Best Camping Generators Revealed

Best Camping Generators Revealed
4.42 | 19 votes

EXPERTS PROVIDE CAMPING GENERATOR REVIEWS 

Today you don’t have to leave power behind when you hit the road. Camping generators mean you can power up things like microwave, television, laptop, toaster, coffee maker and even the air conditioner in your Motorhome. Of course, the other most common use for a camping generator is recharging your deep cycle battery packs which run all your favorite 12 volt appliances; this is where the 4×4 and camper trailer enthusiasts love to have a small generator included in their camping equipment, often to compliment their solar set up.  

CAMPING GENERATOR

Generators are great for portable 240V power and for recharging your battery packs

But not all camping generators are created equal: there are some differences in the features and specs depending on what you need it for. In almost all cases though, they are built with portability in mind; lightweight and compact design so you can always move it from site to site without any trouble.

Another common feature of camping generators is inverter technology. Most quality camping generators today use inverter technology to provide a stable power source that won’t damage your electronic equipment – which is particularly great if you’re travelling with laptops and other sensitive devices.

So what do you pay for a camping generator these days? That varies too. Whilst there are some functional and performance features that vary between models and brands, the key difference in price is whether you want a premium brand or budget brand. Depending on whether you want a well-known manufacturer such as Yamaha, or are happy with one of the value proposition brands such as Cromtech can mean several hundred dollars difference. The premium brands will have a longer warranty (typically 4 years) and a national approved service network, whereas the budget brands will have a shorter warranty (2 years or less) and only a limited number of service agents. Unless we’re talking about Cromtech, which is backed by Australian machinery manufacturer Crommelins and its award-winning national service network.

So what should you choose?

Once you know how much power you’ll need and the features you want, then we say that it mostly comes down to how frequently you intend to use it… If you intend to rely on the generator quite regularly or are planning long trips around the country, then we say opt for the premium brand like Yamaha; they are built to handle more frequent use and you can travel in comfort knowing that you have a 4 year warranty and there are over 200 accredited service agents nationwide should you require any maintenance. On the other hand, if your main objective for the generator is purely for occasional recreational use or back up purposes if required, then a budget brand such as Cromtech represents a very good value for money proposition. Cromtech has the backing of a national service network; you don’t get this with most cheaper brand generators.

Here, we look at three of the most popular premium and budget camping generators:

 Value for Money (Budget) Camping Generator

Our favourite budget generator is made by Crometch, a brand name you might not yet be familiar with. Cromtech offers 2400w inverter generator built specifically for outdoor enthusiasts with a 1-year warranty. With a compact construction and super quiet operation at just 52 decibels, this little beauty is perfect for campers and caravanning. It runs on petrol and has a 5-litre tank for 6 hours of operation at 75% load.

This powerful inverter generator packs away neatly with a dust cover for protection, and comes with extra safety features such as low oil level alarm, overload alarm and an automatic idle switch for efficiency.

Other handy features include two 15 amp outlets, USB charging outlets and 12 volts DC charging. But best of all, this camping buddy is brought to you by the guys as Crommelins Machinery, so it’s backed by their award-winning national service and spare parts network.

CAMPING GENERATOR

Cromtech is backed by a national service network and 1-year warranty

Premium Camping Generators

Yamaha is one of the big players in the generator market, and it’s easy to see why. Along with Honda, they have premium products backed by a long, strong reputation for quality. The great thing about buying a Yamaha camping generator is that you get a 48-month warranty and the backing of a national service network, with over 200 accredited service agents.

The Yamaha 1000W inverter generator is one of the quietest and lightest camping generators in the market, making it extremely popular in the caravanning world. At only 12.7kg, it’s the lightest 1000W portable generator you can buy. Plus it only produces a super silent 50 decibels of noise at normal operating levels – much quieter than a normal conversation. The Yamaha smart throttle automatically adjusts the engine speed to maximize fuel efficiency. In fact, you can enjoy up to 12 hours of power before having to top up the tank!

CAMPING GENERATOR

The Yamaha 1000w inverter generator is a great addition to your road trip equipment, especially when travelling into remote locations and you need to charge your camping batteries.

For more power, the Yamaha 2000W will become your best camping travel buddy. The Yamaha EF2000iS is the quietest generator in it class, producing noise levels of 52 decibels. It only weighs 20kg, which makes it incredibly compact for its power output. If you need even more power, this model can hook up to another EF2000iS to almost double the power output capacity. What more could you want? In fact, we are happy to stand behind the EF2000iS as the best camping generator on the market – it rates just ahead of the Honda EU20i Camping Generator as the best of the best: we compare the two models in this article.

