Last updated on January 29th, 2021 at 06:23 pm
Camping is the American synonym for relaxing, tranquility, peace, and enjoyment. It gives you relief from the hustle and bustle of city life. To enjoy your camping trip to the maximum, you need some supplies. Apart from food and water, medicines, and clothes, you need electricity to get things going on a camping trip. Some campsites offer shore power, while others don’t have this luxury. For campsites without shore power, RV trips, and other outdoor adventures, you need a generator.
A generator on a campsite will keep your essentials running, keep you connected and up to date with the world, help you cook food better, and let you sleep peacefully. Buying a generator for camping can be a daunting task due to the hundreds of options available. We have made it easy for you. We have done considerable research on various generators available in the market and included the best one on our list. In this article, you will find a review of the 9 best generators for campers, a buying guide, and a FAQ section to help you purchase the best generator for your camping needs.
Generators for Campers (Comparison)
Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator
WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator
Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
Champion 46596 Portable Generator
Generac GP2200i Portable Inverter Generator
Champion 75531i Portable Inverter Generator
Briggs and Stratton P3000 PowerSmart
Honda Power Equipment EU3000IS Portable Generator
Yamaha EF2400iSHC Portable Inverter Generator
Camping Generator Reviews
1. Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator – Overall Best
Engine and Output Power: The best and the most reliable camping generator in the market is the Westinghouse iGen2200. It is powered by a 79cc Westinghouse OHV engine that produces 2200 watts of peak power and 1800 watts of continuous power.
THD Rating: With less than 3% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) rating, you will get clean and stable power to run your most sensitive electronics like TV, laptop, and smartphone.
THD refers to the amount of distortion present in a signal.
Weight and Warranty: This machine’s weight is 46.3 pounds, and it comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
Power outlets: There are two 120V 20A household outlets and two 5V DC USB ports. All these outlets and ports are rubber covered for protection.
Sound Level: It operates as low as 52 dB (A).
Tank Size and Runtime: On a 1.2-gallon fuel tank, you will be able to power your items for up to 12 hours.
Eco-Mode: Its eco-mode helps you to get extended runtime. It allows the engine to change its speed as the load increases or decreases. As a result, you get longer runtime, and the life of the engine also increases.
Parallel Connectivity: Westinghouse iGen2200 is also parallel capable. That means you can link another iGen Series inverter with this unit to produce more power at the time of need. But you will need the Westinghouse Inverter Parallel Cord that is sold separately.
Start System: You can only start your generator manually.
Safety Features: Low-oil shutdown feature along with overload protection with light indicators.
The low-oil shutdown sensor senses the lower oil levels and turns off the engine automatically. On the other hand, overload protection also protects the engine from overload damages.
2. WEN 56200i Portable Inverter Generator – Under $500
Engine and Output Power: A 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine generates 2000 starting watts and 1600 running watts.
THD Rating: Its THD rating is less than 1.2%. It means you can power your delicate items at campgrounds without any hesitation.
Sound Level: This generator’s operational sound is 51 dB (A) at a 25% load.
Tank Size and Runtime: Its fuel tank size is 1 gallon that gives up to 6 hours of runtime at 50% load.
Eco-Mode: Eco-mode is responsible for saving fuel and giving extended runtime.
Weight and Warranty: WEN 56200i is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and weighs 48 pounds.
If we focus on its power outlets, then there are two 120V 20A outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and one 5V DC USB port.
Parallel Connectivity: Link another inverter generator with a WEN 56421 parallel connection kit to double the power output.
Start System: WEN 56200i features a recoil start mechanism.
Safety Features: You have overload protection and low-oil and low-fuel shutdown features with indicator lights.
3. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator – Quiet Camping Generator
Engine and Output Power: The Honda EU2200i comes with a 121cc Honda GXR120 engine that produces 2200 starting and 1800 running watts.
THD Rating: It is safe to power sensitive electronics with this Honda generator.
Weight and Warranty: Honda EU2200i is lighter in weight than the Westinghouse iGen2200. It weighs only 40 pounds.
Power outlets: If we focus on its power outlets, then we have two 120V outlets and one 12V DC outlet.
Sound Level: It operates at 48 to 57 dB (A) depending on the load.
Tank Size and Runtime: Power up your appliances for up to 9 hours on a 0.95-gallon fuel tank.
Eco-Mode: Its eco-throttle system makes sure you get the extended runtime.
Parallel Connectivity: If you need more power than 2200 starting and 1800 running watts, then link another same generator with the help of an optional cord.
Start System: Honda EU2200i is featured with a recoil start system.
Safety Features: A fuel shutoff valve is available along with low-oil shutdown and overload protection. This fuel shutoff valve allows the engine to run without gas to prevent damages caused due to stale gas.
4. Champion 46596 Portable Generator – Loud Generator
Engine and Output Power: If you like Champion generators, then select this Champion 46596 for your next camping trip. It is a conventional generator with a 196cc 4-stroke single-cylinder engine that can produce 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts.
Weight and Warranty: It features a 3-year limited warranty and weighs 99.2 pounds.
