When you’re looking for a decent generator for an RV, there are a lot of questions that you need to ask yourself. What kinds of features does the generator have? What is the power output?
These, among other questions, may cross your mind. One of the most important questions to consider, however, is what size generator do you need for your specific RV?
The size of generator that you need for your 50 amp RV can largely depend on your specific requirements. A 50 amp RV is going to have its own requirements, but the size that you need can also depend on the kinds of devices and appliances that you need to use.
If you have more things to power, you are going to require more power.
While there are some key guidelines you can keep in mind when buying a generator for your 50 amp RV, the answer is not always going to be the same for every person.
So, with that being said, here are some of the things that you should consider when determining what size generator you need for a 50 amp RV.
What Size Generator Do You Need for a 50 Amp RV?
You will find that 4,000 watts is a great place to start from as far as a minimum size goes. With that being said, before you whip out that credit card for a 4,000 watt generator, you need to pause for a second and consider some other things before you make your decision.
When buying your generator, you should think about the other things that you plan on buying first. But first and foremost, you need to know how many watts a 50 amp RV will use just on its own.
How Many Watts Does a 50 Amp RV Require?
To begin with, you’re going to need to figure out the maximum wattage that a 50 amp service requires. Generally, a 50 amp service will put out an amount of 12,000 watts as a 50 amp plug comes with two 120 volt hot wires.
In order to figure out the amount of wattage that your 50 amp RV requires, you need to multiply the amps by the volts. Essentially then, if you multiply 50 amps by 120 volts, you are going to get a rating of 6,000 watts.
Of course, as we just mentioned, a 50 amp connection also includes two hot wires. This means that you will need to multiply that wattage in order to get a rating of 12000 watts maximum.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the amp you choose needs to be able to supply 12,000 watts. A generator of that power can cost a lot of money, and you may end up paying for more power than you’re actually going to be using.
So those are the starting watts required for an RV, but you also need to think about the running watts of the various appliances that you intend to use.
In an RV, there are a couple of key culprits that will eat up a lot of your power. Your RV’s air conditioner will likely require up to 3300 watts starting, and 2000 watts running.
Your microwave is also going to require around 1500 watts starting and 1500 watts running. Finally, your electric grill will take up to around 1650 watts starting and 1650 watts running.
When you are trying to figure out how much power you require, you should think about whether you have these appliances and also whether you intend to run them at the same time.
To run these appliances all at once, you’re looking at 6450 watts starting and 5150 watts running. This may not be true of every appliance though, so you should always check the wattage requirements of your specific appliances.
Other Electrical Needs
Once you have figured out the base power requirements of your RV, you will also need to think about the other things that your RV is going to need power for.
A few examples;
- An RV refrigerator may require up to 600 watts starting, with 180 watts required running.
- Your hair dryer may also require a considerable amount of power, with 1900 watts starting and 1800 watts running required.
- What about your TV? For that, you may be looking at up to 190 watts starting, with 190 watts running.
Those are just a few examples of the kinds of things that you may need electrical power for in your RV, but there may be more. As a rule though, this group tends to require a lot less power.
A decent rule of thumb is to get roughly 1000 watts extra in addition to the electrical requirements of your main appliances in order to figure out the size of generator that you need.
You also don’t need to add on all of the smaller uses of power at once. You most likely will not need to use them all at the same time. Make sure that you unplug some things when you’re using items that eat up a lot of power though, like your hair dryer.
Could You Plug a 50 Amp RV into a 30 Amp?
You will usually find that camping grounds come with power sources that you can use for your RV, but you will find that they are mostly 30 amps.
This may be a little troublesome for you if you have a 50 amp RV. If this situation does occur, then it’s possible to use a dogbone electrical adapter.
Of course, this may not be the best choice because it simply can’t give you the power that you need to power your 50 amp RV. You are going to need to be very careful about the kinds of appliances that you attempt to run at once.
Power aside, there are also some other things that you should consider when buying your generator that will fit in to the size that you buy.
Weight of the Generator
50 amp RV generators usually have bigger engines. As a result, they can weigh a lot more than smaller models do. This also means that they aren’t as portable as some smaller models.
Of course, there are certain models that come along with wheels and handles so they can be wheeled from place to place much more easily. There are going to be some times where you are going to need to lift the generator though, so keep that in mind.
Before you buy your generator, then, it’s important to consider whether you are comfortable with its weird.
There are some generators on the market that have been made to connect with another model that’s similar in order to create even more power for your RV. 30 amp RVs usually don’t need this much extra power, but if you want a 50 amp service you are going to need to think about generators with a parallel connection.
Of course, generators for 50 amp RVs are rated in order to give you enough startup wattage to run your basic appliances, but plugging in too many things could overwhelm your generator and as a result it may not provide you with the power that you need.
Of course you probably shouldn’t try to run every single one of your appliances at once, but if you buy a generator that has parallel capability you will be able to maximize the amount of power given to your RV later on if you need to.
The vast majority of generators run on propane, gas or diesel fuel. There are also some generators called dual fuel generators that are able to run on a combination of these different fuel types.
Most dual fuel generators will use gasoline and propane as you can find these fuels much more easily than diesel fuel.
Of course, it’s important that you think about selecting a generator that is able to operate on the same kind of fuel as your RV. The decision is ultimately up to you, but it is still something you should think about, nonetheless.
You will usually find that a lot of 50 amp RV generators will use something that is referred to as ‘Quiet Technology.’ Sure, these kinds of generators will usually make a lot less noise than others, but they will never be totally silent.
You will find that most create between 55 and 70 decibels when they are running. So you should always be prepared for the fact that your generator may make more noise than advertised when it is operating at its full capacity.
It is, however, still an important thing to consider because you don’t want to annoy your neighbors!
As discussed, the size of generator you will need for a 50 amp RV can wildly vary, so always make sure that you consider your RV’s electrical needs and what kinds of things you will also want to operate.
Just make sure that you account for the exact amount of power that you need - you don’t need to overcompensate!