Best Camping / RV Generator of 2014!

Best RV Generator 2014Finding a recreational or RV generator that is ideal for most users may be an impossible task, but we’re willing to give it a shot. But which of the many different models to choose from is actually best?

Here, for the sake of transparency before we get to our pick, we take a look at what we think are the key characteristics of the “perfect” Camping/RV generator, and then tell you the exact model that we believes meets each of these criteria.

Ready? Let’s get on with it.

Here are Seven Things we Look for in the Perfect RV Genertor

1) Sufficient Power Output

Obviously, peoples’ wattage needs will vary depending on the size of their RV and particular creature comforts. Nevertheless, we think that the average RV user can probably live comfortably with a generator that produces about 2,000 running watts (and a few extra surge watts). Why?

With this kind of power, one should be able to run comfortably a variety of recreation equipment, lights, tools and a few other higher-draw appliances. Notably, at this wattage, we would expect the generator to be capable of starting an air conditioner of 13,500 BTUs – a common feature in many RVs.

Again, you certainly could go with a smaller generator, especially if you are more of a bare-bones, off-the-grid type a guy or gal. But for most applications, we always think it’s prudent to go with a bit more, rather than less, wattage than you think you need. For us, a minimum of 2000 running watts provides a good balance of power and affordability for basic RV purposes.

2) Inverter Type Generator Preferred

Given that many RV enthusiasts today are availing themselves of modern electronic devices, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, DVD players and flat screen TVs, it only makes sense to opt for a portable inverter generator. Why inverters? These generators produce a relatively pure “sine wave” – a particular waveform of electrical current that is more stable and suitable for operating most modern and/or electrical equipment.

On the other hand, if you are simply running a bunch of lights and common home/kitchen appliances, then this doesn’t apply to you – in which case we’d recommend browsing our featured conventional generators.

3) Good Fuel Efficiency & Long Runtime

When you’re recreating, the last thing you want to do is spend an inordinate amount of time hovering over your generator’s gas tank. Indeed, long runtimes at 25% or 50% maximum load, and overall high fuel efficiency, is another vital feature of a good RV generator.

4) Low Noise Levels

The old saying “Silence is Golden” is particular true when trying to enjoy your travels in an RV. Engine noise can not only kill the ambiance for you either; an excessively loud generator is likely to draw complaints from those around you, especially in cramped RV parks or campgrounds.

Generators vary widely on this score, and people vary as to their sensitivity to noise. Nevertheless, we think that any generator with db ratings in the low to mid 50s should be quiet enough or, at least, tolerable for most people and applications. By the way, relatively quiet operation is an additional virtue of inverter generators compared to their conventional counterparts.

5) Compact Size & Light Weight

While having ample power is great, the often excessive weight that goes with it is not. And for the RV enthusiast, having to labor over moving a bulky generator during setup and breaking down of a camp site can cause one to opt for watching fireflies over a flat screen.

So what’s too much? We think that a maximum of around 80 pounds is reasonable. While this is not exactly “light” of course, it is still a manageable weight for most adult males, and still allows for a big enough generator to meet our minimum wattage requirement.

6) Outstanding User Satisfaction Ratings

While many portable generators look great on paper, they can often fall flat in real world situations. Indeed, the best test of any generator is how well and reliably it performs for average users; this includes things like ease of use, maintenance and durability.

Further, we are not talking about isolated or spotty favorable reviews either – any generator would need to have a long track record of positive reviews with an average satisfaction rating of at least 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

7) Reasonable Price

This is a tough one. There are many potentially great RV generators out there that we’d recommend, including some highly value-oriented models that are likely to appeal to shoppers on a budget. But the point of this entire exercise was to point you to the “best RV generator” on the market, so we had to relax our bargain-hunting instincts (somewhat) in order to get all of our wish list features in one model. On the other hand, you will notice that we have also steered clear of the most expensive manufacturers too (cough, cough Honda), as we don’t think you need to spend quite that much on a generator either.

And the Conclusion….

So what’s the verdict? The best RV generator for 2014 based on all of the qualities mentioned above is….

Yamaha EF2400iSHC: Best RV Generator

The Yamaha EF2400iSHC Portable Inverter Generator

Why? The Yamaha in our view meets all of the above criteria in spades and brings a level of quality and reliability that is unmatched in its price class. But don’t take our word for this!! For more information about this model, read our detailed review of the EF24000iSHC or feel free to shop for other options among our featured inverter generators.

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One Comment

  1. Ross says:

    I am planning to purchase a 23 foot Airstream trailer. Sometimes we like to camp remote. I am searching for a moderate cost generator that is quiet, max power is not important…but the generator will be transported in either the SUV towing the trailer – or stored during travel in the trailer. Most important is no gas smells due to transport in either vehicle. Do you have a recommended solution?

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