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The 5 Best Camping Generators in 2022 – RankedGenerator

Not only is camping a fun activity but it brings together family and friends as well. However, there won’t be much fun if you don’t have a power supply for certain appliances such as camp lights, portable fans, laptops, electric coffee makers, space heaters or portable air conditioners.

It’s important to calculate the amount of power you’ll need during your trip. The bigger generators usually make a huge amount of noise and aren’t easy to move around. So, you don’t want to go for an unnecessarily big generator that’ll create more sound than the recommended dB of the campground.

We reviewed today’s top camping generators considering a number of factors like fuel type, power output, portability, noise level, and price range; and singled out the best-performers. Read on to see our hands-on experience with those units and find out the perfect match for you!

A Quick View of Our Favorites Compact Camping Generators

Thumbnail Product Name Price
Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator Check Price
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator Check Price
Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator Check Price
DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator 13000 Watt Gas DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator 13000 Watt Gas Check Price
Champion Power Equipment 100574 4000-Watt RV Ready Digital Hybrid Inverter Generator Champion Power Equipment 100574 4000-Watt RV Ready Digital Hybrid Inverter Generator Check Price

The 5 Best Camping Generators On The Market Today

01 Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator (Editor’s Pick)

Westinghouse WGen7500 Portable Generator with Remote Electric Start

Why it stands out to us

The WGen7500 generator from Westinghouse topped the list of our most desirable camping generators due to its attractive appearance, affordable price and multiple start up options. Designed for portability makes it a perfect camping generator. The power wattage and multiple outlet options are a stand out.

The fuel efficiency is another amazing feature with a large capacity fuel tank. The noise level is comparatively lower and the digital tracking meter is an added bonus. Overall everything including the easy installation process makes this beast an absolute win-win.

Our experience with the Westinghouse WGen7500

  • The lustrous appearance perfect for outdoor devices with a handle convenient for carrying was a treat to the eye.
  • The price is good enough not to put a dent on your credit card, compared to the power wattage.
  • The WGen7500 comes with an electric start, a remote start and a recoil start options and the remote start proved to be particularly useful for senior citizens. As opposed to a pull start generator, these varying options are user friendly. The installation is fairly simple too.
  • The peak power gave us the opportunity to run several devices such as an 18000 watts AC, a refrigerator, a freezer, several lights and two fans up to around 12 hours on a full tank. But with a half load, the runtime could reach almost 16 hours. Moreover, it didn’t slow down when facing a power surge.
  • Different power outlet options are available- GFCI 20 amp plugs, a non-GFCI RV ready plug 120V and a non-GFCI Transfer switch plug 120 or 240 volt. Yes, there are both 120V and 240V switches.
  • Another useful feature was its digital meter showing frequency, volts, and hours with a reminder in every 25 hours to change oil. Moreover, it has an automatic low oil shutdown.
  • Along with being a fantastic gas powered generator with a 6.6-gallon fuel tank, according to several customers, it’s 30-40% more fuel efficient, especially when you add a fuel stabilizer.
  • The machine may not be lightweight enough for some people but the wheels help carry it without an issue.
  • The noise level is 72 dB which is within the universally acceptable sound level. Even though this was fine for most people, some did complain.
  • The whole package included the generator, a remote start key fob, a 12V battery charger, oil, an oil funnel, a tool kit, and a user manual and the installation process we found remarkably easy.
  • Some customers had issues with the battery being dead often and refusing to receive charge.

What we didn’t like

  • The battery was not high quality and needed frequent charging.

What could be improved

  • The battery quality could be improved.
  • The sound level could be lowered down a bit.

Our recommendations

  • Buy a new battery just in case the installed one fails.
  • Get a fuel stabilizer for added fuel efficiency.
  • Keep the generator at least 20 feet away from your camp.

Specifications

  • Wattage: 7500 watts
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 27.2 x 26.1 x 26 inches
  • Weight: 192 pounds
  • Engine Type: Four strokes
  • Engine Displacement: 420 cubic centimeters
  • Ignition system type: Electronic
  • Runtime: 11 hours
  • Fuel type: Gasoline

Pros

  • Electronic start
  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • Senior friendly
  • Simple installation process
  • Eye-catching look
  • High power wattage
  • Multiple power outlet options
  • Fuel efficient
  • Low noise level
  • Digital meter

Cons

  • Problematic battery
  • A bit heavy

02 Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 Solar Generator

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500, 518Wh Outdoor Solar Generator

Why it stands out to us

The incredibly light mass and a super handy design brought the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 second on our list of best camping generators. Aside from being portable, the device offers an easy installation and charging. The large capacity Lithium ion battery is a great deal considering the price.

