Best Generator for Pop-up Campers And Living Off The Grid


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If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best generator for pop-up campers is, then we recommend the Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi Portable Generator as the best one. 

With the generator for pop-up camper trips, you never need to worry about keeping your fridge or air conditioner running. 

A portable generator helps power electronics and the appliances in your pop-up camper when campgrounds and other sites do not offer an electrical hookup. 

You also have a wide range of generators to choose from, which can be a little overwhelming. 

Should I use an inverter generator? 

How much power do I need? 

After answering these questions, I was able to narrow down my options to three of the best generators for pop-up campers. 

Here’s what I found:

How Do They Compare?

Image
RELIABLE, FUEL EFFICIENT & QUITE
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Portable Generator with Parallel Capability CARB, Steel
POWERFUL & QUIET
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
BEST FOR SMALL APPLIANCES
Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter, Orange
Generator
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel
Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200-Watt
Generator Type
Inverter
Inverter
Inverter
Output Power
120V 3000W
120V 3400W
120V 2200W
Start Type
Recoil
Recoil, Electric
Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Gasoline, propane
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
1.6 gal.
1.6 gal.
1.18 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
7.7 hrs. @ 25% load
7.5 hrs. @ 25% load (gasoline), 14.5 hrs. @ 25% load (propane)
7.0 hrs. @ 50% load
Item Weight
78 lbs
95.7 lbs
46.6 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
58 dB(A) @ rated load
59 dBA
N/A
Engine Displacement
163 cc
192 cc
80 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
24.5” x 14.9” x 19.3”
25.1" x 17.3" x 18.3"
19.8" x 11.5" x 17.9"
CARB Compliance
RELIABLE, FUEL EFFICIENT & QUITE
Image
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Portable Generator with Parallel Capability CARB, Steel
Generator
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi
Generator Type
Inverter
Output Power
120V 3000W
Start Type
Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
1.6 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
7.7 hrs. @ 25% load
Item Weight
78 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
58 dB(A) @ rated load
Engine Displacement
163 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
24.5” x 14.9” x 19.3”
CARB Compliance
POWERFUL & QUIET
Image
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
Generator
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel
Generator Type
Inverter
Output Power
120V 3400W
Start Type
Recoil, Electric
Fuel Type
Gasoline, propane
Fuel Tank Capacity
1.6 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
7.5 hrs. @ 25% load (gasoline), 14.5 hrs. @ 25% load (propane)
Item Weight
95.7 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
59 dBA
Engine Displacement
192 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
25.1" x 17.3" x 18.3"
CARB Compliance
BEST FOR SMALL APPLIANCES
Image
Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter, Orange
Generator
Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200-Watt
Generator Type
Inverter
Output Power
120V 2200W
Start Type
Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
1.18 gal.
Run Time per Tankful
7.0 hrs. @ 50% load
Item Weight
46.6 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
N/A
Engine Displacement
80 cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
19.8" x 11.5" x 17.9"
CARB Compliance

Last update on 2020-10-25 at 15:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How To Choose The Best Generator For Pop-up Campers 

To find the right generator, you need to compare types of generators, features, noise levels, and more. 

I recommend that you understand these details before looking at generators:

Inverter Versus Conventional Generators

honda inverter generator

Portable generators are mostly divided into two categories. You can choose between inverter generators and conventional fuel-powered generators.

I’ve found that inverter generators have become the preferred choice, as they offer a wide range of advantages over conventional options. 

Conventional generators contain a fuel-powered engine and an alternator that converts the electrical output into AC power. 

The problem is that conventional generators cannot maintain steady output, leading to fluctuations and variable noise levels. 

Inverter generators convert the power from the engine to DC before converting it back to AC using an inverter. This allows the generator to deliver steady, clean energy with less noise.

Related: Inverter Or Generator – Which Is Best For Home Use?

