What’s an Inverter Generator & Do You Need It for Your Travel Trailer? (compact)

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The RV lifestyle is all about being efficient and self-reliant. Though you might find different ways to power your RV, like using a conventional generator or shore power, none of the methods for powering is as efficient as having an inverter generator. So, if you are wondering, ‘do I need an inverter generator for my RV?’, then here is the answer.

Yes, you do need an inverter generator for your RV. With an inverter generator, you can be independent and less reliant on other power sources, such as campsite power pedestals. An inverter generator in your RV can supply your vehicle with the 120vac needed to power the essentials in your trailer.

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With an inverter generator, you can feel free to keep the lights of your RV switched on. However, there are more details that you must know before getting an RV inverter generator for your RV, and here we have discussed everything you need to know. So without further ado, let’s get started!

What Is Inverter Generator?

Before further discussion, the types of electrical power we have are worth mentioning. There are two types of electrical currents.

  • Direct Current: Current in which the flow of charges is in the same direction
  • Alternating Current: Current in which the flow of charges is reversed periodically.

The current from the wall’s outlet at home is an alternating current. An inverter generator is a generator that tends to provide the power that is typically provided to you through a wall outlet.

How Does It Work?

An inverter generator produces an alternating current and then converts it to a direct current. The current is changed back to alternating in nature before being supplied to the appliances in your RV. This is done to prevent any electrical surges, which is also why most of the inverter generators are labeled as “clean power.”

With the inverter generator, you will have less noise and save fuel as the generator will run at a lower engine RPM. If you are concerned with the working principles of an inverter generator, then you are at the right place.

Inverter generators work by changing the speed of the generator motor. The speed depends on the number of devices connected to the power source and how much current is required. Generators running at a lower speed will save fuel and will be quieter.

You can think of an inverter generator as a power source that only generates the required amount of power. Thanks to the inverter technology, you can now save extra power when needed. These generators are ideal for the environment and best for your bank account as they will save energy and reduce fuel usage.

Check Out The Inverter Generator Explained: What It Is & How It Works?:

Is Purchasing An Inverter Generator Worth It?

There is no simple answer to the question. It all comes down to you, your preferences, and the places you travel. However, purchasing an inverter generator has more benefits than getting a traditional one. Here we have listed some of the benefits that will help you decide whether purchasing an inverter generator is worth it or not.

Inverter Generator Vs. Other Power Sources

Efficiency

An inverter generator as it is more efficient than any other power source. Furthermore, if you use other power sources like a traditional generator, you might also need an inverter as the current they produce is direct.

While on the other hand, with an inverter generator, you won’t need an additional inverter. Now, if you are someone who likes their RV on a campsite, then paying the cost of an inverter generator might not be worth it for you.

Ideal For Backup

You can get power cuts even when on a campsite, you need electricity to power your electrical appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators. If you invest in an RV generator, ensure it has great power output. You can also connect multiple inverter generators in a parallel circuit if you require more power in your RV.

An inverter generator will also be lightweight and small, which makes it portable. If you are someone who likes to save as much as you can, it is recommended to invest in an inverter generator as it will save you a lot of fuel consumption costs and supply you with sufficient power as if you were connected to line power.

What Are The Best Inverter Generators For Your RV?

To help you determine the best generator for your RV, we have made a list of the 5 best inverter generators worth investing in.

Honda EU 2200i Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER

The Honda EU 2200i Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER is a lightweight and compact generator that is perfect for camping, tailgating, or other outdoor activities. This generator features commercial-grade reliability and Honda’s proprietary CO-MINDER technology, which helps to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. This generator delivers 10% more power than the previous model, making it ideal for those who need a little extra power for their devices or appliances. 

Additionally, this generator features an advanced carbon monoxide detection system that will shut down the generator if high levels of carbon monoxide are detected. Additionally, this generator is Bluetooth-enabled, so you can use the Honda My Generator app to monitor the status of your generator from your mobile device. Finally, this generator is lightweight and compact, making it easy to take with you wherever you go.

