9 Best (Top Rated) Generators for Travel Trailers in 2019

Keen to discover which are the top-rated generators for travel trailers in 2019?

As fun as it may be to hit the road and spend time in the great outdoors, there are some modern-day conveniences that we simply cannot do without. Electricity is probably the leading one. A generator is the most efficient way to generate electricity when you’re away from home and camping. So which generator should you buy? How do you know which one is the best one? What are the steps you should take to decide the right model for you?

Don’t worry we’re going to answer all these questions. Our trusty guide will navigate you through the murky waters of choosing the right generator for your travel trailer.

7 Key Components to a Travel Trailer Generator

Generators are made up essentially of nine key parts. These are the engine, the fuel system, the lubrication system, control panel, battery charger, alternator, voltage regulator and the cooling and exhaust systems. It is vital to know each of the parts of a generator and subsequently how each part works.

  • Engine – Undoubtedly the engine is the most crucial part of a generator. It is the heart of the machine. It is the one that provides the energy to run and operate the generator. It is the engine power which determines the generator’s capacity. Therefore, when you hear terms like 2000W, these terms are referring to the amount of power the engine is capable of generating.
  • Alternator – Without an alternator, the generator will not be able to provide the electrical energy needed to power your appliances. The engine churns out mechanic energy, and this energy is then converted to electrical energy by the alternator. Your appliances cannot use mechanical energy as they will get damaged. Therefore, the alternator is the link or the bridge if you will between the engine power and your devices.
  • Fuel System – The majority of generators run on one of three kinds of fuel: gasoline, diesel or propane. Without fuel, the generator won’t even start. The engine requires this fuel to create mechanical energy which is then converted by the alternator into electrical energy. Whenever fuel is involved, you need to be very careful with both its storage and use. Ensure that your generator’s fuel system is in tip-top shape prior to any travels and that you have a Jerry can to store your fuel safely.
  • Cooling and Exhaust Systems – Whenever fuel is burnt, there is heat energy created. This heat needs to be properly disbursed. All the moving parts in the generator also need to be regulated and kept cool. This is where the cooling and exhaust systems come into play. The exhaust systems aid in eliminating any fumes created. Generators should never be used inside the travel trailer because of these dangerous fumes. Always ensure that you operate the generator in a well-ventilated area.
  • Lubrication System – The moving mechanical parts that make up the generator all need to be sufficiently lubricated to ensure a smooth and efficient operation. The longer the generator is on, the harder the wear-and-tear on these parts. Give these moving parts regular lubrication to prevent excessive wear.
  • Control Panel  – The control panel is as its name suggests the panel responsible for controlling the generator’s operations. The control panel is made up of other units such as the Engine Control Unit which is the unit that controls all mechanisms linked to the generator’s engine.
  • Voltage Regulator – Have you ever noticed that when voltage is spoken of, you usually hear terms like 220V and AC/DC? Do you know what these terms mean? The electrical energy made by the alternator needs to be regulated so that it doesn’t destroy sensitive devices such as laptop internal circuits and phone circuits. This regulator also changes Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC). Most gadgets do not use AC hence the need for a voltage regulator which changes AC to DC.
Each of these parts plays a vital role in the efficient working of the generator. The functioning of each part ensures smooth operation and output from the machine.

6 Key Considerations When Buying a Travel Trailer Generator

Buying a generator for a travel trailer can be cumbersome if you don’t know what to look for. If you do know, it makes the task a whole lot easier and less daunting. Here are six elements we believe everyone on the hunt for a travel trailer generator should consider prior to making a purchase.

