Do you need a lot of power? A 50-amp RV generator is standard on most big RVs, including ours.
However, many people purchase older Class A motorhomes, which may or may not have had a built-in generator.
Others may have generators that have been neglected and have sustained significant, if not permanent, damage.
Many 50-amp travel trailers and fifth wheels, on the other hand, do not have built-in generators at all.
All of these people belong to a group of RVers who could consider using a portable 50-amp RV generator to augment their onboard power supply.
As a result, we’re looking at the finest generators for a 50-amp RV today.
What Is The Definition Of 50-Amp Power?
First and foremost, 50-amp electricity, such as that provided at a camping pedestal, is split-phase.
That implies there are two AC “hot” lines, each producing 120 volts of AC power and 180 degrees out of phase (measured with respect to the neutral, whereas measuring across the two hot legs would show 240V AC), as well as a common neutral and ground wire.
What does having electricity that is 180 degrees out of phase mean? That’s an excellent question! Remember that “AC” stands for “Alternating Current” in “120V AC” electricity.
The electricity that comes from your home’s outlets is sine-wave power, which means that the voltage cycles from +120V to -120V and back in a continuous curve called a sine wave that looks like this:
A graph of 120V AC power that shows the voltage cycling from +120V to -120V (smoothly).
It’s possible that two 120V power legs are “in phase” or “out of phase.” When they’re “in phase,” it implies they cycle from +120V to -120V and return… at the same time… with the same frequency.
If they’re “out of phase,” that means they’re not at the same voltage at the same time.
The number of degrees out of phase they’re at is a measure of how far off that cycling is, with 180 degrees being the midway point when one line/leg is at +120V and the other is at -120V at the same time.
So, if you measured the voltage between those two lines/legs, your voltmeter would indicate a 240V difference, as seen below:
A graph depicting two 120V AC power legs that are 180 degrees out of phase with one another.
The difference measured between them at their highest + or – voltage is 240V.
50-amp Each 120V AC line provided at the pedestal is normally used to power a part of the outlets/appliances aboard.
As a result, one 120V, 50A leg of the outlet is generally enough to supply half of your RV’s 120V AC electrical gadgets.
The second 120V, 50A leg is used by the opposite half of your RV.
So, at 240V, a 50-amp circuit may provide 50 amps, or 12,000 Watts (Watts = amps x volts, so 50A x 240V = 12,000W).
Your 120V, 50-amp RV, on the other hand, will be drawing the equivalent of 100Amps (2 x 50A legs) at 120V.
It’s the same 12,000W (100A x 120V = 12,000W), but distributed differently.
However, most smaller generators are single-phase rather than split-phase.
That implies they can only provide one 120V AC leg, rather than two distinct 120V AC legs.
Generally, the amount of electricity these generators can offer is restricted, with most of them maxing out at 30-amps (or 3,600 Watts).
A power pedestal with 50-amp, 30-amp, and 15/20-amp connections from left to right.
This is crucial to know because if you want a real 50-amp RV generator, you’ll need one that can offer two distinct 120V AC power legs, which is why they’re commonly labeled as 120/240-volt generators.
240V electricity might be provided via a portable split-phase generator.
Using a 50-amp outlet isn’t an issue since your RV’s wiring design makes proper use of the electricity.
If the generator also has a 30-amp outlet, be sure you know whether it’s powered by 120V or 240V.
120V is safe, but 240V would do serious damage to your RV’s electrical circuits and equipment.
What To Look For In An RV Generator With 50 Amps
When buying for a 50-amp RV generator, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Built-in RV generators typically range in capacity from 2,500 to 8,000 watts, while some may go up to 12,000 watts.
On our 43-foot 2005 Newmar Mountain Aire diesel pusher, for example, the built-in generator is an Onan 7.5kW QuietDiesel generator.
In our 2005 Newmar Mountain Aire diesel pusher, we have an Onan 7.5kW QuietDiesel generator.
Watts are used to measure the amount of power that a generator can generate.
So, for example, our Onan generator has a maximum power output of 7,500 watts.
When buying for a 50-amp RV generator, be sure it can provide enough power to meet your demands.
