What Size Generator for 30 Amp RV

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Do you find yourself searching for a quality RV generator for your small or medium-sized RV? There are a few things to keep in mind when searching. You may be wondering, what size generator for 30 amp RV?

The answer to that question is it all depends on your overall electricity needs and what devices and appliances you prefer to use regularly. The more you plan on using, the more power you will require.

You might also be interested in: How to make a generator quiet

Commonly, a 30 amp RV is on the smaller end, and smaller RVs often consume less power. With that smaller power profile, the advice I would give you is to consider choosing a quiet inverter generator such as the Honda Inverter Generator EU2200i. These generators come with a higher price tag than other options available in the market, but the noise reduction it offers is priceless.

The best 30 amp RV generators are more likely to be between 3,000 to 4,000 watts. To find out more details about 30 amp RV generators, keep reading below.

What is a 30 amp service?

Keep in mind that electrical systems you will find in RVs are made to allow much power, based on the voltage and amperage. In that sense, you will find a big difference between 30 and 50 amp systems.

The difference lies in the wiring of the plug for each system. The plug in a 30 amp RV has three wires, a ground wire, a neutral wire, and one 120V wire. A 50 amp plug has four wires: a ground wire, a neutral wire, and two 120V.

An ampere could be expressed through the relationship of amperage = wattage/voltage. You now have the voltage and amperage for both 30 and 50 amp services. Thus, you can easily compute the maximum wattage after a basic rearrangement of the formula.

What is the Difference Between a 30 amp and 50 amp Service?

Bear in mind that the maximum wattage for 30 amp service would be equivalent to 120V x 30 A which is 3600 watts. What about for 50 amp service?

The maximum wattage for that would be the following: 2 X 120V X 50 A, which is equal to 12000 watts. Multiply 120V by two since the plug has two 120V wires.

You see, the difference between the amperages of 50 and 30-amp services may look not that much, but what they are capable of differs a lot. Remember that 50 amp service could work along with over three times more power compared to the 30 amp service.

That being said, 30 amp service is installed in RVs that do not have that much equipment and appliances to start with. Manufacturers often provide optional 50 amp service, though, for people who do need the extra watts.

However, if you understand that your power requirements will fit within those 3600 watts, then there’s no need for you to opt for 50 amp service, as it would be overkill. You will find many differences between a 30 amp and a 50 amp outlet.

Can I plug my 30-amp RV into a 50 amp Plug?

Yes, of course! You can efficiently and effectively plug your 30-amp RV cord into your 50 amp pedestal socket. You can do that by using a 30 amp to 50 amp adapter. Keep in mind that the female end will plug into the RV cord, and the male end will plug into the campground 50 amp power outlet. Those adapters often cost under 20 bucks and are accessible from a wide array of retailers.

However, with all things in life, it is not that simple. You will need an adapter to make sure the power flows from the campsite to your RV effectively. The adapter you require will be a 120V 50 amp male plug on the male end and a 120V 30 amp female socket to enable a safe transfer of power.

Using those adapters is quite easy. To begin, take your 30 amp cord from the RV and plug it into the female socket on the adapter. You want this to fit comfortably before you plug the adapter’s male end into the 50 amp power socket at the campsite or RV park.

And just like that! You can have power again in your RV without needing to stress about potential danger.

What Size Generator Do I Need for my RV?

We have recognized that a 30 amp RV would take no more than 3,600 watts. An apparent conclusion from that would be there’s no point in getting a portable generator, which is powered by over 3600 watts.

Would you like to get a 6,000 watts generator? Then those extra 2,400 watts will be wasted. Aside from that, a 6,000 watts generator would be a waste of money as well, not to mention space. If you are only utilizing a power generator with your 30 amp RV, then take note that there’s no point in selecting a more powerful unit.

Nevertheless, do you plan on using your generator for a more power-demanding purpose outside RVing? Then I would recommend that you go for whatever wattages satisfy you. But make sure the generator you choose can be throttled up and down to meet the RV’s lower power needs.

Meanwhile, do you need over 3,600 watts and have a 30 amp service in your RV? Then I would advise that you simply upgrade the electrical system of your RV to 50 amps. Or else, you will not be able to utilize over 3,600 watts. Further, your RV’s breaker will trip if your appliances and other equipment draw more than the 30 amp service it can deliver.

Having a 50 amp service means the limits are not as strict as in a 30 amp service. Further, a 50 amp RV still will not take over 12,000 watts. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that reaching those 12,000 watts is not a simple thing to accomplish. You need a lot of powerful appliances to even get close to reaching 12,000 watts.

Because of that, most individuals will not even have to think about any limits when dealing with a 50 amp service. They will only have to choose whatever generator can satisfy their power demands.

The same thing applies with a 30 amp service. It’s important that you keep in mind your power demands. Nonetheless, since it’s a lot simpler to meet 3,600 watts than the 12,000, you should be a little cautious not to overshoot and get an excessively strong generator.

Other Factors to Consider

Aside from size, there are other factors you need to consider when choosing a generator for your 30-amp RV:

Generator fuel source

Portable generators run on propane, diesel, or gasoline fuel. Several units can run on two sources and sell as “dual fuel” generators. Take note that RVers want the flexibility of a dual fuel generator as it offers a secondary option when one fuel source runs out, or the closest fill station is a mile away.

The key to consider is to match your tow vehicle or motorhome’s fuel type with the generator you pick. For instance, you have a gas Class C motorhome. It will help if you buy a gas or propane generator versus a diesel model to remove the need to bring an extra fuel canister on your trips.

Generator weight

30 amp RV generators could be bulky, which you should consider if you are pushing the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of a travel trailer. Look at the generator’s weight as you’ll be needing to move and lift the unit to bring it with you on your trips and store it when home. The lighter your generator, the less strain on your arms and back.

Further, a portable generator with wheels could help remove problems with trying to move the unit. If you want to dry camp in rough terrain, go for larger wheels so they can roll easier over rough ground.

Generator noise

Generators could be quite noisy. That’s why most RV parks do not allow them at all or limit their use during specific hours. The ideal 30 amp RV generators must have a running decibel level under seventy to avoid interrupting campground neighbors or damaging your hearing.

Fortunately, modern generator designs keep most sizes suitable for a 30 amp RV to a level of fifty to seventy decibels.

Take note that the standard measure of decibel level for generators is from a distance of twenty-three feet. When the noise is a problem, try out other portable RV generator sound-reducing methods.

RV generator wattage

The point of buying and investing in a portable generator is to have the output you need in your 30 amp RV for equipment starting and running power. Make sure you double-check the wattage calculations for the RV and thoroughly read the fine print on various generator models, as others differ in peak and running performance.

Parallel connection

A parallel connection on your portable generator enables you to increase power by adding on a second generator when needed. Purchasing a generator with that feature is a great option as you never know if you will require extra amperage but do not have the budget to purchase a bigger size generator.