Being small and solar powered, and yet having the ability to run several devices simultaneously is a surprising fact. We were also content with its exceptionally low sound level that’s always essential for camping.

Our experience with it The Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

  • The Explorer 500 is an extremely lightweight generator that is the best in terms of portability. A simple and elegant design with a solid handle gives a chance to move it around without any other accessory.
  • Apart from the compact size and shape, the installation is exceptionally simple and particularly convenient for not just campers but also for our senior citizens.
  • The charging process doesn’t need too much work. All we had to do was to put the panels under the sun and get limitless charging.
  • This pure sine wave inverter is powered by a Lithium ion battery with a huge capacity of 518Wh but the charging takes time. Once it’s fully charged, the running time reaches up to 8 hours on a 57% load.
  • The maximum power is 500 watts but we could run several devices within the power limit. Moreover, the digital display shows the charging and discharging current.
  • Another feature we loved was the different power outlet options for a clean power distribution. The options were an AC outlet with 110V 500W (1000W peak), three DC ports with 12V 10A including one car port, and three 5V 2.4A USB ports.
  • As opposed to other solar panels sold in the market, Jackery offers a higher price for their products. Normally a solar panel costs one dollar or less per watt. Jackery solar panels demand around 3 dollars a watt. However, they are known to be the best ones in the market and we reckoned that they’re worth the money.
  • The sound level is absolutely perfect for a wonderful camping experience.The sound meter read under 55dB one meter away, which was ideal for maintaining camping ground etiquettes.
  • Along with the portable power station, the package includes an AC adapter, a car charger cable, an instruction manual and two years of customer service.

What we didn’t like

  • The charging time for the battery is a bit too long.
  • The solar panels are not economic.

What could be improved

  • The prices of the solar panels could be cut down a little.

Our recommendations

  • Use it only when you’re dry camping.

Specifications

  • Weight: 13.32 pounds
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 11.8 x 9.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Wattage: 500 watts
  • Voltage: 110 volts
  • Color: Black

Pros

  • Lightweight and handy
  • Simple charging process
  • Multiple power outlet options
  • Massive battery capacity
  • Limitless charging with solar panels
  • Low noise level
  • Budget friendly
  • Responsive customer service
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Long charging time
  • Depends completely on the sun
  • Expensive solar panels

03 Champion Power Equipment 76533 RV Ready Portable Generator

Champion Power Equipment 76533 4750/3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator

Why it stands out to us

The Champion 76533 became one of our top choices in camping generators due to its various power outlets and attractive price. Having a high power wattage allows us to use several appliances at the same time. It may not be the quietest generator but it makes up with its versatile power outage.

The accessories needed for its installation and maintenance are included in the package. The ‘intellisense’ that gives three readings is a unique feature. Moreover, the simple installation process and a three-year warranty makes it even more desirable to campers.

Our experience with the Champion 76533

  • The modern look and 122-lbs tiny size makes it perfect for camping
  • Easily affordable considering the power wattage and the dual fuel technology.
  • The runtime can extend up to 9 hours with a 50% load and 3.4 gallons of fuel. However, we could use it around 10 hours with a 20-pound propane tank on a half load.
  • Being able to run a refrigerator, a freezer, two lamps, three ceiling fans and a computer simultaneously for 10 hours, the generator was really convenient for us.
  • We were pleased to see one 120V 30A locking outlet, one 120V 30A outlet, and two 120V 20A outlets for household appliances. Also, there was a built in Volt Guard that is a surge protector to avert overloading.
  • There’s an intelligauge that can help you track the voltage, the frequency in hertz and the runtime hours to keep check on the power output and performance.
  • We received a wheel kit, a battery, an LPG Propane hose, 0.6 qt. of 10W-30 oil for the engine and an oil funnel included in the package.
  • The installation process according to us was noob-friendly and could be done within 15 minutes.
  • Several people found the generator convenient while using CPAP.
  • This generator works fine in cold weather even up to 100 hours at a stretch but in hot weather, it needs an oil change after 50 hours.
  • Along with all these facilities, it offers a three-year warranty and a lifetime free support from experts.

What we didn’t like

  • A bit noisy – the sound meter read 83 dB from 15 feet away.
  • The oil filling process is troublesome due to the location of the filler.

What could be improved

  • The noise level could be reduced.

Our recommendations

  • We recommend that you purchase a small battery trickle charger.
  • Buying a weatherproof generator cover can be useful.

