What Size Generator for 30-amp RV?

When planning a road trip with your RV, it’s important to understand the power requirements of your vehicle. Choosing the right size generator for your 30-amp RV can make a significant difference in your overall experience. To meet the demands of a 30-amp RV, you should opt for a generator that can provide at least 3,600 watts of power.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer the burning question: “What size generator for a 30-amp RV?” and provide you with invaluable tips for finding a generator that fits your specific needs. Solve the secrets to powering your RV with confidence and enjoy a comfortable, hassle-free experience on the open road.

What Size Generator for 30-amp RV

In order to help you out in this regard, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on what size generator for a 30-amp RV should you buy this year. So make sure to read it till the end to find all the crucial elements related to it.

Having said that, let’s get right into it:

What is a 30-amp RV?

Before we get down to real business, let’s have an overview of what actually it means by a 30-amp electrical service in an RV. To put it simply, a 30-amp service in an RV refers to its electrical need.

A 30-amp RV refers to a recreational vehicle designed with an electrical system capable of handling a maximum of 30 amps of current at 120 volts. To put it simply, a 30-amp RV is built to accommodate an electrical load of up to 3,600 watts (30 amps x 120 volts). This type of RV is more common and typically found in smaller to mid-sized units.

And other things in 30-amp RVs are their Power Plugs. 30-Amp RV plugs have three wires – a 120 Volt hot wire, a neutral wire, and a ground wire.

30-amp rv plugs diagram

How to Calculate the Required Wattage for 30-Amp RV?

In order to figure out the right generator size for your 30 amp recreational vehicle, the simplest way to do so is to simply multiply the amperage value by the number of volts. This will give you the measure of the required wattage that would precisely meet all your electrical needs on the go!

A 30-amp RV, which is more common, requires a generator that can provide sufficient power to run all your appliances and devices comfortably. To calculate the wattage requirements, you can use this simple formula:

Wattage = Voltage (volts) x Current (amps)
For example 120 Volts x 30-Amp= 3,600W

For a 30-amp RV, you would need a generator capable of producing 3,600 watts (30 amps x 120 volts) to run at full capacity. However, it’s essential to note that your actual power needs will vary depending on the appliances and devices you use.

Find Out More: What Size Generator For 50 Amp RV?

Choosing the Right Size Generator for Your 30-Amp RV

Now that you know the maximum power requirements for a 30-amp RV, it’s time to choose the right size generator. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you make an informed decision:

  1. List Your Appliances and Devices: Note down all the appliances and devices you use in your RV, along with their respective wattage requirements. Keep in mind that some appliances have a higher startup wattage compared to their running wattage.
  2. Calculate Your Total Power Needs: Add up the wattage requirements of all the appliances and devices you’ll be using simultaneously. This will give you an estimate of your total power needs.
  3. Choose a Generator with a Slightly Higher Wattage: To ensure smooth operation and minimize the risk of overloading your generator, choose a model with a slightly higher wattage than your total power needs. This extra buffer also allows for potential future additions to your RV’s electrical system.

For a 30-amp RV, we recommend choosing a generator with a capacity of 4,000 to 4,500 watts. This size will accommodate most RV owners’ needs while providing enough power for essential appliances and devices.

What to Look for While Buying a 30 amp Generator?

While you want to have a generator for your 30-amp RV, there are a lot of things that you should keep in mind to make the best choice. Also, nobody wants to spend a lot of money on a generator that doesn’t suffice their RV’s needs. So to deal with that, here’s the list of the major factors in this regard:

1. Enough Wattage Capacity

First things first, make sure that the type of generator you’re choosing gives enough wattage to cater to all your RV’s electrical needs. So for instance, if you want to power up your refrigerator alongside the AC and other small appliances, then better keep in mind the wattage capacity of your generator. After all, the more devices you connect with it, the less its battery would retain!

2. Running Wattage

In a similar sense, learning about the running wattage of an RV generator is yet another important aspect. The best situation in this regard could be that you opt for a generator type that gives enough startup wattage to power up your RV’s entire appliances.

This would really be a plus point as you’d get to save a lot of fuel. Since your generator would be equipped with the required amount of power needed as startup wattage of all the appliances, there’s a greater chance that its average life would increase.

3. Check the Portability

Secondly, ensure the element of portability as well – since you’d have to move the unit in and out of the vehicle several times. It depends on the type of battery you’re using as well – since the lead-acid batteries are lightweight and Li-ion batteries weigh quite high.