Furthermore, you should always allow a margin of safety, and keep in mind that a generator should not be operated at full load for lengthy periods of time (as a rule of thumb, no longer than 30 minutes at maximum power output).
Add up all of the projected wattages for the appliances, gadgets, and equipment you’ll be using at the same time with that in mind.
Then, purchase a generator that is bigger than the total number you’ve calculated (keep in mind that buying a greater wattage generator is less expensive than having to buy a second or being forced to update later).
Also keep in mind that by limiting your power use (for example, don’t microwave supper while running both air conditioners), you may lessen your requirement for a bigger generator.
The rated, continuous (or running) power output of a generator is normally 90% of its maximum power and is a more dependable indicator of the generator’s capability since it relates to the amount of power a generator can generate throughout time.
Look for SURGE, PEAK, or STARTUP wattage values rather than CONTINOUS or RUNNING watts.
Furthermore, the appliances you wish to use in your RV will use more power when they first start up (surge) than while they’re operating (continuous).
Because surge wattage ratings are larger figures, manufacturers want to cite them for their generators.
However, it is your responsibility as the buyer to ensure that the generator can produce enough watts to power all of the appliances and equipment you need for as long as you require them.
One of the most important criteria in estimating the required wattage of a 50-amp RV generator is whether your rig has one or two air conditioning units, and if you’ll be utilizing both at the same time.
PRO TIP: The number of air conditioners is the most typical dividing line between 30-amp and 50-amp RVs.
A setup big enough to demand 50-amp service also necessitates the use of two or three air conditioners.
As a result, if you see an RV with one A/C unit on the top, it’s most likely a 30-amp rig.
An RV with two or more A/C units, on the other hand, almost likely has 50-amp electrical service.
On our 43-foot RV, we have two heat pump/air conditioning systems.
To allow the units to start/surge at lower wattages, we put a Micro-Air EasyStart in each of them.
An RV with one 15,000 BTU air conditioning unit, for example, may only need a 4,000-watt generator.
However, installing a second 15,000 BTU AC unit significantly doubles your starting or surge power needs.
This is why:
Air conditioning systems of less than 15,000 BTUs demand less starting and operating power, however many 50-amp RVs include several 15,000 BTU air conditioners.
A 15,000 BTU air conditioner will typically have a starting/surge wattage of 3,500 watts (but only 1,500 watts continuous/running).
So, if you’re going to run both AC units at the same time, your surge/startup wattage will be significantly higher than 4,500 watts, and you’ll almost certainly need a 7,500-watt or larger generator (though you can look into installing a Micro-Air EasyStart in each A/C unit, as we did, to reduce the startup amperage requirements of your air conditioners and run them both off a smaller generator).
Remember that you don’t always need to operate everything that needs electricity in your RV at the same time.
For example, you probably don’t need (or shouldn’t!) operate two air conditioners, a microwave, an electric coffee maker, a blow dryer, a dishwasher, and a washing and dryer at the same time.
Calculate your requirements carefully before picking a generator capable of a certain maximum output.
Our RV generator, which has a built-in 50-amp, 7,500-watt generator, is large and heavy.
Portable 50-amp generators are also rather huge and hefty.
Every RVer must consider size and weight, and a 50-amp RV generator is likely to be one of the heaviest things you add to your RV.
As a result, it’s critical to evaluate the generator’s size and weight while also ensuring that it can provide the power you need.
Knowing where you’ll put your generator in your RV or tow vehicle, as well as how mobile you’ll need it to be, are critical considerations.
Remember that you can’t take your portable generator with you everywhere; generator exhaust (and noise) must be taken into account.
So, unless you’re purchasing a built-in 50-amp RV generator and having it placed in an RV bay that allows for external exhaust, you’ll almost certainly need to be able to relocate the generator you purchase in some fashion.
For easy movement, some generators are housed in a wheeled frame.
Even yet, you may need to lift and transport the generator, and its weight should be considered when choosing a unit.
It’s also no surprise that 50-amp generators are heavier and bulkier than smaller ones since they generate more electricity.
For many RVers, this may make the word “portable” a bit of a misnomer.
