Picture the scene, you’re out camping in an RV in the middle of the woods with your closest friends and family. You’ve had a great day of fun activities and now it’s time to cook dinner and relax for the evening.
When you’re tired and it’s getting late, you don’t want to be cooking over an open fire pit and risk your meat being burnt on the outside and raw in the center.
That’s why having a power generator to get your RV’s electric stove working like a proper home kitchen is vital for a comfortable trip.
Propane generators are the best and most reliable way to power your RV’s appliances and they can even be used to power any heating equipment you have to keep you warm on even the coldest of trips.
In this article, I’ll be taking you through some of the best propane generators you can get on the internet and I’ll explain what you should be looking out for when shopping for your own.
1. DuroStar DS4850EH
The first generator we’re taking a look at is one of Amazon’s own choices for propane generators on their whole website. Manufactured by the reliable DuroMax, it offers a lot of different options for propane generators, with 9 available on Amazon alone.
I’ve chosen the DS4850EH model because I think it has all the features you want from a propane generator and is the most cost efficient way to get them.
This generator provides 4850 starting watts and 3850 running watts, which is plenty of juice to power all kinds of appliances you might bring on a camping trip.
It also uses a powerful 212cc engine that provides enough power to handle multiple appliances at once, meaning you can keep a refrigerator running whilst simultaneously cooking on your RV’s electric stove.
One of the best features of this generator is its dual fuel technology. You can power it with either propane or gas, which makes the generator more eco-friendly, budget friendly and gives you the flexibility to choose between different fuel sources.
The DuroStar generator features two standard outlets and one twist lock outlet to make it even easier to power multiple appliances at once. It even has a neat little handle and wheels to make it easier to transport around between campsites.
There really is a lot to love about this generator!
- A 4.860W power output
- Price is on point
- Dual fuel technology
- It’s not exactly silent
- Propane isn’t included
- Weighs 122 lb. (55 kg)
2. A-iPower SUA2000iD
This generator from A-iPower is the perfect example of a simple, portable power source for travelling and camping with.
Weighing in at only 55 pounds, it’s super easy to carry this generator around by the handle and not have to worry about breaking your back every time you get it out!
They’ve also made it super quiet, only putting out around 52 decibels while running so you can use it late at night without having to worry about complaints from neighboring campers.
The biggest downside to having such a lightweight and small generator is that it’ll only put out up to 2000 watts of power, which isn’t enough to run some of the larger appliances in your RV like a refrigerator.
This generator is designed for use with smaller appliances like laptops and phone chargers, but it does use ‘inverter technology’ which provides cleaner and safer power for these delicate devices.
However, to get around the issue of low power, A-iPower provides a set of parallel cables with this generator so you can hook two of them up together.
That means you can get a total power output of up to 4000 watts from a couple of generators. In my opinion, that level of flexibility shouldn’t be overlooked.
Also, this product even includes dual fuel technology, meaning you can hook it up to propane or gas, depending only on what you happen to have laying around!
- Ultra portable compressor
- Dual fuel technology
- Operates at > 52 db
- Low wattage output
- Expensive with low output
- Not ideal for larger campers
3. DuroMax XP12000EH
This generator is very similar to the first one we looked at on this list but gives you a heck of a lot more power. As the name suggests, the maximum power output for this generator is a whopping 12000 watts!
That means you can use this generator to power pretty much every appliance and device in your RV all at the same time.
It uses the same dual fuel technology to allow you to use either propane or gas, depending on what you prefer. However, the engine on this generator is even more powerful than the smaller model, with 457cc of pure power!
In general, this generator is a larger, more powerful version of the DuroStar DS4850EH we looked at before, with few other differences. It’ll come down to your specific needs to decide which of the two you prefer.
If you’re camping with an RV and have a lot of large appliances that need power, this model is better suited to you. However, for smaller scale camping trips without as many big appliances, you may only need a 4850W generator.
Of course, you’ll also have to consider your budget because the more powerful a generator is, the more it’s going to cost.
- 12.000 wattage output
- Features 5 different outlets
- 8.3 gal tank (31.5 L)
- Priced at $1.400
- Noisier than most other units
- Heavy at 220 lb. (100 kg)
4. Westinghouse WGen9500DF
A rival to the super powerful DuroMax XP12000EH, this generator also packs a punch, putting out up to 9500 watts of power while running and up to 12500 watts at its peak.
The DuroMax product is a little pricier, but that’s reflected in the amount of power it outputs, so these two generators really are a good match for each other.
The Westinghouse does provide dual fuel technology to give you the option of propane or gas to power it. It features a similarly powerful 457cc engine, making it super reliable even when powering multiple appliances at once.
One of the most interesting features of this generator is its remote start key fob which allows you to turn the machine on and off from a distance.
