How big of a generator do I need for a camper

How big of a generator do I need for a camper?

How big of a generator do I need for a camper

When considering generators for a camper, size is the most interesting element. Actually, there’s no specific number for that question because it depends on how many wattages of the appliances used in your camper. This article will help to figure out how big of a generator you need for a camper.

Before getting started

Skip this if you’ve got some experience on generators.

For those who don’t, you should familiarize to these indicators firstly:

  • Volts: Measure the electricity pressure
  • Amp: Measure the utilized electricity amount.

When using an appliance, take note of the voltage because in most cases, this indicator isn’t listed in the data tag. You should know that it’s regulated differently from country to country.

For example, while some Asia countries use 220 volts, others choose 120 volts or among that range for their electronic devices.

How to determine an appliance power?

They will require you to make a total count on starting wattages and running wattages. What are they? Well, the starting wattages are the required power to start up an appliance and this indicator is usually higher than the running wattages – the required power to run it.

Therefore, you can just focus on the starting wattage amount in most case to find a suitable generator.

Find it on:

  • The name tag or the product specifications on the manufacturer’s website
  • A stamp in its back or its side
  • An engraving at the back or on the sides
  • A tag attached on a hole in the device’s parts or on the handle

After collecting all starting wattages required on those appliances you intend to use during a camping trip, count them up and the final number is the total power needs on a generator.

How big of generators for a camper

generator for camper

Camping doesn’t acquire much power/wattage as when it is for industrial application. Maybe, the largest demand is an induction for cooking and a coffee maker for general campers or an air conditioner or heater in RVs/trailers.

There are three common size ranges:

1000W to 2000W Generator

A 1000W to 2000W inverter generator is a good fit for small devices like charging laptops, tablets, TVs, or smartphones.

The smaller the generator, the fewer appliances it can start and run.

From that point, a 2000W model will provide energy for bare minimum usage. If that’s also what you are looking for a camping trip with 1-3 people, look no further than this type.

2500W to 3600W generators

Recreational generators for longer camping trips or RVs with more people, like 4-7 individuals, need to be more powerful and have longer runtime.

For example, if your RV or travel trailer has a vehicle AC and refrigerator, a 2500W to 3600W generator should be taken into consideration. Remember that a hot water heater takes 1350W while a fridge is around 540W.

4000W to 4500W generators

The bigger the generator, the costlier it will be.

So, if your power need is truly huge, consider between your budget and a larger-sized model to ensure enough power for all needed appliances during your camping trip.

A 4000W to a 4500W generator is powerful enough for a fridge, an AC, TV, battery chargers, hot water, and other devices without you worrying of sudden running out of juice during a camp.


While considering the best generator for your power needs, pay attention to the campsite regulation and rules because there will be some locations don’t permit campers using this item. Mostly, the reason is the noise level and safety features.

That’s why I highly recommend choosing one with silent operating and that meets all safety certifications, such as EPA III and CARB-Compliant or USDA approved.

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