Best Portable Generators for RVs and Camping in 2023
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
Both Kelly and Marshall have many years of full-time RV experience. They both have had generators and through experience, came up with the best portable generator reviews to share with you.
Sure, a portable generator lets you power your RV while you are camping without shore power. But not any old generator will do. Our portable generator reviews give reasons behind WHY we picked what we did.
We picked generators are the most reliable, the best on a budget and more (Inverter generators only).
We have experience with a few of them and friends who have experience with the others.
There are more and more good quality camping generators coming into the market, giving Yamaha and Honda a good run for their money.
Good, reliable inverter portable generators are now much more affordable than ever before.
Let's find the best portable generator for you!
RV Portable Generator Guide
There's a lot to consider when it comes to buying a portable generator. How many watts should it be capable of producing? Why are RV portable inverter generators the way to go? How do you connect a quiet RV generator to your rig?
Read our Camping Generator Guide to get the answer to these questions, and more!
2000 Watt Portable Generator Reviews
We found the best of the best of the super quiet (inverter) generators.
Good grief NO, you won't find any Generac portable contractor generators in this best portable generators list!
We only cover the best inverter portable generator reviews and the quietest RV generators. We don't review ALL the generators. Why? Because contractor generators do not belong in campgrounds or when boondocking.
Here are our best portable generator reviews:
Quietest and Lightest 2000w RV Generator
This Yamaha super quiet generator is one of the top 'coveted' portable generators in the camping world. Its only issue, for some, is the price tag. It is a very quiet and reliable generator for camping, so it won as quietest and lightest for our portable generator reviews.
Continue Reading Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Generator Review
Best 2000w Generator on a Budget
The WEN brand of small generators have been making waves in the RVing community. Rivaling the biggest competition, Yamaha, and Honda, this unit competes in its price point and performance.
This WEN 56200i 2000 watt inverter generator is a great small generator for campers and camping. This is why it won our portable generator reviews for best on a budget.
Continue Reading WEN 56200i Inverter Generator Review
Best 3000 Watt Generator Reviews
Quietest 3000w Portable Generator
Honda. The name speaks for itself in terms of quality and dependability. This is part of what made it our easy pick for quietest generator over 3000 watts.
It's easily the quietest generator in its class being rated in between 49 and 58dB.
Continue Reading Honda EU3000iS 3000 Watt Generator Review
Best on a Budget 3000w Portable Generator
The Champion 75531i inverter generator really has a lot of the characteristics that the Yamaha and Hondas have.
Is it the quietest generator? No, but it is almost as quiet, has excellent reviews and packs a punch for your energy needs.
This is how it won our portable generator reviews for best on a budget.
Continue Reading Champion 75531i Inverter Generator Review
Lightest Portable 3000w Generator
Honda EU3000i Handi
You want a lightweight 3000-watt generator? The Honda EU3000i Handi 3000 watt portable generator only 78 lbs.
Our 'best on a budget' Champion model budget generator we recommended only weighs six more pounds. It is also a good contender for being a good 'very light' generator.
This is the lightest 3000-watt portable generator for our portable generator reviews.
Continue Reading Honda EU3000i Handi Portable Generator Review
Portable Generator Reviews: Tidbits
Before we conclude, here are a few more things to know about portable generators and about some accessories that will help you with the buying process:
What Makes a Quality Portable Generator?
This video by Yamaha explains why you might want to consider spending more for a generator purchase.
Keep in mind it IS produced by Yamaha, but it brings up some valid points - specifically the quality of the internal components.
Protect Your Portable Generator with a GenTent
Electricity and rain/moisture don't mix. Yet, when it's raining, your solar isn't doing much at all.
This is when you most likely need to use your portable generator to provide power to your RV.
Generator manufacturers recommend that you don't operate your generator in the rain or snow so it doesn't get wet.
What to do?
One solution is to use a GenTent, which is just what it sounds like - a tent for your generator.
This clever device is designed to withstand the elements, including strong winds, while protecting your portable generator from the elements.
However, it's not our favorite product for OUR needs.
In fact, we are not using the Gen Tent cover that we were given for review. We gave ours away.
It just wasn't convenient for us as we were constantly moving. But, for the stationary RVer, it's a great product.
Camp Addict was sent a GenTent to try out. Read about our GenTent experience.
Can't Lift 50+ lbs? Problem SOLVED.
If you need to get your heavy generator onto the bed of your truck, a Rack Jack can help. They offer three models.
The Magnum model is capable of the heaviest loads, and the 4x4 model is the lightest.
You can easily pick up your generator, RV waste tote, or any other heavy object using this tool.
The Rack Jack 'plugs' into the hitch receiver of your truck (or SUV) and lets you easily load heavy objects into the back of your vehicle.
We have not used this product, but have had friends who have and they do appreciate it for what it provides.
Rack Jack Original
Rack Jack 4x4
Rack Jack Magnum
Portable generators are great for powering things you can't power with your 12-volt RV system.
They are also good for recharging your RV batteries. Solar panel for camping is great, but not everyone has a system that can sustain them comfortably all the time.
Having a portable generator can make your camping experience much more comfortable.
