5 Best Portable Inverter Generators for Camping in 2021

Best Portable Inverter Generators

As much as we all want to escape to the wilderness and into nature, the one thing we can’t escape from is our need for electricity.

I always feel the need to keep my RV powered when camping. All the devices to make camping and traveling easier would just go to waste without it. They are handy for tent camping too.

Whether a hot cup of coffee in the morning, charging our cell phones or tablets, getting power to our GPS or just for powering a stove or microwave. But what generator should you choose?

Here is my list of the best inverter generators for 2021, including a best choice, budget option, quietest, higher wattage option, and big brand option:

GeneratorBest TypeMore Info
WEN 56200i 2000-WattTop ChoiceMore Info on Amazon
WEN 56235i Super QuietBest Quiet ChoiceMore Info on Amazon
A-iPower SUA2000iVBest Budget ChoiceMore Info on Amazon
Yamaha EF2000iSv2Best Brand ChoiceMore Info on Yamaha Generators
WEN 56380i Super QuietMore Power ChoiceMore Info on Amazon

In this post I will explain why these are the best inverter generators today, my experience, cover each generator in-depth and provide a direct comparison between them.

Best Portable Inverter Generators – RV and Camping

We’ve already seen which are the best generators, but let’s look further under the hood and find out why. Later in this post we will look at a direct comparison between them, showing you all the features to help you decide the generator best suited to you, your road trip and your wallet!

In addition, as a reminder, here are the best inverter generators for an RVs:

  • WEN 56200i 2000-Watt
  • WEN 56235i Super Quiet
  • A-iPower SUA2000iV
  • Yamaha EF2000iSv2
  • WEN 56380i Super Quiet

Top Choice – WEN 56200i 2000-Watt

WEN 56200i

The WEN 56200i 2000-Watt is an incredibly popular choice at the moment.

My experience of just looking at other star ratings doesn’t hold much value as these can be easily ‘created’ but solid reviews are a different matter.


The WEN 56200i comes with a solid 2000-watt surge capacity. This is enough to power all your cell and tablet devices, but strong enough to cope with cooking appliances, which use up to 1,600 watts.

It is worth noting that 2000-watts should not be a continuous load. The running wattage of the WEN 56200i is 1600-watts. So, if you need more, regular, power then consider higher wattage outputs or multiple WEN generators connected together.

You can even connect this to another WEN portable generator and increase the wattage available.

A great option when you need to power a large RV with multiple devices and appliances running simultaneously.


The 53dB noise output is why the WEN 56200i stands out on its own.

It’s quiet!

Well quiet relatively speaking. Some portable generators can spike up to 70+dB, which may not sound much but these are considerably louder (around 2-3 times as loud).

When I am out camping the last thing you want to hear is loud generators thrashing and spurting, especially through the night!

The quieter the better.

How long does it last on a full tank?

On a full tank, at the maximum running 1600-watt load, I’ve found it lasts for around 3.5 hours. If you pop it into eco-mode, or not run so many power-hungry devices, it will of course last longer.

Best Quietest Choice – WEN 56235i Super Quiet


At 52dB noise level, it’s just 1dB quieter than the WEN56200i, but the WEN56235i does have on other distinct advantage, it provides higher wattage.

At 2,350-watt surge and 1,900-watt running, it offers a 19% increase in power – and quieter too.

The reason it doesn’t outrank the WEN56200i is due to price, which is considerable higher.


As mentioned, the wattage of the WEN 56235i is 2,3500 wattage at surge, and 1,900-wattage normal running.

You can combine this with other portable WEN inverter generators to further extend the wattage need.


With a name like ‘Super Quiet’ you couldn’t expect anything less than a quiet running portable generator.

It’s just 1dB quieter than the top choice, which isn’t noticeable really, but offers higher power capabilities. So, if you need more power, and a quieter generator, this may be a better alternative.

It is worth considering the cost of the WEN56235i over two WEN56200i to join together. The extra fuel consumption may not end up working out better, but all comparison is worthwhile.

How long does it last on a full tank?