Most of us have a budget in mind, so figuring out how much you’re willing to spend on a 50-amp RV generator is a wise decision.
Along with wattage, size, and weight, pricing will play a role in guiding you to the ideal option for you.
#4. The Level of Noise
Generators make a lot of noise.
They’re all there.
Even generators that employ “quiet” technology (like ours) aren’t completely silent.
Some generators, however, are much louder than others, and most carry a decibel rating that you may check when shopping.
When operating, many generators have decibel ratings of 55 to 70, and others are only quiet in Eco-mode, which is normally at a 25 percent to 50 percent load.
As a result, it’s possible that the generator you purchase will generate more noise than the decibel level it offers while it’s running at full capacity, or even at 50%.
If you know someone who has a generator with the same watts as you need, see if they’d be willing to turn it on for you so you can hear it operating.
The easiest approach to predict the noise level of a generator is to actually hear it functioning.
No matter what anybody says you, no matter how many reviews call a generator “silent,” no matter how loudly marketing and promotion forces proclaim that it’s a quiet generator, we believe that all generators are noisy, so plan accordingly.
Having said that, there’s no use in purchasing a generator you won’t be able to use because it’s too noisy for you or your neighbors to endure.
One of the major benefits of a portable generator like this is that you can move it away from the RV (and your neighbors) to reduce noise.
Just make sure you connect your RV to it with a suitably rated extension cable.
#5. Fuel Intake/Usage
Propane, diesel, or gasoline may all be used to power RV generators.
Dual-fuel generators are also available, which may operate on either gasoline or propane.
The fuel used by a built-in RV generator is often the same as that used by the RV’s engine.
We have a diesel pusher, for example, and our Onan generator works on diesel fuel.
This permits us to operate both the engine and the generator from the same fuel tank (convenient, since our onboard fuel tank is 150 gallons).
Our Newmar Mountain Aire is powered by a diesel engine and has an Onan diesel generator built in.
Purchasing a generator that utilizes the same sort of gasoline as your rig makes sense since you’ll only have to store one type of fuel.
Many portable RV generators are powered by gasoline, which is more readily accessible than diesel or propane.
You should also think about how much gasoline the generator consumes while running different appliances.
This data should be available in marketing literature.
However, you need be aware of the generator’s operating capacity in order to obtain a better notion of the indicated fuel usage.
For instance, a generator’s specifications could state that it can operate for 18 hours on a full tank of gas.
But it’s also crucial to realize that this statement typically refers to 18 hours of operation at 25% of total load capacity (which is really rather fuel-efficient – but you must understand the capacity at which a generator runs for the claimed number of hours on a tank of fuel).
So, before you purchase, read the tiny print and make sure you understand what you’re receiving.
#6. Generators with Inverters
Standard generators are often quieter, smaller, lighter, and less efficient than inverter generators.
Inverter generators are smaller, lighter, and quieter than regular generators because they use a DC generator to produce power and a built-in inverter to convert the DC power to 120V AC power.
They can be highly productive with this arrangement.
They may adjust the DC generator’s speed by using the inverter to provide a constant 120V AC output, operating at slower (more fuel-efficient and quieter) rates for lesser loads and then scaling the motor speed as demand grows.
Standard non-inverter generators run at a constant, non-adjustable speed, resulting in a consistent noise level, fuel consumption, and exhaust production.
As a result, inverter generators are more ecologically friendly, quieter, and fuel-efficient.
All of this, however, comes at a price.
Inverter generators are sometimes double the cost of a normal generator with equivalent power output.
They’re also not commonly available with the big outputs we need in a 50-amp system.
Some of the Best 50-Amp RV Portable Generators
Here are some of the top 50-amp RV generators, along with why we prefer them.
This is by no means an entire or complete list, but these are excellent units with compelling reasons to consider them.
Champion Power Equipment 100813 9375/7500-Watt Portable Generator with Electric Start
- Ultra-Powerful: Enjoy up to 8 hours of run duration on a full tank of gasoline with a noise level of 74 dBA and 9375 starting watts and 7500 running watts…
- Electric start: The 420cc Champion engine is dependable, with a battery-included electric start, a durable toggle switch, and built-in…
Champion has been making generators for a long time and has a wide range of types.
