What Size Generator for 30 Amp RV

Whether you’re going for a short or long camping excursion, power is one thing you can’t do without. It is particularly true if you are RVing. Power will help you run essential and extra appliances in your RV, making your life in the motorhome comfortable. This is where a reliable portable generator comes in handy. But what size generator is ideal for 30 amp RV? Ideally, a generator with a power output in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 watts can power a 30 amp RV. Read on to learn how to determine the size of a generator for a 30 amp RV.

How to Determine the Size of a Generator

The exact amount of power you will need for your 30 amp RV unit depends on the number of devices you want to power at once. Additionally, the appliance’s specific startup and running wattage ratings play a crucial role in determining how much power you need. So how do you calculate your total power demands?

Calculating the Generator Wattage of a 30 Amp RV

Most RVs come with a portable generator in the underneath compartment, but this may not always be the case. The generator may malfunction, necessitating a replacement. It necessitates some knowledge in calculating the wattage of a generator. You can determine the maximum wattage of a 30 amp generator by;

Multiplying the Amperage of your RV by the Voltage: 30 amps X 120 volts = 3600 watts.

Therefore, a 30 amp RV unit requires a generator with a maximum wattage of 3,600 watts at any given time. However, your wattage demands may be less than 3600 watts.

While 3600 watts is the maximum wattage a 30 amp RV unit may require, you may have to look for a more powerful generator. A robust generator will be necessary if you intend to run more power-hungry appliances in the RV.

So, how much wattage does your RV require to run all your desired appliances? This can be estimated by knowing the wattage requirements of each device in the RV and summing them up. Determine the startup watts and running watts of each appliance. However, some appliances may not have the starting wattage;

  • Startup watts are the amount of power your motorized appliances such as an AC unit and refrigerator require to get started.
  • Running watts is the amount of power your electric appliances require to keep on operating. This is for both motorized appliances and non-motorized such as bulbs and TVs.


Here is a table of typical RV appliances, their starting and running watts;

Appliance Starting Watts Running Watts
11,000 BTU AC Unit 1600 1000
RV refrigerator 600 180
Blender 850 400
650W microwave oven 1000 1000
Coffee maker 600 600
Computer 200 200
    Total  4850 watts


To determine your total wattage demands, you will need to create a similar table. It breaks down the appliances their starting and running power. 

As you can note, the starting wattage usually is higher than the running wattage. Add up the starting wattage of all the appliances. In our case, the total starting wattage is 4850 watts. The total starting power (4850W) is the maximum amount of power our RV will require at any time if the appliances are to run concurrently. Therefore an ideal generator for your RV should not produce less than the maximum starting wattage in your calculations. 

However, you are not likely to run all the appliances at a go. Running one or a few less power-hungry devices at once is the best practice of saving energy. Additionally, it will lower your fuel costs and extend your generator’s lifetime.

Top 3 Best Generators for Running a 30 amp RV

1. Honda EU3000iS Portable Generator

The Honda EU3000iS inverter generator offers 3000 starting watts of power with the convenience of an electric start. The generator can operate various appliances, including a 13,500 BTU RV AC unit for more extended periods. With Honda’s inverter technology, you can confidently power sensitive electronics such as computers and smartphones while on the go.

The inverter technology ensures this generator operates at a reduced noise rating ranging from 48 to 57 decibels. This noise output will not bother your conversation with friends in an RV or even stop you from sleeping. This generator is also fuel-efficient thanks to the eco-throttle mode making the generator a perfect choice for RVing.

This model has safety features which include;

  • CO-MINDER; this is an advanced carbon monoxide sensor. It continuously monitors ambient CO levels. If the carbon monoxide levels start increasing, it automatically shuts the engine to high CO production.
  • The overload protection feature protects your devices and the generator from the risks of overloading the generator. 
  • Low oil alert indicator.


  • Fuel-efficient
  • Supports parallel connection


  • It is a heavy generator, and it comes without a wheel kit


Despite the absence of a wheel kit, this is one of the best generators for a 30 amp RV.

2. Champion 3,400 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Any RV reveler will fall in love with the Champion 3400-watt dual fuel inverter generator. It’s a reliable and versatile option for camping or home use. This generator gives you the freedom to choose whether to run it on propane or gasoline. The dual-fuel functionality ensures you will not be stranded in the park because you have depleted gasoline. Easily switch to propane and continue having fun.

This generator will offer you 3400 starting watts and 3000 running watts of clean and stable power when running it on gasoline. You can power almost everything in a 30 amp RV trailer. Running it on propane delivers 3060W surge wattage and 2790 running watts. You can achieve a lot with this power output in your RV. Besides the 30 amp power outlet, this generator features a 50 amp outlet for connecting it to a 50 amp RV unit. 

Thanks to its Cold Start Technology, you can quickly start this generator even in cold weather. The generator has an elegant electric start system and a conventional pull-start mechanism. The conventional pull-start is ideal when the generator battery has no charge. Its engine operates at 59 decibels making this generator reasonably silent. You can use it in any environment with noise restriction.

