Do I Need An Inverter Generator For My RV? (+ Top Quiet Inverter Generator)

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Have you ever faced a situation where all the AC power-providing campsites have been full, and your RV battery is stopping you from off-grid adventures? If so, then we have got your back. Inverters and generators are two of the best ways to charge an RV. But what if you had to choose one? Inverter or generator, which one is best for an RV? 

A generator uses gasoline to power an RV, including all its appliances, AC, media, and outlets, providing a great variety. However, in terms of total power available, an inverter has significantly fewer options. Also, inverters are much quieter and lighter than generators.

best quiet generator for rv

An inverter converts one type of electrical current into another, while a generator generates electricity. Let’s take a closer look at RV generators and inverters and decide which one is best for your RV and your needs. 

What Is an RV Inverter & Traditional Generator?

Traditional Generator

A generator, through the circuit breaker panel, supplies your home appliances with electricity. You can use major appliances like your air conditioner and microwave with the assistance of an RV generator. Additionally, it also supplies power for your charger, which is responsible for charging your RV’s house batteries. There are numerous sizes of RV generators, ranging from 2,500 to 12,500 watts. 

The chemical energy contained in the fuel is transformed into mechanical energy by the internal combustion engine. This mechanical energy is transformed into electrical energy by the alternator, which is connected to the engine. This electrical power is then sent to the circuit breaker panel of your RV to power the appliances, equipment, and loads inside. 

Here are some of the most common types of generators. 

Gasoline Generators 

Gas-powered generators are frequently consumers’ first choice. It generates enough electricity from its fuel to power RV air conditioners. A gas generator can be a great backup plan if you live in an area prone to power outages. However, there are some things to remember before purchasing one. For starters, gas is highly flammable, so you’ll need to be extra careful when handling and storing it. 

Additionally, gasoline only lasts for about a year before it goes bad, so you’ll need to replenish your supply regularly. And lastly, gas prices tend to be higher than electricity rates, so you’ll need to budget accordingly. 

But if you’re prepared to take on these challenges, a gas generator can be a great way to keep your lights on during a power outage. While some are able to power two air conditioners for larger RVs, others only produce enough power to run one.

Diesel Generators 

Those who plan to spend a lot of time camping away from RV sites will benefit most from a diesel generator. Additionally, they are more powerful than a typical gas generator. They are more eco-friendly than gas and are less perilous in specific conditions. 

Diesel generators are more fuel-efficient than gasoline models, so you’ll save money on fuel over time. They also tend to have a higher power output, making them ideal for certain applications. 

However, keep in mind that these types of generators produce harmful emissions, making them much riskier.

Key Takeaway: With all of this in mind, there are still plenty of great reasons to make aftermarket modifications to your car. Just be sure to do your research and understand the potential risks before making any changes.

Propane Generators 

Propane is a versatile fuel with many advantages over gasoline and diesel. It has a longer shelf life, burns cleaner, and is easily stored in any quantity. Propane is also readily available during power outages and produces relatively low emissions

Since propane is frequently less expensive to purchase than gasoline or diesel, running this kind of generator is more cost-effective. However, propane is highly flammable and must be kept under pressure. Therefore, propane generators require careful handling and regular maintenance.

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas generators have a few advantages over their gasoline and diesel counterparts. For one, they produce significantly lower emissions, making them an environmentally-friendly choice. They’re also very durable and can last for years with regular maintenance. 

However, they are vulnerable to extremely cold climates, and the initial cost of installing these systems is relatively high. Overall, natural gas generators are an excellent choice for whole-home backup power, but it’s crucial to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding.

Portable Generators 

Portable generators are a convenient way to get power when needed without relying on a central source. They’re small and easy to carry, making them perfect for camping trips or other outdoor activities. And because they’re powered by gasoline, propane, or solar energy, they’re easy to keep running as long as you have fuel. 

However, portable generators sacrifice power production for mobility, so they might not be able to run everything you need. Still, they’re a handy tool to have around when the power goes out, or you’re in a remote location.

Inverters 

Inverters are helpful when camping with others, as they allow everyone to use items like hair dryers or microwaves without overloading the RV’s batteries. Inverters, such as at a campground or marina, can also be used when you’re not hooked up to the grid. That way, you can still use all your appliances and electronics without worrying about running out of power. So if you’re looking for a convenient way to power multiple devices in your RV, an inverter is a good option. 

