What Size Generator for RV?

Are you thinking of buying a new RV generator, but have no idea where to start from? If so, then stop worrying because we have got you covered! From choosing the appropriate size of an RV generator to learning various fun facts, we’ll walk you through this whole process!

What Size Generator for RV

Having a portable generator is one of the basic necessities of RVs. You need to consider several factors while traveling with your recreational vehicle – one of them being a durable power backup for your electrical needs. Thus buying one appropriate generator for you can be a daunting task.

You might ask what size generator for RV should I get? Well, that’s a reasonable question as you’d find a plethora of products on the market. To help you choose the right one for you, we have this comprehensive guide down below.

 So without further ado, let’s get started:

What Does an Electric Generator Do in Recreational Vehicles?

Electric Generators provide electricity to all the appliances and power units in a Recreational vehicle. You can conveniently plug in all your sensitive devices or gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, iPads, etc. without any kind of fear. An Electric generator is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, in order to produce clean and stable power.

There are different ways for RV generators to generate power. These are mainly dependent on the different sources used to charge them. For instance, you have solar-powered generators that use solar energy to charge their batteries. Otherwise, we have gas-powered generators.

Types of RV Generators

The most important types of generators being used in RVs are as follows:

1. Portable RV Generator:

First is the portable type of RV generator that is most commonly used by RVers around the continent. In addition, RV-ing is not the only purpose for a portable generator; rather these can be used for your off-grid homes, outdoor workplaces, etc. With that being said, portable generators allow easy maneuverability and thus have a great preference for professional RVers.

2. Built-in RV Generators:

Many high-end RVs have this facility of built-in generators. These generator types are fixed onboard within a compartment and are hard-wired into the RV’s electrical system. Besides, they draw power from the storage fuel tank and thus provide durable power to your RV.

What Size Generator for RV?

Now that we have mentioned the two major types of generators being used in RVs, it’s high time that we get down to determining the appropriate size of them. So without any further delay, here it goes:

RV Generator Sizes

Typically, you will find the wattage capacity of generators ranging from 1500 watts to 4000 watts. In a similar sense, they’ll make up to 1.5 to 4 kilowatts respectively. So all, RV generator manufacturers depict the size range of generators in terms of watts or kilowatts.

That said, in the case of portable RV generators, the most appropriate size is considered to be 2000 to 4,000 watts. Since portable generators involve some external factors like weight capacity, portability, etc., their size matters a bit more than the built-in generators.

Further, a size up to 4000 watts is not the ideal case for portable generators. You may also come across such power units having 12000 W of wattage. So make sure to keep in mind the requirements of your RV while buying from one of the sizes of portable RV generators.

On the flip side, built-in generators feature a size range of 3000 watts to 12000 watts at most. It is known that these models are installed inside RVs and obtain power from the fuel tank directly. Also, these generator types are hard-wired into the RV’s electrical system, so their sizes start from as high as 3000 watts.

What Size Generator Do I Need for a 30-amp RV?

If you are looking for a reliable and fairly-sized generator for your 30-amp RV, then have a look at the information as follows:

The size of the generator for a 30-amp RV is depicted through the amount of power depending on amperage and voltage. So by multiplying amperage by the voltage of your RV, you can have the exact value of the generator size. Consider this:

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

That’s how you get to know the exact size of the generator for your 30-amp RV. The sweet spot for your 30-amp RV is having a generator that delivers a maximum of 3600 watts.

What Size Generator Do I Need for a 50-amp RV?

The same method goes for calculating the generator size for a 50-amp RV.

Wattage = Voltage (volts) x Current (amps)
For example 120 Volts x 50-Amp= 6,000W

Nevertheless, sometimes higher wattage capacity drains the battery quickly and also gives less fuel efficiency.  For a fact, the 50-amp RV can work on wattage capacity ranging up to 12000 watts as well. So make sure to keep in mind all these aspects.

Summing Up

This brings us to the conclusion of our guide on what size generator for RV should buy in 2023. It is quite difficult to pick one appropriate size for your RV; especially when there are a lot of options available on the market.

So in order to make the right choice, you have to be fully aware of the wattage requirement of your RV. To make that easy for you, we have walked you through the whole process of selecting the appropriate size generator for your RV.

Now make sure to read this comprehensive guide on what size generator to buy for your RV this year. That said, it covers all the major things that are important to keep in mind in this regard.

Learn More: How To Install A Generator In A 5Th Wheel?
Learn More: What Size Generator To Run Air Conditioner?


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

1. How big of a generator do I need to run RV AC?

Several factors depict the accuracy of a generator in terms of running different RV appliances. Similar is the case here with the RV air conditioner. Nevertheless, an average AC requires a power of around 2000 watts to 4000 watts.

Having said that, it might be different for you as the size of the generator you are using in your RV matters a lot as well. But generally, it’s been observed that 2000 watts of power is enough for an RV AC.

2. How many watts does an RV use?

First things first, the number of watts differs from time to time precisely due to the different weather conditions. It gets lower in fair-weather conditions and gets equally higher during a hot or cold day. Aside from that, the average use of an RV in terms of its wattage is 20kWh.

3. What draws the most power in an RV?

Amongst all the different appliances and devices used in the RV and powered by a generator, the one drawing the most power is none other than the air conditioner. And to top it off, the starting watts of an RV AC are higher than that of running. So it consumes more power than any other electrical equipment.

4. How long does a generator last in an RV?

The average lifespan of a generator in an RV is said to be 10,000 to 25,000 hours. However, it might differ as well, depending on the basis of how you use it. So for say, if you take great care of the power unit of your RV, and have its maintenance factor checked timely, then it might last longer than the estimated span.


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