Whether it’s a travel trailer or RV camping trip, a small generator is always a must to recharge the battery system when you stay in an unpowered spot.
Not only a convenient power source to run directly your RV appliances but it’s also helpful to operate other more powerful items, like AC and microwaves. Below is the list of 6 best small generators for camping:
- WEN 56125i – Budget-friendly option
- Yamaha EF2000iSv2 – Most portable
- Champion 73536i 2000-Watt – Space-saving design
- Honda EU2200i – Best overall
- Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 – Quiet Power Technology
- Champion 100263 3400-Watt – Best for RV
Reviews of Top 6 Best Small Generators For Camping
- Reviews of Top 6 Best Small Generators For Camping
- How to choose the best small generator for camping (buying guide)
- Who makes the best small generator for camping?
|WEN 56125i||View on Amazon|
|Yamaha EF2000iSv2||View on Amazon|
|Champion 73536i||View on Amazon|
|Honda EU2200i||View on Amazon|
|Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200||View on Amazon|
|Champion 100263||View on Amazon|
WEN 56125i – Budget-friendly option
- Ensure safety, quality, and power
- Can directly operate variable devices thanks to the multiple outlets
- Run quietly while keeping a compact silhouette
- Can’t handle a big load
- Need to pull several times to start the unit
Not to say that the latest inverter technology can mirror a pure sine wave to give clean energy of just 3% of total harmonic distortion at no load, allowing to charge any vulnerable electronics.
No strange when it’s EPA III and CARB Compliant.
The smaller the generator, the quieter. That myth isn’t an exception for WEN 56125i. Constructed with a 60cc OHV engine, it runs silently at 51 dBA – equal to a normal two-people conversation.
But the fuel-efficient build is what I love the most about this model. Despite a modest 0.7-gallon fuel tank, it still enables to run 5 hours at half load – enough to provide energy for multiple devices.
|Fuel Capacity||0.7 gallon|
|Run Time (50% Load)||5 hours|
|Item Weight (lb.)||31.6 lbs.|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||1000W|
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||1250W|
|Noise Level (dBA)||51|
|Highlight Features||EPA III and CARB Compliant 60cc OHV, produces clean power, includes two three-prong 120V receptacles and two 5V USB ports|
When your tight budget doesn’t allow you to invest in a costly generator, WEN 56125i is the best bet to save more bucks for you while providing enough power for most appliances.
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 – Most portable
- Portable, lightweight and easy for transporting
- Allowed using in any forest
- Can start on the very first pull
- Oil is prone to pill out
- Don’t have a fuel pump that you can’t set up an auxiliary tank system to lengthen its runtime
While providing enough power to run a small RV air conditioner unit, the generator is designed with customers’ needs in mind. It highlights a super-quiet muffler and a smart throttle that can operate with less noise and more runtime.
I particularly like the perfect combo of Pulse Width Modulation control and inverter system, which creates more frequency and voltage stability. Unlike public utility power, this unit generates a really pure sine wave for sensitive electronics.
Yamaha EF2000iSv2 also gets USFS-approved spark arrestor – something that rarely other generators can do. And with this approved, you can rest assured to use it in any forest camping trips. The unit is assured to be safe utterly.
|Fuel Capacity||1.1 gallons|
|Run Time (1/4 Load)||10.5 hours|
|Item Weight (lb.)||44.1|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||1600W|
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||2000W|
|Noise Level (dBA)||51.5|
|Highlight Features||Super-quiet muffler with USFS-approved spark arrestor, Smart Throttle varies engine speed based on load, inverter system with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control|
With dimensions of 19.3 x 11 x 17.9 inches – being the most portable camping generator in this list, Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is the best contender for small travel trailers.
Champion 73536i 2000-Watt – Space-saving design
- Easily fit inside narrow spaces
- Can hook up to another generator to double up the power output
- Low oil shutoff sensor for extra safety
- Don’t have a fuel filter
Compared to Yamaha EF2000iSv2, this unit is a bit more powerful with up to 1,700 running watts. With a full gas tank, it can operate a TV, RV lights, small vehicle AC, microwave or phone charger.