This device is a 7.5KW generator with a 420cc Champion engine (the same as ours).
This generator is very adaptable, featuring several outlets that eliminate the need for a variety of dog-bone electrical adapters.
Pros: This generator is rated at 7,500 running watts (notice that we say “running” rather than “surge” or “starting”) and features a tried-and-true engine.
We particularly enjoy the electric start (battery included) on this machine, which makes it easy to get up and going when required.
Its built-in cold start technology, which allows for simple starting in cold weather, will be appreciated by our Canadian friends and those of you in cold locations in the United States.
This generator offers four covered outlets, including multiple 120V 20A GFCI outlets, a 120/240V 30A outlet, and a 120/240V 50A outlet, which we enjoy.
This device also has a built-in surge protector to safeguard your RV and appliances from power surges.
The “Intelligauge” feature on this 50-amp RV generator allows you to monitor voltage, hertz, and run-time hours.
This is useful for power monitoring and keeping note of when routine maintenance is required.
Finally, Champion offers a three-year limited warranty as well as free lifelong technical support.
Cons: This generator is large and heavy, weighing nearly 200 pounds and measuring 29.9 x 27.2 x 25.2 inches.
It’s also quite loud, with a decibel rating of 74 from a distance of 23 feet.
Best For: situations where the unit is unlikely to be moved on a regular basis.
It’s on tough wheels for simple transportation on flat, firm ground, but 200 pounds is a lot to lift from an RV/truck, even if it’s just once in a while.
DuroStar DS10000E Gas Powered Portable Generator-10000 Watt Electric Start-Home Back Up & RV Ready, 50 State Approved, Red/Black
- DUROSTAR ENGINE: The DS10000E is powered by a Durostar 18HP 440cc OHV engine.
- Powerful Engine — The DuroStar 439cc OHV engine is a workhorse that can tackle a variety of tasks, including powering high voltage…
The Durostar DC10000E is a gas-powered portable generator with a peak output of 10,000 watts and an operating power of 8,000 watts.
This unit also includes an electronic start and all copper windings, which might mean higher power and a longer lifetime.
Pros: The 440cc OHV engine is reliable and powerful, with a long and trouble-free life ahead of it.
You may use the “MX2 Technology” to provide both 120V and 240V at the same time, or merely 120V at full power.
While the idle control option is enabled, the RPMs are automatically reduced to idle when no power is being utilized.
When more power is needed, it automatically increases the RPMs (in response to the load) and then lowers them when the load is eliminated, saving fuel and reducing noise.
Two 120V domestic GFCI outlets, one 120V 30A twist-lock outlet, one 240V 30A outlet, and one split-phase (120V/240V) 50A outlet are included on the unit’s adaptable control panel.
A voltmeter and 12V DC charging connections for external batteries are also included on the panel.
This unit has a fuel capacity of 8.3 gallons and a run-time of 10-10.5 hours at 50% of maximum power.
Cons: The Durostar DS10000E weighs 218 lbs when fully completed (with dimensions of 29′′ L x 30′′ W x 26′′ H), making it a huge and hefty device.
It’s also rather loud, at 72 decibels.
According to some reviews, the construction of this device allows gas to leak into the vent and then drain via the hose and back into the air cleaner assembly if the gasoline tank is slightly overfilled.
As a result, avoid overfilling the gasoline tank.
The overall rating for this 50-amp RV generator is excellent, however we did notice that the gas tank problem was reported by many reviewers.
Best For: RVers who want a full 8,000 watts of operating power (10,000 peak surge), as well as anybody who has enough space for the size and weight of this generator and will not need to move it often.
DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Home Back Up & RV Ready, 50 State Approved Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator, Black and Blue
- Powerful DuroMax Engine: A DuroMax 457cc OHV engine powers the XP12000EH.
- Dual fuel technology: The ability to operate on propane or gasoline provides fuel choice independence and flexibility. It safeguards your investment by…
Do you need even more strength? The DuroMax XP12000EH offers enough power for all but the biggest RVs, with 12,000 starting watts and 9,500 operating watts.
