No one can resist the wild feelings from long-day campings. But, traveling with friends or family might become frustrating if your generator gets broken. The lights, the air conditioner, the cookers, the TV, all the comforts in the RV become useless.
Or if your generator does not generate an enough-stable electric flow, you cannot use it to charge your smartphones and TVs or they’ll be seriously harmed. As a result, you’ll have a not-so-much-fun camping trip, or worse, you’ll have to go home in the middle of the camping.
That’s why I’m going to review some good generators for travel trailers in this article. Hope you’ll find it helpful.
Here are my top picks for the Best Generators for Travel Trailer:
- Westinghouse iGen2500 – Best Overall
- Generac GP3000i – Quickest Start
- WEN 56380i – Ultra-quiet
- Pulsar PG4000iSR – Remote Start
- Champion 4000-Watt – Powerful & Affordable
- Westinghouse iGen4200 – Highest Peak Watts & Longest Runtime
First, you’ll need to know that there are three common types of portable generators: Traditional, Inverter, and Hybrid. All three types have one thing in common is that they can generate electricity from fuel (e.g., gasoline, diesel or propane).
Traditional generators (or conventional generators) are the oldest model. They are low-price, powerful but loud and the electric flow highly fluctuates. So they are not popular these days, only used for some construction works.
I’ll skip this type of generators because they are the worst choice for travel trailers. I’ll review Inverter and Hybrid generators.
- Inverter Generators
- Hybrid Inverter Open Frame Generators
- How to choose a good generator for travel trailer?
- Who makes the best generators for travel trailer?
As the name has said, inverter generators have a built-in inverter. It helps stabilize the electric flow, thus, the output power is safe for sensitive electrics, such as smartphones or TVs.
Technically, it uses fuel as input power, then using a mechanical alternator to produce AC power just like a traditional generator. But after that, the inverter generator converts that AC power to DC power, then once again digitally inverting it back to a cleaner and higher-frequency AC power.
On some models, you can use DC sources (e.g., solar panels or car batteries) as the input power. And moreover, they operate quietly and efficiently. Inverter generators are now the most preferred type of generators.
But they are not as powerful as the traditional (at a given price). So, they are perfect for resident purposes, such as camping trips, parties, or power outages.
Westinghouse iGen2500 – Best Overall
- Really good-looking
- Compact and lightweight
- Extremely quiet
- Clean and stable output
- Nothing to complain
On the first look, Westinghouse iGen2500 has a very catching appearance, military camouflage I guess. Despite the rough design, the generator is quite lightweight and in fact quite compact – weighing 48 pounds with dimensions of 19.8 x 11.2 x 17.9 in.
Westinghouse iGen2500 is really quiet (52 dB) compared with its high power (2200 Rated Watts and 2500 Peak Watts). It operates more quietly than a typical conversation at offices.
The output power is less than 3% THD, clean and stable ideally for sensitive electronics like computers, TVs, and smartphones.
On 1.0 Gal Fuel Tank, you’ll have 10 consecutively hours of being full-powered. And if you need more power, you can pair Westinghouse iGen2500 with another generator of Westinghouse iGen Series. To do so, you’ll need a Westinghouse Inverter Parallel Cord (sold separately).
Besides, you’ll have a LED Data Center for tracking the fuel level, the remaining runtime, the power and voltage output.
All of those good features make Westinghouse iGen2500 the best inverter generator for travel trailers.
|Peak Watts/Running Watts||2500/2200|
|Noise Level||52 dB|
|Max Runtime||10 hours|
|Highlight Features||Efficiency Mode, Parallel Capable, Clean Power, TrueTimber Kanati Camouflage.|
Westinghouse iGen2500 is a perfect generator for travel trailers that have an astonishing design.
Generac GP3000i – Quickest Start
- High starting capacity
- Clean and stable power
- Quiet operation
- Short runtime
If you don’t like the wait before you can use the power appliances after starting the generator, Generac GP3000i would be a great choice. It is equipped with PowerRUSH Technology that delivers over 50% more starting capacity – 3000 starting Watts, compared with 2300 running watts. So, when you want to quick-start an air conditioner or any power tool, just turn on Generac GP3000i and you’ll have enough power immediately.
Besides that, like other inverter generators, Generac GP3000i ensures you a clean and reliable output power for your TVs, laptops, and smartphones. They don’t publish the decibel level, but the noise is very low, not interrupting your activities. And for more power, you can connect two Generac inverter generators using a parallel kit sold separately.
