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What Size of Generator Do I Need for my RV?

Being a vehicle, RV is bound to be at places where direct electric sources are not available. Without a generator, an RV is inconvenient to use.

It will just move around like a regular car with a mere space to sleep in. But to fully enjoy the experience of living in a luxurious RV, an accurate electric supply is crucial. An RV generator makes it a complete package. It makes your life on the road easier and more comfortable.

Every RV needs a specific size of the generator according to its needs and capacity. Therefore, having the crucial knowledge about generators before investing in them blindly would be the wisest thing to do.

This article is all about choosing the right size of generator for your RV.

What Is an RV Generator?

An RV has many ways to get electricity, including onboard batteries, charging from a tow vehicle alternator and, even solar panels. But RV generators are what make RVs self-sufficient and sustainable.

The generator allows you to operate your RV’s electric appliances by providing electricity. The circuit breaker of the RV transfers electricity from the generator to electric appliances.

It can provide power to your converters which ultimately has the power to charge house batteries of an RV.

These generators often run-on fuel, so as long as they have fuel, they will keep providing power to the inside batteries of the RV. They can run air conditioners and even turn the heating system on.

RV Generator Sizes

The size of an RV generator does not mean its length, width, or height. It usually gets measured by how many watts they can generate. 1,500 to 4,000 watts is the most common range of most RV generators.

If you want to choose the right sized generator for your RV, you should have a thorough layout of the electric appliances you possess inside that RV. You should get to know which electric appliance requires the most power and which requires less.

For instance, a refrigerator can use electricity ranging from 400 to 1000 watts depending on its size. Likewise, an air conditioner can consume electricity ranging from 1,400 to 2,400 watts.

If we look deeper and analyze other electronic devices, a laptop would probably need 250 watts, a coffee maker 900 watts, a toaster 1,150 watts, and so on.

So, the size of the generator should be decided to keep in mind whether it would be able to provide power to all these appliances. Add up the power of all the appliances, and the result will help you decide what size of generator you need.

Portable RV Generator Sizes

Portable RV Generators are the type of generators that can be attached or removed from the outside. They can be used for other purposes, apart from providing a power supply to the RV.

They are not manufactured to fit these inside the RV but can only work outside of it by attaching them to the RV. That is why you may move this Portable generator from one place to another.

Portable generators have sizes ranging from 2,000 to 4,000, but they go as far as 12,000 watts. Bigger size and a bigger number of watts are undoubtedly a better option for someone who needs a lot of power supply.

But the bigger size comes with its limitations, such as being heavier, noisier, hard to handle, high maintenance. As RV is something you would keep as light as possible, keeping is moving between the roads.

No one would prefer heavier and bigger generators attached to their RV unless they have no other choice. Determine the total amount of power your RV needs and get the size of the generator accordingly.

Built-In RV Generator Sizes

Built-In Generators are mostly inside the larger-sized RVs. Such RVs come with a specific compartment inside for the generator. Bigger and larger RVs such as Fifth Wheels have these installed in them by the manufacturers.

These generators are considered an upgrade to the RV, which makes the RV even more expensive. The sizes of built-in generators range from 25,00 to 7,000 watts. However, the size can go as far as 12,000 watts which is not much common.

Bigger RVs have more electronic devices. Thus, they require more power than other RVs. So, the size of these generators will be more than the common ones. You will decide the size in the same way, make a list of the electric appliances.

Add up the power they all need to consume. Next, add a little more power to it for extra things such as mobile chargers. Then select the one having the perfect ability to provide enough power needs of your RV.

Built-In generators are installed inside, but you have the option to make it run automatically or manually. It usually comes with a button that regulates its working.

How to Select the Right Wattage Size Generator for RV?

The estimate of wattage your RV needs is significant as only then will you be able to choose the right size of the generator. You do not want to buy a generator with more power than you need as it will be just a waste of money.

Similarly, if you end up buying a generator with less capable of providing power, you will have to suffer even after spending money. Even though you will not turn all the appliances you have in your RV at once.

You still need to know how much they require collectively. Being prepared for the possibility is essential. You do not want to face any mishaps in the future regarding generator malfunction. Divide the power needs into two types.

Some appliances need more wattage than others. For instance, water heaters and electric ranges require the most power ranging up to 25,000 watts. Refrigerators, in general, require a lot of power, but RVs have smaller refrigerators.

These require almost 600 to 800 watts. Similarly, note down the power requirement of the coffee maker, toaster, Tv, and laptop chargers. After knowing these numbers, you will be able to select the perfect generator size for your RV.


How Much Power Do You Need in your RV?

It depends on how many appliances you need or have. Plus, how many do you use regularly? An RV needs a certain amount of electricity for its normal functioning, which is fixed. Other than that, it solely depends on how furnished and upgraded your RV is.

A total sum up of that will tell how much power you need. Your generator should be able to cover the collective power needs. Not only that, it should have some more capacity in case you decide to use a couple of appliances at the same time.

What size generator do I need for a 30-amp RV?

A 30-amp RV would need a 3,000 watts size generator at least. Then, break it down for you if your RV has an air conditioner, a microwave, heating system, toaster, coffee maker, and TV.

You have your air conditioner on, and at the same time you try to use the microwave, the power supply may fluctuate and cut loose. So, to be on the safe side, you should get a generator to size 3,600 watts for a 30-amp RV so that you can use everything smoothly.

But, at the same time, you are on the safe side. The confirmed numbers will still depend on how many appliances you use at once and how much power they require.

Will a 2000-watt generator run a 13500 BTU air conditioner?

Normally, a 13500 BTU air conditioner requires about 2,000 watts for its running. Therefore, it can overload the normal standard at any time.

This creates a need to be cautious of potential mishaps. If you want a 13500 BTU air conditioner smoothly, you should use a 3,000 watts size generator.

Can I run my camper AC on a generator?

It depends on which type of air conditioner you have. Different air conditioners require different ranges of watts to function. Therefore, you will have to know about the required power range of your AC.

For example, if your AC runs on the power of 1200 watts, you should go for a generator size 3,000. This will cover the needs of the AC while regulating the normal usage of RV side by side.

Will a 10000-watt generator run central air?

A 10,000 watts generator is a big generator with a lot of capacity. Even if the central air requires 2000 watts for starting and 6,000 to 7,000 watts for its running, a 10,000 watts generator will keep it running smoothly.


Evaluating the size of the generator is not that hard. It just needs a little effort. You need to dig in a little so that you end up buying the right size for your RV. You will have to do a little homework before you jump into the market for actually buying the generator.

Making a list of your electric appliances and their power requirements is the first and most crucial step. The right size choice also depends on what type of generator you want, for example, built-in or portable. If you follow the process, you will end up with an accurate result.

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