what size generator for travel trailer

Finding a suitable generator for your travel trailer might not be a fun thing to do, especially when you have no idea where to start.

What size generator for travel trailer should I choose? I have received this question for a while and finally decided to break through the mist once and for all.

Read on to find the answer! Also here is how to make camping fun for everyone.

How to determine the size of generators for travel trailers?

Calculate the total starting watts and running watts of your RV appliances

what size generator for travel trailer

As for travel trailers, the ultimate choice for a reliable source of power is inverter generators.

While inverter generators are relatively small and somehow incompatible with household appliances, they are the excellent choice for camping trailers.

 Your only task is to determine the size of inverter generators.

Here is how you do it!

Instead of looking for a random small-sized generator and assume that it will fulfill your electrical need, you need to calculate your power demand first.

First and foremost, it is your RV air conditioner you need to pay attention to. By far, it will be the most electrically hungry item in the list. So, figuring out the starting and running watts of your air conditioner is essential.

Take a look at this table for more information.

Size Starting Watts Running Watts
13,500 btu 2800 – 3000W 1500-2000W
15,000 btu 3300-3500W 1300-1800W

According to the list, you need a 3000W generator for a 13,500 BTU conditioner.

Next step is to check other appliances’ wattage. Since the running wattage of the air conditioner is quite low, you can certainly run other equipment as well.

Here is another table for you.

Item Starting Watts Running Watts
RV fridge 600W 180W
Microwave 1000W 1000W
Electric Grill 1700W 1700W
Satellite Receiver 250W 250W
Radio 50-200W 50-200W
Hair dryer 1900W 1800W
Heater 1300W 1300W
Fan 120W 40W
Computer 250W 250W

Finally, you need to add up the total running watts and starting watts of your RV appliances to figure out the suitable generator!

For example, if you are going to use a fan, computer, hairdryer, and radio for the trip, then the running wattage is around 1800W, and the starting rate is 1720W. Your task is to choose a generator that can accommodate both running and starting wattage.

Pick the right size

So, what is the right generator size for a travel trailer?

what size generator for travel trailer

I would recommend the smallest size is 2000W. 2000W generators are relatively small and sometimes incompatible with massive household equipment. However, this size is perfect for travel trailers!

With a 2000W generator, you will have enough power to supply for necessary camping appliances such as fridge, fan, computers or radio.

It is hard to find a conventional 2000W generator, so you are left with inverter one only. While the price is a drawback, inverter generators produce much safer electricity for your electronic devices. You can run two inverters parallel for added power.

Important factors of a good generator for travel trailer

Apart from the size, a good generator for travel trailer needs to meet these requirements.


You certainly don’t want to purchase a generator that wakes the whole camping site up whenever it operates. Noise level, therefore, is one of the essential factors to consider.

You will find most small-sized inverter generators are relatively quiet. The noise level is about 50 to 60 dB.

60 dB is equivalent to the noise of the air conditioner or your normal speech with friends.


The second important factor is weight. It is also one good reason to go for 2000W generators since they are small and lightweight.

Generators of 3000W to 6000W can accommodate more appliances; however, they are much heavier than generators with smaller sizes.

Of course, most generators nowadays come with a handle and wheels, which makes transportation as smooth as ever. But don’t forget that you have to move the generator around! The transport could be exhaustive eventually.

The bottom line

Choosing what size generator for travel trailer isn’t an easy task since you need to check your power demand carefully. 2000W generators are a suitable choice for low demand for electricity. If you use more appliances, consider 3000w or 3500W generators.


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