It has been known to run for a full 12 hours on a completely full tank with lower power capacity. If though you are running a couple of power-hungry devices or appliances, expect this to be less though.

It will depend on how much fuel is in the tank, remember – a generator will be more fuel efficient on a full tank than half a tank.

Best Budget Friendly – A-iPower SUA000iV

A iPower SUA000iV

This handy generator still offers 2000-watt power at start and 1,600 running watts but is 10% cheaper than the WEN generators and considerable cheaper than the Hondas and Yamahas of this world.


It provides 2,000-watt at start and 1,600-watts when running. This should be suitable for small appliances and devices.


Another 53dB generator, I am finding generator technology is really driving down the noise from these portable luxuries, which is something we are thankful for on a campground.

How long does it last on a full tank?

At full output power it should last you around 4 hours, but if you drop down the power output by 50% you should be able to double the amount of usage time on a single full tank.

Best Brand Generator – Yamaha EF2000iSv2

Yamaha EF2000iSv2

I couldn’t include a best of generator list without a top name brand.

Some portable generators can fetch towards $2,000 or more. This though is a brand generator with a mid-range budget. The Yahama EF2000iSv2.

The cost of this tidy generator can be up to $1,000 and although not budget friendly, it does come with it the trusted Yamaha name.

You can also connect two Yamaha’s together to double the wattage output, between 3,200-watt and 4,000-watt.


As a single unit you can expect between 1,600-watts and 2,000-watts of power. The ‘TwinTech’ functionality is what will allow you to connect two devices and double the wattage output, depending on your needs.


This top brand generator is also one of the quieter inverter generators on the market, at 51.5dB.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t pick this as the quietest option, it was simply due to the cost. The Yamaha EF2000iSv2 is double the price of the WEN 56235i, and just 0.5dB quieter.

It wouldn’t be worth, in my view, to spend double the price to save 0.5dB of noise – if noise output were one of your biggest decision makers.

How long does it last on a full tank?

If you drop the wattage usage down to 400 watts, you can get up to 10 hours continuous run time from it.

Of course, the more devices and appliances you use, the less time you’ll get.

Best High Wattage Generator – WEN 56380i Super Quiet

WEN 56380i Super Quiet

Many of the portable inverter generators I’ve covered so far are around the 2,000-wattage type. But what if you need more power.

You could connect two 2,000 wattage generators together and have between 3,200-4,000 wattage of power, but why buy and fuel two, when you can just buy one.


The WEN 56380i offers up to 3,800 wattage or power.


Considering the power output, this is actually a quiet generator. At 57dB of noise, although this is the noisiest of the generators so far, it’s no surprise as it’s the biggest.

Some higher wattage generators produce 70dB or more noise – and really are totally unsuited for small campsites – but at 57dB, it’s more campsite friendly.

How long does it last on a full tank?

The higher wattage generators come in to their own when you need lots of power for long periods of time.

Even using around 1,800-2,000 watts of power, your generator on a full tank can last you up to 8 hours or so. Not bad.

The Best Portable Inverter Generators Compared

OK, we’ve been through the top four by type, and also a rundown of each in full detail, but now let’s look at a side-by-side comparison of each of the four inverter generators:

GeneratorWattagedB RatingWeight lbs
WEN 56200i2,00053dB48lbs
WEN 56235i2,35052dB39lbs
Yamaha EF2000 2,00051.5dB44.1lbs
WEN 56380i3,80057dB99.2lbs

Top Tip: It is worth noting that the weight shown in the table above is based on the weight of the generator itself, it will become heavier when fuel is added.

Buying Guide – What Features to Look For

Buying an inverter generator for a camping trip is a big expense.

You need to make sure it does what you need it to.

Yes, all inverter generators at their core do the basic thing they are set out to do, turn fuel in to electricity.

Each person has their own needs, but I would advise that when looking for a generator, you take into consideration the following:

  • The wattage output provided is suitable for your average daily needs
  • It’s quiet enough not to disturb others, or exceed campsite regulations
  • There is the possibility of connecting two or more devices, if you opt for a 2,000-watt generator, particularly if you plan to travel with a large RV
  • The size of the generator is not too heavy to handle, or too big to fit in your vehicle

There are other considerations of course, but if you stick to these essentials, you should find the rest fall into the bracket of ‘nice to have’s’.

