What Is the Best 30 Amp RV Generator?

Contributor

Tucker Ballister

Favorite Trip

5 Months Solo on the Road

Home Base

Hendersonville, NC

Favorite RV

2008 Fleetwood Bounder

About Contributor

Tucker Ballister is our Technical Content Writer. He’s a lover of the open road and the proud owner of a 2021 Sunlite Classic travel trailer (his 3rd RV to date). Check out more of his RV adventures, gear reviews, and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

With more RV manufacturers building solar packages into new models – like some of our favorites from the 2024 Florida RV SuperShow – it’s easier than ever to camp without shore power. But if you have a 30-amp coach and plan to spend more than a few days off-grid, you’ll still need one of the best 30-amp RV generators.

Many motorhomes have built-in generators because they provide reliable AC power when you aren’t at a campground. This allows you to use larger appliances like your microwave and air conditioner and recharge your RV batteries through your converter. 

Most towable RV owners must invest in a portable generator to serve the same purpose as a motorhome’s onboard generator. To help you make a smart investment, we’ve compiled this list of our favorite 30-amp RV generators.

Our Picks For The Best RV Generators for a 30-Amp RV

These five small portable generators are top sellers for good reason. Let’s take a closer look: 

Cummins Onan P4500i Inverter Portable Generator

Cummins Onan P4500i Inverter Portable Generator
Photo by Camping World

Generator Specs

  • Surge Watts: 4,500
  • Running Watts: 3,700
  • Weight: 98 pounds
  • Dimensions: 24.5″ L x 18.25″ W x 20.5″ H

The 3.4-gallon fuel tank in the Cummins Onan P4500i inverter generator gives you up to 18 hours of run time at a 25% load (up to 14 hours at 50%). The running noise hovers around 52 decibels when operating at a rated load, and it offers three starting methods – push button, remote start, and a pull-cord backup. 

The generator’s LED display gives you real-time data on power output, fuel level, remaining run time, current voltage, and total lifetime running hours. Although it’s nearly 100 pounds, Cummins built it with a telescoping handle and sturdy wheels to make it easier to transport. Plus, it can be paralleled with a second 4500i generator to provide power for a 50-amp RV if you ever upgrade.

Learn more about the Cummins P4500i Inverter Generator.

Honda EU3200iAC 50-State Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER

Honda EU3200iAC 50-State Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER
Photo by Camping World

Generator Specs

  • Surge Watts: 3,200
  • Running Watts: 2,600
  • Weight: 59.1 pounds
  • Dimensions: 22.5″ L x 12.0″ W x 17.8″ H

Honda’s 3200-watt inverter generator employs its CO-MINDER system to monitor carbon monoxide emissions and shut down if they hit an unsafe level. When operating, it emits roughly 54-58 decibels and offers an 8.6-hour run time at a 25% load. 

For my 30-amp RV, I utilize a Camco electrical adapter and a Southwire surge protector with this generator. For transport, the dimensions allow it to fit easily into the back of my truck. I also can’t get enough of the Honda My Generator app, which allows me to monitor its load when running, check on upcoming maintenance protocols, and much more. 

The Honda EU3200iAC portable generator is a personal favorite because it’s the generator I use with my lightweight travel trailer – read my review. If you don’t live or aren’t planning to camp in California, you may also be interested in the slightly smaller 49-state version of this Honda portable generator.

Check the price of the Honda EU3200iAC inverter generator.

Champion 3400-Watt Inverter Generator

Champion 3400W Inverter Generator
Photo by Camping World

Generator Specs

  • Surge Watts: 3,400
  • Running Watts: 3,100
  • Weight: 92.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 22.4” L x 17.3 ”W x 18.3 ”H

This Champion inverter generator is emissions-compliant in all 50 states. The generator’s 1.6-gallon fuel tank offers a 7.5-hour run time at a 25% load and emits roughly 58 decibels at its rated load (measured from a distance of 23 feet). It can be paralleled with another 2800 to 3500-watt Champion generator with a parallel kit. 

Although this is one of the heavier models on our list, the built-in handles and rugged wheels make it easy to move to your desired location. The handles are great for lifting it into your truck or trailer – ideally with a partner – when it’s time to tear down camp and head home.

Find this Champion inverter generator at Camping World.

