Looking for more comfort while camping? A camping generator can keep your RV pumped with AC and all of your electronics charged during your excursion. While camping, you are going to need small portable generators that can be easily transported and packed. Here you will find the best camping generator that is portable and caters to your preferences for reliability, budget, and how much noise it makes.
Generators are helpful for a number of reasons while camping. You can power outdoor lighting and even cool or heat a tent or RV. Each generator has a different voltage, watt capability, and price point.
Top 10 Best Camping Generator Models
1. WEN Model 56200i
This model WEN generator gives you 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts. It is safe to recharge a cellphone or laptop as it produces clean power and less than 5% distortion. This brand also offers high-altitude conversion kits and replacement parts, all at a reasonable price.
WEN is also one of the quietest generator brands and is actually quieter than a window air conditioner. This generator has been said to rival top brands Honda and Yamaha as it competes in both price and performance.
Sample Customer Review… We live in California so a generator is a necessity. It easily runs the refrigerator, microwave, and/or ignites the gas stove, also, a light or two. I saved the Styrofoam packing because it makes a nice cushion between the generator and my wooden deck. When it is running on the low ECO setting it is almost noiseless. With its noise level, it should be perfect for camping.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
2. Duromax XP12000EH 9,500-Watt Portable Generator
This generator is extremely powerful with a maximum amount of 12,000 watts. Additionally, it has a 20-pound propane tank which provides 20 hours of power, and with gas it can run for 10 hours.
The frame of the generator protects it from any kind of weather, rain, sleet, snow, or hail. Unfortunately, it is rather heavy, although it does have wheels for simpler transportation when needed.
Sample Customer Review… I have researched generators for a couple of years. I decided on the BEAST! I have a dual purpose. For full house and RV power. When I received the generator, I followed all instructions to the letter. The generator started easily. I have it hooked up to propane for now. It ran great at testing. We had a power outage that lasted 5 hours one evening. We were able to continue on with our lives as if the power had never gone out. Our home is approximately 1400 square ft. 3 bedroom 2 baths. We are on all electric except for the furnace. We watched TV, cooked on the electric stove, and were able to run about the house and turn lights on and of with no issues. We are also on a well. The generator has an option that supplies 220 or 240. 240 is needed to run the good pump. The generator ran for the full 5 hours without one hick-up. The 5 gal propane tank still feels very full after 5 hours. Very efficient with fuel use. I am very happy with my decision to go with this BEAST! I am confident that this generator will do exactly what I expect it to do.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
3. Champion Power Equipment Model 73536i 2000 Watt Inverter Generator
The Champion Power Model is a stackable generator that works well in an RV or an at-home power outage. The stackable feature is meant for the same generator to stack on top of the other for extra power. This model weighs less than 50 pounds, so the average person is able to move it around.
Champion company has good customer service and support with a two-year limited warranty from most outside retailers. If you buy the generator directly through the company they offer a three-year warranty.
Economy mode is a setting on the generator that poses a problem for consumers. The generator will shift to the economy mode level and never come back to normal. There can be a challenge in getting replacement generators when the new unit does not start. This generator also shuts off automatically when the oil is low and uses a recoil to start back up which is easy to pull.
Sample Customer Review… We were in the path of Derecho! Not only suffered house and property damage but lost power for an extended period of time. Hooked this generator up to the refrigerator and our deep freezer. Definitely quieter than the rest of the neighborhood generators. Very easy to use. Fairly lightweight. I had no problem lifting, moving, or starting it. Thinking of getting a second one!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
4. Honda EU22001 Portable Generator Inverter
The Honda EU22001 Generator is on the quieter side. Campgrounds have noise limits, so sometimes a quieter option is a must. This generator is about 47 pounds and is extremely fuel-efficient; it can run for up to eight hours on less than a gallon of gasoline.
The generator’s noise can be described as background music and operating at 48 to 57 dBA. This generator works best for everyday plugins like a coffee maker, computer, and refrigeration system.
Sample Customer Review… We lost power due to tornado activity in the area, and as my wife and I were waiting in Home Depot for a truckload of generators to come in, we spotted a guy returning a Honda EU2200i. We followed him to the rental counter and said ‘We’ll take it.” We ran 2 freezers and 2 refrigerators plus miscellaneous USB devices for 3 days off that little Honda, and unplugged the upstairs refrigerator temporarily while we made coffee as well. I believe we got about 8 hours out of a tank of gas each time. I returned the rented one as soon as our power was restored and bought one from Amazon. Easy start, frugal on gas, quiet (I could hear the neighbor’s outside, but not this one, despite it being closer) – what’s not to like? I thought I’d need something bigger, but now I don’t believe I will – as long as we can get by without air conditioning.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
5. Champion 3800-WATT Dual Fuel RV
The Champion Dual Fuel generator runs on gasoline or propane and carries 3.4 gallons of gas in the tank. This generator runs for up to 9 hours on the gasoline in the tank. Due to it having such high voltage, the noise level is much higher than the smaller generators. It can also power lights and refrigeration as well as any kind of electronic device that needs charging.
