How to Choose the Right Size Generator for 50 amp RV?

Technically, everything on the internet would tell you to get a 4000-watt generator for your 50 amp RV. While that’s the standard, you also have to consider how many appliances you are going to power. So the more appliances and gadgets you have in your RV, the higher the consumption. Therefore, the more watts you need.

And if you’re going to run all the appliances in your RV at once, you might be needing more than 4000 watts.

How would you know? We’re going to some steps that will help you decide how much power you need for your 50 amp RV.

Steps in Calculating your Power Needs for Your 50 amp RV

  1. Gauge how many watts your 50 amp RV uses

Initially, a 50 amp RV can supply a total of 12,000 watts. While it’s easy to say that you’ll just buy a 12,000 watts generator, it can be costly. Buying a larger generator can incur more costs. And you won’t really be running all your appliances at the same time, so there’s no need to get this much wattage.

That’s why, instead of relying on this number, you can actually add up the number of watts that the appliances in your RV will consume. And that leads us to item number 2.

  1. Determine the startup and running wattage of your appliances

A startup wattage is the amount of power that your appliance needs in order to get it started. While the running wattage is the amount of energy it needs to keep it functioning.

Different appliances have a varying startup and running wattages. But take note that it will still vary depending on the model or brand of TV or air conditioning unit you have in your RV.

  1. Gauging the approximate wattage you need

Now that you know approximately how much watts your appliances will consume, it’s time to make a decision.

But before that, take note that an appliance requires more energy in starting it up than running it. And one of the appliances that can really eat a chunk of power is air conditioners.

If you just have one unit, it’s easy to say that you can settle for 4000 watts. But if you have more than one AC unit, it can eat up a lot more energy.

Your startup wattage requirement will increase immensely with the addition of a second air conditioning unit. So in line with this, you also have to determine the size of your AC unit and which startup and running wattages it consumes.

People often conclude that they’d just add all the startup wattages of their appliances, namely your microwave, AC, and TV. But these can cost a lot of money. And as mentioned above, you’re not necessarily going to run all the appliances at a time for you to need that much wattage.

So it’s also best to keep in mind what appliances you will run at the same time. Perhaps the AC and the TV would operate simultaneously since you want to watch Netflix on an air-cooled RV right?

Factors to Consider When Buying a Generator for Your 50 amp RV

Know that you know how to gauge how much power you need, it’s time to look for the best 50 amp generators in the market. You can refer to this list for the best 50 amp generators.

And here are several factors to consider.

  1. Type of fuel

Generators can run on propane, gas, or diesel. There are brands that are dual generators and can run on two types of fuel. In choosing the type of fuel, there is a primary consideration. You have to get a generator that uses the same type of fuel as your RV. No brainer right?

And each fuel type has its own pros and cons. Gasoline and propane are two of the most commonly used fuel compared to diesel. Diesel isn’t that readily available. In addition, propane has longer shield life. But it’s not easy to come across a reliable propane refill station.

So it’s a good idea to choose a generator that can accept two types of fuel. In case one isn’t available, you won’t be left in the dark.

  1. Noise level

Some generators can be as quiet as a mouse. But some can also be scandalous. And even if a generator is advertised to be quiet, most are if they are in eco mode. So that means that if you power up all or most of your appliances at the same time, they will be noisier.

It’s unavoidable unless you keep it in eco mode. Though this isn’t really an issue, it just might be if you have neighbors parked beside you. They might complain of the noise.

  1. Parallel connection

While it’s not wise to run all your appliances at the same time, you never know when the need for it will arise. So it’s best to get a generator that has a parallel connection. This would enable you to use more power than what is indicated on the unit. Thus, avoiding power overload.

  1. Weight of the generator

These generators will be heavier compared to the portable one you have at home. While you’re not really going to lift it most of the time, the need might arise. So you might want to go for one with wheels. This can aid in transport should the need arise.

But the bottom line is, you must be comfortable with the weight of your generator before buying it.


Needless to say, when you have an RV unit, it’s essential to have a generator. Power sources from parks may not be that reliable all the time. And you don’t want to wake up to a cold shower with no hot coffee right?

But buying a larger generator can cost you tons of moolah and it’s going to be a waste of money. While buying one that won’t be able to supply your needs would just be as annoying as having no power at all.

Jeff Campbell

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