Honda EU2200i Companion 49-State Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER

Honda EU2200i Companion 49-State Inverter Generator with CO-MINDER
Photo by Camping World

Generator Specs

  • Surge Watts: 2,200
  • Running Watts: 1,800
  • Weight: 47.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20.0″ L x 11.4″ W x 16.7″ H

The Honda EU2200i portable inverter generator is built with a 0.95-gallon fuel tank that provides up to 8.1 hours of run time at a 25% load. At that load, it emits roughly 48 decibels, and that noise output increases to roughly 57 decibels at its rated load of 1,800 watts. Note that it’s a 49-state model, which isn’t CARB-compliant for use in California. 

The inverter technology in this generator provides safer, more reliable power for charging phones, laptops, and other more sensitive electronics. Honda also has a smartphone app that allows you to monitor the generator’s usage. This app sends you maintenance notifications, like letting you know when it’s time to change the oil in your Honda generator. 

Learn more about the Honda EU2200i portable generator.

Champion 2500-Watt Inverter Generator with CO Shield

Champion 2500-watt inverter generator with CO Shield
Photo by Camping World

Generator Specs

  • Surge Watts: 2,500
  • Running Watts: 1,850
  • Weight: 38.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 17.3″ L x 11.5″ W x 17.6″ H

With its 1.1-gallon fuel tank, Champion’s 25-00-watt portable inverter generator has an impressive run time of up to 11.5 hours at a 25% load. This generator also emits roughly 53 decibels when running, making it extremely quiet and unlikely to disturb your neighbors. 

The CO Shield technology is an important safety feature that detects potentially dangerous carbon monoxide emissions and automatically shuts the generator down. It also features a reliable recoil starting system and Cold Start Technology for extended-season camping. Finally, it’s parallel-ready, meaning you can use it with a second compatible portable generator with an optional parallel kit.

Check the price of this Champion RV Generator.


What Size Generator Do You Need for a 30-amp RV?

Two Honda generators side by side
Photo by Camping World

The appliance in any RV that draws the most wattage is typically your air conditioner. Many 30-amp RVs are equipped with one or more A/C units with a 13,500 BTU rating. Your A/C unit’s BTU rating will determine how much power it needs to start and run. 

Our guide to RV air conditioners has a complete breakdown of running wattages required according to the A/C BTU rating. For our purposes, you can divide your A/C unit’s BTU rating by 10 to get an estimate of its required running wattage. But the most accurate method is to check the manufacturer’s specifications, located either in your owner’s manual or printed on the unit. 

If your 30-amp RV has A/C units with a rating of 13,500 BTUs or less, the generators listed above are rated to provide ample running wattage. However, you’ll also need to consult your A/C manufacturer to understand your unit’s surge wattage – the amount of power required to start the unit. 

Surge wattage is always higher than running wattage, so while a generator may theoretically supply enough power to run your A/C, it may not be capable of starting it. And that’s not much use at all unless you also install a product like this A/C soft start.

Technician Tip: Remember that the generators above may handle your A/C unit’s power requirements, but they most likely will not handle you turning on many (if any) other appliances while your A/C is running. Load shedding – turning off certain appliances before turning on others to stay within your generator’s capabilities – is an important practice for all RVers to learn and employ to protect your generator and your RV’s electrical system

For a more in-depth portable generator buying guide, check out this article.

How To Plug a 30-amp RV Into a Generator

Want to get more out of your RV? Subscribe to the Camping World YouTube channel, and never miss a video.

For many 30-amp RVs, you’ll need a power cord, a surge protector, and an electrical adapter to plug into a portable generator. The exact adapter you need (or whether you need one at all) will depend on the generator’s available outlets.

The video above walks you through the entire process of hooking up a portable generator, but here’s a brief written breakdown: 

  1. Ensure you’ve completed any required maintenance procedures as dictated by your generator’s owner’s manual. 
  2. Check the oil and fuel levels.
  3. Ensure all interior lights and AC appliances are turned off.
  4. Set the generator in a safe location on a durable surface and at the recommended minimum distance from your RV (and others).
  5. Start the generator and let it run for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Plug in your adapter (if needed) and surge protector.
  7. Check the surge protector’s display lights to verify a healthy power supply.
  8. Connect your shore power cord to your surge protector.

We know that choosing the right generator for your 30-amp RV can be stressful. But our retail specialists are a great resource to help you make the best investment so you can enjoy boondocking or other long-term RV trips without shore power. 

Find a Camping World near you to speak to a specialist about your generator needs.

Which of these portable RV generators would you choose? Let us know in the comments below.

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