Best Generator for Camping [2024 Update]

Navigating the diverse range of options to find the best generator for camping can be challenging - use our straight-talking guide to help you choose one that fits your camping style.

Jolanda Lapegna Avatar
Written by: | Reviewed by: Kieran James Cunningham
Last Update:

Finding the best generator for camping adventures can transform your outdoor experiences from middling to marvelous. However, selecting an ideal camping generator can be perplexing amidst a sea of options.

If you don’t want to be left out in the dark, there are a lot of considerations you should make before choosing a portable camping generator. The noise level, fuel type, and power input of the model you choose will all make a major difference in how suitable your new generator will be to your camping style.

In our opinion, the Champion 3800-watt portable inverter generator is the best overall product on the market. Read on to find out why we love this generator, reviews of other great models that may be better suited to your needs, and a guide to how to weigh the various considerations when making your choice.

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At a Glance: Quick Recommendations

What is the best generator for camping?

We’ve tested multiple generator manufacturers from Champion, Renogy, Goal Zero, Yamaha and others and have shortlisted our favorites below.

  • Champion 3800-Watt
  • Honda EU2200i Portable
  • Yamaha EF2000iSv
  • Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station Kit
  • Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery
  • Champion Power 2000
  • Renogy Phoenix All in One Solar
  • Rockpals Portable Power Station
  • Yamaha EF6300iSDE
  • Ryobi RYi2322VNM
  • DeWalt DXGNI2200

Honda EU2200i Portable

Best Fuel Efficiency

The Honda EU2200i is a portable inverter designed for high-energy demands and the best camping generator out there for fuel efficiency.

If you need to use big camping appliances like AC units, fancy grills, or electrical power tools, this Honda generator has you covered thanks to 2,200 surge watts and 1,800 running watts.

Despite its generous output and fuel-efficient engine, the Honda is surprisingly quiet and portable. In fact, it offers one of the lowest noise levels of any inverter on our list.

Other user-friendly features include a fuel shut-off valve, a thick carrying handle, and parallel capability.

  • PROs

    • Consistent power delivery
    • Fuel-efficient (ideal for long trips or in a power outage)
    • Quiet
  • CONs

    • Expensive
    • No fuel gauge

Bottom-Line: Reliable power and first-rate fuel efficiency for campers with high-energy demands.

Yamaha EF2000iSv

Honorable Mention

The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is a highly portable inverter generator that’s perfect for campers looking for a lightweight yet potent power supply.

Weighing in at just 44lbs, it’s one of the lightest, non-solar generators we tested. Despite its small size, its running power output registers at 1600 watts, giving you more than enough juice to power your stuff.

Our testers loved how quiet this generator is. It’s so quiet, in fact, that the US Forest Service has approved it for use at all their sites. Its rated noise level is only 61dB and scales down to 51dB at a quarter load, making it one of the quietest generators out there.

They also loved the ‘economy’ mode setting. This new feature in Yamaha generators regulates engine speed to match the connected load so no energy is wasted.

The only drawback to the Yamaha EF is the price. But if you’re looking for a reliable, quiet camping generator to get you through years of camping trips, the Yamaha’s compact size and ultra-quiet energy output is worth the investment.

  • PROs

    • Useful economy control function
    • Fuel efficient
    • Ultra-quiet
    • Parallel compatible
  • CONs

    • Expensive
    • Only 1 outlet

Bottom-Line: If you need lightweight, quiet, and portable power, the Yamaha ETF is worth every penny.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station Kit

Best Value

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 is the best generator available if value for money is your top priority.

This all-in-one power station charges your camping gadgets with clean and rechargeable power. You won’t have to deal with the usual nasty fumes or noise pollution of gas-powered portable generators.

On top of charging the unit with solar energy, you can also power it up through a carport, making it the ultimate car camping solution.

The Goal Zero offers less power capacity than a conventional or portable inverter generator, but it packs more than enough energy to power small appliances.

If your power demands are minimal, consider choosing the Jackery Power Station instead. You’ll sacrifice half the energy output, but you’ll save on half the weight and half the price when compared to the Goal Zero.

  • PROs

    • Fuel type
    • Environmentally-friendly
    • Extremely quiet
  • CONs

    • Heavy for a solar-powered device

Bottom-Line: A convenient, environmentally-conscious power station that provides enough clean energy to power small appliances. Ideal for short trips or as an emergency backup power source.

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery

Best Solar

The Jackery Portable Power Station is the perfect portable generator if you’re in the market for a budget-friendly and environmentally-friendly power source.

