What Size Generator to Choose for RV Camper or Travel Trailer

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Having an RV, motorhome, or travel trailer means you can go camping anytime any day you want to explore nature or spend a fun-filled weekend with your family at your favorite destination. They allow you to carry all the comforts of your home wherever you go. However, the appliances that your RV have need electricity.

There are a lot of questions and doubts that would pop into your head,

How much power do I need?

How big a generator do I need for my RV?

What generator is capable of running the entire RV electric appliances?

Can I run the RV refrigerator/AC/microwave while using a generator?

What Size Generator for RV

All of these questions are common that will surround you when you consider buying a generator for your RV. If you want to power the whole of your RV, it is critical to buy a generator with the right size and capabilities.

So, what size generator for an RV or Travel Trailer is ideal?

The size of your RV and its appliances that you are intended to run play a critical role in determining what size generator for travel trailers you need. However, generally, a generator that provides 3,000 to 4,000W of power is considered the ideal generator for a travel trailer.

But it doesn’t mean that you overlook other aspects when buying a generator for your RV. It is critical to keep a tab of your electricity usage. For example, if your RV has an AC that requires between 2,000 to 3,000W and an additional 1,000 to 1,500W power to run other appliances, a 4,500W generator would be the ideal one for your RV.

This post is intended to explore all the electrical options for RVs and travel trailers, and some tips for buying the best generator for your travel trailer.

Why Do You Need an RV Generator?

RV generators are exclusively made for RVs and travel trailers to keep running the RV appliances and to provide a consistent and stable source of power to your RV. RV generators are great to have as they keep you comfortable throughout your travel, camping, and long road trips.

If you are boondocking, dry camping, or sitting at independent parking, there is nothing better than an RV generator that can serve you better – except your RV. If you are traveling off the grid or have access to only limited power options, it is safe and reliable to depend on your own power source. If you have the best size generator for your travel trailer, you will be able to enjoy all the appliances of your home away from home.

How Much Power Do You Need in Your RV?

This is a tricky question. It is like you are being asked what three things you would choose to live in a desert. Just like that, you will need to spend some time thinking about the electricity requirements that your RV needs to run all the appliances.

Try to calculate the power of all the appliances that your RV has. In this regard, the owner’s manual can help you calculate the appliance’s approximate power. Once you are done calculating the power required for your RV appliances, it will be easier for you to determine how much power your RV needs.

Different RV Generator Types

Now, when buying a generator for a camper, you should know that there are three types of RV generators available to choose from. It includes;

1. Battery Powered Generators

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2. Gasoline Powered Generators

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3. Propane Powered Generators

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However, generators use more than one fuel type, which is useful if you run out of one type of fuel and look for a backup plan. When buying a generator for a camper, you can decide a generator based on its fuel type to narrow down your search.

Different RV Generator Styles

There are two types of RV generators that are,

1. Permanent Generators

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Most of the RVers prefer to have a permanent generator. They are vented, enclosed, and encased. These generators generate 3x more horsepower than conventional generators. Moreover, they are also more durable and intended to last for years.

The best feature of these generators is their transfer switch, which automatically turns on and off the generator. When connected to a power source, you just need to plug into the power source. Although permanent generators are also more expensive than portable generators, they are worth your money.

2. Portable Generators

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Portable generators are great if you want to use them for other purposes other than RV. They are moveable, and you can use them in a workshop or garage, but you will also be required to lift and set up things whenever you move them around.

They are great for shorter and weekend travels. Moreover, they are also fuel-efficient, reliable, and produce less noise than permanent generators. However, they are not a good option for consistent usage.

How to Select the Right Size of the RV Generator?

If you want to know what size of generator for a travel trailer you need, the best you can do is to figure out what appliances require power. Here are some approximate power requirements of most of the RVs and travel trailers appliances.

  • Air Conditioner: Anywhere between 1,400W to 2,400W.
  • TV: Anywhere between 200W to 600W.
  • Coffee Maker: Anywhere between 800W to 1,100W.
  • Microwave: Anywhere between 8,00W to 1,200W.

Difference Between Starting and Running Watts of RV Generators

Most of the generators for travel trailers are rated based on starting watts and running watts. It means an RV generator of 3,000W is capable of generating 3,000W when you start your RV’s AC or any other appliance. However, when talking about consistent use running Watts, they may only be rated up to 2,700W.

For example, a 300W travel trailer generator can start 13,500BTU AC that will consume 2,000 running Watts.

After the start-up, the remaining Watts will be around 600W that you can use for other appliances, such as TV, laptop charger, etc.

What Size Generator is Good for a 30 Amp RV?

If you have a 30 Amp RV and wonder what size generator for RV you should have, I recommend you consider Champion 3400 Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Generator. This generator would be a solid investment as it is capable of running all the standard appliances of a 30-amp RV.

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Although it has many of its competitors, I like its quick touch control with Smart Economy mode. This mode is useful that lets you save a bit of money on fuel costs.

Other options that you can consider includes;

  • Honda EU3000is Gasoline Portable Generator

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  • Briggs & Stratton P3000 Power Smart

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What Size Generator for a 50 Amp RV?

50 amp RVs need more power than 30-amp RVs. If you have a 50-amp RV and wondering what size generator for your RV you should have, I recommend taking a look at Westinghouse iGen4500.

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This generator delivers up to 4,500PW (Peak Watts) along with 3,700RW (Running Watts), which is sufficient for most of the modern camper’s standard appliances. The RV generator is also easy to install and operate. It comes equipped with a 120V 30-amp outlet and an LED display. The LED will show you information like current output, remaining runtime, volts, fuel level, etc.

Other options that you can consider includes;

  • Champion 100302 – 4000W

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  • Westinghouse iGen4500 – 3700W

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  • WEN 56380i – 3800W

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Wrapping Up

That is all about what generator size for a travel trailer is ideal and how big a generator you need for your RV. I have discussed everything in detail. Before buying a generator, you should also consider the type of camping that fits you. I sincerely hope that the above guide will help you find the best generator for your travel trailer or RV. For further queries and suggestions regarding the travel trailer generator, you are always welcome to leave a comment below.

FAQ

What size generator do I need for my 30-amp travel trailer?

For a 30-amp RV or travel trailer, a 3,000W generator is considered the best. However, I sill suggest you calculate the power usage of your RV before buying a generator.

What are some quietest RV generators?

Some quiet RV generators that you can have for your RV include WEN56200i, Griggs and Stratton30651, Yamaha EF2000iSv2, and Champion Power 2000.

How do I opt for an RV generator?

Before buying a generator for a travel trailer, you should calculate the power usage of your RV appliances.

About Ted Mosby

My Name is Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.