If you have any questions about our portable generator reviews listed here, feel free to ask.
Please review all the comments first as we will not answer questions more than once. We do our best to help our readers with relevant questions that we have the answers to.
Glad you're camping, it's the greatest. We know because we camp FULL-TIME! (Well, now we are part-time. But we've been there!)
Have fun out there, and Camp On!
Authors: Kelly Beasley & Marshall Wendler
He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.
Should probably add a paragraph similar to “use it or lose it”. Generators are notorious for gumming up with ethanol fuels. Start the thing once every month or so, look for ethanol free gasoline, use a fuel stabilizer
Thanks for the comment and for visiting Camp Addict.
Yes, absolutely! In fact, I will run the carburetors empty of fuel and drain the gas tanks if we aren’t going to be using the generators for a while.
Kelly isn’t so careful about this, and last year when she was traveling by herself, she didn’t tend to her Yamaha generator this way. It won’t start now. I suspect the carburetor is gummed up. Once we get back home after our summer travels, it’s on my list of things to do this winter. Tear into that sucker and see what is wrong.
Thanks again and happy generatoring!
I am having trouble understanding what a 3000W rating means. We are waiting delivery of our Airstream 33 Classic and will use a generator to boondock in Cracker Barrel or Harvest Hosts when in transit to a campground with full hookups. We want to run one of the AC’s and a few lights and TV. In the morning a coffee machine. Is 3000W enough?
A 3000 watt generator might be enough. Depends on the total load you are asking of the generator and what elevation you are at.
It should be able to run your air conditioner, but I’m guessing a 33 foot Airstream (that’s one really long trailer, but that’s another discussion) has two air conditioners? If so, there is no way you’ll be able to run both on a 3000 watt generator. But if you have the ability to use only one (and you should have this ability), you may be fine.
But let’s talk about you wanting to use the generator in a parking lot or Harvest Hosts location. This is considered fairly poor etiquette. In fact, running a generator in a Cracker Barrel (or other commercial establishment) parking lot may be a good way to find yourself being asked to leave.
As far as doing it at a Harvest Hosts location, this is what the Harvest Hosts website says about whether you can use a generator: “Yes, but please be courteous and ask beforehand so that the Host can park you where no one will be disturbed by it. If you are parked near the Host’s neighbors or other HH Members, please use your generator sparingly.”
Remember that you are a guest staying for free at these locations. You want to be as low impact as possible so you aren’t “that guy” that is creating a ruckus whenever you are staying at a free overnight location. And you want to do your part to ensure that RVers will continue to be welcome at these locations (by lying low and not doing things that can cause annoyances to others).
We highly recommend that you do not run generators in these circumstances. If you want to dry camp, your RV should be setup with sufficient house batteries to get you through at least one night of normal electrical use. And by “normal”, I mean being smart with power usage. This means that you may not be able to run your TV all night. Might not be able to run all the 120-volt appliances you might want to use (go buy coffee in Cracker Barrel, or use another method to brew your Cup of Joe that doesn’t require huge amounts of power).
One of the joys of camping is the peace and quiet you get to enjoy while out exploring the great outdoors. Having to listen to a generator (regardless of whether one is parked on asphalt or way out in the boonies) is a sure-fire way to ruin an otherwise great trip. If at all possible, don’t rely on generator usage.
I realize you may be traveling in areas of the country during times of the year where it may be downright miserable to be without AC. These are the times when you just deal with it for a night, or go find a campground you can plug into if you must use AC (yes, I realize this is a much more expensive option, so that’s why I always opt to just deal with not having AC – well that and I just don’t do campgrounds).
How’s that for an answer to a seemingly easy question? 🙂
I just want to make sure you are thinking long and hard about generator use. If it is really necessary. Who else might have to be dealing with your generator use? And all the things that go along with living in an aluminum (or fiberglass) tube while on the road – it is much different than living in a sticks and bricks house and as such, requires you to think about things differently, such as energy use).
Thanks for the question. Sorry for getting on a soapbox, but I feel these are some very important things you should be considering before hitting the road.
I really appreciate your response with guidance as to proper generator use and campground etiquette. The last year has brought out so many newbie campers who may not understand that their actions directly impact the enjoyment of those around them, sometimes much more so than at home. Doing things like running a generator (no matter how quiet they THINK it is) either late in the evening, early in the morning or all day long can disturb others who are just trying to enjoy the great outdoors and the peace and quiet that it ideally offers. Camping is usually a shared experience and it’s vital to consider your neighbors and treat them with the same respect you’d like to receive in return, even if that means having to deal with a little bit of inconvenience and waiting for a reasonable time to power things up. Doing so makes the whole experience better for everyone.
Very well said, Jim,
Kelly and I have noticed an increase in outdoor noise at the places we’ve camped at so far this summer. Anything from playing music really loud (which carries VERY well through a forest), to hooting and hollering, to running generators.
The more crowded our favorite camping spots get, the more this is going to be an issue, unfortunately. Maybe we should start reviewing noise-canceling headsets? 😉
Thanks for the comment and for checking out Camp Addict!
Yamaha makes better motorcycles, too…just saying.
