Camper, RV & Motorhome Owners Guide to Generators

Generator in front of motorhome

It might seem counterintuitive to consider a generator for your motorhome. Already coming with their own supply or battery to handle the power supply, your camper or RV should have you covered – but in case of emergency, you’ll thank yourself for having a backup. Considering the pros and cons, keep reading to learn more about generators for RVs, Campers and motorhomes.

Do you need a generator for a Camper, RV or Motorhome?

In short, no. Or more accurately, you shouldn’t need a generator for a camper. If everything is running correctly, there should be no need for an external power supply in your RV or motor home, but you can’t predict these things and sometimes a bit of backup is needed if you want to power up additional items or need support in an emergency situation. So a lot of camper owners prefer to keep a generator close by, just in case.

When might you need a generator for a motorhome?

The main situation where you might find yourself needing a generator for your motorhome is in the case of a power failure or dead battery. If something goes wrong with your motorhome, causing the internal power supply to fail or the battery to die with no way of recharging, you’d need a generator to keep your electricals going. Also if you’re planning to park up somewhere more remote or venture away from your camper for a night in a tent or something like that, you might want a generator to take with you.

Pros and cons of having a generator for your motorhome

Being more of a luxury or a just-in-case item rather than a necessity, there are pros and cons to having a generator in your motorhome. Educating to empower your choice, keep reading to hear both sides.

Pros of having a generator for your motorhome

  • Get power for the things you need

The major pro is being prepped and safe in case of emergency. If something happened to go wrong, having a generator nearby would mean that your electricals could keep running, as well as allow you to run extra electrical in case your motorhome has limited power or doesn’t work for running things like laptops or extra items. Having the generator means you can relax, knowing you’re safe and covered if something went wrong.

Cons of having a generator for your motorhome

  • Initial cost

Obviously, generators aren’t a cheap purchase for a just-in-case item. As a bulky up front cost, this might not be something you want to budget for.

  • Storage space

As bulky items, a generator will use up storage space in your RV, possibly taking room away from other items you’d prefer to take instead.

  • Weight

As motorhomes have a weight limit, a generator will use up a chunk of this allowance that could have been given to extra luggage, leisure items or other necessities instead. So this is something to consider when deciding whether to get a generator.

  • Carrying fuel

Generators require fuel, which means you’ll need to be safely storing, transporting and handling highly flammable materials that you wouldn’t usually be. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, and isn’t an additional pressure or responsibility you want to take on, it can be a con.

  • Maintenance

Beyond the cost and weight, generators also need regular and routine care. You need to be checking over your generator often, letting it run often to ensure safe usage and considering things like getting wind and rain covers. With all the maintenance already involved in owning a motorhome, this additional level of care and attention needed might not be something you’re looking for.

  • Noise

As heavy pieces of kit, generators come with an inevitable level of noise. Also, certain campsites or camper parks might have limits on noise levels that you’d need to consider. So if your peace is a priority, this could put a dampener on that.

What to consider when buying a generator for your motorhome

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying a generator. First and foremost, you need to make sure the generator you purchase is powerful enough to run your electricals without risk of overloading, so you’ll need to use our wattage calculator to find the appropriate power level and frequency.

Next up, you want to make sure you’re getting a convenient generator for you. What size do you need for easy storage? What weight limit is your motorhome and what weight can you afford to give to a generator? What noise level does your campsite allow and how much noise can you tolerate? As well as these things, you want to consider fuel type to ensure you can safely handle and access the fuel you need.

Then as additional considerations – generators allow for different socket types to run different things, so you need to make sure you can plug in and power what you’re looking to use. Also, modern generators offer digital start-up, using a remote to let you power up the generator at a distance; so it’s important to consider your own priorities.

What size generator do I need for my motorhome?

This totally depends on what in your motorhome you might need to run. The best way to figure out the generator size you might need is to use the wattage calculator, adding up the wattage of any essentials or items you want to power, and ensure your generator has more than enough power for them. In generally, you shouldn’t need a generator too big when it’s a just-in-case purchase, so 3500 watts should be enough.

Can I use a regular generator for my motorhome?

You can use a regular generator for a motorhome as long as you’re considering power levels and fuel type. It’s also important to consider any rules your regular camper park might have as some may ban certain fuel times, have noise level limits or restrict generators over a certain size.

Silent, portable generators for campers, RVs and motorhomes 

92001i-DF Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Champion 2200 Watt "Mighty Atom" Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – Using LPG for more sustainable running and weighing only 17.6kg – the Mighty Atom is the best pick for a camper generator that won’t weigh you down.

73001i-DF Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Champion 3500 Watt LPG Dual Fuel Inverter Generator – this ultra-quiet generator will keep the peace at camper parks while packing a powerful punch to keep you up and running.

CPG4000DHY-DF Dual Fuel Hybrid Inverter Generator

Champion 3600 Watt Dual Fuel Digital Hybrid Frame Type Inverter – Producing clean power with a hybrid design that’s smaller, lighter and quieter than traditional generators, it’s a great option for a backup generator.

To see all our recommendations, visit our Camping Generators page.