What Size Generator For 30 Amp RV

You have 30 amps coming from your RV and you want to know what size generator you need. There are a variety of factors to consider when determining the appropriate generator size for your RV. The following information will help you find the right size generator for 30 amp RV.

What Is A 30 Amp Service?

Prior to 1980, most RV power systems used a 20 amp service. Many campers use this type of service today. A 30 amp service is roughly equivalent to a modern 120 volt AC circuit and can provide power for up to 10 appliances (3 or 4 people for several weeks at a time).

Forty of the old style 30 amp services are still in use in RVs today, but the majority of modern 30 amp connectors have been updated to the newer style.

What Size Generator Do I Need?

Due to the variety of appliances and the maximum continuous load, there is no standard or exact generator sizing. Your best bet is to find the generator that can produce enough power to cover your appliances.

If your RV has a 30 amp plug, you’ll need a generator that has at least 1000 watts per 30 amp circuit. That means if you have two 20 amp circuits, you’ll need a 2000-watt generator. If all of your appliances are using just one circuit, then you may want more power than 2000 watts; this will ensure there is excess power available.

  1: Generator Wattage

The amount of power you need will be in watts. The number of watts is determined by the size of the generator you choose and the number of circuits you’ll be able to use. To determine how many circuits your RV circuit breakers can handle, multiply how many circuits your RV has times 30 amps.

For example, a 30 amp RV circuit breaker can handle up to 3000 watts; therefore, if all you’re powering is one circuit–the refrigerator–you’ll need a 2500-watt generator to reach the continuous load on that circuit.

  2: Parallel Operation Of Generators

Most generators will run in parallel with a minimum of two generators. Two generators won’t provide the same amount of juice as one, but they will help you get by during those times when you don’t have enough power for every appliance running at once.

Two smaller generators will also be easier to manage than one larger one.

  3: Standby Time

When sizing your generator, you’ll also need to consider the amount of time it takes for the generator to start and produce sufficient power. The more powerful your generator, the quicker it will start and begin producing power when a blackout occurs. This is known as standby time.

You’ve got a 30 amp RV circuit and you want to know what size generator you need to produce enough power to run everything in the RV. There are a variety of factors to consider when determining the appropriate generator size for your RV. The following information will help you find the right one.

  4: Noise Level

Noise is generally not a problem if you’re camping in your RV because it will be far away from anyone’s home. If you’re in a campsite with neighboring RVs, however, the generator may be a noise issue.

You can’t just choose a quiet generator; you need to know how much power you really need and what combination of appliances you’ll be running at any given time.

  5: Cost

Many RVs come with a 30 amp circuit. It’s important to know how much power you need before you buy anything; if you purchase too much, you won’t be able to use it all.

Once you know the exact amount of power needed and the type of appliances that are being used, then look at what generators are available at different price ranges and decide what’s right for your needs.

  6: Maintenance

It’s important to understand what maintenance is required for your generator. Some generators will require more maintenance than others. If you’re a person who is willing to learn how to maintain your generator, then choose the one that’s right for you.

If you’re not interested in maintaining your generator like changing the oil and checking the air filter, then you should choose a generator that requires less maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I plug 30 amp RV To 50 amp RV?

You can use a 30 amp RV cable to plug your 30 amp RV circuit into a 50 amp hookup. The difference is that you cannot plug your 20 amp appliances into a 50 amp hookup. If you want to run those types of appliances, then you’ll need to plug them directly into the generator and bypass the RV’s breaker box.

  2. What Should I Do If I Need More Power Than My Generator Can Supply?

If your RV is using a 15 amp circuit, then you don’t have enough power to run all of your appliances at once. If the generator is 2000 watts, then there are three options available:

Option 1: A 50 amp generator with a 30 amp input

This option will give you the extra power you need, and it’s relatively cost-effective (30 amp generators are typically less expensive than 50 amp).

Option 2: A 20 amp RV circuit equipped with a 30 amp extender cord

This option will provide you with enough power for all of your appliances and allow you to use the remaining voltage on the 15 amp outlet.

Option 3: A 30 amp RV circuit

This option will provide you with enough power to run all of your appliances at once. With a 2000-watt generator, this option will produce enough power to run all of your appliances at once plus the refrigerator.

In summary, if you need more than 2000 watts from the generator when operating all of your appliances, then you’ll need to either:

  • Buy a second generator and install it in parallel to power the RV circuits; or
  • Buy an extender cord and plug that into your 30 amp RV circuit.

  3. What Is A Transfer Switch?

 A transfer switch is a switch that enables you to easily move your electricity from your outlet to your generator. This is important if you want to be able to use electricity during a power outage.

When you use a transfer switch, you’ll be able to use the generator in case of an emergency and then turn it off when the power returns.

  4. How Can I Tell If My RV Has Surge Protection Built In? 

You should always have surge protection for your generator, regardless of whether or not an RV has it built in. Surge protectors are important because they prevent any sudden changes in voltage, which can damage the appliances on your RV’s electrical system as well as the generator itself.

  5. Can I Use My RV’s Transfer Switch And Extension Cord?

In order for your RV to function properly, you’ll need a 15 amp outlet for the generator plus at least one 15 amp outlet plus at least one 30 amp outlet.

  6. How Can I Tell If My RV Has A 30 Amp Transfer Switch?

You should see three 7-way receptacles on the back of your trailer (one for the main breaker, one for the 30 amp transfer switch, and one for an external power source). If you do not see these receptacles, then that may be an indication that your RV does not have a 30 amp transfer switch installed in it.

  7. Do I Have To Have A Transfer Switch Installed In My RV?

No, not necessarily. Many RV’s with 30 amp transfer switches do not use them all of the time. If you are only using your generator during an electrical outage (not charging batteries), then it will probably be fine without a 30 amp transfer switch.

Some RVs are fine with 10 amp and 15 amp outlets, which do not require a 30 amp transfer switch if the owner is only using their generator sparingly.

  8. Can I Use My RV’s 30 Amp Circuit Breaker Power Outlets And Extension Cord?

The answer for this one is yes, but it might not be as easy as you think. The voltage/gauge that these outlets are rated for is 240 V (50-60 Hz). This is different than what you will find on most generators.

 Most generators are set up to operate at 120 V (60 Hz) and problems can occur if you attempt to plug your appliance into the 240 V outlet.

For example, let’s say that you have a refrigerator plugged into the 30 amp extension cord connected to your RV’s main breaker and that refrigerator has a pull-out shelf with a freezer on it (about 5 kg). Now imagine plugging the fridge into an extension cord plugged directly into the generator.


In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when purchasing a RV generator for your 30 amp powered RV. Understanding the maximum continuous load on each circuit of your trailer is vital to determining how much power you need to run all of your appliances at once.

After reading the article, I hope you now can understand what size generator you need for 30 amp RV. If you have any doubts, let me know.

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