Uncle Bobs Tips: Generator Guide

RV Generators Make Outdoor Living Easier

RV generator buying guide, advice, and tips.

Buying an RV generator is not as simple as finding the right portable generator to meet your energy needs. There are several considerations that must be factored in, most significant of which is the fact that the typical portable model is not really a suitable generator for RV power needs. Many people try to get a regular portable generator, non-RV class, and are sorely disappointed with the results. RV class generators put out more power with much quieter results. They are also designed with electric start and can run beautifully for many hours at a time. These are basic needs for RV, motor homes, travel trailers and fifth wheel owners that won't be met by your average portable generator.

RV generators are available in portable or stationary units that can be attached to your RV below, in front or on back depending on which generator you purchase. Portable generators are often used to add additional power to an already mounted stationary generator. Most portable generators for RV use are super quiet, thanks to a helpful muffler addition.

Most important features:

  1. Sound level: Many campgrounds have a limit to the noise level, so your machine better be under that limit or it is useless to you.
  2. Energy efficient: When you're out in some far-flung destination, chances are you'll be a distance from your local power source. That's why it's helpful to have a generator with low fuel consumption or energy output.
  3. Type of RV: Be sure to choose the generator for RV use specific to your mobile vehicle specifications. Models can vary depending on size, layout, and fuel consumption.
  4. Generator Fuel type: There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of fuel option. Diesel gives your generator a longer engine life, consumes less fuel and offers a common fuel system, which is a big convenience as you can run your RV gensets directly from your vehicle's main fuel supply. On the other hand, LP generators will cost you less initially (though diesel gas actually costs less to buy than LP, so you have to make your own calculations), are smaller and lighter, and create lower exhaust fumes.
  5. Wattage needed: As with any generator, a key factor is how much energy you will need your generator to produce. Whether you want to run an air conditioner(s) is of huge importance to your calculations. Add up the individual appliances and requirements (including initial surge charge), and find an RV generator that works within your budget and needs.

Miscellaneous info:

Remember, a generator is NOT a battery charger, some come with an alternate that is able to charge batteries, but all generators supply power to your charger (thus enabling you to charge your own battery).

Take your generator's location into consideration when calculating or buying a towing device.

Link two Honda's for a powerful punch with all the conveniences of portable generators. Another benefit is that, because you have your own independent power source, you save yourself the extra fees of overnight stays in RV parks.

It is recommended to run your generator for thirty minutes a month, even when not in use. This is to exercise the generator and make sure it doesn't get "out of shape" so to speak. Plug in a few devices to make sure the generator is getting a good work out.


Make sure your propane tanks are at least 36" away from your generator. Unpleasant injuries and messy lawsuits result from putting these two pieces of equipment too close together.

Never connect your generator while hooked up to shore power (campground). This can be extremely dangerous.


Honda- Honda is relatively new to the industry but well known for quality products. Honda has several ultra quiet models that are extremely popular on the market.

Onan- No arguments, Onan is the #1 most used company for RV generators, basically because they make great generators.

Generac is another popular brand that has several well-liked systems.

Of course, the new M250 B fuel cell power systems may blow the entire industry out of the waters if this wonder machine lives up to its claims. Read about the new Protonex M250-B today.

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