  • The Power Issue – How much power do you need? This will determine the power output you should look for in a generator. And what exactly do we mean by power output? We mean the total amount of power that the generator can produce. And just how much power will you use on a daily basis? Here’s where you’re going to have to employ a little Mathematics by looking at the electrical labels on all the appliances you intend to run on your generator and adding them up. The number you get will give you an estimated figure of what power you’ll need from your generator.
  • The Engine – As we have seen, the engine of a generator is the heart and soul of the machine because this is where the magic happens – fuel is burnt and converted to mechanical energy. Because you’ll be out on the road, having a solid engine is non-negotiable. Who wants to replace a generator engine after every road trip? We recommend getting brand-name generators with trusted engines by companies that have been in the business for a long time – WEN, Honda, DuroStar. You can’t go wrong with these powerful motors.
  • Diesel or Gasoline? Generators run on two main kinds of fuel: diesel or gasoline. Diesel generators run on diesel and gasoline generators run on gasoline. Never mix up the fuels! It could be fatal. The second biggest difference is the issue of power. Diesel generators tend to have a minimum power output of 8KW and below, while the maximum power output of a gasoline generator is just over 10KW. Thirdly, the type of ignition is different. Gasoline generators have a spark plug which ignites the fuel and air leading to combustion. In a diesel generator, the fuel and air is burnt by heat-formed through compression. Additionally, gasoline generators tend to be lighter and easier to handle making them preferable options for mobile energy requirements. Diesel generators are generally used in industrial situations while petrol generators are ideal for travel trailers and home use.
  • The Overall Weight – Many people overlook this point when buying a generator and are often surprised when they’ve paid for the generator and are leaving the shop! You realize that you’ve just bought quite a heavy piece of equipment that you’re now going to have to lug around with you whenever you go camping. When stationary a heavy generator isn’t much of a problem, but when moving around in a travel trailer, this can become a complex issue. If you don’t intend on hauling it in and out of your trailer consider purchasing a generator with a fitted wheel kit. Also, buy a generator with an open frame as the bars can become carry handles for convenient movement.
  • Maximum Running Time – A lot of people look at the size of the fuel tank and think that determines the maximum running time of the generator. A generator with a small tank but sizeable power output will more likely have a higher maximum running time than a generator with a large fuel tank but lower power output. Take time to browse through different generators and compare their maximum running times and not simply their fuel tanks in order to get a comprehensive overview of their abilities. When you’re out in the woods and far away from a gas station, you’ll appreciate a generator with a longer running time over a generator with a big fuel tank.
  • The Number and Type of Sockets – Granted you might not require as many sockets when you’re out in the wilderness compared to if you were at home. However, this does not mean you should overlook this point. Opt for a generator that affords you a variety of sockets to meet your needs. Ensure you know exactly what you intend to plugin so you have a realistic outlook when looking at the number and type of sockets you’ll need.

Armed with these considerations, it should be easier for you to understand the generator recommendations we have highlighted in this review.

These are the best generators of 2019, rated on their performance, power outage, value for money, and overall ease-of-use with travel trailers.

Overall Best Travel Trailer Generator in 2019

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start

Key Features

  • Operates on both propane and gasoline
  • Convenient Electric Starter to turn the generator on
  • Quick Touch Panel for a centralized control

Overall Best Travel Trailer Generator – The Champion Support lives up to its name. It is a dynamic dual fuel generator for travel trailers. Run out of propane? No worries, switch over to gasoline. Despite its compact nature, this generator is capable of churning out 3400W of power. This generator is robust enough to power quite a broad range of appliances.

A one-touch Electric Start option makes turning the generator on a stress-free affair. The ultra-silent nature of the Champion makes it the perfect companion for tailgating and camping in crowded environs. Enjoy up to 7.5 hours of running time.

Pros:

  • Low noise output of 59 dBA
  • A frequency of 60 Hz
  • 3400W ideal power output for the average RV

Cons:

  • It’s a compact generator but still quite heavy at 95.7 pounds

WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant

Key Features 

  • Lightweight model – 48 pounds
  • Eco-friendly generator
  • Powered by gasoline

Best (Quiet) Travel Trailer Generator – Your camping neighbors will love you for this generator model. The WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is one of the quietest generators on the market today. Boasting a 4-stroke OHV engine, that produces 2000 surge watts, it makes the perfect generator for use in campgrounds, tailgating parties, and when operating at construction sites.

The WEN boasts two three-prong 120V sockets, a single 12V DC socket, and one 5V USB port providing you with different plugin options. Operate appliances with sensitive electronic parts such as smartphones, smart TVs and tablets without fear of them getting damaged.

Pros:

  • Compact model measuring 18 x 11 x 18 inches
  • Offers parallel connection ports
  • Low-oil shutdown
  • Overload protection

Cons:

  • Doesn’t feature a dual-fuel option

DuroStar DS4000S, 3300 Running Watts/4000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Generator

Key Features

  • Robust 7 HP engine with a low-oil automatic shutoff system
  • Offers 4,000 starting Watts and 3,300 running Watts
  • Meets EPA and CARB regulations

Best Budget-Friendly Travel Trailer Generator (Under) – If you’re looking for a powerful and dynamic workhorse of a machine then look no further than the DuroStar Portable Generator. Capable of generating and running 3,300 watts, this generator will be able to comfortably power most appliances in your RV.

Connect a range of appliances thanks to the diverse power panel which includes 2 x 120V household sockets, 1 x 120V 30A twist-lock outlet. This generator boasts EPA and CARB approval making it an eco-friendly generator approved across all 50 states of the United States.

Pros:

  • Power panel with multi-sockets for maximum compatibility
  • Carries a 4-gallon fuel tank and is powered by gasoline
  • 8-hour run time at ½ load

Cons:

  • Heavy generator weighing 94 pounds
  • Large unit measuring 24 x 17 x 17 inches

6 More Top Rated Travel Generator

Because there are so many generators in the market, we decided to throw in six more of our favorite options to give you extras to consider.