Portability: Champion 46596 is framed in such a way that it offers comfortable carrying handles. Either two persons or four persons can easily carry it anywhere.
Power outlets: There are three power outlets altogether. One is the 120V 20A outlet, the other one is the 120V 30A locking outlet, and the last one is the 120V 30A RV outlet.
Sound Level: From 23 feet away, its noise level is 68 dB (A).
Start System: The recoil start system with cold-start technology ensures easy starts in winters.
Tank Size and Runtime: Champion 46596 can run up to 12 hours at half load on a 3.8-gallon gas tank.
Safety Features: Its safety features include a Volt Guard that is a built-in surge protector. It keeps your equipment safe from overload and spikes in voltages. Also, there is a low-oil shutoff sensor.
5. Generac GP2200i Portable Inverter Generator – Under $700
Engine and Output Power: Another inverter generator in our list is the Generac GP2200i that is powered by an 80cc reliable engine. It produces 2200 watts of peak power and 1700 watts of running power.
Sound Level: Its operational sound is 51 dB (A).
THD Rating: A Truepower Technology is responsible for providing clean and stable power that is ideal for powering sensitive electronics.
Power outlets: The control panel of this generator includes two 120V AC receptacles, one 5V DC USB port, and one 12V DC receptacle.
Tank Size and Runtime: Run your generator continuously for up to 10.75 hours at 25% load on a full 1.2-gallon gas tank. Its fuel tank capacity is higher than Honda EU2200i.
Eco-Mode: Eco-mode helps you to get maximum fuel efficiency.
Parallel Connectivity: Generac GP2200i also allows you to generate more power by connecting another GP2200i with it in parallel.
Start System: Recoil start mechanism
Safety Features: Low-oil shutdown and overload protection with light indicators
Weight and Warranty: Its weight is 46 pounds and its warranty period is of 2 years.
6. Champion 75531i Portable Inverter Generator – Under $1000
Engine and Output Power: This Champion 75531i generates 3100 peak watts and 2800 rated watts with a 171cc 4-stroke single-cylinder engine.
THD Rating: Its THD rating is less than 3%.
Parallel Connectivity: You cannot connect another inverter generator in parallel with this unit.
Sound Level: Champion 75531i operates at 58 dB (A) from 23 feet.
Weight and Warranty: The warranty period of this generator is three years, and its weight is 94.8 pounds.
Power outlets: The power outlets include two 120V 20A outlets, one 120V 30A RV outlet, and one 12V DC outlet.
Tank Size and Runtime: It has a fuel tank size of 1.6 gallons that gives up to 8 hours of runtime at a 25% load.
Eco-Mode: For better fuel economy, use its eco-mode. Also, it extends the engine’s life and offers quiet operation.
Start System: You can only start this generator manually.
Safety Features: Champion 75531i features overload protection and a low-oil shutdown sensor with indicators.
7. Briggs and Stratton P3000 PowerSmart Series Portable Inverter Generator
Start System: Briggs and Stratton P3000 generator only features a manual start system.
Engine and Output Power: It is powered by a 171cc engine that can generate 3000 starting watts and 2600 running watts.
Tank Size and Runtime: A 1.5-gallon gas fuel tank can offer a runtime up to 10 hours at quarter load.
Power outlets: Its power outlets include one 5V DC USB port, one 12V DC outlet, one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, and four 120V 20A outlets.
Sound Level: Briggs and Stratton P3000 generator operates at 58 dB (A) at a 25% load, thanks to its Quiet Power Technology.
Parallel Connectivity: You can connect another PowerSmart Series inverter generator to double the power output.
Safety Features: Low-oil and overload indicators are included in the safety features.
THD Rating: Its low THD rating allows you to power your smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
Weight and Warranty: Its weight is 96 pounds and features a 2-year limited warranty.
8. Honda Power Equipment EU3000IS Portable Generator with Inverter –Heavyweight
Engine and Output Power: The Honda EU3000lS is another portable inverter generator in our list that you can use for camping. It has a 196cc Honda GX200 OHV engine that produces 3000-watt starting power and 2800 watt running power.
Weight and Warranty: It is a heavy unit with 144 pounds of weight.
Parallel Connectivity: You need a parallel cable to connect another EU3000IS to double the output power.
Start System: Either you can start your unit manually or with the help of an electric start system.
THD Rating: The advanced inverter technology from Honda provides clean and reliable power to your delicate electronics.
Sound Level: 57 dB (A) is its noise level.
Tank Size and Runtime: Honda EU3000iS can run up to 20 hours on a 3.4-gallon gas tank.
Eco-Mode: There is an eco-throttle system that helps you to get the extended runtime.
Power outlets: Its control panel has two 120V 20A outlets, one 12V DC outlet, and one 30A outlet.
Safety Features: Oil-alert and overload alarm
9. Yamaha EF2400iSHC Portable Inverter Generator – Camping Generator under $1500
Engine and Output Power: The last product on our list is the Yamaha EF2400iSHC. It can generate 2400 starting and 2000 continuous watts with the help of a fuel-efficient and reliable OHV engine.
Start System: Use a pull cord to start your generator.