No comment … but I DO want to invest in a smaller generator for my 20′ RV trailer. I have looked at the Westinghouse and they get rave reviews. I am wondering if I will have problems at altitude though? Any experiences out there with the WH iGen2200 or iGen2500 inverters??
Most (all?) small portable generators use a carburetor to supply fuel to the engine. Carburetors are unable to automatically compensate for lower air density at altitude (causes the engine to run rich – too much fuel – and therefore doesn’t run optimally to produce the amount of power it should).
This means that any engine with a carburetor needs to have a high altitude kit installed to give it a fighting chance to produce the proper power at altitude.
However, even with a high altitude kit, the generator won’t ever produce as much power at altitude as it does at sea level. That’s just the nature of an engine that is normally aspirated (doesn’t have a turbo or super charger ‘forcing’ more air into it to compensate for the lower air density at altitude).
Yes, that’s more of an explanation that you need. Sometimes I can’t help myself! 🙂
Bottom line is yes, the Westinghouse generators will suffer from altitude ‘issues’ just like any other generator will. I don’t know if they offer a high altitude kit to help compensate. But that should be fairly easy to figure out by reading the manual.
We don’t have any experience with these generators, nor do we know anybody who has one. Hopefully someone else will chime in who does have experience with them.
Hi, My husband try to install an Onan 2800 generator under our Camper van. Is this generator very noisy?
You will hear noise and feel vibration. That’s a decent sized generator, and the larger the generator, the more noise and vibration they will make.
Why do you need an Onan generator? With the exception of long term running of an air conditioner, a well designed lithium power system will provide all the power you need.
75 n widow need lite n easy install.$ an issue. Summer mths. 32 yr old mh. Por. gen.??? Tks. Take care!
A portable generator isn’t intended to be installed permanently in/on a motorhome.
I’m unclear as to your use case. Are you boondocking? Do you want to run your air conditioner (you mentioned summer months)?
If you need a generator to run your air conditioner, it’s going to be a fairly powerful one, and therefore heavy. Heck, even a 2000 watt generator has some weight to it, and is probably more than you want to be slinging around.
The best solution would be to have the onboard generator working. But with a 32 year old motorhome, that might be a cost prohibitive issue, assuming it even has an onboard generator.
I really don’t have a solution to your question as I don’t know what exactly you are trying to accomplish with using a generator. And I also don’t know how you camp.
But a portable generator isn’t going to be light (not one that can power a motorhome) so it might not be the right solution for you.
I (we) are newbies. I have read the questions and your responses. We are dealing with similar issues. Thank you for the clarity of your responses. We will be asking some questions and appreciate your experienced answers. Ken and Ann
Welcome to the world of RVing, Ken and Ann!
Glad you found Camp Addict. Ask away! That’s why we are here. 🙂
We have a 19 foot bumper pull with small slide. I am in the midst of the the inverter vs conventional generator issue. I think I only have one question; decibles/weight/efficiency aside, why do I need an inverter generator when my RV already has an inverter onboard? Isn’t the onboard inverter already going to regulate the power to my fluctuating accessories?
Not sure how your onboard inverter is wired. Is it powering the 120-volt outlets in your trailer, or are you using the outlets on the inverter itself?
Either way, when you have an external generator connected (assuming things are wired properly) then the generator will be supplying power to the trailer’s 120-volt outlets when it’s supplying power to the rig. Normal wiring has a switch that switches between power sources if you have an inverter. No shore power source, the inverter supplies 120-volt power to the outlets. Shore power source (including a generator) and that source provides power to the 120-volt outlet.
This is a normal setup in a larger RV that comes standard with an inverter, which typically has been the case with larger rigs, though that has changed over the last couple years. Though it’s an added expense that many (most?) manufacturers will opt out of because it’s all about making an RV at the lowest possible cost. Which is always a great plan for the consumer (insert eye roll here).
Did your 19-foot trailer come standard with an inverter, or did you install it? Also, how many outlets are supplied by the inverter? None? 1? All?
Anyhow, in a ‘normal’ situation, the generator would be supplying power to the 120-volt outlets, as well as your 120-volt appliances. Which means you want to have a ‘clean’ power source (i.e. inverter generator).
The noise issue is also a factor. No one (and I mean NO ONE) likes having a neighbor that is running a loud generator. Don’t be ‘that guy’. 😉
Hi Marshall & Kelly,
Thanks for the information, very helpful.
I have a 100lb (28 gal) propane tank in my 1993 Gulfstream sunsport class A motorhome and my built in propane generator isn’t working anymore. I don’t have the expertise to fix it and I’m not sure what the real benefit is in getting a new $3000-5000 bulit in propane generator versus a portable Generator.
So I am considering buying a duel fuel portable RV generator you recommended in this guide to plug my shore power line into when I am stationary to charge my house batteries and possibly use AC or microwave etc.
The only concern I have is how to connect my 100 lb on board propane tank to a portable Generator. Would the standard hosing suffice or would I need some type of regulator? I also don’t want the hose to leak propane Everytime I connect and disconnect the generator, and I can’t really shut off the tank as I use the propane for refrigeration which means I have it open the entire time I am refrigerating food for a journey.
