Buying The Best Generator For Camping

If you love packing and heading out to the great outdoors once in a while, but you don’t want to give up all of the comfortable perks that come with technology, you may need a camping generator.

With the help of a generator, you can brew a pot of coffee in the morning, cook a hot dinner, run the air conditioning or heat in your RV, or even have the ability to jumpstart your car in a dire situation. The best generator for camping is reliable, quiet, and quickly moved from one place to another.

We’ve done the research and put together our list of the best options for camping generators as well as everything you need to know to select the right power source for you.

Best Quiet Generator For Camping

1. WEN 56200i Inverter Generator

The best quiet generator for camping is the WEN Inverter Generator, which is super quiet and lightweight, safe for vulnerable electronics such as tablets, laptops, TVs, and cellphones, and an efficient source of power for camping trips.

With 2,000 watts, you can run multiple appliances at once. You might not be able to run the WEN overnight with an air conditioner and other devices at the same time. Though, you can run a few smaller appliances at the same time.

A carrying handle and lightweight 48-pound model helps you easily move the generator using only one hand, so you can quickly move the generator around alone, and the clean power it produces is impressive.

Save the environment and the fuel you use with this model!

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

An eco-mode and low-fuel shutdown option when the power runs low makes it less harmful to the natural landscape you adore and gives you the ability to run smaller loads longer or adjust your fuel consumption.

The size of this unit also makes it perfect to stack two generators to provide more power, which is particularly helpful for use in an RV. Reviewers say they were easily able to run an air conditioner and use the microwave using two generators, sometimes only needing a couple of extra pulls to get things running in the cold weather.

Extremely quiet, the level of sound produced from this generator is only 0.3% total harmonic distortion or that of an average indoor conversation between two people. Nearby campers won’t be bothered by the sound at all, and everyone will sleep easily throughout the night.

You can also take this generator into national parks and forests, as it comes equipped with an approved spark arrestor to keep you from accidentally burning down the forest. In the United States, this is often required of campers to keep everyone, including the surrounding landscape, safe.

Plus, the two-year warranty provides added peace of mind that you can use your new generator for years to come.

Pros

  • Extremely quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Safe for vulnerable electronics
  • Easily moved
  • Eco-friendly 

Cons

  • Too tall
  • Questionable suitability for national parks

2. Champion 73536i Portable Inverter Generator

If you’re thinking about getting a generator that suits the wild outdoors, then this has got to be it. It’s both space-saving, taking up as little space as possible and giving more room for all your other appliances, and stackable, capable of connecting with another inverter that holds 2000 watts of power. Need some way to double the power output? This generator has got you covered.

Let’s not forget about the noise or, in this case, the lack of it. This Champion Power Equipment is, in fact, the champion of being quiet. It runs ultra quietly, only 53 dBa at a distance of 23 feet, which makes it perfect for camping, tailgating, or backing you up with extra power. It features 1700 watts of running power for up to nine and a half hours. 

We’re always concerned about powering our sensitive electronics using clean power. Well, this generator doesn’t disappoint in this aspect. The bundle comes with two 120V 20A outlets that deliver clean electricity, as well as a 12V DC outlet. 

If you think that’s all this generator has in store for you, think again. Take full advantage of its economy mode which reduces electrical load, makes for quieter operations, improves fuel economy, and extends engine life. You get champion support too, with a three-year warranty including lifetime support from experienced professionals for zero charge. 

Pros

  • Toolless installation
  • RV ready
  • Stackable
  • Space Saving
  • Additional Outlets

Cons

  • May not run everything on your camper
  • Has oil in it, despite saying that it comes “empty of oil”
  • Panel needs to be disassembled to access the mounting brackets

3. Yamaha EF2200iS Inverter Generator

If you need power in the wilderness, look no further than this unit. This beast of a creation by Yamaha combines incredible power with a set of bold features. Its high power is complemented by a rich and rugged design and sophisticated quiet technology.

As far as performance is concerned, it can’t get any better than the EF2200iS, which boasts a Yamaha MZ80 engine that delivers clean, high electricity and a PWM or Pulse Width Modulation.

It holds yet another impressive feature in its Smart Throttle, which automatically senses how much load is left and adjusts the power to the device’s needs. The result? You get greater fuel efficiency and longer run time. Thanks to this feature, even a quarter tank of gas still get you 10 and a half hours of run time.