This generator can power a large house or RV.
Sample Customer Review… Well….hurricane Irma visited us a few days ago…I ordered this Champion 4700/3800 last year…it stayed packed in the box until a day before Irma was to arrive. My son got it ready in less than 15 mins. Filled it will the oil that came with it. Filled it with gas and cranked that baby up just to test and show me what to do…easy peasy…especially with the electric start button. When the power went out, I connected 2 refrigerators, 2 freezers, a fan, 2 TVs & DVR, a heat lamp for 30 baby chicks, 2 indoor lamps, a coffee maker, and a waffle iron… And I think it had the power to spare. This generator never missed a beat and it ran constantly for 4 days until we regained power. It certainly made life easier. Great generator!!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
6. Yamaha EF6300ISDE
Yamaha has been known to push out quality generators from its manufacturing facilities. This gasoline-powered generator is on the heavier side but can power almost anything you can think of. This generator comes with a wireless remote control that controls the generator from up to 66 feet away. It also shows you exactly how much power is being used as well as the amount of power left.
Sample Customer Review… After being out of power for 2 weeks following hurricane Sandy, I decided it was time for a generator. I did extensive research and decided on an inverter generator. According to most, Yamahas and Hondas are the best, but the Yamaha can be found much cheaper than the equivalent Honda. After getting it all set up I tested out by connecting my furnace and fridge/freezer. It only registered one bar on the power meter running these both at the same time! I then tested it in Eco mode… Still no problem and much quieter. It’s amazing how much quieter this is than my old Coleman. I can’t even hear it inside the house. I also tested it running my gas dryer without any problems… Still only two bars on the power meter. Overall for the limited time I’ve used it I’m very impressed. Well worth the price for clean power.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
7. Rainier R2200i Super Quiet Portable
The Rainier is a budget-friendly, mid-level model that is perfect for an average camper. This generator is also gasoline-powered with up to 13 hours of run time within its 1.3-gallon fuel tank. For those more environmentally friendly, it comes with an economy mode that conserves energy to ensure maximum fuel efficiency.
The control panel as pictured above includes a low oil alarm, as well as an overload alarm and an output indicator. It also only weighs 44 pounds and can be transported very easily. The Rainier is backed by a three-year limited warranty.
Sample Customer Review… I bought this generator primarily as emergency backup power, and occasionally to power our farmers’ market booth and camping. I admit that I bought it because it was the lowest-priced generator I could find with the capacity I wanted. It arrived on time and it only took me about 5 minutes to add oil and fuel and get it started. I could easily pull the recoil starter and it started on the first pull. It runs super quiet. It was able to handle a 1500 watt space heater plus a couple of CF light bulbs, my cable modem, and router. It is compact and light enough to carry on trips as well. All in all, I’m very happy with it.Read more Reviews at Amazon.com
8. Westinghouse WGen5500 Portable Generator
This generator has a 14 hour running time due to its 6.6-gallon tank for gasoline, which translates to a little more than 2 hours for each gallon of fuel. Westinghouse achieved the title of the most efficient portable generator in comparison to its competitors. This generator is great for camping but also shows versatility for in-home use.
The Westinghouse is the perfect portable and affordable generator for backing up power in your home and sustaining the power at your campsite.
Sample Customer Review… I purchased this for my home to have heat and hot water during outages. I unboxed the unit, filled it with Mobil1 5w-30, and fueled it up along with the star Tron ethanol additive. I run the unit every 3 months for 30 min under a load to be sure it works and runs and so far no issues. This unit runs my whole home without issue. For a $450 warehouse deal, it was worth every penny.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
9. Westinghouse iGen1200 Super Quiet Generator
This particular Westinghouse portable inverter generator is quieter than the Westinghouse WGen 5500. It has a 52 dBA noise output which is perfect for strict campsites that encourage minimal noise. This generator also creates clean and safe power which is perfect for charging any kind of electronic device.
It can also run for up to 9 hours, and if you feel you need more power from the wattage, you can purchase another Westinghouse IGen Series Generator and combine them with a parallel cord (sold separately). This product is ideal for small-scale use, not meant for powering large appliances, such as a refrigerator.
