What Size Generator is Best for RV

Now that you have finally bit the bullet to get the RV of your dreams, it is time to start to make it more of a home. Not all RVs will come with a generator already installed, and you will definitely want to install one on board your RV to fuel all your electrical devices on your RV. Basic comforts such as a refrigerator and air conditioning are all fueled by electricity, so a generator is essential on an RV.

With limited space on your RV, go for a portable generator for RV use, and not the types that you find at homes. There are many options out there in the market, and it can be daunting being thrown in a shop to get one when you have absolutely no idea where to start. Generators come in many different forms today, and there are so many things to consider, such as the costs, its size and how quiet it is when it is in operation.

A good place to start narrowing down your choices is to first decide what size generator you will need for your RV. For someone who has not done this before, you might be wondering how you will be able to determine this, so here is a quick guide to select the best size generator for you to meet your needs on your RV.

Finding out how much power you need on your RV

There is no one perfect answer for the best size generator for all RVs, as it is a highly personal question. It all depends on the power that you need on your RV, so start first by finding that out. You can do this by determining what you want your generator to power on your RV.

This process is not easy, and many questions such as how much lighting will you need on your RV, and what sized refrigerator should you get are probably racing in your mind right now. But fret not, as by following our steps, we will guide you through this entire process to make it easier for you- and not anyone else, to get the best sized generator for your specific needs.

  1. Ask yourself how long you will usually have your generator running when you use electrical appliances such as the air conditioner, your game console or your television on your RV.

A good way to find out is to take a day off at home and imagine that you are on your RV! Record what you will do, and what devices you find yourself needing to reach out for. This will give you a good estimation of how much electricity you will need on your RV.

  1. Ask yourself if you will operate these appliances concurrently at the same time.

Take note of this too when you are doing a simulation of a typical day on your RV, and record it down to make sure that you remember.

  1. Find out how many watts these different devices draw when they are starting up, and also how much they draw when they are operating.

The wattage draws of your electrical appliances will usually be indicated in the manual that comes with it when you first purchase it from the store. Sometimes, it is also stated on a sticker or plate that it attached to your appliance, so check these places to find out their specific wattage draws. However, if you simply cannot find them, or are simply looking for a good estimate, here are some guides to the typical wattage consumption of common appliances that you might have on your RV.

A standard absorption cycle RV fridge uses between 400 to 1000 watts of electricity. This is dependent on its size as the larger the capacity of the fridge, the more electricity it will use. Most RV refrigerators that you can find in the market uses heat to result in a chemical reaction that will cause the temperatures to drop.

This heat is provided by propane or a 110 volt electrical heating element. If you want more storage space in your refrigerator, and want to use a traditional home style refrigerator in your RV, take note that it uses a 110 volt compressor to cool down the air. The consequence of the refrigerator using a compressor is that you do not only have to consider how man watts it uses when it is in operation, but also how many watts it uses when the compressor starts.

For most of such refrigerators, it will take 2 to 3 times the wattage to start the compressor and get it going every single time the refrigerator cycles the compressor on and off. Smaller home style refrigerators can use 400-1000 watts and those with a freezer can use up to 2400 watts. The range is very large, so it is best to check the specific specifications of your refrigerator on the user manual or on their website.

If you have an air conditioner installed to keep you cool and comfortable on your RV during the sweltering hot summers, take note that it will probably require quite a bit of electricity to run too. Air conditioners use compressors to keep the air cool, and will use 2 to 3 times more wattage when the compressor cycles on and off. Normally, the air conditioner uses around 1400-2400 watts to run.

The refrigerator and air conditioner are only a few of the electrical appliances that you will probably have on your RV, so you have to consider all of the other appliances too. Common ones include a television, which will take around 200-600 watts, a microwave to heat up your food, which will take around 1000 watts, and a hair dryer, which will also take up to 1000 watts.

  1. Do a quick calculation of the watts for the appliances that you have that you might run at the same time on your RV.

After finding out how much electricity each of your devices use, and noting your habits in using them, take out your calculators and add up the total watts for the appliances that you will be running concurrently on your RV.

  1. Search for generators meeting your power needs

Now that you know how much power you will need for your generator, simply head online to search for them! Gone are the days where you have to head down to a store to get a catalogue, and it is extremely convenient to do a quick search online to see the range of generators that will supply you with the power that you need for your RV.

Note however, that not all generators, especially portable ones, are built to operate on full capacity for more than a few hours. When deciding which one to purchase for your RV, you will also have to consider what the output of the generator is, and how long the generator can be on and running at a specific capacity.

There are so many generators out there in the market, some specially built and marketed for use in the RV. Finding out the size of the generator that you will need is the best way to start your journey in discovering the best generator for your needs.

From there, you can look at many other factors, such as how much space the generator will take up in your RV, the cost effectiveness of the generator, the noise it creates when it is running and many more. With the sheer number of choices we have today, it is difficult to pick just one, but knowing the size of the generator you are looking for will narrow these choices down well.

While it is impossible to give you a single universal answer to the question of the best size generator for your RV, we hope that this guide will help you in finding the best generator for you and your electrical needs!