The Jackery is a solar generator that has no running costs and requires no maintenance other than occasionally replacing the battery. One of its best features is that this model is chainable, so you can keep your gadgets going for longer.

Our testers agreed that this unit is the ideal solution for solo trips due to its small dimensions and light weight. It weighs just 6.6 lbs, measures 9.1 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches, and yet packs 240W of power. That’s enough to charge your phone 24 times!

If you want to power up high-energy appliances at your campsite, the Jackery isn’t a good fit. But if you’re looking for a small and compact solution for powering sensitive electronics or small gadgets like your smartphone and laptop, the Jackery is the best camping generator available.

  • PROs

    • Affordable
    • Portability
    • Extremely quiet
  • CONs

    • Low output
    • Solar panel sold separately

Bottom-Line: If you’re looking for a simple, reliable generator with just enough power to keep your small gadgets going, the Jackery is the perfect solution!

Champion Power 2000

Most Affordable Inverter

The Champion Power 2000 is a great portable generator for buyers working on a tighter budget.

This inverter offers up to 11 hours of continuous power. Its stackable, space-saving design is parallel-ready and can be hooked up to another device to double input.

What we love about the Champion generator is that, despite its modest price tag, you’ll still enjoy a number of impressive features. Cold start technology means you won’t find yourself without power in the cold, while a smart economy mode allows you to reduce the electrical load, allowing for quieter operation.

If you’re only looking to charge a few gadgets at your campsite, consider the Champion Power 2000 over other inverters on our list. Both the Honda EU2200i and the Yamaha EF2000iSv2 offer more output, but that extra power comes at more than double the price!

  • PROs

    • High power output for the price
    • Cold start technology
    • Smart economy mode
  • CONs

    • Lower power output than pricier options

Bottom-Line: The perfect compact and inexpensive option for campers who need reliable, yet quiet, stable power. 

Renogy Phoenix All in One Solar

Best Lightweight

The Renogy Phoenix portable generator is a solar power system that’s ideal for campers looking for a lightweight, off-grid, and clean power solution for their camping energy needs.

The Renogy Phoneix’s standout feature is the flexibility of its 3-power-source design: the unit can be charged by solar power, AC power, or car power. A replaceable 16Ah lithium-ion power bank offers up to 20 watts of power and is expandable to 120 watts through the use of additional solar panels.

Our testers loved the Renogy’s ultra-portable briefcase design and sturdy handle (although it’s still twice as heavy as the Jackery Power Station) and quietness – it’s the quietest generator on our list.

  • PROs

    • 3 power sources
    • Portable design
    • Environmentally-friendly
  • CONs

    • Pricey for a solar device

Bottom-Line: Quiet generators don’t come much more practical and functional than this!

Rockpals Portable Power Station

Best Budget

The Rockpals Power station is one of the most affordable portable generators on our list. And thanks to a 280-watt rechargeable lithium battery, it’ll still pump out enough power to charge your small gadgets and appliances.

Despite its compact size and light weight (only slightly heavier than the Jackery Power Station), this small generator features a 12-volt port, your typical AC outlet, and 4 USB ports, two of which are fast charging. No more fighting over who gets to charge their phone first at your campsite!

  • PROs

    • Affordable
    • Environmentally-friendly
    • Extremely quiet
  • CONs

    • Low output

Bottom-Line: Reliable, clean power without the hefty price tag.

Champion 3800-Watt RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start

Editor’s Choice

The Champion 3800-Watt RV generator is one of the best dual-fuel generators available, and ideal for longer trips or campers with power-hungry appliances.

This unit allows users to choose the fuel they prefer. Thanks to a hefty 3.4-gallon fuel tank, you’ll get about 9 hours of running time from one fuel tank and a bit more from propane.

Our testers also found this generator easy to use. A handy toggle switch powers the device and the push-button power with cold start technology means you’ll have no trouble running it in cold weather.

The Champion 3800-watt is a heavy device (119lbs), but remains portable thanks to thoughtful features like never-flat tires and fold-away, easy-grip handles.

Other useful perks like a low-oil shut-off sensor and 4 surge-protected outlets just seal the deal and make this the best generator for RV and tents alike.

  • PROs

    • Dual-fuel operation
    • Big tank size
    • Cold start technology
    • Lifetime technical support
    • Ideal for RV camping when you need more power
  • CONs

    • Heavy
    • Noisier than most portable generators
    • High fuel consumption

Bottom-Line: A dual-fuel model that’s heavy but as powerful as they come. The best generator for RV camping by a country mile.

