There are many reasons you might be searching for the best propane generators for your RV. After all, propane offers a longer shelf life and cleaner emissions than their gas or diesel counterparts. Plus, it is ideal for use with either a gas or diesel RV.
To assist you on your quest for the perfect propane generator, we have compiled all of the best generators on the market today. That’s right, we have reviewed the specs and reviews on all of the top generators in order to provide you with only the cream of the crop. You’re welcome.
Without further ado, here are the top 8 propane generators on the market today:
As you can see, there are plenty of great options for you when it comes to propane generators. Some will offer dual fuel flexibility, while others are restricted to propane only. And they run the gamut on price as well, ranging from units costing around $600 to some well over $4,000. To find out more, keep reading as we dive into the details of these generators in general and then the specifics on each unit on our list.
How to Choose a Great Propane Generator
Before we get to the generators themselves, let’s cover some of the basics.
When it comes to propane generators, there are only a few options you should consider before you start comparing units.
First, do you want one that runs solely on propane or one of the dual-fuel units that can switch between gas and propane? To be honest, there aren’t many downsides to the dual-fuel generators, so if you can’t decide, I would recommend opting for one of those.
Next, there are different styles of propane generators. Here, we will cover the two most common types: portable and built-in.
As you can see, we don’t tend to see as many of the small inverter-type generators on the list as you would if we were discussing gas generators. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the difference between the two types:
Portable Propane Generators for RV’s
Okay, if you aren’t already familiar with generators, you might be picturing something small and lightweight when I say “portable.” Well, that isn’t always the case. In fact, most of these generators still weigh over 100 lbs (and some weigh in at well over 200 lbs), making them difficult for most people to lift without assistance. So, realize that when we say “portable,” everything is relative.
A set of wheels on one end of the generator is what gives these units their mobility. By lifting just one end of the generator, you can roll it short distances – say, from your truck bed to your RV. And, as I said, you will probably need some help getting it down from the truck. No sense in injuring yourself before you even get a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
Let’s take a look at the things that make a portable propane generator a good choice for RV’ers –
As you would guess, portable generators are more flexible than their stationary counterparts. Those wheels give most people the ability to move the generators around their property, meaning they are very often used for backup home power sources in case of a power outage. Having your RV generator be your backup in emergencies is a huge plus to many people and the reason these types of generators are so darn popular.
Another great feature of these portable propane generators is their price point. You can easily find great portable generators capable of powering even the largest RVs for around $1,000, and sometimes for much less.
3. Distance from RV
Depending on how long your power cord is, you can usually situate your portable generator a good 20 feet away from your RV. That means you are that much further away from its fumes (which, even on propane generators aren’t that pleasant). Built-in units, fumes and all, are always right there on your RV, meaning surrounding windows must be kept closed while the generator is in use.
4. Ease of Maintenance
Finally, it is often easier to service portable generators. For one thing, you can easily access any side of the generator you need to get to. Also, if you choose to have someone else do the dirty work, you can always bring one of these generators to the shop without having to take your entire RV along.
Built-In Propane Generators
As their name suggests, built-in generators are mounted directly into your RV. Usually, larger RVs like A-Class motorhomes and some of the more expensive 5th wheel trailers will come fitted with a built-in generator from the factory or dealership. That doesn’t mean RVers never have to shop for one, though.
There are a few reasons RV owners might find themselves shopping for one of these generators. First, like anything, even built-in generators do not last forever. They break down from age or neglect, and a new one must be fitted.
Conversely, perhaps your is working but you have added a new A/C unit or other appliance to your RV and more power is required. Whatever the reason you are looking, you will find that today’s built-in units are smoother and quieter than ever.
Here’s a quick list that sums up the pros of getting yourself a built-in propane generator –
1. Easier to operate
After arriving at camp, portable generator owners must lift and move a big, heavy generator out of their truck or RV. Clearly, that’s not always a fun proposition. With built-ins, the work is already done for you. The generator is where it needs to be and by simply flipping a switch, you can start it up and enjoy its bountiful power.
2. Can be used while driving
That’s right, you can run your built-in generator while driving. This ensures that you have full batteries upon arrival at your camp. Whatever you do, never attempt to run a portable generator while on the move!
With built-in generators, you always have a place to keep them. While portable generators require finding a nice clear spot in your garage, built-ins will never take up any additional space outside of your RV.
Top Propane Generators
Okay, now that we know the two general types of propane generators, let’s dive into the best units on the market today. Starting from smallest to largest power output, this list includes both portable (with wheels) and built-in (no wheels) generators.
1. Cummins Onan RV QG 2500 Watt Built-In Propane Generator
Makers of all types of RV generators, Cummins and Onan have been in the game for a long time. Today, they are known for their quiet, reliable, and, yes, costly RV generators. And when it comes to their built-in propane units, all of those traits ring true.
Weighing in at 135 lbs, this Cummins Onan propane generator is a compact and quiet option. Running at just 70 dB, this 2500-watt generator is considerably quieter than many other units on this list. Sure, it’s not cheap as any of the portable units, but, as with anything else, you tend to get what you pay for with RV propane generators.
2. Westinghouse WGen 3600DF Portable Dual Fuel Generator
Our first portable propane generator is one of the best. Over 1,000 reviewers have rated this generator, and, with a 4.3-star rating, they have nearly all been positive. That means you can expect a great, reliable generator if you choose this one.