Lastly, if you want to run your caravan air-conditioning unit then in many cases you will need more than 2000 watts for some larger items like a/c units, microwaves, washing machines, hair dryers etc. – you’ll likely need a model such as the Yamaha EF2400iS. You can see the best generator options for your caravan in this summary here.

Explore the full range of camping generators at My Generator

Sean Connolly

Sean Connolly

Managing Director at My Generator
Sean is the co-founder and Managing Director of My Generator (mygenerator.com.au)
Sean Connolly

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Comments

  • Adam Kyneton December 3, 2014, 4:42 am

    What is the best oil to use for my inverter camping generator? Ta.

    • My Generator Admin December 3, 2014, 4:54 am

      Hi Adam, The oil you require is 10W-30 or 10W-40. This can be purchased at any service station. Make sure the generator has plenty of oil the first time you start it up! Cheers

  • Avril October 16, 2015, 3:07 pm

    Hi guys could you please tell me, can you have your generator running the fridge in your caravan whilst travelling along the road? The generator is secured to the A-frame in a mesh box. cheers

    • My Generator Admin October 19, 2015, 12:15 am

      Hi Avril, in short the answer is no. During operation, the generator should be grounded, stationary and not be enclosed. Hope that helps – thanks, Steve.

  • BVZ January 6, 2016, 3:02 am

    Hi,

    I am looking into the Yamaha EF 2000is or the EF 1000is. I am only looking to use the generator to top up my camper trailer batteries on low solar days as I have 360 Watts worth of solar panels. The generator will never really be used to power appliances. I am conscious of weight and space. The solar panels kept my batteries topped up when there was sun about. So considering that they only generate 360 watts of power (3 X 120W), would i be correct in assuming that the EF 1000is would achieve the same results in half the time? Thanks in advance

    • My Generator Admin January 7, 2016, 3:03 am

      Hi Branden, regarding charging times there are several variables which influence how quickly your batteries are charged; your battery charger, how much charge your batteries have, strength of sun (in the case of solar) etc. Having said all that, the Yamaha EF1000iS can provide a constant rate of 900 watts of power and so it will charge (via a battery charger) your batteries more quickly than your solar panels. Cheers, Steve

  • Chris Hudsons January 14, 2016, 1:27 am

    Thanks a lot for posting this for camping generators. Now I know now where to go.

  • Peter Newman June 21, 2016, 7:06 am

    What size generator do I require to top up 6 batteries totalling 210 amp/hrs in a camper trailer while away?
    The batteries are charged from a 50 amp Projecta battery charger.
    Thanks for your assistance.

    • Lachlan June 21, 2016, 7:35 am

      Hi Peter, for charging camper trailer batteries, the Yamaha EF1000iS is the most popular generator model. Just plug in your battery charger between the generator and the batteries for the most effective and safest charging. Some campers go the next generator size up; the Yamaha EF2000iS if they have some other appliances they want to run as well. Cheers

  • jim December 19, 2016, 11:00 pm

    We need a generator for backup power at our house for the sump pump, it kicks in at 2.8Kw. We would like to know what the minimum sized generator we would need ( key start preferably) and a good quality brand? Thanks

    • L Adams December 20, 2016, 3:12 am

      Hi Jim, thanks for your question. Assuming 2.8KW is the maximum draw of your pump, then there are several very good, reliable options at this size, however not many with electric start.
      I would be inclined to consider the Yamaha EF2800i Inverter Generator – this has a maximum power capacity of 2800 watts, has a long run fuel tank of 11 litres giving you 17 hours run time at quarter load. It is an inverter generator, meaning it will idle up or down based on the required load (making it very fuel efficient) and can also power your sensitive electronics like mobile phone and laptop should you require. Inverter generators are popular for recreational and domestic use.
      The next model up from this, the Yamaha EF3000iSE is also an inverter generator and does come with electric start. It produces slightly more max power at 3000 watts, but the electric start feature adds weight and cost to the unit.
      If you decided you didnt require an inverter generator, then you could opt for a conventional honda powered set such as the Gentech Honda 3.4kVA Generator – this is a tough generator unit designed for general trade, construction and farming applications.
      If you wanted a honda powered convetnional style generator with electric start, then you would need to opt for a larger model such as the Gentech Honda 5.9kVa, where electric start is an optional extra.
      Thank you

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