Even without this fob, the generator is very easy to operate, with a single one touch push button to start and stop it, as well as a single switch to go from propane power to gas and vice versa.
Of course, this machine also has a healthy number of outlets with rubber covers to adapt to a variety of different appliances.
The only real issue I can find with this generator is to do with Westinghouse’s customer support system.
In the customer reviews section on this product, a few have commented that it was difficult to get hold of the appropriate support and they were forced to go to a mechanic to resolve their issue.
- 12.500 wattage output
- Remote start key fob
- Dual fuel technology
- Poor customer support
- It tends to operate loudly
- Priced at $1.000
5. WEN DF1100T propane generator
This generator from WEN does a good job of balancing value for money with a very respectable power output.
While still being on the higher end of the scale, it’s still one of the cheapest generators on the market with a maximum output as high as 11000 watts.
This machine has plenty of power to plug a variety of energy-hungry appliances into it and keep them all running smoothly.
Naturally, it also uses dual fuel technology, which is pretty much an essential feature of a good quality generator. Even if you only want to use propane, it’s always nice to have the option of using gas available if you need it.
Like the previous two products we’ve looked at, this generator has a 457cc engine and a 6.6 gallon propane tank (which is approx. 27,7 pounds). We’ve written another article covering how much a gallon of propane weighs.
This means it’s not only powerful enough to support a lot of high energy appliances at once, but it will also be able to run for longer than a smaller generator.
In general, the customer reviews for this generator are very positive, with only a few complaining about faults early on in use. However, it’s likely that these issues were anomalies or the result of user error so this product scores very highly with me.
- 11.000 wattage output
- Value for money
- Dual fuel technology
- Durability problems reported
- Operates loudly
- Weighs 214 lb. (97 kg)
Buyer’s guide on the best propane generator
Generators can be pretty confusing things to shop for when you don’t know all the technical details and what they mean.
If you haven’t found a generator on my list that suits your needs, you should take a look at some of the other options online or in stores near you.
This section is a guide through all of the essential features and specifications you should be looking out for when shopping.
The power output of generators is measured in watts, and this number refers to the total amount of electrical energy the generator can produce.
It’s important to bear in mind that this energy will be distributed across multiple appliances if you have more than one connected. Therefore, the more devices you plug into your generator, the less total power will be diverted to each one.
Naturally, the higher the power output a generator has, the more it will cost. That means you need to factor in your budget when deciding how much power to get.
A generator with a 4000W output or higher will be sufficient for powering all the appliances you might have in an RV, though perhaps not all of them at the same time.
If you have a fairly simple RV setup with a few small appliances, 4000-5000 watts should cover you.
However, if you have some bigger appliances or need to apply power to a lot of different devices, you might need as much as 10,000-12,000 watts of power.
It really does depend on what type of camping trip you’re planning for, but anything below 4000W or above 12,000W would either be too little or too much, in my opinion.
The displacement of the engine in your generator isn’t something you can really control. Certain engine displacements are necessary to generate as much power as the generator can.
This means that most of the higher power generators will have a 457cc engine, while the average ones might use a 212cc engine. However, there isn’t much difference in the overall quality of the generator based on these figures.
Weight of a propane generator
Again, this is a factor that will depend on what type of activity you need it for. If you’re camping and travelling around a lot, it’s better to go for a lighter generator, though you may have to sacrifice some power.
The most powerful generators will weigh around 220 pounds, so if this seems like too much for you to comfortably transport around, look for a smaller option.
Now, I know this article is all about propane generators, but most these days have dual fuel technology which allows you to use either propane or gas.
Even if you don’t plan on using gas to power your generator, it’s always good to have the option there in case you run out of propane or find yourself in a sticky situation with only gas to power it.
Frequently asked questions
Let’s take a look at some of the questions I often see when people ask me about which propane generator they should purchase.
How long will a 20 lb. propane tank run a generator?
Propane generators tend to use around 2-3 lb. of propane per hour.
This figure won’t change much between different generators because the main factor involved here is the fuel source which, in this case, is propane. Therefore, a 20 lb. propane tank will run for roughly 5 hours.
If you want to calculate how many gallons there are in e.g. a 100 lb. propane tank, take a look at: How Many Gallons of Propane in a 100 lb Tank?.
What is the best propane generator?
In my opinion, the best generator for both gas and propane is the WEN DF1100T. This generator can produce a great amount of power for your appliances but costs slightly less than the average at this level.
It might not be appropriate for everyone’s needs though, as it is quite large and might be too powerful for some peoples’ setup.
Are propane generators any good?
Generally, propane is a less efficient fuel source than gas, meaning it produces less power per amount of fuel used.
However, propane is a lot more environmentally friendly than other fuel sources because it burns more cleanly. This also makes it better for your generator’s durability and will keep it working for longer.