Understanding RV generator types and features

Struggling to choose the right RV generator? You’re not alone. Making the best purchase choice can be a daunting task – Knowing the types, features, and best practices for installation is key.

This guide will help you better understand RV generator types and features to make the perfect selection.


When it comes to recreational vehicles (RV) and motorhomes, there are plenty of options available when it comes to generators. Depending on the model, an RV generator can provide you with a reliable source of power while you’re camping or traveling. This guide provides an introduction to RV generators and helps you understand their types and features.

The basics of how a generator works: A generator is an electrical device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The engine in the generator runs at a certain RPM to produce a certain amount of electricity, which is then routed through one or more power outlets for your recreational vehicle to use.

Generator types: There are three main types of generators for RVs: gas, diesel and propane. Gas and diesel generators are generally more powerful than propane models, but they are also heavier and take up more space in your RV. If weight and size constraints mean that propane or diesel models don’t fit in your RV’s space limitations, there are smaller ‘inverter’ type generators that offer much less power output but are smaller in size and weight than traditional gas/diesel models. Inverter generators can be connected directly to your vehicle battery for convenience during long trips without access to external power sources. The three main types of RV generators can be broken down into the following categories: gas-powered, diesel-powered and inverter-type

Explanation of the importance of understanding RV generators

Understanding RV generator types and features is essential to choosing the right generator for your camping needs. RVs are equipped with various electrical components, and choosing a generator that meets your specific requirements will allow you to enjoy a comfortable camping experience. Moreover, proper functioning of your RV and its appliances depend on the appropriate size and power of the RV generator.

Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the different types of generators available for RVs before purchasing one. Generator types are based on fuel type – propane, diesel or gasoline – as well as power output (output wattage). Generators also come with different features that are tailored to specific camping requirements such as low noise level and automatic start/stop capabilities.

Many campers prefer silent generators for their convenience but need to ensure that their chosen model has enough wattage to power all of their appliances safely. Some models combine multiple fuel sources, such as gas and propane (dual-fuel generators) or gas and diesel (tri-fuel generators), allowing campers more flexibility when filling up or recharging their RV generator. Additionally, some models feature electronic ignition components which provides customers with easier startup options while being energy-efficient at the same time.

In addition to these various options in fuel type, wattage output, starting system type and other features, there are many safety requirements applied by leading brands that must be adhered to when buying an RV Generator such as automatic shutoff systems in case of overloads or low oil levels in order to keep you safe from danger at all times during your travels. Knowing what kind of features you need in an RV Generator will help you make more informed decisions when investing in one for your own unique camping needs!

Understanding RV Generators

When shopping for a generator for your recreational vehicle, there are several factors to consider in order to choose a system that fits your power needs and budget. Understanding the various types of RV generators and their benefits can help you make an informed decision.

Types of RV Generators

1.Inverter generators: These units generally weigh less than traditional models and feature technology that improves fuel efficiency, resulting in a smaller environmental footprint. Additionally, an inverter generator provides clean power, reducing the risk of damaging sensitive electronics like computers and entertainment systems.

2.Diesel generators: Most diesel models are built to handle the toughest conditions and heavy-duty motor loads. In most cases, diesel is also slightly more fuel-efficient than gasoline options.

Generators Guide: How to Choose and Maintain the Right Generator - Grainger KnowHow

3.Gasoline generators: Traditional gasoline generators are available in both portable models (with no electric start) and remote startup units with electric starters, enabling you to quickly power up your RV at the campsite.

Features of RV Generators

1.Air intake system: The air intake system – usually located beneath the engine – supplies air for combustion by sucking external air into the chamber via a fan assembly or tubing which helps draw oxygen/air into the housing unit as needed for operation.

2.Fuel tank capacity: Determine how much run time between refueling you need with options ranging from around two to 10 hours on average depending on fuel tank capacity and load drawn on the generator

3.Noise level : Check decibel ratings before purchase as some newer sets offer quieter operation than older models

4 Electric starter : Many modern models come with an electric starter making them easier to use – no manual pull cord required

Types of RV generators

When shopping for an RV generator, it is important to understand the types of generators available and their features. There are two main categories, gas and diesel generators, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Before purchasing a generator for your RV, consider the various factors that come into play when choosing the right type of generator.

Gas Generators: Gasoline-powered generators are one of the most commonly used types of generators, due to their portability and convenience. Gas RV generators typically have an inverter or remote start option, making them ideal for camping trips and other outdoor adventures. They tend to be quieter and more affordable than diesel models, but they need more maintenance as they emit carbon monoxide and require regular oil changes.

Diesel Generators: Diesel generators offer a long-lasting power solution that is great for powering large RVs with multiple appliances or running a commercial business out of an RV. Diesel engines have longer service lives than gasoline models and require less maintenance; however, they can be more expensive due to their larger size.

