What Size of Generator for RV? Tips for Getting the Right Generator

It is common to find most people feeling comfortable when they get to camp in their RVs. The reason is that you get to feel the comfort as if you are still home enjoying some of the important amenities that the vehicle can provide. It is crucial that you get to understand about the different sizes of generators when it comes to RV camping. Not all the sizes would be great based on the equipment and appliances that you will be using. So, what size of generator for RV?


In order to end up with the best size of generator, you have to do a couple of things. Here is what you have to do first.

  • Come up with a list of all the appliances with the power use in watts that you may be planning to use when the generator is running.
  • Get to understand the starting power needed for each appliance. Such information you can get easily from the product manual.
  • Determine which appliances might have to run at the same time. This is where you get to add up the running watts to see if the generator can support all the devices running at the same time.

For those who lack a generator with enough power, you might not be in a position to start and sustain the running of the appliances.

1. How big is your air conditioner?​

If you plan on running the air conditioner using the generator, then you can expect that it would take up the most wattage. You also have to understand that the air conditioner would take a lot of power to start and still to keep it running. To effectively run the air conditioner, you have to make sure that the minimum wattage produced by the generator is equal to the starting wattage that the air conditioner needs.

An example is when the size of the air conditioner is 13500 BTU, then the starting power needed is 2800- 3000W and the running watts are 1500 – 2000W.​

2. Other appliances

As suggested earlier, you also have to consider the different appliances with their rated power. Creating a list is always the best way to go as you get to total the different power needs so that you can buy the right size of generator.

All generators would come with a maximum wattage rating and the running wattage rating. This is important information for anyone looking to buy the RV generator. Consider a generator rated 3000W, so it will give you enough wattage for starting your air conditioner of size 13500BTU. For long term use, the generator would be operating at 2600W. When it is running, the air conditioner will be using 2000W. This means you are let with 600W for handling the other appliances. You now have to select carefully which appliances to run. The list you made earlier on the different types of appliances with their power ratings should now come in handy.​

3. What about the weight?

 Mobile Gasoline Generator on the Building Site

​There is no doubt that the weight is also going to affect the size of the generator. Bigger generators are going to be heavier. Since you will be looking to get a portable model, you have to find a model that delivers on more power but it is still relatively lightweight for camping purposes.

Another factor you might want to consider should be the noise level. The amount of noise coming from the generator might end up keeping you awake the whole night simply because you need the air conditioner. The worst would be when you get to disturb the neighbors who are also in their RVs trying to have a good time camping. You need to find a model that has a noise level of 50 -65 dBA. Such a noise level would be less as compared to operating a hair dryer or a vacuum cleaner.

The amount of fuel the model gets to use is another thing you have to consider. More power means that you get to use a lot more fuel. This can also vary based on the generator technology as you can find some models having impressive fuel economy. A generator such as the Honeywell HW2000i can run on less fuel for long and still deliver more power that you need for running several appliances.

Below is a video with more tips on choosing the best RV generator


Several other important factors can come into play when looking to buy the best generator for your RV. It is important that you get to research properly on your power needs before making up your mind. You do not want to end up with a model that cannot deliver on the power needs of the RV. You also do not have to power all the appliances at the same time. Consider only using a few appliances at a time to keep the generator running for longer.

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