Specifications

  • Power: Running power 3800 watts (initially 4750 watts)
  • Power source: Gas, Propane
  • Weight: 122 pounds
  • Dimensions: 26.3 x 24.8 x 22.9 inches

Pros

  • High power wattage
  • Several outlet options
  • Lightweight
  • Small in size
  • Portable with wheels
  • Comes with a battery and other accessories
  • Longer runtime
  • Can run high power consuming devices
  • Tracking meter
  • Three-year warranty
  • Easy installation process

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Loses efficiency in hot weather

04 DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator

DuroMax XP13000EH Dual Fuel Portable Generator 13000 Watt Gas

Why it stands out to us

The DuroMax XP13000EH came as one of our top choices due to its soaring power wattage at the start and its affordability. It’s a wonderful example of a camping generator with a longer runtime and dual fuel technology. The fuel efficiency is particularly desirable to campers. Being able to run several appliances that require more power, the generator is indeed a fitting one for camping.

The different types of power outlets are suitable for running various types of devices without having to worry about power switching. Not only does the generator give you a great camping experience, but provide you with an emergency power supply during a blackout – all of these but without putting a crater on your credit card.

Our experience with The DuroMax XP13000EH

  • The best thing we found was the starting wattage. This allowed the operation of several devices such as a refrigerator, two freezers, four LED lights, three ceiling fans, two computers, a microwave and a water heater simultaneously. In fact, we could run all these with a fuel less than one gallon per hour. The max is 10 hours on a full tank with a half wattage. But the time can vary depending on the load and usage. IT also has a start key.
  • We love the fact that, being fuel efficient, this cracking device contains a fuel tank with the capacity of almost 10 gallons.
  • The generator has a dual voltage option that can supply either 220 V or 240 V. The latter is essential for appliances like the HVAC and well pumps.
  • Being very versatile, it accommodates one 120/240V 50A heavy-duty outlet for appliances like the HVAC, two twist lock outlets- 120/240V 30A and 120V 30A, and two 120V 20A sockets for smaller devices like ceiling fans and lights.
  • The essential accessories – a wheel kit, batteries, power chords, and a tiny tool kit for attaching the chords – all came within the package.
  • But before the start up, always put the main breaker in off position. Also, when we used propane, we had to turn the idle control and the gasoline valve off. But we didn’t find some of these instructions in the manual.
  • The XP13000EH is approved in all the states of the US to run any kind of device powered by electricity.

What we didn’t like

  • The noise level of the generator is similar to that of a lawn mower.
  • The instruction manual didn’t provide enough guidance.
  • Not light enough to be carried by one person.

What could be improved

  • The noise could be reduced.

Our recommendations

  • Make sure you don’t keep the unit mounted on the wheels for too long or else it’ll put a dent on the wheels.
  • Hire an expert to run the generator efficiently.

Specifications

  • Wattage: 10500 (13000 at the start)
  • Weight: 265 lbs.
  • Dimensions: Approximately 36″x34″x42″
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline, Liquefied Petroleum Gas
  • Tank volume: ~10 gallons

Pros

  • Higher power wattage
  • Affordability
  • Several different power outlet options
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Dual fuel technology
  • Longer run time

Cons

  • Louder noise
  • Inadequate instructions in the manual
  • Not lightweight

05 Champion Power Equipment 100574 Digital Hybrid Inverter Generator

Champion Power Equipment 100574 4000-Watt RV Ready Digital Hybrid Inverter Generator

Why it stands out to us

The Champion Hybrid inverter is one of our preferred camping generators in terms of affordability and clean power handling abilities. The runtime is longer than other generators in the same price range with sensitive power switching techniques. You’ll be absolutely satisfied with its ability to tone down the sound, especially on economy mode. It can run for an entire night without any need of being refueled.

This hybrid generator comes with a fuel shut-off valve, making it easy to empty and refill with oil. The engine is designed to control the load for a smooth workflow and provides wattage for hours at a stretch. It may not be a ‘whisper’ generator but it’s certainly 50% quieter than conventional generators. The compact size is particularly desirable for RV or camping. Another wonderful thing is the three-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Our experience with the Champion Hybrid Inverter Generator