Hybrid Generators: Hybrid RV generators combine some of the best features from both gas-powered units and diesel units. These units provide reliable power output with extended run times and powerful performance at fuel efficient rates. However, as hybrid options are not yet on par in terms of technology with other types of generator alternatives, they can be significantly more expensive than their counterparts in initial cost — although this cost may be offset by fuel savings in the long run — making them best suited for those who frequently use their RVs for extended periods or who need high levels of power consistently or intermittently over long periods of time.

Power and voltage requirements

When selecting an RV generator, it is important to consider your power and voltage needs. Many generators are powered by gasoline or diesel, and it should be noted that all RV generators are considered Continuous Duty Power (CD). CD is continuous power output at rated amperage and voltage, which varies depending on the model of generator.

The most common power ratings for generators used in RVs are 2,500 to 12,000 watts. When determining the size of your generator, you’ll need to add up the wattage rating for all the electrical devices you intend to use in your RV. That will allow you to determine what size generator will best meet your power and voltage needs.

Most recreational vehicles require a minimum of 120 volts for basic operation; however, some electric appliances may require a higher voltage such as 240 volts. It’s important to take this into account when purchasing a generator so that you don’t run into any issues with overheating electric components or insufficient power supply.

Other features such as noise level and fuel type may also provide helpful information about the efficiency and convenience of different types of generators when making your selection. For instance, some diesel models offer quieter operations than gas models; while gas is easier to store and typically more affordable than diesel fuel.

III. Factors to Consider When Choosing an RV Generator

When selecting an RV generator, there are several important factors to consider. These include size and power output, fuel type, noise level, portability, and cost. Each of these matters and should be taken into account before making a decision.

Size and Power Output- The size of your RV generator will depend on the space available in your vehicle and the power output you will require for your specific needs. It is important to know the wattage of all devices that you regularly use when traveling in order to determine the best size generator for you.

Fuel Type- Most RV generators run on gasoline or propane gas, but some can also be powered by diesel or natural gas. Gasoline powered generators are common due to their convenience and affordability, while natural gas models provide lower operational costs but require external tanks or larger units with built-in tanks that take up more space. Propane powered generators offer low noise emissions as well as a reliable option in areas where gasoline is not available since they usually run on standard 20-pound grill cylinders found in most grocery stores.

Noise Level- When choosing a generator for an RV , noise is an important factor to consider so as not to disturb campsites or other campers around you . In general , generators that have higher decibel ratings ( dB ) tend to be noisier than those with lower ratings . Make sure to check both the running decibel rating and any additional soundproofing measures included on the product before purchasing .

Portability- Depending on how often you plan on moving your unit around , having a lightweight generator can make transport easier . There are both freestanding and inverter models with varying sizes ranging from compact units weighing as little as 30 pounds all the way up to larger systems weighing over 200 pounds .

Cost– Setting a budget before committing to an RV purchase will ensure that you get exactly what you need without spending more than necessary . As with any purchase , assess quality against cost when evaluating different products so you can make an informed decision based on value rather than price alone .

Power output and capacity

Choosing the right RV generator is an important decision when it comes to being able to power your recreational vehicle equipment while on the road. The two main factors when considering a generator are power output and capacity. Knowing what these terms mean will help you decide which generator is right for you.

Power output, also referred to as wattage, is the measure of how much electricity is generated. On RV generators, the power output ranges from 1,000 watts to 8,000 watts and a larger unit will generally be more powerful than a smaller unit. It’s important to consider your power needs before selecting a generator so that you choose one with enough wattage to handle your planned usage.

The second factor when choosing an RV generator is capacity or size of the fuel tank. Capacity can range from 3 gallons on gas models up to 13 gallons on diesel models and larger tanks do provide more reliable running performance due to having less frequent refueling stops. Additionally, some generaotrs offer low noise operation, electric start capabilities and other features that should be considered when selecting a model for your needs.

Fuel type and consumption

The type of fuel you choose for your RV generator will have a considerable impact on the performance and environmental footprint of your unit. The most popular types of fuel used in RV generators are gasoline and propane. Both options have advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration to determine which one is right for you.

Gasoline: Gasoline is the most common type of fuel used in RV generators due to its availability, cost, and compatibility with existing infrastructure. It is also more readily combustible than other fuels, giving it an edge over others on electricity production and mechanical efficiency. When it comes to environmentally friendly combustion, however, gasoline provides lower heat output per gallon compared to propane or diesel fuels. Another disadvantage is that gasoline requires more frequent maintenance as it has a higher rate of evaporative loss due to its short shelf life.