The Pros:

  • Works with the Honda My Generator app and has Bluetooth capability
  • Ideal for DVD, coffee pot, and fridge
  • Offers advanced carbon monoxide protection

The Cons:

  • The initial investment required is high

Cummins Onan P4500i Inverter Portable Generator

The Cummins Onan P4500i Inverter Portable Generator is a great choice for anyone in need of a reliable portable power source. It features a remote start with a push button and pull cord backup, as well as wheels and a telescoping handle for easy transportation. With a run time of 18 hours at 25% load, it’s perfect for prolonged use, and the 3-Year Residential Warranty and 1-Year Commercial Warranty offers peace of mind. 

The dust covers for outlets keep them clean, and the neighbor-friendly, quiet generator operation (as low as 52 dBA) is perfect for use in residential areas. The AC Outlets (20V 30A, Duplex 120V 20A) and DC Outlets (5V USB ports) provide a variety of options for powering devices, making the Cummins Onan P4500i Inverter Portable Generator a versatile and convenient option.

The Pros:

  • The choke type is automatic
  • Battery and charger included
  • Offers 18 hours of runtime at 25% load
  • Comes with a warranty

The Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer a GFCI Outlet

WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

When you need a reliable source of portable power, the WEN 56203i 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator is a great choice. The ultralight body weighs only 39 pounds, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. The extremely quiet operation ensures that you won’t disturb your neighbors or the wildlife when you’re using it. 

And the safe charging of sensitive electronics means that you can keep your devices powered up without worry. The WEN 56203i includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle, two 5V USB ports, and a two-year warranty. You can also maximize fuel economy by engaging the eco-mode switch. With all these features, the WEN 56203i is a great choice for portable power.

The Pros:

  • Performance is exceptional
  • Offers maneuverability and portability
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty

The Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a grounding rod and wire.

Champion Power Equipment 100692 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Looking for a reliable and lightweight inverter generator? Champion Power Equipment has you covered with their 100692 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator. This powerful generator weighs in at only 39 pounds, making it one of the most portable generators on the market. It also produces 2000 watts of power, making it ideal for small jobs and projects. 

Additionally, the 100692 is quiet, with a noise level of only 53 dBA, so you can use it without disturbing your neighbors or wildlife. Plus, it comes with an optional clip-on parallel kit, so you can easily connect it to another Champion generator for even more power. And finally, it includes two 120V 20A household outlets with clean electricity, perfect for powering your home essentials. 

The 3-year limited warranty gives you peace of mind, knowing that your investment is protected. So if you’re looking for a reliable and portable inverter generator, the Champion 100692 is a great option.

The Pros:

  • Offers free lifetime technical support 
  • Value for money
  • Ultra quiet operation of 53 dBA

The Cons:

  • You have to start the generator with a recoil

A-iPower SC2000iREC Inverter Generator

This generator is perfect for RV camping, power backup, and temporary disaster relief. With a 79cc YAMAHA, This product is also very lightweight at 50lbs, making it easy to transport and ideal for use in any situation. Whether you need a reliable source of power for your RV or you’re looking for a backup plan in case of a power outage, the A-iPower SC2000iREC inverter generator is a great choice. 

Thanks to its inverter technology, it provides clean power that won’t damage your sensitive electronics, and its fuel efficiency makes it a cost-effective option for long-term use. With its many features and benefits, the A-iPower SC2000iREC inverter generator is a great choice.

The Pros:

  • Offers value for money
  • Great portability

The Cons:

  • Offers less run-time compared to other inverter generators

Factors To Consider Before Buying An Inverter Generator

Only you can get the best inverter generator for your RV. As you know, the minimum power required that you need in your RV. However, there are certain factors that you must look for before investing in an inverter generator.

These factors will help you determine which inverter generator is ideal for your RV. And what are the features that you must look for in an inverter generator when you want to get one for your RV?

Size

The first thing that makes an inverter generator the best for your RV is its size. However, the size of the generator all comes down to your RV and your power consumption. In most cases, inverter generators tend to produce between 2,000-4,000 watts of electricity.

If you are someone who has a small trailer, the best inverter generator for you should be the one that produces 2,000 watts of electricity. However, suppose you are someone who owns a big RV and has a variety of electrical appliances in the vehicle. In that case, you must go for an inverter generator that produces up to 4000 watts of electricity.

Quietness

Another important factor is the quietness of the generator. You should see the decibels you are looking for when looking for an inverter generator. A decibel is a logarithmic measure. This means that a sound of 70 dB will be twice as loud as 60 dB.