Yamaha EF6300iSDE

Best Inverter

The Yamaha EF6300iSDE is a great choice of generator for car campers who need a powerful generator capable of powering devices of all sizes.

Yamaha wasn’t kidding when they called this their “most powerful inverter ever”! Many inverter generators only produce enough power to run one low-demand appliance at a time. Thanks to its four-stroke engine, which can produce a whopping 6,300 surge (starting) and 5,500 rated (running) watts of power, this beast can power multiple devices at once.

This 6,000-watt device is bulky and heavy, but our testers found that its never-flat rolling casters make moving this 200lbs behemoth manageable.

One downside is that the Yamaha EF6300iSDE isn’t parallel compatible. But with all the power surging through this one, it’s unlikely you’d need a second model for camping anyway.

  • PROs

    • Portability
    • Big tank size
    • Tank size
    • CO Sensor
  • CONs

    • Heavy
    • Expensive

Bottom-Line: Extremely powerful yet surprisingly portable and can handle the power demands of even your most energy-hungry appliances.

Ryobi RYi2322VNM

Best Lightweight Inverter

The Ryobi RYi2322VNM is one of the top inverter generators for camping available if you need something lightweight that still packs a ton of features.

This inverter weighs just 51.9 lbs and has a pair of all-terrain tires to ease transportation. It also measures just 22 x 12.5 x 19 inches, so it doesn’t take up too much space.

The Ryobi boasts a quiet, OHV 4-stroke engine, and has a 1800W running wattage and 2,300W peak wattage. It’s also parallel capable, so can be linked to other units for more power. It can run for up to 10.3 hours and can safely operate sensitive electronics through 120V and USB outlets. It also has auto-idle technology to save power and bluetooth connectivity to let you keep track of power usage.

  • PROs

    • Cheap
    • Quiet
    • Parallel Capable
    • Great features
  • CONs

    • Not ideal for larger devices

Bottom-Line: The best inverter out there if you don’t plan on using larger appliances or devices.

DeWalt DXGNI2200

Best Basic Generator Inverter

The DeWalt DXGNI2200 is a great little generator for campers looking for something basic, reliable, and powerful enough for weekend trips with small to mid-sized appliances.

This inverter weighs just 49 lbs, so is more manageable than many others in its power class. Our testers, however, weren’t impressed by the lack of wheels. If portability is an issue, the Ryobi RYi2322VNM is a better option.

This generator runs on a 80cc OHV 4-stroke gas engine. It has an 120V ouput, and 1,700W running wattage and 2,200W peak wattage. It has 2 AC and 2 DC outlets, and can run for up to 11 hours on its one-gallon tank.

Rated to 60 dBA, this device was a litte noisier in testing than similarly sized models like the Ryobi RYi2322VNM.

  • PROs

    • Easy to operate
    • Fairly prices
    • Parallel compatible
  • CONs

    • No wheels
    • Short on features

Bottom-Line: Has its shortcomings but still a solid option for campers who find too much tech and features confusing.

Camping Generator Comparison Table

Product NamePower OutputFuel TypeNumber of Outlets
Honda EU2200i Portable2,200 surge watts, 1,800 running wattsGasolineN/A
Yamaha EF2000iSv21,600 watts running powerGasoline1
Goal Zero Yeti 400N/ASolar, CarportN/A
Jackery Portable Power Station 240240WSolarN/A
Champion Power 20002,000 wattsDual FuelN/A
Renogy Phoenix All In One Solar20 watts, expandable to 120 wattsSolar, AC, Car PowerN/A
Rockpals Portable Power Station280WSolar5 (including USB)
Champion 3800-Watt RV Ready3,800 wattsDual Fuel4
Yamaha EF6300iSDE6,300 surge, 5,500 rated wattsGasolineN/A
Ryobi RYi2322VNM1,800W running, 2,300W peakGasolineN/A
DeWalt DXGNI22001,700W running, 2,200W peakGasoline4

What Types of Generators Are There?

These are three main types of camping generators – gas generators, inverter generators, and solar generators.

Conventional generators (aka “gas generators”) are the most widely used generators. They run on gas, diesel, or propane that powers a motor attached to an alternator to generate electricity. 

Inverter generators use advanced electronic circulatory and powerful magnets to produce electricity. They produce fewer emissions than gas-powered generators and are generally much quieter. An inverter generator will produce AC power and then convert it into DC power, allowing for long-term power storage. 

