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What Size Generator for 50 AMP RV?

What Size Generator for 50 AMP RV?

Finding the right generator for your RV is not an easy task. There are many different types of generators with different power outputs. The most important thing to consider is how much wattage you need. If you have a larger RV, then you will need at least 50 amps of power to run everything in it without any problems.

A small generator can be enough if all you are using it for is running lights and fans inside the camper while camping or tailgating at a football game on a sunny day, but that won’t work for larger RVs which require more electrical power to operate appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, TVs and sinks.

This article will help you determine what size generator to buy for your 50 AMP RV and give you some tips on how to choose the right one.

How to Choose the Right Size Generator for 50 Amp RV?

Determining Your Electrical Needs

RVs come in all sizes, shapes, and weights. The size of the generator you need is determined by how much electricity your RV uses while powering appliances at one time.

Generators are measured in watts or Kilowatts (KW) to determine their power output compared to other models on the market. You can use a handy calculator online that will help you get an idea of what wattage generator would work best for your 50 amp electrical line coming into your camper’s box/breaker panel from the shoreline connection port. When calculating this number keep in mind any additional items like TV or lights that may be used simultaneously with kitchen appliances when cooking dinner inside the RV unit during evening hours after sunset until bedtime.

How to Choose the Right Size Generator for 50 Amp RV?

Generators come in different shapes and sizes with differing power outputs depending upon their wattage output numbers. A larger fuel tank or gasoline engine size will allow longer periods of running without refueling as well. Diesel engines typically last longer between maintenance intervals than gas-powered models that need oil changes more frequently because they operate hotter due to higher compression ratios – around 35-40 PSI compared to 20 PSIs for standard car motor combustion chambers.

However, diesel has been known historically to be much slower starting in cold weather after winter versus its equivalent gallon amount of unleaded gasoline.

Solar panels tied into battery banks make good sense for off-grid usage of smaller RV units not meant to travel more than perhaps 50 miles between refueling stops.


A 50 AMP RV uses a generator that puts out at least 12,000 watts. Because of this, it is extremely important to calculate the wattage of appliances and pumps before choosing the right sized generator for your rig.

If you only plan on using your RV for weekend getaway trips and will not be powering appliances simultaneously, a smaller wattage generator may suffice such as 4000-5000 watts or lower output models with larger capacity fuel tanks.

They can run up to 20 hours between refueling when used at 25-75% of its rated power – this is dependent upon the load demand placed by what’s being powered in addition to that single appliance drawing current from the unit right now.

It is recommended to have a minimum of 125 watts for every hour you plan to run your appliances so if you are planning on powering them all at once, be sure to find the right generator accordingly.

For example: powering one 120 volt RV air conditioner and utilizing 1000 watts draws more than twice as much power compared to 500 watts which use half the electricity since motors like these AC units draw large amounts of energy continuously until they are turned off.

Portability and Size

While larger models may be more powerful, they tend not to be as portable because their weight increases exponentially compared to smaller models (and gas tank capacity). If portability is critical then it’s recommended that you purchase one designed specifically for an RV or camping application.

It’s a good idea to keep your generator small and lightweight. That way, it is portable enough for you to take along with the rest of your camping equipment. You don’t want something that weighs hundreds of pounds or is so large that there isn’t room in your vehicle when you’re driving out into nature.

If you’re going on a long trip in which you’ll be spending multiple days in nature without access to electricity, then having something too large or heavy will just add more work when setting up camp each day. You’ll want a lighter load so that carrying it around isn’t such a chore.

Fuel Efficiency

RV generators are designed to be fuel-efficient, so it’s important to buy one that meets the needs of your RV. Otherwise, you will spend more money on gasoline than necessary.

In general, smaller generators are more fuel-efficient than larger ones. However, experts recommend you buy a generator that is slightly larger than the minimum size needed to power your appliances and any other equipment in use at once.

Fuel Efficiency

This will prevent “brownout” situations where you risk having trouble using certain appliances because they receive low voltage and can stop working (this happens when there isn’t enough power for everything; however, if you have too much it wastes gas).

One important thing to remember with generators is that they are most efficient when run at no more than 80% of their maximum capacity, so it is best not to hook up too many appliances together or you will be losing out on fuel efficiency.

Quiet Operation and Noise Level

The quiet operation of an RV generator makes it perfect for enjoying all types of outdoor activities without having to worry about disturbing everyone around you with loud noises or smells coming from your machine. An RV generator that is only as loud as a lawnmower will be able to operate without disturbing your camping neighbors.

The noise level of the generator directly correlates to how much electricity it will produce. If you need a large amount of energy, then more fuel will be consumed and create more heat, which in turn creates even more sound from the engine. If you are looking for something that is quiet or silent while camping, then choose a smaller electrical output unit rather than one that is industrial grade with higher wattage outputs.

Generator Weight

Generators can be heavy, so choose one that is light enough for you to carry. If it has wheels, the weight will increase dramatically. Smaller generators are lighter than larger ones and may not require two people to move them around easily.

The smallest models, such as those made by Generac, start at about 18 pounds up to 150-300 pounds for larger ones with stronger electrical output.

Generator Weight

A medium-sized 100/125-pounds unit is capable of powering a whole RV if it has enough fuel or batteries depending on its wattage rating.

