Camping generators are useful in a variety of outdoor situations, from powering all your outdoor lighting to temperature cooling/heating systems in your tent or RV or charging up your gadgets. Regardless of how you want to use them, shopping for a camping generator can be difficult. Here I’ve gone through narrowing down the best camping generator options available on the market.
Now let’s take a close look at what features you should be looking for in an ideal generator for your next camping trip.
5 Things to look for when buying the Best Camping Generator
Generator Type (AC/DC):
The first thing that you should think about is the generator type. Sensitive electronics like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and iPods require steady power because they can be damaged by unstable power. Therefore, you need an inverter generator; otherwise, you can go for conventional generators as well.
Having your generator break down can cause a significant headache when you’re out and about. Look out for the sturdiest ones that should be robust enough to withstand a few knocks. Metal frames and high-quality plastics are materials that make a model durable.
The type of fuel a generator uses determines how long it runs based upon consumption.
- Gasoline is the most common fuel, probably because it is readily available at gas stations, but it is not the most efficient.
- Generators using diesel fuel are the most fuel-efficient. They are more powerful and will burn fewer gallons of fuel per given time.
- A propane generator delivers clean power for all your sensitive electronics. A unit with 2000watts can run on 1.18 gallons of fuel on a 50% load for a smooth 6 hrs.
- Battery-powered generators are the most portable and have the advantage of recharging through solar panels. They operate smoothly and silently, with zero emissions.
You can also select dual-fuel generators as they add versatility. When one fuel source runs out, you can add another to keep running your generator.
Before selecting a camping generator on your own, you need to consider the total amount of energy you want. There are two power measurements – starting wattage and running wattage. The majority of your requirements can be fulfilled using a 1000-1500 watt generator for a short camping trip, but if you’ve got multiple tiny appliances to power or have an RV, then get yourself a 2000-3000-watt generator which will provide enough electricity for the whole camping excursion.
The size of the fuel tank will determine how long you can go between refueling. Most compact generators give a run time of around 6 to 8 hours at 50% load. Depending on what you’re running, this may last longer.
Run-time is when they will run for on 25 – 50% load with a full fuel tank. This means you will have to calculate the number of hours you will run your generator during your trip, and how many days are you planning to stay there, then buy one with a sufficiently large fuel tank to meet all your requirements.
Fuel efficiency is another aspect that you have to look out for. The top camping generators, in this case, are those that can adjust their engine speed according to the applied load. When you only have light appliances connected, the engine automatically lowers the rate, resulting in minimum fuel consumption.
An ideal portable generator for camping out should hum along at a gentle 45dB to 60dB. For comparison, the average human conversation is measured at 60dB. Keep in mind that noise levels also depend on the distance between the generator and your camp.
Don’t like a recoil pull cord to get your generator going? Don’t worry. Electric starts with push buttons that can improve the overall convenience of using a camping generator. Many of the top brands are offering the feature. Keep an eye out for this feature over the pull rope to save your arms the hassle.
Most portable generators are fitted with two standard outlets; a 120 volt 20 amp plug and a 120/240 volt 30 amp plug. Pay close attention to the amps and volts needed for the connected devices. Don’t connect devices that go over the mentioned volts and amps.
You should be able to single-handedly load up your portable generator into the back of your truck, without injuring your back, of course. While most of the larger portable generators come with wheel kits and handles to enhance maneuverability.
Ideally, the weight should be in the range of 20 – 25kgs: the heavier the unit, the more effort required to move it around.
The warranty period can differ from one manufacturer to another and can range from one to four years or more.
Some new generators feature a built-in sensor that triggers an automatic shutoff if the gas builds up to dangerous levels in an enclosed space due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
CARB-compliant generators produce less harmful emissions, toxins, and particulates that are exposed to the atmosphere. It also results in a cleaner and safer air quality.
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) in conventional generators should generally be in the range of 9–10%.
This capability allows two inverter generators of the same model to have their outputs connected together to double the power delivery. A specific ‘Y’ electrical wiring connection makes this possible, which is a separate purchase.
Included items add value to the money spent. Before you buy your generator, consider the included objects such as transfer switches for the safety of your circuits. Check if it comes with a long extension cord, wheels, movability, handle, etc.
Below mentioned is the list of 10 best portable camping generators I have selected for you, so you can decide which one is perfect according to your individual needs.