Very specific questions but I think you both would have some knowledge that could help me along. Thanks again!
Oh, wow, that’s a great question! And a bit out of my area of expertise since I’ve never done something like this (I don’t have a motorhome so I don’t have the fixed tank to deal with).
I’d take a look at the manual (should be available online) for the portable generator you are considering and see what they say as far as whether or not the propane ‘input’ needs to be regulated or not.
Also sounds like you are going to have to ‘T’ off the propane tank supply line in order to ‘feed’ the generator. You might also want to have a shut-off valve on the generator side of the ‘T’ so you can shut-off the propane flow to the gennie.
And then outboard of the shut-off valve maybe a quick disconnect fitting so you can plug and unplug the propane hose that goes to the generator. I don’t think you’d want to have it connected all the time. Just a long hose you’d have to worry about something happening to if it has ‘live’ propane in it.
Anyhow, this isn’t a project to be taken lightly. If you don’t know what you are doing, find someone that does. You want to make sure the fittings are installed correctly so they don’t leak now, or down the road.
I don’t know exactly the setup for your particular RV, so I don’t know if this is something that’s going to be easy or a real pain in the butt. Let’s hope it’s easy!
Best of luck! I do like the way you are thinking… (assuming you have a place to store the generator in your Class A).
I just bought a Champion 4500/3500 30 amp I have a couple questions can I run my single a/c on the 30 amps or do I need to use a dog bone to go from 30 to 50 amp? Not even sure thats possible? Electricity is complicated
Also what type of cover do you recommend for the weather? What is best distance from trailer to place the generator?
Electricity IS complicated! Scary, too. Let’s get you straightened out with it.
First, we need to know if your RV is a 30 amp or a 50 amp rig to know if you need a dogbone.
(Or, does your plug match the plug on the generator? If it does, you’re set. No dogbone needed. If not, you need a 30-amp to 50-amp dogbone.
That generator should be able to run your single AC just fine.
To cover your generator, we highly recommend the GenTent cover. If you are stationary most of the time, this is a great solution to keeping rain off of your generator. If you move a lot, it may be more work than you are willing to put in to disassemble and reassemble the cover for every move.
Your generator needs to be far enough from your RV that the exhaust doesn’t come into it. It can be right next to your RV if needed, as long as the exhaust points away from your space and isn’t coming in. But keep in mind, the farther away it is, the quieter it is for you.
This should get you started. Let us know if you still need input about the dogbone.
Thanks for commenting, and Camp On!
Kellys (ha ha – two people name Kelly),
Also note a 30 to 50 amp dogbone will not increase to amperage (or load) you will have available. It just allows you to plug in a 50 amp plug into a 30 amp outlet. Another note a 30 amp campsite outlet is 120 volts and a 50 amp campsite outlet is 240 volts. Unless you plan on running a household dryer or electric range at your campsite you shouldn’t have any trouble.
Thanks for the comment! I just wanted to clarify that both 30 amp and 50 amp RVs use 120-volt service. The 50 amp plug is two hot legs of 120 volts each. A 50 amp RV isn’t using them as a 240 volt power source, but rather as a way to get more amps out of a 120 volt power source. This page has a great explanation about 50 amp and 30 amp service.
I am purchasing a 2020 Forest River RV Wildwood 29VBUD with a 13000 btu ac micro wave electric fireplace etc What’s the most quite and effective generator to use
Unless you get a monster generator, which won’t be portable or easy to manage, you are never going to be able to run your air conditioner, microwave, electric fireplace, and other high power consuming appliances at the same time. If this is the sort of thing you are wanting to do, you need to be connected to shore power at a campground. Not somewhere requiring generator power.
You could run any one of these items, one at a time, off a portable generator. You just have to figure out what your wattage consumption is, and then buy a generator capable of running it with some ‘room’ to spare.
If you want to run an air conditioner from a portable generator, you are going to need either dual 2000 watt generators running in parallel, or a 3000+ watt generator. Couple this with an Easy Start system to be able to run your AC.
Keep in mind, the larger the generator you purchase, the larger physical size it will be, and the heavier it will be. Smaller generators are a lot easier to deal with, so buy the smallest one you can that will run the load you expect.
Remember, if you are going to run your generator at altitude, it will produce less (often times much less) power than it will at sea level. So if this is the case, buy a larger generator then you would need at sea level.
Thank you very much for your response. I will make sure my wattage consumption is not exceeded by the output.
Any info on other makes?
There are A LOT of generator brands on the market. The ones that we have personal experience with and/or have researched can be found on this page.
Please share some guidance regarding fuel transport. I’m planning on getting a travel trailer to tow with an SUV. Should I be looking at a propane-fueled generator or is there a way to transport gasoline safely with an SUV?
And thanks for all the helpful articles. Working my way through them!
We don’t see any issue with transporting gasoline in an approved container. Of course, if it’s inside your SUV, you will need to make sure the fumes aren’t escaping. You can try putting the can inside a sealable Tupperware type of container.
This is what Marshall does for storing in the back of his truck. He keeps his generator and gas tank inside a large plastic sealed bin so they can’t fall over. You can do the same to keep from falling over and for fumes to stay contained. Or, you can get an outside gas container built onto the backside of your SUV as you see on Jeeps and other Overlanding vehicles.