There is a lot to love about this generator’s smart controls. It has an illuminated LED display with multiple functions that allows you to keep track of your generator’s status whether day or night. You’ll be able to check the fuel status instantly and even adjust to low-light operation when needed. The Overload Power Reset button also comes in handy by allowing you to restore power without shutting the generator down. 

Pros

  • Overload Reset Button
  • Smart Throttle
  • Sophisticated quiet technology
  • High power
  • Great fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Not the quietest generator
  • Not much difference between this 2200-watt generator and a 2000-watt one
  • A bit on the heavy side

Best Small Generator For Camping

1. Westinghouse iGen2200 Inverter Generator

When camping in a small RV, you want a small and portable generator that is quiet. The Westinghouse Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator has it all!

With 1,800 rated watts and 2,200 peak watts, you won’t be able to run an air conditioner all night long. However, you will be able to cook and use your small electronics. Watch a movie and relax after the sun goes down or brew a nice, hot cup of coffee in the morning.

At nearly $440, this generator is super quiet and portable. It only weighs 46-pounds and runs on gas, so you can easily refuel at any gas station and never feel disturbed by the noise level. Westinghouse Inverter Generator even has two 120-volt outlets and two USB outlets for your electronics.

Westinghouse iGen2200 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

This model is also a fantastic option for homes as an emergency backup in the case of a power outage. Strong and sturdy, this generator can run all your home essentials as well.

Safe for travel to national forests, this unit is deemed United States parks and forests appropriate.

However, it is best for short-term use, as this generator was not built to run at 2,000 watts long-term. Reviewers have said they were able to run an air conditioner in their camper for around five hours before running out of fuel.

Others say they were able to run the AC, lights, and fridge at the same time, but probably wouldn’t try to run more than that at once.

This fuel-efficient model can run for around 12 hours and even features a fuel efficiency mode that allows you to easily and quickly combine another generator to increase the amount of wattage you can use.

A three-year warranty provides peace of mind longer than the WEN generator as well as free technical support for life. So, if you ever have any problems, all you need to do is to call a 1-800 number!

Pros

  • Small and portable
  • Super quiet
  • Easily refueled at any gas station
  • Great for emergency power back-up
  • Safe to bring to national parks

Cons

  • Won’t power your AC for the entire night
  • Can’t run on 2000 watts for long
  • Is not capable of running more than three appliances that require high power

2. Pulsar PG2000iSN Inverter Generator

Now, this has got to be your choice for inverter generators that offer clean power supply and portability. It has a one-cylinder engine with 4 strokes that can produce up to 2000 watts of electrical power, and as much as 1600 watts of running power, that is virtually silent from a distance of 10 feet as it only generates less than 60 dB of sound.

Its parallel capability is another awesome feature, allowing you to run a duo of PG2000iSN generators at the same time simply by using an adaptor to effectively boost the electrical power output without the typical issues that come when operating a larger unit.

This Pulsar creation is conveniently designed to resemble a suitcase and is pretty much transported like one, too. At only 47 lbs, it’s super easy to carry around or transfer. Its compact and durable design also means you won’t be afraid to get a little rough with it.

If peace of mind is your goal, then you’re definitely going to get it with the Pulsar PG2000iSN, which makes use of high technology to consistently deliver safe, electrical power for all your gadgets and appliances. It also comes with several outlets that let you power and charge multiple devices in a single go.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Safe, clean power supply
  • Parallel Capability
  • “Suitcase” design for easy transport
  • Optimal portability

Cons

  • Decibels increase at full load
  • Requires a break-in period
  • Doesn’t run quite as well at little to zero load

3. Rainier R2200i Outdoor Inverter Generator

If you need a reliable connection out in the rainforest then you better bring one of these along. This gas-powered inverter generator is incredibly quiet, super portable, and fuel-efficient. You also don’t have to worry about it wasting gas or waking you up from a peaceful slumber.


You’ll be amazed at how much of a reliable power source this unit is and will want to bring one with you on your next outdoor adventure. Whether you’re tailgating, camping, or needing a power back-up at home, the R2200i is the generator to count on. It’s extremely flexible and allows you to charge or power a variety of sensitive electronics or household devices at any location.

Conserve energy and fuel with the economy mode. On top of that, the device will also notify you when oil is low and if it’s about to reach its maximum load capacity. It comes with two 5-20R 120V 20-amp outlets, one 12V 15-ampere direct current outlet, and an outlet indicator. The stop and reset buttons and neutral floating grounding support also make this generator safe to handle.