Also read: Check out the best generator for RV camping

Power Output

appliance wattage
Source: Generac.com

Whether you choose an inverter generator or a conventional generator, you need to pay attention to the power output. 

Air conditioners hog the most power, requiring 1500 to 3000 watts to start the system and 600 to 1000 watts to continue running.

The other appliances, such as the stove, microwave, and fridge, may need 300 to 600 watts each to start and 150 to 300 watts for continued operation. 

So, if your AC system needs 2000 watts to start, you may need a 3000-watt generator to run everything.

Fuel

Most conventional generators are powered by gasoline. You can also find generators with connections for solar panels and vehicle batteries. 

Dual-fuel designs offer the most flexibility, as they allow you to use gas or propane. 

Noise Level 

The average inverter generator produces about 47 to 57 decibels (dB) of noise during normal usage. 

However, when you first start the generator it may produce noises up to 65 dB. 

Also read: Find out the best quiet portable generator for tailgating events.

Portability

Some of the best generators for pop-up campers come with wheels and a handle, allowing you to roll the generator into position. 

You should also look at the overall size and weight to ensure that you’re able to carry the generator.

Durability

I’ve always found it difficult to rate the durability of products without trying them. One way to evaluate the quality of the components is to look at the warranty. 

A three-year warranty period is a sign that the manufacturer trusts its products to last longer compared to generators with one-year or two-year warranties.

CARB Compliant

CARB Compliant

The industry standard rates the minimum number of hours a portable generator can run before exceeding emission requirements. 

Some of the most efficient generators can run for 500 hours before producing high levels of carbon emissions while others can operate for about 250 hours. 

If you plan on camping in California, you also need to ensure that the generator complies with the California Air Resource Board (CARB) requirements.

I’ve found that inverter generators are more likely to be CARB compliant, as they are naturally more efficient compared to conventional generators.

Ease of Use

Having an easy to use generator saves me time when setting up at a campsite. Some of the main things I look for include a simplified control panel and clear labels for each input and output port. 

You may also want a generator with a low fuel shut off feature. This feature automatically shuts off the generator when the fuel is low, reducing the risk of damage to the generator and your appliances.

Top Three Best Generators for Pop-Up Campers Reviews

Based on the features discussed, the following three generators stand out as the best options for pop-up campers.

Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi Portable Generator – Reliable, Fuel Efficient & Quiet Generator

Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Portable Generator with Parallel Capability CARB, Steel

Click the image to view on Amazon

The Honda EU3000IH1A is a relatively lightweight inverter generator that can deliver 3000 watts of power. It stands out as one of the top-rated options, with customers praising the energy efficiency, quietness, and durability of the generator.

Honda is a trusted manufacturer, known for making reliable engines for everything from generators and lawnmowers to cars and motorcycles. With the EU3000IH1A, you get a durable machine backed by a two-year warranty.

This is a relatively lightweight generator. While many comparable options can weigh closer to 100 pounds, the Honda Handi Portable Generator weighs just under 80 pounds. 

The large wheels combined with a folding handle allow you to wheel it into position and unload or load it.

The noise level is another advantage of the Honda Handi generator. It operates at 57 to 65 dBA, which is noticeably quieter compared to other 3,000-watt generators. 

The engine is gas-powered instead of accepting gas and propane. However, the engine has Honda’s eco-throttle system for increased fuel efficiency. It requires just one tank for 7.7 hours of operation.

Along with the many highlights of this generator, I enjoy the simple control panel. The connections and settings are clearly labeled to help prevent user errors.

Here is the video of the real user had to say:

Here’s a link to see this generator on Amazon

Pros

  • Easy to transport
  • Simple control panel
  • Relatively quiet 

Cons

  • Expensive generator
  • Does not accept propane

The Bottom Line:

The Honda EU3000IH1A is well-suited for anyone that needs 3000-watts of power from a reliable, portable generator. The cost may deter some shoppers, but this durable generator is worth it thanks to its efficiency and dependability.

