Do I Need an Inverter Generator for My RV: Hint, Yes You Do


You’ve been working on your RV a lot lately. Luckily, they make great bug-out vehicles because you have a place to live, plus mobility. Assuming your emergency leaves roads clear enough to move around, you can go anywhere. Alternately, you can shelter in place. Using an RV means in a major catastrophe, you still have heat and the ability to cook.

Moreover, you can store a lot of equipment inside for survival. More importantly, you can get backup power systems for an RV, but what kind of power do you need? I did a ton of research before I bought my RV, and I’ll explain everything you need to know about generators for your RV.

Do I need an inverter generator for my RV? You need an inverter generator for your RV. Without a power source, you’re just camping in a big metal tent. However, the right generator can turn that lump of metal into a mobile fortress in an emergency.

Advantages of Inverter Generators for RVs

There are three primary yet incredible advantages to having an inverter generator for your RV. Naturally, having backup power is essential, but ‘any’ power source can give that to you. Inverters have additional features worth investing in for your emergency prep plans.


Have you ever stood beside a regular generator? They’re loud. Not just a little noisy, but enough to damage your hearing over time.

It only takes eighty decibels to hurt your eardrums. Yet many generators put out over a hundred dB of sound. Furthermore, it’s hard to be stealthy or low-key if you’re screaming your whereabouts to anyone around.

Alternately an inverter generator typically makes about half as much noise. Fifty to sixty dB isn’t a whisper, but it won’t cause hearing loss.


Fuel efficiency is all the reason most smart preppers need to ditch the bigger generators. The more fuel you have to store, the harder it is to afford and make space for. Having reliable fuel-efficient inverter generators is a wise decision.

The smaller tank and engine contribute to weight as well. Less weight for similar run times means better survival odds for you.


Speaking of weight, a portable inverter generator is much easier to lift. While it might take two people to pick up a regular ‘portable’ generator, you can easily handle a smaller inverter alone. Typically they weigh forty to sixty pounds, as opposed to the seventy or more for other generators. It all adds up to make a good investment in your safety.

Choose a portable Champion 3100-Watt Remote Start inverter generator for clean electricity. Sensitive electronics can have issues with some power sources. Plus, Champion backs their inverters with a three-year limited warranty, and their customer service is outstanding. Click here for prices and availability on Amazon. 

Types of Inverter Generators for RVing

Most inverter generators use the same fuel source. Standard gasoline is easy to get and store. Better still, using an inverter generator is efficient, and that means you don’t need as much to do the same job.

The essential difference for inverter generators is the power output. You can get a relatively small thousand-watt generator. From there, they go up in size. If you have a large AC unit, you’ll need at least three thousand watts of output, or more if you plan to run that while you cook or do other things.

For those who prefer a smaller generator, the A-iPower SUA2000iV from Amazon is ideal. With two thousand watts of output, you can run most smaller air conditioners and have the power to spare. Plus, at a mere fifty pounds, you can lift this portable generator easily to put away. Find out more by clicking here. 

How Much Power Do You Need

It’s a common myth that more is better. Especially among preppers; this is dangerous thinking. It’s too easy to go from smart preparedness to unhealthy hoarding behavior. It’s much more essential to have the right equipment than it is to have the most.

At the same time, you have to balance your needs with enough to do the job. So how do you figure out how much power you need? Well, you’ll need to do some math. Still, the good news is that it’s just basic addition.

Wattage for Common RV Appliances

Every powered device inside your RV uses a specific amount of power. The list below will help you figure out how much. Depending on whether you run things at the same time, you’ll need more power.

  • Rooftop AC Unit- These run from eleven thousand BTU to fifteen thousand. Assume you need a thousand to three thousand watts to run an ACU.
  • Space Heater- Space heaters use around eighteen hundred watts.
  • Electric Heating Pads & Blankets- Eighty to twelve-hundred fifty watts is normal.
  • Fans- A fan uses approximately two hundred watts.
  • Furnace Fans- You’ll need seven to fifteen hundred watts.
  • Seventy-Five Watt Lightbulbs- Predictably, these use seventy-five watts each. Similarly, other wattages use the amount in the name.
  • Refrigerator- Roughly five-hundred to seven-fifty watts for a small fridge is standard.
  • Toaster- Making toast will ‘cost’ eight to fifteen hundred watts.

Check the wattage on all your devices, and add them up. Based on what you need to run at the same time, calculate your power needs. Try to avoid using multiple items at the same time. So long as you’re careful, you can keep a whole RV running on a single inverter generator for years.

Why Your RV Needs an Inverter

Camping and emergencies aren’t the only reason you’d need an inverter generator. People who tailgate often use external power sources. Parties are a lot more fun than any emergency, but whatever your reason, good backup power is vital.

Your RV uses three different electrical systems. Two twelve-volt DC systems run automotive and the coach. Meanwhile, a hundred-twenty volt AC system runs another part of the coach. Realistically, you need all three.

However, you’ll need an inverter generator for the latter. You are converting power from direct current to alternating current to run some of your large systems. Although the engine runs on DC, you need the AC system for air conditioning, power outlets, and the microwave.

Unless you plan to camp as you would in a tent, that AC system is what gives you all the benefits of having an RV. Sure, you can cook over a fire, and sweat in the summer heat, but why? The whole point of an RV is to have the luxury of power capabilities.

Converters Vs. Inverters

When hunting for an inverter generator for your RV, you need to know one crucial term. Converter. Because ‘inverter,’ sounds so much like ‘converter,’ it’s an easy mistake to make. Furthermore, they sell both for RVs.

The difference is literally everything. An inverter turns DC power into AC that runs big systems and gives you the ability to run ordinary household devices. However, a converter does the exact opposite. By turning AC into DC, you could charge a battery, but it won’t let you heat up a cup of coffee in your microwave, or cool off.

Make sure you don’t make this simple mistake. Not only will you lack the power you need, but you’ll waste money. Throwing away cash is like tossing your bug-out bag. As long as there’s a civil society that uses the money to trade for goods and services, you need cash. Proper prepping is all about having resources.

I recommend the Generac GP3000i Super Quiet Inverter from Amazon. The Power Rush technology on this model gives you fifty percent more starting capacity. Furthermore, the GP3001i is parallel-ready, which means you can easily network two generators together for more power if you need it. Click here to get a Generac now. 

You Don’t Want An Open Frame Generator

When looking for an inverter generator, it’s easy to fall into a different trap. Open frame generators provide more power than most inverters. However, choosing the most power isn’t necessarily the best option.

For one thing, open frames are incredibly noisy. They often put out a hundred decibels or more. Unfortunately, that is a great way to garner unwanted attention. Moreover, in less than TEOTWAWKI situations, there are regulations for RV campsites and other areas. You need a quieter option.

Additionally, open frame generators are ridiculously heavy. While they typically come with wheels for more effortless movement, that’s not enough. In a pinch, you need a generator that you can pick up and stow quickly.

If noise and weight aren’t enough to deter you, keep in mind that a bigger generator takes more fuel. Plus, it’s a larger target for theft. Given a choice between more power and efficiency, make the smarter choice. Go with a portable inverter generator instead.


Final Thoughts

An inverter generator is invaluable for RV users. Having power is fine, but when it runs out, you’ll be left in the dark unless you give yourself options. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to add an excellent backup to your travel plans. Prepping is about having backup plans for every emergency.

Equally important is having the right power source. Check out this video for more info on why you need an inverter instead of an open frame generator. Remember, more isn’t always better, especially when it’s weight and fuel consumption.

A great inverter will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. More importantly, it could save your life.

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