Hope this helps!
I have a 3000w gen, when my 5th wheel is plugged into shore power, everything is fine. When I plug into generator the surge protector indicates reverse polarity. Any thoughts ?
I assume this is a built-in surge protector since you don’t need to use a portable surge protector with an inverter generator, but if it’s built-in, you don’t have much choice.
And if it is built-in, I assume it’s actually an electrical management system that won’t allow power to pass thru unless it is detecting no problems with the incoming power source.
Third assumption is that the EMS is actually detecting an open ground, not reverse polarity.
Assuming all these things to be true then you simply need to make, or purchase, a neutral ground bonding plug, as explained here on the surge protector page.
Now if this isn’t the problem that you are having, I really don’t have any idea what you are experiencing. Of course, electrical issues are my weak point in this whole RVing thing.
Best of luck and Camp On!
Hi Marshall, no , it’s not a built in surge protector. It’s a surge guard # 44260 . Shows reverse polarity when plugged into generator, but not when plugged into shore power
Interesting. I’ve only heard of the open neutral issue with portable generators. Not sure what the issue is with reverse polarity. Unless the generator plug is wired incorrectly. Or something else I’m not aware of.
Have you called the generator manufacturer to ask them what the possible issue could be?
I just bought a pop up camper with ac. Which generator will be best for quietness? Especially if I have to run the heater
Congratulations on your new purchase! Most any inverter 2000 watt generator should be fairly quiet. We like the Wen and the Yamaha. Honda is great and there are new inverter gennys coming into the market as well. Personally, we have used the Wen and the Yamaha.
Both brands we mentioned are super quiet (They all make some noise of course) and have worked like a dream.
RV heaters tend to be fairly loud. Best to add the quietest generator possible.
What’s important is that you get an INVERTER generator, NOT a contractor generator.
Good luck with all!
Hey Marshall Wendler
Very useful information.
off to share
Thank you, James! Share away! ????????????
*Addition to previous comment
Can we hook up the new generator via a lone inverter then to the existing 12volt battery
I suppose this sheds more light on your original question…
Sounds like you do want to charge your RV’s house battery.
You don’t use an inverter for this. An inverter actually converts 12 volt electricity to 120 volts, so you can power things that need 120 volts (up to the wattage output of your inverter).
A converter charger is what does the charging of your 12 volt house battery when supplied with a 120 volt source.
I know, it’s confusing, the difference between and inverter (changes 12 volts to 120 volts) and a converter (changes 120 volts to 12 volts). Heck, electricity is a VERY confusing topic!
So all you need to do is connect your Champion generator to your RV’s shore power inlet using the existing shore power cable and an adapter as I pointed out in my reply to your original comment.
Basically the Champion generator is ‘playing’ the role of a 120 volt shore power source. So instead of plugging your RV into the power grid (a 120 volt power source), you are plugging your RV into your generator (a 120 volt power source).
Hope this makes sense!
My partner and I are very new to the RV community. A generator came with our RV when we purchased it which we ended up finding out doesn’t work. We have just bought a 3000w Champion Gas Generator which is not RV ready. The older generator is connected to a 12 volt battery. My question is it possible to hook up the new generator to the existing 12 volt battery and how would we do this?
When you say you want to connect your new Champion generator to a 12 volt battery, do you mean the house battery that your RV uses to power the 12-volt systems? In other words, do you want to use the Champion generator to recharge your RV’s battery?
I’m going to assume this is the case. If not, please clarify what you want to be doing with the 12-volt battery.
With the Champion portable generator that is not RV ready, you simply refer to this section of the generator guide and see how you connect your RV to a non-RV ready generator. You will need to purchase the correct style of adapter that fits the amperage requirements of your RV (it’s either a 30-amp or a 50-amp RV).
Hope that helps! Thanks for the comment, and camp on!
Hello Team! Two generators that are are getting great reviews NOW, (not the previous models) are the Predator 2000 and 3000 watt versions from Harbor Freight. I have personally spoken with an owner of the 3000 watt version, he was pretty happy with it and was almost 1/3 of the price of the equivalent Honda. I have 2 Honda 2000 models with the Hutch Mountain mod and i’m pretty much a Honda Fan Boy, but at this price and apparent reliability my next one would be the Predator. Keep up the good work, both of you are awesome!
Yeah, we know a few people with them as well. They seem to be happy with them! The price is right. We wonder how they will hold up in the long run. Keeping watch!
Thanks for the product comment! Public comments like these help everyone else out there. ????
Hello, want to also mention that Costco has a firman generator that is as quiet as the predator and cost is around the same. This one though has two fuel sources gas or propane.
Thanks for the comment.
Costco has even been known to offer Champion generators, which we recommend.
Problem with Costco though is that every store can carry something different, and what they show online isn’t necessarily what they have in the store, and what they have in the store isn’t necessarily reflected online.
In other words, it’s hard to comment on the generator that you are referring to as I’m not sure what model it is, and it may only be something available in your local store.
Thank you for your comment and Camp On!
