What Size Generator For RV? ( Do I Need)

The Recreational Vehicle or RV is a fun and enthusiastic camping vehicle. These vehicles contain a total setup of everything that one needs for camping. These vehicles have huge space for a refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster, microwave, kitchen facilities, living space, and many more. There are some people who also use RV as a living place for their daily life.

But while traveling off-road or chilling on the camping ground, one must have a backup for running all the necessary components. As there will be no electricity backup on the camping ground or off-road in the deep nature, therefore, one must have something that will give them electricity backup and the thing is a generator.

But the question is what size generator for RV is appropriate.

What is an RV generator?

An RV generator is a special type of generator that is precisely built for Recreational Vehicles. These types of generators can be used in two different ways. One is to directly connect these generators with an AC power supply line, and the other and efficient one is to store electricity for later use purposes.

These generators are a big help to stay in comfort at the time or camping or traveling. These are very reliable, efficient, and effective sources of power. The RV generators will provide a house type feeling at the time of any journey or camping by supplying the necessary power. These generators can power all the 120 volts components on the RVs. Also, an RV generator is able to charge the batteries of an RV. That means if one has an RV generator in the RV and at the time of camping or off-road traveling if the RV gets shut off the generator will keep the batteries running. So an RV generator is a compulsory element for an RV.Rv Generator works like a gasless generator.

What size generator for RV?

Basically, most of the RVs are equipped with an RV generator but some manufacturers do not provide one. So, one has to install an RV generator before heading to the campground or going for off-road traveling. Also, if one needs extra electricity for using more applications in their RVs then they will also need to change their existing generator.

But to install a new generator one must know which size of generator will be appropriate and will be able to provide the proper energy for their extra applications. To do that one has to determine the exact amperage number of all their user applications. Because if one chooses a generator that has less amperage than all the elements one will run then the generator would not be able to provide the proper comfort. Also, if one gets a generator that supplies more amperage and energy than need then the circuits can be blown away for the extra energy which can be a very big issue while traveling off-road or camping.

The average number of electricity one need from their generator is between 2000 to 4000 watts. To determine how much electricity the RV will need, one has to measure the total number of wattages the RV has. That means one has to find out all the application’s wattage and then add them together to find the total number of wattage.

The chart below contains the information of wattages about the most used application in an RV. Basically, people use an air conditioner, fridge, microwave, dishwasher, toaster, coffee maker. So we will list the wattage of these common things.

ApplicationsStarting wattageRunning wattage
Refrigerator500 to 1000150 to 600
Microwave600 to 1000600 to 1000
Dishwasher1400700
Toaster850 to 1150850
Coffee Maker600 to 900600
Laptop250250
TV200 to 600200 to 600
Air conditioner  
13500 BTU29001300
15000 BUT34001500

Warning!!!

The list above shows the estimated average wattage of each application. Do not think that these are approximate. Because the wattage can vary depending on the size of each device.

How to calculate the total wattage of RV applications?

As one can see from the above list that the starting wattage of each application is very high than the running wattage, therefore, one has to calculate the total wattage very carefully.

The simple step of calculating the total wattage is to find the number of wattages that a device needs to start and run. To do this, simply check the disclaimer above the device. From there, one will be able to find all the necessary information. However, if one faces trouble with this then they can search from the internet by the name to know. After gathering all the device wattages simply pair them up.

Now, one just needs to find that inverter generator that will supply the needing wattage. To find it there are two simple formulas that one can follow. These formulas are:

Amps = Watts/Volts

Watts = Amps * Volts

However, there is one thing that must be concerned. As we can see from the above chart that the air conditioner needs major energy rather than other applications. A 13500 BTU needs 2900 watts for starting up and for running it needs 1300 watts. The same energy will be needed when it is going to be shut off. That means a 3000 watts generator should do the work for a 13500 BTU air conditioner. However, after starting the energy will be reduced to 1300 which means one will be able to use the extra energy to power up other things.

The same goes for a 15000 BTU air conditioner. A 3500 watts generator can do the trick. However, a 4000 watts generator would be a great choice.

What Size Generator For RV

What size of generator does an RV with AC need?

Basically, the trick is to match the generator power with the starting wattage of the AC. Basically, most RVs contain 15000 BTU air conditioners. The 15000 BTU AC needs 3500 watts for starting and 1500 watts for running. That means the generator must be able to provide 3500 watts or even more. So to get this amount of power it would be wise to use a 4000 watts generator.

However, if one does not use any AC in their RV then they can choose a small size generator that can supply at least 1500 wattage. But one must measure the total wattage of all their RV applications. And we think that without an AC a generator with 2000 wattage would be perfect.

