If you like dry camp or get put in a spot without electrical hookups having a good generator is an absolute must. But, there's a lot to consider.
How much power do you need, how loud is it going to be, how much space do you have, what fuel type is the most cost affection…the list goes on.
To answer these questions and more we did an in-depth independent research study that compares over 50 of the best generators on the market from several brands across dozens of key factors.
This WEN generator was a clear “winner” among the rest because it offers competitive power, impressive runtime, and has great reviews, all while weighing in at just 120 pounds. If you’re looking for consistent, reliable, lightweight power, this model is for you.
Most campers like enjoying the peace and quiet of their campground or the nature surrounding them during their travels, making low volume levels desirable to many shoppers. The Firman Hybrid Series generator averages out at 58 dB noise level when in use, making it fairly quiet compared to competing models, allowing you to avoid disturbing your campsite neighbors or the world around you.
For less than $500, this DuroStar camping generator model offers an incredible 12.3 hour runtime at 50% load, and is just 95lbs. If you’re able to sacrifice a bit of power in exchange for longevity, this model will be perfect for your needs.
When it comes to a generator that checks all the boxes, we can’t recommend this Honda model enough. Featuring a powerful yet quiet engine, this lightweight unit is travelable and efficient, making it a no-brainer for campers looking to bring an inverter generator with them on their travels.
The worst thing you can do is spend a bunch of money on a generator that doesn’t quite give you the power you need to run everything you want in your RV.
Before you make a decision, research the appliances and electronics you plan on running to find out not only their running wattage but their starting watts as well. Starting watts is the amount of power needed to start a device. It’s generally more than the required running watts.
Open frame generators are typically louder than inverter generators but tend to be cheaper. The real downside to open frame generators is that they produce “dirty” power. Dirty power isn’t ideal for delicate electrical appliances like a laptop.
Something simple like a toaster is fine, but more complex devices could have issues. It will power most things around your campsite, but there are spikes of power that could damage some electronics.
If you plan on using a gas, diesel or propane-powered generator you will need to store the fuel needed to last the duration of your trip. This can quickly become a nuisance. It’s worth the time to think about fuel efficiency and how much fuel you will need for your average trip.
Not all generators are created equally. Many generators that have lower price tags sacrifice running efficiency. This means you end up paying more for gas in the long-run compared to other models.
It may be worthwhile to pay an extra $100 for a generator that uses fuel 20% more efficiently than the next cheaper option.
Many of the most common questions about energy usage are related to generators. How much energy do they produce, which one is right for my application, etc? We wanted to be able to give our users the right information so that they could make the best decision for whatever their application.
To that end, we conducted an independent study that breaks down 54 of the most common generators from 20+ brands by over 70 different attributes and performance metrics. We looked at everything from price and running costs to engine size and number of outlets.
We do not and did not receive any free products or make any suggestions based on the manufacturer’s input. We looked at the numbers and make suggestions based off the data. However, we may earn some sort of fee from the seller if you do decide to purchase using one of the shopping links we provide.
Many RV owners want a reliable way to power their campsite or at least their vital appliances when dry camping. We created this guide to help you make the best decision for your needs. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the right call, we hope this guide helps.
We realize there are many commercial or niche use cases for a generator. In most, cases these scenarios require a unique or specialized type of product that may or may not align with our recommendations.
For example, if you have a large RV and need to power several large tools or charge electric vehicles, our recommendation for the best generator may not be right for you.