Aside from camping, travelling via recreational vehicles or caravanning is another popular hobby in Australia. Aussies just love exploring the outdoors, visiting different places and enjoying nature with their best mates. Of course, just like camping trips, hitting the road on a caravan will not be complete without a reliable generator to keep your electronics powered. For 4WDs like these, the most ideal type of generator to use would be an inverter generator as it’s portable, efficient, and easy to maintain.
Since these generators are petrol-fueled with a pure sine wave design, they produce electricity in smoother, cleaner waves and are quieter than standard fuel-driven generators. Battery generators offer some power, but generally not enough for a large number of appliances.
What generator size do I need for caravans?
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a caravan generator. These include the physical size of the unit, where you will use it, what devices you need to plug in, and of course, the cost.
There are two main types of generators you can opt for if you're looking for a portable power source for your caravan: fuel-powered and battery-powered generators. Traditional petrol generators will require you to carry fuel with you, while for battery generators you might need either a solar panel or lithium battery to keep it charged. Either way, you will have to carry an extra item, but if you’re after something more affordable, a fuel generator definitely would be the wallet-friendly option.
Let’s talk about size first. How big is your caravan to begin with? Do you have enough room for a large generator, or is the space around your vehicle pretty limited? Battery generators are generally smaller in size but offer lower power — usually around a max of 2000w. If you think this will be enough for your electronics, then you're good to go. If you need higher capacity, you can check out inverter generators instead as these are known to be fuel-efficient and very portable.
Inverter generators also tend to be pretty compact in size, which is ideal for stashing in any caravan. While not all inverter generators are exactly portable in the true sense of the word, the majority of them are small enough to be fitted inside RVs or used as a camping generator. However, if you want some serious action for your RV, you can go for larger vehicle-mounted generators that run on diesel.
Now on to where you will use the generator. Power stations or battery generators can be used inside caravans and are silent too, perfect if you want a peaceful trip with all your appliances running smoothly. Fuel generators, on the other hand, should never be used indoors so these are better if you're stopping by somewhere to use your electronic equipment. Worried about noise? Go for inverter generators. They are fuel-powered too but are significantly quieter, running at 58dB to 62dB at most.
Lastly, how much wattage do you need for your caravan? This will depend on the number of devices you want to run and their total power output. Generally speaking, a 2000w generator is a pretty standard size and will give enough electricity for camping comforts such as charging your phone, making coffee and running a hotplate. However, you need to work out exactly what capacity you need by checking how many watts are needed for start-up and for running your brands of electrical goods. Note that start-up power is much larger than running power.
Generators for caravan air conditioners
Among the most common concerns of campers is whether their generator will be enough to run their caravan’s air conditioner. Just to be sure, a 3.5kVA generator would be best if you need to power an AC, as this is the standard for running vehicle air coolers nowadays. However, it is still important to consider the starting watts plus other appliances that you need to use along with it. If you need a microwave oven and a mini-fridge running at the same time, then it’s best to opt for a generator with higher power output, like a 6kW inverter generator.
How to connect a generator to a caravan?
When connecting your generator to a caravan, the first thing to keep in mind is safety measures. A fuel-powered generator can be used outside only and needs to be kept dry especially during the rainy season. Since this is a piece of electrical equipment, it is also extremely important to keep it away from sparks or flames. Never touch any part of the unit with wet, bare hands.
Once that is sorted, then you can get connected. It’s recommended to earth caravan generators and check their compatibility with your caravan or RV. Before starting on anything, refer to your motorhome or caravan handbook on how to connect that specific model to a generator. Once this is done, make sure that the caravan’s main isolator is turned off before starting up the generator. For utmost safety, it’s a good idea to keep the generator around 5 to 20 feet away and position its exhaust in an opposite direction from you.
More from Outbax
If you’re planning to purchase a power source for your RV, you might want to have a look at our best-selling generators. We have a collection of auto-start generators, key start generators, and even portable power stations. While you’re there, you can also check out our available lithium batteries and solar panels, which can also be essentials for your next caravanning adventure. At Outbax, we have you covered for generators in Mackay to generators in Melbourne – wherever you are, and wherever you want to travel, we have a generator for that.