You should calculate your electric needs based upon certain factors: average watts per hour used by each appliance; total hours that an appliance runs in one day; the number of days you plan to stay at your camping site, etc.

Parallel Connection

Parallel connection of two or more generators is the most common way to increase available power. To use this method, all of your generators must be able to accept 240 volts (if you’re using 120/240-volt appliances). The total amperage output will not exceed that of its smallest unit.

There are 3 options for connecting multiple units:

  • Series connection. A series connection for multiple generators is an option when you need a more powerful source than what your smallest generator can offer. The output of the entire system will be that of its smallest unit. To use this method, all units must have identical voltage input ratings and electrical configurations (AC or DC);
  • Parallel connection. Like Series, Parallel connection is an option that allows for higher total capacity than your smallest unit can provide through the addition of more generators to increase power output. The key difference between these two options is that all units must be able to accept voltage input ratings and electrical configurations (AC or DC) but not all have to match identically like in series! This means you could connect three 3000 watt AC/DC models together;
  • Series/Parallel connection. The Series/Parallel connection is a combination of the two aforementioned ways to connect generators together for more power output than what your smallest unit can provide. It’s commonly used when redundancy and maximum capacity are both keys, such as in medical facilities where downtime must be avoided at all costs or data centers that require large amounts of processing power 24/365;

Fuel Type – Gasoline vs. Diesel

Gas generators are generally cheaper than diesel, but the initial purchase price doesn’t tell you everything. You should also consider how much fuel costs and whether it will be available to buy in your area when you need it. If gas stations aren’t common for miles around where you camp, a gasoline generator might not be the best choice for an RV at 50 amps because of its dependency on readily available fuel.

If you are in an area with easy access to fuel, then gasoline can be a great choice. Gas generators are generally cheaper than diesel, but the initial purchase price doesn’t tell you everything. You should also consider how much gas costs and whether it will be available to buy in your area when you need it.

Diesel generators cost more initially. However, they use less expensive fuel (diesel) which lasts longer and is safer for storage over time because of its stability at room temperature compared to propane or gasoline.

Some research suggests that operating on diesel may end up costing about $0.50/hour less than using gasoline once all factors – price per gallon, hours on generator per day, and the number of gallons used – are taken into account. Diesel is the more popular choice for these reasons.

Is Your Generator RV-Friendly?

The first thing to consider when buying a generator is whether it can be used with your RV. Generators are available in 3 types: gas, propane, and diesel generators. While all generators may power appliances that run on DC current (like microwaves), only the latter two will provide AC voltage for powering electrical devices like TVs or stoves directly.

Is Your Generator RV-Friendly

Gas-powered units can still work by converting their output to 12V DC through an inverter, but this process reduces its overall efficiency, and running them long-term could damage equipment plugged into it due to fluctuations in the current they produce. There’s also no guarantee that you won’t blow out your converter or breaker because of these issues either.


The generator budget is an important consideration when you’re buying a new generator. You don’t want to pay too much, but it’s also important not to buy the cheapest one available either.

The average price for a new 50-amp RV generator is between $700 and $900 dollars. A more expensive unit may have additional features that you’ll probably never use but will pay off in terms of convenience if you do need them someday.


How many watts does a 50-Amp RV use?

An average 50-AMP RV uses about 12,000 watts. Even if you use an adaptor, your 30-amp service RV won’t receive more power than the 3,600 watts it can handle. If you utilize a 50-amp RV adaptor, on the other hand, you’ll be restricted to 3,600 watts.

Some appliances will use more than others will, so this is just an estimate of the average amount needed to run everything within your vehicle simultaneously.

How to estimate your generator size for your RV?

Determine the total wattage of all appliances that will be on at once. If you have a microwave, coffee maker, and toaster oven, add them together for an approximation of your starting load in watts. Add 30% to this number. This is the size generator needed so as not to overload any circuits or trip breakers when powering these appliances simultaneously while running other devices such as water pumps and air conditioner compressors at different times throughout use of the RV.

Related Review: Generators for RV Air Conditioner

What is the difference between 30-amp service and 50-amp service?

The 30-amp service is usually used for small RVs, popups, and small or mid-sized motor homes.

The 50-amp RV circuit has the same wire gauge as a dryer outlet in your home (the #12 AWG).

One big difference between the two sizes of power outlets is that you can’t plug an extension cord into it to increase its length.

Can you plug your 50-amp RV into a 30-amp?

Yes, but you will need a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter.

Will a 9000-watt generator run a 50 amp RV?

Generators are rated in wattage, and the larger the number is, the more power it has: a 50-amp RV might require as much as 12,000 watts. A 9000-watt generator would be able to run your 50 amp RV without issue.

Is a 50-Amp RV plug 110 or 220?

A 50-amp RV plug is 220 volts. If you have a generator that does not put out enough power to run the appliances in your RV, or if it’s too loud for comfort, consider investing in another one designed for recreational vehicles.

Is 30 amps enough for an RV?

No, it is not enough for an RV. A 30-amp power supply will only produce up to 2,400 watts on a continuous basis or 4,800-watt surge capacity. In comparison, a 50-amp service can provide between 36 and 64 amps of energy depending upon the size and type of appliance that has been plugged into it. This is because RVs require high amperage appliances in order to run efficiently (e.g., air conditioner).

Useful Video: What Generator Will Power a 50 Amp RV?