What Size Generator Do I Need for My RV?

An RV generator will bring a certain effectiveness when you install it in a right size. It sounds simple, but the importance is where to start. Certainly, you actually have a little puzzled, right? Yes, saying to the size of the generator, I heard to talk about the maximum wattage. And then, the question needs to have a specific answer – what size generator do I need for my RV? For the time being, continue reading to find an answer.

What Size Generator Do I Need for My RV?

What Size Generator Do I Need for My RV? – Go over All

What Do You Know about a Generator?

What It Is

The generator – an energy conversion device operates based on the pistons, motors, cranks, turbines, or engines in order to convert the chemical/ mechanical energy into the electrical energy.

Aside from that, in the ignited or mixed cases, the generators also allow using the chemicals to produce the electricity.

Formerly, I get used to thinking that the generators produce the electricity themselves. Nonetheless, they only help to create an electrical flow via an electrical circuit from the external source. And there have plenty of different forms and purpose so that you can utilize.

How It Works

According to what I knew, the external forces are the main factor that the generators use to create the electric current for the apartment, building, region,…

The power of the generators can be steam, gasoline, magnetism, compressed air, water, seismic activity, wind, or manual labor. In there, the most enjoyable type is the generators run on gasoline.

But, though you are using any generator type, there still has a mechanical force that helps to move a turbine as well as the rotary device. The purpose is to excite the electrons. At the same time, the electric current is also produced. Then, the copper wires will direct the electricity to the supplied appliance.

What Are Starting Watts and Approximate Running Watts?

  • Starting Watts

To start up my appliances, I always equip a wattage burst. By this way, I can quickly start my devices, the fridge, conditioner, for example. Frequently, it will take a couple of seconds (from 2 to 3 seconds) in order that the motor models can start.

That’s why you need to determine the necessary wattage of the RV generator so as to start your device. Keep in mind, it requires this wattage to be high if compared to the running/rated wattage. Nevertheless, the difference of both wattages is various.

  • Running Watts

My devices can maintain the constant running state, thanks to the running/rated wattage.

In general, the units – the conditioners or fridges need a large number of draws when starting or running. Correspondingly, it will possibly take a big cost.

What Size Generator Do You Need?

Your next trip does not have the electric system to use, does it? Or simply, you just want to camp with your RV in a rainforest, right? Well, it forces you to have to equip a generator for your RV.

In fact, it is not difficult to find a portable generator because there are many options available on the market today so that you can choose. Importantly, you have to know exactly the power requirement of the airstream that you are using.

For Air Conditioner

One of the appliances consuming a significant amount of the power in your airstream is the air conditioner. And here, I recommend three common sizes of the conditioning unit that are correlative the size of the generator.

  • If you are utilizing an air conditioner with 9,500 BTUs, your generator should reach 2,500 watts.
  • If your air conditioner has 11,000 BTUs, it requires your generator to have to operate with 3,500 watts.
  • In a case of 13,500 TBUs of the air conditioner, the wattage number of your generator is approximately 3,500.

Basically, you need to determine your air conditioning unit size before deciding the size of the generator.

For Other Appliances

Your plan does not consist of the air conditioner, right? Instead, you only utilize the small appliances such as cell phones, computer, or television. So, a medium and small generator is okay without needing a large one. The models within 1,000 to 2,000 watts are enough to recharge a full of the battery bank.

However, you will need more power because the batteries will be consumed in a quick way if you are using the kitchen appliances, the microwaves or coffee makers, for instance.

Similarly, if you are like me – using a myriad of appliances at the same time, a small model is not suitable. You need a generator with a larger size.

Personally, I often run both the air conditioner and some of the related appliances concurrently. Accordingly, I decided to equip a large generator. In case you still want to utilize a small model, it forces you to have to turn the air conditioner off while using others.

What Size Generator for Camping?

What's Generator size for Camping

When saying to what size generator for RV, my leading priority is the camping trips. With those who love camping like me, keep these things in mind when looking for a right size of the generator.

Generator for Camping

There are two sizes for your option – the direct-electric and recreational generators. The recreational models have the compact and small size.

  • Compact design: It provides a small amount of the wattage ~ 1,000 watts.
  • Small design: Its wattage is higher than the compact generators. It can reach up to 2,000 – 3,000 watts.