It can take higher loads, so it’s perfect for individuals who want to microwave supper on a hot night while watching TV and drying their hair at the same time!
This is the second Duro generator we’ve listed, and you can see from the customer ratings that they’re high-quality and function well.
Pros: In addition to the strong 457cc engine, this machine has the benefit of letting you to choose between gasoline and propane as a fuel source.
If you run out of gas, you may attach a 20-pound propane tank, similar to the one used on barbeque grills, to your generator and run it on LP.
The XP12000EH, like other DuroMax generators, is EPA and CARB certified for usage in all 50 states.
When the generator is not under high load, idle control decreases the RPMs, saving fuel and reducing noise.
This generator’s all-metal structure is meant to endure, and its long run duration enables it to operate for up to 8 hours on a full tank of gas.
Duro’s “MX2” technology ensures that each of the 120V receptacles gets the most power possible.
You have the option of running the generator at both 120V and 240V at the same time, or at 120V alone with full power, making it perfect for RV usage.
It also has a low oil shutdown to keep it safe if the oil level drops below a safe working level.
Two 120V domestic GFCI outlets, a 120V 30A outlet, and a 120/240V (split-phase) 50A outlet are among the outlets on the panel that RVers want the most.
A voltmeter and 12V DC charging connections are also included on the panel, which may be used to charge external batteries.
Cons: This generator, like other 50-amp generators, is rather large.
The DuroMax XP12000EH is the biggest and heaviest generator on our list, weighing 224 pounds and measuring 30 x 29 x 26 inches.
It’s also rather loud, at 72 decibels.
Best For: RVers who need a lot of electricity.
Perhaps you spend your time boondocking in hot climes or driving a rig equipped with a home refrigerator, induction cooktop, or other high-draw electrical equipment.
If that’s the case, this 50-amp RV generator with more power could be right for you.
Is a 50-Amp Generator Required for a 50-Amp RV?
Perhaps not! You can really use a 30-amp generator to power your 50-amp RV if you’re smart at monitoring your systems and power use and avoid boondocking in very hot weather.
Using a 30-amp generator on a 50-amp RV is much the same as connecting to a 30-amp power pedestal at an RV park using a 50-to-30-amp dog-bone adaptor.
As long as the generator you pick has the capacity to power a 30-amp RV, you’ll have the same amount of electricity as a 30-amp campground… which is a lot.
Connecting a 50-amp RV to a 30-amp generator should only be an issue in very hot weather (cold weather can be easily solved with propane heating, but that’s a subject for another day).
Air conditioners can only be powered by electricity, and they do so in vast quantities.
It’s a good idea to plan around the weather prediction if you’re going to use a 30-amp generator to power a 50-amp RV.
Checking into a full-hook-up RV campsite may, of course, be part of that planning!
Westinghouse iGen4500 Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator 3700 Rated & 4500 Peak Watts, Gas Powered, Electric Start, RV Ready, CARB Compliant
- Telescoping Handle – Gas Powered – Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and…
- 3700 Rated Watts and 4500 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD – Telescoping Handle – Gas Powered – Remote Start With Included Key Fob, Electric and… Two USB outlets, a 5–20R 120V Duplex Household Outlet, and an RV-Ready Tt-30R 30 Amp Outlet – Ideal for use in travel trailers or at home…
If you do decide to use a 30-amp generator to power a 50-amp RV, keep in mind the following:
This Westinghouse iGen4500 is the lightest, quietest, and least priced of all the models we’ve looked at so far, but it’s also the most power-limited.
This gas-powered generator with an electric start has a rated (running) output of 3,700 Watts and a peak (surge) power of 4,500 Watts.
For many RVers, this is enough; but, for others, it is insufficient.
It’s critical to know your maximum power requirements before you go shopping.
This lightweight yet sturdy RV generator weighs 93 pounds and takes up 24.5 x 17.5 x 20 inches in storage.
It needs a 50-to-30-amp dog-bone adaptor to connect a 50-amp RV to it since it lacks a 50-amp outlet.
Does it, or does it not? Perhaps, and perhaps not.
It all comes down to your willingness to think beyond the box.
