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Things to Consider When You Buy RV Generators

by Yasir Asif
RV Generators

If you are planning on buying an RV generator, there are several things that you will need to consider. These include size, fuel type, noise level, and more.

Fortunately, there are many options available to choose from when shopping for an RV generator. One important thing to keep in mind is wattage, which is the amount of power that a generator can produce over time.


When you buy RV generators, you’ll need to decide which size is right for your needs. This decision should be based on the amount of power your appliances require, as well as any other needs you have like mobile devices.

Generally speaking, a Class B camper van or towable RV requires 2000 to 3600 watts of generator power to operate its onboard appliances. A fifth-wheel trailer ratchets things up a bit, needing a generator with 5500 to 7000 watts of capacity.

To determine the right size, calculate your power usage and add up how many appliances you use on a regular basis. Then, subtract those that are only used temporarily from your total wattage demand.


When buying a generator for your RV, the weight of the device is important. You want one that’s lightweight enough to carry by hand and that doesn’t add too much bulk to your cargo load.

When determining the generator size you need, you’ll need to know how many watts your appliances draw. For example, a refrigerator usually pulls 600-800 watts, a toaster may pull 1000 watts and an electric water heater can also be a major user of power.

Generally, the more power you need the bigger the generator should be. This is especially true if you plan to run heavy loads like air conditioners or electric heaters.

Fuel type

Most RVs come equipped with a built-in generator. Depending on the model, this may be gas-powered or diesel-powered.

Fuel efficiency is an important consideration when choosing an RV generator. Often, gas-powered generators can produce 6-10 mpg while diesel-powered units output between 7-12 mpg.

Diesel-powered engines are also less noisy than gas-powered ones, but they can be a little more difficult to find. They also require more maintenance.

Noise level

A generator’s noise level is a key consideration when buying an RV. It can ruin your camping trip if it’s too loud, especially if you plan on powering your air conditioner at night.

The best quiet generators use an eco-throttle system to reduce engine noise. They also have sound-absorbing mufflers that further reduce noise emissions.

Another quiet option is a battery-powered power station. Although these cannot provide as much power as a generator, they can be very efficient and cost-effective.

Fuel tank capacity

Generators are used to provide auxiliary power to RVs during outages of electrical service. They create electricity using input mechanical energy to initiate combustion of fuel.

The fuel tank capacity of an RV generator is critical for its operation. It allows the generator to run for a long period of time and prevents it from running out of fuel during a power outage.

The generator’s fuel tank size is determined by two things – the generator’s fuel consumption rate and the desired run-time. Multiply these numbers to determine the tank capacity you need for your RV generator.

Safety features

RV generators have a number of safety features to help protect their users. These include carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, fuel level alarms and automatic shutoffs when fuel runs low.

CO poisoning is a serious health risk that can be deadly. Always keep a battery-operated CO detector in the RV and test it frequently.

Portable generators emit carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can be fatal. Make sure your generator is properly installed and tested before use.

When running a generator, be sure to open the fuel vent cap and avoid dry grasses and other flammable materials. Additionally, avoid using the generator in wet weather.

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