However, there are some cons. First, it weighs nearly 60 lbs, 10 pounds heavier than Westinghouse iGen2500. Second, after the quick start time, the capacity goes down significantly to 2300 Watts, which is not so high. And last, the runtime is only 6 hours, so you cannot leave it run all night without refilling the fuel tank.
|Peak Watts/Running Watts||3000/2300|
|Noise Level||Not published but quite quiet|
|Max Runtime||6 hours|
|Highlight Features||PowerRUSH Technology, Parallel Capable, Clean Power.|
Generac GP3000i has 50% more starting capacity for quick-starting your power tools.
WEN 56380i – Ultra-quiet
- Powerful output
- Extremely quiet for the given power
- Fuel shutoff maximizes the generator’s lifespan
- Super clean and stable output
- Short runtime
WEN 56380i is a powerful generator with 3800 peak watts and 3400 running watts. However, the noise level is only about 57 dB – extremely low for the power it brings. This advantage is the signature recognition of WEN’s generators.
WEN 56380i produces super-clean power with less than 1.2% total harmonic distortion, absolutely safe for sensitive electronics and appliances.
WEN 56380i is equipped with fuel shutoff function that keeps the generator run until using up the remaining fuel in the carburetor. It helps prevent blockages and limits maintenance, which increases the generator’s lifespan.
Besides, WEN 56380i and other WEN products are EPA III and CARB-Compliant certificated in terms of undesirable emissions.
However, its runtime is not surprising when compared with other generators with the same level of power – only 8.5 hours.
|Peak Watts/Running Watts||3800/3400|
|Noise Level||57 dB|
|Max Runtime||8.5 hours|
|Highlight Features||EPA III and CARB Compliant, Fuel shutoff, Clean Power, Parallel Capable|
WEN 56380i is an ultra-quiet generator that produces ultra-clean power.
Pulsar PG4000iSR – Remote Start
- Wireless remote start
- Clean and stable output
- Long runtime
- Heavy and quite loud
Remote-start is a desired feature for a trailer generator. Sometimes (if not always) you don’t want to leave your trailer to start your generator outside, or when it’s raining or too hot, you’ll know how this function worth. Pulsar 4,000W’s wireless remote start allows you to operate the unit from up to 80 ft. away.
Pulsar 4,000W is an industrial standard generator that has 4000 peak watts and 3500 running watts, enough power for camping, tailgating and small construction jobs.
The electric flow produced is clean and stable enough for charging sensitive electronic devices, such as laptops, TVs, and smartphones. It can run up to 15 hours continuously on 3.4 gallons of fuel.
Pulsar PG4000iSR is Carb, EPA, & CSA approved for efficiency and emission standards.
However, it’s really heavy – about 93 pounds, and a bit louder than other generators in my list.
|Peak Watts/Running Watts||4000/3500|
|Noise Level||63 dB|
|Max Runtime||15 hours|
|Highlight Features||Clean Power, Parallel Capable, Carb, EPA, & CSA approved, Remote-start|
Pulsar PG4000iSR is a powerful and convenient generator for all kinds of purposes.
Hybrid Inverter Open Frame Generators
Between traditional generators and inverter generators are hybrid generators – the newest-invented type of portable generators. They combine traditional generator sets with another controllable electric source for power efficiency, noise reduction, and environment protection.
It means that instead of converting all the initial AC power to DC power, then inverting all the DC power back to AC power as an inverter generator does, a hybrid generator uses a different (small amount) electric source to stabilize the initial AC power.
It does not convert all the power back and forth, so it can produce more power but maintains all the advantages of an inverter generator.
However, of course, the output power of a hybrid generator can only be less than 3% THD, while the output of an inverter generator can even be less than 1.2% THD. But this difference is not significant.
Champion 4000-Watt – Powerful & Affordable
- High power with long runtime
- Clean and stable electric flow
- Great warranty program
- Heavy and quite loud
The first hybrid generator I want to review is Champion 4000-Watt. It is a high-capacity generator with 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts for up to 17 hours runtime. To carry this power, it is quite big, heavy – 81.6 lbs, and a bit louder than other generators on this list – 64 dB. But this is acceptable for RVs and tailgating.
Champion 4000-Watt generates clean power with less than 3% THD, ready for sensitive electronics. If even more power is needed, you can pair it with one or two 2800-watt or higher inverter or digital hybrid generators.
Compared with other 4000-watt generators, Champion 4000-Watt is really affordable. It’s because of the hybrid design and Champion’s exclusive technologies. Cheap price does not come with cheap quality – Champion proves this by offering you an outstanding customer service: a 3-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support.
|Peak Watts/Running Watts||4000/3500|
|Noise Level||64 dB|
|Max Runtime||17 hours|
|Highlight Features||Advanced Open Frame Inverter Design, Economy Mode, Extended Run Time, Clean Power, Parallel Capable|
Champion 4000-Watt is the champion of capacity, affordability, and customer service.
