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Portable generators

by Tom Jones

Portable generators are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to provide 110V AC power to an RV that does not have a built-in generator. The following was compiled from a combination of reports by RV Forum members and personal experience.

When deciding which generator to buy, some of the issues that have to be considered are:

  • Electrical capacity, or how many watts will it need to produce to supply your needs? What do you plan to run off generator power? Note that generators usually have two ratings, peak and continuous; The peak rating is good for only a very short period (maybe 5 minutes). So, when figuring out which size you need, consider the continuous rating. Consider the possibility of managing the loads; By turning something off before turning something else on you might be able to get by with a smaller generator.
  • Physical size and weight of the generator. Will it be mounted on the RV or hauled in and out of a truck bed? You'll soon get tired of lifting a heavy generator.
  • Can the generator be mounted on the tongue of a trailer or carried in a cargo carrier on the rear of a trailer or motorhome?
  • Can two or more generators be parallelled to give a higher capacity? Some Honda generators can be connected in parallel with the purchase of a parallel kit. Two smaller generators are also easier to lift and carry than a single larger one.
  • Noise produced by the engine running the generator. Too much noise will upset your neighbors in addition to ruining you own peace and quiet. Honda has long held the reputation of making the quietest generator.
  • There are a number of reputable generator manufacturers out there, including Honda, Yamaha, Coleman and Generac.