As a 44-lb compact generator, the R2200i can be brought practically anywhere. Its compliance with EPA and CARB regulations make it the ideal unit to use for home or recreation power-back up. Got an RV? This excellent product by Rainier would make an awesome addition to your camping tools and supplies. 

Pros

  • Super quiet
  • Super lightweight
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Low-oil and overload alert
  • Compact and durable

Cons

  • Scraped fuel gauge window
  • Fuel gauge window does not lock in place

Best Camping Generator

When it comes to the best camping generator for your needs, think about how you camp.

Do you travel to hot or cold destinations that will require you to run a heater or air conditioner overnight? Will you run power to a small sized RV or sleep in a tent and use the generator only for cooking hot meals and powering your devices?

Whatever you choose to do, we have narrowed down the list to the best camping generator based on size, portability, affordability, and performance.

Winner – Honda EU2200i Super Quiet Inverter Generator

If you find yourself asking what the best portable generator for camping is, look no further than the Honda Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator. A popular choice thanks to its variety, this is the best quiet portable generator that works wonderfully at home, on a job site or camping.

An updated version of the famous and beloved 2,000-watt model, Honda has added 200 watts of power and a fuel cutoff switch to upgrade a trusted and reliable generator.

Honda Inverted Generators, like the name, are super quiet too. Operating at 48-57 decibels, the Honda generator is more silent than an ordinary conversation. Not only is it quiet enough for camping, but it can also power an RV.

With 2,200 watts of power in each generator, you can set two models parallel to each other, attached with a cable or cord, and run up to a whopping 4,400 watts of power for anywhere from 4 to 10 hours per tank of fuel.

Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

This makes the Honda the ideal camping generator if you plan to run multiple electronics in an RV or small camper and stay comfortable with an air conditioner or heater throughout the night. With this generator, you won’t have to worry about running too many small appliances at once or cook before turning on the air.

Also, the inverter technology provides a clean power option in a small and lightweight 50-pound package perfect for the people who love to spend time outdoors camping and relaxing in nature.

Inverter generators are quieter, better for the environment, and more fuel efficient than standard generators because they aren’t required to run at a fixed speed, saving power when it can.

Actually, this camping generator is even ideal if you plan to work remotely via laptop while camping long-term because Honda’s generators are as reliable as your power at home.

Listed as a #1 bestseller on Amazon, reviewers say the average runtime is more like 3-8 hours when set on eco-throttle and the nearly one-gallon tank version. With a small load, the noise is incredibly low and does not vibrate even at full power.

Reviewers say to make sure you buy premium non-ethanol gas (half a quart) because it does not come with your purchase. Ethanol gas can gum up the inner workings of the generator sit too long, which can be a common problem with camping or emergency generators that aren’t run every day.

Priced at about $1,000, the Honda Inverter Generator is not the cheapest model on the market today. However, it is well worth the price if you want a generator that will last many years of heavy use and keep running strong while protecting the environment.

Pros

  • Super quiet and lightweight
  • Optimal portability
  • Capable of powering an RV
  • Ideal for running multiple electronic devices
  • Supplies clean power

Cons

  • Expensive
  • When set on economy mode runs for 3-8 hours

Runner-Up – Briggs And Stratton P2200 Inverter Generator

The Briggs and Stratton Inverter Generator is our choice for runner-up because it is quiet, fuel efficient, runs on 1,700 watts, produces up to 8 hours of runtime, and is portable.

At around $570, this portable camping generator is an affordable option that won’t make you leave comfort at home. This inverter generator has it all!

Starting at 2,200 watts and 1,700 running watts, you should be able to use the small appliances you need while running lights or the a/c. But you won’t hear a thing!

Typical inverter generators, like this model, are the quietest options. Honda doesn’t disappoint.

Reviews show that the generator is quiet and runs well, even at an extended use. You can run air conditioners or space heaters through the night without any trouble as well.

Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 PowerSmart Series Portable 2200-Watt Inverter Generator with Parallel Capability

Thanks to the PowerSmart quiet power technology, this generator runs at an audible level of a normal human conversation for nearly 8 hours straight so that you can sleep soundly through the night. The engine automatically adjusts speed to save fuel, reduce noise levels, and run longer than many other camping generators, running at 59 decibels.

One of the best parts of this generator is the H-shaped handle that allows you to carry and maneuver the 55-pound model comfortably.

Compact and easy to carry, the Briggs and Stratton model is portable. Either one or two people can move the generator together, and you can quickly hook two together for added power support.