Honda EU2200i, a 2200-Watt, 120-Volt, super quiet portable inverter generator, operates at 48 to 57 decibels, which is less noise than a normal conversation. This makes it ideal for camping or supplemental RV power to provide a peaceful and comfortable camping experience. You can add a second EU2200i for additional strength, two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 4400 watts of power, or time-consuming applications.
Thanks to their exclusive Eco-Throttle System, the EU2200i offers excellent fuel efficiency. Runs 4.0 to 9.6 hours on a single tank, depending on the load. This makes it the ideal choice for overnight power for camping. Honda’s inverter technology means stable, clean energy in a smaller, lighter package. The precision of its inverter technology ensures that these generators produce power that is as reliable as the power you get from your outlets at home.
- Very low sound levels
- Could run for 9.6 hours directly on a single tank.
- Added 200 watts of electricity
- The plug the 30amp service requires an adapter to use it using the RV coast line cable.
- It doesn’t own a gasoline cut-off switch.
2. WEN 56200i
This is one of the very best portable generators for RV camping in the marketplace these days. It prevents voltage drops and while providing 2000 watts of electricity. It’s a secure generator that produces clean power for charging important gadgets such as laptops, mobile phones, tablet computers, and other valuable gadgets. Noise generated in the generator is very low, operates at 53 decibels. Dimensions are 18″ x 11″ x 18″ and weight is 50 lbs. It includes a regular electrical receptacle, one 12V DC receptacle, and one 5V USB port. You can charge your USB-powered devices directly through them.
- EPA III and CARB Compliant
- 1-gallon fuel capacity
- Oil has to be transformed in every 25 hours.
- Durability is a problem for many consumers.
The Generac GP2200i is all power and no-frills. 2200 starting watts and 1600 running watts, this camping generator can cover most of your power needs. The 1.2-gallon fuel tank allows for over 7 hours of run time at 50% load and over 10 hours at 25% load. An economy mode allows the engine to adjust its speed to match the electrical output, providing excellent fuel economy and noise reduction.
A cost-effective solution for recreational use, the GP2200i, is the perfect size for tailgating, camping, and power on the go. Easy to start with a built-in handle makes it easy to transport. Weighs a bit over 46 pounds with a compact enclosed design.
It produces a clean, stable power ideal for sensitive electronics, tools, and appliances. It’s also parallel capable, easily connect two of these through a parallel kit for double the power. The Generac GP2200i may not have all the bells and whistles many generator companies incorporate into their newer models. That doesn’t mean that it’s any less reliable; it just means that it is designed for one thing and one thing only, to produce power.
- Integrated On/Off Knob
- Incorporated LED indicators for alerting the user when the unit is ready to use, overloaded, or low on oil.
- Operates quietly
- Lacks fuel gauge
- Ethanol gas gums up the carburetor in case it stays in the machine for an extended period.
- Consumers have reported having problems with conducting two units in parallel.
This high-quality portable generator produces reliable power for quite a few applications. Being among those quietest generator for camping, the iGen2200 delivers excellent power where required. It may run in parallel with a different unit working with the Westinghouse Parallel Cord. This camping generator may operate for a lengthy time to match your electricity back up demands economically, one of the best generators for RV camping. As Low as 52 DBA Noise Output and 12 Hour Run Time on a 1. 2 Gallon Gas Tank. Also features an “Economy Mode” for Maximum Fuel Efficiency.
- EPA, USFS, and CARB Compliant
- 3-Year customer service
- User friendly
- Not as durable as other ones
- Poor customer service
The Champion Power Equipment 100263 makes an excellent choice for camp, boat, and RV. Its dual-fuel option with its easy selector switch means that it can run on gas and propane, which may come in handy. Rated at a maximum of 3400 starting watts and 3100 running watts.
This inverter generator can power a variety of appliances, enough power to run a 15,000 BTU air-conditioner. Produces clean and stable energy safe to use with delicate devices and electronics such as digital cameras, smartphones, and laptops.
This dual fuel generator can run over 7 hours on its 1.6-gallon gas tank, and up to 14 hours on a 20lb tank of propane, at quarter load. Produces just 59 decibels of noise when in a quarter load operation, it’s quiet and fuel-efficient.
- Electric start button
- Economy mode
- More massive than others (97 pounds)
- Needs to be tilted in low angle to use the wheels
- Weak carrying handles, according to some reviewers.