Love your blog. I just purchased a Firman 3300 portable RV generator and am wondering how long I should run it each day of my boondocking trip to keep the batteries charged. I won’t be using any appliances,etc…..just want to insure I can pull my slide in at end of5 day trip?
Thank you, we appreciate your compliment! However, we don’t have enough information to answer your question. We WISH it were an easy answer, but there are too many variables.
How many amp-hours do your batteries provide? Do you have any solar? How many amp-hours do you typically use in a day… it goes on and on. Best we can help is to lead you to our guide on how to figure out amp-hour consumption.
If you do this before you hit the road you will have a better idea of when you need to run your generator to charge your batteries. You need either a battery monitor or a multimeter.
The biggest thing to do is to not let your batteries go under a 50% charge (if they are lead-acid, which MOST are) or you will start killing your batteries. When they get close to 50%, use your generator to charge them back up to 100% charge.
Monitor the batteries closely using your battery monitor or your multimeter.
Hope this helps, and have fun out there!
I , personally, cannot buy a generator that does not have the capability of running the A/C. I also think the whole tethering two generators is a waste of money and space. I am considering the Champion 3500W Duel fuel for the purpose of having enough power and having the capability of running off gas AND propane in the event one is more readily available than the other. At 68 dBA I think if I put some space between myself and the genny I will be able to live with the noise. This is for boondocking purposes so I do not anticipate being a nuisance to anyone. If I am in a campground I will have shore power. If I am in a National park campground, such as the Great Smoky Mountains, they have rules as to when you can have a generator running. They have this generator at Sam’s Club right now for $299.
I doubt that is an inverter for that price. Verify before you buy.
Good point, Arthur. I looked it up and it’s definitely NOT an inverter generator. And some reviews say it’s loud (typical of a generator this size). So, yeah, not the best choice for an RV application (if you are dealing with electronics).
Thanks for pointing this out and Camp On!
Thanks for all of the GREAT information ! Was wondering what you use to monitor the voltage in your batteries? I have the lighted panel in my TT but was hoping to find something with an actual readout ? Also might come in handy when charging with generator to know when they are fully charged.
Thanks Again for all the information , GREAT resourse
Thanks for your kind words, Chris! We are glad that you find Camp Addict to be a useful resource.
I personally use a Victron Battery monitor to keep on top of the amperage flowing in and out of my RV’s house batteries. We are getting ready to install the same in Kelly’s rig so she can stay on top of it as well. Battery monitors are discussed on the RV Solar page.
Again, we are REALLY happy that you find Camp Addict to be a great resource. Thanks for the question and Camp On!
Thanks for the reply, that is the monitor that I have had my eye on ..just need to figure out the install which looks pretty straight forward, most of the videos I have seen people have the battery bank in an enclosed compartment and mine are in the front of the trailer in battery boxes so I would just need to find a way to mount it in a weatherproof box of some sort. Was your install this type or in an enclosed compartment ? Thanks again for the info!
Mine was in a “weatherproof” box in front, between the batteries. I say “weatherproof” since it was anything but. Despite using what was supposed to be a weatherproof box, and using plenty of silicone where the wires went into said box, I have had 2 shunts be ruined because of rain getting inside the box a a puddle forming.
Yes, I’m sure there is a true weatherproof box out there that will work. I ended up drilling a couple of large-ish water drain holes in the bottom of the box in the hopes of eliminating this issue moving forward. So far so good.
I initially wanted to mount the shunt as close to the batteries as possible, which is why it went outside. When I do Kelly’s install, I’m going to do my best to put the shunt inside. I think (and I’ve only just barely looked into this) that all you need to make sure of is to mount the shunt in the negative battery wire so that no load is between it and the battery (this makes sense as you need to have the shunt before any loads so it can ‘see’ said loads). I’m going to verify this is the case before install, but if this is so, then I should be able to mount the shunt somewhere just inside the trailer (forward pass-thru compartment, though this would require rerouting of the battery cable, or under the belly somewhere out of the rain). Hopefully it will be easy. Famous last words.
Good luck with the install! Just make sure it’s VERY well protected from moisture.
OK, never mind! Reading farther on in the review, I see the WEN does indeed have a fuel shutoff valve! Thanks!
Yep, as you discovered, the WEN does have fuel shutoff capability. It’s a position on the main (and only) control that handles everything from choke to turning the gennie off. The fuel shutoff position is the very last one just before shutting off the gennie (without first starving it of fuel). It works well and is something I try to do when I don’t anticipate using my gennie for an extended period of time. Speaking of which, I really need to go run the gas out of my WEN’s carburetor right now…
I have always had Honda generators, first a 2000i and then a 1000i. Unlike Honda mowers, Honda generators for some strange reason do not have a manual fuel shutoff valve that would allow you to run all the fuel out of the carb. You have to removed the cover plate and unscrew the screw at the bottom of the carb to drain the fuel. I learned the hard way (and expensive way) that not draining the fuel out of the carb and letting it sit for too long results in having to replace the carb. So now I am using ethanol free fuel and Stabil, and draining the carb whenever the generator is not going to be used for any length of time.
I would really like to go back to a 2000 watt generator, and the WEN looks really great. My question is, does the WEN have a fuel shutoff valve so you can run the fuel out of the carb? if so, I am very likely to buy one sooner or later!
