7 Best Portable Generators for RV Camping

7 best portable generators for RV camping

There are many benefits to having a portable generator for RV camping. A portable generator can offer power when boondocking or camping at primitive sites. Portable generators for your RV also provide a great backup system in case the power goes out at your campsite. Having a generator as backup means that you can avoid wasting food in your refrigerator and keep your mobile devices charged. 

You can also enjoy comforts like air conditioning, kitchen appliances, and your television. In this blog post, we will answer some frequently asked questions about generators, and offer our suggestions for the 7 best portable generators for RV camping.

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Portable RV Generator FAQs

Can I use a portable generator to power my RV?

You can use a portable generator to power your RV if you own a camper without a built-in model.  According to RV Magazine, “Generators serve two purposes for RVers: charging the battery bank and running the 120-volt AC systems and appliances. “

Most experts advise placing the portable generator 5-10 feet away from your RV because it emits carbon monoxide when in use.  It is important to make sure that the generator is placed at a safe distance from other campers and RV owners who are camping near you. You should also take into consideration the direction of the wind and if there are any pet enclosures or tie-outs in your or neighboring campsites. Even if the pets are outdoors, it is not safe or humane for pets to continually breathe in exhaust fumes from portable generators.

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How often should you run your RV generator?

If you are actively using your portable RV generator, you can run it as frequently as you like. There are some rules of etiquette around generator use in addition to carbon monoxide safety considerations. Some campgrounds have written rules about when and if a generator can be used.

If you are not actively using your portable RV generator, you should start and run your generator once a month for 5-10 minutes. Always run your generator in a well-ventilated outdoor area even if you are only using it for a few minutes.

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Is it okay to run an RV generator all night?

It is not recommended that campers run their RV generators at night. The biggest risk of using a portable RV generator is carbon monoxide poisoning. There is also the risk of fire when using your portable RV generator. Both of these hazards are more deadly when they happen while people are sleeping. You will not notice the initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning if you are asleep or have as much time to react to a fire.

Additionally, many campgrounds prohibit the use of generators at night to maintain a quiet, peaceful environment. Some campgrounds do not allow the use of portable generators at all.

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What size generator do I need to run my RV?

When deciding what size generator you need to run your RV, the first thing to consider is how much energy each of your appliances uses. Most generator manufacturers and retailers have an online calculator that you can use to identify the right size for your needs, like this one at Electric Generators Direct: Portable Generator Wattage Calculator.

Other considerations when deciding what size generator you need to run your RV are the space you need to store your RV when not in use, and the weight of the generator. You should incorporate the weight of the generator and all of the related accessories in the total weight of your load.

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Is a 2000-watt generator enough for RV?

A 2000-watt generator is a popular choice for campers and RV owners. Most 2000-watt generators are compact in size and power essential appliances. According to Blue Diamond Machinery, “The 2000-watt generator is a great size for camping applications; commonly used for charging car batteries, as a backup to solar power and as a reliable source of power to run appliances directly from, like kettles, washing machines, air-conditioners, blow dryers and microwaves.” It is important to understand that a 2000-watt generator may not allow you to use all of those devices at once. You will likely need to use one of them at a time, or just rely on it to power your most important appliances like your refrigerator or air conditioner.

What type of generator is best for an RV?

There are four main ways to power a portable generator for RV camping. Options include gasoline, propane, diesel fuel, and solar power. Within those options, there are many other things to consider when deciding what type of generator is best for an RV.

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In addition to figuring out how many watts you need to power your devices, you will want to decide what type of fuel is most convenient and affordable. Gasoline, propane, and diesel fuel must all be purchased, and have varying degrees of shelf life and efficiency. Solar power is free of cost, is a cleaner form of energy, and is ecologically friendly.

Check out these 7 best portable generators


  •   Runs on free solar power
  •   Can add more solar panels to create more power
  •   Charges even on cloudy days



  •   1800 Watts and 1534Wh capacity
  •   Zero cost, safe, green energy from the sun
  •   Quiet and easy to use


  •   Safe, clean, portable power
  •   Can add larger-sized solar powers for faster charging
  •   Charges in as little as 18 hours from free solar power

Best portable gasoline generators for RV camping


  •   Extremely quiet
  •   Up to 8.5-hour runtime
  •   3800 Watts
  •   Gasoline powered



  •   Up to 12-hour run-time
  •   Remote, electric starter
  •   12500/11200 Peak Watts and 9500/8500 Rated Watts (Gas/Propane)


  •   3200 watts
  •   It Runs 8.6 hours on 1.2 gallons of gasoline
  •   Quiet, lightweight, with remote operation



  •   6000 watts
  •   Dual Fuel can use gasoline or propane
  •   CO detector built-in
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