Sample Customer Review… After doing a lot of research, I bought this unit, not knowing if it would be adequate to run the essential loads of my house. I tested it with the actual loads (26 cubic foot refrigerator, 1/2HP sump pump, various lights, and two gas-fired furnaces) and it worked flawlessly. I can’t say that this generator would be able to handle the load if every device went on at the same time (unlikely to happen, but in theory, it could). It started with the first pull, ran very quietly, and used gas miserly. Although the powering of the above loads wasn’t automatic (unlike a 10 KW permanent standby generator using a transfer switch), it cost a LOT less than the $10k price of a fully automatic generator. For the few times the utility power goes out, it provides me a peace of mind that is worth every penny it costs. I can’t say enough good things about this unit!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
10.SUAOKI Portable Power Station
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Suaoki Portable Generator is rather small and will provide power for any camping activities and needs you may have. The Suaoki has 10 outlet ports around the outside for any kind of electronic device from the iPhone to a tablet or laptop. Anything under 100W will be well suited using this generator.
Something unique about this generator is that you can recharge it using three various methods. You can use its solar panel kit or in older car models the cigarette socket, as well as a 110-volt wall socket.
Sample Customer Review… I wasn’t 100% thrilled about the product after purchasing it because I didn’t think it’d be good enough for our needs, so I was planning on returning it as soon as it got to our home. BUT OH, WHAT A SURPRISE! My husband told me to give it a chance first, so we took it on a 4-day camping trip. It not only worked on filling up our air mattress and charging phones, but it also charged our lantern and white noise speaker for the baby THROUGH THE NIGHT. It was constantly charging the entire trip and didn’t even get past the halfway mark of power available. This little battery is POWERFUL. Very happy with our purchase. Can’t believe I was ready to return without even using it. I believe it will be very reliable as well in case of emergencies.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
Choosing the best camping generator means weighing a variety of factors and figuring out where you will use your generator most frequently. The following qualities are aspects to consider as you decide which generator works for you.
The emission compliance period is the number of hours that a generator meets the requirements of emission, which are standards that dictate how much pollutant the generator is allowed to produce. The higher the emission rating of a generator, the higher the quality parts it is made with.
In order for your generator to be the most effective for you, you need to know how much power you require. This includes how many lights, appliances, and electronics will be running all at once–make sure your generator’s wattage correlates. Be sure to add together the watts of your appliances and lights so you can pick the perfect generator. The wonderful thing about portable generators is that they power things outside of the capabilities of an RV system.
Only use your generator in an area that has good ventilation to avoid accidents. Those who do not have experience with generators are often unaware of the consequences of keeping a generator somewhere with bad ventilation. You can cause a fire if the generator overheats. You can also get carbon monoxide poisoning if you use a generator indoors, and in some cases the poisoning can kill you in minutes. Be very cautious of where you use a generator and be sure to read the guide before using the product.
Generators have varying noise levels. If the noise bothers you or your family, consider adding a larger distance between the generator and the place you sleep. Experts say to double the amount of space between the campsite and the RV if the noise is agitating, although you may have to purchase alternative power cords to extend the distance between the two items.
Gas-powered vs. Propane-powered Generators
Gas-powered versus propane-powered generators vary in different ways. Gas is a more affordable way to power a generator in comparison to propane, although it does require more maintenance. The one thing that is tough about gas is that it requires a fuel stabilizer to prevent rust and corrosion. Gas is also more fuel-efficient, whereas propane is cleaner burning and has a limitless shelf life. Some generators have a solar power option, but not everyone can sustain the system that is required for solar power.
Consider if your campsite or home has fueling stations or if there is a gas station nearby. You are going to need a lot more gas than you think to power a camper for even 24 hours. Make sure you have enough gas to power all of the appliances and electronics before starting up a generator. Be sure to research your campsite to verify if there is gas nearby. Diesel is a more efficient option, but it is more difficult to find a portable diesel-powered generator. Many generators can run on both gasoline and propane, and both have different things to offer your campsite.
If you need protection for your portable generator, consider a GenTent, or a tent for your generator. Many companies do not recommend using a generator in the rain or snow to avoid it getting wet, so a GenTent allows you to use your generator during inclement weather.
Know Your Limits
Make sure you do not purchase a generator that is too heavy for you to lift without injuring yourself. There are plenty of portable generators that are lightweight enough to get the job done to avoid injury during use. It is very common for consumers to purchase generators that are far too heavy than what they can handle. Know your limits, especially if you plan on using the generator at a campsite.
When you purchase a portable generator it makes the camping experience more comfortable for everyone. Whether you need to cool off, warm up, or charge your devices, there is a generator out there to help you.
What is the best size generator for camping?
A 2000-watt unit generator is a common size for camping.
What can you run on a 2000 watt generator?
This will depend on the type of generator you buy and products you are using but you can typically run microwaves, coffeemakers, laptops, fridge or freezer, lights, a television, etc.
Some examples of what you can run and the watt estimate: a phone charger for 5 watts, a fridge or freezer between 500-700 watts, microwave between 700-1000 watts, and coffeemaker between 800-1000 watts.
Written By Emily O'Keefe