Best Generator For RV Camping In 2020 (Honda Vs Yamaha Vs Champion)


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Honda EU3000IH1A Handi 3000W Inverter Generator is one of my top favorite for those who are looking for the best generator for RV camping.

You’re gonna be pleased with the ease of operation and the fact that it’s SO quiet, and never bothered anyone (including animals, you know) next to you at the campsite.

Honda generator is very popular and has been around for many years. They’re reliable, quiet, and tough in every situation. No wonder that so many people love them.

But as with any king on the throne, there always worthy competitors trying to compete with them in terms of power, quality, features, and pricing.

In this article, I’m going to review my top three generators for your RV camping ventures:

How Do They Compare?

Image
Top Pick
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Portable Generator with Parallel Capability CARB, Steel
Best Alternative
Yamaha EF3000iSEB, 2800 Running Watts/3500 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter
Dual Fuel
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
Generator
Honda EU3000IH1A
Yamaha EF3000iSEB
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel
Generator Type
Inverter
Inverter
Dual Fuel Inverter
Starting Watts
120V 3000W
120V 3000W
120V 3400W
Running Watts
2600 W
2800W
3100W
Start Type
Recoil
Electric w/Recoil & Auto Decompressor
Electric Switch,Recoil Start
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline, Propane
Fuel Tank Capacity
1.6 Gallons
3.4 Gallons
1.6 Gallons
Run Time per Tankful
3.5 hrs. @ rated load, 7.7 hrs. @ 1/4 load
19 hrs @ 1/4 rated load
Gasoline: 7.5h at 1/4 Load; Propane: 14.5h at 1/4 Load
Item Weight
78 lbs
154.3 lbs
95.7 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
58 dB(A) @ rated load, 52 dB(A) @ 1/4 load
60 dB(A) @ rated load, 53 dB(A) @ 1/4 load
59 dBA
Engine Displacement
163cc
171cc
192cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
24.5" x 14.9" x 19.3"
26.8" x 17.5" x 21.9"
25.1" x 17.3" x 18.3"
Parallel Capacity
CARB Compliant?
Top Pick
Image
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Portable Generator with Parallel Capability CARB, Steel
Generator
Honda EU3000IH1A
Generator Type
Inverter
Starting Watts
120V 3000W
Running Watts
2600 W
Start Type
Recoil
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
1.6 Gallons
Run Time per Tankful
3.5 hrs. @ rated load, 7.7 hrs. @ 1/4 load
Item Weight
78 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
58 dB(A) @ rated load, 52 dB(A) @ 1/4 load
Engine Displacement
163cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
24.5" x 14.9" x 19.3"
Parallel Capacity
CARB Compliant?
Best Alternative
Image
Yamaha EF3000iSEB, 2800 Running Watts/3500 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter
Generator
Yamaha EF3000iSEB
Generator Type
Inverter
Starting Watts
120V 3000W
Running Watts
2800W
Start Type
Electric w/Recoil & Auto Decompressor
Fuel Type
Gasoline
Fuel Tank Capacity
3.4 Gallons
Run Time per Tankful
19 hrs @ 1/4 rated load
Item Weight
154.3 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
60 dB(A) @ rated load, 53 dB(A) @ 1/4 load
Engine Displacement
171cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
26.8" x 17.5" x 21.9"
Parallel Capacity
CARB Compliant?
Dual Fuel
Image
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Electric Start
Generator
Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel
Generator Type
Dual Fuel Inverter
Starting Watts
120V 3400W
Running Watts
3100W
Start Type
Electric Switch,Recoil Start
Fuel Type
Gasoline, Propane
Fuel Tank Capacity
1.6 Gallons
Run Time per Tankful
Gasoline: 7.5h at 1/4 Load; Propane: 14.5h at 1/4 Load
Item Weight
95.7 lbs
Noise Level (dBA)
59 dBA
Engine Displacement
192cc
Dimensions (L x W x H)
25.1" x 17.3" x 18.3"
Parallel Capacity
CARB Compliant?

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

What’s Behind A Good Camping Generator?

When choosing a good camping generator, one of the common questions that people asked, “does a camping generator have to be an inverter?”

Well, not necessarily.

Inverter generator models do possess certain built-in advantages which can make them ideal for recreational applications. Consider the following:

What Is The Inverter Generator?