4. Fuel Type

You might have known that before, all the generators for 30-amp RVs run on three different types of fuel, i.e. gas, propane, or diesel. One of the most feasible options for RVers appears to be having a gas-powered generator. This is precisely due to the following facts:

  • This fuel type is easily available anywhere and you can get plenty of it from anywhere you go.
  • Secondly, gas-powered generators are more energy-efficient. They tend to produce more power with less fuel consumption.
  • And lastly, this fuel type saves a lot of money as they are available at reasonable prices.

On the other hand, we have the propane fuel type that is widely used in generators for RVs and home use as well. Although the amount of power produced by generators with propane tanks is not as good as that of gas-powered generators, this fuel type ensures cleaner and less harmful emissions in the environment.

And last but not least, diesel is one of the most expensive options one could choose from. While they cost you a bit of extra money, the power production with this fuel type is maximum.

5. Noise Level

Lastly, checking the noise level of the generator is also a must! You would not love to have the bustling sounds of the unit in the background while you are out enjoying nature. So make sure in the first place that the generator you’re choosing for your next RV trip works at a bearable noise level.

Learn More: What Size Generator To Run RV Furnace?
Learn More: How To Start A Generator Without A Key?


Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs): What Size Generator For a 30-amp RV?

Can I use a 50-amp generator for my 30-amp RV?

Yes, you can use a 50-amp generator for a 30-amp RV, but you’ll need an adapter to connect the two systems. Keep in mind that using a higher-capacity generator may not be as fuel-efficient, and you may not fully utilize the generator’s power capabilities.

Can I connect my 30-amp RV to a 20-amp household outlet?

Yes, you can connect your 30-amp RV to a 20-amp household outlet using an adapter. However, be cautious not to overload the circuit by running too many high-wattage appliances simultaneously. This connection is best for limited power usage, such as charging your RV batteries or running a few low-wattage devices.

How do I calculate my total power consumption in my 30-amp RV?

To calculate your total power consumption, list all the appliances and devices in your RV and note their wattage requirements (both running and startup wattage). Next, determine which items will be used simultaneously and add up their wattages. This total will give you an estimate of your peak power consumption, helping you choose the right generator size.

What is the difference between an inverter generator and a conventional generator?

Inverter generators produce a cleaner and more stable power output, making them suitable for sensitive electronics like laptops, smartphones, and televisions. They are also generally quieter and more fuel-efficient than conventional generators. Conventional generators, on the other hand, tend to be more affordable and can provide higher power outputs, making them suitable for heavy-duty power needs.

How do I store my RV generator when it’s not in use?

Proper storage is essential to prolong the life of your generator. Store your generator in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Drain the fuel from the generator and run the engine until it stops to remove any remaining fuel from the carburetor. Disconnect the battery, change the oil, and clean the air filter before storing your generator for an extended period.

How long can an RV generator run continuously?

The run time of an RV generator depends on its fuel capacity, efficiency, and load. Most generators can run continuously for several hours, but it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid overheating or other issues. To prolong your generator’s lifespan, give it periodic breaks and avoid running it at maximum capacity for extended periods.

Will a 3500-watt generator run a 30-amp RV?

Yes, a 3500-watt generator can run a 30-amp RV, as long as the total power consumption of the RV’s appliances and devices does not exceed the generator’s capacity. To ensure compatibility, calculate the total wattage of your RV’s electrical needs, and make sure it stays below the generator’s output.

Do I need a generator if my RV has solar panels?

Solar panels can be an excellent source of power for your RV, but they may not be sufficient to cover all your power needs, especially during cloudy days or extended stays in shaded areas. A generator provides a reliable backup power source, ensuring that you always have electricity when you need it.


Final Thoughts

Armed with the expert insights and guidance provided in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently choose the ideal generator size for your 30-amp RV. The maximum wattage required to run the all-important essentials in a 30-amp RV is 3,600 watts. By understanding your power requirements, evaluating your travel lifestyle, and considering factors such as runtime, fuel efficiency, and safety features, you’ll be well-prepared to make an informed decision.

A reliable and well-suited generator is key to a comfortable and enjoyable RV experience, ensuring that you have access to power whenever and wherever you need it. So, embark on your adventures with peace of mind, knowing that your generator will support you every step of the way.


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