’s fuel with the generator while others don’t. If yours doesn’t, simply fill up the tank with fuel. Firmly secure the tank after filling it up with fuel to ensure that there are no leakages. Always fill up the generator with the specific type of fuel that it runs on.

  1. Connect the Batteries

Connecting a battery right next to the generator and secure it tightly with a clamp. Connect the battery’s positive and negative terminals to the corresponding generator terminals. Cover the terminals to minimize damage by sparks.

  1. Re-Route the Exhaust System

Fumes from the generator may end up in your RV or that of other campers around if it isn’t directed properly. Make sure that the generator’s exhaust is facing away from the RV and other campers to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning which can be fatal and life-threatening.

Learn more about some of the most essential items for dry camping here.

Bottom Line

Well maybe finding the best generator for camping and the best RV generator is no easy task. However, we believe that our comprehensive guide and individual generator reviews will make this process a whole lot easier. Our camping & RV generator reviews show only the top generator models from different companies and brands. With the options we have presented, it should effectively meet all your power requirements. Whether you are camping, tailgating or spending time in RV or boat, with all these information, you are now well placed to make the best decision regarding the generator that you should acquire. If you have any question or comments, feel free to get in touch with us via the comment section below.

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