Westinghouse iGen4200 – Highest Peak Watts & Longest Runtime
- Extended long runtime
- High capacity
- Efficient use of fuel
- Heavy and quite loud
If you want a really powerful generator for your RV, Westinghouse iGen4200 is the choice. It meets the requirements of EPA and CARB about environment protection.
The unique open frame inverter hybrid technology from Westinghouse allows the generator to maximize the fuel efficiency, and reach 4200 starting Watts and 3500 running Watts with Less Than 3% THD. More impressively, it can run for 18 hours consecutively on just a 2.6 gal gas tank.
Despite being a beast of power, Westinghouse iGen4200 is also very affordable. And just like Champion 4000-Watt, to carry that such power, Westinghouse iGen4200 is quite heavy and loud.
|Peak Watts/Running Watts||4200/3500|
|Noise Level||62 dB|
|Max Runtime||18 hours|
|Highlight Features||EPA and CARB Compliant, Efficiency Mode, Clean Power, Parallel Capable, Unique Open Frame Inverter Generator Hybrid Technology|
Westinghouse iGen4200 is the most powerful generator for long-day camping trips.
How to choose a good generator for travel trailer?
There are a few factors you need to take into account:
Output power and quality: You’ll want your generator output wattage higher than your RV air conditioner wattage, or the conditioner would not start or operate properly. Take into account both starting watts and running watts.
You’ll also want the electric flow to be clean and stable enough, or you cannot use it to power and charge your smartphones or TVs. Ideally, the output flow should be less than 3% THD.
Noise level: You won’t want the noise from the generator to interrupt your sleep or camping activities. So, I recommend a generator that operates below 70 dB.
Runtime: No one uses an RV for a day trip, right? It’ll last for at least one day and one night. So, the runtime of the generator is very important. Choose a generator with a long runtime and you don’t need to care much about it during the trips.
Who makes the best generators for travel trailer?
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Westinghouse Electric was founded on January 8, 1886 – nearly 150 years to now. At present, they have factories across American and is one of the best brands in the industry thanks to their intensive experience in making generators.
Westinghouse is known for R&D innovations, which bring them more than 28,000 US government patents in the 20th century.
Generac Power Systems
Generac Power Systems is another truth-worthing generator maker, based in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They have a wide range of generator, using different technologies, and for different purposes. With years of experience in the generator manufacturing industry, Generac products are always of high quality and innovative features.
WEN for me is the best generator maker in terms of quietness. The company was founded in 1951 by Nick Anton, and 50 years later, had sold more than 50 million units by 2001. They have an experienced R&D team that knows how to integrate pioneered technologies into their products.
Besides generators, they also produce many power tools- chainsaws, jigsaws, engravers, soldering guns, air compressors, and so on. All are high quality and affordable.
Champion Power Equipment
Champion Power Equipment is located in the US and has sold more than 2.5 million power generation tools in North America. Besides portable generators, home standby generators, inverter generators, they also have different product lines, such as winches and log splitters and engines.
The thing that makes them stand out in the industry is their great customer service. They offer a 3-year warranty program for almost all products with lifetime support.
How big of a generator do I need for my travel trailer?
Generally, air conditioners consume the most wattage in your RVs. So you can base on your conditioner watts to choose the generator. Typically, an RV air conditioner requires above 2000 starting watts and 1500 running watts.
You can get a generator as big as you want, but don’t choose an over-capacity one because you don’t want a tool that is too heavy, bulky and consumes a lot of fuel.
How much fuel does an RV generator use?
It depends on many factors, such as your generator technologies, the type of fuel, the appliances you are powered up.
Many things need to be taken in account, but I can give you a reference number – typical 5,000-watt gasoline generator burns about 18 gal gasoline in 24 hours. You can check the specifications of the generator before purchasing it to know the burning rate.
Is it cheaper to run a generator on propane or gas?
Propane has a higher energy density than gas, but it’s nothing compared with the cost. Propane is nearly one-and-a-half more expensive than gas. So gas would be cheaper.
Is it OK to run generator while driving RV?
Yes, it is 100% OK.
What is the average life of a generator?
A decent generator comes with 3 years of warranty. But if you maintain it properly, it will last for decades.
Above are my full review of the best generators for travel trailer. Hope that the information in this article will help you find the suitable RV generator for you.