Best Camping Generator 2018 – Buyers Guide

Last Updated: December 1, 2018

Our team researched the market for suitable generators for camping, to help people searching for the best campaign generators make an informed decision that takes into account noise levels, power and portability.

by Generator Ratings
Camping Generator
Camping Generator Review - Image Source: Honda

Are you planning a camping trip and need the best camping generator on the market? When selecting the best generator there typically isn’t one unit that will suit all. For example if you are tent camping, you may only need to produce a small amount of power and do want the convenience of a small portable generator that can be easily carried like a piece of luggage. If you are RV camping, you typically have greater power needs requiring a larger generator but you will still want your camping generator to be quiet and efficient.

 

 

Best Camping Generator 2018

Here are some considerations to help you determine the generator that best fits your camping needs taking noise levels, power and how portable the camping generator is for your trip.

 

 

 

1. Best Camping Generator Review – WEN 56200i Portable Generator

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According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the dBA emission of units such as the WEN 56200i puts them in the category of ‘normal conversation’, which is great news for anyone who wants to bring a generator on a camping vacation without any negative impact on other users of the campsites where they are staying. This clean power generator has two three-prong 120V receptacle, a 12V DC port and one 5V USB interface, enabling to power even the smallest and most sensitive of electronic devices, including smartphones and tablets, in addition to televisions and larger computers and tech items. EPA III- and CARB-compliant, this generator’s powerful 79.7cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts, so it’s also powerful enough to be used on construction sites and during household power outages.

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2. Best Camping Generator Review – Yamaha EF2000iSCH Portable Generator

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The Yamaha EF2000iSCH Portable Generator is another of the most powerful and yet most discreet generators on the market, making it eminently suitable for use whether on a camping trip, or at home or work to power large electronics or even construction tools. With 1600W rated AC output (2000W maximum), this Yamaha unit will provide 13.3/16.7 amps at 120V, and also has a super-quiet muffler with a USFS-approve spark arrestor, meaning that it will operate at 51.5 dBA on a quarter-load. Other features include a Smart Throttle engine speed adjustor which improves fuel economy and minimises noise, an inverter system with Pulse Width Modulation control, and CARB-compliancy.

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3. Best Camping Generator Review – Briggs & Stratton P3000 Portable Generator

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It’s not surprising to find Briggs & Stratton on a list of generators suitable for camping trips. This P3000 appliance is both powerful enough to start a standard RV air conditioner but quieter than most traditional camping generators. It has a 1.5-gallon fuel tank that provides up to 10 hours of continuous operation at quarter-load. The generator can handle large equipment and sensitive modern electronics, making it perfect for a camping trip where you don’t want to have to do without home comforts while you’re away. The unit’s 30545s engine speed will reduce noise, fuel consumption and emissions, and there is a two-year limited warranty to give peace of mind to the customer.

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4. Best Camping Generator Review – Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Portable Generator

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The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 portable generator is the second unit on our list from Yamaha, which shows the manufacturer’s strengths at making generators that are suitable for camping trips or in other outdoor circumstances where you don’t wish to trouble your neighbours with noise. This unit can comfortably power larger electronics and construction tools, but also safely provide backup for senstive electronics. With 1600W rated AC output (2000W maximum), this unit also benefits from the company’s super-quiet muffler with its USFS-approved spark arrestor. Like the EF2000iSCH, this generator will operate at 51.5 dBA on a quarter-load, while the appliance also has Smart Throttle engine speed adjustor technology to maximise fuel economy and minimise noise, as well as an inverter system with Pulse Width Modulation control, and CARB-compliancy.

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5. Best Camping Generator Review – Honda EU2000i Portable Generator

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The Honda EU2000i is characteristic of the utility and user-friendliness for which the manufacturer has been celebrated around the globe for decades. This 2000W 120V generator is super quiet, extremely easy to carry and incredibly energy-efficient to boot. It can operate continuously for up to 8.1 hours on a single gallon of gas. This unit is absolutely ideal for everything from TVs, satellite receivers and fridges, down to DVD players, coffee pot and smaller mobile tech appliances. No list of the best camping generator units would be complete without the Honda EU2000i.

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Best Generator For Camping – FAQ

For those unacquainted with portable camping generators, we’ve thrown together a brief FAQs section to bring you all the basic information you should keep in mind when browsing the generator market. In our FAQs, we attempt to flesh out all the general information relating to portable generators, without getting deep into the individual specifications, as they can be found above in the main body of our review. If you need a helping hand to guide you to your perfect portable generator, we seriously recommend checking out our FAQs below.

 

What are the benefits of investing in a camping generator?

If you are an avid outdoors man, you may be surprised at just how much a simple camping generator can revolutionise your camping experience, by providing you with a few of the comforts of home, while in the wild.

