Camping may be one of the greater ways to get out and away from it all for a little while. However with our increasingly connected lives, disconnecting from our electronics may be difficult or in some cases, impossible. Whether you are charging up cell phones, watching a movie, or running a PA for karaoke night, a camping experience can be enhanced with electrical power and here we will discuss the best camping generator.
Considerations in a Camping Generator
For the camping experience, you will want to consider six very important criteria when shopping for the best generator for camping: volume, size, run time, reliability, service and cost.
Factoring Generator Volume
How loud is the generator’s engine? This is an obvious concern but one that is often overlooked. You’re looking at what appliances you can run on this tool and may not think about the volume until you’ve pitched the tent and start that engine up on a nice quiet evening. Your campground neighbors won’t be too happy with you if you brought in a loud machine to disrupt the calm atmosphere. Note: We also have a list of the quietest generators for your viewing pleasure.
Checking the Size of the Camping Generator
Another easily overlooked aspect of your new generator. You’ll be lugging this tool in and out of your vehicle, moving it around the campsite, putting it away… Does it fit into your packed gear? Will you be hauling more weight than planned? Will a smaller generator provide you as much power as a larger one? These are important considerations.
Determining Ideal Run Time
Fuel capacity does not always correlate with runtime. Your engine runs efficiently when well maintained and can fluctuate according to the load it is put under. You will want to compare similar load capacity run times against other manufacturer’s models with similar specifications. Though one may have a larger fuel tank, that may only because the engine isn’t as efficient and might not run as long as another model.
For the shopping experience, you will want to keep the camping considerations in mind but there are additional factors to consider when shopping for the best generator for camping.
Factoring in Machine Reliability
When looking to purchase a generator, of course you will want to spend as little money as possible, but the most important aspect is whether or not the tool you just bought will function. Read up on reviews, weigh the cost against the benefit. If you get a cheap deal or overspend, the result will always come down to, does it work? Inexpensive doesn’t always mean cheap, and costly doesn’t always mean quality. Find a generator that you know will work, otherwise you may be left out in the dark.
Service and Maintenance
Any complicated device with moving parts and high demand for performance will eventually have problems. Look for a company that will support their product after it leaves the assembly line. You spent the money for a functioning generator, make sure it stays functioning with proper maintenance, an accessible service repair shop and if necessary, backed by a decent warranty.
The features you get may depend heavily on the cost of the unit. More expensive models will have more of the considerations you want for camping. Quieter engines, smaller and more compact, and longer run times. However, for a few dollars less, you may not care so much about the size of the unit, or maybe you’re not concerned with runtime as you only plan to run it for an hour or two per day. There are plenty of options available to you when looking for the best generator to fit your camping needs.
Our Three Picks for the Best Camping Generator
Best Overall Camping Generator: Yamaha EF2000iS
This Yamaha inverter generator is one of the better deals on the portable generator market today. Compact, quiet, and less expensive than others in the same class, this is an impressive unit.
Measuring at only 51.5 dB, this Yamaha model may be the best generator for camping while in a tent. When noise control is a premium, this reliable power plant hums away with minimal noise while still producing an impressive 1600 watts.
The Yamaha name carries plenty of clout with it and you know you won’t be left out in the cold when it comes time to maintain your machine. A reliable name means serviceable parts and prompt customer service if needed. Something the “unknown” manufacturers just can’t offer.
Runner-Up Option: Honda EU2000i
Ask around among the small engine aficionados and they will tell you to get a Honda. Proving their dedication to quality and reliability, Honda recently upgraded this model to improve fuel delivery to the engine.
The Honda EU2000i becomes the best generator for camping when you need to have power all night. This generator will still be running when you wake up in the morning as it will run for nine hours on a single tank at a 1/4 load.
The compact design and insulated casing keep the noise down between 48 and 57dB depending on load. Quiet enough that you can keep it just outside your tent and sleep comfortably knowing you’re not disturbing the neighbors.
Heavy Duty Option: Champion 3400
When looking for the best generator for camping in an RV, the Champion 3400 is a sure bet. Offering dual fuel sources, this generator is built to run on either gasoline or on propane with zero modifications, simply the flip of a switch.
Slightly larger than the other two models on this list, what the Champion 3400 gives up in size it gains in strength. Capable of running your RV’s power with a built in twist-lock outlet and powerful enough to run the air conditioner.
This increase in size and power did not come at a large cost to volume control. Measuring a mere 59dB, it is possible your air conditioner is making more noise than the generator running it.
Our Overall Verdict
When camping but still needing a source of power, a good quality camping generator can make all the difference. Ensuring that you purchase a portable generator that meets and exceeds your individual needs and the needs of your family is crucial. We hope that the recommendations above will assist in ensuring you make the ideal decision. Enjoy being a happy camper!