If you look carefully, you’ll see that this generator has a 5–20R 120V duplex home outlet, an RV-ready Tt-30R 30-amp outlet, and two USB ports, but no 50-amp outlet.
So, if you’re wondering why we’re showcasing this generator in an article on 50-amp RV generators, it’s because it’s a 50-amp RV generator.
The solution may be found in the following item:
- Plug-and-play parallel system with LED connectors and switches that is simple to use.
- There’s no need for huge, complex junction boxes, additional hardware, or time-consuming ground terminal wiring.
You may connect the iGEN4500 to another Westinghouse generator to obtain 50 amps with this 50-amp inverter generator parallel cable.
NOTE: To utilize the parallel kit, both Westinghouse generators must have parallel ports.
If you already own a Westinghouse iGen2500 inverter generator (or another iGen4500), you may use the parallel kit to connect it to this iGen4500 and receive 50 amps of output electricity.
We’ve included this generator and parallel kit in this area since we know it might save you money if you already own a Westinghouse inverter generator with parallel ports, and it’s one choice for anybody looking for a lighter, simpler to store and carry alternative.
Pros: Because it’s an inverter generator, we appreciate that it’s smaller, lighter, and quieter than others (as low as 52 dBA).
We particularly like the remote start feature, which allows us to start the generator from within the rig.
The revolving digital display is a good feature that displays the fuel level, power output, remaining run time, voltage output, and lifespan hours, all of which are useful to keep track of.
On a 3.4-gallon petrol tank, this device is advertised to operate for up to 18 hours.
We anticipate this to be reached solely in “economy mode,” yet it still reflects excellent fuel efficiency.
Cons: You may not want to invest the money necessary for two Westinghouse generators unless you already have one with parallel ports to combine with this one to produce 50 amps.
However, if you’re smart with power management, you can dog-bone your RV’s power chord down to 30-amps and receive plenty of juice from just one of them.
Best For: Anyone who already owns a Westinghouse inverter generator with parallel ports, or who is willing to spend the money on an iGen2500 (for example) for $550, or two iGen4500 generators for $900 each.
Finally, several reviewers of the Westinghouse parallel cable mentioned above have stated that they’ve used it to connect two different brands and models of generators.
While this is feasible, we recommend contacting the manufacturers of the generators you want to connect through the parallel cable beforehand.
Can A 30-Amp RV Be Plugged Into A 50-Amp Generator Outlet?
You can, but you’ll need one more piece of gear.
A 30-amp RV plug has three wires (one 120V wire, one ground wire, and one neutral wire), whereas a 50-amp plug has four wires (one 120V wire, one ground wire, and one neutral wire) (two 120V wires, a ground wire, and a neutral wire).
So you’d need a dog-bone connector like this to plug a 30-amp RV into a 50-amp generator outlet:
- Converts Electrical Connection Type: Designed to enable you to connect to the power pedestal at your campsite by adjusting the electrical connection to meet…
- Heavy-duty 50-amp male (NEMA 14-50P) and 30-amp female (NEMA TT-30R) electrical heads with high conductivity, 125 volts/3750 watts rated. Constructed…
Plug your 30-amp RV plug into the 30-amp female end of the dog-bone, then into the 50-amp generator outlet using the 4-prong/50-amp male end of the dog-bone.
How Long Will a Generator in an RV Last?
With the exception of maintenance, the answer to this question is dependent on a number of variables, none of which we can directly account for.
The better you maintain a generator, like everything else, the longer it will last.
What’s an example? We’ve owned our generator for over 16 years, and it’s performed well and continues to do so now.
That said, the built-in Onan generator is of extremely good quality.
Furthermore, we maintain it admirably (if we do say so ourselves), as we have done since purchasing our RV.
As is customary, proper upkeep goes a long way.
Keep in mind that generators are not to be overlooked (or any other gear, for that matter).
They must be well-maintained and operated on a regular basis, under load (for more information about your generator, see your owner’s handbook).
A generator’s lifetime will surely be shortened if it is neglected.
We hope this article has clarified a few points concerning 50-amp RV generators and given you some suggestions for what to look for the next time you’re shopping for one.