Tank Size and Runtime: You can power your camping items up to 8.6 hours at 25% load on a full 1.6-gallon gas tank.
Eco-Mode: The smart throttle feature is there to offer maximum fuel efficiency.
Sound Level: Yamaha EF2499iSHC operates between 53 and 60 dB (A) depending on the load applied.
Parallel Connectivity: You cannot connect another inverter generator to generate more power because this unit is not parallel capable.
THD Rating: It utilizes Pulse Width Modulation (PWD) to provide clean and reliable power.
Weight and Warranty: The warranty for this generator is three years, and its weight is 75 pounds.
Power outlets: We have two 120V AC outlets and one 12V DC outlet.
Safety Features: There is an oil watch warning system, along with an overload indicator.
Read more: 5 Best Yamaha Generators Reviews
Output and Power Needs
The most important thing to consider before buying a camping generator is your power needs. If you plan to use the same generator for your RV and home, buy a large generator. On the contrary, if your needs are only for camping purposes, a small generator will suffice. You will need to power an electric burner, mini cooler, electric kettle, electric roaster, phone and laptop chargers, or medical equipment like a CPAP machine. The best way to calculate your power needs is to make a list of all the appliances you need during your camping trip and then buy the most appropriate generator. In this situation, a generator of around 2000 watts will be ideal. However, if you plan to run a 12,000 BTU AC unit on the generator, you will need to go above 3000 watts. Please keep in mind that as you increase your power demand, the generator size, price and noise will also increase. Larger units are costly to buy and difficult to maintain as well.
Inverter vs. Conventional Generators
The next thing you need to consider is the type of generator. If your power needs are less and you need clean power to run sensitive appliances, an inverter is the best option. Inverters produce less power but are easier to use and provide a better runtime than conventional generators. Inverters are costly to buy compared to conventional generators. On the other hand, conventional generators provide you with more power and are cheaper than inverters but make more noise while running. Inverters are parallel capable, and you can enhance the power output by connecting more than one inverters.
Single Fuel vs. Dual Fuel Generators
The choice of fuel type depends on your usage frequency and camping area. If you camp at a remote place where it is difficult to find gasoline, then go for a dual fuel generator. You can keep a propane tank along with gas tanks in case of emergencies. Propane is cheaper than gas but has a lower energy rating. However, it provides more runtime in smaller generators (under 5000 watts). Propane burns cleaner than gas and is less hazardous to work with. The main benefit of having gas as a fuel is it provides more power than propane and is more readily available than propane in normal circumstances. Gas supply is interrupted during natural disasters and infrastructural problems.
A lot of campers will run their appliances directly on the generator. You must look for all the power outlets you need on your generator. For example, an ideal generator will provide you with USB outlets, car adapter outlets, AC outlets, and DC outlets. If the outlets are not enough, you may need adapters and power extensions to run your appliances.
The next thing to consider while buying a camping generator is the control panel. A user-friendly generator will let you manage its operation through the control panel. It will give your power outlets, on/off buttons, meter readings, odometer, and a choke.
Gas Tank Size and Runtime
Smaller generators have small tanks and thus provide low run times. To increase the run time on your generator, put less loads on them. A generator gives the best run time when the load is kept at half of the total load.
If you are buying an inverter generator, make sure it has paralleling capabilities. Paralleling helps you connect two generators and get more power out of them. It will help you to run heavy appliances that can’t be managed by one single inverter. You can also make conventional generators parallel capable with the help of paralleling kit. However, its performance is not always satisfactory. The output may fluctuate and damage your appliances.
A campsite generator must have excellent portability features. Don’t make any compromise on it. Inverter generators are lightweight and easy to carry around. Conventional generators are heavy and need more force to move them. You must look for durable wheels, push handles, and a lifting hook on a generator. Inverters come with carrying handles. Make sure all these add-ons are of high quality and have an ergonomic design.
Camping means relaxation. Therefore, we suggest you buy an electric start generator. We don’t want you to pull the starting cords on your camping trips. Electric start generators are a bit costly to buy but provide you with comfort and save you from the hassle of pulling the starting cords.
If you are disturbed by the running sound of a generator, go for an inverter. They are way less noisy than conventional generators. Some campsites and local laws limit the noise you can generate. Therefore it is best to check the state laws before buying a generator. You can also reduce the sound output of your generator with the help of mufflers and high-quality silencers.
When you are running a generator in the open air, it must have covered power outlets to keep the plugs safe from dust and rain. The generator must also come with features like auto-shutdown due to low oil, overheating, and overloading. Surge voltage protection is also very important to keep your appliances safe.
Warranty and Certifications
Warranty and certifications increase the value of money and give you peace of mind. Warranties will come in handy when your generator starts troubling you within 1-2 years of purchase. If you are a resident of California, always buy a CARB compliant generator. Generators certified from EPA produce less harmful exhaust and keep the surrounding air neat and clean.
The last thing to consider is the price you have to pay for your generator. Inverters are expensive than conventional generators. The price of the generator is directly linked with the power output and features in it. If you want a bigger generator with all the latest features, expect to pay more.