I think you should take a look at the Harbor Freight Preditor line. They have a 2k and a 3.5k, both with lots of positive reviews, even when compared to the Honda and Wen. I am in the market and am considering the 3.5k Preditor for my popup 13.5k BTU A/C unit.
Also, do you or anyone you may know have experience with the 4k open frame inverter by champion? Do you think it would be too loud for a camp ground? It has lots of power for the low weight.
We addressed the 2k Predator farther down in the comments (near the bottom as it was one of the first). It seems to be a WEN 56200i clone (or may actually be made by WEN?). Same price and specs and looks nearly identical. I think I’d go with the WEN (and did!). The 3.5k looks decent and is a good price.
As far as the Champion you mention, it sure is a beast in power and appears to have comparable sound levels to the Honda EU3000i we recommend. But any generator of this size is gonna be loud in comparison to a 2k gennie (which is really all you need for day-to-day use). Problem is with the larger generators that you need to run your A/C, you have to deal with the noise ALL THE TIME, even when you only need to charge your house batteries (not much draw for the generator). I’d go with two 2k generators and run them in parallel when you want to run your A/C. Otherwise run one for all other use. This is the setup that Camp Addict Kelly uses and she doesn’t have to deal with the bulk, or noise, of a single larger gennie.Food for thought…
Thanks for the comment, and camp on!
Kelly, thank you so much for your extensive research. Very comprehensive and helpful.
Just curious, what type of travel trailer do you have?
Hi Kathy, thank you for the positive comment! We are happy to help others in this world wide web world of TMBI! (Too Much Bad Information) ?
I have a 2010 Crossroads Slingshot 24′ travel trailer. I love it. It’s served me very well. I do sort of at times wish it was shorter for ease of getting around, but for the most part, it’s just the right size. Are you in the market?
If you are, a good source to check out is the RV Consumer Group. They are kind of like the Consumer Reports for RVs. You purchase the guide, but it’s invaluable and affordable. You can find them at RV.org.
Thanks, we appreciate you Kathy, and Camp On!
Great info.New to camping and this is much help.Thanks
You are very welcome, Bob! Glad you were able to learn about portable gennies from this page. Welcome to camping! It’s pretty great!
I am sitting up in the woods in the rain researching new generators. Went to top up the power on the batteries (needed furnace fan) last night and the generator conked out. So! Thanks for the timely advice. Our solar panel gave us enough juice with daylight to run the lights!
Oh no! Woods? Rain? Sounds like you might be up somewhere in the pacific NW. Well that’s the thing about camping, one always has to prepare for the ‘worst’ or for things to conk out. Glad you found us, and thanks for the comment! Let us know what generator you decided on, and camp on, Marianne!!
Great advice and help campaddict! This has helped me get a better understanding of what I am looking for when purchasing a new generator! We’re newbies and only been full hookup camping going on 3yrs now, which we’ve learned a lot in this amount of time. But, now considering ” remote location boondocking”. Thanks again for sharing this terrific article about portable generators!
Glad you found this page useful. Means we are doing something right at Camp Addict! ?
Boondocking is the best! Kelly and I both prefer to do that and spend as much time (which means the vast majority of our days) out in the wilderness away from the crowds.
Good luck finding the right generator and Camp On!
Great info..Thank you ☺
Glad you found the portable generator information above helpful!
Hi! Great info for a newbie like myself. We just bought our first camper.
Amazon is selling a package of two 2000w Yamaha gens with the ability to link them. Cost is about the same as one 3000w and gives more power AND i like the idea of two 44 Lb units compared to one 136lb unit. Anything wrong with going this way? Thanks!
That’s actually a really good way to go and is what Camp Addict Co-Founder Kelly does. She has a Yamaha 2000 watt generator and a WEN 2000 watt generator that she can connect together using the WEN parallel kit. Normally, she will run just a single generator as that’s all the power she needs (plus it’s quieter and uses less fuel). When she needs to run her air conditioner, she cranks up both gennies.
The dual 2000w Yamaha setup you mention would accomplish the exact same thing.
Best of luck with your new camper (congrats!) and Camp On!
Great info!!!!! Thanks. Susan
You are most welcome, Susan! Glad you found this page useful.
Great source of info. We just camped in the San Juan national forest. We will have one for our next trip. We are new to RVing.
Glad to hear you are finding Camp Addict useful! Both Kelly and I LOVE the San Juan National Forest. Not sure we are going to make it there this year – been a bad year with the fires. ☹️ But we are both definitely in striking distance right now, so you never know…
A generator can certainly come in handy, though we both prefer to use our solar. But there are times when a generator needs to be used.
Welcome to RVing. We hope you enjoy the heck out of it. Get out there and Camp On!
WOW, I am new to this and it is COMPLICATED! A whole new world of information… I have bought a tiny house shell and need to figure out power, water, and the bathroom. Thank you for providing such excellent and detailed info! I will be reading AND re-reading your articles!
We are happy that Camp Addict is proving to be a great resource for you, Anneli! Hopefully this new world will become less complicated as you learn more and gain experience. That sure was the case for both Kelly and I! Best of luck with your tiny house build.