If you want to hook up a larger RV, these generators have parallel capabilities that allow you to connect two in order to produce more power without much noise.

The warranty lasts 24-months, which might not be as long as some of the other options on this list but is still enough.

The only downside is that you can’t use this model in California, as it doesn’t pass state emission requirements there.

Pros

  • PowerSmart quiet power technology
  • Engine adjusts to reduce noise level and save fuel
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Has parallel capabilities that allow you to double up on the power

Cons

  • Only one year warranty
  • Isn’t legal in the state of California

An Excellent Choice - Generac 7117 GP2200i

Outdoor enthusiasts love the portable power solution that this generator provides. It’s perfect for weekend camping trips, outdoor cookouts, and small get-togethers. This model supplies clean, stable power and operates at a low sound that doesn’t disturb your neighbors and the surrounding wildlife.

This compact and quiet inverter allows you to double-up on the power with ease. You can take it camping or tailgating to enhance your experience and disrupt as little as possible of the environment around you. With a maximum power output of 2200 watts and a running output of 1,700 watts, the Generac 7117 GP2200i packs some serious power.

You’ll have no trouble starting up this generator thanks to its integrated off-run-choke knob that basically shortens procedures. Activate economy mode to save on energy and fuel and even reduce the noise level.

To ensure safe handling, this unit’s LED lights alert you if the oil is running low or if the device is nearing its maximum load or power capacity. Truepower technology powers and charges all your sensitive tools and electronics safely and efficiently. Running on only a quarter load, this generator’s 1.2-gallon tank still allows up to ten and a quarter hours of run time.

Pros

  • Supplies clean and stable power
  • Great for sensitive electronics
  • Easy to use and transport
  • Quiet and compact
  • Parallel ready

Cons

  • Issues with starting up the engine
  • Difficult to start back up once the engine stops

What To Look For When Choosing Your Product

Features and details differ from one generator to another, so it helps to know what to look for to get the best camping generator depending on your needs. Recreational generators are best for campsites. They are typically only used once in a while, run on gas, and range from 800 to 12,000 watts for around $220.

How Much Wattage Do You Need

Portable generators can only produce a certain amount of power, and the wattage it produces will determine how many appliances you can power at once (and for how long).

Generators come in a variety of wattage options and prices, often from 900 to 10,000 watts depending on the type of generator and size.

A table of the average power requirements.

Camping generators are typically small, compact, and easy to lift and move. Small generators usually pull 1,600 – 2,000 watts to simultaneously power multiple appliances, which is fine if you plan to run home devices and electronics. But it may not be enough for an air conditioner, which often takes more power to keep going throughout the night.

If you have space, you can hook two small generators together for more power output. Doing so can be extremely helpful if you have two smaller generators and want to run multiple appliances at night along with an air conditioner and a fan or two, and some options will make it easier to hook two generators together or stack them.

What Type Of Appliances You’ll Plan To Use

You may want to consider how much power you supply to devices while you’re camping, such as small appliances, lights, computers, or TVs. Some appliances and generators are solar powered, where battery-fueled generators provide a significant power source.

Otherwise, you may want to look for a more massive generator, which can usually power large appliances for 24 hours per charge. Although, solar generators can recharge in only 6 hours, which is less time than the 18 hours it takes with a traditional AC plug, making them portable and powerful. Either is perfect for camping.

Typically, 1,000 watts will run one or two small appliances at the same time. However, different appliances take up and exact wattage (which can be found on your particular instrument). While the amount of power an appliance take varies, some estimates taken from real appliances include the following:

  • Coffee maker – 1,000 watts
  • Toaster – 700 watts
  • Crockpot – 2303 watts
  • 25” TV – 110 watts
  • Mini-DVD – 15 watts
  • Mini-fridge – 200 watts
  • Blender – 525 watts
  • Laptop – 250 watts
  • Radio – 150 watts
  • 20” Fan – 120 watts
  • RV with air conditioning – 2,800 watts

If you want to run a travel trailer or a camper, you might want a high wattage of at least 3,000 watts or more. A medium-sized generator can run the air conditioning while running a microwave at the same time and are an excellent option for popup campers or motorhomes.

Noise Level

While camping, you want a generator that is quiet enough to sleep through the night. Generators of the past were noisy, but not anymore. Today, technology has helped us produce generators that are quieter than ever.

Camping generator next to a tent.

The best quiet camping generator will have low-tone mufflers that provide reliable, smooth operation. There are also new inverter generators that are popular among RV enthusiasts and tailgaters alike.