This model comes with a fully assembled wheel kit and a foldaway handle for easy transportation and storage. Other features include;

  • An overload protection circuit
  • Eco-mode throttle
  • A 12 V DC outlet


  • Dual fuel option
  • Parallel capable 
  • Offers quiet operations


  • No fuel gauge

3. Briggs and Stratton P3000 PowerSmart

This is a perfect generator for RV revelers and campers. P3000 PowerSmart has multiple power outlets, including a 12 V DC outlet and a 5V USB port. It is easy to carry, quiet, and starts with just a push of a button. You can move with this generator to wherever you go, it has;

  • A twin handle at the top
  • A luggage-style telescoping handle 
  • Integrated wheel

The P3000 PowerSmart offers 3000 starting watts and 2600 running watts of clean power. You can power your small AC unit in the RV and still enjoy powering sensitive appliances like smartphones or laptops. It has an easy-to-use recoil start system, and the engine will operate with a rated noise of 58 decibels. The low noise output makes this generator a reliable power solution for RV revelers looking for a quiet generator.

You can connect this generator to a similar or compatible model to deliver double the power output thank to its parallel connection capabilities. Parallel connection capabilities come in handy when you temporarily increase your power demands. The model features an LCD screen showing current power usage, remaining runtime, and maintenance reminders.


  • Highly portable
  • It has multiple outlets, including a USB port


  • Even though it’s cheaper than Honda EU3000iS, it’s still an expensive model compared to other generators in its range.

Either of the three generators above is perfect for powering a 30 amp RV. They are reliable, durable, and come with at least two years warranty. 


Faqs About Size of Generator Needed for a 30 amp RV

What size generator do I need for a 30 amp RV?

A generator with 3000 watts can power a 30 amp RV. However, to get the precise generator size for your RV, you should calculate your total power demand. If the starting watts of the appliances in your RV sum up to 4850W, your generator shouldn’t produce less than 4850W.

Will a 3500 watt generator run a 30 amp camper?

Yes, it will run a 30 amp RV. And it can run any other RV provided the appliances you’re plugging in don’t have a wattage exceeding 3500 watts.

How many watts do I need for a 30 amp RV?

Multiply the Amperage of your RV by the Voltage: 30 amps X 120 volts = 3600 watts

What size generator do I need to run everything in my RV?

This will depend on the number of appliances you intend to run in your RV. Take a quick tally of all the appliances you want to run in the RV and get the sum of their starting power. The sum represents the smallest generator you should choose.

Will a 3000 watt generator run a 30 amp camper?

Yes, 3000 watts can run several appliances in the camper, including a 10,000 BTU RV AC unit, blender, coffee maker, among other appliances. However, if you intend to power high voltage appliances such as two 15,000 BTU RV AC units a hair blow dryer, you’ll need a powerful generator. 

Will a Honda 2000 generator run an RV air conditioner?

Yes, it can run a small 10,000 BTU RV AC unit. However, you will not be able to power any other appliance. A 10,000 BTU RV AC unit requires a starting power of 2000W, which is the maximum power output of a Honda 2000 generator. Additionally, there are chances your generator may signal an overload light because of running at full capacity.

Is a 2000 watt generator enough for RV?

A 2000 watt generator is only enough for powering a small RV with very few appliances. If you want to power more appliances, go for a generator with at least 3000 watts

How big of a generator do I need to run an RV air conditioner?

It will depend on the size of your RV air conditioner. For instance, a 15,000 BTU RV AC unit needs 3500W of starting power and 1500W running watts. At the same time, a 10,000 BTU RV AC requires 2000 starting watts and 700 running watts to operate. Therefore, the size of your RV AC unit will determine the size of the generator for your needs. 

Can I plug my 30 amp RV into a generator?

Yes. As long as you have the right adapters, you can connect your 30 amp RV into a generator. However, ensure the generator output matches your power needs in the RV.

What kind of generator do I need for my camper?

What Size Generator for 30 Amp RVThe common generators used in campers are portable generators and built-in onboard generators. Portable generators are the most common because they are used for various purposes besides powering an RV. Built-in onboard generators are built into the RV are powered by the RV’s fuel.

Do you need an inverter generator for an RV?

Yes, inverter generators are essential for RV revelers. This is because inverter models have an extended runtime, low noise output, and can power even sensitive appliances. A conventional generator is noisy, and it cannot power your sensitive electronics.

What size generator do I need to run a 13500 BTU air conditioner?

On average, a 13500 BTU RV AC needs about 2750 starting watts and 1250 running watts. Therefore any generator with 3000 starting watts can power a 13500 BTU AC unit.

How many watts does my RV need?

What Size Generator for 30 Amp RVThe wattage requirements of your RV are determined by the amount of power the RV can draw depending on amperage and voltage. For instance, a 30 amp RV requires 3600 watts (30 amp X 120 volts) while a 50 amp RV requires 12000 watts (50amp X 240volts).



What size generator for 30 amp RV? Ideally, any generator with 3000 watts starting power can run a 30 amp RV. However, determining the exact generator size will depend on the number of appliances you intend to run in the RV unit. Take a look at our table for an idea to compute your total power demand and match it to a 30 amp generator for your RV. 

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About Steve Stuart

Steve Stuart is an electrical engineer who developed interest on generators during his school years. After school, he became a generator enthusiast. This is after encountering power supply problems at the area of residence where he lived. Power would be on and off and so food would go bad and the room heater would go off especially during winter. After trying the different generator brands for several years, Steve now provides information on the available brands and products in the market today. Based on his experience, he gives the do’s and the don’ts when it comes to generator use.

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