Caravan & Camping Generator Buyer's Guide

How to Choose a Caravan Generator

If you’re looking to engage in some quality off-the-grid camping away from the rest of us social souls, then you’re going to need something to power your appliances. While numerous options, such as additional batteries and solar panel systems, exist, most caravan campers still turn to a generator to help them with a variety of powering needs.

Choosing a caravan generator takes a little bit of effort, however. Not every generator can generate the same amount of power and every appliance will have differing power requirements.  

The following few paragraphs will provide you with a few pieces of advice to help in selecting the perfect generator for all of your camping needs.

What Type of Generator?

There are 4 types of generators which can be purchased:

  • Recreational
  • Portable trade
  • Emergency backup
  • Stationary

Caravan campers usually use either a recreational or emergency backup generator.

Recreational generators refer to inverter generators which are engineered to provide “ultra clean” voltage to sensitive appliances like phones and laptops, as well as your everyday caravan appliances (such as stoves and fridges).

Emergency backup generators, as the name suggests, are generally used as a backup to less dependable power sources, such as solar panel systems and batteries. These generators can range from small inverters to large-scale AVR models.

Do I Need a Generator?

Although a generator is not always necessary, emergency backup models can be invaluable in an emergency situation.

Deciding whether you require a generator essentially comes down to looking at the amount of power you’ll need to properly run your caravan appliances. Some campers find that a solar panel system adequately covers all their needs, while others require a generator to provide the required power.

Selecting a Generator for Appliances

If you’re looking to purchase a generator to run caravan appliances, the most important thing to consider is the wattage of the generator unit.Your generator will need to be capable of generating enough power to run all of your appliances at once. Most product manuals list the wattage that each appliance requires to run.

Once you know the required wattages, adding them together will give you a good idea of the total amount of power your generator will need to be able to provide. It should also be noted that some caravan appliances, like certain Dometic caravan fridge models, require a boost of energy to start up, in addition to the amount of energy required to keep them running.

Are Brand-Name Generators Worth the Price?

Generators, like most products, are not all created equally. When it comes to deciding between a name-brand and “value” brand generator, you should consider how you will be using it.

If you rarely intend on using the generator, or intend on using it as a backup to a primary power source, a value brand generator will likely do the trick. If you will be using your generator intensively, a name-brand model, specifically designed to deliver high-power demands, is recommended.