What Size Generator for a 30 Amp or 50 Amp RV?

Planning to take your RV on a camping trip? The first thing you need to do is check if you have enough power to use all the electronic appliances you have inside it. Appliances such as air conditioners, fridges, or microwaves, which are common finds inside an RV, naturally require a lot of power.

However, buying a generator for an RV that is capable of powering all the electronics is not an easy task. You want to be as efficient as possible.

Not only is it a bad idea to go with a generator that does not supply adequate wattage, but it is also a poor choice if your generator has too much power. You do not want to spend additional money on extra wattage without using it.

In this article, we will give you an easy way to calculate your wattage needs and help you decide what size of generator is perfect for a 30 amp or a 50 amp RV. So without further delay, let us jump in.

Estimate Wattage Needs for Your RV

Finding the exact wattage of appliances is critical to figuring out the size of generator that you need for your RV. We always recommend spending some time listing out all the appliances you have running in your vehicle. Then calculate the estimated wattage of the appliances, and you will have your answer.

To make things easier, we suggest using this simple yet effective tool that can automatically calculate the wattage. You will find the option to select different appliances, and the wattage will automatically be calculated. Once you have selected all the appliances, you can also find different suggestions for buying the generator.

Needless to say, it can make the entire process a lot easier and hassle-free. If you are struggling with using the tool, this video should help clarify things. Working out the rest on your own should be quite easy.

Estimate Wattage Needs for Your RV

If you do not find the estimated wattage, you cannot ensure that the generator you get will meet your power requirements. Another thing to remember is how much power you will need at a time. For example, you are not going to keep your dishwasher or game console running the whole day.

We still recommend adding those appliances to your total wattage as you do not want a sudden power deficiency if you are, in fact, running both of them together.

Calculate Exact Number: How To Find The Wattage Of Your Appliances?

You can, of course, use the online tool that we suggested above to find the exact wattage of your appliances. But if you are short on time, and would rather know the answer here, let us give you a quick rundown of the wattage of some of the common RV electronic appliances.

  • 15000 BTU air conditioning units require 2400 watts of power
  • 13500 BTU air conditioning units require 1200 watts of power
  • Dishwasher ranges from 1200 to 2400 watts of power
  • The stove can range from 900 to 2400 watts
  • Hairdryer ranges from 1200 to 1875 watts
  • Cloth iron can take 1000 to 1800 watts of power
  • The washer requires about 1000 watts of power
  • A coffee maker takes up to 1200 watts of power
  • Microwave requires about 750 to 1500 watts of power
  • The refrigerator takes up to 1000 watts of power
  • TV requires 43 to 600 watts of power
  • Gaming console takes about 70 to 180 watts
  • A laptop requires a measly 20 to 50 watts of power

Difference Between a 30- and 50 amps RV

Now that you know how to get an estimate of your power needs let’s talk a bit about the difference between a 30 amp and a 50 amp RV. If you have a basic idea about electricity and energy, you already know that amperage means the density or, rather, the volume of electrons that are flowing in a particular environment.

The basic difference between a 30 and a 50 amp RV is the amount of power that the RV can handle. With a 30 amp RV, you will have a slightly lower flow of electricity which means you will not get as much power compared to a 50 amp RV.

Difference Between a 30- and 50 amps RV

Since we know the operating voltage of most RVs, which is at 120 volts, we can easily calculate how much electric power your RV can handle by multiplying amperage by volts.

For a 30 amp RV running at 120 volts, it can handle about 30 X 120 = 3600 watts of electrical power. For 50 Amp RV running at 120 volts, it can handle about 50 X 120 = 6000 watts of power which is almost double the value of 30 amp RVs.

Running Watts And Starting Watts: What Are These?

Before you can settle on a specific generator of your RV, you need to know and understand two concepts, the running watts, and the starting watts. Whenever you are buying a generator, you will find these two values, and without knowing about it, you will not be able to get a generator that suits your specific power needs.

Simply put, running watts refer to the amount of power that the generator outputs when it is running continuously. It is also known as continuous watts of rated watts. On the other hand, starting watts is a quick burst of power that the generator supplies the moment you turn it up. Another name for starting watts is surge watts.

Running Watts And Starting Watts

The starting watts of a generator is always higher than the running watts. This means when you turn on your generator for the first few moments, it can supply more power than normal. After a while, the power stabilizes at a lower value, and that is what is knowns as the running watts.

For example, an average generator that has a rated wattage of 4000 watts can require up to 5000 starting watts.

What Size Generator for 30 Amp RV?

As we just said, a 30 amp RV is only capable of handling 3600 watts of maximum power. This means if you get a 3600 watts generator, you should be all set. However, we always suggest keeping some headroom when getting a generator. So, you should try to get a generator that can deliver at least 4000 watts of power.

What Size Generator for 30 Amp RV

If you are on a budget, make sure you get at least a 2800 watt generator as that is the minimum threshold for RVs, especially if it has an air conditioning system. Without an air conditioner installed, you can probably get by with a lower wattage generator.

What Size Generator for 50 Amp RV?

The proper generator choice for a 50 amp RV, however, is a bit more complicated to choose. Since most 50 amp RVs come with two exclusive feeds, you essentially get 100 amps of power. Remember how we calculated that 50 amp RVs can handle 6000 watts of power.

In practice, though, most 50 amp RVs with dual feeds can handle 12000 watts of electrical power which frankly is quite a lot. That is why if you are planning on running lots of appliances inside it, a 50 amp RV is the best choice. But when buying a generator, you should consider going with a 12000 to 15000 watts unit for best performance.

What Size Generator for 50 Amp RV

However, if you are not planning on using 12000 watts worth of electronic equipment inside your RV, you can probably get a smaller generator. As always, calculating the exact number of wattage is the most efficient way to go.

So, What Size Generator Do You Need For Your RV?

Again, it all depends on what appliance you have running inside your RV most of the time. Some people can get by with a 3000 watts generator, whereas others can require much more power than it can supply. For those people, going with a 6000 watts generator for extra power might be the better decision.

What Size Generator Do You Need For Your RV

Before you settle on a specific generator, always do a thorough calculation of your power requirements. This would make it a lot easier for you to figure out which size of generator will be sufficient to supply power to all the appliances you have inside your RV.

There are a few other factors that you should look at when buying a generator for your RV other than the size.

Final verdict

If you want to invest in a generator for your RV, you must check the size of the generator and see if it can handle the power needs of your vehicle and all the electronic gears inside it. Without matching your RV with the right generator, you will not be able to enjoy your camping trips to their fullest.

We hope our article on generator power and wattage could help you figure out what size of generator you need for your 30 amp or 50 amp RV without too much hassle. Good luck!