Here are some of the most common types of inverters that you might come across:

Sine Wave Inverter

Most RVs come equipped with a modified sine wave inverter, which is perfectly adequate for powering most lights and electronics. However, you may need a true sine wave inverter if you plan on running sensitive electronics like computers and televisions. True sine wave inverters are more expensive than modified sine wave inverters but are also more robust and reliable. So if you’re not sure what type of inverter you need, go with a true sine wave.

Off-Grid Inverter

Not only is this type of inverter great for day-to-day use, but it’s perfect for emergency situations like natural disasters or power breakdowns, when you need to power up generators. In the event of a power outage, having a backup generator can be a lifesaver. However, if the generator is not properly powered, it will be useless. That’s where this type of inverter comes in handy. By investing in one of these devices, you can be sure that you’ll always have a reliable source of power, no matter where you are.

High-Frequency Inverters

If you’re looking for an inverter that can power some sensitive electronics but won’t break the bank, then an HF (high-frequency) inverter is a good option. These devices provide more power than modified sine wave models but not as much as pure sine wave models. This makes them ideal for running things like laptops and TVs but not so great for powering heavy loads like air conditioners or refrigerators. HF inverters are also generally smaller and lighter than other types of inverters, making them easier to transport.

How Does An RV Inverter Work?

Due to their small size and efficiency, power inverters are extremely common today. Different kinds of inverters use different filtering techniques depending on how smooth the output needs to be. Using a device known as a rectifier, DC power can be converted from AC power

By first increasing the voltage and then modifying it so that it alternates, a power inverter transforms 12V DC into 120V AC. To put it another way, an inverter transforms your direct current 12V power supply into an alternating 120V power supply.

In addition, a system of bypass circuits is included in higher-end inverters. In this manner, when you are connected to shore power, they enter “StandbyMode” and stop drawing power from your batteries, which allows shore power to flow directly to the circuits instead.

The functionality of some even more advanced inverters has certain features such as “Hybrid” or “PowerAssist” functions. By temporarily taking power from the batteries and converting it into 120V electricity that is in perfect phase with the incoming power supply, inverters of this kind can increase the supply of shore power in the event that the load exceeds the supply.

Regardless of whether your inverter is a “Hybrid” or “Generator Support” model, this feature can help keep the pedestal breaker from tripping if you forget to run the air conditioner and electric water heater while connected to a 30-amp outlet and use the microwave to heat your lunch. You can happily enjoy your now-hot meal with the assistance of hybrid generator support’s dual functions!

What’s The Difference Between A Generator And An Inverter Generator?

When looking for a generator, there are a lot of terms that are hard to understand. The differences between generators and inverter generators are often questioned due to their similarity and the fact that some of them are frequently used interchangeably.

Similar to conventional generators, inverter generators generate AC power before transforming it into DC power and returning it to AC. Power flows more smoothly and consistently as a result of this.

The main differences between generators and inverters are summarized below:

Price Comparison

In terms of cost, conventional generators typically have lower initial costs and are more cost-effective if you require a lot of power. However, due to their innovative technology and additional benefits, such as low noise and high efficiency, inverter generators cost more.

Output

Diesel, gasoline, or propane are the fossil fuels that power conventional generators. When compared to other types of generators on the market, they typically have larger fuel tanks, allowing them to run longer with fewer refueling efforts. Conventional generators can produce more power than inverter generators with engine sizes of up to 10,000 watts.

Although inverter generators aren’t as efficient as conventional generators, their ability to generate AC current makes them more effective. The less fuel used by a generator and the smaller its fuel tank can be, the more efficient it is. An inverter can produce anywhere from 1200 to 4000 watts of power.

Basics of Generator & Inverter

A generator is an electrical device that provides immediate power for home supply or services that require heavy power. Fundamentally, a generator converts mechanical energy from outside sources into electrical energy.

In contrast, an inverter converts direct current from sources like power cells, batteries, or solar panels into alternating current.

Fuel Economy

In comparison to conventional generators powered by fuel, inverter generators consume significantly less fuel. In contrast to conventional generators, which maintain a constant speed, an inverter generator automatically adjusts the engine speed only to meet the load’s needs. Because lowering the speed of the generator saves energy, hence less fuel is required.

Capacity

Generators are large electrical appliances that can handle a lot of power and are heavy-duty.

Even if there is a small surge in power, it keeps running. However, starting a generator takes some time and effort.

Whereas, with fewer power surges and a moderate capacity, inverters are ideal for homes. It has auto-shut features that turn off the power in the event of sudden spikes to prevent damage to the unit. In addition, inverters begin automatically when power is lost.