Have you heard about the new and very small “ZERO” generators? We have a very small trailer and we don’t need a large generator nor do we have room for it. Could you give us your thoughts on these new “ZERO” generators? We saw them up at the REI store. Thank you for answering.
Goal Zero has been around for a while. They are a completely different animal from the generators reviewed on this page. Goal Zero makes several different models and they even call one a ‘generator’, but it isn’t the same as what you find on this page.
All Goal Zeros use large Lithium batteries, so they are just a battery. They have to be plugged into something to be recharged. Unlike the generators on this page (that use gasoline), they are not able to supply a finite supply of power on their own. They have to be recharged either via solar or by plugging them into the wall.
Same goal of providing portable power, but go about it very differently. If you only need a very small amount of power for a short period of time, then a Goal Zero MIGHT fill your needs. If you need a (semi) constant supply of power and don’t want to be limited to how long you can use it for, then you need a portable gas generator that can be found on this page.
Hope that helps and Camp On!
We bought one of those Happier Campers and I personally don’t like propane. (When I was very young I had a stove blew up on me.) Therefore, the thought of having a gas powered generator is not what I want. Solar or electrical is fine since basically it’s the tea maker and other ‘momentary’ items which we need electricity for. Secondly, the cooking apparatus is a Iwatani Portable Butane Gas Stove which, obviously, we would use outside.
Anyway, I am babbling here a little bit … but based on that type of scenario would you think that a “ZERO” might work and what size might you recommend?
Thanks for the help and the input. Both of us think this site is quite grand for information. Thank you for it!
We cannot recommend what size of Goal Zero you might want as that requires calculations including the exact amperage draw of the appliances you want to use, how long you will use them, how long you go between being able to charge the Goal Zero, etc, etc, etc. Since neither Kelly or I have one of these units, we don’t have any personal experience to guide you. I’d suggest reaching out to Goal Zero and asking them what size they recommend.
Good information. I Have a new travel trailer. We go boondocking all the time. The AC unit is a 15.0 BTU. What size generator should we be using?
Hey Scott! A pretty big gennie. ? Actually, what you should do is purchase a Micro-Air EasyStart (the 3-ton unit). Micro-Air claims (and there are many satisfied customers that will agree) that you can run up to a 16K compressor on a Honda EU2000i generator. So, you’d need a 2000 watt gennie if you had an EasyStart installed.
We plan on purchasing and installing an EasyStart on each of our rigs this summer. When we do, we’ll add to this page and let everyone know how it works for us!
Thanks for the question, and Camp On!
Very helpful for a new camper owner!
We’re happy you’re benefiting!
In my family camping trip in winter.I have problems with the battery of camping heater. Unlucky, my son got a cold. Not only that, my cell phone, my radio is not enough battery.
Camping generator is choice ideal for upcoming trip.
I bought a Generac 2000 generator. As soon as I plug it in to my trailer, it shuts down. What am I doing wrong?
It sounds like there is too high of a load on the generator so it is taking itself off-line. Check to make sure that there aren’t a bunch of 120 volt appliances turned on that combined, are drawing more watts than the generator can produce. For example, make sure your water heater isn’t on ‘electric’ mode. Do you have an RV fridge that can run off both propane and 120 volt? If so, turn it on propane only. Think about what appliances are 120 volt only and make sure they aren’t on (or better yet, turn off their circuit breaker).
If a high load isn’t an issue, we suggest you contact Generac’s customer support and see if they have troubleshooting tips you can use.
We have a Honda 2000, pretty much like the Yamaha’s, either would have been good for us. I have been reading about the NEW Harbor Freight Predator line (i know) but it may be a decent option for those on a budget. At $500.00, or half the cost of the big brands it makes me think harder, especially if it’s a limited use thing.
Interesting about the Harbor Freight Predator line. I see the only one that would be good for RV use is their 2000 watt gennie, which looks remarkably like the WEN 56200i, our best for a budget 2000W generator. The harbor freight appears to have the exact same specs, down to engine size. If I was a betting man, I’d say they are the same beast, but the WEN is actually a bit cheaper on Amazon.
I actually picked up a WEN 56200i late last year and love it! I’ve done a head-to-head comparison to Kelly’s Yamaha EF2000iS 2000W gennie (our top rated model) and the WEN is just as good. For half the price. Yep, I’m happy with my purchase!
Thanks for the heads up and Camp On!
I am happy that Becky of Interstellar Orchard suggested your site. Now I have to wonder about portable vs stationary solar panels.
Thanks, Donald! We just launched our portable solar panel page. We’re happy you are happy to have found us! And, we love Becky. : ) ❤️
Personally we have relied more heavily on our solar then the generator. We currently have 200W solar on our Roadtrek (small motorhome). The only time we’ve turned on our built in Onan 2800 generator was for the A/C, microwave or my hair dryer!! We have been using solar on our RVs (truck camper & travel trailer) for close to 20 years and the panels have gotten better & better quality and to compliment the solar we go with 2-6 volt batteries, they seem to last longer then the deep cycle RV batteries, at least for us. We also had a portable generator when we had