The Champion 3100 is a popular choice because of its price point. Usually priced at about 50% compared to Honda or Yamaha, this makes it the most economical unit. This generator set also should be considered because it is super easy to transport. It looks sleek, but it is light-weight, and the built-in wheels and handle make moving the generator a breeze. It only weighs 80 lbs., which is more than Honda or Yamaha, but the wheels make for easier maneuverability during transport. It is relatively quiet, only about 5 or 6 decibels louder than the other two. Lastly, the Champion offers a 2-year warranty.
- User-friendly (quick touch panel)
- State of the art economy inverter technology mode
- Less run-time
SUAOKI S270 is not only the most compact power station in the market but also features as many output ports as possible. Think of it, the size of two coffee mugs hold 150wh capacity and 10 various outlet ports. How convenient will be when you carry this 2.90-pound portable generator for outdoor activities or camping, 2 hide-able handles make it even more portable. With dimensions of 7.3 x 4.3 x 4.7 inches, although it’s not going to replace a small generator for higher-current power production needs (like an air conditioner or microwave), I found it’s more than capable of generating enough electricity for most of my gadgets and small appliances.
SUAOKI brand seller offers 7*24 friendly customer service, 30 days money-back guarantee, 24 months warranty, and lifetime support.
- Well-constructed, compact and sturdy
- Relatively small and light-weight
- Green, non-polluting energy
- Integrated flashlight
- Not ideal for large appliances
- Limited Information on the display
- Doesn’t show the estimated time remaining
Powerful and versatile, the Champion 3800-watt dual fuel portable generator pumps out an enormous 4,750 watts at starting and 3,800 running watts. Powered by the reliable Champion 224cc engine, and fuelled with either Gas or Propane, it can run up to 9 hours at 50% load with a noise level of 68 decibels.
It is an RV Ready, dual fuel, touch start device with its cold start technology. It has a built-in Volt Guard surge protector to prevent overloads and protect sensitive devices from voltage spikes and power surges.
- User friendly
- Powerful and reliable
- VoltGuard surge protector
- CARB compliant in 50 states
- Not so quiet as compared to others
Yamaha is one of the leading manufacturers of heavy-duty electrical devices. This particular model produces 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts. It’s also quiet, with only 51 dB of noise when running on a quarter of the full capacity. Furthermore, Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is exceptionally eco-friendly. The machine’s “Smart Throttle” varies engine speed based on the current load, which improves fuel economy and reduces noise levels. It’s also CARB-compliant, which means it can be used in California with strict restrictions against small power equipment engines.
With dimensions of 19.3 x 11 x 17.9 inches, it’s lighter than most of its counterparts, with 44 pounds or 20 kilograms. It has a bigger fuel capacity (1.1 gallons or 4.1 liters) and produces extremely clean electricity with deviations smaller than 1%. Yamaha EF2000iSv2 has two 120V AC outlets and one 12V DC outlet for charging batteries. It is on a pricier side, but the money is well worth it. This unit can also be run in parallel with another group to produce even more power.
- Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control
- Generator cover included
- Very costly.
- Sometimes delayed customer service
10. Honda EU3000iS
The Honda EU3000iS is one of the most oft-reviewed (and most highly praised) models on the market. Although it is not that easy to carry, this generator is perfect to use as an additional power source. It is reliable, compact, and efficient. The eco-friendly Honda EU3000iS may be more expensive than other models that are seemingly comparable. However, noise reduction, reliability, and power ultimately make up for the price. It produces not only 3,000 watts of surge power but 2,800 watts of continuous power as well.
It packs a GX200 engine that is quieter than one would expect. The inverter technology safely charges electronic equipment such as laptops, tablets, and phones. If you are looking for an environmentally-friendly and powerful generator, the HondaEU3000iS is a perfect choice. The price tag attached to it suggests that the model is of the highest quality, which is 100% true.
- Electric Start
- Extremely Quiet (only 58 decibels)
- Top-Notch Fuel Efficiency
- Advanced Inverter Technology
- Parallel capacity
- 3 Year Warranty
- No remote starter
- Heavier than other models
- No USB outlets
Although each of the generators mentioned above is worth their price and are known for their quality and durability but still if I need to choose any one amongst them, then my choice would be Champion 3100-Watt portable generator mainly because of its well-known quality, user-friendly outlook, less noise and an excellent price tag as compared to other on.