To know exactly the right size of the generator, you need to calculate the consumed-power total from your appliances. Once you have determined the running watts, you continue considering an amount of the wattages that you want to run at the same time. It will decide the size of the generator.

Particularly, for the minimal needs, you just need a compact generator. This option is ideal for using one appliance. On the contrary, to produce plenty of wattages that give your devices using concurrently. The small generator is the best selection, especially if you intend to camp with many members.

In What Way Can I choose a Right RV Generator?

Don’t think that the considerations when purchasing a generator are not helpful for determining the generator size. I get used to being based on these things to achieve the most suitable size of the generator. Let’s see right now!

Size – As mentioned, determine the using-power total to define the generator size.

The Voltage of the Appliances – Do your appliances work on 120 volts? Frequently, the kitchen appliances, TVs, or even microwaves need more power. The smaller appliances the less the power will be consumed. It can say that the air conditioner is to consume the most power.

Power Requirements – It is calculated by watts for all your appliances operating simultaneously. As the whole, the majority of the appliances have the wattage description. For example, with the light bulbs, you can see the wattage rates printed on them.

Inevitably, don’t include the wattage requirement on the device. How do you have to do? Yes, you can multiple volts to amps. Nevertheless, some of the electric appliances require the large wattage, in particular, the fridge and air conditioner. Accordingly, to run all devices, you will need a big generator.

Noise – On the market today, there are many options of the RV generator, but you ought to prioritize to choose the quiet models. The brands like Kipor, Honda, or Yamaha have the lowest noise level.

Wireless – I think that you do not want to hassle due to the wire while using. Therefore, the wireless models are very convenient and easy to start.

Running time – This feature is quite necessary. Commonly, the portable models will have no more than one gallon because the fuel tanks are small. The bigger models will have the larger amount of gallons ~ 5 gallons.

As the proportion, the bigger the size the more the gallons will be. You can also select the models with the additional capacity of the fuel. Don’t forget to check how long the generator will run.

Accessories – There has a problem when finding a generator – the weight. When you choose to use a large generator, its weight is heavy ~ 175 lbs. Consequently, you should pick up the model with the optional wheel kit so that you can easily move and use.

Some Helpful Tips When Using RV Generator

Tips When Using RV Generator

I invested my big budget for the generator, so I always use it in the safest manner. Yes, there are the specific tips. Read my below share to apply right away.

#1 – I begin restarting my generator because I do not utilize it during the winter. Initially, the quiet purring sound can get interrupted in few seconds. But, it is quickly smoothed again.

  • Restart the generator if you let it sit for a long time.

#2 – I pay the electric bill every month so as to use the electricity anytime. This one is useful for my RV generator. I completely get the essential electricity like in my house.

  • Require paying for the electricity requirement in order to care and maintain from you.

#3 – Before using the generator, I often check the exhaust system of it.

  • Don’t use the generator when everyone around took a rest.

#4 – Your RV uses the 30 amp RV electrical system. 120 volts enable me to utilize 3.600 watts. How to calculate is simple – 30 amp x 120 volts.

  • Most RVs have equipped the 4.000-watt generator and a larger model for the 50 amp RV.

#5 – To make sure my generator that works well, I always maintain it regularly though it does not require more attention. If you are using a gasoline generator, you should exercise it monthly. Once you allow it to sit one month, it can have some problems related.

  • With the fuel, add a bit of the fuel preservative and run your generator the moment. On the other hand, to avoid building-up carbon, lubricate the engine seal as well as the components.

#6 – I usually change the filters and oil based on the manual of the manufacturer.

  • Use the new filters and oil to replace the old ones.

In a Nutshell

Now, it believes that you have known the answer to the question: What size generator do I need for my RV?

I summarize the main ideas. The first thing is to determine the consumed power of all your appliances that you will use during your trip. Hence, decide the desired size of the generator.

Apart from, you should also remember other factors. The way to choose a generator is very helpful for you to find a right size because I am used to relying on these things to get a suitable generator for my usage needs.

Finally, I hope that my information is useful for you. You can consider them to select, find, maintain, and use the generator properly. Happy reading enjoy!!!

Image source: Amazon.com


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