As portable generators come in a range of differing wattages, we cannot concretely tell you what your generator will or will not be able to support. Our advice would be to check out the wattage your camping equipment demands, and ensure tat you go with a generator that can easily cater for their needs.

 

What is the difference between rated wattage and surge wattage?

Rated wattage refers to the wattage a generator can continuously produce, which is the measure that you need to take most into account when browsing. On the other hand, the surge wattage is usually produced for only a short period of time. Think of this as the ‘peak’ of what the generator can produce.

 

Should I take weight and size into account?

Yes and no. Obviously a lightweight, smaller generator will be handy in the case of emergency blackouts and camping. However, be aware that the smaller and the more light weight the generator, the less wattage, tank capacity, and run time you’re likely to have. Not to mention, if your generator is particularly difficult to transport you can simply invest in a wheel kit.

 

What does ‘electric start’ mean?

Electric start is a start-up method boasted by some generators that effectively eliminates the need for a cord-pulling mechanism. The result is a cleaner, less laborious start-up procedure, that gets your generator going with the simple push of a button. The best generators are those that come with both types of start-up capabilities, as the un-used procedure (cord or electric) can act as a back-up in case one fails. This is a relatively uncommon occurrence, however there have been incidents where generators fail to start up using electric start, due to dead battery.

 

Should I want a wheel kit for my generator?

Yes, if your generator is too large to be carried around comfortably. However, it is not entirely necessary to purchase a wheel kit if your generator is compact, and easily transported by hand.

 

Where should I set up my camping generator?

Your generator must always be set-up outside of any dwelling structures, this includes tents, huts, you name it. Additionally, generators should always be kept away from windows or doors, as this may let some of the exhaust fumes to enter. Further still, it’s important that your generator is protected from water and other outdoor hazards. Therefore the best option is to set up a dry outdoor space with plentiful ventilation to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Note: Generator exhaust fumes are highly dangerous, and can cause severe (Carbon Monoxide) poisoning. All safety instructions and precautions are to be followed exactly, with no deviation. 

 

Do I need to operate my generator often?

Operating your generator frequently keeps it in better condition, by preventing harmful effects due to the long-term storage of fuel. As a rule of thumb, we generally advise to operate your generator once a month, however more specific details may be included in your user manual. We strongly advise that you read your manual in its entirety, and follow any maintenance instructions set out there.

 

How should I set up my generator if I haven’t used it in some time?

Take your generator out into an open, very well ventilated space. Check all parts to ensure that they are still in decent condition, especially the generator’s carburettor. The generator should be cleaned thoroughly, closely following procedure laid out in your user manual. We recommend filling the machine with fresh fuel, and a new spark plug. The level of the oil must also be checked to ensure that it is sufficient (usually there will be a fill-mark that must be reached). Then, taking all safety precautions outlined in your user manual, begin start-up.

 

What should I do if I get water in my generator?

When water gets into your portable generator it can be a serious safety hazard. Additionally, damage can be caused to the components of the machine. Should water get into your generator, power it off immediately when possible, never risk your own safety. Included user documents should detail the correct procedure to follow to shut down the device. In the case of your safety being threatened, we recommend distancing yourself from the generator and contacted a qualified company representative.

 

Are camping generators loud?

Most portable generators have a decibel rating ranging anywhere between 55 to 85 dBA, however we would class the generators below 70 dBA to be considered quiet. For reference, the average sound of a human conversation registers at approximately 60 dB. Therefore, most portable generators are often not very loud. As a side note, we made sure that all of our chosen camping generators are generally considered to be very quiet as far as generators are concerned.

 

Are portable / camping generators expensive?

The prices of portable generators can range into the thousands of dollars, for the higher-range units. That being said, you can get a perfectly good camping generator for under $500, a worthy investment for that little bit of extra comfort out in the wilderness.

 

What kind of fuel does my generator need?

This should be outlined in our user manual alongside instructions on how to change the oil, and how often this procedure must be carried out. It is crucial for the proper upkeep and maintenance of your generator that you follow these instructions.

 

How long can I store fuel for?

Fuel will begin to deteriorate within about a month. If you wish to store fuel for longer, you should add a suitable fuel stabilizer as soon as possible. What this will do is essentially stop the ethanol from damaging the components that carry out combustion. However, we still advise you to remove the fuel after your camping trip and put it to other uses.

Note: Be sure that your generator’s fuel is compatible with any other engines you intend to use it with, like your car engine, for example. 

 

Summary

Wrapping up our review, we hope that you found our insight to be helpful. Our advice now, would be to take the information provided through our FAQs buyers guide, and apply it to our list at the top of this review. By doing so, you will be able to return to our carefully selected list with a fresh perspective, essentially saving yourself from needless hours of tedious blind-browsing. Happy camping!