And, talk about flexible, this portable generator can run on both gas and propane, giving you many options for use. Of course, it also comes with RV outlets so no adapters are necessary. At just over 100 lbs, this is still a relatively svelte unit that shouldn’t require a lot of strain to move around.
With 12 hours of run time at 50% load, this generator should be more than sufficient to get you through the night. If you are looking for a great 3600-watt propane generator, why not go with this highly-popular choice?
3. Champion 3800-Watt Portable Dual Fuel Generator
Quiet and portable are the keywords for this 3800-watt Champion generator. This unit operates at just 68 dB from 23 feet away – that’s barely louder than normal speaking volume.
This is one RV generator that will please everyone camped near you. And because it is capable of running for 10.5 hours at 1/2 load on propane power (9 when running on gasoline), you won’t have to worry about it for a long time after you start it.
Billed as an ideal solution for both home and recreation, this Champion generator is as flexible as they come. And, at under 1oo lbs, it is much easier to wrangle than the larger portable generators on this list.
4. Cummins Onan RV QG 5500 Built-In LP (Propane) Generator
Here we have another Cummins Onan generator. Like the previous one on the list, this is a fully-integrated built-in generator. That means it runs smoothly and quietly – a great combination for anyone planning on using it for long periods of time.
And, like the previous Cummins unit, this one is expensive. In fact, it costs as much as many people spend on used trailers. What separates this one from the previous Cummins listing is power – with 5500 watts on tap, you can easily power a 13,500-BTU air conditioning unit while simultaneously using various small RV appliances.
What’s more, this generator offers self-diagnostic technology to assist you should anything go wrong. This is one sweet RV propane generator.
That is, if you can afford it. If not? No need to worry, there are tons of great, less costly options out there.
5. The All Power America APG3590CN 7,500-Watt Portable Dual Fuel Generator
With a 15-horsepower, 420-cc engine, this All Power America generator is a great option for those needing a lot of power on a budget. A low price doesn’t mean this is a shoddy generator, however – reviewers rave about this unit, giving you great peace of mind if this is the one you purchase.
This generator can run for 8.5 hours when operating at 50% load – considerably less than some other generators on this list like the Pulsar and Firman. A 5-gallon fuel tank is included, but you can also hook it up to any 20-lb or higher-capacity propane tanks.
Rated at a 75-dB operating noise level, the All Power unit is relatively quiet, although it will be louder than the less-powerful machines. At 208 lbs, we are getting into seriously heavy territory here.
And remember, with its portability and impressive power output, this generator can easily provide power to your home should you experience a power outage as well.
6. Pulsar 7,750 Watt Portable Dual Fuel Generator
The 6.6-gallon fuel tank allows the Pulsar to run for 13 hours at half load on gasoline.
Simply flip a switch and this Pulsar can alternate between propane and gasoline – even when it is already running. Now that’s convenience!
Now, because we are getting into the big stuff, you will probably need some help when it comes time to lift this bad boy. At 205 lbs, it is more than twice as heavy as the 3800-watt Champion that is second on the list.
Once in place, however, don’t expect to expend much effort. That’s because it comes with standard electric push-start and a 6.6-gallon fuel tank that allows for 13 hours of run time at half load. Four standard 120V outlets are included, meaning you can power all of your electronic goodies at the same time.
And with a very reasonable price point, this is one highly attractive dual-fuel generator.
7. Firman H08051 8,000 Watt Dual Fuel Portable Generator
If you need a generator that can run forever on its own fuel supply, this is the one for you.
An 8-gallon fuel tank gives the 8,000-watt Firman generator an impressive 14-hour run-time. Another nice feature is the 5-foot propane hose, meaning this generator can be attached to whatever propane tank you have – whether it’s your RV tank or your large 500-gallon tank on your property.
What’s more, this generator can easily switch between propane and gasoline for its fuel source, giving you great flexibility. Like the other large generators on this list, this is a heavy machine, weighing in at 221 lbs.
Note that this generator provides 10,000 watts upon startup, but is rated for 8,000 running watts.
8. DuroMax Hybrid XP12000EH Portable Dual Fuel Generator
With 12,000 watts on tap, this DuroMax is one powerful generator.
Who really needs that much power? Lots of people, it turns out, as this is one of the most-reviewed propane generators on Amazon.
And, even with over 300 reviews, it still gets a 4-star rating. That makes it one of the most popular portable propane generators as well.
Rated to operate for 20 hours nonstop on propane, this is truly a set-it-and-forget-it generator. But the real reason people are attracted to this unit is its power. That means lots of reviewers are using their DuroMax for backup home power during power outages during hurricanes or other natural disasters. Even with its 457-cc powerhouse of an engine, the DuroMax is still EPA compliant for use in National Parks, so it is a great fit for RVers as well.
Happy Generator Shopping!
I hope we have provided everything you need to know about your next propane RV generator purchase. I know that, like most people, I pore through countless reviews whenever I am about to make a big purchase. That’s why I have only included the highest-rated generators on the market today. No matter which one on our list you look at, these are all highly-rated, robust generators that should provide you with many years of service.
Whether you are looking for the ease and simplicity of a built-in unit, or the all-around flexibility of a portable generator, you are truly spoiled for choice. These machines are only getting better, providing more power and less noise and vibration than ever before. And with fantastic features like push-button start and on-the-fly switching between fuel sources, they are more convenient than ever before.