A lot of portable generators in the past have a gasoline engine that drives a generator and it produces an AC current. 

You get this nice flow current but because the engines vary for a lot of different reasons, there are spikes in the current. 

So you get a high and low spike. They can damage some delicate electrical equipment. It probably won’t matter so much if you have incandescent lights. 

If they spark a little that’s okay and you can get away with that but if you’re operating delicate equipment, you want a nice, clean, and smooth waveform. 

That’s what the inverter system does. It’s got some electronic circuitry in there that gives you a nice clean waveform.

Camping Generators Must Be Quiet

In order to appease campground neighbors, and to comply with the modern noise-level regulations found in national forests, your recreational generator should produce as little noise as possible.

Inverter models have idle control as a standard feature. With idle control engaged, the generator engine produces only enough rpm to operate the appliances or load connected to it. 

Not only will this cut down on noise, but it also reduces engine wear and dramatically increases fuel economy!

Since inverters are designed specifically for quiet operation, most are enclosed in a thick polyurethane casing with plenty of padding to curb vibration and limit engine noise. 

Such a casing can reduce noise levels from 5 to 10 dBA, the difference in output to the ear between an oscillating fan and a loud vacuum cleaner.

A Camping Or Recreational Model Must Be Ultra-Mobile

Mobility is particularly important when a generator will be transferred to a remote camp or location. Here are some other things to keep in mind:

While a heavy camping generator that is intended to power an RV air conditioner may possess wheels for increased mobility, rugged outdoor terrain can render them less effective, even useless. 

If a generator is light enough in weight to be lifted and moved easily by an average-sized adult, this can be of tremendous advantage when encountering rough outdoor obstacles.

Recreational Models Must Power Desired Equipment

Just like any other generator, a camping or recreational generator is only useful if it can power what it needs to. 

One way to ensure that it can is to total the wattages of the appliances or circuits which your generator will be running, and purchase accordingly.

A camping generator with running watts of 3,000 should power a modern RV air-conditioning unit of up to 13,500 btu, even at high altitude. 

If your motor home or trailer contains an older model AC unit, try to test run it with a prospective generator before purchase. Most generator sellers will have demo models available to perform such tests.

There are advantages to inverter generator models when it comes to producing their advertised power. Many, particularly low-priced, traditional generators create less output than their manufacturers claim. 

An inverter generator also produces clean, reliable, and consistent energy that doesn’t rely on the engine rpm. This clean power is great for your sensitive electronic devices like laptops and cell phones.

This is primarily because a certain amount of power seeps away in the transfer of output from the generator element of a machine to its outlet panel via a standard alternator.

Instead of a typical mechanical alternator, an inverter employs electronic circuitry to transfer power, a reliable and efficient alternative that minimizes weight and reduces output loss!

The Best Generator for RV Camping

When it comes to choosing the best generator for RV camping, there two leading brands and generators that I’m comfortable recommending – Honda and Yamaha.

They’re the leaders in this field. They have a reputation for producing the best design, the highest quality equipment. They have been around the longest and have the most service center, the most dealerships.

These are the best products that worth consideration:

Honda EU3000IH1A Handi 3000W Inverter Generator – Best Overall

The Honda EU3000IH1A Handi generator, in my opinion, is the best generator for your RV camping. Having 3000 watts unit will allow you to be able to use your AC unit up to 13500 btu and power up many essential electrical appliances for your RV.

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

Click the image to check the pricing

It’s using a 4-stroke Honda GX160 163 cc engine that generates a maximum output power of 3000 watts. It is one of the quietest in the Honda EU series generators. When you run it at full load, it generates about 58 decibels of noise. Quieter than your hairdryer (60 dBA)!

Like other Honda generators series, this model comes with an Eco-mode feature that will give you about 8 hours of possible runtime before your fuel (gasoline) in your 1.6-gallon tank runs out.  If at the full rated wattage, it will run about 7.7 hours. 

The generator is weighed about 78 lbs which is a bit heavy but not as heavy as Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV generator. That’s means it’s much more difficult to steal because nobody’s going to be lifting that 78-pound bad boy out of the bed of your RV without noticing. 

It also has the twist lock for some RV adapters as well as the parallel operation outlets to connect to another similar Honda generator for more output power. 