Though a 2000W unit itself can’t run such larger devices like furnace or sump pump, thanks to the additional parallel ready function, users can easily connect 2 Champion 2000-Watt together and double up the power output.
Rest assured that the produced energy is really clean – < 3% THD. Particularly, Champion inverter technology also gets Economy Mode that can adjust and fit different loads.
|Fuel Capacity||1 gallon|
|Run Time (1/4 Load)||9.5 hours|
|Item Weight (lb.)||48.5|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||1700W|
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||2000W|
|Noise Level (dBA)||53|
|Highlight Features||Stackable design, parallel ready, ultra quiet, Clean Power for Sensitive Electronics, Smart Economy Mode|
With a space-saving design, Champion 2000-Watt is the best choice that doesn’t leave fun and comfort behind when taking off for your next journey.
Honda EU2200i – Best overall
- Powerful enough to run from 0% to 100% momentarily with ease
- Can handle more stress and give reliable power
- Prevent overheating effectively
- Fuel leaks
Another noticeable feature is the sized-down fuel tank – only 0.95 gallon to keep modest silhouette.
If you’re in doubt at its runtime, then don’t. Thanks to the Eco-Throttle system, the generator can adjust to variable loads to run more efficiently while retaining long runtime (of a mere 7 hours under 50% load)
With leveraged ventilation, the generator can avoid overheating to bring more safety, less damage to its motor.
|Fuel Capacity||0.95 gallon|
|Run Time (1/4 Load)||8.4 hours|
|Item Weight (lb.)||47|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||1800|
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||2200|
|Noise Level (dBA)||48 to 57|
|Highlight Features||Reliable power, Eco-Throttle System, compact design, increased ventilation|
Honda EU2200i is a good choice for anyone who is in need of a suitcase-styled inverter generator for camping.
Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 – Quiet Power Technology
- Easier to hold and carry the generator
- Run quietly compared to other counterparts in its field
- USB ports allow connecting and charging directly your electronics with no needs of the third adapter
- Doesn’t have EPA III and CARB Compliant
- Doesn’t have electric start
But what truly makes it outstanding is the higher starting power output – 2200W. That makes it a perfect choice to run those appliances that feature a twice or three times higher surge watts than their running watts.
A typical example is RV single air conditioner and microwaves.
The generator works like a beast that on a 40% continuously draw, a full fuel tank of 1 gallon can approximately last 7.5 hours. The most amazing is even when I run a microwave, which exceeds 90% the generator load, the noise level is only as a cat’s purr.
|Fuel Capacity||1 gallon|
|Run Time (1/4 Load)||8 hours|
|Item Weight (lb.)||54.6|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||1700|
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||2200|
|Noise Level (dBA)||59|
|Highlight Features||Smart H-handle design, variety of outlets, dedicated parallel connector port,|
Running no louder than a new car engine at 23 feet while providing more power, I bet you couldn’t be happier if choosing the Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200.
Champion 100263 3400-Watt – Best for RV
- Can flexibly run many fuel types
- Able to run multiple appliances and devices at the same time
- No overloads
- Too small wheels
I myself prefer the propane because, with the same full fuel tank, it can last nearly twice longer than gasoline. Not to say that if not regularly used, the fuel doesn’t cause harm to your generator’s motor at all.
With 3400 starting watts, this is a workhorse to provide power for almost appliances, not only in your RV or travel trailer but also your home.
Unlike other options that you have to temporarily shut down the single-vehicle AC to run other devices, this allows running all of them at the same time.
Engineered to be user-friendly, there is an Electric Start with 3-Position Ignition Switch and a Quick Touch Panel. With these advanced features, users can easily control many indicators in just one spot. How convenient!
|Run Time (1/4 Load)||7.5 hours on gasoline or 14.5 hours on propane|
|Item Weight (lb.)||95.7|
|AC Rated Output Running Watts||3100|
|AC Maximum Output Starting Watts||3400|
|Noise Level (dBA)||59|
|Highlight Features||Dual fuel, Electric Start with 3-Position Ignition Switch, clean power|
With no need of careful calculations what to run at once, Champion 3400-Watt with its powerful engine is the best choice to run an entire RV.