The Complete Guide To RV Generators - Mortons on the Move

Propane: Propane is considered a cleaner burning option than most other fuels due to its higher efficiency ratio; more heat can be produced from the same amount of fuel as compared to those of Diesel oil or gasoline – resulting in fewer emissions overall when these fuels are compared side by side. In addition to being an environmentally friendly option, Propane enjoys benefits such as increased safety features (due to fewer ignition points) and lower heating costs over time relative other options, including gas or oil-based models. As with all RV generators though, proper maintenance remains key in keeping them operating properly at peak performance level – regardless if fueled by Propane or any other fuel type!

Portability and mobility

An important consideration when choosing the right RV generator for your needs is portability and mobility. While most RV generators are relatively lightweight and easy to transport from place to place, there are some models that are particularly suited for greater freedom of movement than others.

Some portable RV generators come with caster wheels and handle grips for easier maneuverability, while other models feature an integrated lift system that allows you to pick up the entire unit and move it with ease.

If you’re looking for a unit that can be effortlessly moved from one location to another, make sure that you research the portability options of different models before making your purchase.

Matching the Generator to Your RV’s Needs

When selecting a generator for your RV, the most important factor to consider is the size of your vehicle. Many factors can impact the amount of power you need, like the size and level of comfort desired. It’s important to calculate your total power requirements on a regular basis — especially if you are upgrading any components in your RV — in order to determine what sized generator is optimal for your current needs.

Manual generators typically have a lower initial cost and offer a wide range of power ratings, but they require more maintenance and may not provide adequate power for larger rigs. They also can only be used outdoors — usually at least 5 feet away from people or animals — due to noise and exhaust fumes. The distance required also depends on the model’s horsepower rating; some models may need up to 15 feet away from people or animals.

For recreational vehicles that require more stable operating conditions, automatic transfer switch generators are often preferred because they tend to operate quieter than manual units thanks in part to their engine governor feature that helps stabilize engine speed and avoid overloads. In general, these generators come with slightly higher price tags but make up for it with less frequent maintenance needs due to improved fuel economy and exhaust systems that meet EPA restrictions.

Inverter generators come with engines specifically designed for low noise operation as well as highly accurate voltage regulators for powering sensitive electronic equipment like televisions, computers, gaming systems, etc., which makes them ideal power solutions for people who want clean quiet energy without having to worry about voltage drops or surges damaging their appliances or electronics devices; this type of generator also tends to be lighter weight than other varieties so they can be easy transported over long distances in smaller RVs such as motorhomes or travel trailers.

Standby power

Standby power is a term often used when discussing RV generators. This refers to the amount of energy that the generator can output for longer periods of time and are typically measured in kilowatts. They are usually more powerful and cost more than other RV generator types, but they provide a reliable source of power for the vehicle when you’re parked for long periods, such as camping or dry camp RVing.

The biggest difference between standby power generators and other types is that they require a dedicated fuel tank that needs to be refilled periodically. This fuel tank is most commonly diesel or propane. Also, standby generators tend to be quieter than other options as they have higher-quality sound dampening features, making them ideal for peaceful vacations or extended boondocking trips.

Other features such as automatic startup in the case of low voltage draw and remote start are available, so depending on your needs, you can choose the additional features you would like included with your RV standby generator.

Portable power

When it comes to recreational vehicles (RVs), having a reliable source of portable power is essential. There are two main types of generators people use in RVs: gas-powered and diesel-powered. Both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to know what each has to offer before making a decision.

Gas-Powered RV Generators: Gas-powered generators are often less expensive and quieter than diesel models, and they don’t require as much maintenance. However, they typically offer less power output than their diesel counterparts and typically won’t last as long with heavy use. Fuel can also be hard to find in some areas and the potential for more harmful emissions makes them less eco-friendly than diesel generators.

Ultimate RV Generator Guide: everything you need to know! | RVshare

Diesel-Powered RV Generators: Diesel generators tend to be more expensive upfront but may save money in the long run due to their higher operating efficiency. They generally produce more power with little or no drop in performance over time while also offering lower fuel consumption and longer life cycles when properly maintained. The tradeoff is that they are often louder than compared models and require regular maintenance such as oil changes to ensure proper operation.


Overall, RV generators have come a long way in terms of providing reliable and efficient power solutions to meet a variety of needs. From the basic generator to advanced inverter technology, you can find the perfect solution for your travels. Choosing the right type of generator is important, as well as considering its features and fuel supply. Weighing all your options before making a decision can help ensure that you are investing in a generator that will meet your specific needs both now and long into the future.

In this guide, we’ve gone over the differences between portable generators, inverter generators and dedicated RV generators for an RV or camper van. You should now be familiar with the different types of fuel used in these machines; their performance capabilities; installation possibilities; noise levels; portability options; cost ranges; and which type might be best for your situation. With all this information combined with careful consideration, you should now be able to confidently choose an RV generator that is reliable and meets your needs.

See Also-

Leave a Comment