Portability

Portable generator supplies 120-volt power to your RV and batteries. When you are only using battery power, you are able to use certain features that you would otherwise be unable to use. When you connect your RV to a generator, your home’s batteries are also charged. However, not everyone needs a portable generator.

Due to the smaller fuel tank, inverter generators are lighter than conventional fuel-powered generators. For easy mobility, most portable inverter generator models come equipped with wheels and carrying handles.

Parallel Compatibility

It is best to avoid paralleling two regular or non-parallel generators. Connecting these generators involves a lot of technicalities, which can be disastrous if done incorrectly.

Whereas you can parallelize two generators of different brands and sizes. If you have two compatible inverter generators and the corresponding parallel kit, then you will be able to generate enough power to meet your RV’s needs.

Maintenance

Most motor-controlled generators use fuel or diesel, which needs occasional upkeep, for example, oil change, refined water change, change of ointment oil, etc. Fuel and diesel have a slight timeframe of realistic usability of 12 months to two years with nice upkeep. Besides, gas can’t be stored in that frame of mind for in excess of a couple of months except if you utilize a fuel-settling compound. Likewise, generators produce more clamor.

In contrast, inverters do not require any maintenance at all because they use straightforward circuitry to convert DC to AC. The only required maintenance is a monthly battery inspection to ensure smooth operation.

Check Out Traditional Generator vs. Inverter Generator:

What Are The Best RV Inverter Generators?

The best inverter generators offer solid competence and runtime, rock-solid technique, and deliver the reliability you need when the lights go out, whether you’re thinking about hurricane preparedness or just general utility appliances.

They cover a wide range of applications and price points. Some are made to supply full-blown backup power for a house. In any case, you must go for an inverter generator with the qualities mentioned below.

Size

The inverter generators usually come in small sizes, which range from 10 to 15 inches, making them ideal for camping. Of course, larger generators are also available. There will be a lot of other gear with you when you go camping, so it’s better to have a small one.

Weight

Generators for camping should be lightweight. This makes it possible to transport it by hand with less effort and a smaller footprint. Camping generators that weigh less than 25 pounds can be purchased, and some weigh even less.

There are some portables without wheels. They are subject to a separate fee. One of the most important aspects of “portability” is weight. Make sure the generator’s weight is checked before buying it.

Noise Level

When camping with a generator, your generator must produce no more than 70 decibels in order to avoid being asked to turn it off. These guidelines may differ from park to park. Most people think that noise levels between 60and 70 decibels are fine. Thankfully, inverter generators are a very neat invention which does not produce awful noise, making them user-friendly.

Fuel Consumption

The fuel consumption of each generator must also be taken into account. It’s important to know how often you’ll need to replenish these devices. In addition, owners of rigs shouldn’t go with a model that requires them to travel far for fuel.

When making a decision, campers who enjoy their rigs away from civilization should take this into account. Additionally, an inverter generator comes with an eco-mode, which throttles only when power is required. This lower fuel consumption quality of inverters also makes them stand apart. 

Durable and Reliable

The following two considerations are dependability and durability. You don’t want your generator to break down in an emergency. Therefore, selecting a brand with a solid warranty and industry recognition is essential as the generator inverters are a recent product and are designed to keep the concerns and needs of the customers. No doubt they are a bit pricey, but the price is worth it when you consider the durability and reliability of these inverters.

Emission

The development of inverter generator technology has greatly improved portable generators. An inverter generator is capable of adjusting the engine’s throttle in response to demand. As a result, generators won’t have to run at full speed all the time, saving energy and reducing pollution. You can reduce pollution and save money on fuel by selecting an inverter generator.

Check Out RV Basics: RV Generator

Top RV Inverter Generators

However, to make it easy for you to select the best RV inverter generator here’s a quick guide:

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Inverter

Merits
  • Better run time: Starting power is 3,400 watts, and running power is 3,100 watts.
  • Dual fuel: It can run for 14.5 hours on 20 pounds of liquid propane or 7.5 hours on a 1.6-gallon tank of gasoline.
  • Less noisy: At 23 feet, the noise level is 59 decibels, and it runs quietly.
Demerits
  • Clogs: Some consumers have reported the issue of carburetor clogs.
  • Costly
  • Less powerful: Might not be much powerful for huge RV appliances

The Pros:

  • Better run time
  • Dual fuel
  • Less noisy

The Cons:

