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The Right RV Generator for Your Camping Needs

by chris@pkwydigital.com 7. August 2018 10:49

There are lots of reasons you could be looking for a new RV generator. Whether your RV’s generator needs replacing or your camper didn’t come with a power supply at all, there are many details to consider when looking for the best generator for your RV and your specific camping needs.

Volume

You don’t want the peace and quiet of nature to be interrupted by your camping generator. A quiet RV generator is worth the investment and should be a high priority when searching for the right way to power your camper. RV generators use mufflers to keep their volume between approximately 50 and 60 dB. For comparison, normal conversation is about 60 dB. The best way to judge noise is to see the generator in action at the load you would run it at most often.

Power Output

Like any generator, you’ll need to determine how much power output your RV’s appliances and any other items you’ll be plugging in simultaneously require to start and run. In today’s RVs, air conditioners are the most power-hungry appliance. Make sure your RV generator can deliver enough power to run the air conditioner at the same time as any other appliances you’ll need on a regular basis.

Fuel Type

Efficiency, portability and availability will affect your decision on generator fuel type. Many RVers choose to power their generator with the same fuel type their towing vehicle is powered by, whether gasoline or diesel. Diesel burns more cleanly, while gasoline is very widely available. Propane is also an option; it can be stored longer, but it is less efficient and bulky.

Runtime

Compare the running wattage of appliances and accessories you’ll be running at the same time to a camping generator’s power output to determine what load you’ll be putting on the generator. This will help you determine how long the generator’s fuel reserve will last. Ideally, you’ll want a generator that can power appliances overnight without refueling.

If you usually stay in campgrounds outfitted with electric hookups and only occasionally rely on your generator for long periods of time, runtime will be less of a consideration.

Fuel Gauge

While not a necessity, a built-in fuel gauge is extremely helpful for travelers who rely solely on their generators for power. Whether a fuel gauge plays into your choice of RV generator is personal preference.

Portability

You will most likely need to move your RV generator around to keep noise and emissions away from your campsite. Choose a generator with convenient wheels and handles. Weight is also a consideration, both empty and full of fuel.

Size

The size of your camping generator affects portability as well, and not only for moving around a campsite. If you’re buying a new generator to replace an old, built-in one, make sure the new model fits inside the same space as the old model.

Start

A pull start, key start or even remote start are all options in new RV generators. For cold-weather camping, an electric start is more practical than a recoil start.

Computer Grade Power

If you’ll be charging laptops and camera accessories or using sound equipment, clean power is a must. Many RV generators are capable of outputting computer grade power that is safe for sensitive, high-end electronics. Bigger appliances are much heartier and can withstand imperfect power.

It’s possible to use a quiet portable generator to power a few appliances and tech accessories while RVing. To enjoy your RV to its fullest, it’s usually worth investing in a generator built specifically for RVs.

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