Not only are they sensitive for electronics, but the best inverter generator for camping will also create less noise while running at varying speeds to work more efficiently than older camping options.

They produce more clean power and low levels of Total Harmonic Distortion, making them safe for electronics and costs vary from $200 to $3,000 based on brands.

Weight

The best small generator for camping is usually lighter and smaller than other generators, which is what makes them perfect for camping.

You want to be able to easily pack a generator or two in the back of your car as you head to your favorite camping site, so check the weight to be sure you can lift and easily maneuver it. Think about the ease of moving your generator from one campsite to another.

Performance

You may want to consider other unique features and services that help your generator perform at top level. Some may come with a warranty or maintenance package to keep it running smooth, whereas others may have extra plugins, power cords, wheels or a funnel to refuel.

How Long It Can Deliver Sustained Power

Camping generators are often much more fuel efficient than other types of generators on the market today, allowing them to last for hours.

They vary on the amount of time they can sustain power. A larger fuel tank, for example, may provide some added time. Solar options also offer extra benefits worth considering if you’re camping outdoors anyway.

Using a camping generator in the evening.

Typically, a generator with at least 10 hours of runtime will be enough for a few nights if you don’t use the power much throughout the day or run an air conditioner overnight. Your usage plans will directly affect the amount of time you will need before fueling up again.

Camping Generator FAQs

1. What size generator do I need for my camper?

If you’re going to be on the road, then you’ll need a dependable power source. Those who love to travel in their campers will especially need a generator that’s just the right size and with sufficient power output to power and charge tools and appliances, including sensitive electronics.

Camping generators are specifically built for camper appliances and therefore always best to purchase when you’re planning to power stuff that’s in your RV. Portable generators are great and all that, and size-wise they’re compact and lightweight, but they’re not necessarily the best power source for your recreational vehicle.

While size is a concern for many, it shouldn’t be the main factor that determines your decision to purchase a generator. Ideally, it should come next to power output and safety as those are what matter most whether you’re at home or in the outdoors. 

2. How can I make my camping generator quieter?

If you got yourself a noisy generator, or simply one that’s not silent enough, then you can do the following things to effectively reduce the sound level:

  • Move it further away
  • Position the generator so that its exhaust pipes are pointing away from you
  • Set the generator on a rubber platform
  • Create a sound barrier between your sleeping area and the generator
  • Create a rubber flap or cover for your unit to reduce the sound
  • Wrap the generator in fireproof insulation
  • Have the muffler replaced
  • And the easiest solution of all -get yourself an ultra-quiet camping generator!

3. What is the difference between a generator and an inverter generator?

Both conventional and inverter generators are excellent for powering your tools and appliances whenever you’re off the grid. However, it has to be said that these two are different in quite a few ways, the main being the type of electricity each unit produces. While traditional generators produce AC electricity, inverter types produce it in three phases, starting from high-frequency AC to DC and then back to a steadier AC current.

It’s not unusual for people to interchange the term generator and inverter generator because of their similarities in usage. However, if you’re looking to benefit from some special features, such as the potential to achieve double power when camping outdoors, then the inverter should be your generator of choice.

4. Are propane generators quieter than gas?

For some, the top considerations for choosing a generator include the kind of fuel they consume. Generators are either powered by natural gas, solar energy, diesel, propane, or gasoline. Generally, campers choose propane because of its obvious advantages, particularly over gas. 

Aside from offering optimal portability and safety, models that run on propane also burn fuel cleanly. This means they’re non-toxic and produce way fewer emissions compared to other kinds of fuel. They’re also a lot quieter than gas or diesel generators, making them among the most popular choices for camping enthusiasts. 

Another great thing about propane is that it doesn’t degrade in quality even when stored. Propane generators are perfect for those whose generators are used sporadically and typically end up in the storage room.

5. Why are inverter generators quiet?

Inverter generators are as silent as they come. The reason for this lies in the way these devices produce power. They make use of a type of technology that produces clean and stable electricity. Their engines also factor into why these generators run so silently-they’re smaller and more compact, delivering lower power output that successfully reduces noise levels. 

If you’re in the mood for some peace and quiet in the outdoors, with as little reminding you of the big city as possible, then an inverter generator would make an excellent choice!

Conclusion

With these helpful tips, you can find the best camping generator out there for you in terms of price and your usage needs. While the best camping models are portable and silent, make sure to choose a generator you can use more than one season.

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