How to choose the best small generator for camping (buying guide)
Though you and I all know that we are searching for a small generator, it’s essential to figure out the exact number or range of power output needed in a generator.
Two things you should list out in paper are:
- The items you need to operate during a camping trip
- Their starting watts and running watts
Now, make a sum.
Once getting the total amount of power output (especially the starting wattages), your generator wish-list will be narrowed down significantly.
Capability to produce a pure wave of energy
This is important because 100% you will need your smartphone, laptop, and tablet charging. What’s worth mentioning here is they’re all vulnerable appliances that just a small fluctuation of the power flow might cause serious damage to them.
A generator that arguably produces clean power must ably limit the total harmonic distortion < 3% at no load and 1.2% at full load.
Sign to figure out “that generator” is the inverter technology.
You will find some models combining that feature with Pulse Width Modulation control, never mind, it just leverages the ability to make clearer power.
This element influences the amount of time that a generator can run on a full fuel tank.
Of course, nobody prefers to many times of refueling a generator so, to extend its runtime, consider these features:
- Fuel tank capacity: The bigger the tank, the longer runtime
- Inverter technology with Smart Eco Mode: Helps with more fuel efficiency so, despite a smaller tank, the generator still ably lasts longer.
It’s a nuisance not only to you but also other campers if your generator runs too loudly. That’s why I advise you to take note of this indicator that will be listed in any generator’s description.
The official measuring unit is decibel or dB or dBA.
An ideal range of noise level is 45 dBA to 59 dBA. At 22-23 feet away from your camping tent, it’s as noisy as a running air conditioner, a new car engine, or a normal 2-people conversation.
To take less risk when investing in a generator, it’s advised choosing from reliable brands.
Who makes the best small generator for camping?
WEN is the best brand for affordability that 90% campers with a tight budget will keep their products as a priority pick. Rest assured! They are a well-known company, quality and warranty are always assured.
Out of two Japanese generator brands, Yamaha is well-loved for its lighter, quieter, and more fuel-efficient products. This is a market-leading company in terms of compact and decent performance generators.
I love the eye-catching and portable design of Champion’s generators. They are diverse in product lines with variable sizes, power output, and additional features to ensure to fit the deepest needs of users. Not to say that they are engineered with safety in mind.
The second Japanese brand in this list is Honda. While their products can’t be such that lightness or silence as Yamaha’s generators, Honda’s strike back with more powerful and impressive design with delicate workmanship.
Brigs & Stratton
Last up, is Brigs & Stratton – a reknown brand for many versatile generators in the shape of compact designs. First-time users of this company will be shocked at how powerful it can run each refuel. Above all, their products are always safe and reliable.
Do you need a generator for camping?
A power backup during a camping trip is never an excessive thing because of these huge benefits:
Support your RV battery system to run other large appliances when there’s no direct electricity source
Can I run my generator in the rain?
Unless your generator is waterproof, never run it in the rain or even in a damped garage because electricity and water is their enemy. If you do that, the harms will not only be occurred to your generator but also your life.
How do I protect my generator from rain?
Here are 4 effective ways to protect your generator from rain:
- Anchor it to the ground. Learn more here.
- Set up a pop-up cover over the unit
- Find a ¾” piece of plywood and place it on the ground underneath your generator
- Position it on a level surface but not exceed a 15-degree change in all directions.
Can you run a generator overnight?
It’s really risky to run a generator overnight because while you’re sleeping, it’s hard to control everything as the unit runs out of juice or technical problems.
For safety, shutting it down and going to sleep.
Can you put gas in a generator while it’s running?
Never, please. Putting gas into a hot engine will be prone to ignite, causing fire and even explosion. The right way to refuel your generator is shutting it down, waiting for 10 – 15 minutes and then adding gas to it.
What can you run on a 2000-watt generator?
Take a look at this wattage chart. It will give you detail numbers on starting watts and running watts of variable devices, which will help you manage what can be run by a 2000-watt generator.
I know, a generator (whether it’s small or large) costs a bunch of money and when looking for the most suitable model for you, it really takes time and effort. This article won’t be able to help you make a decision immediately but at least, it shortens your process.
Hope that in the end, you can find out the best small generator for camping. Thanks for reading!