Finding the right size generator for your 50 Amp RV can be tricky, especially for beginners. If you’re scratching your head at this point and wondering which generator will give you the most power, you’re not alone.
We’ll help you determine what size generator you need to power your 50-amp RV and all the appliances in it. Once you figure out how much amperage you need for your electricity needs and what it means to get a generator that suits your RV, you’ll have the tools to pick one out yourself.
We’ll start by breaking down what a 50 amp RV is, and then cover the different RV-ready generators on the market.
What Does 50 Amp Mean?
A 50 amp RV has four wires. In North American RVs, you’ll find 120V wires, a single ground wire, and one neutral wire. Other common RVs, such as a 30-amp RV, have lower amperage and a distinct plug layout, though 30-amp RVs have the same wires as a 50-amp. The only difference is that they have one less 120V wire.
If you don’t have a background in electrical engineering, you might find all these wires and amperages confusing. One of the most straightforward ways to calculate power delivery is with this formula:
Wattage = Amperage * Voltage
For example, the wattage of a 50-amp service is: 50A x 120V x 2 = 12,000 watts.
A 30-amp service would be 30A x 120V = 3,600 watts.
These calculations are the most technical part of finding your new generator. Knowing them will make the information below easier to understand, and it will reduce the likelihood of you purchasing a generator with too little power for your RV.
What’s the Difference Between a 30 Amp and 50 Amp Service?
RV plugs differ in size and power capacity. Your standard 30-amp outlet has three prongs made for RVs that have smaller loads and require less power. The 50-amp outlet contains four prongs and works for RVs with larger loads.
Another key difference is the power capacity. Above, we mention that a 30-amp service has a maximum of 3,600 watts, where a 50-amp service can provide up to 12,000 watts. The one you get will depend on your RV, and they’re not always interchangeable.
Can I Connect My 50-amp RV Into a 30-amp?
The short answer is yes. You cannot directly plug a 50-amp RV into a 30-amp power source, but you can if you have the right adapter. With that in mind, you still won’t have maximum power for your 50-amp RV if you use a 30-amp power source.
Above, we mentioned that a 30-amp service has a running wattage of 3,600 watts, and your 50-amp RV has a total of 12,000 watts. We aren’t mathematicians, but even we know 3,600 watts is not nearly enough to fulfill a 12,000-watt vehicle’s needs.
Hooking your 50-amp RV to a 30-amp service with an adapter will work, but you’ll have less power. That might mean that you can’t keep all your appliances running at once, or you can’t have too many lights on when it gets dark.
Instead, you’ll have to run only the appliances you need when you need them. Alternating your appliance use is the best way to ensure that you still have a pleasant experience with your limited power supply.
What Size Generator For 50 Amp RV Is Best?
Now that you know the power capacity you need to run your 50-amp RV, you may be rushing to get your hands on a 12,000-watt generator. However, you have other options.
Remember, the more power you purchase, the more expensive and bulky your generator will be. To save you time and energy, start by calculating how many necessary appliances you have in your RV. Then see what kind of power capacity you’ll need to power them all safely.
Here are some examples of common RV appliances and the amount of power they require:
|Grill or stove||1,650|
These are just examples, so you should check your own appliances to find out their exact power requirements. More high-tech coffee machines, for example, will need more wattage than your basic brewer.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Generator for Your 50-amp RV
Now that you know how much power you’ll need to stay comfortable in your RV, here are a few other things to consider when choosing a new generator.
Is Your Generator RV-Friendly?
If you’ve been in the market to buy a new generator, you may have come across the term “RV-friendly.” A few different aspects make a generator RV-friendly, but the two main ones are the outlets and noise level.
You don’t want to be the noisy neighbor in the RV park or disturb the local wildlife. You can find plenty of quieter RV-friendly generators, but make sure you check the label to ensure it’s compatible with your RV.
The whole point of getting a portable RV generator is to take it on trips. You don’t want a heavy-duty inverter generator that weighs over 100 pounds.
You can get plenty of powerful generators that weigh less than 90 pounds, so you can carry them without the backache. For heavier generators, look to see whether the manufacturer installed handles or wheels to make them more portable.
While there are some compact power sources with a ton of juice on the market, they can do a lot of damage to your wallet.
With that in mind, don’t opt for the cheapest one, as it may not last you through the night. Calculate your budget and try to find a suitable generator in your price range.
Does your generator take propane, diesel, or gas? Choosing a convenient fuel type will make your camping trips much more comfortable.
Remember that all RVs have different power needs. You’ll need to do your research about your specific vehicle so that your generator meets your 50-amp RV’s requirements.
If you’re still stuck, reach out to your RV manufacturer for information about different generators and other RV accessories. They can tell you which power sources are compatible with your vehicle, so you don’t waste your money on the wrong generator.