  • The best feature of this generator is its pure sine wave power wattage of 4000. Initially, the load needed to be lighter for the first five hours before the oil refill. After that, we ran it for hours even when we used several devices such as a refrigerator, lightbulbs, fans, cell phone chargers, a coffee maker, and a juicer. Even though the manufacturer’s label indicated the runtime 17 hours continuously, on a lighter load, it could even go up to 24 hours.
  • Another brilliant attribute is the power switching abilities that allowed us to use devices sensitive to power outlets like the computer and cell phone. The inverter has 30 amp outlets with 120 Voltage. But the best part is the 240 Voltage that’s suitable for high-voltage devices.
  • It comes with a dual-port USB adapter (1 A. and 2.1 A.) but no tracker. So we had to buy a digital hour meter to keep track of time and usage.
  • The package contains the usual 10W-30 oil bottles and a plastic funnel but it’s always a good idea to buy the 5W-30 oil for the refill and a magnetic dipstick to measure the oil level.
  • The tiny size is ideal for camping but we still decided to purchase a wheel kit for easier transportation.
  • The maximum noise level universally acceptable is 75 dB. To respect fellow campers and maintain camping etiquette, this generator is really convenient as its noise level is way lower than that of traditional generators. It gets even quieter in the eco mode.

What we didn’t like

  •  The funnel was made of plastic which is a complete no-no for us.
  •  It doesn’t have a weatherproof generator cover.

What could be improved

  • Any other nonflammable material other than plastic could have been used.

Our recommendations

  • Do follow the user manual while using and storing it.
  • For a prolonged engine life, we recommend buying a fuel stabilizer separately.

Specifications

  • Wattage: 4000 Watts
  • Weight: 82.2 Pounds
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 20.5 x 18.3 x 18.9 inches
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline, Liquefied Petroleum Gas
  • Engine Displacement: 224 Cubic Centimeters
  • Tank Volume: 9 Gallons

Pros

  • Affordability
  • High power wattage
  • Power switching abilities
  • Longer run time
  • Dual fuel options
  • Dual power outlet option
  • Lower noise
  • Eco-mode

Cons

  • No weatherproof generator cover
  • Plastic funnel for oil refill

Best Camping Generators – Buyer’s Guide

best compact generator for camping

1. Fuel Type

a) Diesel

Requiring little to no maintenance, diesel is the most popular option that ensures high efficiency. But aside from being nonrenewable, it has a limited shelf life and produces toxic fumes.

b) Propane

Propane is cheaper, quieter, and can be carried in large quantities. The indefinite shelf makes it the first choice of many while less noise output is an added bonus. Plus, it evaporates if it’s spilled, so no chance of starting a fire. But this is nonrenewable and the performance is poor in cold weather.

c) Gas

This is the best choice at an incredibly low price. Despite the availability, the shelf life is one year on average. Moreover, the slightest leak or spilling could cause a grave accident. Also, it’s nonrenewable.

d) Solar

These generators are operated safely indoors. Their energy source is renewable and they’re absolutely silent. However, the lower power capacity and their dependence on the sun are less desirable.

2. Power Output

Consider the most essential devices you need for survival such as your smartphone, computers, fridge, cooling/heating devices, and stove/microwave. Add up each electronic device’s power requirements and you’ll get the total amount of power you need. The average power capacity of generators used in camping is between 1600 to 2000 watts.

Generator for Camping

3. Affordability

The price of a camping generator ranges from just $100 to as much as $4,000 USD. The prices vary spending on the fuel types, power wattage, size and tank capacity. Also, for solar generators, solar panels add extra money. The 100 watts panels are pricier than the ones with 50 watts.

4. Portability

A 30-pound generator can be easily lifted but those over 40 pounds may require accessories for transportation. Some models are heavy but their special design makes them convenient enough for easy carrying.

5. Conventional or Inverter

For its cleaner, accurate, and safer power voltage, an inverter generator is a better option as opposed to a conventional one. For electronically sensitive devices such as cameras and smartphones, the power switching ability is an absolute. The level of noise is also a lot lower than a conventional generator.

6. Noise Levels

Some camping sites do not approve of sound during quiet hours which are 10 pm-6 am. The most ideal generators would have a noise level between 47-58 decibels (75 dB is the highest and universally accepted). Despite being expensive, they’re certainly worth your money.

7. Warranty

Many units come with a 3-year long warranty period though very few could have a 5-year warranty.

FAQ’s

1. How to protect portable generators from rain?

To protect camping generators from rain, snow, and even UV lights, weatherproof generator covers are available today with exteriors designed to counter any extreme weather condition. The interior usually is made of cotton to prevent scratches.

2. Can you run a generator overnight?

Any kind of sound including that of a generator is prohibited during the quiet hours (10 pm- 6 am) at camping sites.

About the author

Jamie Masterson

With decade-long experience as a generator technician, Jamie has worked with USA’s top generator manufacturers and suppliers as an independent contractor.

The long years of service to the industry has taught Jamie the ins and outs of troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of generators in home, industrial and outdoor settings.

Jamie thinks this platform is a great opportunity to share his tips and tricks with you so you can make the most of such power equipment for better living.

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