How to Choose a Generator for your RV/Camping Needs

Posted by Stephanie Junek on

You just purchased your first RV and are preparing for road trips from one campground to another, from spring through fall.  It is common for mistakes to be made by new RV drivers/owners, but the one thing you don't want to get wrong is your generator use.  

Some campgrounds do not offer power sources for you, enough power or the power you need for your devices and appliances to run safely and stay on when you need them to.  Our goal is to teach you the things you need to keep in mind when purchasing a new generator to match your RV needs.  

Purchasing a new Generator for your RV, AC Works, ACConnectors

The most important topic to focus on when purchasing your generator is that it will power all of the devices and appliances you will need to run.  How much power will you use?  Which devices and appliances will you be powering with your generator?  Will you use the RV's air conditioning option?  Did you know the air conditioner uses the most power?  

Figure out the wattage for all of the items you willpower at one time.  You can multiply volts x amps to figure out wattage.  If you have not seen our previous post about wattage, please read it here for more information.  Once you find the total wattage needed, this is the minimum power required from your new generator power source.   If you don't get a generator large enough for your needs, you may have to turn an appliance off to run another device or appliance.  This is not likely an ideal situation.  Keep that in mind when figuring the total wattage needed and purchase a generator a little larger than your needs.  

TIP: Do not stop running your generator with your Air Conditioner on, to avoid any damage to your RV's AC system.  

One topic many new RV owners may not have thought about are your generator noise levels.  Some RV parks and campgrounds have noise level rules and regulations.  Do some research into different locations you may visit before you purchase your RV generator and keep those rules in mind when traveling with your RV on generator power.  We have listed a few examples here for you.  

Assateague Island National Seashore generator rules state you may not use your generator during the quiet hours of 10 pm to 6 am and may not exceed a noise level of 60 decibels.  For more on this location see their campground regulations.  

Great Smoky Mountain National Park generator rules state you may not use your generator during quiet hours of 8 pm to 8 am.  They do not mention decibel restrictions but state engine idling is prohibited in generator free areas.  To read more on the restrictions at Great Smoky Mountain National Park, view their campground regulations.  

Yosemite National Park only allows generator use during specified hours.  Generator operation hours are 7-9am, noon-2pm, and 5-7pm.  You may not run your generators at any other time throughout the day or night.  Read more restrictions about Yosemite by viewing their campground regulations.

Some people choose to use diesel run generator because they already have a diesel run RV so it is easier to use the fuel you already have to purchase and keep on hand.  

Liquid propane puts off cleaner emissions and has a longer shelf life, however, your tank size will depend on how long you can run your generator.   

Gasoline is preferred because the fuel is easy to obtain, however, it does not last as long and is highly flammable compared to other options.  

Always be aware that your generator will put off carbon monoxide and you should be careful to follow safety instructions and always inspect the exhaust system before each use.  We will have another post about RV and Generator safety later this month.  

SAFETY TIP: It is unsafe to connect your RV to both your generator and your campgrounds power source.  Please hire a professional electrician to advise if a second power source is safe to use and to re-wire your RV for a second power source if necessary. 

Make sure you check reviews and research your products and your RV to make the most informed decision when choosing your generator.  This will give you a greater ease of use in the future and fewer problems.  

If you have a generator and it is not compatible with the RV you already are using you can get adapters that will connect to your products and allow you to use your existing generator, rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a new product.  

Whether you own a 30 Amp or 50 Amp we have many generator adapters to choose from.  In this post, we will share two examples of the options we do have available. 

In the first example, you already own a generator with a NEMA L14-30R outlet installed and you have an RV with a 30 Amp plug.  The connector you will need to get power to your RV is the RVL1430TT adapter.  This adapter will plug into the L14-30R outlet on your generator and will allow you to plug your RV cable, which comes with your RV into it, obtaining power for your RV when no other power source is available to you.  

RVL1430TT adapter, RV power, RV-Generator Power, RV Power Source, Choosing your generator

In the second example, you already own a generator with a NEMA L14-30R.  The same generator from the example above.  This time you have an RV with a 50 Amp plug.  The connector you will need to get power to your RV, this time is an RVL14301450 adapter.  This adapter will plug into your L14-30R outlet on your generator and will allow you to insert your generator cable into the NEMA 14-50R female side of the adapter.  Having this solution will allow you to obtain the power to your 50 Amp RV when no other service is available to you.  


If you have any questions about these options or others please contact customer service, they will help you purchase the product to meet your needs.  

Stephanie Junek, Marketing Manager, Blog Author, Brand Manager, AC WORKS, ACConnectors, Cordtec Power Corp.


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  • I appreciate it when you suggested that the generator for our RV depends on the total amount of wattage we require for all the appliances. My uncle is going to use his RV for his annual cross-country trip starting next week, but he surely needs a decent power supply to keep the vehicle running. I’m going to ask him to get the right device from a dealer.

    Amy Saunders on

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