Champion 3500-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator

The Champion 3500W Portable Generator boasts a 3.8-gallon gas tank. It’s designed with safety in mind and for this reason, features a low-oil shut-off sensor. With an impressive starting power of 4000W and a running output of 3500W delight in up to 12 hours of continuous run time. Your neighbors won’t be complaining about a generator with a maximum noise level of 68 dBA. Connect several appliances at once thanks to the 120V 30A locking outlet, 120V 30A outlet, and the 120V 20A household socket. The integrated volt guard also protects your devices from power surges and overloads.

Pulsar 4,000W Portable Gas-Powered Quiet Inverter Generator with Remote Start & Parallel Capability, CARB Compliant, PG4000iSR

This Pulsar 4,000W Quiet Inverter Generator has the right features: wireless remote start, ultra-quiet operation 63db, compact streamlined design, and WAVE Technology which generates safe electrical DC power. Enjoy 15-hours of run time on a half load 3.4-gallon fuel tank. Total running power is 3500W.

Westinghouse WH2200ixlt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator – 1800 Rated Watts and 2200 Peak Watts – Gas Powered – CARB Compliant

Generators can be both lightweight and powerful as evidenced by the Westinghouse WH2200iXLT Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator which weighs only 43 lbs. while churning out 2200W at peak operation. Additionally, this generator is favored for its quiet nature featuring a noise output of 52 dBA. Run appliances for up to 13 hours effortlessly on a 1.3-gallon gas tank.

Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Super Quiet Gas Power Portable Inverter Generator

A generator by a reputable brand – the Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Super Quiet Gas Power Portable Inverter Generator has earned its name operating at noise levels of between 48 and 57 dBA. What’s neat about this model is that it can be paired up with another similar model to push up the power. This model is fuel efficient thanks to the Eco-Throttle System. Capable of running up to 9.6 hours on a solo tank this Honda inverter is definitely good value for money.

Firman P03601 4550/3650 Watt Recoil Start Gas Portable Generator cETL Certified

The Firman Watt Recoil Start Gas Portable Generator is as solid as generators for travel trailers come. Providing a steady 3650 running watt power and 14 hours run time on a 5-gallon tank, this Firman is an all-around winner. The innovative reliable recoil start, volt Lock automatic voltage regulator, and Power Stream alternator all play a key role in making it a worthy consideration for travel trailers.

Atima Small & Quiet Portable Inverter Generator, Gas Powered Yamaha Engine for RV Camping or Home Use (3000Watts)

Yamaha is a leading name in this industry and their Atima Small Gas Powered Generator does not disappoint. Their dynamic engine capable of churning out 3000W is well able to power your air conditioner, fridge, TV, and other travel trailer amenities. Parallel ready outlets make life convenient without overloading the system. This Yamaha Generator also features an ergonomic and streamlined design. It is, however, on the heavy side, weighing 100 pounds.

Our 2019 Travel Trailer Generator Buying Guide

Buying a travel trailer generator can be a daunting task if you’re not sure what exactly to look out for. Fortunately, we’ve taken the hassles out of choosing a generator. Here is 2019’s ultimate travel trailer generator buying guide.

  • Consider the Power Outage – Determining the power output is a matter of calculating the power used by each of the devices you intend on connecting. The power usage of each device is usually written on the back of the product. Therefore, a laptop will use on average 250W, LED light bulbs 10W, trailer fridge 600W, and so forth. Add all of these amounts and see how much power you will need on a daily basis. This will give you a good idea of what power output to look for in a generator. Bonus tip: Add an extra 500-1000W to the figure you obtained.

If you’re too lazy to read every label on the back of your appliances, here are some rough figures to give you an idea:

DEVICEAVERAGE STARTING WATTS (W)AVERAGE RUNNING WATTS (W)
Fridge600180
Slow cooker170-270170-270
Electric grill17001700
Coffee maker600600
Portable fan12040
Hairdryer19001800
Radiant heater13001300
Laptop250250
Small TV120-200120-200
DVD Player350350
Radio50-20050-200
  • Consider the Noise Output – Unless you plan on camping out in the middle of nowhere where no one else can hear you, the noise output of your generator is definitely something you need to consider seriously. Fellow campers will not appreciate having you pull up and start up a noisy generator that disturbs the calm and peace of the area.  Portable inverter generators are the preferred option as they are reputed for their quiet functioning. Their noise output is around 50-65 dBA. If you’re not sure how loud this is, here are relative noise levels of regular household items to compare.
APPLIANCENOISE LEVEL
Hairdryer80 dBA
Air conditioner60 dBA
Vacuum cleaner70 dBA
  • Consider the Generator Weight – Generators can be heavy. The bigger the generator, the heavier it is bound to be. The majority of 3000-6500W generators come with a wheel kit however, with or without a wheel kit; they will still present a challenge getting them into your trailer or out. If you don’t want the trouble of dealing with a heavy generator, consider opting for generators with lower power output but are lighter and when two similar models are hooked together will give you the power outage of the larger model. So for example, purchase two-lightweight 2000W generators which each weigh less than 50 pounds. You’ll be doing more for your back than if you purchased one heavy 4000W generator.
  • Brand Name Generators – The market is flooded with generators of all sizes, fuel capacities, and names. However, if you’re looking to buy a generator that will be a long-term investment we consider buying a brand name model. Trusted brands include Honda, Yamaha, and WEN. Not only do these models offer peace of mind, but you’ll be able to find spare parts if you need to replace them easily. You can trust that the engine is a solid piece of equipment that should last you a couple of years (depending on use) without giving you any problems.
  • Compare Reviews Online – Now that you have the basics of what to look for when purchasing a generator it’s time to go shopping online to see what’s out on the market. Our recommendations are a great place to start your search. Write out at least five models that you think could be potential candidates for your travel trailer. Read more reviews and join forums that have to do with buying travel trailer generators. Ask people their personal opinions about the generators you have listed out. The best way to really find out the efficiency of a product is to ask a consumer who has bought and used the product. Once you’re happy with the responses, it’s time to go out and buy your own generator!

FAQ

  • What size generator do I need for my travel trailer? Determining the size of generator you need for your travel trailer isn’t as difficult a task as most people think. All you have to do is write out all the appliances you have in your trailer that you intend to power up using the generator and their respective power usage. To find the power usage of each of these appliances, just take a look at the label on the back of each device. Tabulate and add up the power and this will give you a rough idea of what size generator to buy. If you’re still unsure, take these figures to your local depot and get help figuring out the generator size. For the average trailer, a generator size of at least 3,600W is required.
  • How to use a generator with a travel trailer? How will you use a generator with a travel trailer? How will it work? Ideally, in your trailer’s manual, it should state whether or not your trailer is ‘generator-ready’. If it is, this makes choosing a generator easier because you have to select one that will be compatible with your trailer’s configuration as well as your unique power needs. If not, your travel trailer may need a few minor alterations to make it generator-use friendly. The best way to go about this is to visit your local dealership and ask them how much it would cost to have this service rendered. It shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars at most.
  • How to carry a generator on a travel trailer? What is the most convenient and efficient way to carry a generator on a travel trailer? If you have a big Class A trailer or Class C RV, it is possible to have your generator installed inside. This makes your generator an onboard addition. This is the best way to use a travel generator because it is properly installed and secured in a compartment that’s specially designed for this use. All you’ll need to do is turn the generator ON when you need it. Don’t have a Class A or Class C travel trailer? Carry the generator on a series of A-frames. Install these A-frames above your propane tanks if you have any, preferably at the front of your vehicle. The disadvantage with putting your generator in this setup is that the generator fumes may be too close to your RV. You’ll also need to confirm that the tongue weight is not exceeded because you don’t want to overload the trailer. Another idea is to bumper-mount the generator with a hitch or build a custom box that you can place at the back of the trailer. Bumper mounting requires mounting the generator by a hitch at the bumper. If the generator’s weight is too much, the bumper is likely going to break. If your generator weighs 80 pounds or less it can be conveniently framed inside a box and mounted onto the bumper.
  • What types of travel trailer generators are available? Travel trailer generators come in three main types each determined by the type of fuel that powers the generator: propane, gasoline and diesel. Propane generators use propane as the main fuel source to generate electricity. These generators tend to be the most cost-efficient because their fuel price is usually on the low side. The downside of propane generators is that they do not provide as much power as their fossil fuel counterparts. Gasoline-powered travel trailer generators are convenient because of the availability of gasoline. Re-filling won’t be much of an issue. It’s also possible to keep reserve fuel in a Jerry can. You’ll be able to power up more appliances with this generator than with a propane version. The downside with gasoline generators is that they are dangerous and fuel needs to be emptied as it can clog up the generator. Diesel-powered generators are the most powerful of the lot and if you have a lot of appliances to run these generators are the ones to opt for. They are also safer than gasoline-operated generators. Their biggest disadvantage is the fumes they produce and also the expense you’ll incur to purchase diesel.

Conclusion

By now we’re sure you know what the different types of generators available for travel trailers are, what the sizes you may need are, what fuel you plan on using, what brands are on the market, and how much you’re willing to spend to buy your generator. Take your time to figure out exactly what you need and talk to a few people before making any purchases.

If you’ve used our guide to help you make a purchase, we’d love to hear feedback. Leave your comments below!

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