  • Clogs
  • Costly
  • Less powerful

DuroMax portable Inverter

Merits
  • Run-time: At 50% output, the four-gallon gas tank can run for eight hours.
  • Well protected: Surge protection is provided and it operates at 120V or 240V.
  • Low cost: The cost is reasonable for all that power.
Demerits
  • Quite noisy
  • Complicated processing
  • The general guide is unhelpful

The Pros:

  • Run-time
  • Well protected:
  • Low cost

The Cons:

  • Quite noisy
  • Complicated processing
  • The general guide is unhelpful

WEN Portable Inverter Generator

Merits
  • Good power capacity: It has a 4-stroke engine with a capacity of 79.7 cubic centimeters (cc) and produces 2,000 watts of peak power and 1,600 watts of continuous power. 
  • Run-time: It can run for up to 9.4 hours on a single tank of gas and has a fuel tank that holds 1 gallon. 
  • USB charging system: It has a USB port for charging smartphones.
  • No noise: It produces very less noise that is easily bearable.
Demerits
  • Large size: Unable to fit in every generator.
  • Costly: It has a very high profile

The Pros:

  • Good power capacity
  • Run-time
  • USB charging system:
  • No noise

The Cons:

  • Large size
  • Costly

Westingen inverter generator

Merits
  • Convenient: It has a very lightweight design making it very compatible.
  • Low noise: Quietness is also a positive point of this generator.
  • Fuel-efficient.
  • Uniqueness: A versatile and ubiquitous product.
  • Fine product: It produces clean energy.
Demerits
  • High power usage
  • Breaking in, is highly complicated

The Pros:

  • Convenient
  • Low noise:
  • Fuel-efficient.
  • Uniqueness
  • Fine product

The Cons:

  • High power usage
  • Complicated to break in

Power Smart 2500 

Merits
  • Gas-powered: This aspect makes it more utilizable than propane powered.
  • Parallelizability: It can be designed or systemized in parallel with another generator.
  • Lightweight and convenient: It weighs lower than 40 pounds making it versatile and convenient. 
Demerits
  • Not dual-fuel
  • High profile

The Pros:

  • Gas powered
  • Parallelizability
  • Lightweight and convenient:

The Cons:

  • Not dual-fuel
  • High profile

Related Questions

Can I run my RV with an inverter?

Yes, you can run your RV with an inverter. An inverter lets you use your appliances even when you aren’t connected to shore power or a generator. By inverting the 12-volt DC power from your RV’s deep-cycle batteries into 120-volt AC power, it accomplishes this. Because of this, it is an essential component of your electrical setup, particularly if you intend to dry camp or use solar power.

Does My RV Have An Inverter?

Although inverters aren’t present in every RV, their popularity is rising as more people decide to boondock without giving up some of today’s modern conveniences. They are a fine invention, and you can install one in your RV.

The inverter must be situated in an area where the battery wiring is relatively short. Additionally, it is essential that the inverter be installed in a location where the wiring does not compromise system efficiency, which defeats the purpose of the inverter in the first place.

Where is the inverter on my RV?

Your travel trailer’s inverter is probably in a compartment that is well-ventilated and close to the battery. The inverter can be found in a variety of places in every camper. Your control panel is the most common location for your inverter. A small vent or fan close to your control panel is a clear indication that your converter is nearby.

Can you parallel non-inverter generators?

You absolutely can; however, the method is not as straightforward as you might think, and it involves a number of delicate steps. It is typically simpler to connect generators from the same manufacturer or with the same output power. Because they frequently operate at high power rates, models with open frames typically consume more fuel.

As a result, two parallel-capable portable units would be more economical than one open-frame unit. If your generator is competent in parallel, it will be much simpler to engage them simultaneously; However, the method will be slightly different if your compact inverter generator is not serial enabled. 

The Bottom Line

If you live in an area where power outages are frequent, an inverter is a game-changer. While everyone else on the block is in darkness, it will guarantee that you have plenty of dependable power. Additionally, if you want an inverter generator to power an RV, you can continue to live comfortably off the grid. Even though the best inverter generators are a big investment, they will pay for themselves over time in terms of comfort and security.

An inverter generator would be ideal because it performs both functions and is smaller and more portable. You can use the shore power at your RV site to power your appliances, so you don’t need an inverter or a generator if you stay at campsites. However, in the event of a power outage at the location or a stranding somewhere on your journey, you may need to generate and invert your own electricity.

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Written by William Perry
William was born and raised in the United States and currently lives in Utah. A retired police officer, he is the father of three and grandfather of six. Along with writing, he enjoys traveling, the outdoors, reading and spending time with his grandchildren.
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