You need a dependable generator for your RV if you want to have enough juice to power all of your appliances. However, finding the right generator for your RV can overwhelm you in the face of all the available options and creative sales tactics.
You will need a generator anytime you don’t have a direct local power source, so consider how much power your 30-amp RV will use. That way, you can enjoy homey amenities on your vacation, like a fresh cup of coffee in the morning and a cold-blowing air conditioner. If your generator doesn’t have enough juice, you’ll find yourself powerless (literally) and struggling to stay comfortable.
To help you determine the right generator for your 30-amp RV, look out for these things when choosing your next RV-ready generator.
What Does 30 Amp Mean?
A 30-amp service has three wires. In your standard RV, you’ll see a 120-volt, a neutral wire, and one ground wire. When it comes to power, a 30-amp service can provide up to 3,600 watts.
30-amp generators have a much lower amperage than a 50-amp service, making them more suitable for RVs with lower power requirements.
Most standard North American RVs are 30-amp. If you have a larger RV, you might want to bring adapters with you. However, if you use a 30-amp power source for your 50-amp RV, you will find yourself with limited power on your trip.
How Much Power Do You Really Need?
Almost all North American RVs have around 13,500BTU AC units, so you will have no issues powering your vehicle with 3500 watts. With that in mind, 3500 watts is the bare minimum you’ll need to keep your air conditioner running and a few lights on.
If you plan to use most of your appliances, you might need some extra juice. Here’s a quick breakdown of how much power you’ll use to power some common RV appliances while they run:
- Coffee Machine – 600 watts
- Mini Refrigerator – 180 watts
- Electric Grill – 1,650 watts
- Laptop – 250 watts
With this in mind, you should have no issues powering your RV with a 3,000-watt generator. Anything with more power will make traveling and transporting your generator a challenge. If you’re still concerned you won’t have enough power, try starting one appliance at a time to test how far your power source will go.
Keep in mind that the figures above are rough estimates, and different brands will have different power supply needs. To find out exactly how much power you need, make a list of all your appliances and their total wattage. That way, you can buy an inverter generator with the appropriate amount of power.
Other Factors to Consider
Now that you know the amount of wattage you’ll need and want to get your hands on a new generator, you have a few more things to consider before you buy. When you’re out looking, remember these last few components to find the right generator for your RV.
If this isn’t your first portable generator, you know how loud they can be. You must test the noise level before buying your new power supply. Knowing the noise level won’t just help you sleep better at night, but it will also keep your neighbors from giving you dirty looks.
The average human conversation has a noise level of around 60dBA. The sweet spot for a generator is anywhere between 55dBA to 75dBA. Unless you’re trying to scare bears away or create a reputation the annoying campground neighbor, always opt for a generator with a lower noise level.
A heavy generator isn’t portable unless it has wheels and handles. Adding more weight will also make your RV burn more fuel, which ultimately costs you more money.
The average portable generator weighs anything from 70 to 90 pounds, and you don’t want to lug that around on your next camping trip. More powerful generators, such as 4000-watt inverters, can weigh up to 125 pounds.
One of the best strategies when you need a lot of power is to buy two smaller generators and run them in parallel. Buying two small generators means you can carry them more easily, and you won’t have to worry about weighing down your RV.
Everyone wants to cut fuel costs, but many people overlook fuel consumption when purchasing a new generator. You need a generator that burns fuel efficiently and won’t break the bank.
The three most common types of fuel for generators are:
You should know before you buy which type of fuel is most compatible with your RV, and you may want to match the fuel type with the kind your RV uses. That way, you don’t have to worry about buying different types whenever you need it. For example, an RV that takes diesel fuel may work better with a diesel-powered generator.
The best propane generators have a longer shelf life and are more eco-friendly than those that use gas or diesel. The only issue with propane is that you may find you have limited refuel options.
You can source dual-fuel generators, and these are a real score. They are the most fuel-efficient, cost-effective, and provide more power. They can be pricey, but you’ll save money in the long run when you don’t need to refuel as often.
The best thing you can do is find a fuel type that best matches your vehicle and lifestyle. If you’re uncertain, ask your RV manufacturer which generator works best with yours.
What Size Generator For 30 Amp RV: Summary
When it comes to RV generators, you have plenty of options and a lot to consider. Remember, always look at every detail before making a purchase.
If you have questions about what kind of generator to buy, we strongly recommend reaching out to your manufacturer and asking what generators are compatible with your vehicle. Using the wrong generator can ruin your RV experience, but you can avoid mishaps by doing your research.
After you find the right generator, you can enjoy all the fantastic appliances in your RV, no matter how far off the grid you go.