Click here to see more details and consumer reviews on Amazon.

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator – Powerful & Quite Generator

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start

Click the image to view on Amazon

If you need more than 3000-watts of power, the Champion 3400-watt dual is a best-selling choice. It is a dual-fuel inverter generator with an electronic start switch. 

You can use gas or propane to power the generator. The Champion 3400-watt generator is also parallel-ready, allowing you to link two or more generators for increased power. 

While many generators come with low-fuel shut off sensors, the Champion generator includes a low-oil shut-off sensor. 

This keeps you from running the engine after using up the oil, protecting the internal components from premature wear and tear. 

The Champion generator is a lifesaver for those that bring many electronics and household appliances camping. It offers clean power for sensitive electronics and includes the necessary outlets. 

You get a 120V 30A outlet for AC systems and two standard 120V 20A household outlets, along with a 12V DC outlet that includes a dual USB adapter.

The one issue that I have with this generator is the control panel. The cluttered layout can be a little confusing, especially during your first few trips with this generator.

Here is the video of the real user had to say:

Here’s a link to see this generator on Amazon

Pros

  • Cost-efficient option for 3400-watts
  • Includes two 120V outlets and a 12V DC outlet 
  • Ultra-quiet operation 
  • Includes a low oil shut-off sensor

Cons

  • Cluttered control panel

The Bottom Line:

The Champion dual-fuel generator is a powerful machine and available at a decent price for its class. This is one of the most affordable options for those that need at least 3060-watts of steady power. 

Click here to see more details and consumer reviews on Amazon.

Generac 7117 GP2200i 2200-Watt Portable Inverter Generator – Best For Small Appliances

Generac 7117 Gp2200I W 50St Inverter, Orange

Click the image to view on Amazon

The Generac GP2200i is an inverter generator with 2200 watts of maximum electrical output. It is an affordable choice for those with limited power needs. 

The Generac generator is also one of the most portable options. It has a sturdy handle and weighs just 46 pounds, making it easy to load, unload, and setup. 

Keep in mind that this is a lighter generator compared to some of the other options. It offers 2200-watts of maximum power and 1700-watts of steady power. 

If you need to power an AC system, you may need a more powerful generator. For those with AC, this unit should have no problem powering your appliances and electronics. 

The Generac GP2200i Generator includes two 120V outlets, a 12V DC outlet, and a USB port. 

You can also use it all day without needing to refuel, thanks to the fuel-efficient design. The fuel tank can hold 1.2 gallons of gas, allowing for 10.75 hours of operation at 25% load. 

This generator is also parallel-ready, allowing you to hook up a second generator for more power. However, you need to purchase a separate parallel kit.

Here is the video of the real user had to say:

Here’s a link to see this generator on Amazon

Pros

  • Affordable 2200-watt generator
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Easy to understand controls

Cons

  • Only offers 1700-watts of steady power
  • Gas-powered (not a dual-fuel generator)

The Bottom Line:

Overall, the Generac GP2200i Generator is a top-selling option for those that require less power. This efficient 2200-watt generator offers clean, stable power and durable components for repeated trips. 

Click here to see more details and consumer reviews on Amazon.

Conclusion

So, which portable generator should you buy? 

Remember to start by looking at the power requirements. Each option includes a maximum output and a steady output. The steady output is typically a few hundred watts less. 

If you need more than 3000-watts, the Champion is a top recommendation. While the control panel is a little confusing at first, the Champion generator offers 3060-watts of steady power and 3400-watts max power.

The Generac generator is the most affordable choice, but it also offers significantly less power. It delivers 1700-watts of steady power. 

If you need to power a small AC system and some handheld electronics, it should suit your needs without breaking your bank.

Overall, the Honda Handi Portable Generator is my top pick. It is a gas-powered generator with a fuel-efficient engine and electronic start. It may cost more, but it’s a reliable generator with a portable design.