With all that being said, if you’re looking for a reliable and quiet generator for your RV camping, the Honda EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Inverter Generator is probably the best one in its class. However, it is not for a budget-friendly buyer.

Pros

  • Super quiet operation
  • Enough power for AC unit
  • Fuel efficient (Eco Mode)

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Does not come with an hour meter

Click here to check the latest pricing on Amazon.

Yamaha EF3000iSEB Inverter Generator – Best Alternative, As Good As Honda

Although Honda EU3000IH1A Handi 3,000W Inverter Generator is without a doubt the best generator in the list for RV camping, its closest rival, the Yamaha EF3000iSEB Inverter Generator is just as good as the former.

Yamaha EF3000iSEB, 2800 Running Watts/3500 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter

Click the image to check the pricing

This generator has a bigger OHV engine 171cc that produces 3000 watts maximum AC output and 2800 watts rated output. It’s capable to recharge your 12V batteries of your RV.

What I like about this model is that it has a boost feature which provides an additional boost of about 500 watts of power output when needed bout 10 seconds. 

What does this mean we’re powering up an air conditioner that it kicks a little out of power. That’s better for the air conditioner because when those air conditioners start the compressors really demand a lot of power. 

Another nice feature is that it has an economy mode. The economy mode will modulate the power output depending on demand. It has a good fuel economy that at the lowest demand setting you get about 19 hours off two and a half gallons of gas.  

The noise level for this Yamaha generator is great. When it runs at full load, it generates about 60 decibels. Pretty quiet. 

On the downside, this unit is the heaviest generator on the list. It weighs about 150 lbs! It’s very heavy and hard to lift. In terms of price, it has a similar price tag as the Honda EU3000IH1A.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Long runtime
  • Reliable and trusted brand
  • A lot of features 

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • Expensive

Click here to check the latest pricing on Amazon.

Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator – Best Dual-Fuel Generator

But if none of these Japanese generators tickles your fancy, there is only one generator that might. Enter the Champion 3400-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator. It is ready to run on either gasoline or propane for your RV camping.

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

Click the image to check the pricing

Unlike the Honda that is only run on gasoline, this Champion generator is capable to run either on gasoline or propane. This is one of the advantages where you have a fuel type option whichever suits your camping situation. 

So, if you don’t it very often then using propane makes more sense since the environmental issue is a concern.

The Champion generator is rated at 3100 running watts with a peak capacity of 3400 watts. It is more than enough to power all your appliances as well as an air conditioner for the RV. It is an inverter unit which means suitable for your sensitive electrical devices.

It has a 30 Amp outlet and CARB compliant as well EPA certified. You get a 120V 30A RV socket, along with two 120V 20A household outlets – and 12V DC outlet with dual USB adapter.

About the fuel consumption, you’ll get about 4.5 hours of runtime on a gallon of gasoline but only about 3 hours of runtime on a gallon of propane. 

As far as the noise concern, the Champion generates 59 decibels at 23 feet which is on par with the Honda. It’s not surprising considering that this unit uses a larger 192 cc engine. That’s not really bad, I guess.

With the weight of 95.7 lbs, it is relatively heavier and bulkier than the Honda generator. You might have a problem managing this unit around. On the positive note, this makes the unit a little bit of theft-resistant.

Pros

  • Dual fuel options
  • Higher output power
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Cheaper than the Honda and Yamaha

Cons

  • Heavy to move around

Click here to check the latest pricing on Amazon.

Conclusion

When you’re going camping with RV, always choose an inverter generator because not only they produce clean power for your appliances but also quiet.

You don’t want to spoil the ambiance of a campground in short order. It will pretty much scare off any animal within a five-mile radius. It’s terrible and people will hate you. You will make enemies. 

But when it comes to the best generator for RV camping, I’ll pick Honda EU3000IH1A Handi 3000W Inverter Generator as the best one.

Despite lack of bells and whistles, Honda generator is a proven reliable, trusted companion, easy to maintain, and also easy to find dealers for service.  

However, you can’t go wrong with Yamaha either. It has a similar quality to Honda. But if the budget is your main concern, the Champion 3400 watts is a good choice. 

Finally, whether you’re Honda or Yamaha fanboys or not, it actually doesn’t really matter. Pick what the best for you. You’re the one that’s going to have to deal with it every day. You make the choice.