Solar generators produce clean, renewable energy with the help of solar panels. You can even run them indoors since there are no emissions. The downside is a lower energy output than other types of generator. 

How to Choose from the Best Rated Portable Generators?

To help you choose the best generator for your needs, we’ve put together a list of the most important considerations below.

  • Power Output
  • Portability
  • Noise Level
  • Fuel Type
  • Fuel Tank Size
  • Number of Outlets

Power Output

Power output is the most important consideration when choosing a new generator as it determines how much electricity you’ll have to use.

Power output is measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the more energy you’ll have to power your devices. When choosing, you want to make sure the energy output matches the energy consumption of all your equipment and gadgets. 

A power output of 3,000 watts should suffice for most campers, while campers that don’t use an air conditioner or other large appliances can scale down to around 2,000 watts. If you want to power multiple electronics at a time, make sure you check the surge/peak power performance. 

Remember, as the power output goes up, so do the noise and size levels. 

Portable generator with wheels
Keep in mind how far you have to transport your generator and if wheels will be important for your trips

Portability

For camping, you want to look for a small, portable generator that’s easy to load into your car or RV. The bigger the device, the more juice you’ll get for powering appliances, but it will come at the cost of portability. Some large generators do have wheel kits and handles to enhance maneuverability. 

A good starting point is to look for a device that weighs between 50 and 70 lbs. 

Noise Level

Noise level is important when choosing a generator if you prefer peace and quiet or you’ll be camping at campgrounds with neighbors.

A portable generator for camping should hum along at 45dB to 70dB. For comparison, a normal human conversation measures 60dB, while a vacuum cleaner clocks in at 70dB. 

When choosing your device, be sure to pick a quiet model since many campgrounds won’t allow noisy generators. Look for noise-reducing features built into the design of the mufflers and casing. 

Plastic cans of gasoline in different sizes
Gasoline, whilst easily obtained, produces harmful fumes

Fuel Type

Fuel type is important when deciding which type of generator to buy because it can impact runtime, safety, and reliability.

Conventional generators run on gasoline. This is a popular choice since gasoline is so readily available. You might run into problems with the exhaust fumes, so bring a long extension cord to keep your device away from your campsite, and make sure your unit has CO sensors. 

Generators that run on diesel are much more fuel-efficient, but are rarely small and portable enough for camping. Diesel generators are also durable and require less upkeep and maintenance than other generators. 

For the most reliability and convenience, choose a dual-fuel portable generator. These can run on both gas and propane, allowing you to choose your fuel based on your needs. 

Solar panel outside a tent used to run a generator
With a solar-powered generator embrace ‘free’ electricity and eliminate emissions too!

Fuel Tank Size

Fuel tank size directly correlates to runtime so is another critical cnsideration when choosing a generator.

Depending on their size, portable generators can hold anywhere from 1 to 12 gallons of fuel. On average, you can expect to get between 9-11 hours of continuous runtime from a standard portable generator, and even more from dual-fuel or propane models. 

Close up of portable generator showing multiple outlets
Before buying check what your specific outlet needs are as outlets will vary between models

Number Of Outlets

The number of outlets your generator has is paramount if you’re camping in a group or have several devices.

Double outlets are common on portable generators and each one supplies 120 volts. Each generator comes with different types of outlets, so make sure the generator you’re purchasing has the right type of outlet to power your devices. In general, the bigger the generator, the more outlet combinations it will provide. 

Best Generators for Camping: The Verdict

If you’re in the market for the best portable camping generator you can buy, you can’t go wrong with the power and convenience of the Champion 3800-Watt. But if you choose any of the other generators for camping on our list, you won’t be disappointed! 

We hope this guide and our portable generator reviews have offered some clarity on choosing the best camping generator. If you’ve still got some questions looming, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below!

Last update on 2024-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jolanda Lapegna Avatar

Jolanda is a full-time writer and life-long outdoor enthusiast. Growing up on a small island off the Eastern Canadian coast, she spent most of her childhood hiking, swimming and fishing in the Atlantic ocean.

After a short stint in the corporate world, Jolanda quit her day job to write full-time and check out what lies beyond the Canadian shores. Ever since, she’s been hiking, biking and kayaking her way across 11 European countries and counting.

Jolanda currently lives in the beautiful, Tuscan countryside. When she isn’t hanging out in the woods or at the beach, you’ll catch her foraging for mushrooms and truffles with her truffle-dog, Red.

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