So you need to choose the generator with the lowest sound. Small differences in dB can make a bigger impact on the generator’s sound. A general rule that can be observed is that cheaper generators will have more sound than expensive ones.

Warranty

Investing in an inverter generator is no joke. The price one has to pay is high. However, most inverter generators bought from a reliable supplier last long. However, it is always good to have a warranty.

A warranty on the inverter generator will help you replace the generator if you have any unfortunate event. So, in this case, the best inverter generator for you will be the one with a warranty that can help you easily replace the whole machine or a part that isn’t working.

Type of Fuel

The fuel types used in a generator are important to know before buying. To get the best generator, you must look for a generator that offers dual-fuel compatibility. Some inverter generators can run on both gasoline and propane fuel. However, you get more power from gas generator, but one can always use the propane option for backup.

Is Inverter Generator Better Than Traditional Portable Generator?

Yes, many reasons prove having an inverter generator is much better than going for a traditional portable generator. To clarify, we have listed some reasons that prove having an inverter generator is way better than going for a traditional one.

Dirty Power & Clean Power

The first thing that a traditional generator offers is dirty power. This means that the further you get from the perfect benchmark of 60 Hz, 120V RMS power, the more dirty power it gets. You might face voltage fluctuation, which can damage your RV’s electrical appliances.

When we talk about an inverter generator, the machine produces filtered power. An inverter generator has a microprocessor-controlled circuit board that regulates the power output. An inverter generator can supply power to sensitive electronics like your television, laptop, and air conditioner.

Inverter Generator Conserves Energy

Whereas a traditional generator can spin at 3600 RPM regardless of the load that it has on it. This means that the runtime is hardly 12 hours without anything plugged in. However, an inverter generator is energy efficient. The speed is based on the load that you have on the RV. An inverter generator will also produce less toxic exhaust fumes.

Weight Difference

A conventional generator is heavy and is made for construction and emergency homeowners markets. The average weight of a generator is usually above 100 lbs. An inverter generator is way lighter, and its weight can be as low as 38 lbs.

Check Out Traditional Generator vs. Inverter Generator:

Related Questions

What Does RV Ready Generator Mean?

RV ready generator is a generator that either has a 14-50R or a TT-30R outlet. These RV-ready generators are the ones that you can directly plug into your RV. Furthermore, you don’t need a separate adapter to plug and use the generator in your RV. The TT in the generator’s name stands for a travel trailer, while the R in the name stands for the receptacle.

Do All RVs Have Generators?

Ideally speaking, almost all RVs have a generator. However, one can choose between a traditional generator and an inverter generator according to their choice and budget. A generator in your RV is also essential because it can help you charge and power your electrical appliances like your television, fridge, and laptop.

Can You Parallel Two Different Brand Inverter Generators?

Yes, you can connect two different brand generators in parallel series. All you need to do is have parallel cables with a 30-amp outlet. However, certain models can’t be used together in parallel series, and one must ensure that they pair the generators with the same voltage and amperage.

Will 2000 watt generator run an RV air conditioner?

Usually, it is seen you need an inverter generator that produces between 2000-4000 watts. However, generally speaking, an air conditioner and some small appliances can be powered by a 3000-watt generator. If you think your generator can handle the air conditioner, you can turn on the air conditioner after you have powered everything off in the vehicle.

Will a 3500-watt generator run an RV air conditioner?

It is seen that most of the RVs have a 15000 BTU air conditioning unit. Whereas smaller RVs use a 13500 BTU air conditioning unit that will require less electricity. If you have a 3500-watt generator in your RV, you can kick-start a 13500 BTU air conditioning unit easily. Whereas, for 15000 BTU, your air conditioner should start with 3500 watts.

How much gas does a 2000-watt generator use?

Generators have different wattage ratings ranging from a few hundred to thousands. So if you have a generator that has 2000 watts, it should last an hour and a half. In other words, around three-quarters of a gallon of gas will be consumed hourly during this period.

The Bottom Line

If you are someone who wouldn’t compromise on noise and want to save a decent amount of money that you would have to spend on fuel, then get yourself an inverter generator. The generator will not only save you money but will also help you live a peaceful life.

The inverter generator will be power efficient, and one doesn’t have to worry about wasting power when they have an inverter generator. However, ensure that the generator that gets has all the ideal qualities mentioned above to avoid any inconvenience.

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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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