Generator Styles of RV

The RV generators are specially designed by the manufacturers. These are very convenient, efficient, and quiet. Some of them come with extra features and some of them have more power. However, these generators are more costly than the regular home use generators. These generators are sold by RV manufacturers. Also, the cost of the generator varies depending on the energy and size as well.

Depending on the preferences RVs are available in 2 styles These are

Portable RV generator- These RV generators are very versatile. If one needs a generator that they can use outside their RVs like for using the generator for garage purposes, workshop purposes, and other things, then they should choose the portable style RV generator. The portable generators are quiet, efficient, and reliable. Also, these are less expensive. Also, some portable generators allow the user to connect two or more generators for more energy.

However, portable generators are not suitable for heavy usages. These are less durable than permanent RV generators. Also, these generators come in various sizes depending on the power, therefore, moving the portable generators need a lot of effort for other purposes. So for using the generator for other purposes one has to make sure to get a generator that has a suitable weight.

Permanent RV generators- Permanent RV generators are more powerful than portable generators. Also, these generators feature a reliable and convenient switch. With the help of this switch, one can easily turn on and turn off the generator without any effort. These generators are protected and also vented. The permanent generators are very durable than portable ones.

However, the permanent generators will cost a lot than a portable generator.

Types of RV generator

The types of the generator depend on the fuel types. Basically, there are 3 types of RV generators. These are Gas, Diesel, and Liquid Propane. For replacing an RV generator, one must make sure to replace the generator with the exact existing RV generator. Let’s make it more simple for you. Suppose, you have an RV that is powered by a Gas generator and now the generator is not able to power up the RV and you want to replace it. For replacing the Gas generator you have to use a Gas generator. You cannot use a Diesel generator for replacing a Gas generator.

However, if your RV does not have any generator then you can use that generator that seems more appropriate, efficient, and reliable.

But remember that each of the types has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss about these types in more detail so that one can easily choose the best one for their RV.

Gas- Gas generators are very easy to use as gas can be found very easily. The gas generator can produce lots of power. A gas generator can produce approximately 125,000 BTU per gallon.

However, gas-powered generators are not very reliable. Because the gas burns very fast and gets hot. That means one has to fill the tank very often which will cost a lot.

Also, if one does not use the gas generator properly, then serious accidents can occur because of fire. On the other hand, gas generators are also not suitable for the environment. These generators pollute the environment a lot.

Diesel- Diesel generators are the best. These generators are both energy and cost efficient. Diesel generators provide more power than propane generators. Also, diesel generators do not pollute the environment like gas generators.

However, finding diesel is not as easy as finding gas. Also, these generators are very louder than the other two types.

Liquid Propane- These types of generators are for those nature lovers who stand with the green. Liquid propane is an eco-friendly material. These generators can store more power than gas or diesel generators. However, these are not able to generate as much power as gas or diesel. The propane-powered generator can produce 91,500 BTU per gallon.

However, propane is not easy to find. At the time of journey or camping, one has to make sure that the person has backup for emergencies.

Some of the best generators for RV

In the list, we will discuss some of the best RVs that one can choose depending on the consistency of their model.

Generator NameWattageFuel Type
Generac GP3000i3000Gas
WEN 56203i2000Gas
Predator 35003000Gas
Yamaha EF2000iSv22000Gas
Champion Power Equipment 765333800Liquid Propane
Pulsar PG10000B16 Portable10000Liquid Propane

In the above list, we have also shown the wattage and the fuel type of the generators. However, there are some generators that can be run by both gas and propane.

What size generator for 30 Amp RV?

To find the size of the generator let’s use a simple formula that we have shown above. The formula is

Watts = Amp * Volts

The standard voltage for most countries is 120. So here the Amp is 30 and the voltage is 120. Let’s put it in the equation and find out the answer.

Watts = 30 * 120

            = 3600 watts

So a 30 Amp RV needs a 3600 watts generator. However, the minimum number of wattage a 30 Amp RV needs is a 3000 watts generator. But one should not try to use a generator that provides more than 3600 watts.

Final Thoughts

RVs are great, fun, and all around vehicles. These vehicles are mostly used for camping and off-road traveling. But at the time of traveling and camping, one of the most important considerations is electricity. One will face the need for electricity to do anything while traveling off-road or camping in the deep nature. So there should be a generator in the RV that can serve the purpose.

But one of the most asked questions is what size generator for RV. This article is the answer to this question. Also, we have described a lot of things about the RV generators that will save a lot of effort for the RV users.

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