Wattage Output Requirements

To take your brand-new generator with you on an RV camping trip, only to find it doesn’t provide enough power to keep you and your family up and running, is very frustrating!

For a small camping trip in a small motorhome, you may find a 2,000-wattage generator more than suitable.

Perhaps you like to do your own cooking over a fire, and you never camp in blazing heat to warrant constant air conditioning use.

Air conditioning and cooking stoves or microwaves can be the most power-hungry appliances you are likely to use. Together these will require around 3,000-3,500 watts to run together.

One 4,000-watt generator may cost as much as two 2,000-watt generators and connecting them together.

I mention this specifically because if you have the room to carry two generators with you, and would also find owning a smaller, quieter generator really helpful then owning two may give you the best of both worlds.

Take two on longer adventures in a big RV, and just one on smaller camping trips.

Noise Pollution Levels

The last thing you want to do is turn up at a campsite, pull out a gas guzzling 70dB+ generator, and start annoying everyone around you.

Your traveling neighbors have also come to relax too.

Some campsites restrict generators altogether, whereas some have a dB limit or after hours black out.

You really want to find the lowest dB noise rating as possible for the power you need.

They often work out a little more expensive but you, and your neighbors, will be very thankful!

Double the Generator Double the Power

Many inverter generators can be connected together to increase the wattage output.

We have already touched upon this a few times in this post already.

Two smaller generators connected vs one larger generator has its advantage as well as disadvantages:

Advantages of two smaller generators

  • Useful to separate when needed, and take one smaller generator with you on a smaller camping trip
  • They can of course be combined to double the output when or if required
  • Double the generator doesn’t necessarily double the dB, so can still be a quieter option

Disadvantages of two smaller generators

  • More fuel required
  • May not last as long as a larger generator producing the same wattage output

Can You Carry it – Will it Fit!

How terrible will it be if you went to load your generator into your RV or vehicle only to find it doesn’t fit!

Or even worse it’s so heavy you can’t carry it!

Check the weight of the unit, and dimensions – and test it out as soon as you purchase. It will at least give you time to take it back to the store and swap for a different size model if you need to.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many generators do I need for camping?

It will depend on your power consumption requirements for your trip. In hot weather, in a large RV, then 4,000 watts or more is required. For smaller motorhomes, or tent camping, a 2,000 watt generator should be ample.

What is the quietest good generator?

I’d recommend the WEN 56235i Super Quiet.

Although it’s 0.5dB louder than the Yamaha EF2000iSv2, it is around 50% cheaper, which makes an ideal choice when noise is a concern.

Why a Portable Generator is Essential for an RV Adventure

I don’t think now I could go camping now without power.

When I started my camping and outdoors adventure, I really took to the heart of off grid staying. It was part of the fun and adventure.

Priorities can change. I love the outdoors but love the comforts of home. I want to experience both together.

As well as the little luxuries of home, a generator can provide essential power if you need it most. They can be used in an emergency – such as an overnight breakdown.

I always try to plan. Always better to try and be safe than sorry.

Here are some of the ways a generator can come in useful on a camping trip:

  • Power lights in an RV
  • Charge your devices such as cell phone, laptop and tablet
  • Watching TV
  • Microwave, stove or oven cooking
  • Provide power to a small fridge or freezer
  • Power tools for onside road RV or motorhome repairs
  • Running your air conditioning

If you want to know more about how a portable generator actually works check out this really useful guide full of photos, instructions and advice.


A portable generator when camping is an incredibly useful device.

We all are reliant, in one way or another, to electricity and there’s no harm enjoying the outdoors and being closer to nature as well as dipping back into home luxuries occasionally.

The WEN 56200i is my choice for the best inverter generator on the market today, and with lots of good, actual, reviews available all giving thumbs up to this little unit, it is certainly one to check out!

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